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May 1862

McKinlay's Journal of Exploration into the interior of Australia (Burke Relief Expedition)
Melbourne: F F Bailliere.
(Ferguson 12057).

Thursday, 1 May 1862 - Camp 48.
Beautiful cool breeze from east-south-east; one native seen by Palmer (who was behind with the bullocks) running the tracks of the horses and camels, but when he saw Palmer he was off at full speed; it is strange we don't fall in with more of them in a country where there appears to be lots of food and water for them; started on bearing of 330°, at 120 yards crossed a partially dry lagoon, at a quarter of a mile another, then splendid open forest, well timbered and grassed; at two and a quarter miles struck a creek flowing about 20° north of east, deep sandy bed, no water, followed it down for one mile bearing 70° and crossed, not being able to get up the opposite banks being so abrupt; although there is no water here no doubt from the look of the creek there is abundance both above and below, dead palm tree branches amongst the creek-wash; bearing of 330° through splendid open forest and well grassed; at one mile crossed the same creek flowing to north of west, at three and a quarter miles struck it again and crossed it flowing to north of east, and just in a turning to north, still no water in its bed, at three and three-quarter miles struck it again but did not cross it, it appearing to bear to north-east out of our tracks; bearing of 290° one mile, creek on right hand; bearing of 330° five miles; then bearing of 322 1/2° for one and three-quarter miles; bearing of 330° three miles over open plains with a few shrubs occasionally, came to a small creek flowing to north of east, plenty of water; distance travelled seventeen and three-quarter miles; the grass on all the very open country was very dry and little substance in it, along the large creek passed and crossed various times reeds first met with; the large creek when last seen was bearing to west of north a long distance off, beyond an open plain; the creek I am now upon divides into several branches just here, which makes this one so small. Shot a new bird--dark grey, large tail, something like a pheasant in its flight; it always starts from the ground and settles awkwardly on the trees, its tail appearing a nuisance to it; the specimen shot is too much torn for preservation. The days now are very warm and the nights very agreeable. Short as the time is since they must have had the rain here it is astonishing how it has dried up in many places. The large creek crossed yesterday I have called the William after a young friend of mine.

Friday, 2 May 1862 - Camp 49.
Beautiful morning; wind south-south-west. Bearing 330° over a plain and at three miles crossed a watercourse flowing east; at three and three-quarter miles crossed another with plenty of water on right hand flowing to north of east; at seven and three-quarter miles came to and crossed a narrow deep creek, plenty water, about fifty yards wide, and have named it the Dugald, flowing north-north-east; small ranges visible at crossing this creek; beyond a plain at south-west; nice open forest before crossing this creek; at ten and a quarter miles over small stony plain, or rather bald hill, as it ascends and descends; came to and crossed a box and gum small watercourse; dry at crossing; first part over plain and latter part over myall forest undulations; at twelve and three-quarter miles came to irregular small creeks flowing to north-north-east, plenty of water; at eighteen miles came to a small creek from the ridges on our left with sufficient water for all useful purposes. From the last creek, undulations of fair and spinifex country; and slopes of ridges covered with spinifex (slopes to northward). At this creek there are a number of beautiful shady trees, leaves about four or five inches broad and from five to six inches long; besides gums and various other trees. Spinifex on both sides of the creek down to its edge. A hill of no great height ahead of us in our course for tomorrow. Saw plenty of turkey.

Saturday, 3 May 1862 - Camp 50.
Fleecy clouds; wind east-south-east, blew pretty strong towards morning. Started on bearing of 330°; for first three miles over spinifex ridge then small grass flat and another small spinifex ridge; at four miles over a good-sized plain (drainage all towards south and west towards heavy timber--where there is I suppose a large creek or river from the south) and across a small spinifex stony range. Cleared it at twelve and a quarter miles, following along the slopes of the hills, drainage west and north; at fourteen miles came to a watercourse, drainage north, abundance of water; followed along numerous watercourses both on right and left with plenty of water, and along what is here the principal creek--not so much water in it although it is better defined. Camped at sixteen miles. The feed on the open ground is as dry as tinder and not at all of first-class quality, the only green feed being about the creek and watercourses. A great abundance of those fine shady broad-leaved trees; they would be a great ornament in a park; it bears an abundance of seed but not ripe at present although I have taken some of it. Very sultry.

Sunday, 4 May 1862 - Camp 51.
Mild night and morning. Our small stock of sheep got out of the fold in the night and half of them are missing this morning; I hope they may be got. Sky a good deal overcast. Wind east. I am glad that the missing sheep, after a little looking for, were found close by; the loss of them would have deprived us of at least seven days' food, which would be no light matter in a country where we seldom can even shoot a duck, much less sufficient for all the party who are now, I am happy to say, in excellent health. As this creek--which I have called Davis Creek after one of the party--bears a good deal on my course of yesterday, and has a good many irregularities near the bank which make it rough travelling, I have changed my course to north-west or 315°; at one mile cleared the creek although it keeps pretty close on my present course and appears to be hemmed in on the right by the last ridge I crossed yesterday; then over plains and belts of myall gum; at five and three-quarter miles crossed a small creek flowing northward over similar country, but more sound; at ten and a half miles crossed a couple of small creeks flowing northward (the natives burning a short distance on our left); then over a variety of fair open country and a small portion of very thick and scrubby myall forest; then over spinifex ridge; then over well grassed tablelands for several miles; then over pretty thickly timbered spinifex rise of considerable length; and lastly for the last five miles over plains, light belts of timber here and there; got to a creek with sufficient water at twenty-seven and three-quarter miles. Long day, rather; did not see a drop of water the whole way, but I fancy we could have had what we desired at the early part of the day but we did not require it. The sheep and bullocks got to camp about 8 o'clock p.m., an astonishing journey for the poor little fellows; they are now, with the constant travelling and the long coarse grass, falling off in condition, but had they the feed they were accustomed to they would be much better; as it is they are far from poor--kidneys well-covered yet and fairish caul fat.

Monday, 5 May 1862 - Camp 52.
Mild night with dew and calm, still morning; very cloudy and rainy-like to north and south of east. Heard a native wailing for some lost friend or relation during the night but as yet have seen none of them, although they were burning on left of our track yesterday within two miles. This creek comes from southward and flows to west of north considerably; it is well defined with box timber, but not at all deep; it appears more like a side creek to a larger stream. There is here a considerable plain on both sides and as yet no main creek visible although I fancy there must be one, all the drainage yesterday being to left of our course, no doubt to meet some large creek to south and west. Started on bearing of 315°; crossed the creek obliquely at starting; then over a plain; at three and a quarter miles into a mulga forest, or rather belts of it, and amongst which there was at three and a quarter miles a swamp with water; then over plains and a gentle rise, thinly interspersed with small lots of shrubs and thin belts of timber (light); at thirteen and a half miles to a watercourse, sufficient water for our use, although rather opaque, but we can easily put up with that once in a way. I have made the journey short today in consequence of yesterday's one being so long. At the conclusion of today's stage from my calculations it places me exactly on Gregory's track, twenty miles east of where he crossed the Leichhardt River. I hope in reality it may be so, but I am hardly sanguine enough to expect it, taking everything into consideration--bad time-keeping watch and nothing to go by but the guess of your horse's pace.

Tuesday, 6 May 1862 - Camp 53.
Dull morning, cloudy, wind south-south-west. A vast number of galahs, corellas, macaws, cockatoo parrots, hawks, and crows here. Started on bearing of 310° over alternate plains and through belts of small timber. At seven miles passed swampy country where some heavy belts of timber are to the right of course. A great number of birds; water I am sure could be had if required; over alternate plains and strips of forest as before. At seventeen and three-quarter miles came to a native camp near swamp (water). Saw two of them in the distance some few miles further, but they scampered off and I did not go after them. Over similar country, latterly more open and even. At twenty-two and a half miles struck the Leichhardt River at what appears an island. Plenty of deep water; banks too precipitous for the animals to water. Followed down it bearing 330° for two and a half miles and came to a bend of the river. Good sound watering-place; shingly and sandy beach for about a mile. Camped near the upper end of it. Hodgkinson caught a small fish; large one seen but not caught. It is a splendid river and from bank to bank is from 150 to 180 yards where we are encamped; but the water is here and for nearly a mile confined to a space of fifteen to twenty yards. Here on the western side, and a little further in at a crossing-place on the eastern side where it is still running a nice little stream, stony bottom, and only a couple or three yards wide.

Wednesday, 7 May 1862 - Camp 54.
Very dull morning and sultry; every appearance of rain, sky perfectly overcast. Started down bed of river on east side on bearing of 37° for one and one-eighth miles; crossed; a quarter of a mile on bearing of 220°; bearing 260° for one mile, following along the western banks of river, where it is full of sand and timber, and fully 500 yards wide; bearing 282°, still along the banks for half a mile; then bearing of 310° as the river goes suddenly off north and eastward; one mile on last bearing through, since crossing river, pretty open forest land; on bearing of 352° at one and a quarter miles came to a fine lagoon or swamp with plenty of water and green grass; bearing of 352°, at half a mile further crossed a deep dry creek going west to or by the swamp, at one and a half miles further came to and crossed a deepish creek from the south and west, sandy bottom (water); at one and three-quarter miles further struck the river, plenty of fresh water, and good crossing if necessary; at two and three-quarter miles further came to a nice lagoon, plenty of water and feed, river apparently some distance off, on the right; at seven and three-quarter miles further over open forest and plains with light timber. Seeing no chance of water ahead changed course for the Leichhardt; bearing of 109 1/2° for 3 and one-third miles to river; crossed it and camped in the sandy bed; lots of stones for the last two miles and stony about the riverbank.

Thursday, 8 May 1862 - Camp 55.
Strong south breeze, all appearance of rain blown away. Started on bearing of 355°, water in the way; at one mile, between the start and that, there were stones and a little spinifex; then over open plains, small belts of clumps of small trees; halted at nine and a half miles; water quite sufficient for our use. I never saw such flights of Sturt's pigeons--at times completely darkening the ground over which they flew--a vast body of them seem to be wending their way to north-west from south-east, but vast numbers are here on the plains notwithstanding; natives burning on the Leichhardt in all directions, and one or two fires towards the Albert; took Middleton with me to ascertain what kind of country there is between camp and coast. On bearing of 355° at six miles came to and crossed a creek, plenty of water, flowing to north-north-east; at sixteen and a half miles struck a creek with heavy box and gum timber, and water where we struck it in small lagoons and side creeks. Camped; natives burning ahead of us and a little east. A great portion of the country we have come over from camp is inundated and has now coarse grass and reeds. This creek flows here about north; south of this it comes more to the north-north-east.

Friday, 9 May 1862.
Middleton and I still out; party in camp. Started on bearing of 40°; wind strong, south; at three and a half miles struck the creek, now a very considerable size and flowing to the eastward and a little south; followed it for a quarter of a mile, keeping it on the left on bearing of about 110°, and crossed it at a long grassy flat; in its bed native wurlies between where we first struck it and crossed it; bearing of 40°, long deep reach of water, banks well defined; bearing of 40°, at three-quarters of a mile, creek, recrossed same on a bed of lava, all rent, abundance of water; at five and a half miles further struck the Leichhardt, its bed vast sheets of stones--rocks and small stones opposite side, lower down--the water in its bed is about or upwards of 150 yards wide; at two miles, bearing of about 210°, struck the river at a stony and rocky fall and went westward half a mile to avoid the bend; struck river again at three miles on same course as above; then at four miles struck the river, water in its full width now upwards of 250 yards, a splendid-looking place, and lined on its banks with splendid timber of various kinds, with a variety of palms, etc.; then to the southward of south-west for between six and eight miles, but the rugged banks were so intricate that it was impossible to calculate the distance correctly; in a great many places, half a mile from the riverbanks, the plains drop off precipitously from three to ten feet, and slope off in undermined deep earthy creeks, finishing at last in deep reedy creeks close to the river; water in nearly all the side creeks and compelled us to keep out, but sometimes we were caught in them, thinking the timber we were advancing to was a lagoon or belt of timber, and then we were compelled to go round it; then cross a very fine creek running into the river the same, I believe, we crossed yesterday about six miles from camp on our outward course. From this to our camp I make out about thirteen miles on a bearing of about 200°; got to camp about 8 p.m., for the last seven miles guided by a roman candle shot off at the camp. Fireworks are most useful in expeditions of this kind as in many cases some of our party have been guided up to camp near midnight.

Saturday, 10 May 1862 - Camp 56.
Very cold during the night; in the morning wind south-east but beautiful weather. Started on bearing of 20° over land subject to frequent inundations, with reeds thinly scattered over it and narrow belt of small timber. At twelve miles came to and crossed the creek seen on our way out on Thursday afternoon last, about six miles from camp (56 the camp). At thirteen miles struck a lagoon, then another, and another at fourteen and a quarter miles, all of which have abundance of water; at the last of which I encamped, excellent feed. I forgot to mention that yesterday on return to camp from first striking in Leichhardt's River I observed apparently a native firing the grass a short distance on my right. I made towards it and saw one coming steadily towards us, still spying us, retreated at full speed; as I had some fish-hooks and line I was determined to pull him or her up. Started off and overtook what turned out to be a gin and her piccaninie, and had a load of something, which in her retreat she dropped. She screamed and cooeed and set fire to the grass all around us to endeavour to get rid of us, but all to no purpose. I held out to her a fish-hook but she would not take them to look at even, but busied herself screaming and firing the grass; upon which I got off the horse and approached her. She immediately lifted up her yam-stick in the position the men throw their spears, and prepared to defend herself, until at last she quieted down on observing the fish-hook, and advanced a step or two and took it from me, evidently knowing the use of it. I then gave her a line and another hook, and by signs explained to her that I would return in the direction the day following. She wished me to understand something, holding up four of her fingers, but what she meant I could not guess. I tried to make out from her how far the coast was, making motions as if paddling a canoe, but could not get any information; as soon as we were clear off she set to work to make an immense smoke to attract the notice of her people to give them the news. This afternoon three of the party went over east-south-east about three-quarters of a mile to the river and caught about a dozen fish of small size and three different sorts, and a turtle about a foot long. The river during the day has almost always been in sight from thirty six miles off till crossing the creek, when it was not more than one mile off.

Sunday, 11 May 1862 - Camp 57.
Could not have finer weather for travelling; abundance of feed, though on anything like high ground it has shed its seed and is now dry; plenty of good water as yet and fair feed round it generally. Lagoons wooded round generally with rusty gum, box, and white gum; wind east-south-east and pleasant. Started to clear some broken slopes ahead towards the river on bearing of 345°. At two miles over plains came to and crossed a creek running into the river about a mile off; at two and a quarter miles changed course to 9°, over open country--generally sloping to north-east from river with plenty of water on each side; at six and three-quarter miles struck the river at the falls. Messenger overtook me to say that one of the bullocks we had been using for the pack could not be brought on so determined to kill and jerk him; and went west half a mile on a small creek with running water and where the feed was better and more green than on the river. The bullock was got to camp about evening and slaughtered; plenty of guardfish, swordfish, and sharks under the falls, which are about fifty to sixty feet high with no current. Deep water above and below, and water oozing through the fissures of the rock which appears a sort of burnt limestone and indifferent agate. Found an eatable fruit on a handsome tree of the palm kind.

Monday, 12 May 1862 - Camp 58.
Wind south-south-west; not an ounce of fat upon the bullock; won't take so long to jerk. I started out today to examine the country ahead, taking with me Middleton and Poole. At one mile over plain 5°; changed course to 355°; at five and a half miles struck the river and changed course to 285°; at five-sixths of a mile struck and crossed creek from south to river; at two and five-sixths miles crossed smaller one from same direction; at a quarter of a mile further changed course to 340°; at eleven and three-quarter miles over very bad travelling country, plains subject to much inundation, to a creek running into the river with splendid water and feed; at twelve and a half miles came to the river, with an immense sand-spit opposite; appears to be within the influence of the sea and is about 600 yards wide and dry half across. A number of pelicans up some distance; water either brackish a little or with some other peculiarity about it. Started for apparently another bend of the river, on bearing of 329°. One and three-quarter miles saw a lagoon, on the left ahead; and as the horses are tired will bear for it and turn them out. Course 282°, three-quarters of a mile; abundance of water and feed; lots of geese, ibis, ducks, and spoonbills. North three-quarters of a mile from this is the river, about 500 yards wide, treeless on the west bank and cliffs about twenty to thirty feet high, all round an immense sweep; sandy beach opposite, within the influence of the sea, a rise and fall of four feet observed--and at high-water a little brackish. Caught a few fish; the only thing we had for supper; would have done well had there been sufficient of them.

Tuesday, 13 May 1862.
Started on bearing of 330° for a distant point like river timber which turned out to be a small hill or ridge with spinifex; a lagoon on the left at its base; struck it at five miles. At five and a half miles changed course to 355°; at ten miles first part over firm, small, stony plains, good country; then at four miles crossed a salty timberless creek; and then over a succession of salt swampy flats with grassy plots intervening. Middleton's mare Counterfeit knocked up and he had to stay with her. I and Poole went on on a bearing of 355° still; at two miles came to a mangrove creek; at two and a quarter miles the banks of the Albert River; salt arm, from half to three-quarters of a mile broad. Returned to Middleton and started back for the Leichhardt River on bearing of 110° to camp, as soon as we could get water and feed, to endeavour to get the mare back to camp or part of the way. On bearing of 110° for about four miles, first part over salt swamps; passed a long rocky lagoon full of water and half a mile long from north to south, and several other smaller ones between that and the river; mangrove banks in all the flat parts. Banks on this side treeless; country much burnt up. Top tide at least five hours earlier than when we camped last night; caught a few fish--in all about enough for one but had to do for the three of us. Rise and fall of river somewhere about five feet.

Wednesday, 14 May 1862.
Wind south; was very cloudy during the night and this morning; mosquitoes very troublesome during the night. Bearing homewards 170 to 215° for the first eight or ten miles, leaving Poole and Middleton to get on to our first camp till I bring on the party on the morrow. Got to camp myself a little after sundown, and to my disgust found all the camels astray and Bell and Davis in search of them.

Thursday, 15 May 1862.
Start Hodgkinson and Maitland on to Middleton and Poole's camp with four horses, bedding, and provisions on such a course, 25 1/2° west of north, as will cut their camp. No tidings of the camels. I went out and hunted about for them till noon, and just as I got to camp Bell and Davis returned, having camped out all night after them, but saw nothing of them--the ground is so hard they leave so little impression on the ground that it is a difficult thing to trace them; however they have got bells and hobbles on and will at once be again sent after, with, I hope, more success. I am exceedingly annoyed at the detention here, more so as the animals don't do so well here as they have done. Hunted still during the afternoon for them, but without success. All spare hands will start out in search in the morning; it will be the sound of the bells or the sight of them only that will recover them, as track them we cannot in this dry country. Promised the party a treat on arriving within the influence of the sea on the north coast, so had baked some flour kept in reserve and each had a liberal allowance served out to him--that with fresh and excellent mutton and some salt I brought back from the flats gave all quite a treat. Sent Poole and Middleton theirs on by Hodgkinson and Maitland, which in their present half-starved condition would be a still greater treat. We would all have been in better spirits had the camels not been absent, but will hunt well for them tomorrow and trust we may recover them.

Friday, 16 May 1862.
I with Bell and Davis started out first thing after the camels, leaving Palmer, Wylde and Kirby in camp. Searched back towards the old camp again although they had assured me they had thoroughly searched all the leading creeks, but I had little faith in their search, which the result proved. At about six miles south-south-west in one of the creeks that they particularly assured me had been well-searched I, with Davis, found their traces (Bell having been sent in another direction) and after losing their track for about six or seven hours succeeded in finding them about twelve or thirteen miles south and west of this, I fancy more by accident than anything else, at about an hour and a half to sunset, and immediately started to camp where they arrived all right and are now tied up for the night ready for a morning start, and very glad am I that they are found.

Saturday, 17 May 1862 - Camp 58.
Sultry, wind east. All the animals ready for a start and happy am I to turn my back on this camp which I call Rowdy Creek Falls Camp after the poor little bullock we killed here, which gave us about 70 pounds of such stuff as one could hardly imagine without seeing it--nothing like a particle of fat visible anywhere and excessively tasteless. It is fortunate our two remaining bullocks are in better condition or we would not be in the most enviable plight on our arrival at the settled districts, Queensland. Started on bearing of 335 1/2° over good open country. At two and three-quarter miles came to and crossed a creek coming up from south-south-west; in that direction there are falls and sheets of rock quite across it and forming above and below them splendid reaches of deep water with numberless ducks, etc., and black macaws and gillates in thousands. Plenty of water in our course beyond the creek for half to three-quarters of a mile; then over plains intersected with thin belts of small trees, the river not far off on our right. At seven and a quarter miles changed course to 334°, keeping a little farther from the river. At fifteen and three-quarter miles got to camp, found all right. Natives burning grass close upon our right on the way here to windward at a furious rate. What their particular object can be in burning so much of the country I cannot understand. No natives as yet have voluntarily shown themselves. I met the same lubra and child again near the same place that I before met her, but she did not this time attempt to fire the grass round me. A short way on further I met, or rather overtook, another lubra with two children; she tried at first to conceal herself but when she saw that she was observed she immediately set to work to burn the grass round us in all directions. However I got off the horse and walked towards her, holding out a fish-hook to her; she did not hesitate much but came forward and took it and I went on my way. Saw no natives since but look where you may, except north, and you will see fires raging. About two miles from this and on our left as we came along is a fine lagoon in the midst of timber. The tide it appears rises here now from six to ten feet. Not many fish caught.

Sunday, 18 May 1862 - Camp 59.
Wind easterly; heavy bank of dark clouds to the west and the sun rose not so bright as usual. Over open plains, bad travelling; on bearing of 340° at four and a quarter miles struck an immense lagoon (semicircular) and kept it on our right for nearly three-quarters of a mile, then still bore 340° for one-seventh of a mile further; then changed course to 17°; at half a mile struck and went through a swampy lagoon going east; at three and a quarter miles river close by on the right; at four and three-quarter miles came to large lagoons in our course; went a little to the left and passed between two, appears to be a very heavy one to the left close by. Still on bearing of 17°; at one and a quarter miles further large lagoon close on right; a couple of hundred yards further on on the right is a fine creek with abundance of water and game; at eight miles crossed it still on bearing of 17°; at two miles further on struck a fine large mangrove creek, a very pretty spot like an orange grove. Bearing of 321 1/2° for two miles; then bearing of 35°, crossed the sea running in through mangrove creeks into the flats like a sluice, and camped at a lagoon and couple of fresh water-holes close by the river at one mile. We are now perfectly surrounded by salt water, the river on one side and the mangrove creeks and salt flats on the other; I question much whether we shall be able to get to the beach with the horses. Since noon the wind changed to north-north-west; country very much burnt by the natives--it was dry enough as it was without the additional use of fire. Lots of the waterlily in bloom on all the deep waterholes and lagoons, and a very handsome tree with dark green foliage and a beautiful yellow blossom, and completely loaded with a round fruit of the size of a crab-apple, now green, and containing a number of large-sized seeds, some of which have been gathered, but I fancy they are too green to save the seed.

Monday, 19 May 1862 - Camp 60.
In camp near the river where are caught occasionally by the party a few fish, amongst others a young shark which however was not eaten; started out this morning with the intention of going to the beach, taking with me Middleton, Poole, Wylde and Kirby, but was quite unsuccessful, being hindered by deep and broad mangrove creeks and boggy flats over which our horses could not travel. I consider we are now about four or five miles from the coast; there is a rise here in the river of six and two-thirds feet today but yesterday it was a foot higher; killed our three remaining sheep and will retrace our steps on 21st.

Tuesday, 20 May 1862 - Camp 60.
Wind yesterday from north and north and east, at daylight this morning from north, and during the day pretty nearly from all quarters; afternoon kept more steady from east; sent Hodgkinson and Poole to the salt flats to collect what will be sufficient for our homeward rambles, or rather the Queensland settled districts, where we hope to arrive in due time, the state of the clothing of the party and want of various things--the principal thing, food, has prevented my directing the steps of the party to the settled districts of South Australia. A few natives came to the opposite side of the river this morning during flood-tide and got up in the trees, and I was a long time in getting any of them persuaded to cross; at length two of them and then another middle-aged man ventured on my displaying a tomahawk to them; they were of the ordinary stamp, and strange to say were neither circumcised nor had they any of their front teeth out, but were marked down the upper part of the arm and on the breast and back; after making them a few presents they recrossed; no information from them, but perhaps we may see something more of them on a future day. Hodgkinson and Poole returned with from forty to fifty pounds of good salt, sufficient for our purpose, and we start in the morning to proceed as far as the Falls, and cross the river there in the event of not finding a crossing earlier, which I don't expect. The camels I am sorry to say are getting lame by the burnt stumps of reeds and strong coarse grass entering the soles of their feet, I hope they will soon recover. If the bar at the mouth of the river will admit vessels to enter there is a sufficiency of water at all tides to ship horses or stock from alongside the banks without any wharf or anything else, and good country to depasture upon, but the grasses too strong generally for sheep.

Wednesday, 21 May 1862 - Camp 60.
Commenced our journey for Port Denison, wind east-south-east. I forgot to mention before that, running parallel with the river between this camp and our last, are small ironstone and conglomerate ridges, with abundance of feed and good sound ground wooded with the silver leaf, dwarf gum-looking tree, and various others of no great growth but sightly, and in the ridges, which are of no height to speak of, there are splendid freshwater lagoons and creeks; came to a lagoon about two and a half miles south-south-west of our 59 camp on nearly our old tracks; splendid feed and water. Just as we had started in the morning the natives made their appearance on the trees on the opposite side of the river but did not attempt to cross. I suppose we will see enough of them on our eastern route; this part of the country is well watered and no end of feed; plenty of it higher than I am, and a considerable variety; the remainder of our sheep, even with their long journey, fell off but little.

Thursday, 22 May 1862 - Return Camp 1.
Beautiful morning; this lagoon is about twelve feet deep, surrounded by a marsh with abundance of green feed. Not a breath of wind at sunrise. West of this camp about two and a half miles off is a considerable-sized creek, by the overflow of which this lagoon is formed and fed; plenty of water in the creek and in side creeks from it, and most excellent timber on its banks and flats for building purposes; it comes up from south-west and after passing this bears off considerably to west of north. I have called it the Fisher after C.B. Fisher, Esquire, of Adelaide. Returned today by my north-going track, the approaches to the river were so abrupt that I could not get a crossing-place; some of the banks nearly precipitous and from one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet high, although I saw rocks right across the river and could have gone over, but could not ascend the banks so came to camp at a lagoon close to the creek, three and a half miles north 25 1/2° west of Falls camp. This creek, which comes up from the south-west and flows past this for some miles yet before it joins the river about north-north-east of this, I have called Boord's Creek after Samuel Boord, Esquire, of Adelaide.

Friday, 23 May 1862 - Camp 2.
Started on bearing of 135°; at starting crossed the creek, and at three and a half miles made the river where it is joined by another of quite equal size apparently but no crossing-place; so had to go about one mile south-south-west to the Falls and crossed there with some difficulty, getting one of the camels and several of the horses down on the clefts of the rocks and barking their knees a little: just after crossing and proceeding on bearing of 95 1/2° a marked tree was observed, the first we had seen, and then close by two others, evidently by Mr Landsborough. They were respectively marked on the large tree next the Falls, a large broad-leafed tree, arrow at 1 o'clock LFE. 15, 1862. C.5. On the northernmost of the other two trees, about twenty paces to eastward of the large tree, are a large arrow at 1 o'clock and L facing the west, and on the other gumtree, a few feet north-east, is the letter E of large dimensions; facing the opposite way or east we dug round the tree but could find nothing deposited; saw the remains of broken bottles and fancied from the broad arrow being pointed upwards that a document in a small bottle might have been suspended high up in the tree and got at by the natives, but on after consideration I took the meaning of the arrow being up that up the river was his course; we saw the traces of his horses at the marked trees, but the tracks must be quite obliterated up the river or we must have seen something of them; indeed the heavy rain that inundated the whole country south commenced where we were on the 27th February, and perhaps he had it a little earlier, which may account for our not seeing any traces of him ere this. Which way he may have gone under the circumstances is hard to say, as no doubt he experienced very rough wet weather indeed, and probably was put to many shifts in consequence of the heavy overflow of the immense creeks. At scarcely one mile on bearing of 95 1/2° we came to the falls of the other branch of the river, and crossed it much more easily than the other; it is about 400 to 500 yards broad and all conglomerate stone, and quite treeless or nearly so on its banks as far as the stones went, it then bore off to the south-east or perhaps east of that; at three miles further, seeing ridges ahead on our course, we camped at a swamp; lots of geese and ibis. Marked a small tree near Landsborough's with :

May 22, 1862

with a knife, as we had no chisel or gouge, they being lost.

Saturday, 24 May 1862 -Camp 3.
Heavy dew of late; last afternoon wind fresh from west-south-west; same this morning but light; geese and all game very difficult to be got at in this part of the country. Natives burning in all directions but do not approach us; I almost fancy they have been reproved for some of their misdeeds to some one or other of the parties here lately, from their shyness. Bearing of 95 1/2°, half a mile stony flat; one mile, stony ridge and ironstone flat; two and three-quarter miles small creek; lagoon with plenty of water. North-north-east open undulations rather swampy; at three and three-quarter miles struck and crossed a small creek with a little water, stony ridges (ironstone) rusty gum, spinifex, etc.; at eleven and three-quarter miles crossed creek with water from north-east. Left creek at 11.45; stony ridges, ironstone and slate, with a little spinifex; rather thickly wooded with rusty gum, silver-leafed gum, etc.; anthills, turreted shapes. At twenty-one and three-quarter miles came to and crossed a creek on a plain between ranges; it flows north and east and takes its rise in the ranges close by to the south-west; plenty of water and feed. Camped at 3.30 p.m.; take three and a quarter miles off journey = eighteen and a half.

Sunday, 25 May 1862 - Camp 4.
No dew; started at 8.35 a.m.; wind south a.m.; afternoon south-east. Over half a mile open plain; then ridges, and on top of first range at 9.53; very rocky; spinifex, rusty gum, etc. At twenty minutes past ten stony flat; at twenty-five minutes past ten crossed creek; at 12 o'clock along creek on the left; at 12.15 rocky hill on right and lagoon with water close under; top of next hill at 12.50; at 1.5 on the open plains and undulations and pretty well clear of the stones. Tier of ranges immediately on the left for a mile or so; at 2.18 crossed dry creek from west-south-west; at 2.28 came to another creek from the south-west. They are both dry where struck; followed the last one down, bearing of 60° for one-third of a mile; water in creek and in a lagoon on the east side; travelling about six hours besides the one-third of a mile. Creek flows to north-east; distance about eighteen miles.

Monday, 26 May 1862 - Camp 5.
I find that my watch, the only one in going order or rather disorder, gains eleven minutes in the hour with the regulator hard back to slow--now and then, without any apparent cause, stops; until by sundry shakings and bumps it is prevailed upon to go again--which is most unsatisfactory, situated as I am here, in calculating distances. Wind all night strong from south-east to south-south-east and very cold; no dew. The waters are drying up very fast; during the afternoon of yesterday the country looked well; nice open ranges on all sides with a large space of open country, well grassed in the centre. Started at 8.15 a.m. on bearing of 95 1/2°; at 9.17 passed till this time rather thickly wooded (low) small ironstone, pebbly country, well grassed--ridgy on both sides; at 9.17 entered open plains; large creek ahead; first part of plain much subject to inundation; at 11.24 lagoon apparently about one mile south. Hills cease south about four miles; passed a couple of belts of timber, mistaken in the distance for large creek. At 1 p.m. swampy (dry); at 1.15 small creek with plenty of water and feed, from west-south-west to north-east or east-north-east; at 1.30 made a swamp with good feed and water. Camped; distance about seventeen miles. The horizon appears to be one dense cloud of fire and smoke on our way and on all sides of us; saw no natives.

Tuesday, 27 May 1862 - Camp 6.
Cold keen wind from south-south-east. The camels I am sorry to say are very lame, caused by the burnt reeds running through the soles of their feet whilst near the coast; boots of leather have been made for the worst of them but they seem to suffer much, and it pulls the flesh off them more than their work. Started at 8.40 a.m. on bearing of 95 1/2°; at 9.15 lagoon close by on the left; country all burnt. At 9.45 struck large creek with abundance of water, boggy where struck; spelled, looking for a crossing till 10.5. Went down the creek north-east or east-north-east till 10.16; then on bearing of 95 1/2°, till at 10.23 struck what I take to be Morning Inlet, about 150 yards broad with reeds and grass, no water at crossing; 10.42 left Morning Inlet where we watered horses. At 2.53 p.m. changed course to 32 1/2° for a belt of timber, thinking to camp; no water. At 3.12 p.m. changed course to 95 1/2° till three minutes to five, when changed course to 135° until 5.39, then on bearing of 75° till 6.21; no water, but a very little drop about half a mile back, to which place I returned and found there was even less than I expected. This is a most deceitful part of the country; every five minutes you are in expectation of coming to water but it was our fate to meet none but this muddy little drop, barely sufficient for our own use, and none for the animals. From about 3 p.m. till we camped heavy belts of swampy box and large gums; many patches of reeds and coarse grass; water recently dried up; and belts of plain. Numerous birds seen--cockatoos, hawks, crows, galahs, etc. etc. etc.

Wednesday, 28 May 1862 - Camp 7.
The bullocks (two) with Palmer and Kirby on horseback and Maitland on foot did not come up to camp last night, but immediately after sunrise the two horsemen and bullocks arrived, but not Maitland, he being on foot from having injured his horse so much as to render him unfit to ride, as is his usual way with every horse he gets, taking no care of him whatever. I told him when he injured the last that if he did the same to this one he should walk; and good to my word I made him walk yesterday. Rode a short distance at sunrise, having heard some native companions calling out after daylight, and found within a quarter of a mile of us, almost within view, two splendid lagoons. Immediately returned to camp and moved it at once to the nearest one; it bears from last night's camp nearly due south, a quarter of a mile or little over; the other lagoon is distant about 300 yards south-east of this. Great abundance of feed. As the camels are lame and in need of a spell and we want to kill a bullock and Maitland not come up yet I have made up my mind to stop here till all are put in travelling order. In the morning the wind bitterly cold from south-east to south-south-east. Middleton has been laid up for the last three days and lost the use of his legs yesterday afternoon but hope he will soon be all right again. He is much better today; I should get on indifferently without him. Although we met with no water coming along last afternoon I have no doubt but that there was plenty of it, as the natives were burning everywhere as we came along, particularly close on our right. It is still a splendid country for grass and timber. As soon as we moved to camp we had one of the bullocks (Boxer) up and killed; he is very fair beef. The other is not so good, but stands being kept in hobbles; whereas this one would not or he would have been kept till last on account of his better condition. Providentially Maitland made his way to camp late this afternoon. Had we been obliged to go on again a stage without luckily hitting upon this place I think he would have gone frantic as he appeared in a sad state of mind on his arrival; I hope it will be a caution to him in future to see to his horse better.

Thursday, 29 May 1862 - Camp 8.
Wind as yesterday and cool. I am sorry to say I have three of the party on the sicklist--all seized first with cold shivering then excessive heat, ultimately a numbness and want of proper use of their limbs, sickness, and want of appetite and headache. They are Middleton, Hodgkinson, and Kirby. They are confined to bed; but I hope with a little care will soon recover, as it is an awkward part of the world to be taken ill in. Getting the meat jerked and putting the pack-bags, etc., to rights. The other bullock as yet appears to stay contented; he came up during the night and took a survey of his dead companion and quietly returned to his feed.

Friday, 30 May 1862 - Camp 8.
Wind as usual, south-east to south-south-east; keen and cold, the day pretty warm. The invalids I think a little better, but far from well. The sore-footed camels improve; but my impression is that their feet will not thoroughly get well till they arrive in the settled districts where they can have a spell for some time. Meat-drying, bag-mending, horse-shoeing, with other little matters. If these lagoons are permanent (and no doubt there are many more) this is a splendid pastoral country, feed good enough for any stock and timber to suit almost any purpose. There are here several fruit-bearing trees but unfortunately the stone happens to be the largest portion of the fruit and at present none of them are ripe. A vast quantity of large beans are here on a runner, the same that Dr Leichhardt used, when burnt, for coffee and rather seemed to like. None of our party seem to care trying it, although we have now nothing but meat and salt and from four to five pounds of flour to make gruel in case of sickness. All have been till within the last few days in excellent health and nowise short of appetite. From the time we are out beyond what was anticipated I suppose the people of Adelaide have given us up as lost. I hope however they will not think it necessary to send a search party out after us.

Saturday, 31 May 1862.
Patients about the same. Middleton rather worse. Wind in the morning from south-east and south-south-east, at midday changed to east, then north and afterwards to north-north-west. Meat nearly dry.

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