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September 1861

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

Got all the stores forwarded ex Lubra, and dray repacked, and started on Tuesday, September 24; went about eleven miles, camels and cart camped at small creek, the horses camped further on, having mistaken their instructions; poor country.

Wednesday, 25 September 1861.
Tooncutchan, Mr Baker's outstation-sixteen miles; met Mr Elder and Mr Giles there, and Mr Stuckey arrived in the afternoon; poor country.

Thursday, 26 September 1861.
Manawaukaninna, Messrs. Stuckey's outstation, unoccupied; thirteen and a half miles. Mr Stuckey and I went to Lake Torrens about three miles distant to look out for a good crossing-place for the cart, which we did, and returned to hut. Three of the horses had a narrow escape from drowning before starting this morning. The country was a little better today; filled all our water vessels and bags for the dry country between this and Pando or Lake Hope.

Friday, 27 September 1861.
Started early; got all safe across the Lake Torrens, no water being at our crossing nor in view. Horses and camels went on to camp about twenty-five miles distant and leave what water was to spare for the dray and my horse, and proceed on the next day to Lake Pando, which I found afterwards they did, then bearing from 2° 30' to 3°; cart and sheep came twelve and a half miles on same course; at three miles crossed Lake Torrens, then over a fearful jumble of broken sandhills quite unfit to be described, occasionally passing a small flat trending west-north-west and east-south-east; at eleven and a half miles passed on our left a small salt lake, dry, half a mile long; watched bullocks and sheep.

Saturday, 28 September 1861.
Started early, came ten miles similar country; did not get to within two miles of where the horses and camels camped on 27th. I rode on and found the water there, and very welcome it was. The bullocks refused to pull and several lay down in the dray and a couple of them charged right and left; unyoked them and came on with them to where the water was left, from which place I meant to start the two blacks, Peter and Sambo, into the lake with them; gave the blacks each a canteen full of water, also Jack, the native shepherd, with instructions to keep on to the lake on the tracks of the advance party, intending to ride over to the lake myself to water my horse, leaving Palmer, and Frank (a native) with the cart and all the water to remain till the bullocks returned for the cart. Started and at one and a half miles found the bullocks at a standstill and the sheep in sight, the bullocks refusing to be driven and charging the blacks. Just as I came up by some mischance the coupling of one of the charging bullocks gave way, and in an instant poor Peter was tossed up in the air by Bawley and as he descended was caught up again and tossed about on the ground; invariably the brute caught his horns against the large canteen and saved the poor fellow's life. I was obliged to leave the black then aft with the cart, and with Sambo started on for water; travelled and spelled during the whole night and got to the lake early Sunday 29th, party all right; lots of blacks, apparently peaceably inclined. Found that Mr Hodgkinson and Mr Middleton had that morning started for the dray with the camels with a supply of water. Mr Elder and Mr Stuckey went to look at the country and returned in the evening; the sandhills and flats alternately bore north-north-west and south-south-east from the camel and horses camp of 27th.

Monday, 30 September 1861.
Mr Elder, Mr Stuckey, and Mr Giles started; wrote a pencil memo to town. Since we left last station weather very hot and disagreeable in the extreme for the time of year. Anxious about the men and camels; went westward some distance to find traces of the camels, thinking it probable that they might have strayed from them; very hot, north wind, no traces, nor did they return.

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