Tuesday 1 October 1861. [Camp 10]
On the first October moved down the river to another camp two miles farther, and at this camp marked FW, U (under) and 10 (under), and RSV 3 Oct. and 1861 (under).
We spelled until the morning of the 7th October, long. 146°1', lat. 24°34'. Whilst camped here we searched for the L tree seen by Gregory, but as we had seen his 22nd (XXII.) tree on the north bank we searched on the same for the L tree, and it was not until the 5th Jingle and Mr Haughton found it on the south bank. In the meanwhile I had found another L tree 2 miles below our camp on north side, and 7 below the tree seen, by Gregory. I looked for an open road NNW, but was checked by a dense almost impenetrable scrub of acacia. Mitchell calls the acacia "brigalow," but that is incorrect, for it differs much from it, and I have seen but two or three brigalow since we crossed the ridge dividing the Nive watershed from that of the Victoria. The blacks call this acacia " gurrt," Brigalow they call "Noorwool" A little below the second L tree I found I could pass round the termination of this scrub. I surmise that Leichhardt intended leaving the Victoria at the tree seen by Gregory; was stopped in his NNW course by the same barrier encountered by me, and turned back to camp at the tree found by me, subsequently clearing the scrub where I rounded it. His track, if he had dry weather, would, on this basaltic soil, be soon obliterated.
The horses, by the few days' rest here on the best grass the Australian colonies afford, got into fine condition, and it was a pleasure to see so many fine horses with their coats shining as if they bad been stabled and well groomed.
JOURNAL. FROM 7TH OCTOBER TO 7TH DECEMBER, 1861.
Monday, 7 October 1861. [Camp 11]
There was much difficulty in catching the horses this morning, owing to their having improved so much during the last few days' spell. Walter and Harry returned with my letters this morning. Having at last got a start at 10.30, we first went 35° W of N to clear a scrub, and passing by Leichhardt's second L tree; at the end of two miles I turned NNW, and kept this course for 15 miles, until we pulled up a small creek on a myall plain. The country has been to-day a succession of downs and plains, intersected by narrow and open scrub of the acacia the blacks call "gorrt". Camp No. 11; rain at night.
Tuesday, 8 October 1861. [Camp 12]
A fair start at 8.30; course still NNW. At the end of 4 miles and ¾ we crossed a sandy creek with, a large bed but no water; it was here running through sand hills, but lower down I could see it opened on the downs and plains we had been traversing all morning. One mile beyond this we killed an emu; the next 5 and a half miles brought us to another creek, but with a pool of water; luckily for the horses the first mile and a half was through open acacia scrub, the remainder plain. We now ascended a high downs ridge, surmounted by a belt of scrub; we reached the summit in three miles, still NNW. Here were fresh tracks of blacks. We reached the division of waters betwixt the Alice and Victoria. The first creek crossed to-day was no doubt that crossed by Sir Thomas Mitchell, and which he marks on his map as a deep rocky channel. Still NNW for three miles and a quarter more, crossing one plain, the remainder open scrub. We new turned NbyW 10° for three miles, and NbyE 10°, because Jingle thought a creek lay in that direction, for two miles and three quarters. The last five miles and three quarters has been sandy box country, clothed with a grass like knitting-needles. We camped without water at dusk; I was disgusted to find three packhorses missing. All hands at work to make a yard, in which we enclosed the horses for the night.
Wednesday, 9 October 1861. [Camp 13]
At daylight Patrick, Jemmy (Cargara), and Jingle started for the missing hones, and, to my great joy, brought them safe to the camp within half an hour. We now made haste to pack, and started at 8 a.m. NbyE 10° for 3 miles, when we found a pool of muddy or rather milky-looking water; the horses indulged in a good drink, and we filled two of our excellent water bags-last night we found the benefit of then. I now turned my coarse again NNW, which we followed for 4 miles, when I discerned symptoms of a watercourse trending NbyE 10°. A very short distance showed I was right, and I followed it for 3 miles through a scrub, when it joined a larger creek, which flowed WNW. This creek I followed for 3 miles, to camp at a place sufficiently open and well grassed tor my purpose. This creek had, after we came on it, received two tributaries from the NE, and had now abundance of water, possibly but not certainly permanent. One horse called the Artful Dodger gave some trouble by plunging pack and all into a deep water-hole; Mr Macalister and Mr Haughton got him out with some trouble. Camp No. 13. -Except the last 6 miles, the ground was the same sandy box country, with the same grass as yesterday evening.
Thursday, 10 October 1861. [Camp 14]
This morning we would have made a fair start, considering the scrubby nature of the ground, but a delay took place, owing to Mr Macalister going in search of some horses, which were already found and close to camp; we started, therefore, as late as 10.15 a.m. The first 1¼ NNW. 25 was through scrub; we then ascended a small range, ana travelled over a tableland of sandy ground, with the same needle-like grass as yesterday. At the end of 5 miles we descended into a broad sandy creek, with reeds, and which had not long ceased running; I called this the Patrick, after one of my old comrades (aboriginal); another delay of an hour took place, owing to a flour bag having been torn. The Patrick now ran NNW30°, and then NNW25°; I therefore followed it for two miles and three-quarters; it now turned NW45°, but I still followed it, for the heavy sandy ground and an oppressively bot day I saw was distressing to the horses; at the end of another two miles it turned NNW25°, when a half mile's ride brought us to a long reach of water at which I camped, as the day's work was too much broken into. (Camp No. 14.) Thunder to the westward and southward. I suppose I am now about 9 miles from the Alice. When I left the Victoria, I lay down in pencil, on Mitchell's map, what I supposed to be the probable course of the Alice, also a tributary which exactly answered the creek we were on last night, and which I have now called the Macalister. The Patrick I fell in with 3 miles sooner than I anticipated, but its northerly course makes up for that. I hope to fall in on the other side of the Alice with a tributary coming from the NNW, probably from the north.
Marginal note: Rodney, Jingle, and Jemmy (Coreen) being in the advance party to-day, saw very old tracks of horses, and apparently mules, going down the Patrick. I much regret not having seen them, as they must have been Leichhardt's
Friday 11 October 1861. [Camp 15]
Much trouble in collecting the horses this morning, as they have, for the first time, split up into four different lots. I started Mr Macalister at 10.30 a.m. with thirty horses, but the remainder delayed me and Mr Haughton till 1.30. Mr Macalister had travelled NNW by compass, according to by instructions, and I pulled him up at a beautiful camp, on a small creek, with excellent grass. The country after the first 4 miles was all plains and downs, intersected by small belts of the gorrt (acacia) scrub. The last 5 miles was over very fine downs, clothed with that excellent grass I call rye (because it always grows near barley grass). From these downs I saw the range, about 25 miles to the east; I was too late to mark the tree this evening, and accordingly marked it the next morning, but only with a No. 15, as I was in a hurry to get a start this cool morning.
Saturday, 12 October 1861. [Camp 16]
To-day we rode 15 miles NNW by compass, over fine very high downs; crossed two small creeks flowing from them NbyW, and camped at the head of a third. The range now lay about 20 miles east, and betwixt us and it there was a fine downy valley, evidently well watered. Day cool and pleasant, and horses doing well on the excellent feed. (Camp No. 16) Marked as usual, FW over U. Latitude by observation, 23°17'S. Night cool; thermometer at daylight 50°.
Sunday, 13 October 1861. [Camp 17]
Our course, NNW by compass, took us down the creek we had camped on, until it joined another water in several places. We crossed this creek, and at the end of 7 miles and a half from our camp we crossed a creek full of water, with a branch flowing to the SW. This I take to be the Alice. Hitherto we have been on fine downs all day. Within half a mile we crossed a tributary coming from the north, and in another mile another tributary; by keeping our course NNW, we again crossed the first creek, and at the end of 6 miles we came to a fine reach of water too tempting to pass, so we camped 4 miles back; in the first tributary we saw the finest reach of water I have seen this side of the range, and at it was more than one black's camp. About 1 mile lower down than where we crossed the Alice, was a range on the right bank which I have named Mount Rodney, after one of my Murray men. As all the creeks meet there, I expect there must be a large quantity of water at the foot of it. (Camp No 17.) The two tributaries both flow through acacia (gorrt) scrub for the last 5 miles, but where we have camped the country is more open, with promise of improvement. It will be observed that we have seen very little permanent water; but by following down the watercourses into the valley which lay to our right the last two days, I would expect to find abundance.
Monday, 14 October 1861. [Camp 18]
Made an excellent start at 8.30; the first 2 miles the country was more thickly covered with the acacia than suited me, and as we now had hit the creek again, I crossed it and travelled parallel to it for 1½' 60° W of N by compass. The country now opened, and I resumed my NNW compass course. At the end of 2 miles crossed the other creek, and 2 miles more brought us to the summit of the downs ridge - which separates the watershed of the Alice from that of the Thompson. Some low ranges were seen to the east about 5 or 6 miles off, and a small one on the downs to the west about 3miles is probably where the two creeks we have left take their rise. Ten miles more over the downs, and as we descended stony plains, brought us to a beautiful river running WbyN. This, which is no doubt, a tributary of the Thomson, I have called the Coreena. Mr Gregory, when be left the Thomson, says that river is formed by the small watercourse emanating from the sand-stone ridges; bad I swallowed that, I should not have ventured where I am now. Just ahead of us, about ten miles, we have seen the smoke of blacks travelling and burning the grass as they go (against the wind); they are evidently going up another river towards the range. This is splendid sheep country. I have no doubt that many of the holes in the Coreenda are permanent; but it is not possible to tell which, as that river has not long ceased running. It floods occasionally about a quarter of a mile on each side, except where the downs approach the bank, which they do about 1½' above the Camp No. 18. The gum trees look as if drought were a complete stranger to them, so fresh and healthy looking are they.
Tuesday, 15 October 1861. [Camp 18]
This day was one of disappointment, for the boy Jemmy Cargara returned at 1.30 without three of the horses which he had been seeking since daylight. This is the first time he has failed. I now sent out three men on horse back, and they returned with the horses at three. Shortly after I had unsaddled the remainder, Coreen Jemmy and Patrick reported having seen the tracks of a considerable number of horses. I sent Mr Macalister, Mr Haughton, Jingle, and Coreen Jemmy, to examine them; they returned and reported there was no doubt of the tracks; that they were very old, and had been there near a fine lagoon about 2 miles above my camp and in fine weather. Aneroid 29'5.
Wednesday, 16 October 1861. [Camp 19]
Made an excellent start at 8.30. We went NNW near 1 mile from camp; crossed a tributary creek; travelled over plains intersected with gortt acacia scrub, one rather too closely timbered, the others open. At the end of 5 miles saw one large solitary myall tree; the next 5 miles through open acacia and narrow but long strips of plain brought us to a watercourse, a black's camp a few days old, and two nice little lagoons - one very promising looking; the remainder of the day was over sandstone ridges, clothed with a disagreeable needle grass. Four miles from the lagoons we crossed the well marked tracks of a very large party going a little N of W. These tracks were very old, and had been made in wet weather. They will be visible probably for years to come, whereas mine, made in dry weather, will be obliterated the first rainy season. At the end of 24 miles from camp, we came on the opposite declivity of the sandstone ridges, and from thence saw a high peak I have called Mount Macalister, being 5° north of west by compass, and another bluff mount which I have called Mount Horsfeldt, after my store-keeper. I now perceived why Leichhardt's tracks had been going west. He probably camped on the Coremda, above where my men saw the hone tracks; thence travelled parallel to my course, and being higher on (he ridges, saw the peak sooner than I did, and turned off towards it. I now saw I was getting too intimate with the dividing range, and altered my course to NW by compass. One mile brought me to a small watercourse, with many small pools of temporary water, and as there was a sufficiency of good grass, I camped. (No 19) How is it that the blacks here have iron tomahawks? One has evidently a broad axe. The blacks on the Nive, who are much nearer the settlements, have only stone tomahawks - some very fine ones.
Thursday, 17 October 1861. [Camp 20]
Started at 7 o'clock. Went 3 miles NW by compass, when, having crossed a high ridge, we came on a river running to the S of W. This I believe to be the principal head of the Thomson. Here were seen the old tracks of horses; Leichhardt's camp was probably lower down on this river. We proceeded on the same course for 2 miles, passing betwixt two basalt ridges. I now for half a mile diverged to WNW to get on a plain, when I resumed the NW course for two miles over two basalt ridges. The basalt was injuring our horses' feet, and I turned again WNW to get on the plains. We crossed a creek in 2 miles more, and in another mile a ridge. I was now able to resume the NW course, and in three miles we hit a nice lagoon, and another head of the Thomson running SW betwix these two, and going NNW was again the well defined tracks of Leichhardt's party (he must have had a considerable quantity of wet weather.) He had no doubt from Macalister's Peak perceived he was on the verge of the desert, and turned again to his old NNW course. At the end of another mile and a half, I turned 25° N of W to go to a peak rising off the downs. From this peak, which I reached in 3 miles and a half, I saw displayed before me an awful waste of endless plains. My man, Patrick, who ascended the peak with me, and who is accustomed to the immense plains of the Edward and Murrumbidgee, was struck with consternation, and he remarked to me, There is no t'other side this country." Upon leaving this solitary peak, which I have called the Sentinel, I had to turn 10° W of N by compass. We passed betwixt two terminations of spurs, and in 4 miles, having crossed one ridge, we came to a gum creek running W. by N. We searched in vain for water, and had to push on over the next ridge, and in 3 miles NNW we reached another creek with sufficient water for a day or two. I must stop here one day, for one of my horses gave in at the last creek, and three of the expedition horses within half a mile of this camp. The day has been oppressively hot.
Friday, 18 October 1861. [Camp 20]
This morning Mr Haughton and Rodney went back for my mare Nancy. They found her at a good lagoon within a quarter of a mile from where Jemmy (Coreau) had been looking for water. One of the expedition horses which knocked up yesterday is an impostor, for he has carried no load until the last three days as, without making a yard, we could not catch the brute. The other horses are apparently as fresh as the morning I left the Victoria River. Jingle and I took a ride for 3 miles down the creek which ran WNW through the plains. I found another long pool of water, but fast drying up. We went to the top of the next ridge to get a good view of the range. I must still, I see, keep 10° W of N by compass. I observed a high mountain in the direction, with a remarkable gap in it. If a large river running to the W does not rise thereabouts I am much deceived. I expect to cross Leichhardt's track again to-morrow; of course whether we see it will depend upon whether he was still travelling in a rainy season or not. The ground dries up here very quick. The thermometer, from 12 to 2 p.m., was 96° in the shade; the aneroid is 29'4. I marked a tree FW ^ 20 under, and another near it RSV, 18th Oct., 1861. The tracks of three blacks were seen this morning; they had passed up a few hours before we reached this (Saturday) morning. I have been much misled by a watch I got in Rockhampton. I more than once found it had stopped when I compared it with my own, which I carry in its case packed in the pistol box. It now appears that this must have taken place when I was travelling, not after I had come into camp, as I supposed, for by observations taken from two different stars this morning our latitude 21°50', 20 miles more north than my dead reckoning, which previously never differed from the observations more than three miles. We have travelled over some very good downs since leaving the sandstone. Near the ranges the grass is sufficiently thick, but as they slope down to the plain it gets thinner and thinner.
Saturday, 19 October 1861. [Camp 21]
Started at 8, and travelled so well that by 12 30 we had completed our 17 miles. We crossed some fine downs; at the end of the first 4 miles we crossed a creek running WSW, at the end of 2 more miles we crossed another creek running SW, and another mile and a half brought us to a third, which ran SSW: 3 more miles pulled up the last of the waters of the Thomson watershed. This one was running south. We were now rising fast, and we travelled 2 miles upon a plateau of downs. Seeing the gap I have spoken of a little on my right, I altered my course from 10° W of N by compass, to north, and 3 miles more on the same plateau brought me to it. I now turned down the opposite fall 10° W of N by compass, and in 3 miles pulled up a large creek running in three and sometimes more channels. This creek is running WNW, and is evidently the beginning of a large river. Some very high mountains are now close to us to the north. The aneroid is now 29'2, or 29'19. The gap we have crossed could have been very little under the height of the main range; where we crossed it then the aneroid was 28'9. Camp No. 21.
Sunday, 20 October 1861. [Camp 22]
Sunday morning, thermometer at daylight, 66°. A horse of mine called Camlaroy, and an old stager, not being satisfied with the grass, took seventeen horses back with him to the old camp; we consequently did not get away until 12. I steered NNW by compass, for 12 miles over fine very high basaltic downs, but thinly grassed in some places: we passed a tributary of the creek or river we camped on last night, and camped on a much larger head of the same river, which I have now called the Haughton, after my companion Mr Richard Haughton; the other head I have called the Camelaroy. We unfortunately disturbed three blacks, and thus failed in having an interview. They left very much worn iron tomahawks in this camp, and I have added three new ones to it. The hole here, though of great size and depth, is nearly dry. There does not appear to have been any of the heavy rains here which fell on the Victoria, as well as on the coast, in July and August. There is no appearance of spring; the carrots, instead of being green like what they were on the Alice waters, have for the last few days been quite brown and brittle. A very high mountain, ENE from the camp (No. 22), I have called Mount Gillbee, after Dr Gilbee, who moved the resolution that I should lead this party.
Monday, 21 October 1861. [Camp 23]
Started at 8 o'clock; for the first 5 30° W of N, when we crossed a tributary of the Houghton 2 and a half miles same course to the top of a scrubby spur of the range, on which Patrick shot a turkey. I now had to turn N by compass to get out on to a plain, in which we reached in 2 miles; turned then NbyW 12 min. by compass, and crossed another tributary of the Haughton. Here Nanny gave in; three of the men in vain looked for water, and we had to push on over a ridge for two miles and a half, when the mare would not go any further. I ran down a creek WNW for 4 miles, and then WbyN for 4 more, being enticed on from point to point by the appearance of the gum trees, and the hope of finding water to bring Nanny on to it. I saw it was of no use, and turned NW for half a mile, and then NbyW 10° for 2 miles, and NbyW 8° for two miles more to the top of a gap in a mountain I have called Pollux; another to the east I called Castor. I had now a fine view of the country to the north, and with my glass saw gum trees across a plain about 5 miles off. One of the packhorses here gave in, and we had to leave it. We went down the slope of the downs for 3 miles NbyW 10°, and then turned NbyE 10° 2 miles, to some splendid reaches of water, evidently the back water of a large river. We had however to leave four more horses on the downs, and it was dark before we got our saddles off. The horses, parched with thirst, having bad no water during a fearfully hot day, rushed into the water, packs and all; luckily no damage was done. A day's spell as a matter of course.
Tuesday, 22 October 1861. [Camp 23]
Three of the horses came in by morning, and Mr Haughton and Patrick fetched in the other two. Poor Nanny I must leave to her fate, in hopes she will return to the Haughton; luckily the nights are deliciously cool, and I gave her a bucket of water out of our water bags. Mr Haughton took water back to the horse we left at Mount Pollux. Jingle, in collecting the horses, to-day, saw the river, which he says is as big as the Dawson ; we shall cross it to-morrow, and likewise another, which I think comes round a peak I saw from Mount Pollux, bearing by compass, 12 deg E. of North. Marked a tree FW over - over 23. The downs here are well grassed, and if the climate is not too hot, this is as good sheep country as any in Australia. I have no doubt that permanent water is to be found near this, but that at our camp would not stand more than seven or eight months.
Wednesday, 23 October 1861. [Camp 24, Flinders River near today's Hughenden]
Made a very bad start, owing to the horses having split into so many different mobs; it was ten o'clock when we left the camp. Within half a mile NNW by compass we crossed the river, which is a sandy dry channel 90 yards wide; this is an immense width, considering how high we are, the aneroid standing at 29'15; 5 miles from the camp, on the same coarse, we crossed a large tributary, two-thirds of the width of the main river, which I have named the Barkly, after the Governor of Victoria. Two miles more NNW brought as to the top of a basalt ridge, and as a range was now in our way, I turned 32° W of N for two and a half miles to the top of another ridge, having crossed a small channel. I now turned 55° W of N for one mile, and then W for one mile to a small creek with two temporary water-holes and good grass. As I must cross the range, which I take to be a spur of the main range, I camped here, not wishing to attempt more to-day. I am glad to see the horses are as fresh again as ever. I hoped to cross Leichhardt's track, but we have seen no signs of it. As the Barkly is running NW I think it probable be followed it as long as it kept that course. I suppose this river, which I expect receives large tributaries from the north, is a principal feeder of Stuart's great lake, and that Eyre's Creek flows into it; if so, Burke must have pulled it up. (Camp No. 24.). The thermometer this morning at daylight was 64°, this evening at sundown 86°. The aneroid 29'16. Night squally, and aneroid rose to 29'25.
Thursday, 24 October 1861. [Camp 25, Flinders River]
I expected to make a good start this morning, but seven of the horses went some distance up the creek to some water, which Jemmy Cargara says he thinks is permanent; this delayed us until 9.30. When I got to the top of the range I found I was on an extensive I basaltic table land. The aneroid stood at 28'9. The range, with a peak which I saw from Mount Pollux, stood in the midst of this table land, and now bore 5° W of N by compass. Two very high mountains were seen about 18 miles off; one 10° E of N, and the other 20° E of N. The basalt was distressing to the horses, and we could not average two miles an hour. At the end of three and a half miles, 30° W of N, we were pulled up by a deep ravine with a large creek at the bottom. The ravine was lined with cliffs of basalt columns, and it was with some difficulty we found a slope of debris not too steep for our descent, and then great care had to be taken. On reaching the foot of the cliffs we ran down the creek for three miles WbyN to a fine pool where we camped, having been five hours doing this short distance. I forgot to mark the tree at this camp. It ought to have been 25. The creek I have called the Jingle, after one of our men.
Friday, 25 October 1861 [Camp 26, Flinders River]
Made a fair start at 7.45 a.m. I followed down the Jingle as I wished to clear the basaltic ranges if possible; this took me two miles WNW, four miles WbyN 10°, 2 miles W, 2 miles WbyS 12° and then 1 mile SWbyW, brought us to a pool where we watered the horses; within half a mile WbyN. We now joined the Barkly River, 1 mile WbyN 10° to a bit of downs. I now saw that a spur of the same basaltic ranges must make the Barkly run WSW, and as there was no help for it I steered in that direction, crossing the river and camping at the end of 3 miles at a fine pool of water with good grass and open country. The beau ideal of a camp which I have marked FW over 26 under. The large tributary which I have called the Macadam, after the Secretary of the Victoria Exploration Committee, must have joined the Barkly at the back of a spur I see from here bearing 30° S of E. I had a view of both of them from the table-land, and then a plain separated them. We have had lots of pigeons at this camp; a lagoon about half a mile from here is reported by Rodney to be permanent; I shall probably see it to-morrow. The day has been very hot, and yet not oppressively so,
owing to a wind which, although blowing from WSW, was, strange to say, cool. We have generally had cool breezes from the east hitherward, at night especially. After sundown the thermometer was 100°. Aneroid 29'2.
Saturday, 26 October 1861. [Camp 27, Flinders River]
The horses were more scattered this morning than I expected, and I started Mr Haughton with one-half at 7.30 a.m. and followed him with the remainder at 9 a.m. I overtook him at the end of seven miles WSW by compass and found him in vain endeavoring to get a parley with some gins who were crouching in the long grass on the bank of the river. I gave them some tomahawks, which gave I them more confidence. One old lady who spoke a language of which Jemmy Cargara understood a little, stated that she had seen men like me many years ago down the river; pointing WSW, she said another river joined it from the SE; this must be the Haughton; she also in pointing WSW repeated the words Cara Garee several times. I now turned NW by compass for 3 miles, but the basalt again made us turn SbyW 10° 3 miles to a fine reach of water and fine feed for the horses. I determined to spell here a day before attempting the basalt, which "coûte que coûte" [at all costs], I must surmount if I wish to get to the north. Jingle having seen a little black boy near this, Mr Haughton went to the camp with three of my men, and where he fell in with three black men; they had with them one of the gins to whom I had given the tomahawks; this insured a friendly reception, and they returned to my camp with Mr Haughton. They gave us to understand by signs and by as much of their language as Jemmy Cargara could comprehend, that it was joined by another large river from the N.E. If we went N.W. by compass after crossing that river we would go-over a range and then come to a river which ran NW into Caree-garee, by which we conclude they mean the Gulf of Carpentaria; the other must be Stuart's great lake. The river I think and hope is the Flinders. These blacks have superior spears, thrown by a womera. One of grasstree jointed was of immense length; another not quite so long had three prongs, one of which was barbed with a bit ot bone fastened on with gum Thermometer 86° at sundown, at twelve to day it was 68°, and 100° at two and three p.m.
Sunday, 27 October 1861. [Camp 27, Flinders River]
The thermometer, at 1 a.m. was at 68° this morning; the aneroid rose to 29'25, and subsequently to 29'32. Horses all in sight or nearly so at daylight. After twelve o'clock the aneroid went down to 29'19. Yesterday evening Mr Haughton and I ascended the range, at foot of which is this camp (No 27). We found than it was still the same table-land of basalt we have been skirting; however, by rounding this point, we get about two and a half miles NW of good ground, and then must encounter the basalt again. Day very hot. Thermometer in shade 102° at 2 p.m., at 98° at 3 o'clock, at sundown 89°. The water at this camp no doubt stands a long time, but as at present it is only five feet deep, it cannot be deemed permanent, notwithstanding its great length. Jingle yesterday saw some large lagoons of permanent, or as he terms it, old water, on the south side of the river; and as there is a chain of such lagoons all along on that side under the downs no doubt many are permanent; on this, or the north side, there are waterholes similar to that at this camp whenever the spurs of the basalt table land approach the river. Jemmy Cargara, in looking for the horses this morning, fell in with the blacks again, and among them was now an old man, who spoke some words of his language. He said he doubted whether we should find water for the horses in the first river we had to cross. There is, therefore, more than one yet running into the Barkly across our course. He told Jemmy that after crossing a river we should cross a range which came from Jemmy's country, meaning, of course, the main range. Lat. 20°46', 1½ min diff. from dead reckoning.
Monday, 28 October 1861. [Camp 28]
Made an excellent seven o'clock start. After rounding the spur at No. 27, we had five miles of fair ground NW until we reached the top of the basalt: three and a half miles NW took us over this spur, the descent and a ravine in it being so broken as to cause me to fear some accident to the horses; luckily none took place, and seven and a half miles more NW over good undulating downs which we rode at 5 miles an hour, brought us to the first river, which I have called the Dutton, after my friend Mr Charles B. Dutton. The old black's doubts as to the water proved correct, and as Rodney, by digging, found some within a few inches of the surface, I determined to camp and make a pool for the horses. To supply 48 horses was no light undertaking, but all hands worked with a will. Coreen Jemmy made some wooden shovels; the first two were failures, but the third was a "chef-d'œuvre" [masterpiece], and before sundown the horses were all satisfied and had plenty to return to during the night. The small black ants here are such a nuisance that no one can sleep.
Tuesday, 29 October 1861. [Camp 29]
Started at 7.30 but only went five miles 39° W of N by compass, because we pulled up two nice pools of temporary water with good grass, and I do not deem it prudent to pass water after the warning we have received. Coreen shot a turkey, which gave us some excellent soup.
Wednesday, 30 October 1861. [Camp 30]
Started at 7.15. Went 30° W of N to a gap on a downs ridge, from thence saw a range ahead of us, reached the summit of it in seven miles, same course, having crossed two large creeks. We now travelled over this range, which was of red sandstone, of coarse, clothed with spinifex grass, for fire miles NW, and this brought us to a fine channel of a river, where we disturbed a black digging for water. We ran this river which I have called the Stawell, after the President of the Victorian Exploration Committee, for two miles, WbyN compass, where Rodney found a beautiful spring waterhole, where we camped; the feed for the horses is also excellent. We had hardly unsaddled our horses, when the voices of blacks were heard. Jingle, Paddy, and Jemmy Cargara went down the river towards them, when to their surprise, they were addressed in Yarrinaboo [Yagalingu], the language spoken by the blacks on thc Comet, and told in angry terms to be off, and not to come there. My men resented this treatment, but fearing my disapproval should they fire on them, as they wished to do, they came back and reported to me that these blacks were "coola." We now heard them shouting in all directions, very evidently collecting the others who were hunting. In the meanwhile we had our dinner. Shortly after they had collected what they deemed sufficient for their purpose, and we heard one party coming up the river, and another answering their calls from over the ridge near our camp. It was now time for us to be doing, so I directed Mr Macalister, Mr Haughton, Jingle, Paddy, and Coreen Jemmy to take steady horses and face the river mob, whilst Jack and Rodney, and Jemmy Cargara stopped with mc to protect the camp and meet the hill party. The mounted party met about thirty men, painted and loaded with arms, and they charged them at once. Now was shown the benefit of Terry's breech loaders, for such a continued steady fire was kept up by this small party that the enemv never was able to throw one of their formidable spears. Twelve men were killed, and few, if any, escaped unwounded. The hill mob probably got alarmed at the sound of the heavy firing, and did not consider it convenient to come to the scratch. The gins and children had been left camped on the river, and as there was no water there our possession of the spring was no doubt the "casus belli" [an act or situation that provokes or justifies a war]. They might have shared it with us had they chosen to do so. This unavoidable skirmish ensured us a safe night, otherwise I think there would have been some casualty in my party before morning, as they can throw their spears 150 yards. I marked a tree on one side FW, 30 under; and on the other, RSV, 30 Oct., 1861. Thunder at night and a few drops of rain.
Thursday, 31 October 1861. [Camp 31]
The question now was, what water were we on, and had we crossed the main range or not. The river below our camp turned a little S of W. I started at 7.45, and went eleven and a half miles W by compass, over very good downs, with a skirt of scrub on our right and the river trees visible a long way on our left. I now turned WSW by compass for the sake of getting water, and in five miles pulled up, not the Stawell, but a river coming from the NE. Jingle and Paddy, Coreen Jemmy and Rodney, went to look for water, and as Jemmy Cargara said the river be had seen was running WSW, I crossed it and went for 2 miles in that direction, but seeing no appearance of gum trees, I turned SSW for 1 mile, and still no signs of a river. I now turned SE, and in 2 and a half miles came to the river, as there were no signs of the tracks of my men I ran it up NNE, until I came to where Jingle had been digging for water. It was now 5 o'clock, and I saw that we must camp. The men soon came up, and we succeeded in watering 16 horses that night. To-day a great mishap has occurred, two boxes with my candles and a half piece of bacon having been lost. Thunder at night and a little rain.