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Field Book No. 6.

Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2083/1a.
Victorian Exploring Expedition Records, Journals and diaries of members of the VEE.
William John Wills, Transcription of Journey from Cooper's Creek to Carpentaria and return to Cooper's Creek. Transcribed and signed by Ferdinand von Mueller, dated 5 November 1861.

Lat. 21 ¼° to 20 ¼°

Station 98 to 105 (Upper part of Cloncurry)
19 January 1861

Saturday, 19 January 1861.
Started from Camp 98 at 5.30 A.M., and passing to the N.W. of Mount Forbes, across a fine and well-grassed plain, kept at first a north-by-east direction. At a distance of three miles, the plain became everywhere stony, being scattered over with quartz pebbles; and a little further on we came to low quartz ranges, the higher portions of which are covered with porcupine grass, but the valleys are well clothed with a variety of coarse and rank herbage. At about five miles we crossed a creek with a sandy bed, which has been named Green's Creek; there were blacks not far above where we crossed, but we did not disturb them. After crossing the creek, we took a due north course over very rugged quartz ranges of an auriferous character. Pieces of iron ore, very rich, were scattered in great numbers over some of the hills. On our being about to cross one of the branch creeks in the low range, we surprised some blacks - a man who, with a young fellow apparently his son, was upon a tree, cutting out something; and a lubra with a piccaninny. The two former did not see me until I was nearly close to them, and then they were dreadfully frightened; jumping down from the trees, they started off, shouting what sounded to us very like 'Joe, Joe.' Thus disturbed, the lubra, who was at some distance from them, just then caught sight of the camels and the remainder of the party as they came over the hill into the creek, and this tended to hasten their flight over the stones and porcupine grass. Crossing the range at the head of this creek, we came on a gully running north, down which we proceeded, and soon found it open out into a creek, at two or three points in which we found water. On this creek we found the first specimen of an eucalyptus, which has a very different appearance from the members of the gum-tree race. It grows as high as a good-sized gum tree, but with the branches less spreading: in shape it much resembles the elm; the foliage is dark, like that of the light wood; the trunk and branches are covered with a grey bark resembling in outward appearance that of the box tree. Finding that the creek was trending too much to the eastward, we struck off to the north again, and at a short distance came on a fine creek running about S.S.E. As it was now nearly time to camp, we travelled it up for about one and a-half mile, and came to a fine waterhole in a rocky basin, at which there were lots of birds.

Memo; Verbally transcribed from the Field Books of the late Mr Wills. Very few words, casually omitted in the author's manuscripts, have been added in brackets. A few botanical explanations have been appended. A few separate general remarks referring to this portion of the diary will be published, together with the meteorological notes to which they are contiguous. No other notes in reference to this portion of the journey are extant.
5th November 1861,
Ferdinand Mueller.


Provenance: A note from Burke & Wills Web.
Wills buried this field-book in the wooden camel-box cache at the Dig Tree on 30 May 1861. It was dug up and recovered by Alfred Howitt of the Victorian Contingent Party on 28 September 1861 and returned to Melbourne on 3 November 1861 by William Brahe and Weston Phillips. A transcript was made by Ferdinand von Mueller of the Royal Society of Victoria's Exploration Committee on the evening of 5 November 1861. The original field book was subsequently lost and its whereabouts are unknown. The only remaining record of the field book is Mueller's transript which is reproduced above.

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