Bilbarka to Torowoto
Field Notes No. 3
27th October to 2nd November 1860
…(Nuntherungee Creek) sides a mixture of sand and pebbles. The water that we found in a slight hollow in the bed seems to be only the outcrop of what is in the sand for on sinking in the driest place I could find above the waterhole we obtained beautiful water as soon as we reached the level of that in the water hole. the sand was so loose that we could not keep a hole of three feet open for half an hour without the sides falling in. On Friday morning at seven oclock I found the temperature of the water in the hole we had dug to be 59.5 degrees. I am told by Mr Wright that the creek takes its rise in the range to the NNE of us named by the blacks Enntorn and which I imagine to be the Mt Lyell of Sturt. On Friday morning at seven oclock I found the temperature of the water in the hole we had dug to be 59.5 degrees. I am told by Mr Wright that the creek takes its rise in the range to the NNE of us named by the blacks Enntorn and which I imagine to be the Mt Lyell of Sturt. After croßing the creek on Friday October 26th we travelled over a series of sand hills for seven or eight miles after which we found some open well graßed country.
At 1h pm we reached some quartz rises from which there was a fine view. These commence at 16 or 17 miles from our camp on the Nandtherungee creek. From the high ground we descended to flats covered with quartz and ironstone I found two quartz reefs the stone in which had every appearance of being auriferous. We camped at 1h 30m on the Teltowongee creek having travelled about 18 miles due north. At 6h 40m am, on Saturday October 27th, we left the Teltawongee Creek and after an unusually zig zag course, stopped at 11h 20m am for dinner on the Wonnominta creek for we expected that we should be unable to reach water in the afternoon we started again at half past 12 and were glad to find that instead of not reaching water at all, we had plenty of it near us
all the way. At about three o’clock we met with some blacks who undertook to guide us to the swamp and Lake Bulloo, both of which Mr Wright wanted to show us. The blacks speak very highly of the lake and say there is plenty of water everywhere. The country all the way between Camps XLII & XLIII is either quartz rises or (alluvial deposits) the detritus of quartz and schistose rocks. the soil appears to hold water exceedingly well for we found water every where and the country is intersected by small creeks and watercourses which towards the north & west. it is at present very well graßed even when the saltbushes are plentiful graß is also abundant. At 4.35pm we again came on the Wonnominta Creek and camped. The creek here is one long waterhole 5 or 6 feet deep and about 20 feet broad it rises in the quartz rises over which we came in the morning and in the Wonnominta ranges which are high schist hills by far the highest we have seen but which the blacks say are very dry although there is a fine creek on the other side of them. I wished very much to have been able to visit them.
Sunday 28 October 1860.
Our black guide Mountain had taken us considerably to the westward of our proper course yesterday and meant us to have gone on to Wonnoggin swamp instead of to Balloo which latter place Mr Wright wanted to go to, but the blacks we met said that there was no water at Wonnoggin and as it was supposed that we had only a short stage to go today, I went on with Mountain to see this Wonnoggin swamp whilst the party proceeded towards Bulloo. I found most of the country in the direction of Wonnoggin which is some 18 miles NbyW of Camp XLII, splendidly graßed and water in small creeks and ponds at every half mile some of these Mountain said were permanent but one cannot rely on what any of these blacks say.
Wonnoggin swamp is a low box flat it at present contains no water but must sometimes be a fine place the Wonnominta creek empties itself into it. From Wonnomita swamp we struck down on Mr Burke’s track which we found going in a NNE direction; we followed the track about five miles when on reaching a fine waterhole which must be nearly a mile long at least by fifty feet broad full of water. I had not time to ascertain the depth for seeing the remains of a fire and the tracks
of the horses and camels in every direction I knew at once that the party had dined here and had probably proceeded a long way on to the next water so we moved on pretty quickly in order to overtake them before dark. The creek in which this waterhole is runs from S to north at the end of the hole we found the tracks croßed the creek taking ENE direction. Mountain and I overtook the Camels just before sundown [18.50 EST -DGP] and found the party still moving on having been greatly deceived by the blacks as to the distance of the swamp towards which they were proceeding. At 7h 40m pm we camped at a claypan containing some muddy but not bad tasted water. Not half a mile as we found in the morning [further] a swamp containing plenty of fine water where we watered the horses in the morning as we paßed. Not half a mile, as we found in the morning, [further] a swamp containing plenty of fine water where we watered the horses in the morning as we paßed.
At 10h 55m am today Tuesday [incorrect day -DGP] October 29th we reached the bank of the swamp to which we had been so anxious to arrive having been deceived by the blacks as to its distance to the extent of one long days march. All the land over which we have paßed for the last three days has at present every appearance of being good pastoral country
from what we have seen of it. I can scarcely imagine any great deficiency of water at any season for many of the creeks have every appearance of holding permanent water and of being frequently and periodically flooded. Nevertheless one who has been accustomed to travel in this continent will be aware that little reliance is to be placed on these signs and that this very land which now looks so fresh and green if seen after a leß favourable season might present rather the appearance of a desert than of a fine pastoral country. One thing however is certain, the country between the Teltowongee creek Camp XLII and our present position [blank] swamp Camp XLVI is admirably adapted for the collection and retention of rain water. The rest of the country between here and the Darling is generall [sic] ill suited for that, the ground being of a more sandy nature and the bedrock (course sandstone or limestone) of a porous and absorbing nature. but no doubt its suitability in this respect would greatly increase after it had been stocked and plenty of places might be found such as the clay flats at Botoja where by
assisting nature water might be collected and retained preserved in any quantities.
Tuesday October 30th 1860.
Giving the camels a days rest at the swamp Mr Burke and I employed all the day in making up our reports for [them] to be sent back by Mr Wright who is returning to Menindie to fetch up the remainder of the party to Coopers Creek.