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Title: Journals of Expeditions to the Eastern Interior of Western Australia, 1864-66. Author: Charles Cooke Hunt; edited by Ned Overton. * A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * eBook No.: 1402281h.html Language: English Date first posted: June 2014 Date most recently updated: June 2014 Produced by: Ned Overton. Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg Australia Licence which may be viewed online.
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Between 1864 and 1866, The Inquirer and Commercial News published substantial parts of journals of three separate expeditions to the east of York, W.A. These followed up Lefroy's expedition of 1863 and another of Hunt's in early in 1864, and had a major aim of discovering sources of water for travellers in a parched region. The purpose of the 1865 expedition was to clean out and establish wells and other sources of water (such as gnamma holes) on the route east.
One of Hunt's native assistants appears variously as Mundall, Mundale Mendal and Mendail. Here he has his most frequent spelling: [George] Mundale.
Detailed maps of Hunt's expeditions are avaiable from the State Records Office of Western Australia. These maps—Nos. 25, 26 and 28 of Series 50—have been used to resolve misspellings of geographical names, many of which were transitory or of Aboriginal origin, with spelling unsettled. Where it departs little from the map, the misspelled name has been corrected silently. But where the spelling departs significantly from the probable name, the name on the map is placed [in square brackets]. One name spelled correctly in the journals—Stony Hill Tanks—is misspelled on the map and is hence found here as "Stoney Hill Tanks".
[* All from The Inquirer and Commercial News, 19 October, 1864.]
A portion of Mr. Hunt's Expedition having returned, we are enabled to publish the following letters received by the Government from Mr. Cowan, Resident Magistrate, York, and from Mr. Hunt, the latter being addressed to the Colonial Secretary and the Surveyor-General.
Sir,—I have the honor to state that Mr. John Seabrook and my son, John Cowan, arrived yesterday (Sunday) with nine horses of the Expedition. The party had discovered a tract of the finest pastoral and agricultural country about 350 miles to the East of York. They had penetrated 40 miles through this country, and it was still improving to the East. Mr. Hunt considered it advisable to send in part of the horses, as the dry season had set in, and he wished to remain another month to examine the country, and endeavour to discover permanent water. All the drainage seems to fall into a large salt lake which runs towards the South, and along which they travelled 100 miles south and were compelled to return. They appear to have got round the north end of it afterwards.
The natives were quite quiet. The party had never been 24 hours without water, and the horses returned in good condition.
I enclose a letter to yourself from Mr Hunt, and another to the Hon. the Surveyor-General.
To The Hon. the Colonial Secretary.
Camp 43, longitude, 121deg.
25min. 30sec. East;
latitude, 31deg. 4min. 55sec. South.
Sir,—I have the honour, and same time regret, to have to forward, for your information, my intended return to York in the course of a month from this date, having been unable to penetrate farther than longitude 121 deg. 55 min. E. The cause of my return will be the great scarcity of water. At present I have an abundance of good feed for the horses, and the same in the form of game of several descriptions, the emu and kangaroo being about in good numbers. This, I think, goes far to prove that I am on the edge of a fine country, but the great absence of water is an obstacle I cannot surmount to my further progress, unless I have a good rain, of which we have had but little since leaving the settlement.
I and the party have scoured the country within a very wide radius to the southward as far as the back or northern hills of the Dundas Hills. During this week I have had to retrace my steps westward upwards of thirty miles, along a fine belt of country, much to the regret of myself and party, who were much disheartened by having to return, since I and the party have scoured the country on either side of my track, but without success in finding water.
The traces of the natives are numerous, but they have moved off to the eastward from six weeks to two months since; the water in the clay-pans being dried up fully a month. I trust yet we may have rain, this being about the time of equinoctial gales, in which case I shall only be too glad to push on, as I have rations for ten weeks yet.
Myself and party are now in depot, depending upon the water that fell last Sunday evening from a thunder-storm. If this had not fallen, I should have had to fall back sixty miles to water, that being at the very limit of the granite rock country.
If I cannot procure water, I have come to the conclusion of staying out here if I can, and then returning to York. This I intend to do to give me a chance yet. This measure I trust, will meet your wishes.
I forward this by the hands of Mr. Seabrook, who has been of the greatest assistance to me in the management of the horses and other matters. He is accompanied by Mr J. Cowan. By them I have forwarded to Government eight horses, and other things—pack-saddles, bags, &c., for which I have no further use.
I trust you will excuse this awkward letter, but I am in a very hot tent; the flies almost unbearable, and nothing to write upon but a water can on my I knees. I am without envelopes, and but little paper. On my return to Perth I trust to lay before you a full account of my proceedings, from first to last, which I have duly entered in my field-book, with many other matters.
My party and self are well, and in hope of getting out, yet, in the event of rain.
To the Hon. the Colonial Secretary, F. P. Barlee, Esq.
Camp 43, longitude 121deg.
latitude 31deg. 4min. 55sec. by account.
Sir,—I take this opportunity of forwarding to you a few lines respecting my whereabouts, at the same time stating that I shall be unable to get further to the eastward, unless I can get rain. At the present time I am in depot, in a long narrow stretch of land, between two very long chains of salt-lakes near the head of the Southern—or what I have termed the Lefroy Chain. The lakes to northward are about twenty miles distant, not yet visited, but I think are lying farther East than my present position. The southern chain I have followed down in the hope of crossing to the eastward, but was driven back again for want water and feed, having been without the latter nearly four days. I was obliged to return on a N.N.W. course to a rock at which I could obtain both for a few days. The same now lying about 55 miles in a S.W. direction. At the point at which I turned back was a few miles to the north of the Dundas Hills—a most horribly broken country, where the lakes and samphire flats did not intervene.
My course from York has been east, northerly, except in the case of the Dundas Hills, when I found myself in latitude 32 deg. 4 min. south, and longitude 121deg. 18min. east by account. My farthest point from here was longitude 121deg. 55min. by account, and latitude 34 deg. 47 min., the difference between that and present position. I have had to fall back, having searched the country widely. This thirty miles consists of certainly a much better country than any I have traversed since leaving York—well grassed in many places, and much salt bush, and game numerous—the first kangaroos and emus we have seen since passing Mount Stirling—almost the whole country being made up of forests, thickets, salt-lakes, samphire flats, and here and there a few granite rocks, where we have generally found a little water lying on the rocks, as at native wells, near the base of them, but in no case did we find water elsewhere.
In the event of my having no rain within four weeks, I feel that it will be my duty to return to Perth, when I hope to lay my field-book before you, so that you may be enabled to know where I have been.
Your suggestions respecting the observations I have attended to, in the case of the variation of the compass, I have up so this time found by azimuths and amplitudes to have decreased in the ratio of about 40 to 45 secs. to the degree of longitude; present position it is about 1deg. 15min. west.
My longitude at present is by account in several of my courses, being obliged to go by estimation, not being able to obtain bearings us angles, and I am of opinion that I am a few miles west of true longitude.
My reason for thinking so was that I sighted the west end of Dundas Hill rather sooner than I expected. This I will try to remedy by a few lunar observations, four sets I have obtained, which I will lay before you on my return for correction if requisite, but as the sun and moon will soon be in conjunction, I shall not be able to obtain more for some days.
I forward these few awkward lines by Mr. John Seabrook, one of my party, whom I have requested to return to York with some of the horses—much of my party think it hard to return; but I think it necessary, as I fear I cannot obtain feed and water for so many horses, it being such on exceedingly dry season. The water I am now compelled to use is merely a clay-pan—the result of a thunder storm having passed over last Sunday. That storm left its water in such a partial manner that within three hours there was none, and the dust flying on our horses' tracks.
I think I have said all that is necessary until my return, trusting you will look over errors, for I am writing on my knees on the ground.
To The Hon. the Surveyor-General.
|Introduction: Three Letters
to the Government.
First Letter: W. Cowan to the Colonial Secretary.
Second Letter: C. C. Hunt to the Colonial Secretary.
Third Letter: C. C. Hunt to the Surveyor-General.
1864 JOURNAL: Mr. Hunt's Exploring Expedition. [9 July-4 November.]
1865 JOURNAL: Kept by Mr. C. C. Hunt of his proceedings. [17 January-26 August; published only to 9 May.]
1866 JOURNAL: of an Expedition to the Eastern Interior of W.A. [11 August-26 October.]
Introduction and First Instalment: 11-13 August.
Second Instalment: 14-21 August.
Third Instalment: 21-29 August.
Fourth Instalment: 20 August-15 September.
Final Instalment: 17 September-26 October.
MAP: SROWA [Exploration Plans]: No 29 (Composite, 1864-66).
A. Extracts from Hunt's 1864 Journal, in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume IX, 13 March, 1865.B. Hunt's Return [11 October 1865.]
C. Wells Established [20 December, 1865.]
Journal of an Expedition organised under the Patronage of H. E. the Governor, by the Agricultural Society of the York District, for the purpose of exploring the country to the eastward of that district, and placed under my command.
N.B.-The Camps noted are only those at which the whole party were present.
By the united efforts of the York Agricultural Society and the Members of the Exploration Committee, with the assistance of the Local Government, the organisation and equipment of the party being completed on the 9th July, 1864, we were enabled to leave York, taking our departure from the farm of Mr. S. S. Parker, who had kindly placed his premises at the disposal of the Expedition.
On leaving York, we proceeded, accompanied by W. Cowan, Esq., Resident Magistrate of the district, and many of the settlers, who are deeply interested in the objects of the expedition, to Mr. Robert Hardey's sheep station, distant from York E. ½ N. 14 miles; and there encamped for the night. Camp 1.
July 10.—After some trouble in collecting and saddling the young horses, in which we were kindly and ably assisted by Messrs. Parker and E. Hamersley, Junr., who had remained at the camp for this purpose; we bade adieu to our friends, and at 8 a.m. started on an E.½ N. course towards Youndegin. At 9.30 four of the horses bolted with their loads; the country being very thick we had some difficulty in rounding them up, and not before two of the saddles were knocked to pieces against the trees. After readjusting the loads we resumed the line of march; at 1.30 crossed the Salt River, and at 5 p.m. halted at Youndegin, with good feed and water. Having travelled throughout the day I shall rest the party here tomorrow. Camp 2.
11.—In camp. The party engaged repairing the pack-saddles broken yesterday. The country in the vicinity of this spring being so well known, any description of it by me is rendered unnecessary.
12.—At 8.40 a.m. we resumed our journey steering N. 66deg., in the direction of Tammin spring. Our course for four miles was over small coarse-sand-plains with much blackboy (Xanthorrea); we then passed through a belt of salmon (Eucalyptus) and Jam (Acacia) forest two miles in width, from which we emerged upon sand-plains, over these plains we travelled tor 7 miles. At 1 p.m. halted the party to obtain a set of bearings. Camped at Tammin spring with fair feed and good water. This spring is situated on the summit of a range of hills about 14 miles E. of Cunderdin, and 5 miles S.E. of Doongin. The feeding ground here is limited to a strip about 3 miles long by 1 mile broad. Camp 3.
13.—During the night we had a light fall of rain from the westward. At 9.40 saddled and steered N. 71deg. E. toward Minkadine brook; travelled till 2 p.m. when we halted at a spring called Maranobbing. Here we found an abundance of water but very little grass. Distance travelled, 17 miles. The country passed over to-day was generally poor, consisting of sand-plain and gum forests, with patches of grass intermixed. Lat. by observation, 31deg. 36min. 36sec. Long. by account, 117deg. 46m. 30sec. Camp 4.
14.—In consequence of the want of grass the horses wandered much during the night, and were found far back on our tracks from Tammin. The party engaged in weighing and repacking the rations and mending saddle-bags which are much torn owing to the restiveness of the young horses. The country lying between Maranobbing and Mt. Stirling is generally poor, covered with timber and thickets, having a chain of small lakes coming from the E.N.E. The soil in the immediate vicinity of this spring is a light loam slightly timbered with jam and gum trees; the spring itself is situated between the two rocks Maranobbing and Jureen.
15.—At 9.30 pursued a course N. 45deg. E. towards Caromin, where we arrived at 4 p.m., having travelled over 13 miles of sand-plain, gum forest, thickets, and scrub. The only feed at this place is on a small flat surrounded by sand-plain. Camp 6.
16.—In camp at Caromin. I determined to rest the party here to-day to give the horses a chance of picking up a little. The party employed mending the unfortunate saddle-bags which suffer greatly from the thickets through which we have to force our way. By meridian altitude of the sun I found the place in S. lat. 31deg. 28min. 47sec.
17.—Leaving Caromin this morning and steering N. 54deg. E., we travelled over 8 miles of sand-plain, thicket, and forest, when we came upon a native well in the middle of 50 or 60 acres of tolerably good land. From this well we pursued a course N. 70deg. E. for 2 miles over the dry beds of small salt lakes and samphire flats, and through a white gum forest, which brought us to a patch of grassy land near some flat rocks at which we encamped. Every appearance of rain the wind being at N.W. Camp 6.
18.—Cloudy with occasional showers of rain. On collecting the horses this morning one, a mare, was found missing. I despatched Messrs. Cowan and Seabrook in search; at 2.30 they returned having overtaken her several miles back along our track of yesterday. This afternoon we had heavy rain attended with lightning and thunder.
19.—In the night the rain cleared off. Saddled up and started on a N.E. course towards Goomarin; after travelling 3½ miles we struck a small water course trending to the westward towards the salt lakes. Following this gully for 1½ miles to the summit of some broken granite rocks, we came upon one of the camps of Messrs. Clarkson and Harper. From this we kept our course to the eastward over 9 miles of forest and sand-plain, when we struck another gully holding water trending S.W., this we followed for a mile or so when it branched off to the N.N.W. At 3.15 p.m. halted with good feed and water. In forcing our way through the thickets to-day we lost our leather bucket, this I did not consider worth sending back for, and Edwards, who is most useful in keeping the harness in repair, states he can make another. Distance travelled 13 miles. Camp 7.
20.—Started at 9.10 a.m. and at 11.10 reached Goomarin. Our course led us through a mile of thicket and gum forest to an extensive flat rock with a patch of grassy country on its eastern side, extending in a N. by E. direction; leaving this we crossed a small open flat thinly grassed and re-entered the forest striking the fork of a considerable water course within three miles of Goomarin, one branch trending N.N.E., the other to the South, probably to some of the salt lakes. Goomarin is a small bald rock round which there are several hundred acres of fair feeding ground. I am inclined to think this must have been one of the Hon. the Surveyor-General's camping places in 1838, as we have found the stump of a tree which had been cut down by a tommahawk. I found the latitude of this place by merid. alt. was 30deg. 14min. 36sec. Distance travelled 5½ miles. Camp 8.
21.—The horses having wandered in the night and not being recovered until late in the day, we were compelled to remain in camp.
22.—This morning we steered a course N. 85deg. E., over sand-plains towards a granite rock at which Mr. Clarkson's party had camped only a few days since. After resting the horses a short time at this rock we pursued our course for 7 miles to another bald rock. At 2.30 p.m. halted for the night. Camp 9.
23.—In consequence of the poor feed at the camp, the horses strayed during the night and again delayed us another day. To-day we have had slight showers with a stiff N.W. breeze.
24.—Mr. Seabrook not having succeeded in recovering all the horses yesterday, I despatched him, accompanied by Cowitch, again this morning in search of those missing, and in the afternoon moved the party to another rock called Warradgebing, at which we were fortunate enough to discover a patch of tolerable feed. Course N.E.; country traversed, a continuation of sand-plain and thickets; Distance travelled, 8 miles. From this rock I observed a dry salt lake to the E.N.E., trending in the direction of [Baladgiri] and joined by a chain of samphire flats running N.W. about 2 miles; to the northward a low range of hills or sand-plains, distant 7 miles, running east and west. Camp 10
25.—In camp awaiting Mr. Seabrook's return with the horses. Game of all descriptions appears to be very scarce in this part of the country.
26.—On turning out this morning we found the pack saddles, and in fact the whole country, white with frost. Variation by amplitude at 6 a.m. 2deg. 25min. W., at 9 a.m. by azimuth 3deg. 30min. During the night Mr. Chidlow's mare foaled, the foal was of course destroyed, At 11.45 Mr. Seabrook returned with the strayed horses, having had to return 20 miles along our track before he overtook them. Both men and horses needing rest I shall not start before the morning. Lat. by observation 31.10.48., long. 118.28.15.
27.—Wind at N.W. and light showers. At 9 a.m. the weather moderated. Having allowed the horses' backs time to dry we saddled up and steered our course N. 70deg. E. to Duladgin, distant 9 miles. At 3.50 arrived at Duladgin; country traversed, salmon and gum forests, samphire flats, and dry lake beds. About 1 p.m. one of the loads becoming loose the horse took fright and galloped off, upon which the remainder followed his example, causing a delay of about a couple of hours. Duladgin rock, which was named Mt. Hardey by the Messrs. Dempster, is the highest we have as yet met with being 150 feet above the level of the surrounding sand-plains; clambering up to the summit I obtained a view of an extensive salt lake bearing N.W., and a chain of smaller lakes to the S.W. Camp 11.
28.—This morning the whole country was enveloped in a dense fog, and the atmosphere sharp and frosty. At 9.15 a.m. started for some broken hills at the eastern extremity of the large lake seen yesterday, along the margin of which we travelled. On reaching the hills we fell in with two natives, who agreed to proceed with us on a N.E. course for a few days. From these natives we ascertained that Mr. Clarkson's party had been at the eastern end of this lake ten days back, and after obtaining the services of some natives had proceeded along the eastern side of the broken hills. Having rested our horses we crossed this range which runs S.S.E. and N.N.W. about 1½ miles, and descended a gentle incline to N.E. for three miles, then skirted the south end of a large salt lake about two miles in width, trending N.N.E. as far as the eye could reach, and bordered by extensive samphire flats. At 4.15 p.m. camped at Cowine. Course since noon N. 50deg. E., distance 20 miles. The only feed for the horses was in patches round flat rocks, and water procurable from a small native well only. This afternoon a pony mare supplied by S. E. Burges, Esq., knocked up, although it has only carried two empty water cans, weighing about 35lbs., since leaving York; I was obliged to leave her on the south side of the lake, three miles from Cowine. In crossing the range of hills this morning numerous tracks of the red kangaroo were seen. Camp 12.
29.—Fine weather and sharp frost. I sent Mr. Cowan and Cowitch back to bring up the pony, and moved the party on to Joumalogwin, distant from Cowine N. 80deg. E. 4 miles. Our course led through thickets and forest; soil a rich red loam. At 10.45 halted with good feed and abundance of water. Very little rain appears to have fallen at this place since I was here in April last; the ground at that time was boggy, but is now dry and dusty. Lat. 30deg. 48min. 42sec. This I am disposed to think is the limit of the bald rock country. Mr. Cowan returned this afternoon without the pony, she having slipped her foal at Cowine, which rendered her unfit to travel; being left however in good feed and at permanent water, it is possible she may recover and eventually return to York.
This is the second mare that has foaled within three weeks, consequently our strength in horse flesh is considerably diminished, and most probably we shall in the course of a few days lose the services of another mare, furnished by Mr. Hardey, from the same cause. Camp 13.
30.—In camp at Joumalogwin; all hands engaged repairing saddle bags and harness, which has suffered greatly during the last two days' journey. The day closed with cloudy sky and stiff N.W. wind.
31.—At 8.30 a.m. started on a course N. 108deg. E. to Koolyanobbing, which we reached at 2.30 p.m. The first five miles of our route was through thickets and sand-plain, the next four through salmon and gum forest, with occasional thickets, we then struck an arm of the Koolyanobbing Lake * and crossed it at a point about 200 yards wide; its southern shore would appear to be about eight miles distant. But little or no rain has fallen here since April last, when we had two days of heavy rain, which enabled us to return almost to York, having filled all the hollows in the rocks; our tracks are still plainly visible, which proves how little rain falls in this region notwithstanding the proximity of a range of hills about 300 feet in height. Spinifex is in great quantity about these hills, but not so rank or lengthy as that I saw on the north-west coast in 1863. The hills are similar in formation to the Darling Range, with large outcrops of quartz, and the sides well grassed, though at present dry and apparently old; water is obtained from a natural basin in some rocks around which we observed recent traces of natives. Travelling distance 16 miles; Lat. 30.33.30 Long. 119deg. 12.10. Camp 14.
[* Later Lake Seabrook om Map 25. Ed.]
August 1.—This morning I despatched Eaton and the two natives in the direction of a fire seen last night bearing N. by W., under a spur of the Koolynobbing hills, with directions to try and induce some of the natives to return to the camp with them should they find any.
I was desirous to obtain the services of the natives to guide us to the different water holes, to enable me to move the party without risk, those natives who joined us at Cowine having decamped on the night of the 30th ult. At 2 p.m. Eaton returned and stated that the natives had deserted their camp about two days since.
2.—Leaving the camp in charge of Mr. Cowan and Eaton, I started at 10 a.m. with Mr. Seabrook and Cowitch, to scour the country in the direction of Duladgin for grass and water. Travelled 4½ miles and struck the great lake of Koolynobbing, crossing which we continued our course along its southern shore for 9 miles, when it gave place to a chain of small lakes and samphire flats; the whole of these lakes trend south. Koolyanobbing Lake is 9 or 10 miles long and somewhat in the shape of a pear; the small lakes are so numerous that I cannot venture to describe the shapes or sizes of any of them. At 6.30 made Duladgin, course S. 20deg. E., distance 16 miles; Duladgin is a large quartz rock about 80 feet high, and surrounded by about 100 acres of grassy land, but without permanent water.
3.—This morning the water was covered with ice; started at 9.30 steering N. 63deg. E. to a bald rock seen from our last camp; finding a good supply of water at this place, and comparatively good feed, I determined to rest the horses, and sent Mr. Seabrook to conduct the rest of the party to a rock bearing N. 145deg. E., distant 9 miles. The country passed over to-day, generally poor—principally sand-plain and thickets.
4.—Started at 8.15 a.m. on a course N. 145 deg. E. towards our camp of the 2nd instant, which we reached at 11.30; country traversed 2½ miles sand-plain, 5 miles gum forest, and 3 miles of dense thicket. The water at this rock I find cannot be relied on in the event of our being obliged to return by this route. Lat. 31.15, Long. 119.28. From this rock nothing can be seen but forest and thickets, with an occasional small sand-plain.
5.—The depot party not making their appearance I determined to move forward with Cowitch to what I supposed were bald rocks, but in this I was deceived, for having travelled 8½ miles I found them to be bare sand-plains, across which I shaped a course E. by N. for 7 miles, when we entered some dense thickets. From this point I observed a low range of hills 15 miles distant, the intervening country consisting of thickets, lakes, and forests; the sand-plains extend south as far as the eye can reach. At 3.20 p.m. shaped a course N. 40deg. E. for 4 miles, and at 4 p.m. altered the course to N.N.E. for two miles over sand-plains, from the summit of which I caught sight of a long low valley well timbered on its western side, with clear white patches here and there which I take to be dry lake beds or samphire flats; the smoke of native fires were also, seen up this valley. From the summit of the sand-plain we pushed on for 3 miles further on a N.N.W. course, when it became so dark that I was compelled to halt for the night in a thick forest with scarcely any grass for the horses; the only water was a gallon which we had carried in a keg and was now divided between ourselves and the horses. Distance 27 miles.
6.—Resumed our journey this morning in the direction of the range of hills seen yesterday; before we had proceeded many miles we came suddenly upon a patch of grass in the middle of which was a water hole; leaving this water we steered a S.S.W. course to intercept Mr. Seabrook and the rest of the party, and halted at 2 p.m. at our camp of the 4th instant, where we met the depot party, they having arrived two hours previously from Duladgin. Native huts were met with to-day for the first time, they were built of broad strips of bark and contained the usual quantity of ashes which serve as blankets. Camp 15.
7.—At 9.30 moved the party to a rock seen from a water-hole of yesterday; finding comparatively good feed I shall rest the horses for a few days. Course N. 55deg. E., distance 15 miles; lat 31deg. 7min., long. 119deg. 42min. Camp 16.
8.—At 8 a.m. Messrs. Seabrook, Eaton, and the native George left the camp with instructions to proceed to a range of hills lying to the N.E., and sweep the country within a radius of 20 miles from N.E. to S.E. in search of grass and water. Edwards, assisted by myself busily engaged in repairing pack saddles, which, I regret to say are of the most inferior make, and the ironwork much too slight for the weight of the packs.
9.—In camp; no sign of the flying party.
10.—In camp; wind at N.W. with slight rain. At 5 p.m. the native George returned and stated that he had left Messrs. Seabrook and Eaton 24 miles to the Eastward, having found grass and water.
11.—This morning the fog was so dense that we could not see the horses more than 50 yards off, rendering it impossible to make an early start. The prevalence of fogs in this part of the country I attribute to the numerous lakes and samphire flats. At 9 a.m. the fog having cleared away we collected the horses, which are looking all the better for their rest, and started on a due east course; halted at 2 p.m. at a flat granite rock, finding water on the surface and grass in the clefts. Country traversed, 5 miles wickets, 2 miles sand-plains, and 7 miles forest. To the north of our track I observed an extensive chain of lakes lat. 31. 6.15. Camp 17.
12.—7 At 9.40 resumed our journey steering 15. at 11 a.m. crossed a small lake and halted for a few minutes at a flat rock to water the horses and look for any directions Mr. Seabrook might have left; not finding anything more than his tracks, I pushed on to a granite hill and at 1 p.m., halted; from this I sent out Edwards and Cowitch to ascertain Mr. Seabrook's whereabouts, and late in the afternoon they returned having met him coming in with the welcome tidings of good grass lying nine miles S.E. from the camp. Our route to-day was through a succession of thickets, forests, and small lake beds. From the summit of this rock the country from N.E. to S. E. appears to be one vast forest. Camp 18.
13.—Pursued a course S. 56deg. E. through a continuous white and salmon gum forest, but of a more open description than those hitherto traversed; the soil has changed to a light loam. Camped at a large bald rock around which we found about 250 acres of excellent feed, and plenty of water on the rocks. En route to-day we crossed Mr. Lefroy's tracks of 1863, and at this camp we found many traces of one of the horses abandoned by him, the most recent apparently four months old. From the description of the country given by Edwards and Cowitch, who were out with Mr. Lefroy, I am led to believe that we are not more than 3 days' journey from Mt. Burges in a S.W. direction, Lat. by observation, S. 31deg. 10min. 38sec, long., by account 20deg. 14. 40, Camp 19.
14.—Sunday; in camp.
15.—Moved the party to another rock bearing from our yesterday's camp N. 111deg. E.; travelling distance 5 miles, through open forest; soil a red loam. Camp 20.
16.—Pursued our journey on a course E. by N., and at 4.15 halted at one of Mr. Lefroy's camps. Distance 21 miles; country—5 miles sand-plain, the remainder white gum and salmon forest with much spinifex but no grass. Observed the Kangaroo hills to-day bearing E. by N. Camp 21.
17.—Leaving the camp in charge of Mr. Cowan and Edwards, I started with Mr. Seabrook and Cowitch for the Kangaroo hills distant 7½ miles. The intervening country consists of flat open forest, much salt bush, but no grass, the soil a rich red loam, From the summit of this range, which is about 200 feet above the level of the plains, I obtained a good view of the surrounding country, which presented nothing but open scrubby plains, forests, samphire flats, and dry lake beds without a sign of water.
18.—Throughout the night a gentle rain has fallen, which I trust will leave sufficient water in the clay-pans to enable me to push to the eastward. At 8.30 a.m., accompanied by Eaton and Cowitch, I started for the south end of the Kangaroo hills; at 10.30 halted about the middle of the range, which greatly resembles the hills in the Toodyay district; the sides are well grassed and the soil a red loam. Throughout the whole range we were unable to discover water, and it was only by spreading our oilskins that we obtained sufficient to make a pannakin of tea.
19.—Started at 8.15 steering a course S. 80 dog. E. in the direction of some hills bearing from the camp N. 90deg. E. and form the southern end of the Kangaroo range. Travelling through open forest with salt bush for 12 miles we reached the hills and halted; at 1.50 resumed our journey steering N. 79deg. E. for 5½ miles awards a saddle-back hill, where we again halted to rest the horses, which are beginning to show signs of weakness. Not finding sufficient grass to feed the horses for the night, I pushed on for another 5 miles and camped at some granite rocks with fair feed and plenty of water. Numerous tracks of natives were observed to-day.
20.—Finding that I should be compelled to halt the horses here to-day to recruit after the heavy journey of yesterday, I sent Cowitch back with directions to Mr. Seabrook to bring up the rest of the party. Lat. by obs. S. 31.9.4, Long., by account 121.2.30. In the afternoon I despatched Eaton to examine some hills to the N.E. At 4 p.m. the depot party arrived, their horses jaded and weak; another of the pack-saddles had to be abandoned to-day, the ironwork or badge of the saddle broke from the mere jolting of 140 lbs. weight; in every case the ironwork has given way at the welds. I do not pretend to say who is to blame for the inferior quality of these saddles, but it is becoming a matter of serious consequence to myself and party, by having to overload the horses. Camp 22.
21.—Fine weather and westerly wind; the horses are still much knocked up and unfit to travel. From the summit of a sandstone hill, distant about 5¾ miles, bearing N. 137 E. from the camp, three distinct hills were visible to the N.E., and running from E. ½ S. to S.E. by S. is a large lake, which I have called Lake Lefroy, it being but a few miles beyond his furthest point.
22.—Taking Eaton and the native George, I started at 8.40 a.m. on an E. ½ N. course; the first 5 miles consisted of low forests, which gave place to broken hills. Noon, halted at some small granite rocks to water the horses; 1 p.m. made another start in direction N. 82 deg. E.; 2.40 p.m. came upon some grass and the banks of a gully trending south towards Lake Lefroy. This gully comes from a large samphire flat about one mile above our camp and joins a lake about 2½ miles below. The country traversed since noon has been principally low flat forest with salt bush and spinifex; the soil a rich red loam.
23.—After considerable difficulty in finding our horses this morning, we made a start at 10 a.m., course E. ½ S. to some broken hills on the northern shore of the lake mentioned yesterday. Travelling for 5½ miles over a continuous flat covered with salt bush and samphire, we arrived at the hills; at their base we found the lair of a wild dog, in which were five puppies, one of which I selected from its peculiar color, totally differing from any I had ever seen, having a white face, neck, legs, and belly, the rest of the body jet black. From the summit of these hills I had a splendid view of Lake Lefroy, which extends from the southward and westward to east over many miles; it is about ten or twelve miles broad and thickly studded with islands, some of which appeared to be upwards of 2 miles in length and apparently rocky. At 1 p.m. continued our route eastward, steering E. by N. towards a large hill bearing from our camp of yesterday N. 75deg. E. distant 12 miles; at 4 p.m. halted at some water in a clay-pan. The country traversed since noon has been generally low undulating plains with quantities of salt-bush and samphire, and well grassed in places. The soil of these plains is precisely similar to that of the flat country on the Upper Irwin between Mt. Budd and Maguire; the birds are also alike, such as the bell-bird and others. The only water to be found is in the clay-pans; the country is much cut up by gullies trending towards the lake, and has every appearance of being lately flooded.
24.—At 7.40 started and after travelling for 3½ miles on a course E. ½ N. through thick gum forest and over low ironstone hills, we reached the large broken hill towards which I have been travelling for the last two days. From the summit of this hill the country to the north appears to be one vast forest; to the N.N.E. small samphire flats: to the eastward a range of low hills; S.E. a mass of lakes and samphire flats, being a continuation of Lake Lefroy; and to S.S.W. a distant range of hills. At 10.30 started on a course N. 131deg. E., and after travelling for 3½ miles I found it would be impossible to cross the lakes to the southward with our horses in their present low condition. Halted at noon; lat. by observation S. 31.7.4 course from this to Camp 22 about W. ¼ S. 29 miles. At 1.30 p.m. saddled up and continued our course for about 3 miles through forest and much spinifex, then crossed the narrow neck of a lake or tributary of Lake Lefroy, and skirted a low range of hills in a N.N.W. direction. The country has become very heavy for the horses, the hollows being full of sand. At 4.30 p.m. one of the horses knocked up, I therefore halted on a low flat with very indifferent feed and no water. At 6 p.m. a strong N.W. wind and every indication of rain, which would at this particular time be most acceptable, more especially as it would enable me to move the depot party on to that country described as similar to the Irwin flats. At 7 p.m. the rain began to fall in heavy drops.
25.—Weather fine with light wind from N.W.; all appearance of rain has cleared off. Our horses wandered three miles to the westward in the night, seeking feed and water. At 9 a.m. started about W. by N., and halted at 11.30 at the hills at which we found the dogs; remained here till 1 p.m., and then steered tor the rock of our noon halt on the 22nd instant. From this rock several native fires were visible near our outward track. At 6 p.m. arrived at the depot camp and found all well. Mr. Seabrook had found it necessary to shift most of the horses 2½ miles to the westward.
26.—Fine weather and light northerly wind. Lat by obs. S. 31deg. 8.46, long. by acct. 121.3.0. Party in camp mending harness, rearranging the packs, &c. The horses three miles west.
27.—The day broke with light rain from the N.N.W.; during the night it blew a heavy gale from the same quarter. As it continued to rain during the forenoon I determined to give the horses another day's rest, which the poor beasts are much in want of, being in very low condition.
28.—At 8.50 I left the camp with Mr. Seabrook, Cowitch, and four horses, and proceeded south to a low ironstone hill, over very stony country and forests; after taking a set of bearings from this hill I pushed on through forests and thickets to a peak at the end of a range of low hills. The thickets about these hills are so dense that it is with the greatest difficulty we can force our way through them. From the peak we pursued a course N. 192deg. E. for 4½ miles over low open forest land, and at 6 p.m. halted in the depth of a forest without a blade of grass or a drop of water, consequently we had to tie the horses up to prevent their wandering in the night. Distance travelled 22 miles.
29.—Not being able to find water, although we searched carefully for three hours, I determined to try our luck at a bald granite rock seen by Mr. Seabrook, bearing W.N.W; accordingly at 9 a.m. we saddled up and worked our way through the thickets to the base of the rock, around which there was sufficient grass and water to last the horses for the night.
30.—Started at 8 a.m. on a course N. 200 deg. E. towards a bald granite rock which we reached at 11.50, and halted for the day. Country traversed, generally poor low open forests and dense thickets. Distance 15 miles. Lat. by obs. S. 31.36.4; long, by acct. 120.56.0.
31.—Not liking to move my little party forward without a prospect of something more promising than can be seen from this rock, I started on alone to search for grass and water, intending to return at the end of on hour or so; striking off in a S.S.E. direction I pushed my way through thickets and forests for about 2½ miles, when I caught sight of a large mass of granite about 1 mile S.W. to which I at once bent my steps, and in a few minutes found, myself in the midst of about 300 acres of as fine feed as will be met with in any one of the settled districts, with a plentiful supply of water. Here I shall be able to recruit my party, and, if necessary, remain until we are fortunate enough to find a practical route to the eastward, and, what is perhaps of still greater importance it does away with the necessity of falling back further to the westward. It is somewhat singular, but I have observed that the red-kangaroo, which abounds in the neighborhood of the ironstone hills which are de void of water, are never seen about the granite rocks where there is both grass end water. The water at this rock is procured from three native wells. Lat. by observation, S. 31.9.10.
September 1.—At 8 a.m. I despatched Cowitch on the freshest of our horses to guide the party across the country from the depot camp, distant N.N.E. 34 miles. From the summit of this rock the surrounding country appears to be a continuation of thickets, forests, and salt lake beds, with a low range of hills to the south. Camp 23.
2.—Awaiting the arrival of the depot party.
3.—During the night it blew a heavy gale from the westward, with slight showers at intervals. At 2.30 the depot party arrived, the horses looking much improved, and I hope by the time we leave this camp they will be in good travelling condition. All I now want to enable me to push forward to the N.E., is a day or so of heavy rain.
4.—To-day I sent out some of the party to seek for natives, but they returned unsuccessful, the most recent tracks found being a day old.
5.—At 7.50 I started with Messrs. Seabrook and Cowan, and the native George, on a course S.S.E.; it was found impossible to follow a more easterly course on account of the great chain of lakes trending to the south. After travelling 9 miles through continuous gum forests and thickets, we struck the chain of lakes, probably a connecting link with Lake Lefroy. These lakes were so numerous that it was with considerable difficulty we threaded our way through them; the beds of many of them were very soft and boggy, and on the samphire flats the horses sank to their fetlocks in a fine dust not unlike woodashes. Emerging at length from the network of lakes, we entered a forest and travelled 3 miles to a large granite rock which we reached at 3 p.m. Finding but little grass and water I sent Mr. Cowan and George forward to another rock distant 1½ miles S. 34deg. W., with instructions to look for grass and water, and in the event of their succeeding to apprise me of the fact by firing their guns; after waiting and listening anxiously for some time our ears were greeted with the welcome report, and in the evening I moved the horses to a patch of grass barely sufficient to last them the night. From this rock I was unable to determine the extent of the chain of lakes above mentioned; on either hand from S. by E. to N. they meet the eye, the timbered country looking like small green islands scattered here and there. To the eastward the country presents an unbroken line of forests and thickets, leaving but a dismal prospect for us tomorrow.
6.—Proceeded to a small granite rock bearing S. 50deg. E. 4 miles, at which we halted having had to travel upwards of 7 miles, to avoid the lakes and samphire flats all of which trend S., in fact this rock is almost surrounded by them. At 1 p.m. pursued an E. ½ S. course in the direction of a broken hill distant 6 miles; travelled for 1 mile along the margin of the lake, and then entered the forest and at the end of 5 miles came out upon the hill. At this point the only water we could find was about 50 or 60 gallons in a hole in the rock, and into this hole the natives had put several pieces of wood, either to keep the dogs from it or to conceal it from observation, possibly for both purposes; from the rude description of huts scattered about this rock, it is evidently a summer retreat of the natives. From this hill we continued our course for 6 miles further, through forests and thickets, and camped for the night at a small flat rock with very indifferent feed and barely sufficient water for the horses. Course since noon N. 120 E. distance travelled 12 miles.
7.—Cloudy weather with light N.W. wind and thunder. The horses strayed much during the night in search of grass, some of them having gone back three miles on our tracks. Started at 8 a.m. on a course S.E. by E. towards a high broken range of hills, which I believe to be a portion of the Dundas Range. At 10 a.m. arrived at the hills, falling upon them some miles further to the westward than I had estimated. Country traversed, 8 miles of forest and thicket. From the summit of these hills the country around was anything but promising; to the E. ranges of broken hills with an extensive salt lake intervening, and stretching from N.W. to S. At present I do not see a prospect of threading this chain of lakes, or obtaining grass and water for the horses, we shall therefore fall back upon Cave Hill. Lat. by obs. S. 32.4, long, by acct. 121.18. At 1 p.m. we commenced retracing our steps; at 3 p.m. halted at our bivouac of last night, the horses suffering seriously from want of feed and water.
8.—After an early breakfast we continued our retreat, on a course S. 95deg. W.; at 1 p.m. halted and turned the horses out to do the best they could. Travelling distance 21 miles. Country principally gum forests, thickets, dry lake beds, and samphire flats; the latter being quite dry are as heavy to travel over as the lakes. Wind N.W. with gentle rain and thunder. Lat S. 31.57.10.
9.—At 8 a.m. pursued a N.W. course. Three of our best horses are so knocked up that they can scarcely move with their loads. The great scarcity of grass in the gullies and elsewhere, goes far to prove that the last rainy season was a very mild one. At 2 p.m. arrived at Cave Hill, finding all well at the depot. The horses there have picked up wonderfully in condition. Since our leaving Cave Hill on Monday last we have travelled over upwards of 90 miles of country without meeting sufficient grass in any one place for a night's feed for the horses. Distance travelled to-day, 21 miles; Course N. 12 deg. W.
10 to 13.—In camp at Cave Hill, resting the horses, mending saddlery, &c.
14.—Heavy rain having fallen in the night, I determined to make another attempt to pursue our course to the eastward, trusting to sufficient water being found in the clay-pans, which ought to be the case for some days after last night's heavy rain; our horses have greatly improved in condition, and the majority are in good travelling order. Having only a short stage to accomplish to-day, I did not start before 1 p.m., and then followed a course N. 18deg. E. for 13 miles, and halted at 5 p.m. for the night. Country principally forests with occasional thickets. Camp 24.
15.—At 7 a.m. continued our journey; course N. 24deg. E. over 14 miles of country consisting of sand-plains and thickets. In many places notwithstanding the recent heavy rain, the dust rose in clouds from beneath the horses feet. Noon, halted. Lat. S. 31.15.33. In the afternoon at the end of 8 miles, reached depot-hill and camped. Distance travelled 22 miles, throughout the whole of which we have not found water enough for the horses; the last 6 or 7 miles was intersected by numerous water courses. Camp 25.
16.—Started at 8.45 on a course N. 80deg. E. in the direction of our camp of the 25th ult., from which point I shall endeavour to make our way to the E., it being the most promising route and the country less cut up by lakes. Although we left Cave Hill immediately after the rain, I find the country almost as dry as when we traversed it three weeks since. Halted at noon about 1½ miles to the north of camp 22, with tolerable feed and water in a gully trending to Lake Lefroy. The country for several miles north of this lake is one extensive flat covered with samphire, salt-bush, and withered grass, the largest timber on it being stunted sandalwood. Camp 26.
17.—Taking the native George with me, I rode over, to what he fancied was a fresh-water lake, which proved to be the dry bed of a samphire flat, bounded on the N.W. by broken hills, and falling towards the gully on which we are encamped; this gully if probably the outlet for the water from these flats for many miles round. At 10.30 a.m. started on a course due E. over a thinly timbered country with quantities of withered grass. Camped for the night at a small gully, with fair feed though little water, and that lying very shallow on the clay-pans. Camp 37.
18.—Being Sunday and the weather excessively hot with strong indications of rain, I determined to remain in camp.—To-day Cowitch brought in a very fine specimen of the Clianthus Dampieri;* similar to that on the DeGrey, on the N.W. coast. Kangaroo and emu are in great numbers on these plains or flats, but owing to the open nature of the country we have not succeeded in shooting any, and our horses are not in a fit state to attempt to ride them down; woorongs and woorup are also plentiful but very wild. At 6 p.m. a thunderstorm broke upon us, leaving sufficient., water in the clay-pans to last for 10 days. Lat. S. 31.4.55, long. 121.25.
[* Sturt's Desert Pea; Ed.]
19.—The horses having rambled back along the track for many miles in search of grass completely upset my arrangements for an early start; by 10 a.m. however, they were all collected. Leaving the camp in charge of Messrs. Cowan, Eaton, and Edwards, with instructions to fall back upon Camp 22, in the event of water failing at this place, I started with Mr. Seabrook and the two natives on a course E. by N. The first 5 miles lay through open forest and saltbush flats intersected by gullies coming from a low range of hills to the N. and trending towards Lake Lefroy. Notwithstanding the heavy rains of yesterday afternoon, not a drop of water could be seen in any of these gullies and a very little lying on the flats. Many persons are under the impression that there must be an outlet for the rain falling in this region, but I am inclined to think that the whole of the surface water is received by the immense chain of lakes which cover many hundreds of square miles on one dead level, and from which it evaporates with great rapidity. About nine miles from the camp we struck a patch of fine feed on a rich alluvial flat containing, on a rough calculation, 20,000 acres well grassed; this is the richest piece of country met with since leaving York. Water was found in an adjacent flat between some low hills. The soil of these flats is a light brown loam containing small particles of quartz, and quite different to any of the other flats. Kangaroo and emu are in great numbers on the plain, which lead me to suppose that permanent surface water exists somewhere in this neighborhood. Cowitch had the good luck to bowl over a kangaroo, which very much resembled those of the settled districts.
20.—At 7.13 a.m., steered a course N. 45deg. E. for 6 miles through forests and over low ironstone ridges, and struck a dry water course trending N.W.; close to this gully is a cluster of swamp oaks; at 9.15 changed the course to N. 75deg. E. towards some low broken hills distant 12 miles; the intervening country is forest and salt bush flats well grassed; many of the flats thickly studded with swamp oak. From the general appearance of the country the water appears to have dried off at least six weeks back; the tracks of the natives trend in an easterly direction. At 4.30 reached the hills; from their summit the whole country to the north appeared to be a continuation of low undulating plains, with broken hills in the distance, and along chain of lakes lying N.E. and S.W.; to the east extensive plains of salt bush and grass similar to those passed over this afternoon, without a break or hill to be seen; not a drop of water could be found in any direction. At 4 p.m. steered W.N.W. 4 miles, and halted for the night, the horses being fairly knocked up. The native Cherry-tree is in great abundance on these plains and well loaded with fruit; they do not attain so great a height as those in the settled districts. Courses to-day, N.E. 6 miles, N. 75deg. E. 12 miles, N. 75deg. E. 6 miles, N. 70deg. W. 4 miles.
21.—Weather fine but cloudy. At 10.15 a.m. saddled up and pursued a course to the S.W.; at 2 p.m. from the summit of a small ironstone hill Mt. Monger bore N. 22deg. E., about 13 miles, and a distant range N. 24deg. E., 25 miles. To the N.E. an extensive chain of lakes distant 14 miles, the intervening country forest and flats. At 5 p.m. halted at our camp of the 15th inst.; the water has almost all dried up, and the little that is left is of the consistency of cream. Kangaroo and emu in great numbers about this rock. This morning our water-can became so leaky as to become perfectly useless and was therefore thrown away.
22.—At 10.15 a.m. started on a course N. 209 E. towards our camp of the 17th instant; without we have rain this camp must be abandoned. Distance travelled 12 miles; country principally open forest, salt-bush, and patches of withered grass. At noon the native George shot a kangaroo.
23.—Party in depot variously employed. The season is now so far advanced that little prospect remains of our being able to get further to the eastward, I have therefore determined to send Messrs. Seabrook and Cowan with some of the horses, and about 3 cwt. of rations back to York.
24.—During the night the wind was from N.W. and the sky is overcast, with strong indications of rain. Party employed in preparing the packs for the return party to York. Cowitch shot an emu to-day, which is a most acceptable addition to our ration of pork and damper. The whole of the trees and scrub about this camp are filled with birds, which entertain us with their music from morning till night.
25.—At 8.15 a.m. started Messrs. Seabrook and Cowan for York on our outward track; by returning on our tracks it is possible they may fall in with the horses left at Cowine and Duladgin.
26.—In camp, mending harness and overhauling our clothes, which are becoming the worse for wear. The horses are doing well, and should we have a fall of rain will be in excellent trim for another push to the eastward.
27.—Shifted the camp two miles to westward. The water is drying up in every direction, and when it fails at this camp I shall probably have to fall back another 60 miles. The day closed with light S.S.W. wind and heavy clouds from the W. Camp 28.
28.—Lat. S. 31.3.41; Mt. Monger bears N. 108deg. E. 6 miles. At 4 p.m. Cowitch and George, who had been out emu shooting, returned to camp and stated that they had fallen in with fresh tracks of natives, which they had followed up to the encampment of a party who had apparently returned from a hunting trip. Taking the two natives with me I at once set off for the encampment, which I wished to reach about sunset, when the whole of the natives would probably be in it. Unfortunately we were observed before we got up to them, and they immediately made off with the exception of a deaf old woman, from whom we could extract nothing but shouts and shrieks; seeing several of the men running down a flat we put spurs to our horses and, after a short gallop, came up with one trying to conceal himself in a hole under some bushes. After a great deal of coaxing with sugar and damper, he came out, though much frightened; he never took his eyes off my face all this time; becoming more friendly he returned with us towards their camp at which the others had reassembled, but on our near approach they all made off again, with the exception of two boys, into a thicket. These boys, after a great deal of chattering and waving of hands, came to us, we then went to their camp fire, and found our old friend the deaf woman quite composed and busily engaged cooking the entrails of an emu shot by Cowitch and George, and left with their boots and coats, which the natives had found and brought in with them. From them we learned that they had come from the eastward, and were now on their way to the granite country; the two boys accompanied us back to our camp, on the understanding that Cowitch and George returned with them in the morning to hunt kangaroo.
29.—At 8 am. Eaton with our two natives returned to the native camp with the boys, who gave us to understand that they had heard of white men far away where the sun goes down; they further informed us that they never buried their dead, but gave them to their dogs, which accounts far the numerous human bones seen lying about; they also stated that there were plenty of natives to the eastward, but how far we could not learn, At 4 p.m. Eaton, Cowitch, and George returned without having gained any further information. We have been much troubled with small flies all day.
30.—In camp. Owing to the rapidity with which the water is drying up, I much fear we shall have to fall back ere long, which I shall deeply regret as the feed here is excellent, and in the event of a fall of rain we are in a good position for a start to the eastward. At 9 a.m. we were visited by six natives, and while they were gorging themselves with rice and damper, they told us that the name of our camping ground is Caralyaine, and that of their camp Boordunkoobing. Soon after dusk they left us, slipping away one at a time, and taking with them a tomahawk.
October 1.—Strong north wind, varying during the day to N.E., with heavy clouds from N.W.; very hot for this time of the year, and the flies very troublesome, from this and the dust from these plains, some of the party are suffering from weak eyes. Party variously engaged looking after the horses, &c.
2.—Cloudy weather with strong N.E. wind; light showers during the night, but not sufficient to lay the dust. The water having dried up much to-day, and the horses rambling far in search of it, I shall be obliged to abandon this camp tomorrow; the nearest known water is at Depot Hill.
3.—At noon started with Cowitch and three horses, the remainder of the party returning to Depot Hill. Course about N.N.W.; the country for 12 miles open forest, salt bush, and thinly grassed flats without the least vestige of water upon them. At 3.45 halted on the summit of a small isolated hill, seemingly composed of clinkers like the refuse of ironworks, was unable to obtain any bearings, but estimated Mt. Monger to bear S.S.E. about 12 miles, the local variation of the compass being not less than 100deg., S. by E. representing West; upon placing the compass upon the rock the western edge dipped instantly to the bottom of the case and remained stationary. There are several low ridges round this hill of a similar formation, not unlike half-fused iron-stone. In a northerly direction the country appears very low for many miles, with small broken ridges and dense forest; from E. by N. to E. by S. distant 5 or 6 miles is a long chain of salt lakes, lying about E. and W., the same seen from my farthest station about 30 miles to the E. At 6.45 p.m. halted, it being quite dark, and not having been any grass or signs of water for some hours; the poor horses have to be tied up after having travelled 21 miles since noon, first N.W. by W. ½ W. 12 miles then W. ½ S. 8 miles. Camp 29.
4.—Wind and weather the same as yesterday. Started at 6.15 on a westerly course; at 10 a.m. crossed Mr. Lefroy's track going westward toward Mt. Burges; country samphire flats and salt lakes; halted for an hour at noon; the afternoon's course was through a country of the most wretched description—rocky ridges, thickets, and samphire flats; at 5 p.m. reached depot-hill having travelled 28 or 29 miles; the horses much knocked up, having passed over the last 50 miles without either food or water. Found the party had arrived, but the water which I had hoped to find enough for several days had nearly dried up. Camp 30.
5.—Fine with light westerly winds. I shall not be able to stay here more than another day, for want of feed and water. In an easterly direction we can see the native fires coming westward, probably for two reasons—first, that the only water to be found at this season is near the base of the granite rocks, and, secondly that it is near the Gnows' time to deposit their eggs in the numerous nests in the thicket country, which may be said to extend from here to the south coast and for 200 miles to the westward.
6.—At 2 p.m. started N. 30deg. W. for a flat rock about three miles distant, where we found a little short grass in seed, almost all of which was smutty. Dug the native well here a little deeper which enabled us during the night to give the horses two buckets of water each. Camp 31.
7.—At 6.30 a.m. started with Cowitch N.W. towards Mount Burges, having directed the remainder of the party to fall back to Camp 22, about 22 miles distant, that being the nearest known water. My first 9 miles was low flat country with forest and thicket, then 4 miles of samphire flats lying N.E. and S.W., and 8 or 9 miles low broken hills similar to the Kangaroo Ranges. Halted at 1.40 three miles S. by E. of Mount Burges, at a natural basin in the rock containing 50 or 60 gallons of water nearly as black as ink and very putrid, but plenty for ourselves and three horses for a day or two; not much grass.
8.—At 9 a.m. started for Mt. Burges; the country near the track for 1½ miles was small samphire flats thinly grassed with much salt-bush, thence to the mount it was broken and rugged From the summit of the mount the horizon appears nearly level, the view is very extensive, perhaps 50 miles, the altitude of the hill being at least 500 feet; the intervening country appears to be low and unbroken, with a chain of lakes in N.E. direction, and westward a dense forest and thicket. At noon lat. by observation 31deg. 5min. 21sec. In the afternoon we returned to camp.
9.—Sunday; in camp.
10.—Started at 8.20 on a W.S.W. course towards camp 20, distant 25 miles through forest and thicket varied by two or three flat granite rocks, and total absence of feed. Halted at 5.30 p.m. with no water and but little grass for the horses, the first seen this day. Distance 26 miles, Camp 32.
11.—Saddled up at 7 a.m.; the country was varied to-day by some sand-plain; at 11 a.m. arrived at camp and found the depot party had reached it yesterday. Here we have an abundance of excellent grass and good water, so that the horses will do well; distance travelled 15 miles. Camp 33.
12.—In Camp, where I shall remain a few days in the hope of rain falling, which might enable me to make a stretch out to the northward before finally returning; I am inclined to think that at certain seasons of the year there, is much rain from the S.E. quarter, from the many native huts facing to the N.W.
13.—In camp. Less indication of rain.
14.—Left at 9 a.m. W. by N. towards Camp 18, which we reached at 2 p.m., and found a small quantity of feed, and water in the flat rock. Distance travelled, 14 miles. Country traversed, forest and thickets with patches of sand-plain. Camp 34.
15.—Sent the depot party on to Jam Flat, and I with the native George went upon a course W. 6deg. N., crossing a native chain of lakes; at 3 p.m. halted on the summit of a large conical quartz hill, with several outliers; from hence northerly nothing was to be seen but lakes, forests and thickets all round to Koolynobbing Range, bearing N. 280deg. E. Between this and Koolynobbing there is a considerable chain of lakes, as also from S. E. to S. 10 miles distant. Camped at a small flat rock with grass and water.
16.—At 7.14 a.m. steered a course S. 24deg. E. towards Jam Flat, and joined the depot party. Country traversed dense thickets, forest; and sand-plain. Distance 10½ miles. Camp 36.
17.—Started at 7 a.m. course S.W. by S. for 16 miles; our route lay through thicket, forest and sand-plain. Saw about 20 emu together, but was unable to kill any. At 1 p.m. arrived and found both feed and water, Camp 37.
18.—Continuing our journey we fell back upon Duladgin. Here we found a note left by Mr. Seabrook stating his safe return so far, and that he had found the mare we had left behind in fine condition. There is a little water still at this camp, but not much grass. Camp 38.
19.—Cloudy weather with the wind from S.E. At 8.30 a.m. started on a course W. by N. towards Kookoordine; The first 6 miles of country consisted of dense thickets and scrubby sand-plains, the next 16 miles one continuous forest of salmon and parker gum, and the last mile a salt lake. At 3.30 p.m. halted with plenty of grass but a limited supply of water. Lat. by observation, S. 31deg. 10min. 21sec., Long. by account, 119deg.
20.—The horses having wandered several miles in the night, the day was lost in collecting them.
21.—Started at 8.30 a.m. on a W. ½ S. towards Moorine rock, which we reached at 3 p.m. and halted. Here we fell in with a party of seventy natives, men, women, and children, several of them I had seen on my last trip, but the majority had never seen a white man and were consequently shy. I gave them the remainder of our biscuit, which had become pulverised by the constant crushing in the forests and thickets. It appears that they had assembled to fight, but I made Cowitch give them to understand we should be very angry if they did, and I am happy to say that the intended battle ended in a grand corroborie. From these natives I gathered that the Toodyay party had gone north from the south end of Lake Julia. Distance travelled to-day 18 miles. Camp 39.
22.—7 a.m. pursued a course W. by S. towards Yorkarakine rock, one of my halting places in March last; at 10.45 halted there with abundance of water and fair feed. Course S. 80deg., distance 8 miles. Lat. by observation, S. 31deg. 15min. 53sec, long, by observation 118deg. 40min. Camp 40.
24.—Started at 7.40 p.m. on a course S. 54 deg. W. towards Burancooping; travelling 9 miles through thickets and forest we came to a rock called Boodocking, at which we halted to water the horses. At 1.15 p.m. halted at Burancooping with good feed and water. Lat. by observation, S. 31deg. 24min. 15sec. Camp 41.
25.—At 8 a.m. we saddled up and steered a course W. by S. towards Durdguding, which we passed at 11 a.m., having travelled 12 miles through scrubby sand-plains and thickets; continuing our course from this for 9 miles, we halted for the night at [Totadgin] where we found tolerable feed and water. Lat. by observation, S. 31deg. 34min. 30 sec. Camp 42.
26.—This morning we steered a course S. 28deg. W. in the direction of Koobaraking; after, travelling 2½ miles we came upon some good grass and water; at 9.20 a.m. I sent the party on to Metchering, distant 11 miles, and with the native George I steered a course S. 40deg. W. through dense thickets, mallet gum and samphire forests for 9 miles; I then changed the course to S. 80deg. W. for 5 miles, and at 1 p.m. came to some fine grassy hills. These hills I think, form part of the Darening Range. At 2.30 changed the course to N.W. by N. and at 7 p.m., after pushing our way through dense thickets and crossing a narrow chain of lakes trending N.N.E., came out upon Dodolakine and camped for the night.
27.—Started at 7 a.m. steering N. 123deg. E. towards Metchering, where we arrived at 10 a.m. and found the depot party. Country traversed, principally forest and sand-plain. From this point I had intended sending the party on to Mt. Stirling by way of Cuttering, but as ill luck would have it three of the horses made off, and not being able to find them I was unable to move the camp. Lat. by observation, S. 31deg. 39min. 28sec. Camp 43.
28.—During the forenoon I examined the hills about this camp, which are well grassed; at 1 mile east of our camp we came upon the remains of an old camp on either side of a gully trending North; water was found in this gully under the flat rocks; the banks of the gully are timbered with York gum, Shea oak, and Sandalwood. At 2 p.m. started for Dodolakine, from thence to [Maranobbing] and halted with excellent feed and plenty of water.
29.—Remained in camp waiting for the return of Cowitch, who had been sent in search of the three horses that got away on the 7th instant; by their tracks they appear to have made straight for Mt. Stirling, and I very much fear they will get on their runs near York.
30.—During the night five more of the horses made off, although we had taken the precautions to tie them from neck to knee; their tracks are leading in a direct line to York by way of Metchering.
31.—At 8 a.m. Cowitch returned, having tracked the first lot of horses to Dangin by way of Mount Stirling, a distance of 40 miles; the men at Mr. Parker's station had endeavoured to catch them, but were unsuccessful. I at once sent him off with three horses to Edwards, who was waiting at Metchering, and Eaton and George were sent to look up some of the others. I little anticipated all these difficulties and annoyances would arise when so near to York; out of the twenty-four pairs of hobbles supplied four only remained; most of the others were broken at Youndegin on the first occasion of their being used; like the pack saddles, they were of a most inferior quality. At 6 p.m. Edwards and Cowitch arrived from Metchering.
November 1.—In the night we had light showers. Sent Cowitch to Cuttering to try and hit the tracks of one of the other horses; Edwards employed about the packs; Eaton and George not yet returned from tracking the horses. At 2 p.m. I started with Edwards and what horses remained for [Minkadine], Mr. Massingham's station, which we reached at 5 p.m. Here I shall leave the surplus rations, &c. At 6 p.m. Eaton and George returned without the horses.
2.—Started at 7 a.m. on a south course towards Mount Stirling; about 7 miles of the distance was over open sand-plains, which gave place to white gum forests and thickets; between Mount Stirling and Mount Caroline, the country consists of samphire flats and salt lake beds. At 2 p.m. halted at Mount Stirling; the surrounding country generally poor; distance travelled 26 miles.
3.—At 7 a.m. steered a N. by W. course for Mount Bakewell over low samphire flats, lake beds, and forest; 4 p.m., halted at Geenan brooks, about four miles S.W. of Youndegin; 5.30 p.m. proceeded on a course N. ½ E. towards Bellmaring, better known as the Salt River, and arrived at 7.50 p.m. Distance travelled to-day about 40 miles.
4.—Started at 5 a.m., steering W. ½ S., and at 9.30 halted at Mr. Parker's yard in York.
Before closing my journal I would remark for the information of those who have shown an interest in the Expedition, and who may be somewhat disappointed at the meagre description given of the country, that not possessing a theoretical knowledge of such matters I have purposely refrained from offering any remarks on the physical and geological formation of the country, confining myself to a simple, and I trust, practical account of the country daily traversed, keeping in mind that the main object of the Expedition was more to make a careful examination of the country on either side of our route, with a view to ascertaining its pastoral and agricultural capabilities, than to see how far it is possible to proceed in an easterly direction. That we have endeavoured to carry out this object so far as the lateness of the season would permit, will be seen by a reference to the map now in course of preparation, and which will shortly be open for inspection. Looking at this map it will be seen that the salt lakes and marshes extend over a great portion of the country traversed.
That portions of the country at certain seasons of the year are well grassed there can be no doubt, but in the absence of known permanent water I fear it will never be made available for pastoral purposes.
In confusion I have much pleasure in bearing testimony to the zealous and hearty co-operation of my party, who are all active and industrious bushmen.
The natives Cowitch and George behaved well, and were invaluable in tracking up the horses and finding water. The latter being a volunteer I shall be glad to see him rewarded.
To the settlers generally I am indebted for the very judicious selection of horses, and should it be my lot to go out again, I would not wish for a more efficiently equipped party.
C. C. HUNT
Kept by Mr. C. C. Hunt of his proceedings, and the party under his command, from the 17th January, 1865, to to the 26th of August, 1865.
January 17.—Having previously received instructions from the Hon. the Colonial Secretary to complete my arrangements for opening up the country East of York by means of wells, and track to the northern side of Lake Lefroy, at 3h. p.m.—this day I started from Perth, accompanied by the under-mentioned party of pensioners and prisoners, viz., Corporal John Martin, George Pigeon, John Lachlan, Henry Romey, William Hyland, and Thomas Gale, pensioners; Thomas Robson, Thomas Hirons, Alexander Wheatly, Henry Mount, Robert Ford, John Hart, John Butler, George Denimack, John Marshall, John Brown, prisoners; total, 18; including George Mundale, M.P.[sic], having four horses from police stables, with twelve bullocks, two drays, and quantity of clothing, tents, tools, arms and ammunition, the bulk of the equipment being supplied from the various government departments. At 7h. 40m. p.m. halted at the Police Station, Guildford, having lodged the pensioners in the depot, placed a guard over the teams, and seen the horses and bullocks fed at police stables, I concluded all safe for the night.
January 21.—At 8h. 30min. a.m. the whole party arrived in York, at the depot near which I had the tents pitched, and from whence I drew my supplies while in York.
January 31st.—At 5h. a.m. made a start towards Nedlands, arriving there at 11h. 30m. a.m., having made a short halt to breakfast. So far as this station I was accompanied by Sergeant Power and P. C. Wheatly, they having been instructed to proceed the first day's stage with me. Camp 1; 9 miles.
February 1.—At 5h. a.m. having yoked, and saddled up, I moved off in an east-northerly direction, towards the Salt River. At 10h. a.m. halted the party for a few hours at a small, though at this time dry, well—native name Quagulin; grass plentiful, but the cattle cared little to eat. Camp 2; 13 miles.
February 3.—During the early part of the day some of the men engaged opening out a spring, which is a good one, and there being plenty of good grass hereabouts; I have deemed it necessary to make a reserve of it, it being well adapted for a stopping place for teams; proceeding east-northerly from York, though Duralin would be more in a direct line, but not so good a place, for the purpose, and water not so plentiful as at this place. Camp 4.
February 4.—During the early part of the day the men engaged in sinking a well; by noon they had made a hole ten feet broad by seven deep, and obtained a plentiful supply for travelling purposes.
February 6.—At 6h. a.m. men engaged carting stone, and cutting poles for the well. Four p.m. finished stoning up and covering in this small well, being 9 feet broad by 6 feet deep, with a very fine supply of water, though baled out three times, besides supplying all our wants, being at this time of the year between two and three hundred gallons per diem. Camp 4.
February 7.—At 4h. 45m. a.m. start with the whole party and both teams towards Naraline, Mr. Massingham's sheep station, halting near the well to breakfast, at 8h. 30min. a.m. At 9h. a.m. continued onwards to Maranobbing Spring, at which place I met Mr. R. Hardey, about to return to York, by whom I take the opportunity of writing to the Hon. Surveyor-General, requesting horses for exploring purposes, likewise for more and better tools; the axes being quite unfit for light active cutting, or through thickets. At this place good feed and water, which I have recommended to be kept in reserve for stopping places for teams, stock, &c. Camp 4.
February 8.—This day the whole of the party, except the shoemaker and, cook, marking out, and then cutting towards Dodolakine for the passage of our teams, the country hereabouts being very dense in places. Camp 4.
February 9.—The party engaged as yesterday, cutting track and drawing the logs aside with one bullock team. Four p.m., completed a track of sufficient width to admit of bullock teams travelling to Dodolakine; distant about 5 miles. Camp 4.
February 10.—At 6h. 15m. a.m. start with the teams and party to Dodolakine; 10h. 30m. p.m. halt there, the teams having come along the line recently cut, with little or no trouble. All party engaged sinking well, and collecting stone for the same. Distance 5 miles. Camp 5.
February 11.—During last night there fell a fine refreshing rain, accompanied with thunder and lightning. Party engaged at the well carting stone and timber for the same. At 7h. a.m. self and native, and one of this locality, start in an east-northerly direction, to ascertain if I could find a more direct track than going round by Metchering, but found the country too dense, the thickets being very extensive; this would be a much more direct track, but will require a very huge amount of labour to cut through, more than I can afford to spare at this time. During the day I have fallen upon a considerable patch of good grassy land, with a native well, containing water at this time—native name of the place [Neemberin], bearings to Metchering and [Totadgin] given in field-book. 5h. p.m. returned to camp; during my absence one of the men—a pensioner, Hyland—met with an accident, having fallen upon the rock while carrying a piece of stone, and unfortunately; dislocated his hip; though the men immediately pulled the limb into place, the muscles. at the groin are much swollen. I made use of the remedies, at hand, but I fear he will not be able to proceed further. Camp 5.
February, 13.—At 7h. a.m. self and nine men push forward to Metchering to blaze the trees, and open a track for the teams to come forward, and to open out the existing well. Before leaving last camp I issued rations for the two men left behind until the 12th of March, with instructions to the prisoners to join my party by the first return team after the removal of Hyland to York. 3h. p.m. arrived at Metchering; found the native well quite dry, though I have never before known it so. Abundance of good grass at this place. The weather being very hot, I have set the men to dig out the well by turns during the night. Camp 6.
February 14.—Men still engaged sinking the well, having gone down about ten feet during the night, without obtaining water of any consequence, and the sinking very hard. 7h. a.m., self and native went out a few miles in an east-northerly direction, to find a practicable track for our teams to pass to the next halting place—[Totadgin]. At noon returned to camp, having passed over some very excellent feeding land, though in many places well fenced in with thickets. Likewise I found another native well, though dry. I then discontinued sinking the well, having obtained a few buckets of water on the bottom, which is of granite rock. Dimensions, 13 feet deep, 7 inches at bottom, and 12 feet across the top, the sides being so very hard, and compact, I deem it unnecessary to stone it up. I am of opinion that after the first rainy season it will never be without a supply of water; indeed there is a small supply now, there are several water seams in the sides, which will have proper play after the rains. 3h p.m., both teams arrive at Metchering. Camp 6.
February 15th.—At 7h. a.m., self and nine men go forward to [Totadgin], to make a track for the teams to come by. Halt at Korborokobing, about 10½ or 11 miles from Metchering; water at this place, but grass burnt by the natives. 2h. p.m. went on to [Totadgin], distant from noon halt about 2½ miles, N.N.E. Abundance of good grass, and water not very plentiful in the native spring. Very much box poison in this neighbourhood. I have omitted digging out the well at last noon halt, there being no stone to stone it up, and it being but 2½ miles to this place. Travelling distance about 13 miles. Camp 7.
February 16.—Three men sinking well. Sent four men and my native back on the track to remove obstacles from the passage of the teams, which I intend to reach here during the night.
February 18.—At 6h. a.m. start, with twelve men to cut a track for the teams, which I directed to leave 2 hours after. At. 2h. 15m. p.m., by dint of very hard work, cutting down trees and through the very dense thickets hereabouts, I succeeded in reaching the camping ground; having halted, we had to dig for water, before any could be had for use. I should not have risked bringing the teams had I not felt sure of a supply here, which I had proved on two former occasions. During the afternoon we succeeded beyond my hopes in obtaining a good supply. During the afternoon myself and native rode in a N.N.E. direction, about two miles from the well; some very fine grassy land, not before seen by me; likewise, between two granitic rocks, we found a fine natural reservoir of water, containing at least sufficient for all our wants for three days, which is indeed considerable, being not less than 2 hundred gallons per diem, to be looked up for them. Camp 8.
February 20.—At 5h. portioned off party employed sinking well, collecting stone, poles, and drawing them in, for stoning, and covering in the same. Shoemaker, repairing the men's boots, the travelling and work beginning to tell upon their boots seriously. 6h. p.m. completed the well, after a very hard day's work, having sunk eight feet, and having come upon a spring, which has taken two men continually baling the whole day to keep under. This well renders this place an excellent stopping-place for teams, or otherwise, there being plenty of good grass not far distant, though plenty of box poison in the white gum forest. Dimensions of well, about seven feet deep, six inches at bottom, and eight at top. Camp 8.
February 21.—6h a.m., sent forward the party with the constable to open a track for the teams to Burancooping, the party being rationed for four days; with them I have sent three horses to carry their stores; tools, bedding, &c. At 10h. a.m. having made some alterations to the covering of the well, I went forward with the remainder of party and both teams, to a spot N. 21deg. E. mag. 1¾ m., there being good feed, and near the natural basin before mentioned, which I have determined to clear out, as it will hold a large amount of water when cleared out, and a small drain placed across between the two rocks. It. will then become a very useful place after the first rainfall. This day has been most oppressive, partly from the many bush fires around, and the wind, during the middle and latter part of the day, at north. Camp 8.
February 23.—5h. 30m. a.m. start with, the teams to Burancooping, about 10½ miles distant, E. ½ N. The principal part of this distance over high scrubby, sand-plains and white-gum forests, in the latter much box poison, and on one of the sand-plains near Burancooping a large patch of York Road poison. 0h. 30m. p.m. halt at Burancooping; found the remainder of party employed sinking well, and collecting stone, 5h. p.m., discontinued sinking until I am able to collect materials for stoning it up with at once, it being through running sand, and the water coming in faster than the two men can bale. At this place there is a small patch of good grass, which will make a good stopping place, there being another granite rock not far distant, with plenty of good feed about, but water uncertain at present. Travelling distance 11 miles. Camp 9.
February 24.—The whole party employed about the well, collecting stone, timber and after much trouble we succeeded in getting in the foundation for the stone work, the water coming in very fast. Noon, singular halo around the sun, which I take to be an indication of rain, or much wind, as the same occurs in the Indian seas, near the breaking up of monsoons. 5h. p.m., finished the well, which proves to be a very good one. Dimensions—depth, 7 feet, 7½ in the clear at bottom, and 9½ feet across the top. Camp 9.
25.—At 6 a.m. sent a party of men to dig out the native well at the base of a granite rock N.W. by W., and 2½ miles distant from this camp, there being plenty of good grass about it, and may prove useful to future travellers in this direction. 7 a.m. myself and native went about 6 miles in a N.N.W. direction, to some long ranges of granite rocks, the whole distance by which we went being almost all dense thicket, though it led to some fine feeding land, and a good native well at hand. From the summit of the rocks I attained bearings to Yorkarakine, and Goomarin. Returned to camp; the men had just before arrived from the other rock; they sunk a large hole 10 feet deep, but not getting a good supply of water, I shall not stone it up. Camp 9.
26.—(Sunday.)—During last night there fell a light shower of rain, though not sufficient to wet the tents through. Camp 9.
March 7.—This day halting at Totadgin to give the bullocks a rest in good feed; the men engaged in sinking another well in the gully, there not being a good supply in the first well sunk; it can hardly be wondered at from the long and excessively dry season. I have never known it fail on my previous visits, in fact, I thought it one of the best springs on this route, and I have every confidence in these wells after the first rainy season is past. Mr. R. Hardey's well at Maranobbing has gone dry this season, though not known to do so before; one of the many evidences of this being an extraordinary dry season is the almost total absence of gnows in these parts, where generally they are very plentiful; they seem to have avoided their nests, and, the natives say there are no eggs this season, in fact, the, birds have taken off towards the Avon, where they are frequently to be met with this year, being found within a mile of York. 6 p.m. gave up the new well as useless, having come upon rock at eight feet; it will make a very good reservoir to be filled by the first rains. Camp 9.
9.—This day closed with strong S.E. wind and slight sprinkle of rain, and much lightning in the N.E. quarter. Camp 9.
12.—(Sunday).—At 3 p.m. start, with one team, and several of the party, having left the corporal and one prisoner in charge of the dray. It being fine weather and cool, I am bound to take every chance of getting forward, although the poor bullocks are in a very low condition, so poor indeed, that no person would have trouble in hanging their hat on their hips. 6. p.m. hearing some one cooeing in our rear, I rode back to ascertain the cause, when I met the prisoner Hart, whom I had left with Corporal Austin in charge of dray and stores; from his account it appears that about an hour after my departure, a number of armed natives came down into camp, which caused some alarm, as doubtless, they had been watching our preparations to leave. The corporal upon seeing them come near, brought out his gun, and recommended them by signs to keep at a respectful distance, at the same time sent Hart to overtake me with the teams. I sent two pensioners back, cautioning them not to fire at the natives unless it could not by any chance be avoided. It must be born in mind that Austin had never seen any of the inland natives before, having been but a short time in this country; it doubtless appeared suspicious to him their coming down the rocks, a number of them, so soon after my moving off with my party. I have previously cautioned the men not to meddle with the natives except strictly in self defence, or I should be involved in an endless series of reprisals.
13.—At 5 a.m. continued onwards to Boodahlin, distant about 5½ miles, at which place I halted at 8.30 a.m.; good feed and water here at this time. I here found the remainder of my party waiting the arrival of the dray to stone up the well. This will be found a very convenient stopping place, being situated about midway between Burancooping and Keocanie. Camp 10.
14.—Party engaged sinking and stoning up the well. 4 p.m. completed the well, supply of water good for all travelling purposes, depth 9 feet 6 inches, clear at the bottom, and 9 feet across the top. Camp 10.
15.—Ten p.m. halt at Yorkarakine. Travelling distance 7 miles. Camp 11.
16.—At 6 a.m. party engaged collecting stone, timber, &c., for making a well at this place, though I do not intend to make it until my return, as I may be enabled to send a team from Keocanie, distant, about 10 miles N.E.; the stone having to be carted at least one mile, would take some days to complete; At 3.15 p.m. again move forward towards Keocanie, country rough though tolerable travelling, better than going round by Moorine, though the latter is more en route. At 6.15 p.m. halt for the night at small patch of grass, and well of water, dug by my party, though not yet built up, distant from Keocanie about 3½ miles, S.W. by W. Camp 11.
17.—At 5.40 a.m. start with the teams, reaching Keocanie at 8 a.m.; abundance of water and good grass, though much of the latter has been burnt by the natives, of whom we fell in with many at this place, most of them my acquaintances of last October. They made many inquiries for the members of my last party, especially P.C. Edwards, having a great dread of him, as they think he is empowered to send them to Rottnest, of which place they have heard, thus far in the interior. Clothing of any sort is unknown to them. This part of the country being even destitute of kangaroo, and very little game of any sort, they live much upon roots and the bark of the root of the York gum; that with a few rats, and half starved opossums, make up their diet scale, from one season to another, except in the gnow * season, which has proved a failure the last. Some of them were wearing about them pieces of rug, and leather portions of our equipment, which we had abandoned last year, a few miles from hence at Moorine. Party engaged collecting stone and timber for the well.
[* The mallee fowl (in W.A.); Ed.]
21.—Party variously engaged collecting and drawing in stone, timber, and rushes; the bullocks having returned from Boodahlin. Some of the men sinking the well, it being very hard to get down, but prospect of a very good supply of water. Altogether the work is progressing slowly, the bullocks being weak, and the materials to be drawn from a considerable distance. Camp 12.
22.—Party engaged making and stoning up well, and building hut. 5h. p.m. completed the well, which is a very good one, though shallow; the supply is most abundant; it has been very hard to sink, but has well repaid the labour, having, a standing supply, of upwards of three feet; dimensions, 6 feet 6 inches deep, being 7 feet in the clear at the bottom, and 8 feet across the top, well stoned up and covered, with sloping approach of steps down to it Camp 9.
23.—4h. p.m. continued our course towards Kookoordine, in a N.E. direction; the country very difficult of access. 8h. 15m. p.m. halt at Kookoordine, having been eight hours in the saddle, over a piece of the worst country I ever saw; good feed and water. Travelling distance, 25 miles. Kookoordine.
April 1.—During last night much thunder and lightning, with light rain, from the N.W. quarter. Camp 12.
5.—Started at 8h. 45m. a.m., accompanied by one native of the district, course towards Kodgerning, a small feeding patch about 11 miles east-northerly from Keocanie depot, halting at noon for a couple of hours. 3 p.m. continued on to Kookoordine; country very heavy, and dense in places, with occasional small patches of scrubby sand-plain; 7h. a halt at Kookoordine—abundance of good grass and water. Camp 12.
6.—At 7 a.m. start; course about N. 126 deg. S. mag., towards Buladigie, having crossed the south end of Kookoordine Lake, there being another small lake similar to the above, about 1 mile long by ¼ broad, lying in a N.N.E. and S.S.W. direction. This I believe is a portion of the chain of lakes crossed by Mr. Lefroy soon after leaving Mount Hampton, or some twenty miles to the southward of Kookoordine. 11 a.m. halt at Buladigie. First six miles one continuous salmon-gum forest, and five miles of long heavy scrubby sand-plain. Buladigie I find to be a very indifferent place, not worth making the detour from the direct track, there being but little grass, and no water. I find the party have sunk a large well, 15 feet deep, without success, there not being above a bucket or two of water in it at the time of my arrival. At 0.30 p.m. continued my course towards Duladgin, about 14 miles N. 41 deg. E. mag. Almost the whole distance one long scrubby sand-plain; at 5.30 p.m. passed through Duladgin; found the party had left this morning and gone to Weouanie, at which place I found them, halting at 7 p.m. Some of the men had been employed here two days sinking wells, but without success, coming upon the granite a few feet below the surface. There is a small, supply of water on the rocks, and plenty of good grass for the bullocks, which are improving in condition. Travelling distance 28 miles. Camp. 16.
7.—Set a party to work to cut a track towards Merbine, at camp marked Aug. 7; it lying nearly due east from this camp. Camp 16.
10.—At 7 a.m. slight rainfall; 7.45 a.m. start; course about west, towards Keocanie depot; at about 8 miles from Kookoordine passed through tolerable good feeding patch around flat granite rocks, though entirely destitute of water. Native name Quadadin. At 10.30 a.m. halt for a few minutes at granite rock, to water our horses; native name of rock Kooladgie; small patch of grass, but no permanent water. Camp 12.
12.—During last night a light rain fell, very refreshing to everything, the whole country being much parched up. Camp 12.
17.—I am most anxious to get forward to the head of Lake Lefroy, or the Hampton Plains, before the wet season sets in. At noon went to Yorkarakine. Boodahlin.
18.—During the night light rain at intervals. Camp 12.
21.—At 9 a.m. start with one pack-horse to Kookordine, by a more direct though much more dense track than that by which I send the teams; at 1 p.m. halt at Kodgerning.
22.—Begins with fresh N.E. wind and drizzling rain; 7 a.m. sent one team on to Keocanie, and the other to come on to Kookoordine, about 12 miles by the present track from Kodgerning. Self continued on the Kookoordine, halting there at 10 a.m. Found the party employed making huts for the reception of the stores for the winter. Unfortunately there is little material to build them with, except at a considerable distance; consequently the men have now been nine days making the huts. Robson shoeing the horses, to enable me to start on Monday morning. One circumstance I have before omitted to mention—namely, that I have had one native of this district on half rations during the last month, as I find him useful, and can speak the language of the tribes about Lake Lefroy; so that I trust he will be useful in communicating with them. I have also engaged another, a lad of about nineteen, on the same terms; the latter I shall leave with the party, to come on with them when they follow up in a week or two, or after the first good rainfall, as none of the men are much accustomed to the bush, or in tracking. Robson I take with me, as he is the most useful for shoeing, &c. During the early part of day light rain from the N.E. quarter. Camp 14.
23.—During last night rain from the N.E. quarter. Camp 14.
24.—9 a.m. made a start with the horses and rations for eleven weeks, party consisting of self and native George, Robson, and the native of the neighbourhood—five in all; the horses being in fair condition, and lightly loaded, none carrying more than one hundred and twenty pounds. Duladgin.
25.—At 7.45 a.m. start towards Merbine by way of Weouanie; at 9.30 a.m. halt for a few minutes at the latter place to adjust the loads. Four miles of salmon-gum forest, seven miles of one continuous dense thicket, through which my party a few weeks since had been cutting through, but obliged to abandon and return to Kookoordine, the water not being sufficient to keep the party at Weouanie; after passing the thicket, we crossed a long scrubby sand-plain, about 6 miles, up to Merbine, at which place we halted at 4 p.m., finding plenty of water for our use on the rocks, and in the well. Since the late rain the natives had dug the well much deeper than in former years. Travelling distance 22 miles. Merbine.
26.—During the last three: days many heavy clouds have passed over from the N.W., but no rain, worthy of notice, has fallen. At 8 a.m. self and native start in an east-northerly direction to ascertain if we could find water and feed at some large granite rocks distant about nine miles from this halting-place, and though seen by me last year, not visited. At 11 a.m. halt at these rocks; small quantity of grass and water on the rocks, likewise small native well, containing a few quarts of stinking water. Merbine.
28.—At 7.30 a.m. start; course about E. ½ S., to camp 20 of 1864, distant about 14 miles, on nearly same track as last year. Noon, halt at some water on the rocks, and grass abundant, though much dried up. This is indeed one of the best stopping places on the route for grass, though no permanent supply of water; in spring the grass here is rich and abundant. From indications here and elsewhere, as I proceed easterly, I find there has been but little rain since my previous visit. 2 p.m. sent my natives out to a native camp, about three miles to the southward, to communicate with them, and ascertain if they knew of water not before known to me. At sundown the natives returned, bringing with them an old man and woman having five sons, but, as usual, no female children. From what I learn, there is but little doubt that the greater proportion of them are early destroyed or devoured. When we have sometimes taxed them with cannibalism, they never actually disavow it, but seem confused, and anxious to leave the camp. They freely acknowledge their not burying the dead, but merely dragging them out of their camp, and leave them for their dogs. We have never in any part of this region seen an entire skeleton or native grave. The party of natives at my camp have never before seen white men; but had seen the horse left by Mr. Lefroy, named Silva, he having left him about 12 miles to the eastward of this rock. There is little to be be learnt from this lot of natives, beyond what I learnt last year—that there were plenty of natives far away to the eastward, though these had never seen them; only heard of them. The old native man is somewhat suspicious of us, not eating when we had given him some food, but when he supposed we were not looking at him, he quickly made a hole in the sand and buried it. The woman's youngest boy, about 4 years, can talk, and eat as much as the eldest, though he has not yet left his mother's breast, and is carried by his mother on her shoulders everywhere. These natives are circumcised and marked similarly to those of the Murchison. Travelling distance 14 miles. [Wargangering].
29.—At 7.30 a.m. having procured the services of two boys, who promise to show us large quantities of grass and water upon our promising to give them damper, which I agreed to do, being anxious to know every watering place I can, I moved my horses to another, granite rock, distant about 3 miles from last night's halt, this being one of Mr. Lefroy's camps, and where his horse Silva staid about four months. One advantage I have by communicating with the natives is that I am enabled to learn the native names of the various rocks and stopping places, which may be useful in meeting with other tribes. During the day another native joined, being one of the party I surprised last year near Lake Lefroy. I challenged him with having stolen a tomahawk from us, but this he denied. They are very superstitious, and have very mysterious notions respecting all the natives of this part immediately after death. Their spirit, or something they found great difficulty in describing, they say; at once go to Cave Hill, at which I stopped some time last year, and marked in my plan for that year. This information I obtained from them, while questioning respecting the curious impressions of hands on the surface of the granite. These impressions are to be seen in other parts of the country; for instance, in a small cave at Mr. R. Hardey's sheep-station (Jureen). The natives of that; district state they were made by the Jureen, either, meaning giants or goblins; they also state they were made long before the blackfellows came to the country. From this I infer they are of considerable antiquity, and that the natives retain a knowledge of their ancestors having migrated to this country, when, doubtless, they brought in the rite of circumcision with them, and perhaps not so barbarous as the present race, which are, doubtless, the rudest in the world; at all events, the above-mentioned impressions are curious and worth notice. [Gnarlbine].
May 6.—8h. a.m., start again in the direction of depot.
7.—Passed over some small salt lake beds and samphire flats trending southerly, and much rough, broken country, after which, for about twelve miles, long forest of salmon gum, cypress, and much salt bush—not the least vestige of grass, though soil of rich red loam. About three or four miles out of this camp long belts of thicket lying about north and south, from half to one and a half miles through. 4h. 35m. p.m. halt at station; grass tolerably green and plentiful; water scarce, though I believe we can obtain enough for some days from the well, which I find has been full since I was here last. I think it has been filled from some heavy thunderstorm.
9.—At 8h. a.m., start, course about due east, towards camp 24 of 1864, on the 1st gully, emptying into Lake Lefroy. At 9 a.m. passed a large pool of water in a large gully, trending easterly from the south end of the Saddle Hills, being at this time 100 yards long by 6 broad and 3 deep. This place I think, is well adapted for a dam or tank. Position of this pool N ½ E., 3 miles from Depot Hill, and due east 3 miles from last camp; country in the immediate neighbourhood salmon gum forest and rich red loamy soil, though entirely destitute of grass. At 6.30 p.m. halt at camp 25, on the 1st gully near Lake Lefroy; water in the gully sufficient to last some days; grass tolerably plentiful; though parched, but better than that further eastward. When at this camp last October, the grass was abundant, and beautifully green, and indeed there is every appearance of there being a plentiful supply, the young grass having sprung fully an inch, though becoming scorched up for want of rain. Had there been a general rain, there would be more water in Lake Lefroy, but at present it is nearly dry, and incrusted with salt over a large surface, the only water being at the further or northern end, and there may be but little even there; the effects of refraction over such a large broad space render objects very uncertain and deceptive. Travelling distance 14 miles. Camp 25.*
[* The Journal for 10 May - 26 August, 1865 was not published. See Appendices B and C for later information on the 1865 expedition.]
[* The following introduction, published in The Inquirer and Commercial News of 14 November 1866, neatly omits roughly that part of the 1866 expedition for which the 1865 expedition account was published. The Inquirer did not publish the initial 33 days of the journal of this expedition.]
Mr. Hunt left York for Hampton Plains, distant 310 miles, on the 9th July, preceded by the provision carts, which started on the 5th. The party consisted of Mr. C. C. Hunt (leader), Mr. F. Roe (second in command), Mr. G. Monger (volunteer), C. Brackley (labourer), Assistant Natives G. Mundale, Windich, and Jemmy, and 26 horses and ponies; besides a depot party, consisting of Mr. James Turner (in charge), Native Assistant Cowitch, 4 pensioners, and 4 probation-men. On the outward journey little occurred worthy of record. The party were occasionally retarded in their progress by accidents to their teams, and sometimes experienced inconvenience from want of grass and water, many of the wells sunk by Mr. Hunt on his former trip having, from want of rain last year, become nearly dry. The explorers arrived at Stoney Hill Tank, Hampton Plains, on the 11th August, when several expeditions to the northward and eastward were made by Mr. Hunt and Mr. Roe. When on one of these trips Mr. Hunt obtained the following important information from some natives at Koolyanobbing with regard to a party of white men having died or been killed by the natives. The questions were put by Native Assistant Windich, who is acquainted the dialect of the informants:—
Question.—Did you see the white men?
Q.—How did you learn this?
A.—Through a native named Yengowarra, who had learnt through 7 other tribes all particulars.
Q.—What did Yengowarra tell you?
A.—He told me that other natives that have seen the white men, told him that 2 white men and a native had died at a place named Gindie, being 13 days' journey from this, as before mentioned.
Q.—From what cause do the natives think they died?
A— Yengowarra told me that they were crossing a large salt-lake bed, making towards some far distant hills, and on reaching the shore of the lake they died.
Q.—Was there any water near them?
A.—There was water in a rock not far off, but they could not have found it without natives to guide them, as it was much concealed.
Q.—How many horses had they?
A.—Two—holding up two fingers.
Q.—What became of them?
Q.—What made them die?
A.—Yengowarra told me that the sun had burnt their feet and they couldn't walk.
Q.—Did they die close to the white men?
A.—I do not know.
Q.—Did not Yengowarra tell you?
Q.—Are you sure the natives did not kill them?
A.—Yengowarra told me they died; but I think the natives speared them.
Q.—What makes you think so?
A.—Because they are savage, and sometimes kill and eat each other.
Q.—What way were the tracks coming?
A.—From the eastward.
Q.—Are you sure it was not from the west?
A.—Yengowarra told me that the natives had seen their tracks far back to the east.
Q.— Did the natives touch the bodies?
A.—No, they were afraid.
Q.—Did they touch the horses?
A.—Yes; they ate them.
Q.—Did the natives touch any of their things?
A.—They took a kangaroo rug, blanket, and other things.
Q.—How many moons since the white men died?
A.—Too many to count.
Q.—How many winters?
A.—He thought Yengowarra told him seven—holding up seven fingers.
Q—If white men came out, would the natives shew the spot where the white men died?
A.—Yes; I would go and get some of my friends to go with me and shew the place; but they must come in the beginning: of winter, when there is plenty of water.
Q.—Do you know any of the names of the tribes that saw the white men?
A.—Yes, I know the name of the chief of the tribe—Boondine.
Q.—Was it in the summer or winter when the white men died?
A.—In the middle of summer, when it was very hot.
This information was chiefly gained from one native, Weallarrin, who had lately come from the north.
But on Mr. Roe's arriving at Koolyanobbing, he went in search of other natives, to gain any further information from them that they might have heard, and, finding some, questioned one or two on the subject, and from them learnt the following, viz.—That a long time ago two white men and a native were killed by the natives, on the shore of a large lake; and, on Mr. Roe asking why they killed them, they stated that the natives first speared a horse, and then the white fellows went out to shoot some natives for doing so; and when coming upon a camp close by, one white man fired at them, but the ball missing, the other man fired and killed two; the natives afterwards following to their camp, speared them while one was in the act of making a damper; they then covered the white men up with some bushes, taking most of their things—afterwards eating the two natives shot by the whitefellows; they then killed the native belonging to the white men. These natives gave the names of three of the murderers—Yercimah, Cunyallie, and Walgbedee. This information certainly fully coincides with that gained from the first lot of natives. It was obtained by questions asked through Tommy Windich, through Mr. Roe. Windich we have ever found a trustworthy and truthful native.
We now take up, Mr. Hunt's journal when he commenced his first explorations from Stoney Hill Tank, and shall continue its publication in a future issue:—
On reaching the tanks at Stoney Hill at 11.30 a.m. on 11th August, I found, them in great preservation, full and flowing over. We halted for an hour, and then continued our course towards Boordunkoobing. In crossing the extensive flats to the entrance of the first slate well gully, I was equally delighted and astonished to find them in most cases covered with green grass in all stages, from just germinating to seeding; this I have never seen on any occasion, except bare tracts of dead grass in 1864-5. On sighting Lake Lefroy observed it to be dry, as in the two preceding years, nor have I ever seen it otherwise since. I first discovered this very extensive lake bed in 1864. At 6.15 p.m. we halted at Caralyaine, where there was a fair amount of good grass, though not nearly so well covered as many of the flats we have this day crossed. There was sufficient water for our horses for a week or two on the clay-pans. Throughout our progress we have seen several kangaroos, but had no time to hunt them. On approaching Caralyaine about dusk we observed the fresh track of a native; I mention this fact, it being the first sign of natives since leaving Maranobbing—a distance of about 260 miles. Probably they are in our neighbourhood this night. I am anxious to communicate with them, to ascertain their different watering places, and to keep one if possible for a guide, though from my experience among them, they are little to be depended upon.
Sunday, 12th.—Five miles farther I found the grass rich and plentiful; water scarce, though sufficient for the horses for 14 days, by which time I trust to be enabled to move them farther eastward, this being; the last known water.
Monday, 13th.—At 8.30 a.m. start, course about due east, towards Emu Flat, halting there at 11.30 a.m. In crossing this distance, of about 10 miles, we saw many kangaroos, and some flats, small, though well grassed— in fact in this neighbourhood there is an abundance of grass this year. Large tracts that were nearly bare last year, except stubble, are now covered with grass, and the flowers known in the settlement as everlasting; in some places the grass seems nearly hidden by them; therefore I think there will be no lack of grass for our horses to scour the country. Water does not seem to be very plentiful on these plains at present, but I trust timely rains may fall, as the only water we can find is on the shallow clay-pans, sometimes two or three inches deep, being the result of the rainfall a few days ago; consequently it can only be relied upon for a few days, the sun and wind quickly evaporating it in such shallow reservoirs. In looking over this plain I could scarcely have believed in the extraordinary difference of one season from another. At this place we took the precaution to fill our water-cans, as I have no knowledge of any water to the eastward of this gully. After having turned our horses out for an hour, we again shaped our course about due east at 0.45 pm.; at 1.50 p.m. passed between two small ironstone peaks; at 3.45 p.m. ascended a small peak of pipe-clay, with parallel veins of quartz running through the clay, in a N.E. and S.W. direction, from 4 to 9 inches wide. The surface of the hill has a reddish appearance, but upon breaking off the crust the pipeclay is white; therefore only discoloured by the atmosphere. At 4.5 p.m. continued onwards until 4.35 p.m., when we halted for the night on a fine flat, with abundance of grass and water for 4 or 5 days, if we need it.
Tuesday, 14th August.—At 7.50 a.m. start; course about E. by S. 2 miles. After passing through open salt-bush we emerged upon an extensive open plain of rich soil; in many parts much grass and old stubble. The average width of this plain I estimated at about 4½ or 5 miles wide and 10 or 11 miles long, and lying in a general N. by E. direction, apparently ending to the southward, in the samphire flats and dry lake beds of the chain connected with Lake Lefroy. There are seasons when this extensive flat has been covered most luxuriantly with rich grass; the old stubble is apparently about 4 years old. Kangaroos are here very numerous. Having crossed the plain, we ascended a conical hill, a portion of a range lying N.E. on the southern side of the plain. From this point the country from N.E. to S.E. had a most unpromising appearance, apparently consisting of broken hills and dense forests, for very many miles in that direction. At 11 a.m. altered our course towards a grassy range, distance about 4½ miles N. by W.; at 1 p.m. halted for a short time to run down a kangaroo—with success, there being numbers about us. Continued onwards, halting at 2.30 p.m. at a small quantity of water in a small clay-pan; abundance of good grass.
Wednesday, 15th.—At 8.50 a.m. start, course N. by E. 2 miles, to the summit of some small hills of broken granite and quartz. Continued onwards N.E. by N. 1 mile, grassy land; and 7½ miles N.E. of dense forest and thickets. At 0.15 p.m. halted on the summit of high quartz peak, from this point an extensive but not good prospect was obtained. From N.E. to S. seemed one dense flat forest, with a few broken ridges; from N.E. to W. there appear to be open plains and large patches of forest; from this point the low hills near my turning point of 1861 bore about W.N.W., distant about 14 miles. Observed native fires in a N. by W. direction near the open country, the first native fires we have seen since leaving York. At 1.40 p.m., course N. by E. 2½ miles, to the summit of a scrubby hill. From this point we observed a large chain of dry lake-beds lying in an E. by [N]. and W.S.W. direction—probably a portion of the chain seen by me to the northward of my turning point in 1864. At 1.50 p.m., course N.W. by W., after passing through dense forests, with occasional thickets and flat granite rocks, we halted at 4.20 p.m. at a small quantity of water on a flat rock, with small amount of grass, though sufficient for the night. A few minutes before halting we came suddenly upon the camp of natives, towards whose fires we had been steering throughout the afternoon; when we were within about 40 yards of them they saw us, and set up the most frightful yells, the women striking the ground and throwing up dust with their wanaks. After some time, we were enabled to pacify them, giving them part of a leg of kangaroo, and in other ways showing them we did not want to injure them; one of them with a great deal of pursuasion, showed us to the water at our present camp, on which they were themselves depending, in this locality. After giving one man some supper, he wanted to join his party, making us understand that he would come at sunrise again; I felt assured he would not—I have been so often deceived by them, and I could make nothing out of him, except that the greater portion of the natives had gone in the direction of Boordunkoobing. There had been a considerable number at this camp a few days ago, I inferred, from the number of huts.
Thursday, 16th.—During the night, the natives made off, as I expected, not liking our company. At 8 a.m., start, course N. by E., and at 8.45 in 2¼ miles, crossed the chain of lakes, mentioned yesterday; at the period we crossed it the lake was about ⅓ of a mile broad, and two miles long, lying about E.N.E. and W.S.W.; hard bottom; no water in them, nor any appearance of there having been for a long time. The country around the margins of the lakes consisting of low scrubby food, and spinifex ridges, the latter much parched. At 4½ miles the country began to change for the better. Having halted on the summit of a small rough hill, we observed an extensive plain stretching to the northward, with numerous tracks of kangaroo and emu. Altered our course to due north towards the highest hill I could see, and travelled 5½ miles, the principal proportion being open plains of grass and salt-bush, green at this time. At 11 a.m. halted on the summit of the hill before mentioned, about 200 feet above the level of the plain—the highest I have seen N.E. of Mount Monger. From this point an extensive view was afforded us; from north to south apparently nothing but one unbroken flat country, densely timbered, with the chain of lakes trending far to the eastward; from north to west the prospect was somewhat more encouraging, being varied by detached ranges of low hills and extensive open flats of grass and salt-bush, and patches of forest at intervals. At 0.30 p.m., course about N. 332deg. E. towards the white patch, examining the flats for water, grass being abundant. During our progress had the good fortune to shoot a fine kangaroo of a fawn colour, and, what I think remarkable, he had four teats—the first I have ever seen of this species. Soon after we shot one of four large emus which came up close to our horses. At 3.15 p.m. halted on a beautiful flat, with a small quantity of water in a clay-pan. Kangaroos here the most numerous I have seen since leaving the settlement, and of various species—red, fawn, and the ordinary grey. The small hillocks around and near our bivouac are covered with white and red everlastings, and birds numerous, especially the bird known at the Upper Irwin as the wheelbarrow bird, from its making a noise similar to that of a barrow when wheeled, and the axle wanting grease. We here observed stunted sandalwood, peach trees, salt-bush and grass of the same description as that of the Irwin Flats, though no permanent water as yet has been found by us, nor is the grass so luxuriant as that of the above named locality, but no doubt would become so by moderate stocking. Near where we are camped seems to be near the northern limit of this grassy plain; from the ridge near us there appears to be about a mile more of grassy land; beyond that apparently forest and thicket for many miles.
Friday, 17th.—At 6.40 a.m. start, course N.E. by E. Two miles of the track was open country. We then came into close forest and thickets, somewhat difficult to get through. At 11.10 a.m. we halted on the summit of a rugged hill, about 100 feet above the level of the surrounding forests. In almost every direction there was nothing to be seen but low flat country, apparently covered with dense forest and thickets, only relieved by the few hills noticed below, and a long chain of dry lake beds, the nearest part of them 8 or 9 miles to the northward, extending from north-west to north-east, and lying in a general direction about east and west, from this distance apparently from 1½ to 2 miles wide. This hill, from whence the bearings were taken, is one of two, the one taken as a station being the southernmost, the northern one being about 200 yards to the northward, with a very steep gorge or ravine between, both being flat-topped, the intermediate space having all the appearance of there having been a land-slip between the two. On the side of the northern hill there is a small natural reservoir in the rock, at this time containing a little water. This hole seems to be a favourite resort of the natives, as there are many huts about the place. They are careful in always covering the hole with sticks to prevent the native dogs from disturbing the little water it at any time contains. At noon we started in the direction of some small pointed hills, bearing N. 320deg. E., my first estimated distance to them being about 7 miles direct, but afterwards proved to be upwards of 10 direct. I found it difficult to estimate distances across so flat a country. At 4.30 p.m. we halted on the summit of the highest point of these really remarkable hills; the summit of the one we ascended was not more than 20 feet square; the whole was composed of quartz and ironstone, very rugged, and not less than 300 feet above above the adjacent lake-beds. Red kangaroos numerous. These animals seem to avoid as a rule the open flat country, where grass is to be obtained, and locate themselves on the most sterile ranges and hills; how they obtain water is to me an unsolved problem, for I have never found water in their neighbourhood; they seldom go on the flats, or we should see their tracks, which are somewhat different to the ordinary kangaroo, the large toe being much shorter. The only other inhabitant of these parts was a large eagle hawk. At 4.55 p.m. descended the hill, and continued onwards W. by N. ¾ mile, and halted in a ravine, having hoped to find feed for our horses, but were disappointed in so doing; consequently they were tied up for the night. Beyond the two miles of grassy land passed over in the early part of the day, we have been travelling through forest and thickets the most dense I have yet seen east of the 121 meridian, and without seeing a gallon of water on any of the flat country throughout the day, which closed with cloudy weather and fresh S.E. wind. I have attached the name of Three Pinnacles, being I think appropriate, for the last mentioned hills.
Saturday, 18th.—During the night a strong S.E. wind blew, somewhat unusual, the weather being generally calm at night. At 7.20 a.m. started, course S. ½ E., towards camp of the 16th instant. After passing over many miles of dense thicket and forest, we again struck upon the grassy land in the neighbourhood of our camp; grass plentiful for many miles to the southward. At 0.20 p.m. halted for the day. There being an abundance of good grass here, I intend halting throughout Sunday. I find it now absolutely necessary to start towards the depot camp, as almost all the water has dried up on the clay-pans, and now being about 90 miles without any certain water, that being at the last tanks, viz., Stoney Hill. The little water we had seen on our outward track is now nearly dried up, after the keen easterly winds that have been prevailing the last few days. During our progress this day we have seen the tracks of some few natives travelling in a southerly direction. This afternoon Mundale shot a large red kangaroo, they being very numerous in this locality.
Sunday, 19th.—At noon the sky became quite clear, although during last night the wind turned round to the westward, and heavy clouds came from the same direction, threatening rain, but we seem doomed to disappointment in this respect; self, Mr. Roe and Mundale halting to give the horses a chance previous to returning towards the rest of the party, probably now at Stoney Hill Tank. The little water, or rather mud, on this flat will be exhausted to-day—the worst we have seen on this trip. Although our saddle-bags are full of kangaroo and emu flesh, we shall be obliged to throw it away to lighten our horses and enable us to get over the distance, without distressing them too much, between here and the remainder of my party. At noon obtained an observation of the sun, giving latitude 3deg. 30min. 22sec., summit of Mount Quin bearing S. 29deg. E., distant 6 miles.
Monday, 20th.—At 7.40 a.m. started, course S. 42 deg. W., towards the summit of rough broken hills, a distance of between 10 and 11 miles from last halt, passing over some open grassy land, besides extensive salt-bush and samphire flats. We halted on the summit of the range before mentioned. At 11.25 a.m. continued onwards, course S.S.W., 10 miles; at 3 p.m. altered the course to S.E.; 1¼ mile brought us to my old camp of Sept. 1864. There was very little appearance of rain having fallen in any moderate quantity since that time; grass was plentiful. From thence we continued our course onwards towards Emu Flat, partially along our old track, which was quite distinct. At 5.40 p.m. halted in a green forest, with neither feed nor water, and consequently were obliged to tie our horses up for the night, having travelled 35 miles south-westerly.
Tuesday, 21st.—At 6.45 started, course west-southerly, towards Emu Flat, halting there at 10 a.m., being fortunate enough to discover sufficient water in a clay-pan at the upper part of the flat for our horses for some days. Numerous tracks of emus about it—grass on this flat abundant. At 0.35 p.m. we again proceeded on towards Boordunkoobing, halting there at 3.40 p.m. On my arrival here I found the remainder of my party had come up to this camping ground on the 18th inst. from the White Peak Tank, where we had left them. The horses were much improved from their rest in a good feeding country. The party during my absence had seen some natives, but could not prevail upon them to accompany them, though they had promised to join them the next morning, but up to the present time had not made their appearance. At 4.30 p.m. Mr. Turner arrived with a portion of his party, having made an unsuccessful attempt to bring up the team; after 5 days' travelling (40 miles), he abandoned it, leaving it at Boorabbin. Burying a portion of the stores, he packed his horses, and came on 100 miles, to let me know the result. I deemed it necessary he should rest here two days, to recruit his horses, self, and men. The difficulties of the road may be imagined, as the whole weight he started with from Duladgin did not exceed ½ a ton, behind two very fine draught horses; finding it impossible to make any profitable use of his men, without the materials for sinking wells or making tanks.
Tuesday, August 21st.—I have directed Mr. Turner to return to his depot, and to take the bulk of his stores by easy stages to York, which I think may be accomplished, as I have supplied him with four horses, which will go in harness, in addition to Mr. Taylor's two. This, after mature consideration, I think the best arrangement, as no other benefit can arise from keeping Mr. Turner's party in the field in such an unfavourable season.
Wednesday, 22nd.—commenced with fine weather and fresh easterly wind; very sharp frost during the night. Party at camp variously employed readjusting the loads, repairing saddlery, tents, &c. Self wrote a letter to the Hon. the Surveyor-General, informing him of our present want of success in penetrating beyond the Hampton Plains, caused from the great scarcity of water in almost every direction. The little water we are now trusting to was the result of a light rain, about 12 days since. It is indeed most mortifying to have reached this point, with the horses now in good condition, and the party in good health and spirits, to be unable to proceed with any exploration of importance, for want of rain; grass, as I before stated, being abundant on most of the open plains and flats.
Thursday, 23rd.—At 9 a.m. sent Mr. Roe and native out in the direction of the east end of Lake Lefroy, to ascertain if there was water in that direction, likewise mounted four of the party to go out hunting and in search of water in various directions; Mr. Roe and native to return on the 25th, unless anything unforeseen should induce him to continue out longer.
Friday, 24th.—At 10 a.m. Mr. Turner and party started on their return, intending to camp at the Slate Well Gully for the night, a distance of about 18 miles en route for the Horse Rocks. I with my party about the same time moved off towards the camp of Sept. 19th, 1864, halting there at 1.30 p.m. there being water here for a few days. I had previously made arrangements with Mr. Roe to join me at this place. This camping ground is that occasionally mentioned as Emu Flat, kangaroos and emus being numerous here.
Saturday, 25th.—Mr. Roe absent with native and two horses in the neighbourhood of the east end of Lake Lefroy. During the day a large number of emus visited this gully for water—not less than 24 were seen; but we were unable to shoot any. During the day one kangaroo was shot, they being likewise numerous in this locality—I fear by their number that there is but little water, besides that near our camp, for many miles round.
Sunday, 26th.—At 5.20 p.m. Mr. Roe and native returned from the S.E., having been successful this morning in discovering sufficient water for some days for our horses about 15 miles E.S.E. from our present camp. After travelling in various directions about 50 miles across salt lake beds in connection with Lake Lefroy easterly from the main lake, and after being two days and a night without water, we succeeded in finding the above mentioned water. In the same neighbourhood they likewise surprised a number of natives, two of whom they brought to camp. At first they were somewhat loath to come, but after Mr. Roe giving them a portion of an emu which he had shot, which they devoured in a raw state with great gusto, they were inclined to come with him. During Mr. Roe's absence he had crossed the plain mentioned on the 14th inst., some distance further to the south than our crossing of that date, which still bore the same character, viz., covered with rich grass, and abounding in kangaroo, but to the east and south there appears nothing but dense forests, thickets, and salt lake-beds.
Monday, 27th.—During the night one of the natives managed to make his escape; the other likewise made an attempt, but did not succeed; after which a rope was made fast to his neck and a strict watch kept over him, but he was kindly treated from the first. At 9 a.m. started in an east-southerly direction towards the water discovered by Mr. Roe, crossing occasionally grassy flats of no great extent. During the day we had light squalls of rain from the S.E. quarter, though not sufficient to lay the dust, which the horses have been kicking up in clouds lately. About noon, while there was some little confusion with the horses in a thicket, the other native managed to give us the slip. At this I was somewhat annoyed, as I was anxious to keep him some little time to ascertain from him the native names of the various localities, hills, &c., and to point out the different watering places, which I feel sure the natives must at times be severely pushed for, as many of their water-holes contain but a few gallons. While Mr. Roe was out he found a party of natives camped at a little muddy hole, which the horses refused to drink from, though wanting water much at the time. At 3 p.m. halted at the water found by Mr. Roe; grass plentiful, being situated on the same flat as our bivouac of the 14th, about 3 miles to the S.S.E. of that halt.
Tuesday, 28th.—Mr. Roe and Mundale went about 10 miles east-southerly to some small ranges. In their course to and from them they saw much grassy land, but no water. I stayed at camp today, thinking by appearance that it would rain during the night, which would enable me to make another trip easterly, but up to this time it still looks the same, viz., every indication of rain at sundown. During Mr. Roe's absence this day he shot a kangaroo, similar to one shot by me about 30 miles to the northward, having four teats; this I think is not usual in ordinary kangaroos. He likewise brought in four native dog puppies, about one month old as nearly alike as they could possibly be—black and white. We shall endeavour to keep them some little time, though bush pets usually meet with some untimely end. I think it is generally doubted whether there is any true native dogs being different in colour to the common brown dog, but I way remark that we have seen black, white, black and very light mouse colour and so great a distance from any settled district, I should think it very improbable that the breed had been crossed by the European dog; I have also seen a native dog perfectly white at Tien Tsin Bay, before the sheep dogs was introduced there.
Wednesday, 29th.—Began with the same weather as yesterday, viz., heavy cloudy weather, and light southerly wind. The sun has been obscured the last three days. At 10 a.m. self, Mr. Monger, and G. Mundale, started on a short flying trip towards the east, in search of water and a place to bring the party up to. Crossed 3 miles of an extensive flat, grass at this time dead, though from the appearance of the stubble it is at times richly grassed, but the stubble has the appearance of being not less than 3 years old; no appearance of water on the flat. Lake Lefroy chain of lakes was seen trending east-southerly, the last flat lying in a N.N.E. and S.S.W. direction. We proceeded on a course N. 50deg. E. 3½ miles of open flat to a spot that had the appearance of clay-pans. On arriving there, we found them quite dry; I therefore altered the course to due east 6½ miles, 5 miles forest, with occasional small flats of no importance. At 5.30 p.m. halted at the base of a high granite hill. This is the first granite I have met with east of Depot Hill. At this rock we had the good fortune to find a small natural well; when full; it would hold perhaps 14 hogshead of water; at this; time about half full. There was a fair supply of grass for our horses. From this summit an extensive view was afforded, but being dusk, I was unable to take advantage of it this day, which closed with heavy cloudy weather and light south wind.
Thursday, August 30th.—From the summit of Granite Hill the view was very extensive; from N.W. to S.W. one unbroken flat country, apparently covered with dense forests and thickets, with the appearance of an open flat about 10 or 12 miles east-northerly; no native fires seen in any direction to the eastward. At 8 a.m. start, course N. 58deg. E., the first 3 miles consisting of thicket; we then crossed a forest of about 7 miles in width, when we emerged upon an open flat, about ¾ mile across and 8 long, tolerably well grassed from the rain last April and May. Our search for water on it proved fruitless. I then continued onwards, examining the small gullies on our route for water, but there was no trace of rain having fallen for some months. After crossing the last mentioned flat the country began to exhibit the appearance of our having got into another description. Here and there the granite was cropping out of the surface, with the usual thicket and spinifex generally attendant upon the flat granite country to the eastward of York. At 3.30 p.m. from the summit of a small rocky hill on the highest part of the range no bearings were obtainable, the country to the eastward presenting nothing but one unvaried flat of forest and thicket, with not the least rise to relieve the eye. The only bearings obtained were to the eastward, before noticed. Just as I was about to mount the tree from which I had a view of the country, Mr. Monger hastily called my attention to a large black snake, partly hanging out of one of the limbs, which was accordingly shot before I mounted the tree; it measured upwards of 7 feet. At 3.45 p.m. continued onwards for about 2 miles farther in an east-southerly direction. Nothing but thickets, with occasional patches of open forest, and not the least sign of water. The only living animal seen this day was one red kangaroo; no recent trace of natives, though we passed by an old camp they had had in some wet season, but long since deserted. At 4.30 p.m. turned my horses to the westward, trusting that rain, soon falling, will enable me to penetrate the wretched looking country to the eastward to something better. At 5.30 p.m. halted on a small patch of grass, which enabled the horses to feed for an hour or two, after which they were tied up for the night, to prevent them rambling in search of water, which they seem much in want of to-day. During the day we have seen gnows'-nests—generally found in the thickets of the granite country; likewise a few shells on the flat before mentioned, similar to those mentioned in a former part of this journal; whether marine or otherwise I am unable to judge; they crush up in the hand with the slightest pressure; their form is precisely that of the ordinary winkle of the coast, though perfectly white, from bleaching on the surface of the ground for many years. To the last elevated land I have been upon to the eastward I have attached the name of Spinifex Range, it being as luxuriant as on some parts of the N. W. Coast.
Friday, 31st.—At 7 a.m. start, course S. by W. ¾ W., towards the granite hill of the 29th instant, over nearly the same ground as yesterday, reaching the hill at 11.45 a.m., distance 16 miles; giving the horses what little water there was, and finding the remains of a dead kangaroo at the bottom of the hole, which at once accounted for the red worms we had observed in the water on our first coming to it, it now being exhausted, letting the horses graze until 2.40 p.m. We again started, course S. 66deg. W., towards the large flat we crossed on the afternoon of the 29th inst. After passing over a small flat thinly grassed and a belt of forest 5 miles through, we halted at 5.40 p.m. on the western side of a large flat before mentioned, apparently 7 or 8 miles long, by about 1½ broad, lying nearly N. by E., thickly covered with dead stubble of 3 or 4 years' date, but no fresh grass for the horses; nevertheless we saw several kangaroos feeding about. Horses tied up for the night, there being neither grass nor water for them.
Saturday, September 1st.—At 9 a.m. start, course S. 32deg. W. Two and a half miles brought us to the summit of small trap hill, being the southernmost of the low range mentioned on the afternoon of the 30th last month. From this point we had an extensive view of the lake beds, lying in an east-southerly direction; average width apparently about 2 miles. There appears to be very large samphire flats on either side of them; beyond that apparently nothing but dense forest, for many miles, without any elevated land worthy of note; the nearest point of the chain of lake beds is about 3½ miles from this point. At 8.17 a.m. continued our course to the last mentioned hill, crossing an extensive flat of salt-bush and grass, the former preponderating; at 10 a.m. halted on the summit. From this a similar view was obtained. Travelled across partially grassed plains and 1½ miles of forest and salt-bush; at 0.45 p.m. halt at camp 23, having been absent four days without finding any water, except the little we found in the cavity of the large granite hill, the horses having been tied up two nights out of the three we have been absent. The water at this camp, though very thick and muddy, will probably hold out some few days longer, when, unless rain falls in the interval, we must fall back to Slate Well Gully, about 45 miles distant. I was surprised to hear, on my return, from Mr. Roe that the wind at this camp had been blowing almost a gale from west to north-west since the noon of the 28th instant, night and day, bringing with it clouds of dust almost blinding. This afternoon has been no exception, also bringing up heavy clouds from the westward, threatening rain, and rending our tents. Had Mr. Roe not put up a temporary fence round the water-hole to keep the horses out, there would have been little or none at this time.
Sunday, 2nd.—A day of rest.
Monday, 3rd.—During the forenoon we observed two natives steal down to our water hole, drink, and then attempt to make off but were overtaken and brought into camp; they were young men, between 20 and 30 years of age; they appeared at first frightened, and very much astonished at what they saw at camp, and very fearful of the horses trying to make off on their approach, but after feeding them well and trying to learn from them the whereabouts of water without success, they made signs that they wanted to go and bring others back with them, and finding from former experience that it is almost impossible to learn from them anything, I let them go; towards evening they returned, bringing with them two others, one of whom was one of the absconders of last week, who ran away in the night; they appeared friendly, and made my natives understand they would show them water on the morrow; accordingly they were well treated and fed. Some of the party during the day had gone out hunting, and at 5 p.m. returned with 3 fine kangaroos, but had not seen any water whatever during their absence.
Tuesday, 4th.—At 8 a.m. Mundale shot an emu at the water, or mud-hole, more properly speaking, it being now of almost the consistency of batter, but it being the only water about, the natives and emus have travelled to this spot to obtain it; we have seen several of the latter hanging about here, but until to-day have been unable to shoot any at this camp; consequently we are now well off for fresh meat, having three kangaroos and one emu. During the forenoon it was arranged that the bush natives should show the water they spoke of, we having some doubt of it by their shy way and talking to each other, as if they had some other object in view. Accordingly Mr. Roe started, taking with him Mr. Monger and two of our natives, together with three of the bush natives, one having made off in the night, the three promising by signs to come back with the party, which I naturally concluded they would do, having been well treated, no restrictions whatever having been put upon their movements, but according to Mr. Roe's account, on his return, after getting some few miles from camp and meeting other natives (who doubtless induced them to desert), and shewing a few gallons of water in a clay-pan, slipped off, one at a time, into a neighbouring thicket; however, keeping one, they followed the rest to their camping ground, when nine others made their appearance, in addition to some women, who set up most dreadful yells, and threw up the dust with their wana[k]s; the men spreading out evidently with hostile intentions, calling to an old man to bring their spears; but Mr. Roe, seeing this, put spurs to his horse, and stayed him from doing so; then, after thrusting the ringleader before the other with the butt of his gun, he returned to camp, having been hoaxed by them respecting the water, which we feel sure they cannot shew in any important quantity. These and other circumstances which we have observed from time to time, show them to be a tribe in no way to be depended on for truth; they may certainly have been somewhat disordered in temper at finding the water almost exhausted by our using it, as I should suppose they are depending upon it for some time. They are evidently moving to the westward, as some of the tribe we saw some time since 30 miles to the north east, were present at the native camp to-day.
Wednesday, 5th.—Party at camp variously employed—previous to our return to Slate Well Gully, some 45 miles to the westward. The water here is now disappearing fast, and what little we do obtain has to be boiled, and the sediment laid with wood ashes, before we can drink it. At 1.30 p.m. we were startled by the coo-ee of 3 white men not far distant. We were on our feet in an instant, and discharged a gun to let them know our whereabouts, which they answered, and in a few minutes emerged from the forest, and proved to be a portion of the exploring party from King George's Sound. The names of the gentlemen who came up were; Messrs. Belches and J. Taylor, Mr. C. Taylor, and a native, having been left in depot at Slate Well Gully. We were, as may be expected, truly pleased to see them at so great a distance from the settlement; indeed it was pleasant for all parties. It appears that their party left the Sound on the 22nd June, steering in a N.E. direction towards the Ravensthorpe Hills, en route towards Cave Hill, but in consequence of the continuous and dense thickets in that direction, they were obliged to alter their course to one more northerly, to try and reach my track at any point they might strike it, and after considerable difficulty, they succeeded in doing so on the 17th of August, at Buladigie, about 160 miles E. by N. from York. At this point they found abundance of feed and water, and after resting there two days, they followed my dray-track of last year to Duladgin, at which place they came upon Mr. Turner's depot party, and from them, learnt something as to our movements. Four days later they met Mr. Turner between Yerdanie and Gnarlbine, who likewise gave them later intelligence of us. Messrs. Belches and Taylor being anxious to see somewhat mote of the plains, I have undertaken upon myself to go two or three days' travel with them over a portion of the plains recently examined, but knowing of no water upon them, we shall be obliged to return soon, having only the little muddy water to take from this camp, which is now becoming unwholesome, festering, and heating as it is, by exposure to the sun, and amount of filth at the bottom. The horses do not care to drink it, but have no choice; ourselves likewise.
Thursday 6th.—At 9 a.m. started with Messrs. Belches and Taylor, accompanied by G. Mundale, having given Mr. Roe instructions to fall back to Slate Well Gully during my absence. During the day we travelled in several directions over the plains. Numerous kangaroo were seen, and the tracks of many emus. Mr. Belches expressed his opinion that these plains are of a similar description to those of the Far North Plains of South Australia, from which place he has recently come, having witnessed part of the late drought. During the day two fine kangaroos were shot. At 6 p.m. halted on a fine flat; grass plentiful; no water for the horses. Travelled during the day in different directions a distance of about 25 miles.
Friday, 7th.—At 8 a.m. started, N. 250deg. E., crossing the large plain somewhat more to the southward; the country of a similar description, though with somewhat more forest land near the margin of the lakes, upon which we touched. There seemed nothing but a confused mass of small lake beds, about 5 miles in width, with occasional inlets between. From this we came upon a really splendid piece of country, not before closely seen by me, although I had seen it from Hawk Hill last year. There are several hills well grassed to their summits, on the highest of which we halted at 11.30 a.m.; the sides of the hill covered with red everlastings, giving it a very pretty appearance. To the eastward there was grassy country, with the exception of the forest before mentioned, tor several miles; to the southward the chain of lakes, lying in an east and west direction; to the N.W. a few apparently feeding-hills of same extent. To this hill I attached the name of Belches Hill [Mt. Belches], that gentleman being present with me at the time. This is by far the most beautiful spot I have seen east of the settled districts. At 0.45 p.m., course N.W., at 3 miles crossed a fine grassy flat, lying E.N.E. and W.S.W.; found a small quantity of water for our horses in a clay-pan. Continued onwards until 4 p.m. when we halted on the summit of a broken trap hill.
Saturday, 8th.—At 8.45 a.m. started, course about W. ¼ N., towards Slate Well Gully; at noon halted for a short time 4 miles S.W. of Boordunkoobing; water dried up in the clay-pans. At 5 p.m. halted at Slate Well Gully; fine grass and water for some weeks. There I found Mr. Roe and the remainder of the party had arrived, they did not discover any more water. I have now fallen back from my farthest point a distance of about 90 miles to this flat for water to sustain the horses; neither do I believe it is to be found within a very long range to the entrance of this. We have now, I consider, scoured the country over a very extensive radius in search of it, and are now driven back to this point, where I first found water in 1864. Mr. Belches states that these plains bear the closest resemblance to the plains of Central South Australia, though very limited in extent, and somewhat more timbered; the various formations similar, though having a perfect absence of creeks, which are found on the plains of South Australia, occasioned by the extensive and lofty ranges by which they are surrounded. During the three days these gentlemen have been with us I have been able to shew them a great portion of the best of the country. It is indeed with disappointed feelings I return to this camping ground, trusting that rain may fall at the time of the sun's crossing the equinox, which may enable me to make another attempt to the eastward, though I feel sure that any attempt would be attended with much danger, owing to the water on the clay-pans drying up so quickly at this season of the year, from the strong winds and increasing power of the sun; and the only water I have been able to find has been upon them—a very uncertain source to trust to.
Sunday, 9th.—During the day Mr. C. Taylor and his native arrived from Boordunkoobing, they having followed up the other members of their party. The day after their leaving, just previous to his starting back, he had the misfortune to lose one of his horses, which felt down suddenly and died in a few minutes; cause not accounted for, though Mr. Taylor states that no less than three others of the same breed have died in a similar manner. This makes the ninth they have lost—some dead, and others having got away from them; they having started with 17 on the 22nd last June, and now having but 8 remaining. During the day Windich shot two emus on this flat. There seem to be numbers about, probably hanging about in consequence of there being more water here than for many miles around.
Monday, 10th.—Sent a party to start the rations buried by me last year, but when brought to light, were found to be almost all destroyed, the white ants having worked their way through. A small portion of the bacon was eatable by immediate use. They had been buried upwards of 14 months, in a dry sand hill, under circumstances of want, when we should gladly have made use of them, but having now abundance on hand, with the probability of shortly returning to York, it is not necessary to have resource to bad food.
Tuesday, 11th.—It is my intention to bale hereabouts until about the end of the month, and unless rain falls between this and then, I see no other choice but to turn back to the settlement.
Wednesday, 12th.—Heavy clouds made their appearance from the N.W., raising our hopes of rain.
Thursday, 13th.—During the forenoon G. Mundale brought two natives to camp; they pointed out Mundale to me as having seen him before in 1864, when we surprised a large party of them. My natives find great difficulty in understanding them, as they repeat every word that is spoken to them. There appears to be a considerable number of natives now in our neighbourhood, caused probably from the scarcity of water farther to the eastward. About 2 p.m. there fell a light rain or squall for about 2 hours, though scarcely sufficient to lay the dust, and every appearance of more. The natives, while it was raining, managed to slip off unseen, though no restriction had been placed upon them; at the same time the rascals stole a pannican and a pair of socks, in return for our feeding them to repletion.
Saturday, 15th.—Mr. G. Monger and Jemmy brought in a fine kangaroo, and Mr. Roe and Mundale an emu, the former having fallen in with some natives about 2 miles to the eastward of our camp. The natives imagined they wanted water, and pointed in the direction of Stoney Hill Tank. Several fires seen in our locality towards the lake and to the westward. I have omitted to mention that almost during the whole week I have been confined to my tent, suffering severely from neuralgia pains, at times almost maddening. Mr. Roe, while out to-day, visited the grassy flat at which my party fattened the bullocks last year. The grass there is still magnificent. He saw a fine site for a tank. From that locality they brought a large quantity of native peaches (now ripe); we relished them much, and they are converted into jam in a very short time, and are a substitute for vegetables.
Monday, Sept. 17th.—At 9 a.m. Mr. Roe and two natives started to make an attempt to cross the apparently dry bed of Lake Lefroy, to examine the country from the Parker Hills; self at camp still suffering from neuralgia, and employed verifying my position from York.
Tuesday, 18th.—Sharp frost during last night. At 10 a.m. one of the natives who had accompanied Mr. Roe, returned, bringing with him the horses and a note from Mr. Roe, stating that he had attempted to cross the lake with them in two or three places, but after having proceeded some few miles, was obliged to return to the margin, on account of the very boggy nature of the lake-bed, and that he and Mundale were about to try it on foot this day, and would return in the evening of the 19th. The day closed with strong N.W. wind, and light sprinkling of rain for a few minutes.
Wednesday, 19th.—At 4.30 p.m. Mr. Roe and Mundale returned from the Parker Hills, having succeeded in reaching them on the evening of the 18th. Mr. Roe states that after crossing the lake, with some little difficulty, they ascended the highest of the Parker Hills, and from thence obtained an extensive view, embracing all points of the compass. The country from east to southward appeared to be of the most wretched description—nothing but dense forests and thickets as far as the eye could reach, varied by small hillocks of ironstone gravel; not a vestige of grass or water to be seen. On the bed of Lake Lefroy hundreds of tons of fine salt might be collected if necessary; it is so hard that horses scarcely make any impression when walking over the salt. A few inches beneath the salt there appear in numerable gypsum crystals, of all forms.
Friday, 21st.—At 10 a.m. Mr. Roe and portion of the party went to the gully at which last year I kept my bullocks during the time I was making the tank at Stoney Hill, there being splendid grass on the adjoining flat, but unfortunately no permanent water or even any this year. Mr. Roe and party went to make a rough dam in a suitable spot seeu by him a few days since, which may probably prove of importance to any intending travellers in this direction, where water is so difficult to be obtained. Messrs. Belches and Taylor have been very busy this day preparing their loads to start to-morrow on their return to King George's Sound, the season proving so unpropitious for exploring purposes. It is my intention to wait a week longer, during which time I trust rain will fall; then in its absence, I intend to return to York.
Saturday, 22nd.—At 10 a.m. Messrs. Belches and Taylor started for the Horse Rocks, intending to halt there until Monday, when they will start for Cave Hill, as they intend to make an attempt to reach the coast from that spot—somewhere to the eastward of Doubtful Island, or try to find the River-port and follow it down to the coast; their horses were in good condition and lightly packed, and should they not be able to find water at Cave Hill they intend to return to and follow my track into York. Party at camp variously employed, though there is little to do beyond attending to the horses, as we are now only waiting for a change of weather, which I begin now very much to despair of, though lately there has been every appearance of it from the passing heavy clouds and the long continued westerly wind with which this day closes.
Sunday, 23rd.—Began with fine weather and calm, until about 10 a.m., when heavy clouds again came up from the westward with a fresh breeze from the same quarter. The whole party present at camp.
This day closed with cloudy weather and fresh W.N.W. wind.
Monday, 24th.—Began with clear weather and light S.W. wind. The heavy squally weather now seemed to have passed over without having left any rain. During the day I sent Mundale and Windich to look at the flat country north of Mount Martin, and to ascertain if any water was lying on the flats on the northern side of the range. Soon after sundown they returned, stating they had not seen a drop of water since leaving camp, but that grass on the flats was fresh and plentiful.
Tuesday, 25th.—During the whole of the forenoon the sun had a remarkable halo round it, very distinct. I observed the same last year—a few days later; it then preceded a slight change of small amount of rain falling a day or two after. During the day shifted camp to Stoney Hill Tank, about 4 miles N.N.W. The horses I have sent to the usual grazing ground, about three miles to the eastward of this tank. Here we found our old acquaintances the natives.
Thursday, 27th.—At 10 a.m. we were surprised to to see Mr. J. Taylor of the Sound party make his appearance, having come from the Horse Rocks, where his party were halting. He brought with him a note from Mr. Belches, stating that on Monday last they started for Cave Hill en route for the coast. After proceeding about 27 miles to the southward, and seeing no water whatever on the granite rocks, they determined upon turning back, and going into York by my route. He kindly sent to my camp, to see if I had any communication to forward to head quarters by him, of which offer I availed myself to send in notice of my probable return shortly. During the afternoon Messrs. Roe and Monger returned with Mr. Taylor to Horse Rocks.
Friday, 28th.—During last night there was a very sharp frost; in fact we found ice on our water bucket the thickness of a penny. On Mr. Roe's return this day from Horse Rocks he informed me that the natives have been mischievous enough to try to destroy the well at that place by breaking down the upper layers and tumbling it into the bottom. There is but about 1½ or 2 feet of water in the well. I can hardly expect it to be otherwise, there not having been sufficient rain to soak into the ground. I therefore expect we shall find it somewhat the same along the routes we intend to try on our return towards York.
Monday, October 1st.—Messrs. Roe, Monger, and Tommy Windich moving off in the direction of Mount Burges, intending to halt for the night at Couening, about 5 miles west from the north end of the Saddle Hill Range; they took with them 9 horses with supplies, &c.; two natives of this locality accompanied them, promising to show them watering places for several stages, which we rather doubt. My party consisted of self, C. Brackle, Mundale, and Jemmy, with 12 horses, and remainder of stores; moved to Horse Rocks, halting there at 3.30 p.m.; tolerable amount of grass, but water not plentiful; the natives have broken down several tiers of the stone work. My arrangement with Mr. Roe was to make an attempt to reach the ranges near Koolyanobbing and ascertain the description of the country; failing to do so from want of water, (most probable) to return, to the track of last year, where water can be had almost the whole distance by easy stages; further, he would, in the event of reaching Darening or Yerabin, rendezvous there for me until the 25th inst., and my not coming up by that date to move into York.
Tuesday, 2nd.—At 8.15 a.m. start, course S. by W. towards Cave Hill, the whole distance consisting of forest, thicket, and scrubby sand-plain; not a drop of water and scarcely a blade of grass the entire distance travelled; at 3.50 p.m. halt at a granite rock, a little grass having grown round the base, we likewise found enough water in some small natural cavities of the granite to enable us to give the horses part of a bucketful each, with which they have to content themselves for the night.
Wednesday, 3rd.—At 7 a.m. started towards Cave Hill; the trees the whole distance travelled this day showed symptoms of extreme drought; and in some places are dying off from want of moisture, the leaves being as brittle as though they had been burnt along the track we have come the last two days there are several large granite rocks, but on none of them remains any water or appearance of there having for months—except the little sees at the last halt. At 0.15 p.m. halt at Cave Hill, grass plentiful, and water by digging in the native well; no appearance of any natives having been here since my former visit in Sept. 1864.
Thursday, 4th.—I have halted here for the day to give the horses a chance of doing well, there being plenty of grass; and it being my intention of proceeding westerly from here, over a country I have not before traversed, with the probability of a great scarcity of water; in the event of my not finding water the first or second day I must make towards the established track some 40 miles to the north, but I trust to be enabled to continue along the route I have laid out for myself.
Friday, 5th.—At 7 a.m. start, course about W. ½ S. towards large granite rock, country consisting of open forest with occasional flat granite rocks; at 11.20 a.m. halt on the summit of the above mentioned large granite rock, from whence an extensive view was obtained, and the bearings to several large granite hills; during the day we examined several for water and grass, but without success, until 3.30 p.m. when we halted at a large rock where we found sufficient water for our horses for the night; grass scarce; from this rock Cave Hill bore N. 103deg. 15min. E., distant 17 miles, and at noon halt N. 134 deg. E., distant 9 miles; for many miles in either direction the country appears covered with dense thickets and scrubby sand-plain; no native fires observable in any direction.
Saturday, 6th.—At 7.45 a.m. start, course about W.N.W., the first 5 miles being through a continuous and very dense thicket; much trouble to break it down to admit of our forcing the horses through it, and tearing our equipments about much; we then emerged upon an extensive scrubby sand-plain with patches of stunted forest, in fact very poor without water or grass, as ascending to the highest point of the sand-plain there appeared to the west and south-west nothing but the same description of country, viz., scrubby sand-plain and thickets, not any bald granite hills to be seen, where we generally expect to find water and grass in ordinary seasons; at 4 p.m. we halted on the western side of an extensive thicket at a small flat granite rock, the only one we have seen this day, and there being a little grass about it, though no water, I determined to halt for the night, not knowing how far it might be through the thicket to any other grass; the day being a cool one and the horses having had water before starting to-day, will be able to do without until our reaching Nalarine Peak, where we imagine both grass and water may be obtained; during the day it has threat ened much for rain; during the forenoon a few drops fell, but as usual passed off without leaving any for our service.
Sunday, 7th.—At 7 a.m. start, course about N. 330deg. E. magnetic, as yesterday; the first 5 miles we had dense thicket to contend with; 3 miles of open forest; 5 miles of scrubby sand and stunted forest. At 12.10 p.m. halt at Nalarine Rock; small amount of grass, but sufficient water in the native well in the rock for our horses; we therefore stayed here the remainder of the day, which was very boisterous and cloudy; one or two light squalls of rain passed over during the forenoon from the S.W. quarter. In coming across the extensive scrubby sand-plains the last five days they had the appearance of having suffered severely from the long drought; in fact I may even say present drought in these regions, for certainly if no more rain fell some years than has fallen the three last, I should suppose that scarcely any herbage could grow, and the extensive patches of dry grass of 3 or 4 years' date could have no chance. I am therefore of opinion that the last three years have been years of extreme drought, the present one a little less severe perhaps, for certainly up to the present time, eastward of the 119th or 120th meridian, there has not been nearly enough rain to recruit the wells to stand the coming summer.
Monday, 8th.—At 7.30 a.m. start, course W.N.W., towards Boorabbin; about 5 miles of thicket and scrubby sand-plain, with stunted salmon gum forest and cyprus near the edge of the salt lakes laid down in plan south of the established track. This chain we crossed at 11 a.m. with some little trouble, in places very boggy, though no water upon them. From thence we proceeded to Boorabbin, crossing Mr. Lefroy's outward track, about 4 miles E. by S. of the above-named place. At 1 p.m. halt; abundance of water in the Government Well; grass not plentiful, though sufficient for our horses for the night. During yesterday there fell a tolerably heavy shower of rain here, and from the appearance of the clouds at that time, I have reason to think rain fell more to the northward, which will, I trust, enable Mr. Roe to continue his course is the direction of Koolyanobbing, though to the southward there was an almost total absence of water on the large granite rocks, where generally we make tolerably sure of obtaining water. The thickets in that direction are certainly most dense, fully bearing out Mr. Lefroy's description of them, he having traversed a great portion of the country passed over by me from Cave Hill, on his return journey from Mount Burges towards Mount Hampton—certainly a very wretched country.
Tuesday, 9th.—At 7.30 a.m. continued our course to the westward, halting at Quardanoolagin at 2.30 p.m.; water in the native well; grass very scarce; evidently not much rain has fallen here since I passed in July last.
Wednesday, 10th.—.At 9 a.m. start in the direction of Corling Rock. At noon passed through Karoling. Water in the tank, very little on the rocks, and that the result of a shower on Sunday last. There appears to have been little or no rain in the neighbourhood for the last three months; consequently the ground is already much parched. There was very little grass at this place at this time, though last year I kept my bullocks here some time, there being an abundance of water on the surface of the rock and much grass; I have never seen it so bare as now. Continued my course on to Corling, halting there at 1.45 p.m.; grass plentiful; small quantity of water in the granite rock.
Thursday. 11th.—At 7.15 a.m. start, course about west, in the direction of Buladigie, passing Yalgarine Rock at 10 a.m.; grass there plentiful; the native well full of water at this time, though in August, 1865, there was none to be had by sinking this hole deeper; Continued onwards to Buladigie, halting there at 1.30 p.m.; grass plentiful; water in the native well, likewise 3 drowned emus which we took out before we could make use of the water for cooking purposes, or to water the horses, they not liking the labour of it, as well as ourselves, but no other being obtainable for many miles, we were forced to make use of it.
Friday, 12th.—At 7.30 a.m. start, course about due west, towards Nurdungarra, passing through some dense thicket about due south of Kookoordine, and about 3 miles W. ¼ N. of Woolackin Hill. The country along this track is of a very low description; in the forests much salt bush, and in places a considerable quantity of grass of this year's growth. The country this day has the appearance of having received a fair amount of rain—more than farther eastward. At Nurdungarra grass was plentiful; water in the native well.
Saturday, 13th.—At 7.20 a.m. start for Moorine, about N.W. by W. 9½ miles—a track in no way to be recommended, a great portion of it consisting of of thicket and scrubby sand-plain. At 10.45 a.m. halt at Moorine; grass not plentiful; 6 feet water in the Government well—none on the granite rocks. Continued our course about W. ¼ S. towards Yorkarakine, along the cleared track, and halted at the usual stopping place at 3.20 p.m.; grass pore plentiful than when I last passed in July; water in the rocky gully—none on the rocks. Since noon there has has been every appearance of a heavy fall of rain, though but a few drops have fallen up to this time (sundown).
Sunday, 14th.—At noon-wind strong with heavy clouds from the same quarter. During the days few light squalls of rain passed over, but too inconsiderable to cause any water to accumulate on the surface of the granite rocks.
Wednesday, 17th.—Early this morning started for Durdguding Tank. On passing through Boodahlin I found the government well in about the same condition as when I passed it going out, viz., about 4 feet of water in it. At Burancooping I found the well nearly full; it was quite dry in the middle of July last. After passing Boodahlin, we found tracks of strange horses, about ten days old—certainly not those of Messrs. Belches and Taylor, as we know their horse tracks well, though they must have passed along about the same time. We supposed them to be those of the police, as one of tracks appears to be that of the pony Tommy, belonging to the police; apparently 8 or 9 horses and several men, sometimes walking; likewise the track of a native, probably the guide. They have evidently been scouring the thickets and forests on either side of the track, as they several times left it, and returned to it some miles distant; they had camped at Burancooping; whether settlers or police I am unable to determine. On arrival at Durdguding Tank I found abundance of grass and water, and many emus about.
Thursday, 18th.—At 7.45 a.m. start for Darening. On passing the well at Durdguding Rock, I found it quite full of water, and grass plentiful around the base of the rock; at 10.45 a.m. halted at Totadgin; found that a poor supply of water in the well, though at Koobarakoobing, about 2 miles S.S.W. from Totadgin, the native well was full, and plenty of grass for halting purposes. At noon had a squall of rain from the N.W., very heavy for a few minutes, though 4 miles farther west along the track there was not the least sign of rain having fallen for some days. At 3.30 p.m. halt at Darening; feed for the horses plentiful; enough water in the rocky gully for some days.
Friday, 19th.—At this place I intend to halt for a few days, to enable Mr. Roe and party to come up. It is, I think, worthy of notice that we have seen no natives or fires since leaving Stoney Hill Tank, after having travelled over 250 miles. We saw none while travelling outwards until we arrived on the Plains. During the day my natives have shot 3. fine kangaroos. I have before noticed that there are no common kangaroos eastward of this point, until reaching the country near the plains or Slate Well Gully. I think it can only be accounted for from the very poor country we have to traverse before reaching a grassy country.
Sunday, 21st— At 8.40 a.m. self and native Windich start in the direction of Wogolin Spring in a S. by W. direction from Darening; at 0.20 p.m. halted at [Yerabin] for an hour; then continued our course, halting at 4 p.m. at Cookeen Spring, said by the natives to be a permanent one, with same few hundred acres of grassy land around, on the southern side of chain of small lake beds; average course from Darening about S. 20deg. W. magnetic, the greater proportion consisting of extensive and scrubby sand-plains, with occasional small beds of thicket. From this spring Mount Stirling bears about N. 287deg. 30min. E.
Monday, 22nd.—At 6 a.m. continued our course southerly towards Wogolin Rock; about 10 miles south of last halt crossed the road from Caroling to Curramin, and 6 miles more southerly halted at Wogolin Rock and Spring. Almost the whole distance consisted of open and scrubby sand-plains, extending apparently many miles to the southward. Near this rock there are some very fine sand-plains, tolerably well grassed. The spring at the base of this rock is certainly a very fine one, with some fine grassy land near it. This place is a great resort of the natives in summer-time, the supply of water for them being inexhaustible.
Tuesday 23rd.—At 5.40 a.m. start in a west northerly direction towards Dangin; at 10 a.m. halt at the summit of Ulonging Peak.
Wednesday, 24th.—At 10 a.m. left Dangin, and proceeded to Quajabin or County Peak, to obtain some bearings. I continued onwards, and halted for the night at Turkeycock Gully, about 8 miles west-northerly from County Peak.
Thursday, 25th.—At 5.30 a.m. started for York, at which place I arrived at 4 p.m. Found Mr. Roe and remainder of the party had not yet arrived, he having halted at Belmaring Pool on the Salt River, as per arrangement; I therefore made arrangements for sending the settlers' horses home.
Friday, 26th.—Mr. F. Roe arrived in York, with the remainder of the party and eighteen horses, the whole in fair condition, having lost but one from the original number (26) taken from York in the early part of July.
In conclusion. I have only to state that the failure of the expedition is mainly attributable to the late severe drought, which has continued for the last three years in the interior; and from the absence of any extensive ranges or watercourses, I am of opinion that permanent water can only be obtained by sinking, whether deeply or otherwise I am unable to state. Large tanks could easily be made on the plains in the shallow watercourses, on the clay flats; and would, when properly made, retain water for many months. All the really available pastoral country (provided water can be obtained) I estimate amounts to about half a million of acres, consisting of open grassy plains and salt bush, abundant throughout the principal portion of the forest land. Before finally concluding, I wish to mention that every thing in connection with the equipment of the expedition has been of the very best description. With reference to my party, I could not desire a more willing or persevering one. The natives connected with the party (Mundale, Windich, Cowitch, and Jemmy) are four most useful and reliable natives for such a service. To Mr. G. Monger (volunteer) my thanks are due for his usefulness and obliging conduct during the expedition, and to Mr. F. Roe, second in command, my especial thanks are due for his ever willing and persevering conduct, and whom I have always looked upon as a staunch friend while in the interior.
C. C HUNT,
Leader of Eastern Interior Expedition.
Explorations in Western Australia by C.C. Hunt, 1864, 5, & 6.
SROWA [Exploration Plans]: No 29 (Composite, 1864-66).
Note: West is up the page to allow better resolution of detail.
Click on the map to enlarge it.
|Solid red line:||Cleared track for stock or teams.|
|Red circle:||Bivouac of Hunt, 1864.|
|Black Triangle:||Wells or tanks, 1865.|
|Red dashed line:||Hunt exploring, 1864-5.|
|Blue dashed line:||Hunt's tracks, 1866.|
|— · — · — :||F. Roe's tracks, 1866.|
2. Extracts from the Journal of an Expedition organised under the patronage of His Excellency the Governor, by the Agricultural Society of the York District (Western Australia), for the purpose of exploring the country to the eastward of that District. By C. C. HUNT, Esq. (leader of the Expedition.)
Communicated by the Governor of Western Australia.
This expedition, organised as above stated, consisted of five men (under the leadership of Mr. C. C. Hunt), with their equipment of twenty-three horses and 112 rations for twenty-two weeks. It left York on the 9th of July, 1864, pursuing a north-easterly direction for many days, and arriving on the 28th of the month at Cowine, after skirting the south end of a large salt-lake two miles in width, trending n.n.e. as far as the eye could reach, and bordered by extensive samphire-flats. On the 13th of August they crossed Mr. Lefroy's tracks of 1863 in about lat. 31° 10' s., long. 120° 14.40' e., and three days afterwards halted at one of his camps; the Kangaroo Hills, elevated 200 feet above the plain, bearing e. by n. 7½ miles. Ascending the hills next day (17th August) Mr. Hunt obtained a good view of the surrounding country, which presented nothing but open scrubby plains, forests, samphire-flats, and dry lake-beds, without a sign of water. Scarcity of water and feed now began to tell upon the hoists, and the party had to halt a whole day to recruit. On the 21st they discovered, a few miles beyond Lefroy's furthest point, a large lake, which they named after that explorer. It is about 10 or 12 miles broad and thickly studded with islands, some of which appeared to be upwards of two miles in length, and rocky. The country in the neighbourhood of the lake was very heavy for the horses, the hollows being full of sand, and it was necessary on the 27th to five them another day's rest. A long chain of lakes, trending to the south and probably connected with Lake Lefroy, prevented the party from continuing direct to the eastward from this point. Mr. Hunt with three men, therefore, went forward in a s.s.e. direction until they reached 32° 4' s. lat., in search of a practicable route and better pasture for the horses, without, however, finding either after travelling over upwards of 90 miles of country. On the 19th of September Mr. Hunt again went forward with a portion of his party in search of a better country in an e. by n. direction. There had been several heavy falls of rain, but not a drop of water could be seen in any of the gullies and salt-bush flats through which they travelled. "Many persons," adds Mr. Hunt, "are under the impression that there must be an outlet for the rain falling in this region; but I am inclined to think that the whole of the surface-water is received by the immense chain of lakes which cover many hundreds of square miles on one dead level, and from which it evaporates with great rapidity." On the next day he pursued a course n. 45° e. for six miles through forests and over low ironstone ridges. From the general appearance of the country the water appeared to have dried off at least six weeks before: the tracks of the natives trended in an easterly direction. At 4.30 p.m. (having changed his course for 12 miles to n. 75° e.) he reached some low broken hills. "From their summit the whole country to the north appeared to be a continuation of low undulating plains, with broken hills in the distance and a long chain of lakes lying north-east and south-west; to the east extensive plains of salt-bush and grass similar to those previously passed over, without a break or hill to be seen—not a drop of water could be found in any direction." The next day he returned to the encampment, and on the 23rd, finding the season far advanced and no prospect of getting further to the eastward, he decided on sending two of his men with some of the horses and part of the rations back to York. The rest of the party remained a few days longer, in the hope of rain falling to enable them to push forward again to the eastward, but were obliged eventually to abandon the place, returning again on their track to Depot Hill. Mr. Hunt, with one of his men, diverged towards the north-west for two days, but found the country of a most wretched description: his horses were thoroughly knocked up, having travelled 50 miles without either feed or water. The aridity of the weather continuing, he relinquished all hope of continuing his exploration and returned to York, his furthest point having been 31° 9' s. lat., 120° 2' 30" e. long. A map of the country travelled over is in preparation, which will show, as Mr. Hunt remarks in concluding his report, that salt-lakes and marshes extend over a great portion, and, in the absence of known permanent water, he fears it will never be made available for pastoral purposes.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1865.
The return of Mr. Hunt from his excursion to the Eastward has not made known to us much of which we were ignorant, beyond the mere fact that this last—one of the dryest seasons of dry Australia—has not rendered the interior for 340 miles East of York impenetrable; and on his route, ending at a point about 180 miles N.N.E. of Point Malcolm, wells are sunk, trees are blazed, and stock can be driven along it to the Hampton Plains—a vast grassy prairie—and which, but for dryness of the last season or two, would seem to invite the presence of the squatter. In ordinary seasons, from the flight of birds, the state of the temperature, and the stories of natives—travellers, Eyre and his successors have argued the presence of a fertile country; and if these suppositions have yet to be absolutely verified, the cause would seem to be that a geographical fact is rarely ascertained by a first experiment. On former occasions Captain Roe and the Gregorys have been stopped by thickets, which they not unreasonably deemed impassable; but Mr. Hunt's better luck has led him to a gap in these thickets; and the question now is, not what lies along his line of travel, but beyond it to the North and East. It is Mr. Francis Gregory's opinion, formed and expressed long before Mr. Hunt made his way so fear East, that a great river, discharging itself on the North-West Coast, and whose head-waters would be found in this region, exists; and thus if the conjectures of men, whose' mature opinions are worth having, supported by subsequently ascertained physical facts, have value, the questions remaining to be answered are—Do the present results of exploration invite further research? and, Is such research likely to be of permanent benefit to civilization?
Mr. Hunt, having been a seaman, and his party consisting of pensioners and convicts, is unable to bewilder himself with geological theories, or describe the vegetation otherwise than his mother tongue and eyesight enable him. So he has contented himself with bringing in some stones, marking on them the place whence they were obtained, and among which can be recognized jasper, quartz, slate, and shale; and with returning to the Government, and those private persons who lent them, their horses and bullocks in better case than when they set out from York.
Mr. Bernard Clarkson found a stinking oily fluid exuding from the rock on his eastern journey, 3 years ago; and thus we are at liberty to infer that Mr. Hunt has traversed a carboniferous district, and turned back at last from a country where sheep can live.
To say that exploration is of vast importance to the Colonists is as true as that as summer approaches the heat increases: each assertion is equally a platitude; but until Governor Hampton's arrival the Executive have generally discouraged exploration. Austin's costly exploration in 1854 was absolutely barren of beneficial results; while Francis Gregory, with a flying party of four or five in 1859, traced the Murchison North and East, till he found the sources and head-waters of the Gascoyne, Alma, Lyons, and Ashburton, issuing from a fertile and elevated table land. These discoveries led to the equipment of his expedition of 1861, and the discovery of the Nickol Bay country. That expedition started almost in spite of the Government, who argued that even if good country were found there, it would be worse than useless to us. Good country has been found, and is settled; and many of our settlers have found their way up there. They have been joined by settlers from Victoria; and it is strange and almost humiliating now to recollect that sensible gentlemen should have opposed Mr. Gregory as they did, for if his plan had been adopted, instead of thwarted, the stations on De Witt's Land would have been at least four years older than at present. The object of a Government is no more to amass a revenue than to fool it away; but Gregory and Hunt are not visionaries, and the expenses of their equipments have been largely to the public gain.
We now know that De Witt's Land will bear sheep, but there is no known route to it, except by sea, or the valley of the Murchison.
We have every reason to believe that Mr. Hunt's country will also bear sheep, and along the line of country between us and it there is a well-grassed country with wells of water, and a plainly marked track. . . .
Referring to a notice in the Government Gazette of this date, detailing the various wells and reserves on the line of road to the Eastward of York recently cleared by the party under the orders of Mr. C. C. Hunt, the following, in regard to the same subject, has been, handed to us for publication, as containing much matter of interest and useful information to intending travellers in the same direction:—
1. Youndegin Well—In centre of a square of 100 acres lying magnetic N.N.W. and E.N.E. Abundance of good grass convenient to the well, 100 yards from which in an east-northerly direction is a marked tree.
2. Tammin Well—Small, with a very limited supply of water. Situate near the western base of a granite rock, and about 150 yards south-easterly from a marked tree. The well is in centre of a reserve of 50 acres, lying, in a double square East and West.
3. Naraline Well—In a gully trending south-easterly and about ½ a mile south from summit of a quartz rock. A reserve of 50 acres extends south in form of a double square, with the well 10 chains within the middle of the north boundary.
4. Dodolakine Well—Near the eastern base of a rock, and about 60 yards west from a marked tree. A reserve of 100 acres lying east and west in a double square, with the well 5 chains within the middle of its south boundary.
5. Totadgin Well—Near the Eastern base of rocks, and about 100 yards south-westerly from a marked York gum tree. A reserve of 20 acres, with the well 2 chains within the middle of West boundary of a square lying E. and W.
6. Durdguding Well—In a small hollow trending westerly from the base of a granite rock, and 100 yards south from a marked tree. A reserve of 20 acres in form of a square lying E. and W., with the well about 3 chains within the middle of its South boundary. About 1¼ mile N.N.E. from this well a reservoir for water has been formed between granite rocks, and sustained by a small solid artificial embankment.
7. Burancooping Well—About 10 chains from the Northern base of a granite rock, and 10 chains south from a marked tree. A reserve of 40 acres in form of square lying E. and W., with the well in the centre.
8. Boodahlin Well—Ten chains from the southern base of a granite rock, and 12 chains East-northerly from a marked tree near the road. A reserve of 40 acres in a square, lying E. and W., with the well in the centre.
9. Moorine Well—Five chains from the Southern base of a granite rock, and 20 chains from a marked tree on south side of the track to Kodgerning. A reserve of 10 acres in a square lying E. and W., and the well 3 chains within the North boundary of it.
10. Keocanie Well—Six chains from the Eastern base of granite rocks, and near a good log hut; affords at all times an abundant supply of good water. The well in centre of a square reserve of 40 acres, lying E. and W.
11. Kodgerning Well—About 4 chains from the northern edge of a flat granite rock, and 20 chains from a marked tree on the north side of the track to Kookoordine. The well is in centre of a square lying E. and W.
12. Kookoordine Well—About 10 chains from the Western margin of a lake, and near 3 good huts. The well is 3 chains within middle of the East boundary of a reserve of 50 acres in form of a square lying E. and W.
13. Weouanie Tank—Near the Southern base of granite rocks, and in a small hollow trending Southerly towards a chain of small salt lakes. A marked tree near the tank, which is 3 chains within the middle of the south boundary line of a reserve of 20 acres, in a square lying E. and W. The tank has been blasted out of granite rock, and would contain probably 3000 gallons; besides which, for several months during ordinary seasons, water may be found in the natural basins of the adjoining granite rocks, and there is grass around them.
14. Karoling Dam—In a small hollow trending Easterly from granite rocks, and near the edge of white gum forest abounding in box-poison, which is not so abundant on the West side of the rocks. The dam is 5 chains within the East boundary of a reserve of 150 acres extending E. and W. in a double square. The rocks contain some fine natural basins which are said by the natives to contain water throughout the year.
15. Quardanoolagin Well—In centre of a square reserve of 200 acres of grass land lying E. and W., being the only grass near the road between Karoling and Boorabbin. Water is to be found at all times in holes of the granite rocks, and probably also by deep sinking.
16. Boorabbin Well—In a small hollow trending south-easterly from N.E. side of granite rocks, and about six chains South from a marked tree. The well is about 5 chains within the West boundary of a reserve of 50 acres in a square form lying E. and W.
17. Wargangering Dam—About 18 chains from a marked tree, and between two granite rocks; will contain many thousand gallons of water when full. The middle of the dam wall is the centre of a reserve of 100 acres lying E. and W.
18. Yerdanie Well—Half a chain from the Western base of granite rocks, on the summit of which is a marked tree. The well is one chain within the north boundary of a square of 100 acres reserved, and lying E. and W.
19. Gnarlbine Well—Near the eastern base of granite rocks, and about 10 chains West from a marked tree. The supply of water very limited. The well is 3 chains within the West boundary of a reserve of 20 acres, lying N. and S., in form of a double square.
20. Horse Rocks Well—Situate 2½ miles N.N.W. from Depot Hill, and half a mile east from a marked tree on south side of the road; yielding only a limited supply of water, but believed to be permanent for several months. At ordinary seasons water is procurable on the granite rocks, and at Depot Hill. The well is about 6 chains from the southern end of the granite rocks, and in centre of a reserve of 40 acres, in form of a square lying E. and W.
21. Stoney Hill Tanks.—One and a quarter miles S.E. by E. from summit of that hill, near the base of which is good grass. One tank is 60 feet long, 10 feet broad, and 5 feet 8 inches deep. The other is 43 feet long, 8 feet broad, and 5 feet 1 inch deep. The largest is about 8 chains North from a marked tree, and the middle of the space between the tanks is the centre of a reserve of 100 acres, in form of a square lying E. and W.
22. Slate Well—At the end of the present marked road, is 6 miles S. by W. from Mount Martin, and about 22 chains Westerly from a marked tree. It was sunk 15½ feet deep through slate, without obtaining water, and is in centre of a square reserve lying E. and W. A Tank 35 feet by 10, and 5½ feet deep has been formed in the clay bed of the same gully, about a mile below the well, and is supported by a strong embankment on its lower or Southern side.
23.—White Peak Tank—In bed of a gully dipping South-easterly towards Stoney Hill, and about 12 chains east from a marked tree. The tank is 60 feet by 10, and 5½ feet deep; excavated in stiff red clay; and its north end is the centre of a square reserve of 100 acres lying E. and W. The road has not been marked or cleared to this tank.
NOTE.—All bearings are true, except where otherwise stated.
All of the textual material in this work was published in The Inquirer and Commercial News between 1864 and 1866, some of it summarised in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London.
Introduction: Three Letters to the Government.
All published 19 October, 1864; Trove article/66014482.
1864: JOURNAL: MR. HUNT'S EXPLORING EXPEDITION.
Published 25 November; Trove article/3750219.
1865: JOURNAL: Kept by Mr. C. C. Hunt of his proceedings.
Published 6 September 1865; Trove article/66014972.
1866: JOURNAL OF AN EXPEDITION TO THE EASTERN INTERIOR OF Western Australia.
Published in five instalments:
A. ADDITIONAL NOTICES: from Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume IX, 13 March, 1865, pp. 111-12.
B. Return: Published 11 October 1865; Trove article/66014786.
C. Wells: Published 20 December 1865; Trove article/66012951.
Maps: Available from State Records Office of Western Australia (SROWA):
[* The plan shown in this work.]
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