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i Ct . w L 

\"; r 

r , 


C^e 3^omance of (Ejc^jloration, 






Central South Australia^ and Western Australia^ 

From 1872 to 1876. 



Felhw, and Cold Medallist^ of the Royal Geographical Society of London, 






St. ^nnstan'B ^ons^, 
Fetter Lane, Fleet Street, E.G. 


[All rights reserved.'^ 


National Library of Australia 
Cataloguing-in- Publication entry 
Giles. William Ernest Powell. 1835 - 1897. 
Australia twice traversed. 

Facsimile reprint. Originally published 

London: Sampson Low, Marston, 5>earle and Rivington, 

1889 Ferguson no. 9914 


LSBN 86824 016 8 limited edition of 100 copies. 

ISBN 86824 015 x 

1. Ck'ntral Australia — Discovery and exploration 
I. Title 


Printed by Macarthur Press (Books) Pty. Ltd. Sydney 




FROM 4TH TO 30TH AUGUST, 1 872. 

The party — Port Augusta — The road — The Peake — Stony plcatcau — 
Telegraph station — Natives formerly hostile — A new member — 
Leave the Peake — Black boy deserts — Reach the Charlotte 
Waters Station — Natives' account of other natives — Leave last 
outpost — Reach the Finke — ^A Government party — A ride west- 
ward — End of the stony plateau — A sandhill region — Chambers' 
Pillar — The Moloch horridus — Thermometer 18° — The Finke — 
Johnstone's range — A night alarm — Beautiful trees — Wild ducks 
— A tributary — High dark hill — Coimtry rises in altitude — ^Very 
high sandhills — Quicksands — New ranges — A brush ford — New 
pigeon — Pointed hill — A clay pan — Christopher's Pinnacle — 
Chandler's Range — Another new range — Sounds of running 
water — First natives seen — Name of the river — A Central 
Australian warrior — Natives burning the country — Name a new 
creek — Ascend a mountain — ^Vivid green — Discover a glen and 
more moimtains — Hot winds, smoke and ashes . 3-20 



Milk thistle — In the glen — A serpentine and rocky road — Name a 
new creek — Grotesque hills — Caves and caverns — Cypress pines 
— More natives— Astonish them — Agreeable scenery — Sentinel 
stars — Pelicans — Wild and picturesque scenery — More natives — 
Palm-trees — A junction in the glen — High ranges to the north — 
Palms and flowers — The Glen of Palms— Slight rain — Rain at 
night — Plant various seeds — End of the glen — Its length— 
Krichaufif Range — The northern range — Level country between — 


A gorge — A flooded channel — Cross a western tributary — Wild 
ducks — Ramble among the mountains — Their altitude — A 
splendid panorama — Progress stopped by a torrent and im- 
passable gorge 21-33 


FROM 6th to 17TH SEPTEMBER, 1 87 2. 

Progress stopped — Fall back on a tributary — River flooded — A new 
range — RudalPs Creek — Reach the range — Grass-trees^Wild 
beauty of scene — Scarcity of water — A pea-like vetch — Name 
the range — A barren spot — ^Water seen from it — Follow a creek 
channel — Other creeks join it — ^A confined glen — Scrubby and 
stony hills — Strike a gum creek — Slimy water — A pretty tree — 
Flies troublesome — Emus — An orange-tree — Tropic of Capricorn 
— Melodious sounds — Carmichael's Creek — Mountains to the 
north — Ponds of water — A green plain — Clay-pan water — Fine 
herbage — Kangaroos and emus numerous — ^A new tree — Agreeable 
encampment — Peculiar mountains — High peak — Start to ascend 
it — Game plentiful — Racecourse plain — Surrounded by scrubs — 
A bare slope — A yawning chasm — Appearance of the peak — 
Gleaming pools — Cypress pines — The tropic clime of youth — 
Proceed westwards — Thick scrubs — Native method of procuring 
water — A pine-clad hill — A watercourse to the south — A poor 
supply of water — Skywards the only view — Horses all gone — 
Increasing temperature — Attempt ascending high bluff — Timber- 
less mountains — Beautiful flowers — Sultry night — Wretched 
encampment — Depart from it . . • . . 34-48 



Search for the missing horses — Find one — Hot wind and flying sand 
— Last horse recovered — Annoyed by flies — Mountains to the 
west — Fine timber — Gardiner's Range — Mount Solitary — Follow 
the creek — Dig a tank — Character of the country — Thunder- 
storms — Mount Peculiar — A desolate region — Sandhills— Useless 
rain — A bare granite hill — No water — Equinoctial gales — Search 
for water — Find a rock reservoir — Native fig-trees — Gloomy and 
desolate view — The old chain — Hills surrounded by scrubs — 
More hills to the west— Difficult watering-place — Immortelles — 
Cold weather — View from a hill — Renewed search for water — 
Find a small supply — Almost unapproachable — Effects of the 
spinifex on the horses — Pack-horses in scrubs — The Mus conditor 
— Glistening micaceous hills — Unsuccessful search — Waterless 
hill nine hundred feet high — Oceans of scrub — Retreat to last 
reservoir — Natives* smokes — Night without water — Unlucky day 


— ^Two horses lost — Recover them — Take a wrong turn — Difficulty 
in watering the horses — An uncomfortable camp — Unsuccessful 
searches — Mount Udor — Mark a tree — Tender-footed horses — 
Poor feed — Sprinkling rain — Flies again troublesome — Start for 
the western ranges — Difficult scrubs — Lonely camp — Horses 
away — Reach the range — No water — Retreat to Mount Udor — 
Slight rain — Determine to abandon this region — Corkwood 
trees — Ants* nests — Glow-worms — Native poplar-trees — Peculiar 
climate — Red gum-trees — ^A mare foals — Depart for the south — 
Remarks on the country ...... 49-69 



A bluff hill — Quandong trees — The mulga-tree — Travel S.S.E. — Mare 
left behind — Native peaches — Short of water — Large tree — 
Timbered ridges — Horses suffer from thirst— Pine-trees — Native 
encampments — Native paintings in caves — Peculiar crevice — A 
rock tarn — A liquid prize — Caverns and caves — ^A pretty oasis — 
Ripe figs — Recover the mare — Thunder and lightning — Orna- 
mented caves — Hands of glory — A snake in a hole — Heavy dew 
—Natives burning the country — A rocky eminence — Waterless 
region — Cheerless view — A race of Salamanders — Circles of fire 
— Wallaby and pigeons — Wallaby traps— Return to depot — 
Water diminishing — Glen Edith — Mark trees — The tarn of Auber 
— Landmarks to it — Seeds sown — Everything in miniature — 
Journey south — Desert oaks — ^A better region — Kangaroos and 
emus — Desert again — A creek channel — Water by scratching — 
Find more — Splendid grass — Native signs — Farther south — 
Beautiful green — Abundance of water — Follow the channel — 
Laurie's Creek — Vale of Tempe — A gap or pass — Without water — 
Well- grassed plain — Native well — Dry rock-holes — Natives' fires 
— New ranges — High mountain — Return to creek — And Glen 
Edith — Description of it 70-90 



Move the camp to new creek — Revisit the pass — Hornets and 
diamond birds — More ornamented caves — Map study — Start for 
the mountain — A salt lake — A barrier — Brine ponds — Horses 
nearly lost — Exhausted horses — Follow the lake — A prospect 
wild and weird — Mount Olga — Sleepless animals — A day's rest — 
A National Gallery — Signal for natives — The lake again — High 
hill westward — Mount Unapproachable — McNicoPs range — Heat 
increasing — Sufferings and dejection of the horses— WorrilFs 
Pass — Glen Thirsty — Food all gone — Review of our situation — 


Horse staked — Pleasure of a bath — ^A •journey eastward — Better 
regions— A fine creek — Fine open country — King's Creek — Car- 
michaePs Crag — Penny's Creek— Stokes's Creek — A swim — 
Bagot's Creek — Termination of the range — Trickett's Creek — 
George Gill's Range — Petermann's Creek — Return — Two natives 
— A host of aborigines — Break up the depot — Improvement in 
the horses — Carmichael's resolve — Levi's Range — Follow the 
Petermann — Enter a glen — Up a tree — Rapid retreat — Escape 
Glen — ^A new creek — Fall over a bank — Middleton's Pass — Good 
country — Friendly natives— Rogers's Pass — Seymour's Range — 
A fenced-in* water-hole— Briscoe's Pass — The Finke — Resight 
the Pillar— Remarks on the Finke— Reach the telegraph line- 
Native boys — I buy one — The Charlotte Waters— Colonel War- 
burton — ^Arrive at the Peake — News of Dick— Reach Adelaide 



FROM 4TH TO 22ND AUGUST, 1 873. 

Leave for the west — Ascend the Alberga — ^An old building — Rain, 
thunder, and lightning — Leave Alberga for the north-west — 
Drenched in the night — Two lords of the soil — Get their congd — 
Water-holes — Pretty amphitheatre — Scrubs on either side — 
Watering the horses — A row of saplings — Spinifex and poplars — 
Dig a tank — Hot wind — A broken limb — Higher hills — Flat- 
topped hills — Singular cones— Better country — A horse staked — 
Bluff-faced hills — The Anthony Range — Cool nights — Tent- 
shaped hills — Fantastic mounds — Romantic valley — Picturesque 
scene — A gum creek — Beautiful country — Gusts of fragrance — 
New and independent hills — Large creek — Native well — Jimmy's 
report — The Krichauff— Cold nights— Shooting blacks — Labor 
omnia vincit — Thermometer 28° — Dense scrubs — Small creek — 
Native pheasant's nest — Beautiful open ground — Charming view 
— Rocks piled on rocks 143-155 



A poor water supply — Seeds planted — Beautiful country — Ride west- 
ward — A chopped log — Magnetic hill — Singular scenery — Snail- 
shells— Cheering prospect westward— A new chain of hills — A 
nearer mountain — Vistas of green — Gibson finds water — Turtle 
backs — Ornamented Troglodytes' caves — Water and emus — Beef- 
wood-trees — Grassy lawns — Gum creek — Purple vetch — Cold 
dewy night — Jumbled turtle backs — Tietkens returns — I proceed 


— Two-storied native huts — Chinese doctrine— A wonderful moun- 
tain — Elegant trees — Extraordinary ridge — ^A garden — Nature 
imitates her imitator — Wild and strange view — Pool of water — A 
lonely camp — Between sleeping and waking — Extract from Byron 
for breakfast — Return for the party — Emus and water — Arrival of 
Tietkens — ^A good camp — Tietkens's Birthday Creek — Ascend the 
mountain— No signs of water — Gill's Range — Flat-topped hill — 
The Everard Range — High mounts westward — Snail shells — 
Altitude of the mountain— Pretty scenes — Parrot soup — The 
sentinel — ^Thermometer 26° — Frost — Lunar rainbow — ^A charm- 
ing spot — A pool of water — Cones of the main range — A new 
pass — Dreams realised — A long glen — Glen Ferdinand — Mount 
Ferdinand — The Reid — Large creek — Disturb a native nation — 
Spears hurled — ^A regular attack — Repulse and return of the 
enemy — Their appearance — Encounter Creek — Mount Officer — 
The Currie — The Levinger — Excellent country — Horse-play — 
Mount Davenport — Small gap — ^A fairy space — The Fairies' Glen 
— Day dreams — Thermometer 24° — Ice — Mount Oberon — 
Titania's spring — Horses bewitched — Glen Watson — Mount Olga 
in view — The Musgrave Range 156-187 



Leave for Mount Olga — Change of scene — Desert oak-trees — The 
Mann range — Eraser's Wells — Mount Olga's foot — Gosse's 
expedition — Marvellous mountain — Running water — Black and 
gold butterflies — Rocky bath — Ayers' Rock — Appearance of 
Mount Olga — Irritans camp — Sugar-loaf Hill — Collect plants — 
Peaches — A patch of better country — A new creek and glen — 
Heat and cold — ^A pellucid pond — 2^e's Glen — Christy Bagot's 
Creek — Stewed ducks — A lake — Hector's Springs and Pass — 
Lake Wilson — Stevenson's Creek — Milk thistles — Beautiful 
amphitheatre — A carpet of verdure — Green swamp — Smell of 
camels — How I found Livingstone — Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit — 
Cotton and salt bush flats— The Champ de Mars — Sheets of 
water — Peculiar tree — Pleasing scene — Harriet's Springs — Water 
in grass — ^Ants and burrs — Mount Aloysius — Across the border — 
The Bell Rock 188-200 



Native encampment — Fires alight — Hogarth's Wells — Mount Marie 
and Mount Jeanuie — Pointed ranges to the west — Chop a passage 
— Traces of volcanic action — Highly magnetic hills — The Leipoa 
ocellata — Tapping pits — Glen Osborne — Cotton-bush flats — 


Frowning bastion walls — Fort Mueller — A strong running stream 
— Natives* smokes — Gosse returning — Limestone formation — 
Native pheasants' nests — Egg-carrying — Mount Squires — The 
Mus conditor*s nest — Difficulty with the horses — A small creek 
and native well — Steer for the west — Night work — Very desolate 
places — A circular storm — The Shoeing Camp — A bare hill — The 
Cups — Fresh-looking creek — Brine and bitter water — The desert 
pea — Jimmy and the natives — Natives prowling at night — 
Searching for water — Horses suffering from thirst — Horseflesh — 
The Cob — The camp on fire — Men and horses choking for water 
— Abandon the place — Displeasing view — Native signs — Another 
cup — Thermometer io6° — Return to the Cob — Old dry well — A 
junction from the east — Green rushes — Another waterless camp — 
Return to the Shoeing Camp — Intense cold — Biting dogs' noses 
— A nasal organ — Boiling an egg — Tietkens and Gibson return 
unsuccessful — Another attempt west — Country burnt by natives 




Alone — Native signs — A stinking pit — Ninety miles from water — 
Elder's Creek— Hughes's Creek— The Colonel's Range — Rampart- 
like range — Hills to the north-east — Jamieson's Range — Return 
to Fort MueUer — Rain — Start for the Shoeing Camp once more — 
Lightning Rock — Nothing like leather — Pharaoh's inflictions — 
Photophobists — Hot weather — Fever and philosophy — Tietkens's 
tank — (libson taken ill — Mysterious disappearance of water — 
Earthquake shock — Concussions and falling rocks — The glen — 
Cut an approach to the water — Another earthquake shock — A 
bough-house — Gardens — A journey northwards — Pine-clad hills — 
New line of ranges — Return to depot .... 223-245 


FROM 23RD DECEMBER, 1873, TO i6tH JANUARY, 1874. 

Primitive laundry — Natives troublesome in our absence — The ives — 
Gibson's estimate of a straight heel — Christmas Day, 1873 — 
Attacked by natives — A wild caroo — Wild grapes from a sandal- 
wood-tree — More earthquakes — The moon on the waters — 
Another journey northwards — Retreat to the depot — More rain at 
the depot — Jimmy's escape — A " canis familiaris " — An innocent 
lamb — Sage-bush scrubs — Groves of oak-trees — Beautiful green 
flat — Crab-hole water— Bold and abrupt range— A glittering 
cascade — Invisibly bright water — The murmur in the shell — A 
shower bath — The Alice Falls— Ascend to the summit— A strange 
view — Gratified at our discoveries — Return to Fort Mueller — 
Digging with a tomahawk— Storing water — Wallaby for supper — 


Another attack — Gibson's gardens — Opossums destructive — 
Birds — Thoughts — Physical peculiarities of the region — Haunted 
—Depart 246-264 



The Kangaroo Tanks — Horses stampede — Water by digging — Stag- 
gering horses — Deep rock-reservoir — Glen Gumming — Mount 
Russell— Glen Gerald— Glen Fielder— The Alice Falls— Separated 
hills — Splendid-looking creek — Excellent country — The Pass of 
the Abencerrages — Sladen Water — An alarm — Jimmy's anxiety 
for a date — Mount Barlee — Mount Buttfield— ** Stagning " water 
— Ranges coi>tinue to the west — ^A notch — Dry rocky basins — 
Horses impounded — Desolation Glen — Wretched night — ^Terrible 
Billy — ^A thick clump of gums — A strong and rapid stream — The 
Stemodia viscosa— Head first in a bog — Leuhman's Spring — 
Groener's and Tyndall's Springs — The Great Gorge — Fort 
McKellar — The Gorge of Tarns — Ants again — Swim in the tarn 
— View from summit of range — Altitude — Tatterdemalions — An 
explorer's accomplishments — Cool and shady caves — Large rocky 
tarn — The Circus — High red sandhills to the west — Ancient lake 
bed — Burrowing wallabies — The North-west Mountain — Jimmy 
and the grog bottle — The Rawlinson Range — Moth- and fly- 
catching plant — An inviting mountain — Inviting valley — Fruitless 
search for water — Ascend the mountain — Mount Robert — Dead 
and dying horses — Description of the mob — Mount Destruction 
— Reflections — Life for water — Hot winds — Retreat to Sladen 
Water — Wild ducks — An ornithological lecture — Shift the camp 
— Cockatoo parrots — Clouds of pigeons — Dragged by Diaway — 
Attacked by the natives 265-298 



Journey south-west — Glens and springs — Rough watering-place — A 
marble bath — Glassy rocks — Swarms of ants — Solitary tree — An 
oven — Terrible night — And day — Wretched appearance of the 
horses — Mountains of sand — Hopeless view — Speculations — In 
great pain — Horses in agony — Difficulty in watering them — 
Another night of misery — Dante's Inferno — The waters of 
oblivion — Return to the pass — Dinner of carrion — A smoke-house 
— A tour to the east — Singular pinnacle — Eastern ranges — A 
gum creek — Basins 01 water — Natives all around — Teocallis — 
Horrid rites — A chip of the old block — A wayside inn — Gordon's 
Springs 299-317 



Portrait of Author .... Frontispiece 

Chambers' Pillar 9 

The Moloch Horridus 10 

View in the Glen of Palms to face 23 

Palm-tree found in the Glen of Palms ... 25 

Glen Edith 85 

Penny's Creek iii 

Escape Glen — ^The Advance 122 

„ The Retreat 123 

Middleton's Pass and Fish Ponds . . to face 124 

Junction of the Palmer and the Finke . .126 

An Incident of Travel 147 

TiETKENs's Birthday Creek and Mount Carnarvon to face 168 

On Birthday Creek ,,171 

Encounter with Natives at "The Officer," Mus- 

GRAVE Range ,,176 

The Fairies' Glen ,,184 

ZoE's Glen 193 

The Stinking Pit 227 

Attack at Fort Mueller .... tofac^ 260 

Dragged by Diaway „ 295 

Attack at Sladen Water .... ,,297 

Gill's Pinnacle ,,316 


First Expedition, 1872 

Second Expedition, 1873-4 

Australia, showing the Several Routes 


The original journals of the field notes, from which the 
present narrative is compiled, were published, as each 
expedition ended, as parliamentary papers by the Govern- 
ment of the Colony of South Australia. 

The journals of the first two expeditions, formed a small 
book, which was distributed mostly to the patrons who had 
subscribed to the fund for my second expedition. The 
account of the third, found its way into the South Austra- 
lian Observer^ while the records of the fourth and fifth 
journeys remained as parliamentary documents, the whole 
never having appeared together. Thus only fragments 
of the accounts of my wanderings became known ; and 
though my name as an explorer has been heard of, both in 
Australia and England, yet very few people even in the 
Colonies are aware of what I have really done. Therefore 
it was thought that a work embodying the whole of my 
explorations might be acceptable to both English and 
Colonial readers. 

Some years have been allowed to elapse since these 
journeys were commenced ; but the facts are the same, and 
to those not mixed up in the adventures, the incidents as 
fresh as when they occurred. 

Unavoidably, I have had to encounter a large area of 
desert country in the interior of the colonies of South 
Australia, and Western Australia, in my various wander- 
ings; but I also discovered considerable tracts of lands 
watered and suitable for occupation. 

It is not in accordance with my own feelings in regard 
to Australia that I am the chronicler of her poorer regions ; 
and although an Englishman, Australia has no sincerer 
well-wisher ; had it been otherwise, I could not have per- 
formed the work these volumes record. It has indeed 
been often a cause of regret that my lines of march should 
have led me away from the beautiful and fertile places 
upon Australia's shores, where our countrymen have made 
their homes. 


On the subject of the wonderful resources of Australia 
I am not called upon to enlarge, and surely all who have 
heard her name must have heard also of her gold, copper, 
wool, wine, beef, mutton, wheat, timber, and other products ; 
and if any other evidence were wanting to show what 
Australia really is, a visit to her cities, and an experience 
of her civilisation, not forgetting the great revenues of her 
different provinces, would dispel at once all previous 
inaccurate impressions of those who, never having seen, 
perhaps cannot believe in the existence of them. 

In the course of this work my reader will easily discover 
to whom it is dedicated, without a more formal statement 
under such a heading. The preface, which may seem out 
of its place, is merely such to my own journeys. I thought 
it due to my readers and my predecessors in the Australian 
field of discovery, that I should give a rapid epitome (which 
may contain some minor errors) of what they had done, 
and which is here put forward by way of introduction. 

Most of the illustrations, except one or two photographs, 
were originally from very rough sketches, or I might rather 
say scratches, of mine, improved upon by Mr. Val Prinsep, 
of Perth, Western Australia, who drew most of the plates 
referring to the camel expeditions, while those relating to 
the horse journeys were sketched by Mr. Woodhouse, Junr., 
of Melbourne ; the whole, however, have undergone a 
process of reproduction at the hands of London artists. 

To Mrs. Cashel Hoey, the well-known authoress and 
Australian correspondent, who revised and cleared my 
original MSS., I have to accord my most sincere thanks. 
To Mr. Henniker-Heaton, M.P., who appears to be the 
Imperial Member in the British Parliament for all Aus- 
tralia, I am under great obligations, he having introduced 
me to Mr. Marston, of the publishing firm who have pro- 
duced these volumes. I also have to thank Messrs. Clowes 
and Sons for the masterly way in which they have printec 
this work. Also Messrs. Creed, Robinson, Fricker, and 
Symons, of the publishing staff. The maps have been 
reproduced by Weller, the well-known geographer. 


Before narrating my own labours in opening out 
portions of the unknown interior of Australia, it 
will be well that I should give a succinct account of 
what others engaged in the same arduous enterprise 
around the shores and on the face of the great 
Southern Continent, have accomplished. 

After the wondrous discoveries of Columbus had 
set the Old World into a state of excitement, the 
finding of new lands appears to have become the 
romance of that day, as the exploration by land of 
unknown regions has b.een that of our time ; and in 
less than fifty years after the discovery of America 
navigators were searching every sea in hopes of 
emulating the deeds of that great explorer; but 
nearly a hundred years elapsed before it became 
known in Europe that a vast and misty land 
existed in the south, whose northern and western 
shores had been met in certain latitudes and longi- 
tudes, but whose general outline had not been 
traced, nor was it even then visited with anything 
like a systematic geographical object. The fact of 
the existence of such a land at the European 
antipodes no doubt set many ardent and adven- 
turous spirits upon the search, but of their exploits 
and labours we know nothing. 


The Dutch were the most eager in their attempts, 
although Torres, a Spaniard, was, so far as we 
know, the first to pass in a voyage from the West 
Coast of America to India, between the Indian or 
Malay Islands, and the great continent to the 
south ; hence we have Torres Straits. The first 
authentic voyager, however, to our actual shores 
was Theodoric Hertoge, subsequently known as 
Dirk Hartog — bound from Holland to India. He 
arrived at the western coast between the years 
1610 and 1 61 6. An island on the west coast bears 
his name : there he left a tin plate nailed to a tree 
with the date of his visit and the name of his ship, 
the Endragt, marked upon it. Not very long after 
Theodoric Hertoge, and still to the western and 
north-western coasts, came Zeachern, Edels, Nuitz, 
De Witt, and Pelsart, who was wrecked upon 
Houtman's Albrolhos, or rocks named by Edels, in 
his ship the Leewin or Lion. Cape Leewin is 
called after this vessel. Pelsart left two convicts on 
the Australian coast in 1629. Carpenter was the 
next navigator, and all these adventurers have 
indelibly affixed their names to portions of the 
coast of the land they discovered. The next, and 
a greater than these, at least greater in his navi- 
gating successes, was Abel Janz Tasman, in 1642. 
Tasman was instructed to inquire from the native 
inhabitants for Pelsart's two convicts, and to bring 
them away with him, if they entreated hint; but 
they were never heard of again. Tasman sailed 
round a great portion of the Australian coast, dis- 
covered what he named Van Dieman s land, now 
Tasmania, and New Zealand. He it was who 
called the whole, believing it to be one. New 


Holland, after the land of his birth. Next we have 
Dampier, an English buccaneer — though the name 
sounds very like Dutch ; it was probably by chance 
only that he and his roving crew visited these 
shores. Then came Wilhelm Vlaming with three 
ships. God save the mark to call such things ships. 
How the men performed the feats they did, wan- 
dering over vast and unknown oceans, visiting 
unknown coasts with iron-bound shores, beset with 
sunken reefs, subsisting on food not fit for human 
beings, suffering from scurvy caused by salted diet 
and rotten biscuit, with a short allowance of water, 
in torrid zones, and liable to be attacked and killed 
by hostile natives, it is difficult for us to conceive. 
They suffered all the hardships it is possible to 
imagine upon the sea, and for what t for fame, for 
glory ? That their names and achievements might 
be handed down to us ; and this seems to have been 
Aeir only reward ; for there was no Geographical 
Society's medal in those days with its motto to spur 
them on. 

Vlaming was the discoverer of the Swan River, 
upon which the seaport town of Freemantle and 
the picturesque city of Perth, in Western Australia, 
now stand. This river he discovered in 1697, and 
he was the first who saw Dirk Hartog's tin plate. 

Dampier's report of the regions he had visited 
caused him to be sent out again in 1710 by the 
British Government, and upon his return, all pre- 
vious doubts, if any existed, as to the reality of the 
existence of this continent, were dispelled, and the 
position of its western shores was well established. 
Dampier discovered a beautiful flower of the pea 
family known as the Clianthus Dampierii. In 1845 

VOL. I. b 


Captain Sturt found the same flower on his Central 
Australian expedition, and it is now generally 
known as Sturts Desert Pea, but it is properly 
named in its botanical classification, after its original 

After Dampier s discoveries, something like sixty 
years elapsed before Cook appeared upon the scene, 
and it was not until his return to England that 
practical results seemed likely to accrue to any 
nation from the far-off land. I shall not recapitu- 
late Cook's voyages ; the first fitted out by the 
British -Government was made in 1768, but Cook 
did not touch upon Australia's coast until two years 
later, when, voyaging northwards along the eastern 
coast, he anchored at a spot he called Botany Bay, 
from the brightness and abundance of the beautiful 
wild flowers he found growing there. Here two 
natives attempted to prevent his landing, although 
the boats were manned with forty men. The 
natives threw stones and spears at the invaders, but 
nobody was killed. At this remote and previously 
unvisited spot one of the crew named Forby Suther- 
land, who had died on board the Endeavour, was 
buried, his being the first white man's grave ever 
dug upon Australia's shore ; at least the first 
authenticated one — for might not the remaining one 
of the two unfortunate convicts left by Pelsart have 
dug a grave for his companion who was the first to 
die, no man remaining to bury the survivor? 
Cook s route on this voyage was along the eastern 
coast from Cape Howe in south latitude 37° 30' to 
Cape York in Torres Straits in latitude 10° 40'. 
He called the country New South Wales, from its 
fancied resemblance to that older land, and he took 


possession of the whole in the name of George III. 
as England's territory. 

Cook reported so favourably of the regions he 
had discovered that the British Government decided 
to establish a colony there ; the spot finally selected 
was at Port Jackson, and the settlement was called 
Sydney in 1 788. After Cook came the Frenchman 
Du Fresne and his unfortunate countryman, La 
Pirouse. Then Vancouver, Blyth, and the French 
General and Admiral, D'Entre-Casteaux, who went 
in search of the missing La P^'ouse. In 1826, Cap- 
tain Dillon, an English navigator, found the stranded 
remains of La P6rouse s ships at two of the Char- 
lotte Islands group. We now come to another 
great English navigator, Matthew Flinders, who 
was the first to circumnavigate Australia ; to him 
belongs the honour of having given to this great 
island continent the name it now bears. In 1798, 
Flinders and Bass, sailing in an open boat from 
Sydney, discovered that Australia and Van Die- 
mans Land were separate; the dividing straits 
between were then named after Bass. In 1802, 
during his second voyage in the Investigator, a 
vessel about the size of a modem ship s launch. 
Flinders had with him as a midshipman John 
Franklin, afterwards the celebrated Arctic naviga- 
tor. On his return to England, Flinders, touching 
at the Isle of France, was made prisoner by the 
French governor and detained for nearly seven 
years, during which time a French navigator 
Nicolas Baudin, with whom came Perron and Lace- 
pede the naturalists, and whom Flinders had met at 
a part of the southern coast which he called En- 
counter Bay in reference to that meeting, claimed 

b 2 


and reaped the honour and reward of a great 
portion of the unfortunate prisoner s work. Alas 
for human hopes and aspirations, this gallant sailor 
died before his merits could be acknowledged or 
rewarded, and I believe one or two of his sisters 
were, until very lately, living in the very poorest 

The name of Flinders is, however, held in greater 
veneration than any of his predecessors or succes- 
sors, for no part of the Australian coast was un- 
visited by him. Rivers, mountain ranges, parks, 
districts, counties, and electoral divisions, have all 
been named after him ; and, indeed, I may say the 
same of Cook ; but, his work being mostly confined 
to the eastern coast, the more western colonies are 
not so intimately connected with his name, although 
an Australian poet has called him the Columbus of 
our shore. 

After Flinders and Baudin came another French- 
man,* De Fr^ycinet, bound on a touF of discovery all 
over the world. 

Australia's next navigator was Captain, subse- 
quently Admiral, Philip Parker King, who car- 
ried out four separate voyages of discovery, mostly 
upon the northern coasts. At three places upon 
which King favourably reported, namely Camden 
Harbour on the north-west coast, Port Essington 
in Amhiem's Land, and Port Cockburn in Apsley 
Straits, between Melville and Bathurst Islands on 
the north coast, military and penal settlements were 
established, but from want of further emigration 
these were abandoned. King completed a great 
amount of marine surveying on these voyages, 
which occurred between the years 1813 and 1822. 


Captain Wickham in the Beagle comes next ; he 
discovered the Fitzroy River, which he found 
emptied itself into a gulf named King s Sound. In 
consequence of ill-health Captain Wickham, after 
but a short sojourn on these shores, resigned his 
command, and Lieutenant Lort Stokes, who had 
sailed with him in the Beagle round the rocky 
shores of Magellan's Straits and Tierra del Fuego, 
received the command from the Lords of the Admi- 
ralty. Captain Lort Stokes may be considered the 
last, but by no means the least, of the Australian 
navigators. On one occasion he was speared by 
natives of what he justly called Treachery Bay, 
near the mouth of the Victoria River in Northern 
Australia, discovered by him. His voyages occurred 
between the years 1839 and 1843. He discovered 
the mouths of most of the rivers that fall into the 
Gulf of Carpentaria, besides many harbours, bays, 
estuaries, and other geographical features upon the 
North Australis^n coasts. 

The early navigators had to encounter much 
difficulty and many dangers in their task of making 
surveys from the rough achievements of the Dutch, 
down to the more finished work of Flinders, King, 
and Stokes. It is to be remembered that they 
came neither for pleasure nor for rest, but to dis- 
cover the gulfs, bays, peninsulas, mountains, rivers 
and harbours, as well as to make acquaintance with 
the native races, the soils, and animal and vege- 
table products of the great new land, so as to diffuse 
the knowledge so gained for the benefit of others 
who might come after them. In cockle-shells of 
little ships what dangers did they not encounter 
from shipwreck on the sunken edges of coral ledges 


of the new and shallow seas, how many were those 
who were never heard of again ; how many a'little 
exploring bark with its adventurous crew have been 
sunk in Australia's seas, while those poor wretches 
who might, in times gone by, have landed upon the 
inhospitable shore would certainly have been killed 
by the wild and savage hordes of hostile aborigines, 
from whom there could be no escape ! With Stokes 
the list of those who have visited and benefited 
Australia by their labours from the sea must close ; 
my only regret being that so poor a chronicler is 
giving an outline of their achievements. I now 
turn to another kind of exploration — and have to 
narrate deeds of even greater danger, though of a 
different kind, done upon Australia's face. 

In giving a short account of those gallant men 
who have left everlasting names as explorers upon 
the terra firnta and terra incognita of our Australian 
possession, I must begin with the earliest, and go 
back a hundred years to the arrival of Governor 
Phillip at Botany Bay, in 1788, with eleven ships, 
which have ever since been known as The First 
Fleet. I am not called upon to narrate the history 
of the settlement, but will only say that the Governor 
showed sound judgment when he removed his fleet 
and all his men from Botany Bay to Port Jackson, 
and founded the village of Sydney, which has now 
become the huge capital city of New South Wales. 
A new region was thus opened out for British 
labour, trade, capital, and enterprise. From the 
earliest days of the settlement adventurous and 
enterprising men, among whom was the Governor 
himself, who was on one occasion speared by the 
natives, were found willing to venture their lives in 


the exploration of the country upon whose shores 
they' had so lately landed. Went worth, Blaxland, 
and Evans appear on the list as the very first 
explorers by land. The chief object they had in 
view was to surmount the difficulties which opposed 
their attempting to cross the Blue Mountains, and 
Evans was the first .who accomplished this. The 
first efficient exploring expedition into the interior 
of New South Wales was conducted by John Oxley, 
the Surveyor-General of the colony, in 1817. His 
principal discovery was that some of the Australian 
streams ran inland, towards the interior, and he 
traced both the Macquarie and the Lachlan, named 
by him after Governor Lachlan Macquarie, until he 
supposed they ended in vast swamps or marshes, 
and thereby founded the theory that ia the centre of 
Australia there existed a great inland sea. After 
Oxley came two explorers named respectively 
Howel and Hume, who penetrated, in 1824, from 
the New South Wales settlements into what is now 
the colony of Victoria. They discovered the upper 
portions of the River Murray, which they crossed 
somewhere in the neighbourhood of the present 
town of Albury. The river was then called the 
Hume, but it was subsequently called the Murray 
by Captain Charles Sturt, who heads the list of 
Australia's heroes with the title of The Father of 
Australian Exploration. 

In 1827 Sturt made one of the greatest discoveries 
of this century — or at least one of the most useful 
for his countrymen — that of the River Darling, the 
great western artery of the river system of New 
South Wales, and what is now South-western 
Queensland. In another expedition, in 1832, Sturt 

xxi V INTR on UCTION. 

traced the Murrumbidgee River, discovered by 
Oxley, in boats, into what he called the Murray. 
This river is the same found by Howel and Hume, 
Sturt's name for it having been adopted. He en- 
tered the new stream, which was lined on either 
bank by troops of hostile natives, from whom he 
had many narrow escapes, and found it trended for 
several hundreds of miles in a west-north-west 
direction, confirming him in his idea of an inland 
sea ; but at a certain point, which he called the 
great north-west bend, it suddenly turned south and 
forced its way to the sea at Encounter Bay, where 
Flinders met Baudin in 1803. Neither of these 
explorers appear to have discovered the river s 
mouth. On this occasion Sturt discovered the 
province or colony of South Australia, which in 
1837 was proclaimed by the British Government, 
and in that colony Sturt afterwards made his home. 
Sturt's third and final expedition was from the 
colony of South Australia into Central Australia, in 
1843-1845. This was the first truly Central Aus- 
tralian expedition that had yet been despatched, 
although in 1841 Edward Eyre had attempted the 
same arduous enterprise. Of this I shall write anon. 
On his third expedition Sturt discovered the 
Barrier, the Grey, and the Stokes ranges, and 
among numerous smaller watercourses he found and 
named Strezletki's, Coopers, and Eyres Creeks. 
The latter remained the furthest known inland water 
of Australia for many years after Sturt's return. 
Sturt was accompanied, as surveyor and draftsman, 
by John McDouall Stuart, whom I shall mention in 
his turn. So far as my opinion, formed in my 
wanderings over the greater portions of the country 


explored by Sturt, goes, his estimate of the regions 
he visited has scarcely been borne out according to 
the views of the present day. 

Like Oxley, he was fully impressed with the 
notion that an inland sea did exist, and although 
he never met such a feature in his travels, he 
seems to have thought it must be only a little more 
remote than the parts he had reached. He was 
fully prepared to come upon an inland sea, for he 
carried a boat on a bullock waggon for hundreds of 
miles, and when he finally abandoned it he writes : 
" Here we left the boat which I had vainly hoped 
would have ploughed the waters of an inland sea." 
Several years afterwards I discovered pieces of this 
boat, built of New Zealand pine, in the debris of a 
flood about twenty miles down the watercourse 
where it had been left. A great portion, if not all 
the country, explored by that expedition is now 
highly-prized pastoral land, and a gold field was 
discovered almost in sight of a depot formed by 
Sturt, at a spot where he was imprisoned at a water 
hole for six months without moving his camp. He 
described the whole region as a desert, and he seems 
to have been haunted by the notion that he had got 
into and was surrounded by a wilderness the like of 
which no human being had ever seen or heard of 
before. His whole narrative is a tale of suffering 
and woe, and he says on his map, being at the 
furthest point he attained in the interior, about 
forty-five miles from where he had encamped on the 
watercourse he called Eyre's Creek, now a watering 
place for stock on a Queensland cattle run : ** Halted 
at sunset in a country such as I verily believe has 
no parallel upon the earth's surface, and one which 


was terrible in its aspect." Sturt s views are only to 
be accounted for by the fact that what we now call 
excellent sheep and cattle country appeared to him 
like a desert, because his comparisons were made 
with the best alluvial lands he had left near the 
coast. Explorers as a rule, great ones more parti- 
cularly, are not without rivals in so honourable a 
field as that of discovery, although not every one 
who undertakes the task is fitted either by nature or 
art to adorn the chosen part. Sturt was rivalled 
by no less celebrated an individual than Major, 
afterwards Sir Thomas, Mitchell, a soldier of the 
Peninsula War, and some professional jealousy 
appears to have existed between them. 

Major Mitchell was then the Surveyor-General of 
the Colony, and he entirely traversed and made 
known the region he appropriately named Australia 
Felix, now the colony of Victoria. Mitchell, like 
Sturt, conducted three expeditions: the first in 
1 831-1832, when he traced the River Darling pre- 
viously discovered by Sturt, for several hundred 
miles, until he found it trend directly to the locality 
at which Sturt, in his journey down the Murray, had 
seen and laid down its mouth or junction with the 
larger river. Far up the Darling, in latitude 30° 5', 
Mitchell built a stockade and formed a depot, which 
he called Fort Bourke ; near this spot the present 
town of Bourke is situated and now connected by 
rail with Sydney, the distance being about 560 miles. 
Mitchell's second journey, when he visited Australia 
Felix, -was made in 1835, ^i^d his last expedition 
into tropical Australia was in 1845. On this expe- 
dition he discovered a large river running in a north- 
westerly direction, and as its channel was so large, and 


its general appearance so grand, he conjectured that 
it would prove to be the Victoria River of Captain 
Lort Stokes, and that it would run on in probably 
increasing size, or at least in undiminished magni- 
ficence, through the iioo or 1200 miles of country 
that intervened between his own and Captain 
Stokes's position. He therefore called it the Vic- 
toria River. Gregory subsequently discovered that 
Mitchells Victoria turned south, and was one and 
the same watercourse called Cooper's Creek by 
Stiut. The upper portion of this watercourse is 
now known by its native name of the Barcoo, the 
name Victoria being ignored. Mitchell always had 
surveyors with him, who chained as he went every 
yard of the thousands of miles he explored. He 
was knighted for his explorations, and lived to 
enjoy the honour ; so indeed was Sturt, but in his 
case it was only a mockery, for he was totally blind 
and almost on his death-bed when the recognition 
of his numerous and valuable services was so tardily 
conferred upon him.* 

These two great travellers were followed by, or 
worked simultaneously, although in a totally dif- 
ferent part of the continent, viz. the north-west coast, 
with Sir George Grey in 1 837-1 839. His labours 
and escapes from death by spear wounds, shipwreck, 
starvation, thirst, and fatigue, fill his volumes with 
incidents of the deepest interest. Edward Eyre, 
subsequently known as Governor Eyre, made an 
attempt to reach, in 1 840-1 841, Central Australia 
by a route north from the city of Adelaide ; and as 

* Dr. W. H. Browne, who accompanied Sturt to Central Aus- 
tralia in 1843-5 ^ surgeon and naturalist, is living in London ; 
and another earlier companion of the Father of Australian 
Exploration, George McCleay, still survives. 


Sturt imagined himself surrounded by a desert, so 
Eyre thought he was hemmed in by a circular or 
horse-shoe-shaped salt depression, which he called 
Lake Torrens ; because, wherever he tried to push 
northwards, north-westwards, eastwards, or north- 
eastwards, he invariably came upon the shores of 
one of these objectionable and impassable features. 
As we now know, there are several of them with 
spaces of traversable ground between, instead of 
the obstacle being one continuous circle by which he 
supposed he was surrounded. In consequence of 
his inability to overcome this obstruction, Eyre gave 
up the attempt to penetrate into Central Australia, 
but pushing westerly, round the head of Flinders', 
Spencers, Gulf, where now the inland seaport 
town of Port Augusta stands, he forced his way 
along the coast line from Port Lincoln to Fowler's 
Bay (Flinders), and thence along the perpendicular 
cliffs of the great Australian Bight to Albany, at 
King George's Sound. 

This journey of Eyre's was very remarkable in 
more ways than one ; its most extraordinary inci- 
dent being the statement that his horses travelled 
for seven days and nights without water. I have 
travelled with horses in almost every part of Aus- 
tralia, but I know that after three days and three 
nights without water horses would certainly knock 
up, die, or become utterly useless, and it would 
be impossible to make them continue travelling. 
Another remarkable incident of his march is strange 
enough. One night whilst Eyre was watching the 
horses, there being no water at the encampment, 
Baxter, his only white companion, was murdered by 
two little black boys belonging to South Australia, 
who had been with Eyre for some time previously. 


These little boys shot Baxter and robbed the camp 
of nearly all the food and ammunition it contained, 
and then, while Eyre was running up from the 
horses to where Baxter lay, decamped into the bush 
and were only seen the following morning, but never 
afterwards. One other and older boy, a native of 
Albany, whither Eyre was bound, now alone re- 
mained. Eyre and this boy (Wylie) now pushed 
on in a starving condition, living upon dead fish or 
anything they could find for several weeks, and 
never could have reached the Sound had they not, 
by almost a miracle, fallen in with a French whaling 
schooner when nearly 300 miles had yet to be 
traversed. The captain, who was an Englishman 
named Rossiter, treated them most handsomely ; he 
took them on board for a month while their horses 
recruited on shore — for this was a watering place of 
Flinders — he then completely refitted them with 
every necessary before he would allow them to 
depart. Eyre in gratitude called the place Rossiter 
Bay, but it seems to have been prophetically chris- 
tened previously by the ubiquitous Flinders, under 
the name of Lucky Bay. Nearly all the watering 
places visited by Eyre consisted of the drainage 
from great accumulations of pure white sand or 
hummocks, which were previously discovered by the 
Investigator; as Flinders himself might well have 
been called. The most peculiar of these features is 
the patch at what Flinders called the head of 
the Great Australian Bight ; these sandhills rise to 
an elevation of several hundred feet, the prevailing 
southerly winds causing them to slope gradually 
from the south, while the northern face is precipi- 
tous. In moonlight I have seen these sandhills, a 
few miles away, shining like snowy mountains, being 


refracted to an unnatural altitude by the bright 
moonlight. Fortunate indeed it was for Eyre that 
such relief was afforded him ; he was unable to 
penetrate at all into the interior, and he brought 
back no information of the character and nature of 
the country inland. I am the only traveller who 
has explored that part of the interior, but of this 
more hereafter. 

About this time Strezletki and McMillan, both 
from New South Wales, explored the region now 
the easternmost part of the colony of Victoria, 
which Strezletki called Gipp's Land. These two 
explorers were rivals, and both, it seems, claimed to 
have been first in that field. 

Next on the list of explorers comes Ludwig 
Leichhardt, a surgeon, a botanist, and an eager 
seeker after fame in the Australian field of dis- 
covery, and whose memory all must revere. He 
successfully conducted an expedition from Moreton 
Bay to the Port Essington of King — on the northern 
coast — by which he made known the geographical 
features of a great part of what is now Queensland, 
the capital being Brisbane at Moreton Bay. A 
settlement had been established at Port Essington 
by the Government of New South Wales, to which 
colony the whole territory then belonged. At this 
settlement, as being the only point of relief after 
eighteen months of travel, Leichhardt and his 
exhausted party arrived. The settlement was a 
military and penal one, but was ultimately aban- 
doned. It is now a cattle station in the northern 
territory division of South Australia, and belongs to 
some gentlemen in Adelaide. 

Of Leichhardt s sad fate in the interior of Aus- 
tralia no tidings have ever been heard. On this 

INTR on UCTION, xxxi 

fatal journey, which occurred in 1848, he undertook 
the too gigantic task of crossing Australia from 
east to west, that is to say, from More ton Bay to 
Swan River. Even at that period, however, the 
eastern interior was not all entirely unknown, as 
Mitchells Victoria River or Barcoo, and the 
Coopers and Eyre's Creeks of Sturt had already 
been discovered. The last-named watercourse lay 
nearly 1000 miles from the eastern coast, in lati- 
tude 25° south, and it is reasonable to suppose that 
to such a point Leichhardt would natuarlly direct 
his course — indeed in what was probably his last 
letter, addressed to a friend, he mentions this water- 
course as a desirable point to make for upon his 
new attempt. But where his wanderings ended, 
and where the catastrophe that closed his own and 
his companions' lives occurred, no tongue can tell. 
After he finally left the furthest outlying settle- 
ments at the Mount Abundance station, he, like 
the lost Pleiad, was seen on earth no more. How 
could he have died and where ? ah, where indeed ? 
I who have wandered into and returned alive from 
the curious regions he attempted and died to 
explore, have unfortunately never come across a 
single record or any remains or traces of those long 
lost but unforgotten braves. Leichhardt originally 
started on his last sad venture with a party of eight, 
including one if not two native black boys. Owing, 
however, to some disagreement, the whole party 
returned to the starting point, but being reorganised 
it started again with the same number of members. 
There were about twenty head of bullocks broken in 
to carry pack-loads ; this was an ordinary custom in 
those early days of Australian settlement. Leich- 


hardt also had two horses and five or six mules : 
this outfit was mostly contributed by the settlers 
who gave, some flour, some bullocks, some money, 
firearms, gear, &c., and some gave sheep and goats ; 
he had about a hundred of the latter. The packed 
bullocks were taken to supply the party with beef, 
in the meantime carrying the expedition stores. 
The bullocks' pack-saddles were huge, ungainly 
frames of wood fastened with iron-work, rings, &c. 

Shortly after the expedition made a second start, 
two or three of the members again seceded, and 
returned to the settlements, while Leichhardt and 
his remaining band pushed farther and farther to 
the west. 

Although the eastern half of the continent is now 
inhabited, though thinly, no traces of any kind, 
except two or three branded trees in the valley of 
the Cooper, have ever been found. My belief is 
that the only cause to be assigned for their destruc- 
tion is summed up in the dread word ** flood." 
They were so far traced into the valley of the 
Cooper ; this creek, which has a very lengthy 
course, ends in Lake Eyre, one of the salt depres- 
sions which baffled that explorer. A point on the 
southern shore is now known as Eyre's Lookout. 

The Cooper is known in times of flood to reach 
a width of between forty and fifty miles, the whole 
valley being inundated. Floods may surround a 
traveller while not a drop of local rain may fall, 
and had the members of this expedition perished 
in any other v/ay, some remains of iron pack- 
saddle frames, horns, bones, skulls, firearms, and 
other articles must have been found by the native 
inhabitants who occupied the region, and would 


long ago have been pointed out by the aborigines 
to the next comers who inyaded their territories. 
The length of time that animals' bones might 
remain intact in the open air in Australia is exem- 
plified by the fact that in 1870, John Forrest found 
the skull of a horse in one of Eyre s camps on the 
cliffs of the south coast thirty years after it was 
left there by Eyre. Forrest carried the skull to 
Adelaide. I argue, therefore, that if Leichhardt's 
animals and equipment had not been buried by a 
flood, some remains must have been since found, for 
it is impossible, if such things were above ground, 
that they could escape the lynx-like glances of 
Australian aboriginals, whose wonderful visual 
powers are unsurpassed among mankind. Every- 
body and everything must have been swallowed in 
a cataclysm and buried deep and sure in the mud 
and slime of a flood. 

The New South Wales Government made 
praiseworthy efforts to rescue the missing traveller. 
About a year after Leichhardt visited Port Essing- 
ton, the Government abandoned the settlement, and 
the prevailing opinion in the colony of New South 
Wales at that time was, that Leichhardt had not 
been able to reach Eyre s Creek, but had been 
forced up north, from his intended route, the inland- 
sea theory still prevailing, and that he had probably 
returned to the old settlement for relief. Therefore, 
when he had been absent two years, the Govern- 
ment despatched a schooner to the abandoned place. 
The master of the vessel saw several of the half- 
civilised natives, who well remembered Leichhardt's 
arrival there, but he had not returned. The natives 
promised the master to take the greatest care of \\\\\\ 

VOL. I. 

xxxiv INTR on UCTION. 

should he again appear, but it is needless to say he 
was seen no more. The Government were very 
solicitous about him, and when he had been absent 
four years, Mr. Hovendon Heley was sent away 
with an outfit of pack-horses and six or seven men, 
to endeavour to trace him. This expedition seems 
to have wandered about for several months, and 
discovered, as Mr. Heley states, two marked trees 
branded exactly alike, viz. xva» ^^^ ^^ich spot where 
these existed is minutely described. There was at 
each, a water-hole, upon the bank of which the 
camp was situated ; at each camp a marked tree 
was found branded alike ; at each, the frame of a 
tent was left standing ; at each, some logs had been 
laid down to place the stores and keep them 
from damp. The two places as described appear 
so identical that it seems impossible to think other- 
wise than that Heley and his party arrived twice at 
the same place without knowing it. The tree or 
trees were found on a watercourse, or courses, near 
the head of the Warrego River, in Queensland. 
The above was all the information gained by this 
expedition. A subsequent search expedition was 
sent out in 1858, under Augustus Gregory; this I 
shall place in its chronological order. Kennedy, a 
companion of Sir Thomas Mitchell into Tropical 
Australia in 1845, next enters the field. He went 
to trace Mitchell's Victoria River or Barcoo, but 
finding it turned southwards and broke into many 
channels, he abandoned it, and on his return journey 
discovered the Warrego River, which may be termed 
the Murrumbidgee of Queensland. On a second 
expedition, in 1848, Kennedy started from Moreton 
Bay to penetrate and explore the country of the 

INTR on UCTION, xxxv 

long peninsula, which runs up northward between 
the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Pacific Ocean, and 
ends at Cape York, the northernmost point of 
Australia in Torres Straits. From this disastrous 
expedition he never returned. He was starved, ill, 
fatigued, hunted by remorseless aborigines for days, 
and finally speared to death by the natives of Cape 
York, when almost within sight of his goal, where 
a vessel was waiting to succour him and all his 
party. Only a black boy named Jacky Jacky was 
with him. After Kennedy's death Jacky buried all 
his papers in a hollow tree, and for a couple of days 
he eluded his pursuers, until, reaching the spot where 
his master had told him the vessel would be, he ran 
yelling down to the beach, followed by a crowd of 
murderous savages. By the luckiest chance a boat 
happened to be at the beach, and the officers and 
crew rescued the boy. The following day a party 
led by Jacky returned to where poor Kennedy lay, 
and they buried him. They obtained his books and 
maps from the tree where Jacky had hidden them. 
The narrative of this expedition is heart-rending. 
Of the whole number of the whites, namely seven, 
two only were rescued by the vessel at a place 
where Kennedy had formed a depot on the coast, 
and left four men. 

With Captain Roe, a companion of King s, with 
whom he was speared and nearly killed by the 
natives of Goulburn Island, in 1820, and who after- 
wards became Surveyor-General of the colony of 
Western Australia, the list of Australia's early 
explorers may be said to close, although I should 
remark that Augustus Gregory was a West Aus- 
tralian explorer as early as the year 1 846. Captain 

c 2 


Roe conducted the most extensive inland explora- 
tion of Western Australia at that day, in 1848. No 
works of fiction can excel, or indeed equal, in 
romantic and heart-stirring interest the volumes, 
worthy to be written in letters of gold, which record 
the deeds and the sufferings of these noble toilers in 
the dim and distant field of discovery afforded by 
the Australasian continent and its vast islands. 
It would be well if those works were read by the 
present generation as eagerly as the imaginary tales 
of adventure which, while they appeal to no real 
sentiment, and convey no solid information, cannot 
compete for a moment with those sublime records of 
what has been dared, done, and suffered, at the call 
of duty, and for the sake of human interests by men 
who have really lived and died. I do not say that 
all works of fiction are entirely without interest to 
the human imagination, or that writers of some of 
these works are not clever, for in one sense they 
certainly are, and that is, in only writing of horrors 
that never occurred, without going through the 
preliminary agony of a practical realisation of the 
dangers they so graphically describe, and from 
which, perhaps, they might be the very first to flee, 
though their heroes are made to appear nothing less 
than demigods. Strange as it may appear, it seems 
because the tales of Australian travel and self- 
devotion are true, that they attract but little notice, 
for were the narratives of the explorers not true 
we might become the most renowned novelists the 
world has ever known. Again, Australian geo- 
graphy, as explained in the works of Australian 
exploration, might be called an unlearned study. 
Let me ask how many boys out of a hundred in 


Australia, or England either, have ever read Sturt 
or Mitchell, Eyre, Leichhardt, Grey, or Stuart. It 
is possible a few may have read Cook's voyages, 
because they appear more national, but who has 
read Flinders, King, or Stokes ? Is it because these 
narratives are Australian and true that they are not 
worthy of attention ? 

Having well-nigh exhausted the list of the early 
explorers in Australia, it is necessary now to turn to 
a more modern school. I must admit that in the 
works of this second section, with a few exceptions, 
such stirring narratives as those of the older 
travellers cannot be found.' Nevertheless, consider- 
able interest must still attach to them, as they in 
reality carry on the burning torch which will not be 
consumed until by its light the whole of Australia 
stands revealed. 

The modern explorers are of a different class, 
and perhaps of one not so high as their prede- 
cessors. By this remark I do not mean anything 
invidious, and if any of the moderns are correctly to 
be classed with the ancients, the Brothers Gregory 
must be spoken of next, as being the fittest to head 
a secondary list. Augustus Gregory was in the 
West Australian field of discovery in 1846. He 
was a great mechanical, as well as a geographical, 
discoverer, for to him we are indebted for our 
modern horses' pack-saddles in lieu of the dreadful 
old English sumpter horse furniture that went by 
that name ; he also invented a new kind of compass 
known as Gregory's Patent, unequalled for steering 
on horseback, and through dense scrubs where an 
ordinary compass would be almost useless, while 
steering on camels in dense scrubs, on a given 

xxxviii INTR OD UCTION. 

bearing, without a Gregory would be next to im- 
jpossible ; it would be far easier indeed, if not 
absolutely necessary, to walk and lead them, which 
has to be done in almost all camel countries. 

In 1854 Austin made a lengthened journey to 
the east and northwards, from the old settled places 
of Western Australia, and in 1856 Augustus 
Gregory conducted the North Australian Expe- 
dition, fitted out under the auspices of the Royal 
Geographical Society of London. Landing at 
Stokes's Treachery Bay, Gregory and his brother 
Frank explored Stokes's Victoria River to its 
sources, and found another watercourse, whose 
waters, running inland, somewhat revived the old 
theory of the inland sea. Upon tracing this river, 
which he named Sturt s Creek, after the father of 
Australian exploration, it was found to exhaust 
itself in a circular basin, which was named Termina- 
tion Lake. Retracing the creek to where the depot 
was situated, the party travelled across a stretch of 
unknown country for some two hundred miles, and 
striking Leichhardt's Port Essington track on 
Leichhardt's Roper River, his route was followed 
too closely for hundreds of miles until civilisation 
was reached. My friend Baron von Mueller ac- 
companied this expedition as botanist, naturalist, 
surgeon and physician. 

Soon after his return from his northern expe- 
dition, Gregory was despatched in 1858 by the 
Government of New South Wales to search again 
for the lost explorer Leichhardt, who had then been 
missing ten years. This expedition resulted in 
little or nothing, as far as its main object was con- 
cerned, one or two trees, marked L, on the Barcoo 

TNTR on UCTION, xxxix 

and lower end of the Thompson, was all it dis- 
covered ; but, geographically, it settled the question 
of the course of the Barcoo, or Mitchells Victoria, 
which Gregory followed past Kennedys farthest 
point, and traced until he found it identical with 
Sturt s Cooper's Creek. He described it as being 
of enormous width in times of flood, and two of 
Sturt's horses, abandoned since 1845, were seen but 
left uncaptured. Sturt s Strezletki Creek in South 
Australian territory was then followed. This pecu- 
liar watercourse branches out from the Cooper and 
runs in a south-south-west direction. It brought 
Gregory safely to the northern settlements of South 
Australia. The fruitless search for it, however, was 
one of the main causes of the death of Burke and 
Wills in 1 86 1. This was Gregory's final attempt; 
he accepted the position of Surveyor-General of 
Queensland, and his labours as an explorer termi- 
nated. His journals are characterised by a brevity 
that is not the soul of wit, he appearing to grudge 
to others the information he had obtained at the 
expense of great endurance, hardihood, knowledge, 
and judgment. Gregory was probably the closest 
observer of all the explorers, except Mitchell, and 
an advanced geologist. 

In 1858 a new aspirant for geographical honours 
appeared on the field in the person of John 
McDouall Stuart, of South Australia, who, as before 
mentioned, had formerly been a member of Captain 
Sturt's Central Australian expedition in 1843-5 ^s 
draftsman and surveyor. Stuarts object was to 
cross the continent, almost in its greatest width, 
from south to north ; and this he eventually accom- 
plished. After three attempts he finally reached 


the north coast in 1862, his rival Burke having been 
the first to do so. Stuart might have been first, but 
he seems to have under-valued his rival, and wasted 
time in returning and refitting when he might have 
performed the feat in two if not one journey ; for 
he discovered a well-watered country the whole 
way, and his route is now mainly the South Austra- 
lian Transcontinental Telegraph Line, though it 
must be remembered that Stuart had something like 
fifteen hundred miles of unknown country in front 
of him to explore, while Burke and Wills had 
scarcely six. Stuart also conducted some minor 
explorations before he undertook his greater one. 
He and McKinlay were South Australia's heroes, 
and are still venerated there accordingly. He died 
in England not long after the completion of his last 

We now come to probably the most melancholy 
episode in the long history of Australian exploration, 
relating to the fate of Burke and Wills. The people 
and Government of the colony of Victoria deter- 
mined to despatch an expedition to explore Central 
Australia, from Sturt's Eyre s Creek to the shores of 
the Gulf of Carpentaria at the mouth of the Albert 
River of Stokes's, a distance in a straight line of 
not more than six hundred miles ; and as every- 
thing that Victoria undertakes must always be on 
the grandest scale, so was this. One colonist gave 
;^iooo; ;^4000 more was subscribed, and then 
the Government took the matter in hand to fit 
out the Victorian Exploring Expedition. Camels 
were specially imported from India, and everything 
was done to ensure success ; when I say everything, 
I mean all but the principal thing — the leader was 


the wrong man*. He knew nothing of bush life 
or bushmanship, navigation, or any art of travel. 
Robert O'Hara Burke was brave, no doubt, but so 
hopelessly ignorant of what he was undertaking, 
that it would have been the greatest wonder if he 
had returned alive to civilisation. He was accom- 
panied by a young man named Wills as surveyor 
and observer ; he alone kept a diary, and from his 
own statements therein he was frequently more 
than a hundred miles out of his reckoning. That, 
however, did not cause his or Burke's death ; what 
really did so was bad management. The money 
this expedition cost, variously estimated at from 
j^40,ooo to ;^6o,ooo, was almost thrown away, 
for the map of the route of the expedition was 
incorrect and unreliable, and Wills's journal of no 
geographical value, except that it showed they 
had no difficulty with regard to water. The expe- 
dition was, however, successful in so far that Burke 
crossed Australia from south to north before Stuart, 
and was the first traveller who had done so. Burke 
and Wills both died upon Cooper s Creek after 
their return from Carpentaria upon the field of their 
renown. Charles Gray, one of the party, died, or 
was killed, a day or two before returning thither, 
and John King, the sole survivor, was rescued by 
Alfred Howitt. Burkes and Stuarts lines of 
travel, though both pushing from south to north, 
were separated by a distance of over 400 miles in 
longitude. These travellers, or heroes I suppose I 
ought to call them, were neither explorers nor 
bushmen, but they were brave and undaunted, and 
they died in the cause they had undertaken. 

When it became certain in Melbourne that some 


mishap must have occurred to these adventurers, 
Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland each 
sent out relief parties. South Australia sent John 
McKinlay, who found Gray's grave, and afterwards 
made a long exploration to Carpentaria, where, not 
finding any vessel as he expected, he had an 
arduous struggle to reach a Queensland cattle 
station near Port Dennison on the eastern coast. 
Queensland sent Landsborough by sea to Carpen- 
taria, where he was landed and left to live or die as 
he might, though of course he had a proper equip- 
ment of horses, men, and gear. He followed up 
the Flinders River of Stokes, had a fine country to 
traverse ; got on to the head of the Warrago, and 
finally on to the Parling River in New South Wales. 
He came across no traces whatever of Burke. 
Victoria sent a relief expedition under Walker, with 
several Queensland black troopers. Walker, cross- 
ing the lower Barcoo, found a tree of Leichhardt's 
marked L, being the most westerly known. Walker 
arrived at Carpentaria without seeing any traces of 
the missing Burke and Wills ; but at the mouth of 
the Albert River met the master of the vessel that 
had conveyed Landsborough ; the master had seen 
or heard nothing of Burke. Another expedition 
fitted out by Victoria, and called the Victorian 
Contingent Relief Expedition, was placed under 
the command of Alfred Howitt in 1861. At this 
time a friend of mine, named Conn, and I were out 
exploring for pastoral runs, and were in retreat 
upon the Darling, when we met Howitt going out. 
When farther north I repeatedly urged my com- 
panion to visit the Cooper, from which we were then 
only eighty or ninety miles away, in vain. I urged 


how we might succour some, if not all, of the 
wanderers. Had we done so we should have found 
and rescued King, and we might have been in 
time to save Burke and Wills also ; but Conn 
would not agree to go. It is true we were nearly 
starved as it was, and might have been entirely 
starved had we gone there, but by good fortune we 
met and shot a stray bullock that had wandered 
from the Darling, and this happy chance saved our 
lives. I may here remark that poor Conn and two 
other exploring comrades of those days, named 
Curlewis and McCulloch, were all subsequently, not 
only killed but partly eaten by the wild natives of 
Australia — Conn in a place near Cooktown on the 
Queensland coast, and Curlewis and McCulloch on 
the Paroo River in New South Wales in 1862. 
When we were together we had many very narrow 
escapes from death, and I have had several similar 
experiences since those days. Howitt on his arrival 
at Cooper s Creek was informed by the natives that 
a white man was alive with them, and thus John 
King, the sole survivor, was rescued. 

Between 1860-65 several short expeditions were 
carried on in Western Australia by Frank Gregory, 
Lefroy, Robinson, and Hunt ; while upon the 
eastern side of Australia, the Brothers Jardine 
successfully explored and took a mob of cattle 
thro\igh the region that proved so fatal to Kennedy 
and his companions in 1848. The Jardines traversed 
a route more westerly than Kennedy's, along the 
eastern shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria to Cape 

In 1865, Duncan Mclntyre, while on the Flinders 
River of Stokes and near the Gulf of Carpentaria, 


into which it flows, was shown by a white shepherd 
at an out sheep station, a tree on which the letter L 
was cut. This no doubt was one of Landsborough's 
marks, or if it was really carved by Leichhardt, it 
was done upon his journey to Port Essington in 
1844, when he crossed and encamped upon the 
Flinders. Mclntyre reported by telegraph to Mel- 
bourne that he had found traces of Leichhardt, 
whereupon Baron von Mueller and a committee of 
ladies in Melbourne raised a fund of nearly ;^4cxx>, 
and an expedition called " The Ladies' Leichhardt 
Search Expedition," whose noble object was to 
trace and find some records or mementoes, if not 
the persons, and discover the last resting-place of 
the unfortunate traveller and his companions, was 
placed under Mclntyres command. About sixty 
horses and sixteen camels were obtained for this 
attempt. The less said about this splendid but 
ill-starred efibrt the better. Indignation is a mild 
term to apply to our feelings towards the man who 
caused the ruin of so generous an undertaking. 
Everything that its promoters could do to ensure 
its success they did, and it deserved a better fate, 
for a brilliant issue might have been obtained, if not 
by the discovery of the lost explorers, at least by a 
geographical result, as the whole of the western 
half of Australia lay unexplored before it. The 
work, trouble, anxiety, and expense that Baron von 
Mueller went through to start this expedition none 
but the initiated can ever know. It was ruined 
before it even entered the field of its labours, for, 
like Burkes and Willss expedition, it was un- 
fortunately placed under the command of the wrong 
man. The collapse of the expedition occurred in 


this wise. A certain doctor was appointed surgeon 
and second in command, the party consisting of 
about ten men, including two Afghans with the 
camels, and one young black boy. Their encamp- 
ment was now at a water-hole in the Paroo, where 
Curlewis and McCulloch had been killed, in New 
South Wales. The previous year Mclntyre had 
visited a water-hole in the Cooper some seventy-four 
or seventy-five miles from his camp on the Paroo, 
and now ordered the whole of his heavily-laden beasts 
and all the men to start for the distant spot. The few 
appliances they had for carrying water soon became 
emptied. About the middle of the third day, upon 
arrival at the wished-for relief, to their horror and 
surprise they found the water-hole was dry — by no 
means an unusual thing in Australian travel. The 
horses were already nearly dead ; Mclntyre, with- 
out attempting to search either up or down the 
channel of the watercourse, immediately ordered 
a retreat to the last water in the Paroo. After 
proceeding a few miles he left the horses and white 
men, seven in number, and went on ahead with the 
camels, the Afghans and the black boy, saying he 
would return with water for the others as soon as 
he could. His brother was one of the party left 
behind. Almost as soon as Mclntyre's back was 
turned, the doctor said to the men something to the 
effect that they were abandoned to die of thirst, 
there not being a drop of water remaining, and that 
he knew in which packs the medical brandy was 
stowed, certain bags being marked to indicate them. 
He then added, ** Boys, we must help ourselves ! 
The Leichhardt Search Expedition is a failure ; 
follow me, and I'll get you something to drink." 


Taking a knife, he ripped open the marked bags 
while still on the choking horses' backs, and ex- 
tracted the only six bottles there were. One white 
man named Barnes, to whom all honour, refused 
to touch the brandy, the others poured the boiling 
alcohol dow« their parched and burning throats, 
and a wild scene of frenzy, as described by Barnes, 
ensued. In the meanwhile the unfortunate pack- 
horses wandered away, loaded as they were, and 
died in thirst and agony, weighed down by their 
unremoved packs, none of which were ever re- 
covered. Thus all the food supply and nearly 
all the carrying power of the expedition was lost ; 
the only wonder was that none of these wretches 
actually died at the spot, although I heard some 
of them died soon after. The return of Mclntyre 
and the camels loaded with water saved their lives 
at the time ; but what was his chagrin and surprise 
to find the party just where he had left them, 
nearly dead, most of them delirious, with all the 
horses gone, when he had expected to meet them 
so much nearer the Paroo. In consequence of the 
state these men or animals were in, they had to be 
carried on the camels, and it was impossible to go 
in search of the horses ; thus all was lost. This 
event crushed the expedition. Mclntyre obtained 
a few more horses, pushed across to the Flinders 
again, became attacked with fever, and died. Thus 
the ** Ladies* Leichhardt Search Expedition " en- 
tirely fell through. The camels were subsequently 
claimed by Mclntyre's brother for the cost of 
grazing them, he having been carried by them to 
Carpentaria, where he selected an excellent pastoral 
property, became rich, and died. It was the same 

INTR on UCTION. xlvii 

doctor that got into trouble with the Queensland 
Government concerning the kidnapping of some 
islanders in the South Seas, and narrowly escaped 
severe, if not capital, punishment. 

In 1866, Mr. Cowle conducted an expedition from 
Rocbourne, near Nicol Ba)^ on the West Coast, 
for four or five hundred miles to the Fitzroy River, 
discovered by Wickham, at the bottom of King's 

In 1869, a report having spread in Western 
Australia of the massacre of some white people by 
the natives somewhere to the eastwards of Cham- 
pion Bay, on the west coast, the rumour was 
supposed to relate to Leichhardt and his party ; 
and upon the representations of Baron von Mueller 
to the West Australian Government, a young sur- 
veyor named John Forrest was despatched to in- 
vestigate the truth of the story. This expedition 
penetrated some distance to the eastwards, but could 
discover no traces of the lost, or indeed anything 
appertaining to any travellers whatever. 

In 1869-70, John Forrest, accompanied by his 
brother Alexander, was again equipped by the 
West Australian Government for an exploration 
eastwards, with the object of endeavouring to reach 
the South Australian settlements by a new route 
inland. Forrest, however, followed Eyre's track of 
1 840- 1, along the shores of the Great Australian 
Bight, and may be said to have made no explora- 
tion at all, as he did not on any occasion penetrate 
inland more than about thirty miles from the coast. 
At an old encampment Forrest found the skull of 
one of Eyre's horses, which had been lying there 

xl viii INTR on UCTIOK 

for thirty years. This trophy he brought with him 
to Adelaide. 

The following year, Alexander Forrest conducted 
an expedition to the eastwards, from the West 
Australian settlements ; but only succeeded in 
pushing a few miles beyond Hunt and Lefroy's 
furthest point in 1864. 

What I have written above is an outline of the 
history of discovery and exploration in Australia 
when I first "took the field in the year 1872 ; and 
though it may not perhaps be called, as Tenny- 
son says, one of the fairy tales of science, still 
it is certainly one of the long results of time. 
I have conducted five public expeditions and 
several private ones. The latter will not be 
recorded in these volumes, not because there were 
no incidents of interest, but because they were 
conducted, in connection with other persons, for 
entirely pastoral objects. Experiences of hunger, 
thirst, and attacks by hostile natives during those 
undertakings relieved them of any monotony they 
might otherwise display. It is, however, to my 
public expeditions that I shall now confine my 

The wild charm and exciting desire that induce 
an individual to undertake the arduous tasks that 
lie before an explorer, and the pleasure and delight 
of visiting new and totally unknown places, are only 
whetted by his first attempt, especially when he is 
constrained to admit that his first attempt had not 
resulted in his carrying out its objects. 

My first and second expeditions were conducted 
entirely with horses ; in all my after journeys I 


had the services of camels, those wonderful ships of 
the desert, without whose aid the travels and ad- 
ventures which are subsequently recorded could not 
possibly have been achieved, nor should I now be 
alive, as Byron says, to write so poor a tale, this 
lowly lay of mine. In my first and second expedi- 
tions, the object I had in view was to push across 
the continent, from different starting points, upon 
the South Australian Transcontinental Telegraph 
Line, to the settled districts of Western Australia. 
My first expedition was fitted out entirely by Baron 
von Mueller, my brother-in-law, Mr. G. D. Gill, 
and myself. I was joined in this enterprise by a 
young gentleman, named Samuel Carmichael, whom 
I met in Melbourne, and who also contributed his 
share towards the undertaking. The farthest point 
reached on this journey was about 300 miles from 
my starting point. On my return, upon reaching the 
Charlotte Waters Telegraph Station, in lat. 25° 55' 
and long. 135°, I met Colonel Warburton and his 
son, whom I had known before. These gentlemen 
informed me, to my great astonishment, they were 
about to undertake an exploring expedition to 
Western Australia, for two well-known capitalists of 
South Australia, viz. the Hon. Sir Thomas Elder 
and Captain Hughes. I was also informed that a 
South Australian Government expedition, for the 
same purpose, was just in advance of them, under 
the command of Mr. William C. Gosse. This 
information took me greatly by surprise, though 
perhaps an explorer should not admit such a feel- 
ing. I had just returned from an attempt of the 
same kind, beaten and disappointed. I felt if ever 

VOL. I. d 


I took the field again, against two such formidable 
rivals as were now about to attempt what I had 
failed in, both being supplied with camels by Sir 
Thomas Elder, my chances of competing with them 
would be small indeed, as I could only command 
horses, and was not then known to Sir Thomas 
Elder, the only gentleman in Australia who pos- 
sessed camels. 

The fact of two expeditions starting away simul- 
taneously, almost as soon as I had turned my 
back upon civilisation, showed me at once that my 
attempt, I being regarded as a Victorian, had 
roused the people and Government of South Aus- 
tralia to the importance of the question which I 
was the first to endeavour to solve — namely, the ex- 
ploration of the unknown interior, and the possibility 
of discovering an overland route for stock through 
Central Australia, to the settlements upon the 
western coast. This, I may remark, had been the 
dream of all Australian explorers from the time of 
Eyre and Leichhardt down to my own time. It 
also showed that South Australia had no desire 
to be beaten again,* and in her own territories, by 
" worthless Melbourne's puling child ;" hence the 
two new expeditions arose. Immediately upon my 
return being made known by telegram to my friend 
Baron von Mueller, he set to work, and with un- 
wearied exertion soon obtained a new fund from 
several wealthy gentlemen in the rival colony of 
Victoria. In consideration of the information I 
had afforded by my late effort, the Government 
of South Australia supplemented this fund by the 

• Burke and Stuart 


munificent subsidy of ;^250, provided I expended the 
money in fresh explorations, and supplied to the 
Government, at the termination of my journey, a 
copy of the map and journal of my expedition. 
My poverty, and not my will, consented to accept 
so mean a gift. As a new, though limited fund was 
now placed at my disposal, I had no inclination to 
decline a fresh attempt, and thus my second expe- 
dition was undertaken ; and such despatch was 
used by Baron Mueller and myself, that I was 
again in the field, with horses only, not many weeks 
later than my rivals. 

On this journey I was accompanied and seconded 
by Mr. William Henry Tietkens. We had both 
been scholars at Christ's Hospital in London, 
though many years apart. Of the toils and adven- 
tures of my second expedition the readers of my 
book must form their own opinion ; and although I 
was again unsuccessful in carrying out my object, 
and the expedition ended in the death of one 
member, and in misfortune and starvation to the 
others, still I have been told by a few partial friends 
that it was really a splendid failure. On that ex- 
pedition I explored a line of nearly 700 miles of 
previously unknown country, in a straight line from 
my starting point. 

During my first and second expeditions I had 
been fortunate in the discovery of large areas of 
mountain country, permanently watered and beauti- 
fully grassed, and, as spaces of enormous extent still 
remained to be explored, I decided to continue in 
the field, provided I could secure the use of cameb. 
These volumes will contain the narratives of my 


— ■-■ * — — ■ - ■ 

public explorations. In the preface to this work I 
have given an outline of the physical and colonial 
divisions of Australia, so that my reader may even- 
tually follow me, albeit in imagination only, to the 
starting points of my journeys, and into the field of 
my labours also. 


The Island Continent of Australia contains an 
area of about three millions of square miles, it being, 
so to say, an elliptically-shaped mass about 2500 
miles in length from east to west, and 2000 from 
north to south. The degrees of latitude and 
longitude it occupies will be shown by the map 
accompanying these volumes. 

The continent is divided into five separate 
colonies, whose respective capitals are situated 
several hundreds of miles apart. The oldest colony 
is New South Wales. The largest in area is 
Western Australia, next comes South Australia ; 
then Queensland, New South Wales, and lastly 
Victoria, which, though the smallest in area, is now 
the first in importance among the group. It was 
no wonder that Mitchell, the Surveyor-General of 
New South Wales, designated that region '* Aus- 
tralia Felix." 

It may be strange, but it is no less true, that 
there is almost as great a difference between the 
fiscal laws and governments of the various Aus- 
tralian Colonies as between those of foreign States 
in Europe — the only thing in common being the 
language and the money of the British Empire. 
Although, however, they agree to differ amongst 


themselves, there can be no doubt of the loyalty of 
the group, as a whole, to their parent nation. I 
shall go no further into this matter, as, although 
English enough, it is foreign to my subject. I 
shall treat more especially of the colony or colonies 
within whose boundaries my travels led me, and 
shall begin with South Australia, where my first 
expedition was conducted. 

South Australia includes a vast extent of country 
called the Northern Territory, which must become 
in time a separate colony, as it extends from the 
26th parallel of latitude, embracing the whole 
country northwards to the Indian Ocean at the 
nth parallel. South Australia possesses one 
advantage over the other colonies, from the geo- 
graphical fact of her oblong territory extending, 
so to speak, exactly in the middle right across the 
continent from the Southern to the Indian Ocean. 
The dimensions of the colony are in extreme length 
over 1800 miles, by a breadth of nearly 700, and 
almost through the centre of this vast region the 
South Australian Transcontinental Telegraph line 
runs from Adelaide, vi^ Port Augusta, to Port 

At the time I undertook my first expedition 
in 1872, this extensive work had just been com- 
pleted, and it may be said to divide the continent 
into halves, which, for the purpose I then had 
in view, might be termed the explored and the 
unexplored halves. For several years previous 
to my taking the field, I had desired to be the 
first to penetrate into this unknown region, where, 
for a thousand miles in a straight line, no white man's 
foot had ever wandered, or, if it had, its owner Jiad 


never brought it. back, nor told the tale. I had 
ever been a delighted student of the narratives of 
voyages and discoveries, from Robinson Crusoe to 
Anson and Cook, and the exploits on land in the 
brilliant accounts given by Sturt, Mitchell, Eyre, 
Grey, Leichhardt, and Kennedy, constantly excited 
my imagination, as my own travels may do that 
of future rovers, and continually spurred me on 
to emulate them in the pursuit they had so 
eminently graced. 

My object, as indeed had been Leichhardt's, was 
to force my way across the thousand miles that 
lay untrodden and unknown, between the South 
Australian telegraph line and the settlements upon 
the Swan River. What hopes I formed, what 
aspirations came of what might be my fortune, for 
I trust it will be believed that an explorer may 
be an imaginative as well as a practical creature, 
to discover in that unknown space. Here let me 
remark that the exploration of looo miles in 
Australia is equal to 10,000 in any other part of 
the earth's surface, always excepting Arctic and 
Antarctic travels. 

There was room for snowy mountains, an inland 
sea, ancient river, and palmy plain, for races of new 
kinds of men inhabiting a new and odorous land, 
for fields of gold and golcondas of gems, for a new 
flora and a new fauna, and, above all the rest com- 
bined, there was room for me ! Many well-meaning 
friends tried to dissuade me altogether, and .en- 
deavoured to instil into my mind that what I so 
ardently wished to attempt was simply deliberate 
suicide, and to persuade me of the truth of the 
poetic line, that the sad eye of experience sees 


beneath youth's radiant glow, so that, like Falstaff, 
I was only partly consoled by the remark that they 
hate us youth. But in spite of their experience, 
and probably on account of youth's radiant glow, I 
was not to be deterred, however, and at last I met 
with Baron von Mueller, who, himself an explorer 
with the two Gregorys, has always had the cause of 
Australian exploration at heart, and he assisting, I 
was at length enabled to take the field. Baron 
Mueller and I had consulted, and it was deemed 
advisable that I should make a peculiar feature near 
the Finke river, called Chambers' Pillar, my point of 
departure for the west. This Pillar is situated in 
lat. 24° 55' and long. 133° 50', being 1200 miles 
from Melbourne in a straight line, over which dis- 
tance Mr. Carmichael, a black boy, and I travelled. 
In the course of our travels from Melbourne to the 
starting point, we reached Port Augusta, a seaport 
though an inland town, at the head of Spencer's 
Gulf in South Australia, first visited by the Inves- 
tigator in 1803, and where, a few miles to the east- 
wards, a fine bold range of mountains runs along for 
scores of miles and bears the gallant navigator's 
name. A railway line of 250 miles now connects 
Port Augusta with Adelaide. To this town was 
the first section of the Transcontinental telegraph 
line carried ; and it was m those days the last place 
where I could get stores for my expedition. Various 
telegraph stations are erected along the line, the 
average distance between each being from 150 to 
200 miles. There were eleven stations between 
Port Augusta and Port Darwin. A railway is now 
completed as far as the Peake Telegraph Station, 
about 450 miles north-westwards from Port Augusta 



along the telegraph line towards Port Darwin, to 
which it will no doubt be carried before many years 

From Port Augusta the Flinders range runs 
almost northerly for nearly 200 miles, throwing out 
numerous creeks,* through rocky pine-clad glens 
and gorges, these all emptying, in times of flood, 
into the salt lake Torrens, that peculiar depression 
which baffled Eyre in 1 840-1. Captain Frome, 
the Surveyor-General of the Colony, dispelled the 
old horse-shoe-shaped illusion of this feature, and 
discovered that there were several similar features 
instead of one. As far as the Flinders range ex- 
tends northwards, the water supply of the traveller 
in that region is obtained from its watercourses. 
The country beyond, where this long range falls off, 
continues an extensive open stony plateau or plain, 
occasionally intersected with watercourses, the 
course of the line of road being west of north. 
Most of these watercourses on the plains fall into 
Lake Eyre, another and more northerly salt depres- 
sion. A curious limestone formation now occurs, 
and for some hundreds of miles the whole country 
is open and studded with what are called mound- 
springs. These are usually about fifty feet high, 
and ornamented on the summit with clumps of 
tall reeds or bulrushes. These mounds are natural 
artesian wells, through which the water, forced up 
from below, gushes out over the tops to the level 
ground, where it forms little water - channels at 

* I must here remark that throughout this work the word creek 
will often occur. This is not to be considered in its English 
acceptation of an inlet from the sea, but, no matter how far inland, 
it means, in Australia a watercourse. 

VOL. I. 


which sheep and cattle can water. Some of these 
mounds have miniature lakes on their summits, 
where people might bathe. The most perfect mound 
is called the Blanche Cup, in latitude about 29° 20', 
and longitude 1 36° 40'. 

The water of some of these springs is fresh and 
good, the Blanche Cup is drinkable, but the gene- 
rality of them have either a mineral salt- or soda-ish 
taste ; at first their effect is aperient, but afterwards 
^st the opposite. The water is good enough for 

The Hon. Sir Thomas Elder's sheep, cattle, 
horse, and camel station, Beltana, is the first tele- 
graph station from Port Augusta, the distance being 
1 50 miles. The next is at the Strangways Springs, 
about 200 miles distant. This station occupies a 
nearly central position in this region of mound- 
springs ; it is situated on a low rise out of the 
surrounding plain ; all around are dozens of these 
peculiar mounds. The Messrs. Hogarth and War- 
ren, who own the sheep and cattle station, have 
springs with a sufficiently strong flow of water to 
spout their wool at shearing time. The next tele- 
graph station beyond the Strangways is the Peake, 
distant 100 miles. About twenty miles northward, 
or rather north-westward, from the Peake the 
mound-springs cease, and the country is watered by 
large pools in stony watercourses and creek beds. 
These pools are generally not more than twelve to 
fifteen miles apart. The waters in times of flood 
run into Lake Eyre, which receives the Cooper 
and all the flood waters of West and South-western 
Queensland, and all the drainage from the hundred 
watercourses of Central South Australia. The 


chief among the latter is the huge artery, the 
Finke, from the north-west. 

The Charlotte Waters Station, named after Lady 
Charlotte Bacon, the lanthe of Byron, which was to 
be my last outpost of civilisation, is a quadrangular 
stone building, plastered or painted white, having a 
corrugated iron roof, and a courtyard enclosed by 
the two wings of the building, having loop-holes in 
the walls for rifles and musketry, a cemented water- 
tank dug under the yard, and tall heavy iron gates 
to secure the place from attack by the natives. 

I may here relate an occurrence at a station 
farther up the line, built upon the same principle. 
One evening, while the telegraph master and staff 
were sitting outside the gates after the heat of the 
day, the natives, knowing that the stand of arms 
was inside the courtyard, sent some of their warriors 
to creep unseen inside and slam the gates, so as to 
prevent retreat. Then from the outside an attempt 
to massacre was made ; several whites were speared, 
some were killed on the spot, others died soon after- 
wards, but the greatest wonder was that any at all 

The establishment at the Charlotte Waters 
stands on a large grassy and pebbly plain, bounded 
on the north by a watercourse half a mile away. 
The natives here have always been peaceful, and 
never displayed any hostility to the whites. From 
this last station I made my way to Chambers' Pillar, 
which was to be my actual starting-point for the 


VOL. I. 



VOL. I. 


Australia Twice Traversed, 



The party — Port Augusta — The road — The Peake — Stony plateau 

— Telegraph station — Natives formerly hostile — A new 
member — Leave the Peake — Black boy deserts — Reach the 
Charlotte Waters Station — Natives' account of other natives 
— Leave last outpost — Reach the Finke — A Government 
party — A ride westward — End of the stpny plateau — A 
sandhill regior -Chambers* Pillar — The Moloch horridus — 
Thermometer 18° — The Finke — Johnstone's range — A night 
alarm — Beautiful trees — Wild ducks — A tributary — High 
dark hill — Country rises in altitude — Very high sandhills — 
Quicksands — New ranges — A brush ford — New pigeon — 
Pointed hill — A clay pan — Christopher's Pinnacle — Chand- 
ler's Range — Another new range — Sounds of running water 

— First natives seen — Name of the river — A Central 
Australian warrior — Natives burning the country — Name a 
new creek — Ascend a mountain — Vivid green — Discover a 
glen and more mountains — Hot winds, smoke and ashes. 

The personnel of my first expedition into the 
interior consisted in the first instance of myself, 
Mr. Carmichael, and a young black boy. I intended 
to engage the services of another white man at the 
furthest outpost that I could secure one. From 
Port Augusta I despatched the bulk of my stores by 

B 2 


a team to the Peake, and made a leisurely progress 
up the overland road viA Beltana, the Finniss and 
Strangways Springs stations. Our stores reached 
the Peake station before us. This station was ori- 
ginally called Mount Margaret, but subsequently 
removed to the mound-springs near the south bank 
of the Peake Creek ; it was a cattle station formed 
by Mr. Phillip Levi of Adelaide. The character of 
the country is an open stony plateau, upon which 
lines of hills or ranges rise ; it is intersected by 
numerous watercourses, all trending to Lake Eyre, 
and was an excellent cattle run. The South Austra- 
lian Government erected the telegraph station in the 
immediate vicinity of the cattle station. When the 
cattle station was first formed in 1862 the natives 
were very numerous and very hostile, but at the time 
of my visit, ten years later, they were comparatively 
civilised. At the Peake we were enabled to re-shoe 
all our horses, for the stony road up from Port 
Augusta had worn out all that were put on there. 
I also had an extra set fitted for each horse, rolled 
up in calico, and marked with its name. At the 
Peake I engaged a young man named Alec Robin- 
son, who, according to his account, could do every- 
thing, and had been everywhere, who knew the 
country I was about to explore perfectly well, and 
who had frequently met and camped with blacks 
from the west coast, and declared we could easily 
go over there in a few weeks. He died at one of 
the telegraph stations a year or two after he left 
me. I must say he was very good at cooking, and 
shoeing horses. I am able to do these useful works 
myself, but I do not relish either. I had brought a 
light little spring cart with me all the way from 


Melbourne to the Peake, which I sold here, and my 
means of transit from thence was with pack-horses. 
After a rather prolonged sojourn at the Peake, 
where I received great hospitality from Mr. Blood, 
of the Telegraph Department, and from Messrs. 
Bagot, the owners, and Mr. Conway, the manager, 
we departed for the Charlotte. 

My little black boy Dick, or, as he used generally 
to write, and call himself, Richard Giles Kew, 1872, 
had been at school at Kew, near Melbourne. 
He came to me from Queensland ; he had visited 
Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney, and had been 
with me for nearly three years, but his fears of 
wild natives were terribly excited by what nearly 
everybody we met said to him about them. This 
was not surprising, as it was usually something to 

this effect, in bush parlance : ** By G , young 

feller, just you look out when you get outside ! 
The wild blacks will [adjective] soon cook you. 
They'll kill yo2i first, you know — they will like to 
cut out your kidney fat! They'll sneak on yer 
when yer goes out after the horses, they'll have 
yer and eat yer." This being the burden of the 
strain continually dinned into the boy s ears, made 
him so terrified and nervous the farther we got 
away from civilisation, that soon after leaving the 
Peake, as we were camping one night with som(i 
bullock teams returning south, the same stories 
having been told him over again, he at last made 
up his mind, and told me he wanted to go back 
with one of the teamsters ; he had hinted about 
this before, and both Carmichael and Robinson 
seemed to be aware of his intention. Force was 
useless to detain him ; argument was lost on him, 


and entreaty I did not attempt, so in the morn- 
ing we parted. I shall mention him again by- 
and-bye. He was a small, very handsome, light- 
complexioned, very intelligent, but childish boy, 
and was frequently mistaken for a half-caste ; he 
was a splendid rider and tracker, and knew 
almost everything. He was a great wit, as one 
remark of his will show. In travelling up the 
country after he had been at school, we once saw 
some old deserted native gunyahs, and he said to 
me as we rode by, pointing to them, ** Gentleman's 
'ouse, villa residence, I s'pose, he's gone to- his 
watering place for the season p'r aps." At another 
time, being at a place called Crowlands, he asked 
me why it was called so. I replied, pointing to a 
crow on a tree, ** Why, there's the crow," and stamp- 
ing with my foot on the ground, ** there's the land ; " 
he immediately said, ** Oh, now I know why my 
country is called Queensland, because it's land 
belonging to our Queen." I said, ** Certainly it 
is ; " then he said, ** Well, ain't it funny ? I never 
knew that before." In Melbourne, one day, we 
were leaning out of a window overlooking the 
people continually passing by. Dick said, ** What 
for, — white fellow always walk about — walk about in 
town — when he always rides in the bush ? " I said, 
" Oh, to do their business." ** Business," he asked, 
"what's that?" I said, ** Why, to get money, to 
be sure." ** Money," he said ; *' white fellow can't 
pick up money in the street." 

From the Peake we had only pack-horses and 
one little Scotch terrier dog. Dick left us at 
Hann's Creek, thirty miles from the Peake. On 
our road up, about halfway between the Peake and 


the Charlotte, we crossed and camped at a large 
creek which runs into the Finke, called the Alberga. 
Here we met a few natives, who were friendly 
enough, but who were known to be great thieves, 
having stolen things from several bullock drays, and 
committed other robberies ; so we had to keep a 
sharp look out upon them and their actions. One 
of their number, a young man, could speak English 
pretty well, and could actually sing some songs. 
His most successful effort in that line was the song 
of "Jim Crow," and he performed the " turn about 
and wheel about and do just so " part of it until he 
got giddy, or pretended to be ; and to get rid of 
him and his brethren, we gave them some flour and 
a smoke of tobacco, and they departed. 

We arrived at the Charlotte Waters station on 
the 4th of August. 1872 ; this was actually my last 
outpost of civilisation. My companion, Mr. Car- 
michael, and I were most kindly welcomed by Mr. 
Johnstone, the officer in charge of this depot, and by 
Mr. Chandler, a gentleman belonging to a telegraph 
station farther up the line. In consequence of 
their kindness, our stay was lengthened to a week. 
My horses were all the better for the short respite, 
for they were by no means in good fettle ; but the 
country having been visited by rains, grass was 
abundant, and the animals improving. The party 
consisted only of myself, Carmichael, and Robinson; 
I could not now obtain another man to make up 
our original number of four. We still had the little 
dog. During our stay at the Charlotte I inquired 
of a number of the natives for information concern- 
ing the region beyond, to the west and north-west. 
They often used the words '* Larapinta and plenty 


black fellow." Of the country to the west they 
seemed to know more, but it was very difficult to 
get positive statements. The gist of their informa- 
tion was that there were large waters, high moun- 
tains, and plenty, plenty, wild black fellow ; they 
said the wild blacks were very big and fat, and had 
hair growing, as some said, all down their backs ; 
while others asserted that the hair grew all over 
their bodies, and that they eat pickaninnies, and 
sometimes came eastward and killed any of the 
members of the Charlotte tribe that they could find, 
and carried off all the women they could catch. 
On the 1 2th we departed, and my intended starting 
point being Chambers' Pillar, upon the Finke River, 
I proceeded up the telegraph road as far as the 
crossing place of the above-named watercourse, 
which was sixty miles by the road. 

In the evening of the day we encamped there, a 
Government party, under the charge of Mr. McMinn, 
surveyor, and accompanied by Mr. Harley Bacon, a 
son of Lady Charlotte Bacon, arrived from the 
north, and we had their company at the camp. 
Close to this crossing-place a large tributary joins 
the Finke near the foot of Mount Humphries. On 
the following day Mr. McMinn, Mr. Bacon, and I 
rode up its channel, and at about twelve miles we 
found a water-hole and returned. The country con- 
sisted chiefly of open sandhills well grassed. I 
mentioned previously that from Port Augusta, 
northwards and north-westwards, the whole region 
consists of an open stony plateau, upon which moun- 
tain ranges stand at various distances ; through and 
from these, a number of watercourses run, and, on a 
section of this plateau, nearly 200 miles in extent, 


the curious mound-springs exist. This formation, 
mostly of limestone, ceases at, or immediately 
before reaching, the Finke, and then a formation 
of heavy red sandhills begins. Next day our 
friends departed for the Charlotte, after making 
me several presents. From Mr. McMinn I obtained 
the course and distance of the pillar from our camp, 
and travelling on the course given, we crossed the 
Finke three times, as it wound about so snake-like 
across the country. On the 22nd we encamped 
upon it, having the pillar in full view. 

chambers' pillar. 

The appearance of this feature I should imagine 
to be unique. For a detailed account of it my 
reader must consult Stuart's report. Approach- 
ing the pillar from the south, the traveller must 
pass over a series of red sandhills, covered with 
some scrubs, and clothed near the ground with 
that abominable vegetable production, the so- 


called spinifex or porcupine grass — botanically, the 
Triodia, or Festuca irritans. The timber on the 
sandhills near the pillar is nearly all mulga, a very 
hard acacia, though a few tall and well -grown 
casuarinas — of a kind that is new to me, viz., the 
C. Decaisneana — are occasionally met.* On our 
route Mr. Carmichael brought to me a most 
peculiar little lizard, a true native of the soil ; its 
colour was a yellowish-green ; it was- armed, or 
ornamented, at points and joints, with spines, in a 
row along its back, sides, and legs ; these were 
curved, and almost sharp ; on the back of its neck 
was a thick knotty lump, with a spine at each side, 
by which I lifted it ; its tail was armed with spines 
to the point, and was of proportional length to its 
body. The lizard was about eight inches in length. 
Naturalists have christened this harmless little 
chameleon the Moloch horridus. I put the little 

creature in a pouch, and intended to preserve it, 
but it managed to crawl out of its receptacle, and 
dropped again to its native sand. I had one of 
these lizards, as a pet, for months in Melbourne. 
It was finally trodden on and died. It used to eat 

" These trees have almost a palm-like appearance, aad look 
like huge mops ; but ihey grow in the driest regions. 


By this time we were close to the pillar : its 
outline was most imposing. Upon reaching it, I 
found it to be a columnar structure, standing upon 
a pedestal, which is perhaps eighty feet high, and 
composed of loose white sandstone, having vast 
numbers of large blocks lying about in all directions. 
From the centre of the pedestal rises the pillar, 
composed also of the same kind of rock ; at its top, 
and for twenty to thirty feet from its summit, the 
colour of the stone is red. The column itself must 
be seventy or eighty feet above the pedestal. It is 
split at the top into two points. There it stands, a 
vast monument of the geological periods that must 
have elapsed since the mountain ridge, of which it 
was formerly a part, was washed by the action of 
old Ocean's waves into mere sandhills at its feet. 
The stone is so friable that names can be cut in it 
to almost any depth with a pocket-knife : so loose, 
indeed, is it, that one almost feels alarmed lest it 
should fall while he is scratching at its base. In a 
small orifice or chamber of the pillar I discovered 
an opossum asleep, the first I had seen in this part 
of the country. We turned our backs upon this 
peculiar monument, and left it in its loneliness and 
its grandeur — ** clothed in white sandstone, mystic, 
wonderful ! " 

From hence we travelled nearly west, and 
in seventeen miles came to some very high 
sandhills, at whose feet the river swept. We 
followed round them to a convenient spot, and one 
where our horses could water without bogging. 
The bed of the Finke is the most boggy creek- 
channel I have ever met. As we had travelled 
several miles in the morning to the pillar, and 


camped eighteen beyond it, it was late in the after- 
noon when we encamped. The country we passed 
over was mostly scrubby sandhills, covered with 
porcupine grass. Where we struck the channel 
there was a long hole of brine. There was plenty 
of good grass on the river flat ; and we got some 
tolerably good water where we fixed our camp. 
When we had finished our evening meal, the shades 
of night descended upon us, in this our first bivouac 
in the unknown interior. By observations of the 
bright stars Vega and Altair, I found my latitude 
was 24° 52' 15"; the night was excessively cold, 
and by daylight next morning the thermometer 
had fallen to 18°. Our blankets and packs were 
covered with a thick coating of ice ; and tea left 
in our pannikins overnight had become solid cakes. 
The country here being soft and sandy, we un- 
shod all the horses and carried the shoes. So far 
as I could discern with the glasses, the river channel 
came from the west, but I decided to go north-west, 
as I was sure it would turn more northerly in time ; 
and I dreaded being caught in a long bend, and 
having to turn back many miles, or chance the loss 
of some or all the horses in a boggy crossing. To 
the south a line of hills appeared, where the natives 
were burning the spinifex in all directions. These 
hills had the appearance of red sandstone ; and they 
had a series of ancient ocean watermarks along their 
northern face, traceable for miles. This I called 
Johnstone's Range. As another night approached, 
we could see, to the north, the brilliant flames of 
large grass fires, which had only recently been 
started by some prowling sons of the soil, upon 
their becoming aware of our presence in their 


domain. The nights now were usually very cold. 
One night some wild man or beast must have been 
prowling around our camp, for my little dog Monkey 
exhibited signs of great perturbation for several hours. 
We kept awake, listening for some sounds that 
might give us an idea of the intruders ; and being 
sure that we heard the tones of human voices, 
we got our rifles in readiness. The little dog 
barked still more furiously, but the sounds de- 
parted : we heard them no more : and the rest 
of the night passed in silence — in silence and 
beautiful rest. 

We had not yet even sighted the Finke, upon my 
north-west course ; but I determined to continue, 
and was rewarded by coming suddenly upon it 
under the foot of high sandhills. Its course now was 
a good deal to the north. The horses being heavily 
packed, and the spinifex distressing them so much, 
we found a convenient spot where the animals could 
water without bogging, and camped. Hard by, were 
some clumps of the fine-looking casuarinas ; they 
grow to a height of twenty to twenty-five feet of 
barrel without a branch, and then spread out to a 
fine umbrella top ; they flourish out of pure red sand. 
The large sheet of water at the camp had wild 
ducks on it : some of these we shot. The day was 
very agreeable, with cool breezes from the north- 
west. A tributary joins the Finke here from the 
west, and a high dark hill forms its southern 
embankment : the western horizon is bounded by 
broken lines of hills, of no great elevation. As 
we ascend the river, the country gradually rises, 
and we are here about 250 feet above the level of 
the Charlotte Waters Station. 


Finding the river now trended not only northerly, 
but even east of north, we had to go in that 
direction, passing over some very high sandhills, 
where we met the Finke at almost right angles. 
Although the country was quite open, it was impos- 
sible to see the river channel, even though fringed 
with rows of splendid gum-trees, for any distance, as 
it became hidden by the high sandhills. I was very 
reluctant to cross, on account of the frightfully 
boggy bed of the creek, but, rather than travel 
several miles roundabout, I decided to try it. We 
got over, certainly, but to see one s horses and loads 
sinking bodily in a mass of quaking quicksand is 
by no means an agreeable sight, and it was only 
by urging the animals on with stock-whips, to 
prevent them delaying, that we accomplished the 
crossing without loss. Our riding horses got the 
worst of it, as the bed was so fearfully ploughed up 
by the pack-horses ahead of them. The whole bed 
of this peculiar creek appears to be a quicksand, and 
when I say it was nearly a quarter of a mile wide, 
its formidable nature will be understood. Here a 
stream of slightly brackish water was trickling down 
the bed in a much narrower channel, however, than 
its whole width ; and where the water appears upon 
the surface, there the bog is most to be apprehended. 
Sometimes it runs under one bank, sometimes under 
the opposite, and again, at other places the water 
occupies the mid-channel. A horse may walk upon 
apparently firm sand towards the stream, when, 
without a second's warning, horse and rider may be 
engulfed in quicksand ; but in other places, where 
it is firmer, it will quake for yards all round, and 
thus give some slight warning. 


Crossing safely, and now having the river on 
my right hand, we continued our journey, sighting 
a continuous range of hills to the north, which 
ran east and west, and with the glasses I could 
see the river trending towards them. I changed 
my course for a conspicuous hill in this new line, 
which brought me to the river again at right 
angles ; and, having so successfully crossed in the 
morning, I decided to try it again. We de- 
scended to the bank, and after great trouble found 
a spot firm enough and large enough to allow 
all the horses to stand upon it at one time, but we 
could not find a place where they could climb the 
opposite bank, for under it was a long reach of 
water, and a quagmire extending for more than a 
mile on either side. Two of our riding-horses were 
badly bogged in trying to find a get-away : finally, 
we had to cut boughs and sticks, and bridge the 
the place over with them. Thus we eventually got 
the horses over one by one without accident or loss. 
In four miles we touched on a bend of the river again, 
but had no occasion to recross, as it was not in our 
road. This day, having wasted so much time in 
the crossings, we travelled only fifteen miles. The 
horizon from this camp was bounded from south- 
west, and west, round by north, to north-west, by 
ranges ; which I was not sorry to perceive. Those 
to the west, and south-west, were the highest and 
most pointed. It appears that the Finke must 
come under or through some of those to the north- 
west. To-day I observed a most beautiful pigeon, 
quite new to me ; it was of a dark-brown colour, 
mottled under the throat and on the breast ; it had 
also a high top-knot. It is considerably smaller 


than the Sturt pigeon of his Central Australian 

It was now the 28th of August, and the tempera- 
ture of the atmosphere was getting warmer. Jour- 
neying now again about north-west, we reached a 
peculiar pointed hill with the Finke at its foot. 
We passed over the usual red sandhill country 
covered with the porcupine grass, characteristic of 
the Finke country, and saw a shallow sheet of 
yellow rain water in a large clay pan, which is quite 
an unusual feature in this part of the world, clay 
being so conspicuous by its absence. The hill, 
when we reached it, assumed the appearance of a 
high pinnacle ; broken fragments of rock upon its 
sides and summit showed it too rough and pre- 
cipitous to climb with any degree of pleasure. I 
named it Christopher's Pinnacle, after a namesake 
of mine. The range behind it I named Chandler's 
Range. For some miles we had seen very little 
porcupine grass, but here we came into it again, to 
the manifest disgust of our horses. We had now a 
line of hills on our right, with the river on our 
left hand, and in six or seven miles came to the 
west end of Chandler s Range, and could see to the 
north and north-west another, and much higher line 
running parallel to Chandler s Range, but extending 
to the west as far as I could see. The country 
hereabouts has been nearly all burnt by the natives, 
and the horses endeavour to pick roads where the 
dreaded triodia has been destroyed. 

We passed a few clumps of casuarinas and a few 
stunted trees with broad, poplar-like leaves. Travel- 
ling for twelve miles on this bearing, we struck the 
Finke again, running nearly north and south. Here 


the river had a stony bed with a fine reach of water 
in it ; so to-night at least our anxiety as regards the 
horses bogging is at an end. The stream puriing 
over its stony floor produces a most agreeable 
sound, such as I have not heard for many a day. 
Here I might say, *' Brightly the brook through 
the green leaflets, giddy with joyousness, dances 

Soon after we had unpacked and let go our 
horses, we were accosted by a native on the oppo- 
site side of the creek. Our little dog became 
furious ; then two natives appeared. We made an 
attempt at a long conversation, but signally failed, 
for neither of us knew many of the words the other 
was saying. The only bit of information I obtained 
from them was their name for the river — as they 
kept continually pointing to it and repeating the 
word Larapinta. This word, among the Peake and 
Charlotte natives, means a snake, and from the 
continual serpentine windings of this peculiar and 
only Central Australian river, no doubt the name 
is derived. I shot a hawk for them, and they 
departed. The weather to-day was fine, with agree- 
able cool breezes ; the sky has become rather over- 
cast ; the flies are very numerous and troublesome ; 
and it seems probable we may have a slight fall of 
rain before long. 

A few drops of rain fell during the night, which 
made me regret that I had not had our tarpaulins 
erected, though no more fell. In the morning there 
was sultriness in the air though the sky was clear ; 
the thermometer stood at 52°, and at sunrise a 
smoky haze pervaded the whole sky. Whilst we 
were packing up the horses this morning, the same 

VOL. I. c 


two natives whom we saw last night, again made 
their appearance, bringing with them a third, who 
was painted, feathered, greased, and red-ochred, 
in, as they doubtless thought, the most alarming 
manner. I had just mounted my horse, and rode to- 
wards them, thinking to get some more information 
from the warrior as to the course of the creek, &c., 
but when they saw the horse approaching they 
scampered off, and the bedizened warrior projected 
himself into the friendly branches of the nearest 
tree with the most astonishing velocity. Perceiving 
that it was useless to try to approach them, without 
actually running them to earth, we left them ; and 
crossing the river easily over its stony bed, we con- 
tinued north-west towards a mountain in the ranges 
that traversed the horizon in that direction. The 
river appeared to come from the same spot. A 
breeze from the north-west caused the dust raised 
by the pack-horses, which we drove in a mob 
before us, travelling upon the loose soil where the 
spinifex had all been lately burnt, to blow directly 
in our faces. At five miles we struck on a bend of 
the river, and we saw great volumes of smoke from 
burning grass and triodia rising in all directions. 
The natives find it easier to catch game when the 
ground is bare, or covered only with a short vegeta- 
tion, than when it is clothed with thick coarse 
grasses or pungent shrubs. A tributary from the 
north, or east of north, joined the Finke on this 
course, but it was destitute of water at the junction. 
Soon now the river swept round to the westward, 
along the foot of the hills we were approaching. 
Here a tributary from the west joined, having a 
slender stream of water running along its bed. It 


was exceedingly boggy, and we had to pass up 
along it for over two miles before we could find a 
place to cross to enable us to reach the main 
stream, now to the north of us. I called this 
McMinn's Creek. 

On reaching the Finke we encamped. In the 
evening I ascended a mountain to the north-west- 
ward of us. It was very rough, stony, and pre- 
cipitous, and composed of red sandstone ; its 
summit was some 800 feet above our camp. It had 
litde other vegetation upon it than huge plots of 
triodia, of the most beautiful and vivid green, and 
set with the most formidable spines. Whenever 
one moves, these spines enter the clothes in all 
directions, making it quite a torture to walk about 
among them. From here I could see that the Finke 
turned up towards these hills through a glen, in a 
north-westerly direction. Other mountains appeared 
to the north and north-west ; indeed this seemed to 
be a range of mountains of great length and breadth. 
To the eastwards it may stretch to the telegraph 
line, and to the west as far as the eye could see. 
The sun had gone down before I had finished 
taking bearings. Our road to-morrow will be up 
through the glen from which the river issues. All 
day a most objectionable hot wind has been blowing, 
and clouds of smoke and ashes from the fires, and 
masses of dust from the loose soil ploughed up by 
the horses in front of us, and blowing in our faces, 
made it one of the most disagreeable days I ever 
passed. At night, however, a contrast obtained — 
the wind dropped, and a calm, clear, and beautiful 
night succeeded to the hot, smoky, and dusty day. 
Vega alone gave me my latitude here, close to the 

c 2 


mouth of the glen, as 24° 25' 12"; and, though the 
day had been so hot and disagreeable, the night 
proved cold and chilly, the thermometer falling to 
24° by daylight, but there was no frost, or even any 
dew to freeze. 




Milk thistle — In the glen — A seq)entine and rocky road — Name 
a new creek — Grotesque hills — Caves and caverns — Cypress 
pines— More natives — Astonish them — Agreeable scenery — 
Sentinel stars — Pelicans — Wild and picturesque scenery — 
More natives — Palm-trees — A junction in the glen — High 
ranges to the north — Palms and flowers — The Glen of Palms 
— Slight rain — Rain at night — Plant various seeds — End of 
the glen — Its length — Krichauff Range — The northern range 
— Level country between — A gorge —A flooded channel — 
Cross a western tributary — Wild ducks — Ramble among the 
mountains — Their altitude— A splendid panorama— Progress 
stopped by a torrent and impassable gorge. 

Our start this morning was late, some of our 
horses having wandered in the night, the feed 
at the camp not being very good ; indeed the 
only green herb met by us, for some consider- 
able distance, has been the sow or milk thistle 
{Sonclms oleraceus), which grows to a considerable 
height. Of this the horses are extremely fond : 
it is also very fattening. Entering the mouth 
of the glen, in two miles we found ourselves fairly 
enclosed by the hills, which shut in the river on 
both sides. We had to follow the windings of the 
serpentine channel ; the mountains occasionally 
forming steep precipices overhanging the stream, 
first upon one side, then upon the other. We often 
had to lead the horses separately over huge ledges 


of rock, and frequently had to cut saplings and lever 
them out of the way, continually crossing and 
recrossing the river. On camping in the glen we 
had only made good eleven miles, though to ac- 
complish this we had travelled more than double 
the distance. At the camp a branch creek came 
out of the mountains to the westwards, which I 
named Phillip's Creek. The whole of this line of 
ranges is composed of red sandstone in large or 
small fragments, piled up into the most grotesque 
shapes. Here and there caves and caverns exist in 
the sides of the hills. 

A few trees of the cypress pine {Callitris) were 
seen upon the summits of the higher mounts. The 
hills and country generally inside this glen are more 
fertile than those outside, having real grass instead 
of triodia upon their sides. I saw two or three 
natives just before camping ; they kept upon the 
opposite side of the water, according to a slight 
weakness of theirs. Just at the time I saw them, I 
had my eye on some ducks upon the water in the 
river bed, I therefore determined to kill two birds 
with one stone ; that is to say, to shoot the ducks 
and astonish the natives at the same time. I got 
behind a tree, the natives I could see were watching 
me most intently the while, and fired. Two ducks 
only were shot, the remainder of the birds and the 
natives, apparently, flying away together. Our 
travels to-day were very agreeable ; the day was 
fine, the breezes cool, and the scenery continually 
changing, the river taking the most sinuous wind- 
ings imaginable ; the bed of it, as might be expected 
in such a glen, is rough and stony, and the old fear 
of the horses begging has departed from us. By 


bearings back upon hills at the mouth of the glen I 
found our course was nearly north 23° west. The 
night was clear and cold ; the stars, those sentinels 
of the sky, appeared intensely bright. To the ex- 
plorer they must ever be objects of admiration and 
love, as to them he is indebted for his guidance 
through the untrodden wilderness he is traversing. 
" And sweet it is to watch them in the evening skies 
weeping dew from their gentle eyes." Several hun- 
dred pelicans, those antediluvian birds, made their 
appearance upon the water early this morning, but 
seeing us they flew away before a shot could be 
fired. These birds came from the north-west ; in- 
deed, all the aquatic birds that I have seen upon 
the wing, come and go in that direction. I am in 
hopes of getting through this glen to-day, for how- 
ever wild and picturesque the scenery, it is very 
difficult and bad travelling for the unshod horses ; 
consequently it is difficult to get them along. There 
was no other road to follow than the windings of 
the river bed through this mountain-bound glen, in 
the same manner as yesterday. Soon after starting, 
I observed several natives ahead of us ; immedi- 
ately upon their discovering us they raised a great 
outcry, which to our ears did not exactly resemble 
the agreeable vibration of a melodious sound, it 
being quite the opposite. Then of course signal 
fires were made which raised great volumes of 
smoke, the natives thinking perhaps to intimidate 
and prevent us from farther advance. Neither of 
these effects was produced, so their next idea was 
to depart themselves, and they ran ahead of us up 
the glen. I also saw another lot of some twenty 
or thirty scudding away over the rocks and stony 


hills — these were probably the women and children. 
Passing their last night's encampment, we saw that 
they had left all their valuables behind them — these 
we left untouched. One old gentleman sought the 
security of a shield of rock, where this villain upon 
earth and fiend in upper air most vehemently apos- 
trophised us, and probably ordered us away out of 
his territory. To the command in itself we paid 
little heed, but as it fell in with our own ideas, we 
endeavoured to carry it out as fast as possible. 
This, I trust, was satisfactory, as I always like to 
do what pleases others, especially when it coincides 
with my own views. 

" It*s a very fine thing, and delightful to see 
Inclination and duty both join and agree." 

Some of the natives near him threatened us with 
their spears, and waved knobbed sticks at us, but 
we departed without any harm being done on either 

Soon after leaving the natives, we had the gratifi- 
cation of discovering a magnificent specimen of the 
Fan palm, a species of Livistona, allied to one in 
the south of Arnhiem's Land, and now distinguished 
as the Maria Palm (Baron von Mueller), growing 
in the channel of the watercourse with flood drifts 
against its stem. Its dark-hued, dome-shaped 
frondage contrasted strangely with the paler green 
foliage of the eucalyptus trees that surrounded it. 
It was a perfectly new botanical feature to me, nor 
did I expect to meet it in this latitude. ** But there's 
a wonderful power in latitude, it alters a mans 
moral relations and attitude.'* I had noticed some 
strange vegetation in the dry flood drifts lower 


doi ne- 

thii his 

fitu in 

the led 

am en, 

wh for 

no on- 

tini red 

] we 
left tra- 
vel! uld 
on!; Al- 
tho yet 
the its 
stoi [ht- 
ful the 

pose, it seemed as though some kindly spirit whis- 


pered that it would guard us while we slept, and 
when the sun declined the swift stream echoed on. 

The following day being Sunday, the ist Sep- 
tember, I made it a day of rest, for the horses at 
least, whose feet were getting sore from continued 
travel over rocks and boulders of stone. I made 
an excursion into the hills, to endeavour to discover 
when and where this apparently interminable glen 
ceased, for with all its grandeur, picturesqueness, and 
variety, it was such a difficult road for the horses, 
that I was getting heartily tired of it ; besides this, 
I feared this range might be its actual source, and 
that I should find myself eventually blocked and 
stopped by impassable water-choked gorges, and 
that I should finally have to retreat to where I first 
entered it. I walked and climbed over several hills, 
cliffs, and precipices, of red sandstone, to the west 
of the camp, and at length reached the summit of 
a pine-clad mountain considerably higher than any 
other near it. Its elevation was over looo feet 
above the level of the surrounding country. From 
it I obtained a view to all points of the compass 
except the west, and could descry mountains, from 
the north-east round by north to the north-north- 
west, at which point a very high and pointed mount 
showed its top above the others in its neighbour- 
hood, over fifty miles away. To the north and east 
of north a massive chain, with many dome-shaped 
summits, was visible. Below, towards the camp, I 
could see the channel of the river where it forced 
its way under the perpendicular sides of the hills, 
and at a spot not far above the camp it seemed 
split in two, or rather was joined by another water- 
course from the northwards. From the junction 


the course of the main stream was more directly 
from the west. Along the course of the tributary 
at about ten miles I could see an apparently open 
piece of country, and with the glasses there ap- 
peared a sheet of water upon it. I was glad to find 
a break in the chain, though it was not on the line 
I should travel. Returning to my companions, I 
imparted to them the result of my observations. 

On Monday, the 2nd, there was a heaviness in the 
atmosphere that felt like approaching rain. The 
thermometer during the night had not fallen below 
60°, over 40° higher than at our first night s camp 
from the pillar. To-day, again following the mazy 
windings of the glen, we passed the northern tributary 
noticed yesterday, and continued on over rocks, under 
precipices, crossing and re-crossing the channel, and 
turning to all points of the compass, so that nearly 
three miles had to be travelled to make good one. 
Clumps of the beautiful palms were occasionally 
passed, growing mostly in the river bed, and where 
they appear, they considerably enliven the scenery. 
During my sojourn in this glen, and indeed from 
first starting, I collected a great number of most 
beautiful flowers, which grow in profusion in this 
otherwise desolate glen. I was literally surrounded 
by fair flowers of every changing hue. Why Nature 
should scatter such floral gems upon such a stony 
sterile region it is difficult to understand, but such a 
variety of lovely flowers of every kind and colour I 
had never met with previously. Nature at times, 
indeed, delights in contrasts, for here exists a land 
** where bright flowers are all scentless, and songless 
bright birds.** The flowers alone would have induced 
me to name this Glen Flora ; but having found in 


it also so many of the stately palm trees, I have 
called it the Glen of Palms. Peculiar indeed, and 
romantic too, is this new-found watery glen, en- 
closed by rocky walls, " Where dial-like, to portion 
time, the palm-tree's shadow falls." 

While we were travelling to-day, a few slight 
showers fell, giving us warning in their way that 
heavier falls might come. We were most anxious 
to reach the northern mouth of the glen if possible 
before night, so heartily tired were we of so con- 
tinuously serpentine a track ; we therefore kept 
pushing on. We saw several natives to-day, but 
they invariably fled to the fastnesses of their moun- 
tain homes, they raised great volumes of smoke, 
and their strident vociferations caused a dull and 
buzzing sound even when out of ear-shot. The 
pattering of the rain-drops became heavier, yet we 
kept on, hoping at every turn to see an opening 
which would free us from our prison-house ; but 
night and heavier rain together came, and we were 
compelled to remain another night in the palmy 
glen. I found a small sloping, sandy, firm piece of 
ground, probably the only one in the glen, a little 
off from the creek, having some blood-wood or red 
gum-trees growing upon it, and above the reach of 
any flood-mark — for it is necessary to be careful in 
selecting a site on a watercourse, as, otherwise, in a 
single instant everything might be swept to destruc- 
tion. We were fortunate indeed to find such a 
refuge, as it was large enough for the horses to 
graze on, and there was some good feed upon it. 
By the time we had our tarpaulins fixed, and every- 
thing under cover, the rain fell in earnest. The 
tributary passed this morning was named Ellery s 


Creek. The actual distance we travelled to-day 
was eighteen miles ; to accomplish this we travelled 
from morn till night. Although the rain continued 
at intervals all night, no great quantity fell. In the 
morning the heavens were clear towards the south, 
but to the north dense nimbus clouds covered the 
hills and darkened the sky. Not removing the 
camp, I took another ramble into the hills to the 
east of the camp, and from the first rise I saw what 
I was most anxious to see, that is to say, the end, or 
rather the beginning of the glen, which occurred at 
about two miles beyond our camp. Beyond that 
the Finke came winding from the north-west, but 
clouds obscured a distant view. It appeared that 
rain must still be falling north of us, and we had to 
seek the shelter of our canvas home. At midday 
the whole sky became overclouded, rain came 
slowly down, and when the night again descended 
heavier still was then the fall. At an hour after 
daylight on the morrow the greatest volume fell, 
and continued for several hours. At midday it held 
up sufficiently to enable me to plant some seeds of 
various trees, plants, vegetables, &c., given me 
specially by Baron von Mueller. Among these 
were blue gum (tree), cucumbers, melons, culinary 
vegetables, white maize, prairie grass, sorghum, 
rye, and wattle-tree seeds, which I soaked before 
planting. Although the rain lasted thirty-six hours 
in all, only about an inch fell. It was with great 
pleasure that at last, on the 5 th, we left the glen 
behind us, and in a couple of miles debouched upon 
a plain, which ran up to the foot of this line of 
ranges. The horses seemed to be especially pleased 
to be on soft ground again. The length of this 


glen is considerable, as it occupies 31' of latitude. 
The main bearing of it is nearly north 25° west ; 
it is the longest feature of the kind I ever tra- 
versed, being over forty miles straight, and over a 
hundred miles of actual travelling, and it appeared 
the only pass through the range, which I named the 
Krichauff. To the north a higher and more im- 
posing chain existed, apparently about twenty miles 
away. This northern chain must be the western 
portion of the McDonnell Range. The river now is 
broader than in the glen ; its bed, however, is stony, 
and not boggy, the country level, sandy, and thinly 
timbered, mostly all the vegetation being burnt by 
grass fires set alight by the natives. 

Travelling now upon the right bank of this 
stream, we cut off most of the bends, which, 
however, were by no means so extensive or so 
serpentine as in the glen or on the south side of 
it. Keeping near the river bank, we met but little 
porcupine grass for the most part of the day's stage, 
but there was abundance of it further off. The 
river took us to the foot of the big mountains, and 
we camped about a mile below a gorge through 
which it issues. As we neared the new hills, we 
became aware that the late rains were raising the 
waters of the river. At six miles before camping 
we crossed a tributary joining the Finke at right 
angles from the west, where there are some ranges 
in that direction ; a slight stream was running down 
the bed. My next anxiety is to discover where 
this river comes from, or whether its sources 
are to be found in this chain. The day was 
delightfully fine and cool, the breezes seemed to 
vibrate the echo of an air which Music, sleeping at 


her instrument, had ceased to play. The ground 
is soft after the late rains. I said we camped a 
mile below a gorge ; at night I found my position 
to be in latitude 23° 40', and longitude 132° 31', 
the variation 3° east. We shot a few ducks, which 
were very fat and good. This morning I took a walk 
into the hills to discover the best route to take next. 
The high ranges north seem to be formed of three 
separate lines, all running east and west ; the most 
northerly being the highest, rising over 2000 feet 
above the level of the surrounding country, and, 
according to my barometrical and boiling-point 
measurements, I found that at the Charlotte 
Waters I was 900 feet above the sea. From that 
point up to the foot of these mountains the country 
had steadily risen, as we traced the Finke, over 
1000 feet, so that the highest points of that range 
are over 4000 feet above sea level ; the most 
southerly of the three lines is composed of sand- 
stone, the middle and highest tiers I think change 
to granite. I climbed for several hours over masses 
of hills, but always found one just a little farther 
on to shut out the view. At length I reached the 
summit of a high round mountain in the middle 
tier, and a most varied and splendid panorama was 
spread before me, or I was spread before it. 

To the north was the main chain, composed for 
the most part of individual high mounts, there 
being a valley between them and the hill I was on, 
and meandering along through this valley from the 
west I could trace the course of the Finke by its 
timber for some miles. To the east a mass of high 
and jumbled hills appeared, and one bluff-faced 
mount was more conspicuous than the rest. Nearer 


to me, and almost under my feet, was the gorge 
through which the river passes, and it appears to 
be the only pass through this chain. I approached 
the precipice overlooking the gorge, and found the 
channel so flooded by the late rains, that it was 
impossible to get the horses up through it. The 
hills which enclosed it were equally impracticable, 
and it was utterly useless to try to get horses over 
them. The view to the west was gratifying, for 
the ranges appeared to run on in undiminished 
height in that direction, or a little north of it 
From the face of several of the hills I climbed 
to-day, I saw streams of pure water running, 
probably caused by the late rains. One hill I 
passed over I found to be composed of pudding- 
stone, that is to say, a conglomeration of many 
kinds of stone mostly rounded and mixed up in a 
mass, and formed by the smothered bubblings of 
some ancient and ocean-quenched volcano. The 
surface of the place now more particularly men- 
tioned had been worn smooth by the action of the 
passage of water, so that it presented the appear- 
ance of an enormous tessellated pavement, before 
which the celebrated Roman one at Bognor, in 
Sussex, which I remember, when I was a boy, on 
a visit to Goodwood, though more artistically but 
not more fantastically arranged, would be compelled 
to hide its diminished head. In the course of my 
rambles I noticed a great quantity of beautiful 
flowers upon the hills, of similar kinds to those 
collected in the Glen of Palms, and these interested 
me so greatly, that the day passed before I was 
aware, and I was made to remember the line, 
** How noiseless falls the foot of Time that only 


treads on flowers." I saw two kangaroos and one 
rock wallaby, but they were too wild to allow me 
to approach near enough to get a shot at them. 
When I said I walked to-day, I really started on 
an old favourite horse called Cocky, that had 
carried me for years, and many a day have I had 
to thank him for getting me out of difficulties 
through his splendid powers of endurance. I soon 
found the hills too rough for a horse, so fixing up 
his bridle, I said, ** Now you stop there till I come 
back." I believe he knew everything I said, for I 
used frequently to talk to him. When I came back 
at night, not thinking he would stay, as the other 
horses were all feeding within half a mile of him, 
there he was just as I had left him. I was quite 
inclined to rest after my scrambles in the hills. 
During the night nothing occurred to disturb our 
slumbers, which indeed were aided by the sounds 
of the rippling stream, which sang to us a soothing 

VOL. I. D 




Progress stopped — Fall back on a tributary — River flooded — A 
new range — Rudall's Creek — Reach the range — Grass-trees 
— Wild beauty of scene — Scarcity of water — A pea-like vetch 
— Name the range — A barren spot — Water seen from it — 
Follow a creek channel — Other creeks join it — A confined 
glen — Scrubby and stony hills — Strike a gum creek — Slimy 
water — A pretty tree — Flies troublesome — Emus — An orange 
tree — Tropic of Capricorn — Melodious sounds — CarmichaeFs 
Creek — Mountains to the north — Ponds of water — A green 
plain — Clay-pan water — Fine herbage — Kangaroos and 
emus numerous — A new tree — Agreeable encampment — 
Peculiar mountains — High peak — Start to ascend it — Game 
plentiful — Racecourse plain — Surrounded by scrubs — A bare 
slope — A yawning chasm — Appearance of the peak — 
Gleaming pools — Cypress pines — The tropic clime of youth 
— Proceed westwards — Thick scrubs — Native method of 
procuring water — A pine-clad hill — A watercourse to the 
south — A poor supply of water — Skywards the only view — 
Horses all gone — Increasing temperature — Attempt ascend- 
ing high bluff — Timberless mountains — Beautiful flowers — 
Sultry night — Wretched encampment — Depart from it. 

I HAD come to the decision, as it was impossible 
to follow the Finke through the gorge in conse- 
quence of the flood, and as the hills were equally 
impracticable, to fall back upon the tributary I had 
noticed the day before yesterday as joining the river 
from the west, thinking I might in twenty or thirty 
miles find a gap in the northern range that would 


enable me to reach the Finke again. The night 
was very cold, the thermometer at daylight stood 
at 28°. The river had risen still higher in the 
night, and it was impossible to pass through the 
gorge. We now turned west-south-west, in order to 
strike the tributary. Passing first over rough stony 
ridges, covered with porcupine grass, we entered a 
sandy, thickly-bushed country, and struck the creek 
in ten miles. A new range lying west I expected 
to be the source of it, but it now seemed to turn too 
much to the south. There was very poor grass, it 
being old and dry, but as the new range to the west 
was too distant, we encamped, as there was water. 
This watercourse was called Rudalls Creek. A 
cold and very dewy night made all our packs, 
blankets, &c., wet and clammy; the mercury fell 
below freezing point, but instantly upon the sun s 
appearance it went up enormously. The horses 
rambled, and it was late when we reached the 
western range, as our road was beset by some miles 
of dense scrubs. The range was isolated, and of 
some elevation. As we passed along the creek, the 
slight flood became slighter still ; it had now nearly 
ceased running. The day was one of the warmest 
we had yet experienced. The creek now seemed 
not to come from the range, but, thinking water 
might be got there so soon after rains, we travelled 
up to its foot. The country was sandy, and be- 
decked with triodia, but near the range I saw for 
the first time on this expedition a quantity of the 
Australian grass-tree {Xaiithorrlicsd) dotting the 
landscape. They were of all heights, from two to 
twenty feet. The country round the base of this 
range is not devoid of a certain kind of wild beauty. 

D 2 


A few blood- wood or red gum-trees, with their 
brilliant green foliage, enlivened the scene. 

A small creek, lined with gum-trees, issued from 
an opening or glen, up which I rode in search of 
water, but was perfectly unsuccessful, as not a drop 
of the life-sustaining fluid was to be found. Upon 
returning to impart this discouraging intelligence to 
my companions, I stumbled upon a small quantity 
in a depression, on a broad, almost square boulder of 
rock that lay in the bed of the creek. There was not 
more than two quarts. As the horses had watered 
in the afternoon, and as there was a quantity of a 
herb, much like a green vetch or small pea, we 
encamped. I ascended a small eminence to the 
north, and with the glasses could distinguish the 
creek last left, now running east and west. I saw 
water gleaming in its channel, and at the junction of 
the little creek we were now on ; there was also 
water nearly east. As the horses were feeding 
down the creek that way, I felt sure they would go 
there and drink in the night. It is, however, very 
strange whenever one wants horses to do a certain 
thing or feed a certain way, they are almost sure to 
do just the opposite, and so it was in the present 
case. On returning to camp by a circuitous route, 
I found in a small rocky crevice an additional sup- 
ply of water, sufficient for our own requirements — 
there was nearly a bucketful — and felicity reigned 
in the camp. A few cypress pines are rooted in the 
rocky shelving sides of the range, which is not of 
such elevation as it appeared from a distance. 
The highest points are not more than from 700 
to 800 feet. I collected some specimens of 
plants, which, however, are not peculiar to this 


range. I named it Gosse's Range, after Mr. Harry 
Gosse. The late rains had not visited this isolated 
mass. It is barren and covered with spinifex 
from turret to basement, wherever sufficient soil 
can be found among the stones to admit of its 

The night of the 9th of September, like the pre- 
ceding, was cold and dewy. The horses wandered 
quite in the wrong direction, and it was eleven 
o'clock before we got away from the camp and 
went north to the sheet of water seen yesterday, 
where we watered the horses and followed up the 
creek, as its course here appeared to be from the 
west. The country was level, open, and sandy, but 
covered with the widely pervading triodia {irritans). 
Some more Xanthorrhcca were seen, and several 
small creeks joined this from the ranges to the 
north. Small sheets of wafer were seen in the 
creek as we passed along, but whether they existed 
before the late rains is very problematical. The 
weather is evidently getting warmer. We had been 
following this creek for two days ; it now turned up 
into a confined glen in a more northerly direction. 
At last its northern course was so pronounced we 
had to leave it, as it evidently took its rise amongst 
the low hills in that direction, which shut out any 
view of the higher ranges behind them. Our road 
was now about west-north-west, over wretched, 
stony, barren, mallee- {Eucalyptus) covered low hills 
or stony rises ; the mallee scrub being so thick, it 
was difficult to drive the horses through it. Farther 
on we crested the highest ground the horses had 
yet passed over. From here with the glasses I 
fancied I saw the timber of a creek in a valley to 


the north-west, in which direction we now went, and 
struck the channel of a small dry watercourse, whose 
banks were lined with gum-trees. When there is 
any water in its channel, its flow is to the west. 
The creek joined another, in which, after following 
it for a mile or two, I found a small pool of water, 
which had evidently lain there for many months, 
as it was half slime, and drying up fast. It was 
evident the late rains had not fallen here. 

In consequence of the windings of the creeks, we 
travelled upon all points of the compass, but our 
main course was a little west of north-west. The 
day was warm enough, and when we camped we 
felt the benefit of what shade the creek timber 
could afford. Some of the small vetch, or pea-like 
plant, of which the horses are so fond, existed here. 
To-day we saw a single quandong tree {Fusanus ; 
one of the sandal woods, but not of commerce) in 
full bearing, but the fruit not yet ripe. I also saw a 
pretty drooping acacia, whose leaves hung in small 
bunches together, giving it an elegant and pendulous 
appearance. This tree grows to a height of fifty 
feet; and some were over a foot through in the 

The flies to-day were exceedingly troublesome : 
a sure sign of increasing temperature. We saw 
some emus, but being continually hunted by the 
natives, they were too shy to allow us to get within 
shot of them. Some emu steaks would come in 
very handy now. Near our pool of slime a so-called 
native orange tree {Capparis), of a very poor and 
stunted habit, grew ; and we allowed it to keep on 

The stars informed me, in the night, that I was 


almost under the tropic line, my latitude being 23° 29'. 
The horses fed well on the purple vetch, their bells 
melodiously tinkling in the air the whole night long. 
The sound of the animals' bells, in the night, is 
really musical to the explorer s ear. I called the 
creek after Mr. Carmichael ; and hoping it would 
contain good water lower down, decided to follow 
it, as it trended to the west. We found, however, 
in a few miles, it went considerably to the south of 
west, when it eventually turned up again to the 

We still had the main line of mountains on our 
right, or north of us : and now, to the south, another 
line of low hills trended up towards them; and there 
is evidently a kind of gap between the two lines of 
ranges, about twenty-five miles off. The country 
along the banks of Carmichael's Creek was open and 
sandy, with plenty of old dry grass, and not much 
triodia ; but to the south, the latter and mallee scrub 
approached somewhat near. We saw several small 
ponds of water as we passed along, but none of any 
size. In seven or eight miles it split into several 
channels, and eventually exhausted itself upon an 
open grassy swamp or plain. The little plain looked 
bright and green. I found some rain water, in clay 
pans, upon it. A clay pan is a small area of ground, 
whose top soil has been washed or blown away, 
leaving the hard clay exposed ; and upon this sur- 
face, one, two, three, or (scarcely) more inches of 
rain water may remain for some days after rain : the 
longer it remains the thicker it gets, until at last it 
dries in cakes which shine like tiles ; these at length 
crumble away, and the clay pan is swept by winds 
clean and ready for the next shower. In the course 


of time it becomes enlarged and deepened. They 
are very seldom deep enough for ducks. 

The grass and herbage here were excellent. 
There were numerous kangaroos and emus on the 
plain, but they preferred to leave us in undisturbed 
possession of it. There were many evidences of 
native camping places about here ; and no doubt 
the natives look upon this little circle as one of their 
happy hunting grounds. To-day I noticed a tree 
in the mallee very like a Currajong tree. This 
being the most agreeable and fertile little spot I 
had seen, we did not shift the camp, as the horses 
were in clover. Our little plain is bounded on the 
north by peculiar mountains ; it is also fringed with 
scrub nearly all round. The appearance of the 
northern mountains is singular, grotesque, and very 
difficult to describe. There appear to be still three 
distinct lines. One ends in a bluff, to the east- 
north-east of the camp ; another line ends in a bluff 
to the north-north-east ; while the third continues 
along the northern horizon. One point, higher than 
the rest in that line, bears north 26° west from camp. 
The middle tier of hills is the most strange-looking ; 
it recedes in the distance eastwards, in almost 
regular steps or notches, each of them being itself a 
bluff, and all overlooking a valley. The bluffs have 
a circular curve, are of a red colour, and in per- 
spective appear like a gigantic flat stairway, only 
that they have an oblique tendency to the south- 
ward, caused, I presume, by the wash of ocean 
currents that, at perhaps no greatly distant geo- 
logical period, must have swept over them from the 
north. My eyes, however, were mostly bent upon 
the high peak in the northern line ; and Mr. Car- 


michael and I decided to walk over to, and ascend 
it. It was apparently not more than seven or eight 
miles away. 

As my reader is aware, I left the Finke issuing 
through an impracticable gorge in these same 
ranges, now some seventy-five miles behind us, and 
in that distance not a break had occurred in the 
line whereby I could either get over or through it, 
to meet the Finke again ; indeed, at this distance 
it was doubtful whether it were worth while to 
endeavour to do so, as one can never tell what 
change may take place, in even the largest of 
Australian streams, in such a distance. When last 
seen, it was trending along a valley under the foot 
of the highest of three tiers of hills, and coming 
from the west ; but whether its sources are in those 
hills, or that it still runs on somewhere to the north 
of us, is the question which I now hope to solve. 
I am the more anxious to rediscover the Finke, if 
it still exists, because water has been by no means 
plentiful on the route along which I have lately 
been travelling ; and I believe a better country 
exists upon the other side of the mountains. 

At starting, Carmichael and I at first walked 
across the plain, we being encamped upon its 
southern end. It was beautifully grassed, and had 
good soil, and it would make an excellent race- 
course, or ground for a kangaroo hunt. We saw 
numbers of kangaroos, and emus too, but could get 
no shots at them. In three miles the plain ended 
in thick, indeed very dense, scrub, which continued 
to the foot of the hills ; in it the grass was long, dry, 
and tangled with dead and dry burnt sticks and 
timber, making it exceedingly difficult to walk 


through. Reaching the foot of the hills, I found 
the natives had recently burnt all the vegetation 
from their sides, leaving the stones, of which it was 
composed, perfectly bare. • It was a long distance 
to the top of the first ridge, but the incline was 
easy, and I was in great hopes, if it continued so, 
to be able to get the horses over the mountains at 
this spot. Upon arriving at the top of the slope, I 
was, however, undeceived upon that score, for we 
found the high mount, for which we were steering, 
completely separated from us by a yawning chasm, 
which lay, under an almost sheer precipice, at our 
feet. The high mountain beyond, near the crown, 
was girt around by a solid wall of rock, fifty or sixty 
feet in height, from the edge of which the summit 
rose. It was quite unapproachable, except, perhaps, 
in one place, round to the northward. 

The solid rock of which it had formerly been 
composed had, by some mighty force of nature, 
been split into innumerable fissures and fragments, 
both perpendicularly and horizontally, and was 
almost mathematically divided into pieces or 
squares, or unequal cubes, simply placed upon one 
another, like masons' work without mortar. The 
lower strata of these divisions were large, the upper 
tapered to pieces not much larger than a brick, at 
least they seemed so from a distance. The whole 
appearance of this singular mount was grand and 
awful, and I could not but reflect upon the time 
when these colossal ridges were all at once rocking 
in the convulsive tremblings of some mighty volcanic 
shock, which shivered them into the fragments I 
then beheld. I said the hill we had ascended 
ended abruptly in a precipice ; by going farther 


round we found a spot, which, though practicable, 
was difficult enough to descend. At the bottom of 
some of the ravines below I could see several small 
pools of water gleaming in little stony gullies. 

The afternoon had been warm, if not actually 
hot, and our walking and climbing had made us 
thirsty ; the sight of water made us all the more 
so. It was now nearly sundown, and it would be 
useless to attempt the ascent of the mountain, as 
by the time we could reach its summit, the sun 
would be far below the horizon, and we should 
obtain no view at all. 

It was, however, evident that no gap or pass 
existed by which I could get my horses up, even if 
the country beyond were ever so promising. A few 
of the cypress or Australian pines (Callitris) dotted 
the summits of the hills, they also grew on the 
sides of some of the ravines below us. We had, 
at least I had, considerable difficulty in descending 
the almost perpendicular face to the water below. 
Carmichael got there before I did, and had time 
to sit, laving his feet and legs in a fine little rock 
hole full of pure water, filled, I suppose, by the late 
rains. The water, indeed, had not yet ceased to 
run, for it was trickling from hole to hole. Upon 
Mr. Carmichael inquiring what delayed me so long, 
I replied : ** Ah, it is all very easy for you ; you 
have two circumstances in your favour. You are 
young, and therefore able to climb, and besides, you 
are in the tropic. *' To which he very naturally 
replies, "If am in the tropic you must be also/' 
I benignly answer, *' No, you are in the tropic 
clime of youth." While on the high ground no 
view of any kind, except along the mountains for 


a mile or two east and west, could be obtained. I 
was greatly disappointed at having such a toilsome 
walk for so little purpose. We returned by a more 
circuitous route, eventually reaching the camp very 
late at night, thoroughly tired out with our walk. 
I named this mountain Mount Musgrave. It is 
nearly 1 700 feet above the level of the surrounding 
country, and over 3000 feet above the sea. The 
next day Mr. Carmichael went out to shoot game ; 
there were kangaroos, and in the way of birds 
there were emus, crows, hawks, quail, and bronze- 
winged pigeons ; but all we got from his expedition 
was nil. The horses now being somewhat refreshed 
by our stay here, we proceeded across the little 
plain towards another high bluff hill, which loomed 
over the surrounding country to the west-north-west. 
Flies were troublesome, and very busy at our eyes ; 
soon after daylight, and immediately after sunrise, 
it became quite hot. 

Traversing first the racecourse plain, we then 
entered some mulga scrub ; the mulga is an 
acacia, the wood extremely hard. It grows to a 
height of twenty to thirty feet, but is by no means 
a shady or even a pretty tree ; it ranges over an 
enormous extent of Australia. The scrub we now 
entered had been recently burnt near the edge of 
the plain ; but the further we got into it, the worse 
it became. At seven miles we came to stones, 
triodia, and mallee, a low eucalyptus of the gum- 
tree family, growing generally in thick clumps from 
one root : its being rooted close together makes it 
difficult travelling to force one's way through. It 
grows about twenty feet high. The higher grade 
of eucalypts or gum-trees delight in water and a 


good soil, and nearly always line the banks of 
watercourses. The eucalypts of the mallee species 
thrive in deserts and droughts, but contain water 
in their roots which only the native inhabitants of 
the country can discover. A white man would die 
of thirst while digging and fooling around trying to 
get the water he might know was preserved by the 
tree, but not for him ; while an aboriginal, upon the 
other hand, coming to a mallee-tree, after perhaps 
travelling miles through them without noticing one, 
will suddenly make an exclamation, look at a tree, 
go perhaps ten or twelve feet away, and begin to 
dig. In a foot or so he comes upon a root, which he 
shakes upwards, gradually getting more and more 
of it out of the ground, till he comes to the foot of 
the tree ; he then breaks it off, and has a root 
perhaps fifteen feet long — this, by the way, is an 
extreme length. He breaks the root into sections 
about a foot long, ties them into bundles, and 
stands them up on end in a receptacle, when they 
drain out a quantity of beautifully sweet, pure 
water. A very long root such as I have men- 
tioned might give nearly a bucketful of water ; but 
woe to the white man who fancies he can get water 
out of mallee. There are a few other trees of 
different kinds that water is also got from, as I 
have known it obtained from the mulga, acacia 
trees, and from some casuarina trees ; it depends 
upon the region they are in, as to what trees give 
the most if any water, but it is an aboriginal art at 
any time or place to find it. 

The mallee we found so dense that not a third 
of the horses could be seen together, and with 
great difficulty we managed to reach the foot of 


a small pine-clad hill lying under the foot of the 
high bluff before mentioned — there a small creek 
lined with eucalypts ran under its foot. Though 
our journey to-day was only twelve miles, that 
distance through such horrible scrubs took us many 
hours. From the top of the piny hill I could see 
a watercourse to the south two or three miles 
away ; it is probably Carmichael's Creek, reformed, 
after splitting on the plain behind ; Carmichael 
found a little water-hole up this channel, with 
barely sufficient water for our use. The day had 
been disagreeably warm. I rode over to the creek 
to the south, and found two small puddles in its 
bed ; but there was evidently plenty of water to be 
got by digging, as by scratching with my hands I 
soon obtained some. The camp which Carmichael 
and Robinson had selected, while I rode over to 
the other creek, was a most wretched place, in the 
midst of dense mallee and amidst thick plots of 
triodia, which we had to cut away before we could 
sit down. 

The only direction in which we could see a yard 
ahead of us was up towards the sky ; and as we 
were not going that way, it gave us no idea of our 
next line of route. The big bluff we had been 
steering for all day was, I may say, included in our 
skyward view, for it towered above us almost 
overhead. Being away when the camp was 
selected, I was sorry to hear that the horses had 
all been let go without hobbles ; as they had been 
in such fine quarters for three nights at the last 
camp on the plain, it was more than probable they 
would work back through the scrub to it in the 
night. The following morning not a horse was to 

A SLIP. 47 

be found ! Robinson and I went in search of them, 
and found they had split into several mobs. I only 
got three, and at night Robinson returned with 
only six, the remainder had been missed in the 
dense scrubs. The thermometer stood at 95° in 
the shade, and there was a warm wind blowing. 
Robinson had a fine day s work, as he had to walk 
back to the camp on the plain for the horses he 
got. In the afternoon I attempted the high bluff 
immediately overlooking the camp. I had a bit 
of cliff-climbing, and reached the summit of one 
hill of some elevation, 1300 feet, and then found 
that a vast chasm, or ravine, separated me from the 
main mountain chain. It would be dark before I 
could — if I could — reach the summit, and then I 
should get no view, so I returned to the camp. 
The height was considerable, as mountains in this 
part of the world go, as it towered above the 
hill I was upon, and was 500 or 600 feet higher. 
These mountains appear to be composed of a kind 
of conglomerate granite ; very little timber existed 
upon them, but they were splendidly supplied with 
high, strong, coarse spinifex. I slipped down a 
gully, fell into a hideous bunch of this horrid stuff, 
and got pricked from head to foot ; the spiny points 
breaking off in my clothes and flesh caused me 
great annoyance and pain for many days after. 
Many beautiful flowers grew on the hillsides, in 
gullies and ravines ; of these I collected several. 
We secured what horses we had, for the night, 
which was warm and sultry. In the morning 
Robinson and I rode after the still missing ones ; 
at the plain camp we found all except one, and by 
the time we returned it was night. 


Not hobbling the horses in general, we had some 
difficulty in finding a pair of hobbles for each, and 
not being able to do so, I left one in the mob 
without. This base reptile surreptitiously cravi^led 
away in the night by himself. As our camp was 
the most wretched dog-hole it was possible for a 
man to get into, in the midst of dense mallee, 
triodia, and large stones, I determined to escape 
from it, before looking for the now two missing 
animals. The water was completely exhausted. 
We moved away south-westerly for about three 
miles, to the creek I had scratched in some days 
ago ; now we had to dig a big hole with a shovel, 
and with a good deal of labour we obtained a 
sufficient supply for a few days. 




Search for the missing horses — Find one — Hot wind and flying 
sand — Last horse recovered — Annoyed by flics — Mountains 
to the west — Fine timber — Gardiner's Range — Mount 
Solitary — Follow the creek — Dig a tank — Character of the 
country — Thunderstorms — Mount Peculiar — A desolate 
region — Sandhills — Useless rain — A bare granite hill — No 
water — Equinoctial gales — Search for water — Find a rock 
reservoir — Native fig-trees — Gloomy and desolate view — 
The old chain — Hills surrounded by scrubs — More hills to 
the west — Difficult watering-place — Immortelles — Cold 
weather — View from a hill — Renewed search for water — 
Find a small supply — Almost unapproachable — Effects of 
the spinifex on the horses — Pack-horses in scrubs — The 
Mus conditor — Glistening micaceous hills — Unsuccessful 
search — Waterless hill nine hundred feet high — Oceans 
of scrub — Retreat to last reservoir — Natives* smokes 
— Night without water — Unlucky day — Two horses lost — 
Recover them — Take a wrong turn — Difficulty in watering the 
horses — An uncomfortable camp — Unsuccessful searches — 
Mount Udor — Mark a tree — Tender-footed horses — Poor 
feed — Sprinkling rain — Flies again troublesome — Start for 
the western ranges — Difficult scrubs — Lonely camp — Horses 
away — Reach the range — No water — Retreat to Mount 
Udor — Slight rain — Determine to abandon this region — 
Corkwood trees — Ants* nests — Glow-worms — Native poplar- 
trees — Peculiar climate — Red gum-trees — A mare foals — 
Depart for the south — Remarks on the country. 

Having fixed our camp at a new place, in the 
afternoon of the 17th September, Robinson and I 
again went to look after the horses. At three miles 

VOL. I. E 


above the camp we found some water; soon after 
we got the tracks of one horse and saw that he 
had been about there for a day or two, as the 
tracks were that age. We made a sweep out 
round some hills, found the tracks again, much 
fresher, and came upon the horse about seven miles 
from the camp. The other horse was left for 
to-morrow. Thermometer 96°, sky overcast, rain 

During the night of the i8th of September a 
few heat-drops of rain fell. I sent Robinson away 
to the plain camp, feeling sure he would find the 
rover there. A hot wind blew all day, the sand 
was flying about in all directions. Robinson got 
the horse at last at the plain, and I took special 
care to find a pair of hobbles for him for this 
night at all events. The flies were an intoler- 
able nuisance, not that they were extraordinarily 
numerous, but so insufferably pertinacious. I think 
the tropic fly of Australia the most abominable 
insect of its kind. From the summit of the hill I 
ascended on Sunday, I found the line of mountains 
still ran on to the west, the farthest hills appeared 
fifty miles away. As they extend so far, and are 
the principal features in sight, I shall follow them, 
in hopes of meeting some creek, or river, that may 
carry me on to the west. It is a remarkable fact 
that such high hills as I have been following should 
send out no creek whose course extends farther 
than ten or twelve miles. I could trace the creek 
I am now on by its timber for only a few miles, its 
course appearing south of west. The country in 
its immediate neighbourhood is open, and timbered 
with fine casuarina trees ; the grass is dry and long, 


and the triodla approaches to within a quarter of a 
mile of it. The line of hills I previously mentioned 
as running along to the south of us, we had now 
run out. I named them Gardiner's Range, after a 
friend of Mr. Carmichaers. There is, however, 
one small isolated hill, the farthest outpost of that 
line, some three miles away to the south-west ; the 
creek may probably take a bend down towards it. 
I called it Mount Solitary. This creek is rather 
well timbered, the gum-trees look fresh and young, 
and there is some green herbage in places, though 
the surface water has all disappeared. 

There was so little water at the camp tank, we 
had to send the horses up the creek three miles to 
water, and on their return I was not sorry to be 
moving again, for our stay at these two last camps 
had been compulsory, and the anxiety, trouble, and 
annoyance we had, left no very agreeable remi- 
niscences of the locality in our minds. 

We travelled along the creek all day, cutting off 
the bends, but without seeing any signs of water : 
towards evening we set to work to try if we could 
get any by digging. In about four feet, water 
began to drain in, but, the sand being so loose, we 
had to remove an enormous quantity to enable a 
horse to drink. Some of the horses would not go 
into it, and had to be watered with a canvas bucket. 
The supply seemed good, but it only drained in 
from the sides. Every time a horse drank we had 
to clear out the sand for the next ; it therefore took 
until late before all were satisfied. The country 
was still open, and timbered with fine black oak, or 
what is so called in Australia. It is a species of 
casuarina, of the same family but distinct from the 

E 2 


beautiful desert oak. Triodia reigned supreme 
within half a mile. At this camp the old grass had 
been burnt, and fresh young green shoots appeared in 
its place ; this was very good for the horses. A few 
drops of rain fell ; distant rumblings of thunder and 
flashes of lightning now cooled the air. While we 
were at breakfast the next morning, a thunderstorm 
came up to us from the west, then suddenly turned 
away, only just sprinkling us, though we could see 
the rain falling heavily a few yards to the south. 
We packed up and went off, hoping to find a better- 
watered region at the hills westwards. There was 
an extraordinary mount a little to the west of north 
from us ; it looked something like a church ; it was 
over twenty miles away : I called it Mount Peculiar. 
Leaving the creek on our left, to run itself out into 
some lonely flat or dismal swamp, known only to 
the wretched inhabitants of this desolate region — 
over which there seems to brood an unutterable 
stillness and a dread re()ose — we struck into sand- 
hill country, rather open, covered with the triodia 
or spinifex, and timbered with the casuarina or 
black oak trees. We had scarcely gone two miles 
when our old thunderstorm came upon us — it had 
evidently missed us at first, and had now come to 
look for us — and it rained heavily. The country was 
so sandy and porous that no water remained on the 
surface. We travelled on and the storm travelled 
with us — the ground sucking up every drop that 
fell. Continuing our course, which was north 67° 
west, we travelled twenty-five miles. At this dis- 
tance we came in sight of the mountains I was 
steering for, but they were too distant to reach 
before night, so, turning a little northward to the 


foot of a low, bare, white granite hill, I hoped to find 
a creek, or at least some ledges in the rocks, where 
we might get some water. Not a drop was to be 
found. Though we had been travelling in the rain 
all day and accomplished thirty miles, we were 
obliged to camp without water at last. There was 
good feed for the horses, and, as it was still raining, 
they could not be very greatly in want of water. 
We fixed up our tent and retired for the night, the 
wind blowing furiously, as might reasonably be ex- 
pected, for it was the eve of the vernal equinox, 
and this I supposed was our share of the equinoctial 
gales. We were compelled in the morning to re- 
move the camp, as we had not a drop of water, and 
unless it descended in sheets the country could not 
hold it, being all pure red sand. The hill near us 
had no rocky ledges to catch water, so we made off 
for the higher mountains for which we were steering 
yesterday. Their nearest or most eastern point 
was not more than four miles away, and we went 
first to it. I walked on ahead of the horses with 
the shovel, to a small gully I saw with the glasses, 
having some few eucalypts growing in it. I walked 
up it, to and over rocky ledges, down which at 
times, no doubt, small leaping torrents roar. Very 
little of yesterday's rain had fallen here ; but most 
fortunately I found one small rock reservoir, with 
just sufficient water for all the horses. There was 
none either above or below in any other basin, and 
there were many better-looking places, but all were 
dry. The water in this one must have stood for 
some time, yesterday's rain not having affected it in 
the least. The place at which I found the water 
was the most difficult for horses to reach ; it was 


almost impracticable. After finding this opportune 
though awkwardly situated supply, I climbed to 
the summit of the mount. On the top was a native 
fig-tree in full bearing ; the fruit was ripe and 
delicious. It is the size of an ordinary marble, 
yellow when unripe, and gradually becoming red, 
then black : it is full of small seeds. I was dis- 
turbed from my repast by seeing the horses, several 
hundred feet below me, going away in the wrong 
direction, and I had to descend before I had time 
to look around ; but the casual glance I obtained 
gave me the most gloomy and desolate view imagin- 
able ; one, almost enough to daunt the explorer from 
penetrating any farther into such a dreadful region. 
To the eastward, I found I had now long outrun the 
old main chain of mountains, which had turned up 
to the north, or rather north- north-westward ; be- 
tween me and it a mass of jumbled and broken 
mounts appeared ; each separate one, however, was 
almost surrounded by scrubs, which ran up to the 
foot of the hill I was upon. Northward the view 
was similar. To the west the picture was the same, 
except that a more defined range loomed above the 
intervening scrubs — the hills furthest away in that 
direction being probably fifty miles distant. The 
whole horizon looked dark and gloomy — I could 
see no creeks of any kind, the most extensive water 
channels were mere gullies, and not existing at all 
at a mile from the hills they issued from. 

Watering our horses proved a difficult and tedious 
task ; as many of them would not approach the 
rocky basin, the water had to be carried up to them 
in canvas buckets. By the time they were all 
watered, and we had descended from the rocky 


guHy, the day had passed with most miraculous 
celerity. The horses did not finish the water, there 
being nearly sufficient to give them another drink. 
The grass was good here, as a little flat, on which 
grew some yellow immortelles, had recently been 
burnt. I allowed the horses to remain and drink up 
the balance of the water, while I went away to 
inspect some other gorges or gullies in the hills to 
the west of us, and see whether any more water 
could be found. The day was cool and fine. 

I climbed to the summit of a hill about 800 feet 
from its base. The view was similar to yesterday's, 
except that I could now see these hills ran on 
west for twelve or fifteen miles, where the country 
was entirely covered with scrubs. Little gullies, 
with an odd, and stunted, gum-tree here and there, 
were seen. Few of these gullies were more than 
six feet wide, and the trumpery little streams that 
descend, in even their most flooded state, would be 
of but little service to anybody. I had wandered 
up and down hills, in and out of gullies, all the 
morning, but had met no single drop of water, and 
was returning disappointed to the camp when, on 
trying one more small scrubby, dreadfully-rocky 
little gully which I had missed, or rather passed by, 
in going out, I was fortunate enough to discover a 
few small rocky holes full of the purest fluid. This 
treasure was small indeed, but my gratitude was 
great; for what pleased me most was the rather 
strange fact that the water was trickling from one 
basin to another, but with the weakest possible 
flow. Above and below where I found this water 
the gully and the rocks were as dry as the desert 
around. Had the supply not been kept up by the 


trickling, half my horses would have emptied all the 
holes at a draught. 

The approach to this water was worse, rougher, 
rockier, and more impracticable than at the camp ; 
I was, however, most delighted to have found it, 
otherwise I should have had to retreat to the last 
creek. I determined, however, not to touch it now, 
but to keep it as a reserve fund, should I be unable 
to find more out west. Returning to camp, we 
gave the horses all the water remaining, and left 
the spot perfectly dry. 

We now had the line of hills on our right, and 
travelled nearly west-north-west. Close to the foot 
of the hills the country is open, but covered with 
large stones, between the interstices of which grow 
huge bunches of the hideous spinifex, which both 
we and the horses dread like a pestilence. We 
have encountered this scourge for over 200 miles. 
All around the coronets of most of the horses, in 
consequence of their being so continually punctured 
with the spines of this terrible grass, it has caused a 
swelling, or tough enlargement of the flesh and 
skin, giving them the appearance of having ring- 
bones. Many of them have the flesh quite raw and 
bleeding; they are also very tender-footed from 
traversing so much stony ground, as we have lately 
had to pass over. Bordering upon the open stony 
triodia ground above-mentioned is a bed of scrubs, 
composed chiefly of mulga, though there are various 
other trees, shrubs, and plants amongst it. It is so 
dense and thick that in it we cannot see a third of 
the horses at once ; they, of course, continually 
endeavour to make into it to avoid the stones and 
triodia ; for, generally speaking, the pungent triodia 


and the mulga acacia appear to be antagonistic 
members of the vegetable kingdom. The ground 
in the scrubs is generally soft, and on that account 
also the horses seek it. Out of kindness, I have 
occasionally allowed them to travel in the scrubs, 
when our direct course should have been on 
the open, until some dire mishap forces us out 
again ; for, the scrubs being so dense, the horses 
are compelled to crash through them, tearing the 
coverings of their loads, and frequently forcing 
sticks in between their backs or sides and their 
saddles, sometimes staking themselves severely. 
Then we hear a frantic crashing through the scrubs, 
and the sounds of the pounding of horse-hoofs are 
the first notice we receive that some calamity has 
occurred. So soon as we ourselves can force our 
way through, and collect the horses the best way 
we can, yelling and howling to one another to say 
how many each may have got, we discover one or 
two missing. Then they have to be tracked ; por- 
tions of loads are picked up here and there, and, in 
the course of an hour or more, the horse or horses 
are found, repacked, and on we push again, mostly 
for the open, though rough and stony spinifex 
ground, where at least we can see what is going on. 
These scrubs are really dreadful, and one s skin and 
clothes get torn and ripped in all directions. One 
of these mishaps occurred to-day. 

In these scrubs are met nests of the building rat 
(Mus conditor). They form their nests with twigs 
and sticks to the height of four feet, the circum- 
ference being fifteen to twenty. The sticks are all 
lengths up to three feet, and up to an inch in 
diameter. Inside are chambers and galleries, while 


in the ground underneath are tunnels, which are 
carried to some distance from their citadel. They 
occur in many parts of Australia, and are occasionally 
met with on plains where few trees can be found. 
As a general rule, they frequent the country in- 
habited by the black oak (casuarina). They can live 
without water, but, at times, build so near a water- 
course as to have their structures swept away by 
floods. Their flesh is very good eating. 

In ten miles we had passed several little gullies, 
and reached the foot of other hills, where a few 
Australian pines were scattered here and there. 
These hills have a glistening, sheening, laminated 
appearance, caused by the vast quantities of mica 
which abounds in them. Their sides are furrowed 
and corrugated, and their upper portions almost 
bare rock. Time was lost here in unsuccessful 
searches for water, and we departed to another 
range, four or five miles farther on, and apparently 
higher ; therefore perhaps more likely to supply us 
with water. Mr. Carmichael and I ascended the 
range, and found it to be 900 feet from its base ; but 
in all its gullies water there was none. The view 
from the summit was just such as I have described 
before — an ocean of scrubs, with isolated hills or 
ranges appearing like islands in most directions. 
Our horses had been already twenty-four hours with- 
out water. I wanted to reach the far range to the 
west, but it was useless to push all the pack-horses 
farther into such an ocean of scrubs, as our rate of 
progress in them was so terribly slow. I decided 
to return to the small supply I had left as a reserve, 
and go myself to the far range, which was yet some 
thirty miles away. The country southward seemed 


to have been more recently visited by the natives 
than upon our line of march, which perhaps was 
not to be wondered at, as what could they get to 
live on out of such a region as we had got 
into ? Probably forty or fifty miles to the south, 
over the tops of some low ridges, we saw the 
ascending smoke of spinifex fires, still attended to 
by the natives ; and in the neighbourhood, no 
doubt, they had some watering places. On our 
retreat we travelled round the northern face of the 
hills, upon whose south side we had arrived, in 
hopes of finding some place having water, where I 
might form a depot for a few days. By night we 
could find none, and had to encamp without, either 
for ourselves or our horses. 

The following day seemed foredoomed to be un- 
lucky ; it really appeared as though everything 
must go wrong by a natural law. In the first place, 
while making a hobble peg, while Carmichael and 
Robinson were away after the horses, the little piece 
of wood slipped out of my hand, and the sharp 
blade of the knife went through the top and nail of 
my third finger and stuck in the end of my thumb. 
The cut bled profusely, and it took me till the horses 
came to sew my mutilated digits up. It was late 
when we left this waterless spot. As there was a 
hill with a prepossessing gorge, I left Carmichael 
and Robinson to bring the horses on, and rode off 
to see if I could find water there. Though I rode 
and walked in gullies and gorges, no water was to 
be found. I then made down to where the horses 
should have passed along, and found some of them 
standing with their packs on, in a small bit of open 
ground, surrounded by dense scrubs, which by 


chance I came to, and nobody near. I called and 
waited, and at last Mr. Carmichael came and told 
me that when he and Robinson debouched with the 
horses on this little open space, they found that two 
of the animals were missing, and that Robinson had 
gone to pick up their tracks. The horse carrying 
my papers and instruments was one of the truants. 
Robinson soon returned, not having found the track. 
Neither of them could tell when they saw the 
horses last. I sent Mr. Carmichael to another hill 
two or three miles away, that we had passed, but 
not inspected yesterday, to search for water, while 
Robinson and I looked for the missing horses. And 
lest any more should retreat during our absence, we 
tied them up in two mobs. Robinson tied his lot 
up near a small rock. We then separately made 
sweeps round, returning to the horses on the op- 
posite side, without success. We then went again 
in company, and again on opposite sides singly, but 
neither tracks nor horses could be found. Five 
hours had now elapsed since I first heard of their 
absence. I determined to make one more circuit 
beyond any we had already taken, so as to include 
the spot we had camped at ; this occupied a couple 
of hours. When I returned I was surprised to hear 
that»Robinson had found the horses in a small but 
extra dense bunch of scrub not twenty yards from 
the spot where he had tied his horses up. While I 
was away he had gone on top of the little stony 
eminence close by, and from its summit had ob- 
tained a bird's-eye view of the ground below, and 
thus perceived the two animals, which had never 
been absent at all. It seemed strange to me that I 
could not find their tracks, but the reason was 


there were no tracks to find. I took it for granted 
when Carmichael told me of their absence that 
they were absent, but he and Robinson were both 

It was now nearly evening, and I had been riding 
my horse at a fast pace the whole day ; I was 
afraid we could not reach the reserve water by 
night. But we pushed on, Mr. Carmichael joining 
us, not having found any water. At dusk we 
reached the small creek or gully, up in whose rocks 
I had found the water on Sunday. At a certain 
point the creek split in two, or rather two channels 
joined, and formed one, and I suppose the same 
ill fate that had pursued me all day made me mis- 
take the proper channel, and we drove the un- 
fortunate and limping horses up a wretched, rocky, 
vile, scrubby, almost impenetrable gully, where 
there was not a sup of water. 

On discovering my error, we had to turn them 
back over the same horrible places, all rocks, dense 
scrubs, and triodia, until we got them into the 
proper channel. When near the first little hole I 
had formerly seen, I dismounted, and walked up to 
see how it had stood during my absence, and was 
grieved to discover that the lowest and largest hole 
was nearly dry. I bounded up the rocks to the 
next, and there, by the blessing of Providence, was 
still a sufficient quantity, as the slow trickling of 
the water from basin to basin had not yet entirely 
ceased, though its current had sadly diminished 
since my last visit only some seventy hours since. 

By this time it was dark, and totally impossible 
to get the horses up the gully. We had to get them 
over a horrible ridge of broken and jumbled rocks. 


having to get levers and roll away huge boulders, to 
make something like a track to enable the animals 
to reach the water. 

Time (and labour) accomplishes all things, and 
in time the last animals thirst was quenched, and 
the last drop of water sucked up from every basin. 
I was afraid it would not be replenished by morn- 
ing. We had to encamp in the midst of a thicket of 
a kind of willow acacia with pink bark all in little 
curls, with a small and pretty mimosa-like leaf. 
This bush is of the most tenacious nature — you may 
bend it, but break it won't. We had to cut away 
sufficient to make an open square, large enough for 
our packs, and to enable us to lie down, also to 
remove the huge bunches of spinifex that occupied 
the space ; then, when the stones were cleared 
away, we had something like a place for a camp. 
By this time it was midnight, and we slept, all 
heartily tired of our day's work, and the night being 
cool we could sleep in comfort. Our first thought 
in the morning was to see how the basins looked. 
Mr. Carmichael went up with a keg to discover, and 
on his return reported that they had all been re- 
filled in the night, and that the trickling continued, 
but less in volume. This was a great relief to my 
mind ; I trust the water will remain until I return 
from those dismal-looking mountains to the west. I 
made another search during the morning for more 
water, but without success, and I can only conclude 
that this water was permitted by Providence to 
remain here in this lonely spot for my especial 
benefit, for no more rain had fallen here than at any 
of the other hills in the neighbourhood, nor is this 
one any higher or different from the others which I 


visited, except that this one had a little water and 
all the rest none. In gratitude therefore to this 
hill I have called it Mount Udor. Mount Udorwas 
the only spot where water was to be found in this 
abominable region, and when I left it the udor had 
departed also. I got two of my riding-horses shod 
to-day, as the country I intended to travel over is 
about half stones and half scrub. I have marked a 
eucalyptus or gum-tree in this gully close to the foot 
of the rock where I found the water [|^], as this 
is my twenty-first camp from Chambers' Pillar. 
My position here is in latitude 23° 14', longitude 
130° 55', and variation 3° east nearly. I could not 
start to-day as the newly shod horses are so tender- 
footed that they seem to go worse in their shoes ; 
they may be better to-morrow. The water still 
holds out. The camp is in a confined gully, and 
warm, though it is comparatively a cool day. The 
grass here is very poor, and the horses wander a 
great deal to look for feed. Four of them could 
not be found in the morning. A slight thunder- 
storm passed over in the night, with a sprinkling of 
rain for nearly an hour, but not sufficient fell to 
damp a pocket-handkerchief. It was, however, quite 
sufficient to damp my hopes of a good fall. The 
flies are very numerous here and troublesome. After 
watering my two horses I started away by myself 
for the ranges out west. I went on our old tracks 
as far as they went, then I visited some other hills 
on my line of march. As usual, the country alter- 
nated between open stones at the foot of the hills 
and dense scrubs beyond. I thought one of the 
beds of scrubs I got into the densest I had ever 
seen, it was actually impenetrable without cutting 


one's way, and I had to turn around and about in all 
directions. 1 had the greatest difficulty to get the 
horse I was leading to come on at all ; I had no 
power over him whatever. I could not use either a 
whip or a stick, and he dragged so much that he 
nearly pulled me out of my saddle, so that I could 
hardly tell which way I was going, and it was 
extremely difficult to keep anything like a straight 
course. Night overtook me, and I had to encamp 
in the scrubs, having travelled nearly forty miles. 
A few drops of rain fell ; it may have benefited 
the horses, but to me it was a nuisance. I was up, 
off my sandy couch early enough, but had to wait 
for daylight before I could get the horses ; they 
had wandered away for miles back towards the 
camp, and I had the same difficulties over again 
when getting them back to where the saddles were. 
In seven or eight miles after starting I got out of 
the scrubs. At the foot of the mountain for which 
I was steering there was a little creek or gully, with 
some eucalypts where I struck it. It was, as all 
the others had been, scrubby, rocky, and dry. I 
left the horses and ascended to the top, about 900 
feet above the scrubs which surrounded it. The 
horizon was broken by low ranges nearly all round, 
but scrubs as usual intervened between them. I 
descended and walked into dozens of gullies and 
rocky places, and I found some small holes and 
basins, but all were dry. At this spot I was eighty 
miles from a sufficient supply of water ; that at the 
camp, forty-five miles away, may be gone by the 
time I return. Under these circumstances I could 
not go any farther west. It was now evening again. 
I left these desolate hills, the Ehrenberg Ranges of 


my map, and travelled upon a different line, hoping 
to find a better or less thick route through the 
scrubs, but it was just the same, and altogether 
abominable. Night again overtook me in the dire- 
ful scrubs, not very far from the place at which I 
had slept the previous night ; the most of the day 
was wasted in an ineffectual search for water. 

On Sunday morning, the 29th September, having 
hobbled my horses so short, although the scrubs 
were so thick, they were actually in sight at dawn ; 
I might as well have tied them up. Starting at 
once, I travelled to one or two hills we had passed 
by, but had not inspected before. I could find no 
water anywhere. It was late when I reached the 
camp, and I was gladdened to find the party still 
there, and that the water supply had held out so 
lonor. On the following morning, Monday, the 30th 
of September, it was at a very low ebb ; the trickling 
had ceased in the upper holes, though it was still 
oozing into the lower ones, so that it was absolutely 
necessary to pack up and be off from this wretched 
place. It was an expedition in itself to get water 
for the camp, from the rock basins above. The 
horses dreaded to approach it on account of their 
tender feet. It required a lot of labour to get 
sufficient firewood to boil a quart pot, for, although 
we were camped in a dense thicket, the small wood 
of which it was composed was all green, and useless 
for firewood. 

I intended to retreat from here to-day, but just 
as Robinson was starting to find the horses a shower 
of rain came on, and hoping it might end in a 
heavier fall, I decided to remain until to-morrow, to 
give the rain a chance, — especially as, aided by the 

VOL. I. F 


slight rain, the horses could do without a drink, 
there now being only one drink remaining, as the 
trickling had entirely ceased, though we yet had the 
little holes full. The rain fell in a slight and gentle 
shower two or three hours, but it left no trace of its 
fall, even upon the rocks, so that our water supply 
was not increased by one pint. 

To-morrow I am off ; it is useless to remain in a 
region such as this. But where shall I go next ? 
The creek I had last got water in, might even now 
be dry. I determined to try and reach it farther 
down its channel. If it existed beyond where I left 
it, I expected, in twenty-five to thirty miles, in a 
southerly direction, to strike it again : therefore, I 
decided to travel in that direction. A few quan- 
dongs, or native peach trees, exist amongst these 
gullies ; also a tree that I only know by the name 
of the corkwood tree.* The wood is soft, and light 
in weight and colour. It is by no means a hand- 
some tree. It grows about twenty feet high. 
Generally two or three are huddled together, as 
though growing from one stem. Those I saw were 
nearly all dead. They grow in the little water 
channels. The ants here, as in nearly the whole of 
Tropical Australia, build nests from four to six feet 
high — in some other parts I have known them 
twenty — to escape, I suppose, from the torrents of 
rain that at times fall in these regions : the height 

* " Sesbania grandiflora," Baron Mueller says, " North-Western 
Australia ; to the verge of the tropics ; Indian Archipelago ; called 
in Australia the corkwood tree ; valuable for various utilitarian 
purposes. The red-flowered variety is grandly ornamented. Dr. 
Roxburgh recommends the leaves and young pods as an exquisite 
spinach ; the plant is shy of frost." 


also protects their eggs and stores from the fires the 
natives continually keep burning. This burning, 
perhaps, accounts for the conspicuous absence of 
insects and reptiles. One night, however, I certainly 
saw glowworms. These I have only seen in one 
other region in Australia — near Geelong, in Victoria. 
A tree called the native poplar {Codonocarpus 
cotinifolius) is also found growing in the scrubs and 
water-channels of this part of the country. The 
climate of this region appears very peculiar. Scarcely 
a week passes without thunderstorms and rain ; but 
the latter falls in such small quantities that it is 
almost useless. It is evidently on this account that 
there are no waters or watercourses deserving of the 
name. I should like to know how much rain would 
have to fall here before any could be discovered 
lying on the ground. All waters found in this part 
of the country must be got out of pure sand, in a 
water channel or pure rock. The native orange- 
tree grows here, but the specimens I have met are 
very poor and stunted. The blood-wood-trees, or 
red gum-trees, which always enliven any landscape 
where they are found, also occur. They are not, 
however, the magnificent vegetable structures which 
are known in Queensland and Western Australia, 
but are mostly gnarled and stunted. They also grow 
near the watercourses. 

The 1st October broke bright and clear, and I 
was only too thankful to get out of this horrible 
region and this frightful encampment, into which 
the fates had drawn me, alive. When the horses 
arrived, there was only just enough water for all to 
drink ; but one mare was away, and Robinson said 
she had foaled. The foal was too young to walk 

F 2 


or move ; the dam was extremely poor, and had 
been losing condition for some time previously ; so 
Robinson went back, killed the foal, and brought 
up the mare. Now there was not sufficient water 
to satisfy her when she did come. Mr. Carmichael 
and I packed up the horses, while Robinson was 
away upon his unpleasant mission. When he brought 
her up, the mare looked the picture of misery. At 
last I turned my back upon this wretched camp and 
region ; and we went away to the south. It was half- 
past two o'clock when we got clear from our prison. 
It is almost a work of supererogation to make 
many further remarks on the character of this 
region — I mean, of course, since we left the Finke. 
I might, at a word, condemn it as a useless desert. 
I will, however, scarcely use so sweeping a term. 
I can truly say it is dry, stony, scrubby, and 
barren, and this in my former remarks any one 
who runs can read. I saw very few living creatures, 
but it is occasionally visited by its native owners, 
to whom I do not grudge the possession of it. 
Occasionally the howls of the native dog {Cams 
familiaris) — or dingo as he is usually called — were 
heard, and their footprints in sandy places seen. 
A small species of kangaroo, known as the scrub 
wallaby, were sometimes seen, and startled from 
their pursuit of nibbling at the roots of plants, upon 
which they exist ; but the scrubs being so dense, 
and their movements so rapid, it was utterly im- 
possible to get a shot at them. Their greatest enemy 
— besides the wild black man and the dingo — 
is the large eagle-hawk, which, though flying at an 
enormous height, is always on the watch ; but it is 
only when the wallaby lets itself out, on to the stony 


open, that the enemy can swoop down upon it. The 
eagle trusses it with his talons, smashes its head with 
its beak to quiet it, and, finally, if a female, flies 
away with the victim to its nest for food for its 
young, or if a male bird, to some lonely rock 
or secluded tarn, to gorge its fill alone. I have 
frequently seen these eagles swoop on to one, and, 
while struggling with its prey, have galloped up and 
secured it myself, before the dazed wallaby could 
collect its senses. Other birds of prey, such as 
sparrow-hawks, owls, and mopokes (a kind of owl), 
inhabit this region, but they are not numerous. 
Dull-coloured, small birds, that exist entirely 
without water, are found in the scrubs ; and in 
the mornings they are sometimes noisy, but not 
melodious, when there is a likelihood of rain ; and 
the smallest of Australian ornithology, the diamond 
bird {Amadina) of Gould, is met with at almost 
every watering place. Reptiles and insects, as I 
have said, are scarce, on account of the continual 
fires the natives use in their perpetual hunt for 




A bluff hill — Quandong trees — The mulga tree — Travel S. S.E. 
— Mare left behind — Native peaches— Short of water — Large 
tree — Timbered ridges — Horses suffer from thirst — Pine- 
trees — Native encampments — Native paintings in caves — 
Peculiar crevice — A rock tarn — A liquid prize — Caverns and 
caves — A pretty oasis — Ripe figs — Recover the mare — 
Thunder and lightning — Ornamented caves — Hands of glory 
— A snake in a hole — Heavy dew — Natives burning the 
country — A rocky eminence — Waterless region — Cheerless 
view — A race of Salamanders — Circles of fire — Wallaby and 
pigeons — ^Wallaby traps — Return to depot — Water diminish- 
ing — Glen Edith — Mark trees — The tarn of Auber — Land- 
marks to it — Seeds sown — Everything in miniature — Journey 
south — Desert oaks — A better region — Kangaroos and emus 
— Desert again — A creek channel — Water by scratching — 
Find more — Splendid grass — Native signs — Farther south — 
Beautiful green — Abundance of water — Follow the channel — 
Laurie's Creek — Vale of Tempe — A gap or pass-^-Without 
water — Well-grassed plain — Native well — Dry rock holes — 
Natives' fires — New ranges — High mountain — Return to 
creek — And Glen Edith — Description of it 

On starting from Mount Udor, on the ist October, 
our road lay at first over rocks and stones, then 
for two or three miles through thick scrubs. The 
country afterwards became a trifle less scrubby, 
and consisted of sandhills, timbered with casuarina, 
and covered, as usual, with triodia. In ten miles 
we passed a low bluff hill, and camped near it, with- 
out any water. On the road we saw several quan- 


dong trees, and got some of the ripe fruit. The 
day was warm and sultry ; but the night set in cool, 
if not cold. Mr. Carmichael went to the top of the 
low bluff, and informed me of the existence of low 
ridges, bounding the horizon in every direction 
except to the S.S.E., and that the intervening 
country appeared to be composed of sandhills, with 
casuarinas, or mulga scrubs. 

In Baron von Mueller's extraordinary work on 
Select Extra-tropical Plants, with indications of 
their native countries, and some of their uses, 
these remarks occur: — ''Acacia aneura, Ferd. 
v. Mueller. Arid desert — interior of extra tropic 
Australia. A tree never more than twenty-five 
feet high. The principal * mulga ' tree. Mr. S. 
Dixon praises it particularly as valuable for fodder 
of pasture animals ; hence it might locally serve for 
ensilage. Mr. W. Johnson found in the foliage a 
considerable quantity of starch and gum, rendering 
it nutritious. Cattle and sheep browse on the twigs 
of this, and some allied species, even in the presence 
of plentiful grass ; and are much sustained by such 
acacias in seasons of protracted drought. Drome- 
daries in Australia crave for the mulga as food. 
Wood excessively hard, dark-brown ; used, pre- 
ferentially, by the natives for boomerangs, sticks 
with which to lift edible roots, and shafts of phrag- 
mites, spears, wommerahs, nulla-nuUas, and jagged 
spear ends. Mr. J. H. Maiden determined the per- 
centage of mimosa tannic acid in the perfectly dry 
bark as 8 •62." The mulga bears a small woody 
fruit called the mulga apple. It somewhat re- 
sembles the taste of apples, and is sweet. If crab 
apples, as is said, were the originals of all the 


present kinds, I imagine an excellent fruit might 
be obtained from the mulga by cultivation. As 
this tree is necessarily so often mentioned in my 
travels, the remarks of so eminent a botanist upon 
it cannot be otherwise than welcome. 

In the direction of S.S.E. Mr. Carmichael said 
the country appeared most open. A yellow flower, 
of the immortelle species, which I picked at this 
little bluff, was an old Darling acquaintance ; the 
vegetation, in many respects, resembles that of the 
River Darling. There was no water at this bluff, 
and the horses wandered all over the country during 
the night, in mobs of twos and threes. It was mid- 
day before we got away- For several hours we 
keptonS.S.E., over sandhills and through casuarina 
timber, in unvarying monotony. At about five 
o'clock the little mare that had foaled yesterday 
gave in, and would travel no farther. We were 
obliged to leave her amongst the sandhills. 

We continued until we had travelled forty miles 
from Mount Udor, but no signs of a creek or any 
place likely to produce or hold water had been 
found. The only difference in the country was that 
it was now more open, though the spinifex was as 
lively as ever. 

We passed several quandong trees in full fruit, of 
which we ate a great quantity ; they were the most 
palatable, and sweetest I have ever eaten. We also 
passed a few Currajong-trees {Brachychiton\ At this 
point we turned nearly east. It was, however, now 
past sundown, too dark to go on any farther, and 
we had again to encamp without water, our own small 
supply being so limited that we could have only a 
third of a pint each, and we could not eat any- 


thing in consequence. The horses had to be very 
short-hobbled to prevent their straying, and we 
passed the night under the umbrage of a colossal 
Currajong-tree. The unfortunate horses had now 
been two days and nights without water, and could 
not feed ; being so short-hobbled, they were almost 
in sight of the camp in the morning. From the 
top of a sandhill I saw that the eastern horizon was 
bounded by timbered ridges, and it was not very 
probable that the creek I was searching for could 
lie between us and them. Indeed, I concluded that 
the creek had exhausted itself, not far from where 
we had left it. The western horizon was now 
bounded by low ridges, continuous for many miles. 
I decided to make for our last camp on the creek, 
distant some five-and-twenty miles north-east. At 
five miles after starting, we came upon a mass of 
eucalypts which were not exactly gum-trees, though 
of that family, and I thought this might be the end 
of the exhausted creek channel, only the timber 
grew promiscuously on the tops of the sandhills, as 
in the lower ground between them. There was no 
appearance of any flow of water ever having passed 
by these trees, and indeed they looked more like 
gigantic mallee-trees than gums, only that they 
grew separately. They covered a space of about 
half a mile wide. From here I saw that some 
ridges were right before me, at a short distance, but 
where our line of march would intersect them they 
seemed so scrubby and stony I wished to avoid 
them. At one point I discerned a notch or gap. 
The horses were now very troublesome to drive, 
the poor creatures being very bad with thirst. I 
turned on the bearing that would take me back to 


the old creek, which seemed the only spot in this 
desolate region where water could be found, and 
there we had to dig to get it. At one place on the 
ridges before us appeared a few pine-trees {Calli- 
tris) which enliven any region they inhabit, and 
there is usually water in their neighbourhood. The 
rocks from which the pines grew were much broken ; 
they were yet, however, five or six miles away. We 
travelled directly towards them, and upon approach- 
ing, I found the rocks upheaved in a most singular 
manner, and a few gum-trees were visible at 
the foot of the ridge. I directed Carmichael and 
Robinson to avoid the stones as much as possible, 
while I rode over to see whether there was a creek 
or any other place where water might be procured. 
On approaching the rocks at the foot of the ridge, 
I found several enormous overhanging ledges of 
sandstone, under which the natives had evidently 
been encamped long and frequently ; and there was 
the channel of a small watercourse scarcely more 
than six feet wide. I rode over to another over- 
hanging ledge and found it formed a verandah wide 
enough to make a large cave ; upon the walls of 
this, the natives had painted strange devices of 
snakes, principally in white ; the children had 
scratched imperfect shapes of hands with bits of 
charcoal. The whole length of this cave had fre- 
quently been a large encampment. Looking about 
with some hopes of finding the place where these 
children of the wilderness obtained water, I espied 
about a hundred yards away, and on the opposite 
side of the little glen or valley, a very peculiar- 
looking crevice between two huge blocks of sand- 
stone, and apparently not more than a yard wide. 


I rode over to this spot, and to my great delight 
found a most excellent little rock tarn, of nearly 
an oblong shape, containing a most welcome and 
opportune supply of the fluid I was so anxious to 
discover. Some green slime rested on a portion of 
the surface, but the rest was all clear and pure 
water. My horse must have thought me mad, and 
any one who had seen me might have thought I had 
suddenly espied some basilisk, or cockatrice, or 
mailed saurian ; for just as the horse was preparing 
to dip his nose in the water he so greatly wanted, 
I turned him away and made him gallop off after 
his and my companions, who were slowly passing 
away from this liquid prize. When I hailed, and 
overtook them, they could scarcely believe that 
our wants were to be so soon and so agreeably 
relieved. There was abundance of water for all 
our requirements here, but the approach was so 
narrow that only two horses could drink at one 
time, and we had great difficulty in preventing some 
of the horses from precipitating themselves, loads 
and all, into the inviting fluid. No one who has 
not experienced it, can imagine the pleasure which 
the finding of such a treasure confers on the thirsty, 
hungry, and weary traveller; all his troubles for 
the time are at an end. Thirst, that dire affliction 
that besets the wanderer in the Australian wilds, 
at last is quenched ; his horses, unloaded, are 
allowed to roam and graze and drink at will, 
free from the encumbrance of hobbles, and the 
traveller s other appetite of hunger is also at length 
appeased, for no matter what food one may carry, 
it is impossible to eat it without water. This was 
truly a mental and bodily relief After our hunger 


had been satisfied I took a more extended survey 
of our surroundings, and found that we had dropped 
into a really very pretty little spot. 

Low sandstone hills, broken and split into most 
extraordinary shapes, forming huge caves and 
caverns, that once no doubt had been some of the 
cavernous depths of the ocean, were to be seen in 
every direction ; little runnels, with a few gum-trees 
upon them, constituted the creeks. Callitris or 
cypress pines, ornamented the landscape, and a few 
blood-wood or red gum-trees also enlivened the 
scene. No porcupine, but real green grass made up 
a really pretty picture, to the explorer at least. 
This little spot is indeed an oasis. I had climbed 
high hills, traversed untold miles of scrub, and gone 
in all directions to try and pick up the channel of a 
wretched dry creek, when all of a sudden I stum- 
bled upon a perfect little paradise. I found the 
dimensions of this little tarn are not very large, nor 
is the quantity of water in it very great, but un- 
touched and in its native state it is certainly a 
permanent water for its native owners. It has 
probably not been filled since last January or Feb- 
ruary, and it now contains amply sufficient water to 
enable it to last until those months return, provided 
that no such enormous drinkers as horses draw 
upon it ; in that case it might not last a month. I 
found the actual water was fifty feet long, by eight 
feet wide, and four feet deep ; the rocks in which 
the water lies are more than twenty feet high. 
The main ridges at the back are between 200 
and 300 feet high. The native fig-tree {Ficiis 
orbicularis) grows here most luxuriantly ; there are 
several of them in full fruit, which is delicious when 


thoroughly ripe. I had no thought of deserting 
this welcome little spot for a few days. On the 
following morning Mr. Carmichael and I loaded a 
pack-horse with water and started back into the 
scrub to where we left the little mare the day before 
yesterday. With protractor and paper I found 
the spot we left her at bore from this place 
south 70^ west, and that she was now not more 
than thirteen or fourteen miles away, though we had 
travelled double the distance since we left her. 
We therefore travelled upon that bearing, and at 
thirteen and a half miles we cut our former tract at 
about a quarter of a n\ile from where we left the 
mare. We soon picked up her track and found she 
had wandered about a mile, although hobbled, from 
where we left her. We saw her standing, with her 
head down, under an oak tree truly distressed. The 
poor little creature was the picture of misery, her 
milk was entirely gone — she was alive, and that was 
all that could be said of her. She swallowed up the 
water we brought with the greatest avidity ; and I 
believe could have drank as much as a couple of 
camels could have carried to her. We let her try 
to feed for a bit with the other three horses, and 
then started back for the tarn. On this line we did 
not intersect any of the eucalyptus timber we had 
passed through yesterday. The mare held up very 
well until we were close to the camp, when she gave 
in again ; but we had to somewhat severely persuade 
her to keep moving, and at last she had her 
reward by being left standing upon the brink of the 
water, where she was [like Cyrus when Queen 
Thomeris had his head cut off into a receptacle 
filled with blood] enabled to drink her fill. 


In the night heavy storm-clouds gathered o'er us, 
and vivid lightnings played around the rocks near 
the camp : a storm came up and seemed to part in 
two, one half going north and the other south ; but 
just before daybreak we were awakened by a crash 
of thunder that seemed to split the hills ; and we 
heard the wrack as though the earth and sky would 
mingle ; but only a few drops of rain fell, too little 
to leave any water, even on the surface of the flat 
rocks close to the camp. This is certainly an ex- 
traordinary climate. I do not believe a week ever 
passes without a shower of rain, but none falls to do 
any good : one good fall in three or even six months, 
beginning now, would be infinitely more gratifying, 
to me at least ; but I suppose I must take it as I 
find it. The rain that does fall certainly cools the 
atmosphere a little, which is a partial benefit. 

I found several more caves to-day up in the rocks, 
and noticed that the natives here have precisely the 
same method of ornamenting them as the natives 
of the Barrier Range and mountains east of the 
Darling. You see the representation of the human 
hand here, as there, upon the walls of the caves : 
it is generally coloured either red or black. The 
drawing is done by filling the mouth with charcoal 
powder if the device is to be black, if red with red 
ochre powder, damping the wall where the mark is 
to be left, and placing the palm of the hand against 
it, with the fingers stretched out ; the charcoal or 
ochre powder is then blown against the back of the 
hand ; when it is withdrawn, it leaves the space 
occupied by the hand and fingers clean, while the 
surrounding portions of the wall are all black or 
red, as the case may be. One device represents 


a snake going into a hole : the hole is actually in 
the rock, while the snake is painted on the wall, and 
the spectator is to suppose that its head is just in- 
side the hole ; the body of the reptile is curled 
round and round the hole, though its breadth is out 
of all proportion to its length, being seven or eight 
inches thick, and only two to three feet long. It is 
painted with charcoal ashes which had been mixed 
up with some animals or reptile's fat. Mr. Car- 
michael left upon the walls a few choice specimens 
of the white man's art, which will help, no doubt, to 
teach the young native idea, how to shoot either in 
one direction or another. 

To-day it rained in light and fitful showers, which, 
as usual, were of no use, except indeed to cause a 
heavy dew which wet all our blankets and things, 
for we always camp without tent or tarpaulin when- 
ever it does not actually rain. The solar beams of 
morning soon evaporated the dew. To the W.S.W. 
the natives were hunting, and as usual burning the 
spinifex before them. They do not seem to care 
much for our company ; for ever since we left the 
Glen of Palms, these cave-dwelling, reptile-eating 
Troglodytes have left us severely alone. As there 
was a continuous ridge for miles to the westward, 
I determined to visit it ; for though this little tarn, 
that I had so opportunely found, was a most 
valuable discovery, yet the number of horses I had 
were somewhat rapidly reducing the water supply, 
and I could plainly perceive that, with such a strain 
upon it, it could not last much more than a month, 
if that ; I must therefore endeavour to find some 
other watered place, where next I may remove. 

On the morning of the 7th October it was evident 


a warm day was approaching. Mr. Carmichael and 
I started away to a small rocky eminence, which 
bore a great resemblance to the rocks immediately 
behind this camp, and in consequence we hoped to 
find more water there. The rocks bore south 62° 
west from camp ; we travelled over sandhills, 
through scrub, triodia, and some casuarina country, 
until we reached the hill in twenty miles. It was 
composed of broken red sandstone rock, being 
isolated from the main ridge ; other similar heaps 
were in the vicinity. 

We soon discovered that there was neither water 
nor any place to hold it. Having searched all about, 
we went away to some other ridges, with exactly 
the same result ; and at dark we had to encamp in 
the scrubs, having travelled forty miles on fifty 
courses. The thermometer had stood at 91° in the 
shade, where we rested the horses in the middle of 
the day. Natives* smokes were seen mostly round 
the base of some other ridges to the south-east, 
which I determined to visit to-morrow ; as the fires 
were there, natives must or should be also ; and as 
they require water to exist, we might find their 
hidden springs. It seemed evident that only in the 
hills or rocky reservoirs water could be found. 

We slept under the shadow of a hill, and mounted 
to its top in the morning. The view was anything 
but cheering ; ridges, like islands in a sea of scrub, 
appeared in connection with this one ; some distance 
away another rose to the south-east. We first 
searched those near us, and left them in disgust, 
for those farther away. At eight or nine miles we 
reached the latter, and another fruitless search was 
gone through. We then went to another and 


another, walking over the stones and riding through 
the scrubs. We found some large rocky places, 
where water might remain for many weeks, after 
being filled ; but when such an occurrence ever had 
taken place, or ever would take place again, it was 
impossible to tell. We had wandered into and 
over such frightful rocky and ungodly places, that 
it appeared useless to search farther in such a 
region, as it seemed utterly impossible for water to 
exist in it all. Nevertheless, the natives were about, 
burning, burning, ever burning ; one would think 
they were of the fabled salamander race, and lived 
on fire instead of water. The fires were starting 
up here and there around us in fresh and narrowing 
circles ; it seems as though the natives can only 
get water from the hollow spouts of some trees and 
from the roots of others, for on the surface of the 
earth there is none. We saw a few rock wallaby. 
a different variety to the scrub or open sandhill 
kinds. Bronze-winged pigeons also were occa- 
sionally startled as we wandered about the rocks ; 
these birds must have water, but they never drink 
except at sundown, and occasionally just before 
sunrise, then they fly so swiftly, with unerring 
precision, on their filmy wings, to the place they 
know so well will supply them ; and thirty, forty, or 
fifty miles of wretched scrub, that would take a poor 
human being and his horse a whole day to accom- 
plish, are passed over with the quickness of thought. 
The birds we flushed up would probably dart across 
the scrubs to the oasis we had so recently found. 
Our horses were getting bad and thirsty ; the day 
was warm ; 92° in tVip c-u^j^^ jj^ thirst and wretched- 
ness, is hot enougii for any poor animal or man 

VOL. I. G 


either. But man enters these desolate regions to 

please himself or Satisfy his desire for ambition to 

win for himself — what ? a medal, a record, a name ? 

Well, yes, dear reader, these may enter into his 

thoughts as parts of a tangible recognition of his 

labours ; but a nobler idea also actuates him — either 

to find, for the benefit of those who come after him, 

some beauteous spots where they may dwell ; or if 

these regions can't supply them, of deserts only can 

he tell ; but the unfortunate lower is forced into 

such frightful privations to please the higher animals. 

We now turned up towards the north-west, amongst 

scrubs, sandhills, and more stony ridges, where 

another fruitless search ended as before. Now to 

the east of us rose a more continuous ridge, which 

we followed under its (base) foot, hoping against 

hope to meet some creek or gully with water. 

Gullies we saw, but neither creeks or water. We 

continued on this line till we struck our outgoing 

track, and as it was again night, we encamped 

without water. We had travelled in a triangle. 

To-day s march was forty-three miles, and we were 

yet twenty-nine from the tarn — apparently the only 

water existing in this extraordinary and terrible 


In one or two places to-day, passing through 
some of the burning scrubs and spinifex, we had 
noticed the fresh footprints of several natives. Of 
course they saw us, but they most perseveringly 
shunned us, considering us probably far too low 
a type of animal for their society. We also saw 
to-day dilapidated old yards, where they had 
formerly yarded emu or wallaby, though we saw 
none of their wurleys, or mymys, or gunyahs, or 


whatever name suits best. The above are all names 
of the same thing, of tribes of natives, of different 
parts of the Continent — as Lubra, Gitiy Nungo^ &c., 
are for woman. No doubt these natives carry water 
in wallaby or other animals skins during their 
burning hunts, for they travel great distances in a 
day, walking and burning, and picking up every- 
thing alive or roasted as they go, and bring the 
game into the general camp at night. We passed 
through three different lines of conflagrations to-day. 
I only wish I could catch a native, or a dozen, or a 
thousand ; it would be better to die or conquer in 
a pitched battle for water, than be for ever fighting 
these direful scrubs and getting none. The follow- 
ing morning the poor horses looked wretched in the 
extreme ; to remain long in such a region without 
water is very severe upon them ; it is a wonder 
they are able to carry us so well. From this desert 
camp our depot bore north 40° east. The horses 
were so exhausted that, though we started early 
enough, it was late in the afternoon when we had 
accomplished the twenty-nine or thirty miles that 
brought us at last to the tarn. Altogether they 
had travelled 1 20 miles without a drink. The water 
in the tarn had evidently shrunk. The day was warm 
— thermometer 92° in shadiest place at the depot. 
A rest after the fatigue of the last few days was 
absolutely necessary before we made a fresh attempt 
in some new locality. 

It is only partly a day's rest — for I, at least, have 
plenty to do ; but it is a respite, and we can drink 
our fill of water. And oh ! what a pleasure, what a 
luxury that is ! How few in civilisation will drink 
water when they can get anything else. Let them 

G 2 


try going without, in the explorer s sense of the 
expression, and then see how they will long for it ! 
The figs on the largest tree, near the cave opposite, 
are quite ripe and falling ; neither Carmichael nor 
Robinson care for them, but I eat a good many, 
though I fancy they are not quite wholesome for a 
white man's digestive organs ; at first, they act as an 
aperient, but subsequently have an opposite effect. 
I called this charming little oasis Glen Edith, after 
one of my nieces. I marked two gum-trees at this 

camp, one 24^ > ^"^ another 

Glen Edith 
24. Oct. 9, 72. 

Mr. Carmichael and Robinson also marked one with 
their names. The receptacle in which I found the 
water I have called the Tarn of Auber, after Allan 
Poe's beautiful lines, in which that name appears, 
as I thought them appropriate to the spot. He 
says : — 

** It was in the drear month of October, 
The leaves were all crisped and sere, 
Adown by the dank Tarn of Auber, 
In the misty mid regions of Weir." 

If these are not the misty mid regions of Weir, 
I don't know where they are. There are two 
heaps of broken sandstone rocks, with cypress pines 
growing about them, which will always be a land- 
mark for any future traveller who may seek the 
wild seclusion of these sequestered caves. The bear- 
ing of the water from them is south 51° west, and it 
is about a mile on that bearing from the northern 
heap ; that with a glance at my map would enable 
any ordinary bushman to find it. I sowed a quantity 
of vegetable seeds here, also seeds of the Tasmanian 
blue gum-tree, some wattles and clover, rye and 


prairie-grass. In the bright gleams of the morning, 
in this Austral land of dawning, it was beautiful to 
survey this little spot ; everything seemed in minia- 
ture here — little hills, little glen, little trees, little 
tarn, and little water. Though the early mornings 
were cool and pleasant, the days usually turned out 

just the opposite. On the nth Mr. Carmichael 
and I got fresh horses, and I determined to try 
the country more to the south, and leaving Alec 
Robinson and the little dog Monkey again in charge 
of glen, and camp, and tarn, away we went in that 
direction. At first we travelled over sandhills, tim- 
bered with the fine Casuarina decalsneana, or desert 
oak ; we then met some eucalyptus- trees growing 
promiscuously on the tops of the saiKlhilis, as well 
as in the hollows. At twelve miles we rode over 
a low ridge ; the country in advance appeared no 
more inviting than that already travelled. De- 
scending to the lower ground, however, we entered 


upon a bit of better country, covered with green 
grass, there was also some thick mulga scrub upon 
it. Here we saw a few kangaroos and emus, but 
could not get a shot at them. Beyond this we 
entered timbered country again, the desert oak 
being quite a desert sign. In a few miles farther 
another ridge fronted us, and a trifle on our left lay 
a hollow, or valley, which seemed to offer the best 
road, but we had to ride through some very scrubby 
gullies, stony, and covered with spinifex. It even- 
tually formed the valley of a small creek, which 
soon had a few gum-trees on it. After following 
this about four miles, we saw a place where the 
sand was damp, and got some water by scratching 
with our hands. The supply was insufficient, and 
we went farther down and found a small hole with 
just enough for our three horses, and now, having 
found a little, we immediately wanted to find a great 
deal more. At twenty-six miles from the tarn we 
found a place where the natives had dug, and there 
seemed a good supply, so we camped there for the 
night. The grass along this creek was magnificent, 
being about eight inches high and beautifully green, 
the old grass having been burnt some time ago. 
It was a most refreshing sight to our triodia-accus- 
tomed eyes ; at twelve o clock the thermometer stood 
at 94° in the shade. The trend of this little creek, 
and the valley in which it exists, is to the south- 
east. Having found water here, we were prepared 
to find numerous traces of natives, and soon saw 
old camps and wurleys, and some recent footmarks. 
I was exceedingly gratified to find this water, as I 
hoped it would eventually enable me to get out of 
the wretched bed of sand and scrub into which we 


had been forced since leaving the Finke, and which 
evidently occupies such an enormous extent of 
territory. Our horses fed all night close at hand, 
and we were in our saddles early enough. I wanted 
to go west, and the further west the better ; but we 
decided to follow the creek and see what became 
of it, and if any more waters existed in it. We 
found that it meandered through a piece of open 
plain, splendidly grassed, and delightful to gaze upon. 
How beautiful is the colour of green ! What other 
colour could even Nature have chosen with which 
to embellish the face of the earth ? How, indeed, 
would red, or blue, or yellow pall upon the eye ! 
But green, emerald green, is the loveliest of all 
Nature's hues. The soil of this plain was good 
and firm. The creek had now worn a deep channel, 
and in three miles from where we camped we 
came upon the top of a high red bank, with a 
very nice little water-hole underneath. There was 
abundance of water for 100 or 200 horses for a 
month or two, and plenty more in the sand below. 
Three other ponds were met lower down, and I 
believe water can always be got by digging. We 
followed the creek for a mile or two farther, and 
found that it soon became exhausted, as casuarina 
and triodia sandhills environed the little plain, and 
after the short course of scarcely ten miles, the little 
creek became swallowed up by those water-devour- 
ing monsters. This was named Laurie's Creek. 

There was from 6000 to 10,000 acres of fine 
grass land in this little plain, and it was such a 
change from the sterile, triodia, and sandy country 
outside it, I could not resist calling it the Vale 
of Tempe. We left the exhausted creek, and 


in ten miles from our camp we entered on and 
descended into another valley, which was open, but 
had no signs of any water. From a hill I saw 
some ridges stretching away to the south and 
south-west, and to the west also appeared broken 
ridges. I decided to travel about south-west, as it 
appeared the least stony. In eight miles we had 
met the usual country. At eighteen we turned the 
horses out for an hour on a burnt patch, during 
which the thermometer stood at 94° in the shade ; 
we then left for some ridges through a small gap 
or pass between two hills, which formed into a small 
creek-channel. As it was now dark, we camped 
near the pass, without water, having travelled 
thirty-five miles. In the morning we found the 
country in front of us to consist of a small well- 
grassed plain, which was as green, as at the last 
camp. The horses rambled in search of water up 
into a small gully, which joins this one ; it had a 
few gum-trees on it. We saw a place where the 
natives had dug for water, but not very recently. 
We scratched out a lot of sand with our hands, and 
some water percolated through, but the hole was 
too deep to get any out for the horses, as we had 
no means of removing the sand, having no shovel. 
Upon searching farther up the gully we found some 
good-sized rock-holes, but unfortunately they were 
all dry. We next ascended a hill to view the sur- 
rounding country, and endeavour to discover if 
there was any feature in any direction to induce us 
to visit, and where we might find a fresh supply of 
water. There were several fires raging in various 
directions upon the southern horizon, and the whole 
atmosphere was thick with a smoky haze. After 


a long and anxious scrutiny through the smoke 
far, very far away, a little to the west of south, I 
descried the outline of a range of hills, and right 
in the smoke of one fire an exceedingly high and 
abruptly-ending mountain loomed. To the south- 
eastwards other ranges appeared ; they seemed to 
lie nearly north and south. 

The high mountain was very remote ; it must be 
at least seventy or seventy-five miles away, with 
nothing apparently between but a country similar 
to that immediately before and behind us ; that is 
to say, sandhills and scrub. I was, however, de- 
lighted to perceive any feature for which to make 
as a medium point, and which might help to change 
the character and monotony of the country over 
which I have been wandering so long. I thought 
it not improbable that some extensive watercourses 
may proceed from these new ranges which might 
lead me at last away to the west. For the present, 
not being able to get water at this little glen, 
although I believe a supply can be obtained with a 
shovel, I decided to return to the tarn at Glen 
Edith, which was now fifty-five miles away, remove 
the camp to the newly-found creek at the Vale of 
Tempe, and then return here, open out this water- 
ing place with a shovel, and make a straight line for 
the newly-discovered high mountain to the south. 
By the time these conclusions had been arrived at, 
and our wanderings about the rocks completed, it 
was nearly midday ; and as we had thirty-five miles 
to travel to get back to the creek, it took us all the 
remainder of the day to do so ; and it was late 
when we again encamped upon its friendly banks. 
The thermometer to-day had stood at 96°. We 


now had our former tracks to return upon to the 
tarn. The morning was cool and pleasant, and we 
arrived at the depot early. Alec Robinson informed 
me that he believed some natives had been prowling 
about the camp in our absence, as the little dog had 
been greatly perturbed during two of the nights we 
were away. It was very possible that some natives 
had come to the tarn for water, as well as to spy 
out who and what and how many vile and wicked 
intruders had found their way into this secluded 
spot ; but as they must have walked about on the 
rocks they left no traces of their visit. 

Oct. 15th. — This mornings meal was to be the 
last we should make at our friendly little tarn, 
whose opportune waters, ripe figs, miniature moun- 
tains, and imitation fortresses, will long linger in my 
recollection. Opposite the rocks in which the 
water lies, and opposite the camp also, is a series 
of small fort-like, stony eminences, standing apart ; 
these form one side of the glen ; the other is formed 
by the rocks at the base of the main ridge, where 
the camp and water are situated. This really was 
a most delightful little spot, though it certainly had 
one great nuisance, which is almost inseparable from 
pine-trees, namely ants. These horrid pests used to 
crawl into and over everything and everybody, by 
night as well as by day. The horses took their last 
drink at the little sweet-watered tarn, and we 
moved away for our new home to the south. 



FROM I5TH OCTOBER, 1 872, TO 3 1ST JANUARY, 1 873. 

Move the camp to new creek — Revisit the pass — Hornets and 
diamond birds — More ornamented caves — Map study — Start 
for the mountain — A salt lake — A barrier — Brine ponds — 
Horses nearly lost — Exhausted horses — Follow the lake — ^A 
prospect wild and weird — Mount Olga — Sleepless animals — 
A day's rest — A National Gallery — Signal for natives — The 
lake again — High hill westward — Mount Unapproachable — 
McNicol's range — Heat increasing — Sufferings and dejection 
of the horses — Worrill's Pass — Glen Thirsty — Food all gone 
— Review of our situation — Horse staked — Pleasure of a 
bath — A journey eastward — Better regions — A fine creek — 
Fine open country — King's Creek — Carmichael's Crag — 
Penny's Creek — Stokes's Creek — A swim — Bagot's Creek — 
Termination of the range — Trickett's Creek — George Gill's 
range — Petermann's Creek — Return — Two natives — A host 
of aborigines — Break up the depot — Improvement in the 
horses — Carmichael's resolve — Levi's Range — Follow the 
Petermann — Enter a glen — Up a tree — Rapid retreat — 
Escape glen — A new creek — Fall over a bank — Middleton's 
Pass — Good country — Friendly natives — Rogers's Pass — 
Seymour's Range — A fenced-in water-hole — Briscoe's Pass — 
The Finke — Resight the pillar — Remarks on the Finke — 
Reach the telegraph line — Native boys — I buy one — The 
Charlotte Waters — Colonel Warburton — Arrive at the Peake 
— News of Dick — Reach Adelaide. 

It was late in the day when we left Glen Edith, 
and consequently very much later by the time we 
had unpacked all the horses at the end of our twenty- 
nine mile Stage ; it was then too dark to reach the 


lower or best water-holes. To-day there was an 
uncommon reversal of the usual order in the weather 
— the early part of the day being hot and sultry, 
but towards evening the sky became overcast and 
cloudy, and the evening set in cold and windy. 
Next morning we found that one horse had staked 
himself in the coronet very severely, and that he 
was quite lame. I got some mulga wood out of 
the wound, but am afraid there is much still remain- 
ing. This wood, used by the natives for spear-heads, 
contains a virulent poisonous property, and a spear 
or stake wound with it is very dangerous. The 
little mare that foaled at Mount Udor, and was 
such an object of commiseration, has picked up 
wonderfully, and is now in good working condition. 
I have another mare, Marzetti, soon to foal ; but as 
she is fat, I do not anticipate having to destroy 
her progeny. We did not move the camp to-day. 
Numbers of bronze-winged pigeons came to drink, 
and we shot several of them. The following day 
Mr. Carmichael and I again mounted our horses, 
taking with us a week's supply of rations, and 
started off intending to visit the high mountain seen 
at our last farthest point. We left Alec Robinson 
again in charge of the camp, as he had now got 
quite used to it, and said he liked it. He always 
had my little dog Monkey for a companion. When 
travelling through the spinifex we carried the 
little animal. He is an excellent watchdog, and 
not a bird can come near the camp without his 
giving warning. Alec had plenty of firearms and 
ammunition to defend himself with, in case of an 
attack from the natives. This, however, I did not 
anticipate ; indeed, I wished they would come (in a 


friendly way), and had instructed Alec to endeavour 
to detain one or two of them until my return if they 
should chance to approach. Alec was a very 
strange, indeed disagreeable and sometimes uncivil, 
sort of man ; he had found our travels so different 
from his preconceived ideas, as he thought he was 
going on a picnic, and he often grumbled and 
declared he would like to go back again. However, 
to remain at the camp, with nothing whatever to do 
and plenty to eat, admirably suited him, and I felc 
no compunction in leaving him by himself. I would 
not have asked him to remain if I were in any way 
alarmed at his position. 

We travelled now by a slightly different route, 
more easterly, as there were other ridges in that 
direction, and we might find another and a better 
watering place than that at the pass. It is only at 
or near ridges in this strange region that the tra- 
veller can expect to find water, as in the sandy beds 
of scrub intervening between them, water would 
simply sink away. We passed through some very 
thick mulga, which, being mostly dead, ripped our 
pack-bags, clothes, and skin, as we had continually 
to push the persistent boughs and branches aside to 
penetrate it. We reached a hill in twenty miles, 
and saw at a glance that no favourable signs of 
obtaining water existed, for it was merely a pile of 
loose stones or rocks standing up above the scrubs 
around. The view was desolate in the extreme ; 
we had now come thirty miles, but we pushed on 
ten miles for another hill, to the south-east, and 
after penetrating the usual scrub, we reached its 
base in the dark, and camped. In the morning 
I climbed the hill, but no water could be seen or 


procured. This hill was rugged with broken granite 
boulders, scrubby with mulga and bushes, and 
covered with triodia to its summit. To the south a 
vague and strange horizon was visible ; it appeared 
flat, as though a plain of great extent existed there, 
but as the mirage played upon it, I could not make 
anything of it. My old friend the high mountain 
loomed large and abrupt at a great distance off, and 
it bore 8° 30' west from here, too great a distance 
for us to proceed to it at once, without first getting 
water for our horses, as it was possible that no 
water might exist even in the neighbourhood of 
such a considerable mountain. The horses rambled 
in the night ; when they were found we started 
away for the little pass and glen where we knew 
water was to be got, and which was now some 
thirty miles away to the west-north-west. We 
reached it somewhat late. The day was hot, ther- 
mometer 98° in shade, and the horses very thirsty, 
but they could get no water until we had dug a 
place for them. Although we had reached our 
camping ground our day's work was only about to 
commence. We were not long in obtaining enough 
water for ourselves, such as it was — thick and dirty 
with a nauseous flavour — but first we had to tie the 
horses up, to prevent them jumping in on us. We 
found to our grief that but a poor supply was to be 
expected, and though we had not to dig very deep, 
yet we had to remove an enormous quantity of sand, 
so as to create a sufficient surface to get water to 
run in, and had to dig a tank twenty feet long by six 
feet deep, and six feet wide at the bottom, though 
at the top it was much wider. I may remark — and 
what I now say applies to almost every other water 


I ever got by digging in all my wanderings — that 
whenever we commenced to dig, a swarm of large 
and small red hornets immediately came around us, 
and, generally speaking, diamond birds {Amadina) 
would also come and twitter near, and when water 
was got, would drink in great numbers. With 
regard to the hornets, though they swarmed round 
our heads and faces in clouds, no one was ever 
stung by them, nature and instinct informing them 
that we were their friends. We worked and waited 
for two hours before one of our three horses could 
obtain a drink. The water came so slowly in that 
it took nearly all the night before the last animals 
thirst was assuaged, as by the time the third got a 
drink, the first was ready to begin again, and they 
kept returning all through the night. We rested 
our horses here to-day to allow them to fill them- 
selves with food, as no doubt they will require all 
the support they can get to sustain them in their 
work before we reach the distant mountain. We 
passed the day in enlarging the tank, and were glad 
to find that, though no increase in the supply of 
water was observable, still there seemed no diminu- 
tion, as now a horse could fill himself at one spell. 
We took a stroll up into the rocks and gullies of the 
ridges, and found a Troglodytes' cave ornamented 
with the choicest specimens of aboriginal art. The 
rude figures of snakes were the principal objects, 
but hands, and devices for shields were also con- 
spicuous. One hieroglyph was most striking ; it 
consisted of two Roman numerals — a V and an I, 
placed together and representing the figure VI ; 
they were both daubed over with spots, and were 
painted with red ochre. Several large rock-holes 


were seen, but they had all long lain dry. A few 
cypress pines grew upon the rocks in several places. 
The day was decidedly hot ; the thermometer stood 
at ioo° in the shade at three o'clock, and we had to 
fix up a cloth for an awning to get sufficient shade 
to sit under. Our only intellectual occupation was 
the study of a small map of Australia, showing the 
routes of the Australian explorers. How often we 
noted the facility with which other and more fortu- 
nate travellers dropped upon fine creeks and large 
rivers. We could only envy them their good for- 
tune, and hope the future had some prizes in store 
for us also. The next morning, after taking three 
hours to water our horses, we started on the bearing 
of the high mount, which could not be seen from 
the low ground, the bearing being south i8° west. 
We got clear of the low hills of the glen, and 
almost immediately entered thick scrubs, varied by 
high sandhills, with casuarina and triodia on them. 
At twelve miles I noticed the sandhills became 
denuded of timber, and on our right a small and 
apparently grassy plain was visible ; I took these 
signs as a favourable indication of a change of 
country. At three miles farther we had a white 
salt channel right in front of us, with some sheets of 
water in it ; upon approaching I found it a perfect 
bog. and the water brine itself. We went round this 
channel to the left, and at length found a place firm 
enough to cross. We continued upon our course, 
and on ascending a high sandhill I found we had 
upon our right hand, and stretching away to the 
west, an enormous salt expanse, and it appeared as 
if we had hit exactly upon the eastern edge of it, at 
which we rejoiced greatly for a time. Continuing 


on our course over treeless sandhills for a mile or 
two, we found we had not escaped this feature quite 
so easily, for it was now right in our road ; it 
appeared, however, to be bounded by sandhills a 
little more to the left, eastwards ; so we went in 
that direction, but at each succeeding mile we saw 
more and more of this objectionable feature ; it con- 
tinually pushed us farther and farther to the east, 
until, having travelled about fifteen miles, and had it 
constantly on our right, it swept round under some 
more sandhills which hid it from us, till it lay east 
and west right athwart our path. It was most per- 
plexing to me to be thus confronted by such an 
obstacle. We walked a distance on its surface, and 
to our weight it seemed firm enough, but the instant 
we tried our horses they almost disappeared. The 
surface was dry' and encrusted with salt, but brine 
spurted out at every step the horses took. We 
dug a well under a sandhill, but only obtained 

This obstruction was apparently six or seven 
miles across, but whether what we took for its 
opposite shores were islands or the main, I could 
not determine. We saw several sandhill islands, 
some very high and deeply red, to which the mirage 
gave the effect of their floating in an ocean of water. 
Farther along the shore eastwards were several 
high red sandhills ; to these we went and dug 
another well and got more brine. We could see 
the lake stretching away east or east-south-east as 
far as the glasses could carry the vision. Here we 
made another attempt to cross, but the horses were 
all floundering about in the bottomless bed of this 
infernal lake before we could look round. 1 made 

VOL. I. H 


sure they would be swallowed up before our eyes. 
We were powerless to help them, for we could not 
get near owing to the bog, and we sank up over our 
knees, where the crust was broken, in hot salt mud. 
All I could do was to crack my whip to prevent 
the horses from ceasing to exert themselves, and 
although it was but a few moments that they 
were in this danger, to me it seemed an eternity. 
They staggered at last out of the quagmire, 
heads, backs, saddles, everything covered with blue 
mud, their mouths were filled with salt mud also, 
and they were completely exhausted when they 
reached firm ground. We let them rest in the 
shade of some quandong trees, which grew in 
great numbers round about here. From Mount 
Udor to the shores of this lake the country had 
been continually falling. The northern base of 
each ridge, as we travelled, seemed higher by many 
feet than the southern, and I had hoped to come 
upon something better than this. I thought such a 
continued fall of country might lead to a consider- 
able watercourse or freshwater basin ; but this salt 
bog was dreadful, the more especially as it pre- 
vented me reaching the mountain which appeared 
so inviting beyond. 

Not seeing any possibility of pushing south, and 
thinking after all it might not be so far round the 
lake to the west, I turned to where we had struck 
the first salt channel, and resolved to try what a 
more westerly line would produce. The channel in 
question was now some fifteen miles away to the 
north-westward, and by the time we got back there 
the day was done and *' the darkness had fallen from 
the wings of night." We had travelled nearly fifty 


miles, the horses were almost dead ; the thermometer 
stood at 100^ in the shade when we rested under 
the quandongs. In the night blankets were un- 
endurable. Had there been any food for them the 
horses could not eat for thirst, andi were too much 
fatigued by yesterday's toil to go out of sight of our 
camping place. We followed along the course of 
the lake north of west for seven miles, when we 
were checked by a salt arm running north-eastwards ; 
this we could not cross until we had gone up it a 
distance of three miles. Then we made for some 
low ridges lying west-south-west and reached them 
in twelve miles. There was neither watercourse, 
channel, nor rock-holes ; we wandered for several 
miles round the ridges, looking for water, but with- 
out success, and got back on our morning s tracks 
when we had travelled thirty miles. From the top 
of these ridges the lake could be seen stretching 
away to the west or west-south-west in vast propor- 
tions, having several salt arms running back from 
it at various distances. Very far to the west was 
another ridge, but it was too distant for me to reach 
now, as to-night the horses would have been two 
nights without water, and the probability was they 
would get none there if they reached it. I deter- 
mined to visit it, however, but I felt I must first return 
to the tank in the little glen to refresh the exhausted 
horses. From where we are, the prospect is wild 
and weird, with the white bed of the great lake 
sweeping nearly the whole southern horizon. The 
country near the lake consists of open sandhills, 
thickly bushed and covered with triodia ; farther 
back grew casuarinas and mulga scrubs. 

It was long past the middle of the day when I 

H 2 


descended from the hill. We had no alternative 
but to return to the only spot where we knew water 
was to be had ; this was now distant twenty-one 
miles to the north-east, so we departed in a straight 
line for it. I was heartily annoyed at being baffled 
in my attempt to reach the mountain, which I now 
thought more than ever would offer a route out of 
this terrible region ; but it seemed impossible to 
escape from it. I named this eminence Mount 
Olga, and the great salt feature which obstructed 
me Lake Amadeus, in honour of two enlightened 
royal patrons of science. The horses were now 
exceedingly weak ; the bogging of yesterday had 
taken a great deal of strength out of them, and the 
heat of the last two days had contributed to weaken 
them (the thermometer to-day went up to ioi° in 
shade). They could now only travel slowly, so 
that it was late at night when we reached the little 
tank. Fifty miles over such disheartening country 
to-day has been almost too much for the poor 
animals. In the tank there was only sufficient 
water for one horse ; the others had to be tied up 
and wait their turns to drink, and the water perco- 
lated so slowly through the sand it was nearly mid- 
night before they were all satisfied and begun to 
feed. What wonderful creatures horses are ! They 
can work for two and three days and go three nights 
without water, but they can go for ever without 
sleep ; it is true they do sleep, but equally true that 
they can go without sleeping. If I took my choice 
of all creation for a beast to guard and give me 
warning while I slept, I would select the horse, for 
he is the most sleepless creature Nature has made. 
Horses seem to know this ; for if you should by 


chance catch one asleep he seems very indignant 
either with you or himself. 

It was absolutely necessary to give our horses a 
day's rest, as they looked so much out of sorts this 
morning. A quarter of the day was spent in water- 
ing them, and by that time it was quite hot, and we 
had to erect an awning for shade. We were over- 
run by ants, and pestered by flies, so in self-defence 
we took another walk into the gullies, revisited the 
aboriginal National Gallery of paintings and hiero- 
glyphics, and then returned to our shade and our 
ants. Again we pored over the little German map, 
and again envied more prosperous explorers. The 
thermometer had stood at ioi° in the shade, and 
the greatest pleasure we experienced that day was 
to see the ocb of day descend. The atmosphere 
had been surcharged all day with smoke, and haze 
hung over all the land, for the Autochthones were 
ever busy at their hunting fires, especially upon the 
opposite side of the great lake ; but at night the 
blaze of nearer ones kept up a perpetual light, and 
though the fires may have been miles away they 
appeared to be quite close. I also had fallen into 
the custom of the country, and had set fire to several 
extensive beds of triodia, which had burned with 
unabated fury ; so brilliant, indeed^ was the illumina- 
tion that I could see to read by the light. I kindled 
these fires in hopes some of the natives might come 
and interview us, but no doubt in such a poorly 
watered region the native population cannot be 
great, and the few who do inhabit it had evidently 
abandoned this particular portion of it until rains 
should fall and enable them to hunt while water 
remained in it. 


Last night, the 23rd October, was sultry, and 
blankets utterly useless. The flies and ants were 
wide awake, and the only thing we could congratu- 
late ourselves upon, was the absence of mosquitoes. 
At dawn the thermometer stood at 70°, and a warm 
breeze blew gently from the north. The horses 
were found early, but as it took nearly three hours 
to water them we did not leave the glen till past 
eight o'clock. This time I intended to return to 
the ridges we had last left, and which now bore a 
little to the west of south-west, twenty-one miles 
away. We made a detour so as to inspect some 
other ridges near where we had been last. Stony 
and low ridgy ground was first met, but the scrubs 
were all around. At fifteen miles we came upon a 
little firm clayey plain with some salt bushes, and it 
also had upon it some clay pans, but they had long 
been dry. We found the northern face of the 
ridges just as waterless as the southern, which we 
had previously searched. The far hills or ridges to 
the west, which I now intended to visit, bore nearly 
west. Another salt bush plain was next crossed ; 
this was nearly three miles long. We now gave 
the horses an hour's spell, the thermometer showing 
102° in the shade; then, re-saddling, we went on, 
and it was nine o'clock at night when we found our- 
selves under the shadows of the hills we had steered 
for, having them on the north of us. 

I searched in the dark, but could find no feature 
likely to supply us with water ; we had to encamp 
in a nest of triodia without any water, having 
travelled forty-eight miles through the usual kind of 
country that occupies this region's space. At day- 
light the thermometer registered 70°, that being the 


lowest during the night. On ascending the hill 
above us, there was but one feature to gaze upon — 
the lake still stretching away, not only in un- 
diminished, but evidently increasing size, towards 
the west and north-west. Several lateral channels 
were thrown out from the parent bed at various 
distances, some broad and some narrow. A line of 
ridges, with one hill much more prominent than any 
I had seen about this country, appeared close down 
upon the shores of the lake ; it bore from the hill I 
stood upon south 68° west, and was about twenty 
miles off. A long broad salt arm, however, ran 
up at the back of it between it and me, but just 
opposite there appeared a narrow place that I 
thought we might cross to reach it. 

The ridge I was on was red granite, but there 
was neither creek nor rock-hole about it. We now 
departed for the high hill westward, crossing a very 
boggy salt channel with great difficulty, at five miles ; 
in five more we came to the arm. It appeared 
firm, but unfortunately one of the horses got fright- 
fully bogged, and it was only by the most frantic 
exertions that we at length got him out. The 
bottom of this dreadful feature, if it has a bottom, 
seems composed entirely of hot, blue, briny mud. 
Our exertions in extricating the horse made us 
extremely thirsty ; the hill looked more inviting the 
nearer we got to it, so, still hoping to reach it, I 
followed up the arm for about seven miles in a north- 
west direction. It proved, however, quite impass- 
able, and it seemed utterly useless to attempt to 
reach the range, as we could not tell how far we 
might have to travel before we could get round the 
arm. I believe it continues in a semicircle and 


joins the lake again, thus isolating the hill I wished 
to visit. This now seemed an island it was 
impossible to reach. We were sixty-five miles 
away from the only water we knew of, with no 
likelihood of any nearer ; there might certainly be 
water at the mount I wished to reach, but it was 
unapproachable, and I called it by that name ; no 
doubt, had I been able to reach it, my progress 
would still have been impeded to the west by the 
huge lake itself. I could get no water except brine 
upon its shores, and I had no appliances to distil 
that ; could I have done so, I would have followed 
this feature, hideous as it is, as no doubt sooner 
or later some watercourses must fall into it either 
from the south or the west. We were, however, a 
hundred miles from the camp, with only one man 
left there, and sixty-five from the nearest water. I 
had no choice but to retreat, baffled, like Eyre with 
his Lake Torrens in 1840, at all points. On the 
southern shore of the lake, and apparently a very 
long way off» a range of hills bore south 30° west ; 
this range had a pinkish appearance and seemed of 
some length. Mr. Carmichael wished me to call it 
McNicoFs Range, after a friend of his, and this I did. 
We turned our wretched horses' heads once more 
in the direction of our little tank, and had good 
reason perhaps to thank our stars that we got away 
alive from the lone unhallowed shore of this 
pernicious sea. We kept on twenty-eight miles 
before we camped, and looked at two or three 
places, on the way ineffectually, for some signs of 
water, having gone forty-seven miles ; thermometer in 
shade 103°, the heat increasing one degree a day for 
several days. When we camped w,e were hungry, 


thirsty- tired, covered all over with dry salt mud ; so 
that it is not to be wondered at if our spirits were 
not at a very high point, especially as we were 
making a forced retreat. The night was hot, 
cloudy, and sultry, and rain clouds gathered in the 
sky. At about i a.m. the distant rumblings of 
thunder were heard to the west-north-west, and I 
was in hopes some rain might fall, as it was appa- 
rently approaching ; the thunder was not loud, but 
the lightning was most extraordinarily vivid ; only 
a few drops of rain fell, and the rest of the night 
was even closer and more sultry than before. 

Ere the stars had left the sky we were in our 
saddles again ; the horses looked most pitiable 
objects, their flanks drawn in, the natural vent was 
distended to an open and extraordinary cavity ; 
their eyes hollow and sunken, which is always the 
case with horses when greatly in want of water. 
Two days of such stages will thoroughly test the 
finest horse that ever stepped. We had thirty-six 
miles yet to travel to reach the water. The horses 
being so jaded, it was late in the afternoon when 
they at last crawled into the little glen ; the last few 
miles being over stones made the pace more slow. 
Not even their knowledge of the near presence of 
water availed to inspirit them in the least ; pro- 
bably they knew they would have to wait for hours 
at the tank, when they arrived, before their cravings 
for water could be appeased. The thermometer 
to-day was 104° in the shade. When we arrived 
the horses had walked 1 3 1 miles without a drink, 
and it was no wonder that the poor creatures were 
exhausted. When one horse had drank what little 
water there was, we had to re-dig the tank, for the 


wind or some other cause had knocked a vast 
amount of the sand into it again. Some natives 
also had visited the place while we were away, 
their fresh tracks were visible in the sand around, 
and on the top of the tank. They must have 
stared to see such a piece of excavation in their 
territory. When the horses did get water, two of 
them rolled, and groaned, and kicked, so that I 
thought they were going to die ; one was a mare, 
she seemed the worst, another was a strong young 
horse which had carried me well, the third was my 
old favourite riding-horse ; this time he had only 
carried the pack, and was badly bogged ; he was 
the only one that did not appear distressed when 
filled with water, the other two lay about in evident 
pain until morning. About the middle of the night 
thunder was again heard, and flash after flash of 
even more vivid lightnings than that of the previous 
night enlightened the glen ; so bright were the 
flashes, being alternately fork and sheet lightning, 
that for nearly an hour the glare never ceased. 
The thunder was much louder than last night's, and 
a slight mizzling rain for about an hour fell. The 
barometer had fallen considerably for the last two 
days, so I anticipated a change. The rain was too 
slight to be of any use ; the temperature of the 
atmosphere, however, was quite changed, for by the 
morning the thermometer was down to 48°. 

The horses were not fit to travel, so we had to 
remain, with nothing to do, but consult the little 
map again, and lay off" my position on it. My 
farthest point I found to be in latitude 24° 38' and 
longitude 130°. For the second time I had reached 
nearly the same meridian. I had been repulsed at 


both points, which were about a hundred miles 
apart, in the first instance by dry stony ranges in 
the midst of dense scrubs, and in the second by a 
huge salt lake equally destitute of fresh water. It 
appears to me plain enough that a much more 
northerly or else more southerly course must be 
pursued to reach the western coast, at all events in 
such a country, it will be only by time and perse- 
verance that any explorer can penetrate it. I think 
I remarked before that we entered this little glen 
through a pass about half-a-mile long, between two 
hills of red sandstone. I named this Worrills Pass, 
after another friend of Mr. Carmichael. The little 
glen in which we dug out the tank I could only 
call Glen Thirsty, for we never returned to it but 
ourselves and our horses, were choking for water. 
Our supply of rations, although we had eked it out 
with the greatest possible economy, was consumed, 
for we brought only a week's supply, and we had 
now been absent ten days from home, and we 
should have to fast all to-morrow, until we reached 
the depot ; but as the horses were unable to carry 
us, we were forced to remain. 

During the day I had a long conversation with 
Mr. Carmichael upon our affairs in general, and our 
stock of provisions in particular ; the conclusion we 
arrived at was, that having been nearly three months 
out, we had not progressed so far in the time as we 
had expected. We had found the country so dry 
that until rains fell, it seemed scarcely probable that 
we should be able to penetrate farther to the west, 
and if we had to remain in depot for a month or 
two, it was necessary by some means to economise 
our stores, and the only way to do so was to dispense 


with the services of Alec Robinson. It would be 
necessary, of course, in the first place, to find a creek 
to the eastward, which would take him to the Finke, 
and by the means of the same watercourse we 
might eventually get round to the southern shores of 
Lake Amadeus, and reach Mount Olga at last. 

In our journey up the Finke two or three creeks 
had joined from the west, and as we were now beyond 
the sources of any of these, it would be necessary to 
discover some road to one or the other before 
Robinson could be parted with. By dispensing with 
his services, as he was willing to go, we should 
have sufficient provisions left to enable us to hold 
out for seme months longer : even if we had to wait 
so long as the usual rainy season in this part of the 
country, which is about January and February, we 
should still have several months' provisions to start 
again with. In all these considerations Mr. Car- 
michael fully agreed, and it was decided that J 
should inform Alec of our resolution so soon as we 
returned to the camp. After the usual nearly three 
hours work to water our horses, we turned our 
backs for the last time upon Glen Thirsty, where 
we had so often returned with exhausted and 
choking horses. 

I must admit that I was getting anxious about 
Robinson and the state of things at the camp. In 
going through Worrill's Pass, we noticed that scarcely 
a tree had escaped from being struck by the light- 
ning ; branches and boughs lay scattered about, and 
several pines from the summits of the ridges had 
been blasted from their eminence. I was not very 
much surprised, for I expected to be lightning-struck 
myself, as I scarcely ever saw such lightning before. 


We got back to Robinson and the camp at 5 p.m. 
My old horse that carried the pack had gone quite 
lame, and this caused us to travel very slowly. 
Robinson was alive and quite well, and the little 
dog was overjoyed to greet us. Robinson reported 
that natives had been frequently in the neighbour- 
hood, and had lit fires close to the camp, but would 
not show themselves. Marzetti's mare had foaled, 
the progeny being a daughter ; the horse that was 
staked was worse, and I found my old horse had 
also ran a mulga stake into his coronet. I probed 
the wounds of both, but could not get any wood out. 
Carmichael and I both thought we would like a 
day's rest ; and if I did not do much work, at least 
I thought a good deal. 

The lame horses are worse : the poisonous mulga 
must be in the wounds, but I can't get it out. What 
a pleasure it is, not only to have plenty of water to 
drink, but actually to have sufficient for a bath ! I 
told Robinson of my views regarding him, but said 
he must yet remain until some eastern waters could 
be found. On the 30th October, Mr. Carmichael 
and I, with three fresh horses, started again. In 
my travels southerly I had noticed a conspicuous 
range of some elevation quite distinct from the 
ridges at which our camp was fixed, and lying 
nearly east, where an almost overhanging crag 
formed its north-western face. This range I now 
decided to visit. To get out of the ridges in which 
our creek exists, we had to follow the trend of a 
valley formed by what are sometimes called reap- 
hook hills ; these ran about east-southeast. In a 
few miles we crossed an insignificant little creek 
with a few gum-trees ; it had a small pool of water 


in its bed : the valley was well grassed and open, 
and the triodia was also absent. A small pass 
ushered us into a new valley, in which were several 
peculiar conical hills. Passing over a saddle-like 
pass, between two of them, we came to a flat, open 
valley running all the way to the foot of the new range, 
with a creek channel between. The range appeared 
very red and rocky, being composed of enormous 
masses of red sandstone ; the upper portion of it was 
bare, with the exception of a few cypress pines, 
moored in the rifled rock, and, I suppose, proof to the 
tempest's shock. A fine-looking creek, lined with 
gum-trees, issued from a gorge. We followed up 
the channel, and Mr. Carmichael found a fine little 
sheet of water in a stony hole, about 400 yards 
long and forty yards wide. This had about four 
feet of water in it ; the grass was green, and all 
round the foot of the range the country was open, 
beautifully grassed, green, and delightful to look at. 
Having found so eligible a spot, we encamped : 
how different from our former line of march ! We 
strolled up through the rocky gorge, and found 
several rock reservoirs with plenty of water ; some 
palm-like Zamias were seen along the rocks. Down 
the channel, about south-west, the creek passed 
through a kind of low gorge about three miles away. 
Smoke was seen there, and no doubt it was an en- 
campment of the natives. Since the heavy though 
dry thunderstorm at Glen Thirsty, the temperature 
has been much cooler. I called this Kings Creek. 
Another on the western flat beyond joins it. I 
called the north-west point of this range Carmichaels 
Crag. The range trended a little south of east, and 
we decided to follow along its southern face, which 


was open, grassy, and beautifully green ; it was by 
far the most agreeable and pleasant country we had 

At about five miles we crossed another creek 
coming immediately out of the range, where it issued 
from under a high and precipitous wall of rock, under- 
neath which was a splendid deep and pellucid basin 
of the purest water, which came rushing into and out 

of it through fissures in the mountain : it then 
formed a small swamp thickly set with reeds, which 
covered an area of several acres, having plenty of 
water among them. I called this Penny's Creek. 
Half a mile beyond it was a similar one and reed bed, 
but no such splendid rock reservoir. Farther along 
the range other channels issued too, with fine rock 
water-holes. At eighteen miles we reached a much 


larger one than we had yet seen : I hoped this might 
reach the Finke. We followed it into the range, 
where it came down through a glen : here we found 
three fine rock-holes with good supplies of water in 
them. The glen and rock is all red sandstone : the 
place reminded me somewhat of Captain Sturt's 
Depot Glen in the Grey ranges of his Central 
Australian Expedition, only the rock formation is 
different, though a cliff overhangs both places, and 
there are other points of resemblance. I named this 
Stokes s Creek. 

We rested here an hour and had a swim in one 
of the rocky basins. How different to regions west- 
ward, where we could not get enough water to drink, 
let alone to swim in ! The water ran down through 
the glen as far as the rock-holes, where it sank into 
the ground. Thermometer 102° to-day. We con- 
tinued along the range, having a fine stretch of 
open grassy country to travel upon, and in five miles 
reached another creek, whose reed beds and water 
filled the whole glen. This I named Bagot s Creek. 
For some miles no other creek issued, till, approach- 
ing the eastern end of the range, we had a piece of 
broken stony ground and some mulga for a few 
miles, when we came to a sudden fall into a lower 
valley, which was again open, grassy, and green. 
We could then see that the range ended, but sent 
out one more creek, which meandered dawn the 
valley towards some other hills beyond ; this valley 
was of a clayey soil, and the creek had some clay 
holes with water in them. Following it three miles 
farther, we found that it emptied itself into a much 
larger stony mountain stream ; I named this Trickett's 
Creek, after a friend of Mr. Carmichael's. The 


range which had thrown out so many creeks, and 
contained so much water, and which is over forty 
miles in length, I named George Gills Range, after 
my brother-in-law. The country round its foot is 
by far the best I have seen in this region ; and could 
it be transported to any civilised land, its springs, 
glens, gorges, ferns, Zamias, and flowers, would 
charm the eyes and hearts of toil-worn men who are 
condemned to live and die in crowded towns. 

The new creek now just discovered had a large 
stony water-hole immediately above and below the 
junction of Trickett's Creek, and as we approached 
the lower one, I noticed several native wurleys just 
deserted ; their owners having seen us while we 
only thought of them, had fled at our approach, 
and left all their valuables behind. These consisted 
of clubs, spears, shields, drinking vessels, yam 
sticks, with other and all the usual appliances of 
well-furnished aboriginal gentlemen's establishments. 
Three young native dog-puppies came out, however, 
to welcome us, but when we dismounted and they 
smelt us, not being used to such refined odours as 
our garments probably exhaled, they fled howling. 
The natives had left some food cooking, and when 
I cooeyed they answered, but would not come near. 
This creek was of some size ; it seemed to pass 
through a valley in a new range further eastwards. 
It came from the north-west, apparently draining 
the northern side of Gills Range. I called it 
Petermann s Creek. We were now sixty-five miles 
from our depot, and had been most successful in 
our efforts to find a route to allow of the departure 
of Robinson, as it appeared that this creek would 
surely reach the Finke, though we afterwards found 

VOL. I. I 


it did not. I intended upon returning here to 
endeavour to discover a line of country round the 
south-eastern extremity of Lake Amadeus, so as 
to reach Mount Olga at last. We now turned our 
horses' heads again for our home camp, and con- 
tinued travelling until we reached Stokes's Creek, 
where we encamped after a good long day's 

This morning, as we were approaching Penny's 
Creek, we saw two natives looking most intently at our 
outgoing horse tracks, along which they were slowly 
walking, with their backs towards us. They neither 
saw nor heard us until we were close upon their 
heels. Each carried two enormously long spears, 
two-thirds mulga wood and one-third reed at the 
throwing end, of course having the instrument with 
which they project these spears, called by some 
tribes of natives only, but indiscriminately all over 
the country by whites, a wommerah. It is in the 
form of a flat ellipse, elongated to a sort of tail 
at the holding end, and short-pointed at the pro- 
jecting end ; a kangaroo's claw or wild dog s tooth 
is firmly fixed by gum and gut-strings. The pro- 
jectile force of this implement is enormous, and 
these spears can be thrown with the greatest 
precision for more than a hundred yards. They 
also had narrow shields, three to four feet long, 
to protect themselves from hostile spears, with a 
handle cut out in the centre. These two natives had 
their hair tied up in a kind of chignon at the back 
of the head, the hair being dragged back off the 
forehead from infancy. This mode gave them a wild 
though somewhat effeminate appearance ; others, 
again, wear their hair in long thick curls reach- 


ing down the shoulders, beautifully elaborated with 
iguanas' or emus' fat and red ochre. This applies 
only to the men ; the women's hair is worn either 
cut. with flints or bitten off short. So soon as the two 
natives heard, and then looking round saw us, they 
scampered off like emus, running along as close to 
the ground as it is possible for any two-legged 
creature to do. One was quite a young fellow, the 
other full grown. They ran up the side of the 
hills, and kept travelling along parallel to us ; but 
though we stopped and called, and signalled with 
boughs, they would not come close, and the oftener 
I tried to come near them on foot, the faster they 
ran. They continued alongside us until King's 
Creek was reached, where we rested the horses for 
an hour. We soon became aware that a number 
of natives were in our vicinity, our original two 
yelling and shouting to inform the others of our 
advent, and presently we saw a whole nation of 
them coming from the glen or gorge to the south- 
west, where I had noticed camp-fires on my first 
arrival here. The new people were also shouting 
and yelling in the most furious and demoniacal 
manner ; and our former two, as though deputed 
by the others, now approached us much nearer than 
before, and came within twenty yards of us, but 
holding their spears fixed in their wommerahs, in 
such a position that they could use them instantly 
if they desired. The slightest incident might have 
induced them to spear us, but we appeared to be 
at our ease, and endeavoured to parley with them. 
The men were not handsome or fat, but were very 
well made, and, as is the case with most of the natives 
of these parts, were rather tall, viz. five feet eight 

I 2 


and nine inches. When they had come close 
enough, the elder began to harangue us, and evi- 
dently desired us to know that we were trespassers, 
and were to be off forthwith, as he waved us away 
in the direction we had come from. The whole 
host then took up the signal, howled, yelled, and 
waved their hands and weapons at us. Fortunately, 
however, they did not actually attack us ; we were 
not very well prepared for attack, as we had 
only a revolver each, our guns and rifles being left 
with Robinson. As our horses were frightened and 
would not feed, we hurried our departure, when 
we were saluted with rounds of cheers and blessings, 
i.e. yells and curses in their charming dialect, until 
we were fairly out of sight and hearing. On reach- 
ing the camp, Alec reported that no natives had 
been seen during our absence. On inspecting the 
two lame horses, it appeared they were worse than 

We had a very sudden dry thunderstorm, which 
cooled the air. Next day I sent Alec and Carmichael 
over to the first little five- mile creek eastwards with 
the two lame horses, so that we can pick them up 
en route to-morrow. They reported that the horses 
could scarcely travel at all ; I thought if I could get 
them to Penny's Creek I would leave them there. 
This little depot camp was at length broken up, 
after it had existed here from 15 th October to 5 th 
November. I never expected, after being nearly 
three months out, that I should be pushing to the 
eastwards, when every hope and wish I had was 
to go in exactly the opposite direction, and I could 
only console myself with the thought that I was 
going to the east to get to the west at last. I 


have great hopes that if I can once set my foot upon 
Mount Olga, my route to the west may be unim- 
peded. I had not seen all the horses together for 
some time, and when they were mustered this 
morning, I found they had all greatly improved in 
condition, and almost the fattest among them was 
the little mare that had foaled at Mount Udor. 
Marzetti's mare looked very well also. 

It was past midday when we turned our backs 
upon Tempes Vale. At the five-mile creek we 
got the two lame horses, and reached King's Creek 
somewhat late in the afternoon. As we neared it, 
we saw several natives' smokes, and immediately 
the whole region seemed alive with aborigines, 
men, women, and children running down from the 
highest points of the mountain to join the tribe 
below, where they all congregated. The yelling, 
howling, shrieking, and gesticulating they kept up 
was, to say the least, annoying. When we began 
to unpack the horses, they crowded closer round 
us, carrying their knotted sticks, long spears, and 
other fighting implements. I did not notice any 
boomerangs among them, and I did not request 
them to send for any. They were growing very 
troublesome, and evidently meant mischief. I 
rode towards a mob of them and cracked my whip, 
which had no effect in dispersing them. They 
made a sudden pause, and then gave a sudden 
shout or howl. It seemed as if they knew, or had 
heard something, of white men's ways, for when 
I unstrapped my rifle, and holding it up, warning 
them away, to my great astonishment they de- 
parted ; they probably wanted to find out if we 
possessed such things, and I trust they were satis- 


fied, for they gave us up apparently as a bad 

It appeared the exertion of travelling had im- 
proved the go of the lame horses, so I took them 
along with the others in the morning; I did not 
like the idea of leaving them anywhere on this 
range, as the natives would certainly spear, and 
probably eat them. We got them along to Stokes's 
Creek, and encamped at the swimming rock-hole. 

After our frugal supper a circumstance occurred 
which completely put an end to my expedition. 
Mr. Carmichael informed me that he had made up 
his mind not to continue in the field any longer, 
for as Alec Robinson was going away, he should 
do so too. Of course I could not control him ; he 
was a volunteer, and had contributed towards the 
expenses of the expedition. We had never fallen 
out, and I thought he was as ardent in the cause 
of exploration as I was, so that when he informed 
me of his resolve it came upon me as a complete 
surprise. My arguments were all in vain ; in vain 
I showed how, with the stock of provisions we had, 
we might keep the field for months. I even offered 
to retreat to the Finke, so that we should not have 
such arduous work for want of water, but it was all 

It was with distress that I lay down on my 
blankets that night, after what he had said. I 
scarcely knew what to do. I had yet a lot of 
horses heavily loaded with provisions ; but to take 
them out into a waterless, desert country by myself, 
was impossible. We only went a short distance — to 
Bagot's Creek, where I renewed my arguments. 
Mr. Carmichael's reply was, that he had made up 


his mind and nothing should alter it ; the consequence 
was that with one companion I had, so to speak, 
discharged, and another who discharged himself, 
any further exploration was out of the question. I 
had no other object now in view but to hasten my 
return to civilisation, in hopes of reorganising my 
expedition. We were now in full retreat for the 
telegraph line ; but as I still traversed a region 
previously unexplored, I may as well continue my 
narrative to the close. Marzetti's foal couldn't 
travel, and had to be killed at Bagot's Creek. 

On Friday, the 8th November, the party, now 
silent, still moved under my directions. We tra- 
velled over the same ground that Mr. Carmichael 
and I had formerly done, until we reached the 
Petermann in the Levi Range. The natives and 
their pups had departed. The hills approached 
this creek so close as to form a valley ; there were 
several water-holes in the creek ; we followed its 
course as far as the valley existed. When the 
country opened, the creek spread out, and the water 
ceased to appear in its bed. We kept moving all 
day ; towards evening I saw some gum-trees under 
some hills two or three miles southwards, and as 
some smoke appeared above the hills, I knew that 
natives must *have been there lately, and that water 
might be got there. Accordingly, leaving Car- 
michael and Robinson to go on with the horses, I 
rode over, and found there was the channel of a 
small creek, which narrowed. into a kind of glen the 
farther I penetrated. The grass was burning on all 
the hillsides, and as I went still farther up, I could 
hear the voices of the natives, and I felt pretty sure 
of finding water. I was, however, slightly anxious 


as to what reception I should get. I soon saw a 
single native leisurely walking along in front of me 
with a guana in his hand, taking it home for supper. 
He carried several spears, a wommerah, and a 
shield, and had long curled locks hanging down his 
shoulders. My horse's nose nearly touched his 
back before he was aware of my presence, when, 
looking behind him, he gave a sudden start, held 
up his two hands, dropped his guana and his spears, 
uttered a tremendous yell as a warning to his tribe, 
and bounded up the rocks in front of us like a 
wallaby. I then passed under a eucalyptus-tree, 
in whose foliage two ancient warriors had hastily 
secreted themselves. I stopped a second and 
looked up at them, they also looked at me ; they 
presented a most ludicrous appearance. A little 
farther on there were several rows* of wurleys, and 
I could perceive the men urging the women and 
children away, as they doubtless supposed many 
more white men were in company with me, never 
supposing I could possibly be alone. While the 
women and children were departing up the rocks, 
the men snatched up spears and other weapons, and 
followed the women slowly towards the rocks. The 
glen had here narrowed to a gorge, the rocks on 
either side being not more than eighty to a hundred 
feet high. It is no exaggeration to say that the 
summits of the rocks on either side of the glen 
were lined with natives ; they could almost touch 
me with their spears. I did not feel quite at home 
in this charming retreat, although I was the cynosure 
of a myriad eyes. The natives stood upon the 
edge of the rocks like statues, some pointing their 
spears menacingly towards me, and I certainly 


expected that some dozens would be thrown at me. 
Both parties seemed paralysed by the appearance 
of the other. I scarcely knew what to do ; I knew 
if I turned to retreat that every spear would be 
launched at me. I was, metaphorically, transfixed 
to the spot. I thought the only thing to do was 
to brave the situation out, as 

" Cowards, 'tis said, in certain situations 
Derive a sort of courage from despair ; 
And then perform, from downright desperation, 

Much bolder deeds than many a braver man would dare." 

I was choking with thirst, though in vain I looked 
for a sheet of water ; but seeing where they had 
dug out some sand, I advanced to one or two 
wells in which I could see water, but without a 
shovel only a native could get any out of such a 
funnel-shaped hole. In sheer desperation I dis- 
mounted and picked up a small wooden utensil from 
one of the wurleys, thinking if I could only get a 
drink I should summon up pluck for the last despe- 
rate plunge. I could only manage to get up a few 
mouthfuls of dirty water, and my horse was trying 
to get in on top of me. So far as I could see, there 
were only two or three of these places where all 
those natives got water. I remounted my horse, 
one of the best and fastest I have. He knew 
exactly what I wanted because he wished it also, 
and that was to be gone. I mounted slowly with 
my face to the enemy, but the instant I was on he 
sprang round and was away with a bound that 
almost left me behind ; then such demoniacal yells 
greeted my ears as I had never heard before and do 
not wish to hear again ; the echoes of the voices of 
these now indignant and infuriated creatures rever- 


berating through the defiles of the hills, and the 
uncouth sounds of the voices themselves smote so 
discordantly on my own and my horse's ears that 
we went out of that glen faster, oh ! ever so much 
faster, than we went in. I heard a horrid sound of 
spears, sticks, and other weapons, striking violently 
upon the ground behind me, but I did not stop to pick 
up any of them, or even to look round to see what 
caused it. Upon rejoining my companions, as we 

now seldom spoke to one another, I merely told 
them I had seen water and natives, but that it was 
hardly worth while to go back to the place, but that 
they could go if they liked. Robinson asked me 
why I had ridden my horse West Australian — 
shortened toW. A., but usually called Guts, from his 
persistent attention to his " inwards " — so hard 
when there seemed no likelihoods of our getting 
any water for the night ? I said, " Ride him back 


and see." I called this place Escape Glen. In 
two or three miles after I overtook them, the Peter- 
mann became exhausted on the plains. We pushed 
on nearly east, as now we must strike the Finke in 
forty-five to fifty miles ; but we had to camp that 
night without water. The lame horses went better 
the farther they were driven. I hoped to travel the 
lameness out of them, as instances of that kind have 
occurred with me more than once. We were away 


from our dry camp early, and had scarcely pro- 
ceeded two miles when we struck the bank of a 
broad sandy-bedded creek, which was almost as 
broad as the Finke itself: just where we struck it 
was on top of a red bank twenty or thirty feet high. 
The horses naturally looking down into the bed 
below, one steady old file of a horse, that carried my 
boxes with the instruments, papers, quicksilver, &c., 
went too close, the bank crumbled under him, and 


down he fell, raising a cloud of red dust. I rode 
up immediately, expecting to see a fine smash, but 
no, there he was, walking along on the sandy bed 
below, as comfortable as he had been on top, not a 
strap strained or a box shifted in the least The 
bed here was dry. Robinson rode on ahead and 
shortly found two fine large ponds under a hill 
which ended abruptly over them. On our side a 
few low ridges ran to meet it, thus forming a kind 
of pass. Here we outspanned ; it was a splendid 
place. Carmichael and Robinson caught a great 
quantity of fish with hook and line. I called these 
Middleton's Pass and Fish Ponds. The country all 
round was open, grassy, and fit for stock. The 
next day we got plenty more fish ; they were a 
species of perch, the largest one caught weighed, I 
dare say, three pounds ; they had a great resem- 
blance to Murray cod, which is a species of perch. 
I saw from the hill overhanging the water that the 
creek trended south-east. Going in that direction 
we did not, however, meet it ; so turning more 
easterly, we sighted some pointed hills, and found 
the creek went between them, forming another pass, 
where there was another water-hole under the rocks. 
This, no doubt, had been of large dimensions, but 
was now gradually getting filled with sand ; there 
was, however, a considerable quantity of water, and 
it was literally alive with fish, insomuch that the 
water had a disagreeable and fishy taste. Great 
numbers of the dead fish were floating upon the 
water. Here we met a considerable number of 
natives, and although the women would not come 
close, several of the men did, and made themselves 
useful by holding some of the horses* bridles and 


getting firewood. Most of them had names given 
them by their godfathers at their baptism, that is 
to say, either by the officers or men of the Overland 
Telegraph Construction parties. This was my thirty- 
second camp ; I calle-d it Rogers's Pass ; twenty-two 
miles was our day s stage. From here two con- 
spicuous semi-conical hills, or as I should say, 
truncated cones, of almost identical appearance, 
caught my attention ; they bore nearly south 60° 

Bidding adieu to our sable friends, who had had 
breakfast with us and again made themselves useful, 
we started for the twins. To the south of them 
was a range of some length ; of this the twins 
formed a part. I called it Seymour s Range, and a 
conic hill at its western end Mount Ormerod. We 
passed the twins in eleven miles, and found some 
water in the creek near a peculiar red sandstone 
hill. Mount Quin ; the general course of the creek 
was south 70° east. Seymour's Range, together 
with Mounts Quin and Ormerod, had a series of 
watermarks in horizontal lines along their face, 
similar to Johnston's Range, seen when first starting, 
the two ranges lying east and west of one another ; 
the latter-named range we were again rapidly 
approaching. Not far from Mount Quin I found 
some clay water-holes in a lateral channel. The 
creek now ran nearly east, and having taken my 
latitude this morning by Aldeberan, I was sure of 
what I anticipated, namely, that I was running 
down the creek I had called No. 2. It was one 
that joined the Finke at my outgoing No. 2 camp. 
We found a water-hole to-day, fenced in by the 
natives. There was a low range to the south-west. 


and a tent-shaped hill more easterly. We rested 
the horses at the fenced-in water-hole. I walked to 
the top of the tent hill, and saw the creek went 
through another pass to the north-east. In the 
afternoon 1 rode over to this pass and found some 
ponds of water on this side of it. A bullock whose 
tracks I had seen further up the creek had got 
bogged here. We next travelled throogh the pass, 
which I called Briscoe's Pass, the creek now turn- 
ing up nearly north-east ; in six miles further it ran 

under a hill, which I well remembered in going out ; 
at thirteen miles from the camp it ended in the 
broader bosom of the Finke, where there was a fine 
water-hole at the junction, in the bed of the smaller 
creek, which was called the Palmer. The Finke 
now appeared very different to when we passed up. 
It then had a stream of water running along its 
channel, but was now almost dry, except that water 
appeared at intervals upon the surface of the white 
and sandy bed, which, however, was generally 


either salty or bitter ; others, again, were drinkable 
enough. Upon reaching the river we camped. 

My expedition was over. I had failed certainly 
in my object, which was to penetrate to the sources 
of the Murchison River, but not through any fault 
of mine, as I think any impartial reader will admit. 
Our outgoing tracks were very indistinct, but yet 
recognisable; we camped again at No. i. Our 
next line was nearly east, along the course of the 
Finke, passing a few miles south of Chambers's 
Pillar. I had left it but twelve weeks and four 
days; during that interval I had traversed and 
laid down over a thousand miles of previously 
totally unknown country. Had I been fortunate 
enough to have fallen upon a good or even a fair 
line of country, the distance I actually travelled 
would have taken me across the continent. 

I may here make a few remarks upon the Finke. 
It is usually called a river, although its water does 
not always show upon the surface. Overlanders, 
i.e. parties travelling up or down the road along the 
South Australian Trans-Continental Telegraph line, 
where the water does show on the surface, call them 
springs. The water is always running underneath 
the sand, but in certain places it becomes impreg- 
nated with mineral and salty formations, which gives 
the water a disagreeable taste. This peculiar drain 
no doubt rises in the western portions of the 
McDonnell Range, not far from where I traced 
it to, and runs for over 500 miles straight in a 
general south-westerly direction, finally entering the 
northern end of Lake Eyre. It drains an enormous 
area of Central South Australia, and on the parallels 
of 24°, 25°, 26*^ of south latitude, no other stream 


exists between it and the Murchison or the Asbur- 
ton, a distance in either case of nearly i,ioo miles, 
and thus it will be seen it is the only Central 
Australian river. 

On the 2 1 St of November we reached the tele- 
graph line at the junction of the Finke and the 
Hugh. The weather during this month, and almost 
to its close, was much cooler than the preceding one. 
The horses were divided between us — Robinson 
getting six, Carmichael four, and I five. Carmichael 
and Robinson went down the country, in company, 
in advance of me, as fast as they could. I travelled 
more slowly by myself. One night, when near what 
is called the Horse-shoe bend of the Finke, I had 
turned out my horses, and as it seemed inclined to 
rain, was erecting a small tent, and on looking round 
for the tomahawk to drive a stake into the ground, 
was surprised to notice a very handsome little black 
boy, about nine or ten years old, quite close to me. 
I patted him on the head, whereupon he smiled 
very sweetly, and began to talk most fluently in his 
own language. I found he interspersed his remarks 
frequently with the words Larapinta, white fellow, 
and yarraman (horses). He told me two white 
men, Carmichael and Robinson, and ten horses, had 
gone down, and that white fellows, with horses and 
camel drays (Gosse s expedition), had just gone up 
the line. While we were talking, two smaller boys 
came up and were patted, and patted me in return. 
The water on the surface here was bitter, and I 
had not been able to find any good, but these little 
imps of iniquity took my tin billy, scratched a hole 
in the sand, and immediately procured delicious 
water ; so I got them to help to water the horses. 


I asked the elder boy, whom I christened Tommy, 
if he would come along with me and the yarramans ; 
of these they seemed very fond, as they began 
kissing while helping to water them. Tommy 
then found a word or two of English, and said, ** You 
master ? " The natives always like to know who 
they are dealing with, whether a person is a master 
or a servant. I replied, '^Yes, mine master.' 
He then said, " Mine (him) ridem yarraman.' 
" Oh, yes." " Which one ? " ** That one," said I 
pointing to old Cocky, and said, ** That's Cocky.' 
Then the boy went up to the horse, and said 
** Cocky, you ridem me ? " Turning to me, he 
said, ** All right, master, you and me Burr-r-r-r-r.' 
I was very well pleased to think I should get such 
a nice little fellow so easily. It was now near 
evening, and knowing that these youngsters couldn't 
possibly be very far from their fathers or mothers, 
I asked, "Where black fellow?" Tommy said, 
quite nonchalantly, " Black fellow come up ! " and 
presently I heard voices, and saw a whole host of 
men, women, and children. Then these three boys 
set up a long squeaky harangue to the others, and 
three or four men and five or six boys came running 
up to me. One was a middle-aged, good-looking 
man ; with him were two boys, and Tommy gave 
me to understand that these were his father and 
brothers. The father drew Tommy towards him, 
and ranged his three boys in a row, and when I 
looked at them, it was impossible to doubt their 
relationship — they were all three so wonderfully 
alike. Dozens more men, boys, and women came 
round — some of the girls being exceedingly pretty. 
To feed so large a host, would have required all my 
VOL. I. k: 


horses as well as my stock of rations, so I singled 
out Tommy, his two brothers, and the other original 
little two, at the same time, giving Tommy's 
father about half a damper I had already cooked, 
and told him that Tommy was my boy. He shook 
his head slowly, and would not accept the damper, 
walking somewhat sorrowfully away. However, I 
sent it to him by Tommy, and told him to tell his 
father he was going with me and the horses. The 
damper was taken that time. It did not rain, and 
the five youngsters all slept near me, while the tribe 
encamped a hundred yards away. I was not quite 
sure whether to expect an attack from such a 
number of natives. I did not teel quite at ease ; 
though these were, so to say, civilised people, they 
were known to be great thieves ; and I never went 
out of sight of my belongings, as in many cases the 
more civilised they are, the more villainous they 
may be. In the morning Tommy's father seemed 
to have thought better of my proposal, thinking 
probably it was a good thing for one of his boys to 
have a white master. I may say nearly all the 
civilised youngsters, and a good many old ones too, 
like to get work, regular rations, and tobacco, from 
the cattle or telegraph stations, which of course do 
employ a good many. When one of these is tired 
of his work, he has to bring up a substitute and 
inform his employer, and thus a continual change 
goes on. The boys brought up the horses, and 
breakfast being eaten, the father led Tommy up to 
me and put his little hand in mine ; at the same 
time giving me a small piece of stick, and pre- 
tending to thrash him ; represented to me that, if 
he didn't behave himself, I was to thrash him. I 


gave the old fellow some old clothes (Tommy I had 
already dressed up), also some flour, tea, and sugar, 
and lifted the child on to old Cocky's saddle, which 
had a valise in front, with two straps for the monkey 
to cling on by. A dozen or two youngsters now 
also wanted to come on foot. I pretended to be 
very angry, and Tommy must have said something 
that induced them to remain. I led the horse the 
boy was riding, and had to drive the other three in 
front of me. When we departed, the natives gave 
us some howls o^ cheers, and finally we got out of 
their reach. The boy seemed quite delighted with 
his new situation, and talked away at a gre^t rate. 
As soon as we reached the road, by some extra- 
ordinary chance, all my stock of wax matches, 
carried by Badger, caught alight ; a perfect volcano 
ensued, and the novel sight of a pack-horse on fire 
occurred. This sent him mad, and away he and 
the two other pack-horses flew down the road, over 
the sandhills, and were out of sight in no time. 
I told the boy to cling on as I started to gallop 
after them. He did so for a bit, but slipping on 
one side. Cocky gave a buck, and sent Tommy 
flying into some stumps of timber cut down for the 
passage of the telegraph line, and the boy fell on a 
stump and broke his arm near the shoulder. I 
tied my horse up and went to help the child, who 
screamed and bit at me, and said something about 
his people killing me. Every time I tried to touch 
or pacify him it was the same. I did not know 
what to do, the horses were miles away. I decided 
to leave the boy where he was, go after the horses, 
and then return with them to my last night's camp, 
and give the boy back to his father. When he saw 

K 2 


me mount, he howled and yelled, but I gave him 
to understand what I was going to do, and he lay 
down and cried. I was full of pity for the poor 
little creature, and I only left him to return. I 
started away, and not until I had been at full gallop 
for an hour did I sight the runaway horses. Cocky 
got away when the accident occurred, and galloped 
after and found the others, and his advent evidently 
set them off a second time. Returning to the boy, 
I saw some smoke, and on approaching close, found 
a young black fellow also there. He had bound 
up the child's arm with leaves, and wrapped it up 
with bits of bark ; and when I came he damped it 
with water from my bag. I then suggested to 
these two to return ; but oh no, the new chap was 
evidently bound to seek his fortune in London — that 
is to say, at the Charlotte Waters Station — and he 
merely remarked, ** You, mine, boy, Burr-r-r-r-r, white 
fellow wurley ; *' he also said, ** Mine, boy, walk, 
you, yarraman — mine, boy, sleep you wurley, you 
Burr-r-r-r-r yarraman." All this meant that they 
would walk and I might ride, and that they would 
camp with me at night. Off I went and left them, as 
I had a good way to go. I rode and they walked to 
the Charlotte. I got the little boy regular meals at 
the station ; but his arm was still bad, and I don't 
know if it ever got right. I never saw him again. 

At the Charlotte Waters I met Colonel Warburton 
and his son ; they were going into the regions I had 
just returned from. I gave them all the information 
they asked, and showed them my map ; but they 
and Gosse's expedition went further up the line 
to the Alice springs, in the McDonnell Ranges, for 
a s»:arting-point. I was very kindly received here 


again, and remained a few days. My old horse 
Cocky had got bad again, in consequence of his 
galloping with the pack-horses, and I left him behind 
me at the Charlotte, in charge of Mr. Johnston. 
On arrival at the Peake, I found that Mr. Bagot 
had broken his collar-bone by a fall from a horse. 
I drove him to the Blinman Mine, where we took 
the coach for Adelaide. At Beltana, before we 
reached the Blinman Mine, I heard that my former 
black boy Dick was in that neighbourhood, and 
Mr. Chandler, whom I had met at the Charlotte 
Waters, and who was now stationed here, promised 
to get and keep him for me until I either came or 
sent for him : this he did. And thus ends the first 
book of my explorations. 


( 137 ) 


In a former part of my narrative I mentioned, 
that so soon as I had informed my kind friend 
Baron von Mueller by wire from the Charlotte 
Waters Telegraph Station, of the failure and break 
up of my expedition, he set to work and obtained 
a new fund for me to continue my labours. 
Although the greatest despatch was used, and the 
money quickly obtained, yet it required some 
months before I could again depart. I reached 
Adelaide late in January, 1873, and as soon as 
funds were available I set to work at the organisa- 
tion of a new expedition. I obtained the services 
of a young friend named William Henry Tietkins 
— who came over from Melbourne to join me — and 
we got a young fellow named James Andrews, or 
Jimmy as we always called him. I bought a light 
four-wheeled trap and several horses, and we left 
Adelaide early in March, 1873. We drove up the 
country by way of the Burra mines to Port Augusta 
at the head of Spencer s Gulf, buying horses as we 
went ; and having some pack saddles on the wagon, 
these we put on our new purchases as we got 

Before I left Adelaide I had instructed Messrs. 


Tassie & Co., of Port Augusta, to forward certain 
stores required for our journey, which loading had 
already been despatched by teams to the Peake. 
We made a leisurely journey up the country, as it 
was of no use to overtake our stores. At Beltana 
Mr. Chandler had got and kept my black boy Dick, 
who pretended to be overjoyed to see me, and 
perhaps he really was ; but he was extra effusive in 
his affection, and now declared he had been a silly 
young fool, that he didn't care for wild blacks now a 
bit, and would go with me anywhere. When Mr. 
Chandler got him he was half starved, living in a 
blacks' camp, and had scarcely any clothes. Leav- 
ing Beltana, in a few days we passed the Finniss 
Springs Station, and one of the people there made 
all sorts of overtures to Dick, who was now dressed 
in good clothes, and having had some good living 
lately, had got into pretty good condition ; some 
promises must have been made him, as when we 
reached the Gregory, he bolted away, and I never 
saw him afterwards. 

The Gregory was now running, and by simply 
dipping out a bucketful of water, several dozens of 
minnows could be caught. In this way we got 
plenty of them, and frying them in butter, just as 
they were, they proved the most delicious food it 
was possible to eat, equal, if not superior, to white- 
bait. Nothing of a very interesting nature occurred 
during our journey up to the Peake, where we were 
welcomed by the Messrs. Bagot at the Cattle Station, 
and Mr. Blood of the Telegraph Department. 
Here we fixed up all our packs, sold Mr. Bagot the 
wagon, and bought horses and other things ; we 
had now twenty pack-horses and four riding ditto. 


Here a short young man accosted me, and asked 
me if I did not remember him, saying at the same 
time that he was ** Alf." I fancied I knew his face, 
but thought it was at the Peake that I had seen 
him, but he said, " Oh no, don't you remember Alf 
with Bagot s sheep at the north-west bend of the 
Murray ? my name's Alf Gibson, and I want to go 
out with you." I said, " Well, can you shoe ? can 
you ride ? can you starve ? can you go without 
water ? and how would you like to be speared by the 
blacks outside V* He said he could do everything I 
had mentioned, and he wasn't afraid of the blacks. 
He was not a man I would have picked out of a 
mob, but men were scarce, and as he seemed so 
anxious to come, and as I wanted somebody, I 
agreed to take him. We got all our horses shod, 
and two extra sets of shoes fitted for each, marked, 
and packed away. I had a little black-and-tan terrier 
dog called Cocky, and Gibson had a little pup of 
the same breed, which he was so anxious to take 
that at last I permitted him to do so. 

Our horses' loads were very heavy at starting, 
the greater number of the horses carrying 200 lbs. 
The animals were not in very good condition ; I got 
the horse I had formerly left here, Badger, the one 
whose pack had been on fire at the end of my last 
trip. I had decided to make a start upon this 
expedition from a place known as Ross's Water-hole 
in the Alberga Creek, at its junction with the 
Stevenson, the Alberga being one of the principal 
tributaries of the Finke. The position of Ross's 
Water-hole is in latitude 27° 8' and longitude 
135° 45', it lying 120 to 130 miles in latitude more 
to the south than the Mount Olga of my first 


journey, which was a point I was most desirous to 
reach. Having tried without success to reach it 
from the north, I now intended to try from a more 
southerly line. Ross's Water-hple is called ninety 
miles from the Peake, and we arrived there without 
any difficulty. The nights now were exceedingly 
cold, as it was near the end of July. When we 
arrived I left the others in camp and rode myself 
to the Charlotte Waters, expecting to get my old 
horse Cocky, and load him with 200 lbs. of flour ; 
but when I arrived there, the creek water-hole was 
dry, and all the horses running loose on the Finke. 
I got two black boys to go out and try to get the 
horse, but on foot in the first place they could never 
have done it, and in the second place, when they 
returned, they said they could not find him at all. 1 
sent others, but to no purpose, and eventually had to 
leave the place without getting him, and returned 
empty-handed to the depot, having had my journey 
and lost my time for nothing. 

There was but poor feed at the water-hole, every 
teamster and traveller always camping there. 
Some few natives appeared at the camp, and 
brought some boys and girls. An old man said he 
could get me a flour-bag full of salt up the creek, 
so I despatched him for it ; he brought back a little 
bit of dirty salty gravel in one hand, and expected a 
lot of flour, tea, sugar, meat, tobacco, and clothes 
for it ; but I considered my future probable require- 
ments, and refrained from too much generosity. A 
nice little boy called Albert agreed to come with us, 
but the old man would not allow him — I suppose on 
account of the poor reward he got for his salt. A 
young black fellow here said he had found a 


white man's musket a long way up the creek, and 
that he had got it in his wurley, and would give 
it to me for flour, tea, sugar, tobacco, matches, and 
clothes. I only premised flour, and away he went 
to get the weapon. Next day he returned, and 
before reaching the camp began to yell, ** White 
fellow mukkety, white fellow mukkety." I could see 
he had no such thing in his hands, but when he 
arrived he unfolded a piece of dirty old pocket- 
handkerchief, from which he produced — what ? an 
old discharged copper revolver cartridge. His 
reward was commensurate with his prize. 

The expedition consisted of four members — 
namely, myself, Mr. William Henry Tietkins, Alfred 
Gibson, and James Andrews, with twenty-four 
horses and two little dogs. On Friday, the ist of 
August, 1873, we were prepared to start, but rain 
stopped us ; again on Sunday some more fell. We 
finally left the encampment on the morning of 
Monday, the 4th. 




I^ave for the west — Ascend the Alberga — An old building — 
Rain, thunder, and lightning — Leave Alberga for the north- 
west — Drenched in the night — Two lords of the soil — Get 
their cong^ — Water-holes — Pretty amphitheatre — Scrubs on 
either side — Watering the horses — A row of saplings — 
Spinifex and poplars — Dig a tank — Hot wind — A broken 
limb — Higher hills — Flat-topped hills — Singular cones — 
Better country — A horse staked — Bluff-faced hills — The 
Anthony Range — Cool nights — Tent-shaped hills — Fantastic 
mounds — Romantic valley — Picturesque scene — A gum 
creek — Beautiful country — Gusts of fragrance — New and 
independent hills — Large creek — Native well — Jimmy's 
report — The Krichauff — Cold nights — Shooting blacks — 
Labor omnia vincit — Thermometer 28° — Dense scrubs — 
Small creek — Native pheasant's nest — Beautiful open ground 
— Charming view — Rocks piled on rocks. 

On Monday, the 4th August, 1873, my new expe- 
dition, under very favourable circumstances, started 
from Ross's Water-hole in the Alberga. The 
country through which the Alberga here runs is 
mostly open and stony, but good country for stock 
of all kinds. The road and the telegraph line are 
here thirteen miles apart. At that distance up the 
creek, nearly west, we reached it. The frame of an 
old building was convenient for turning into a house, 
with a tarpaulin for a roof, as there appeared a like- 


lihoods of more rain. Some water was got in a 
clay-pan in the neighbourhood. 

A misty and cloudy morning warned us to keep 
under canvas : rain fell at intervals during the day, 
and at sundown heavy thunder and bright lightning 
came from the north-west, with a closing good 
smart shower. The next morning was fine and 
clear, though the night had been extremely cold. 
The bed of this creek proved broad but ill-defined, 
and cut up into numerous channels. Farther along 
the creek a more scrubby region was found ; the 
soil was soft after the rain, but no water was seen 
lying about. The creek seemed to be getting 
smaller ; I did not like its appearance very much, 
so struck away north-west. The country now was 
all thick mulga scrub and grassy sandhills ; amongst 
these we found a clay-pan with some water in it. 
At night we were still in the scrub, without water, 
but we were not destined to leave it without any, 
for at ten o'clock a thunderstorm from the north- 
west came up, and before we could get half our 
things under canvas, we were thoroughly drenched. 
Off our tarpaulins we obtained plenty of water for 
breakfast ; but the ground would not retain any. 
Sixteen miles farther along we came down out of 
the sandhills on to a creek where we found water, 
and camped, but the grass was very poor, dry, and 
innutritions. More rain threatened, but the night 
was dry, and the morning clear and beautiful. This 
creek was the Hamilton. Two of its native lords 
visited the camp this morning, and did not appear at 
all inclined to leave it. The creek is here broad 
and sandy : the timber is small and stunted. To- 
wards evening the two Hamiltonians put on airs of 


great impudence, and became very objectionable ; 
two or three times I had to resist their encroach- 
ments into the camp, and at last they greatly 
annoyed me. I couldn't quite make out what they 
said to one another ; but I gathered they expected 
more of their tribe, and were anxiously looking out 
for them in all directions. Finally, as our guns 
wanted discharging and cleaning after the late 
showers, we fired them off, and so soon as the 
natives saw us first handle and then discharge them, 
off they went, and returned to Balclutha no more. 

Going farther up the creek, we met some small 
tributaries with fine little water-holes. Some ridges 
now approached the creek ; from the top of one 
many sheets of water glittered in stony clay-pans. 
More westerly the creek ran under a hill. Crossing 
another tributary where there was plenty of water, 
we next saw a large clay-hole in the main creek — 
it was, however, dry. When there was some water 
in it, the natives had fenced it found to catch any 
large game that might come to drink ; at present 
they were saved the trouble, for game and water 
had both alike departed. Mr. Tietkens, my lieu- 
tenant and second in command, found a very pretty 
amphitheatre formed by the hills ; we encamped 
there, at some clay-pans ; the gras^, however, was 
very poor ; scrubs appeared on the other side of the 
creek. A junction with another creek occurred near 
here, beyond which the channel was broad, flat, 
sandy, and covered indiscriminately with timber ; 
scrubs existed on either bank. We had to cross 
and recross the bed as the best road. We found a 
place in it where the natives had dug, and where 
we got water, but the supply was very unsatis- 

VOL. I. L 


factory, an enormous quantity of sand having to be 
shifted before the most willing horse could get down 
to it. We succeeded at length wirh the aid of 
canvas buckets, and by the time the whole twenty- 
four were satisfied, we were also. The grass was 
dry as usual, but the horses ate it, probably because 
there is no other for them. Our course to-day was 
8° south of west. Close to where we encamped 
were three or four saplings placed in a row in the 
bed of the creek, and a diminutive tent-frame, as 
though some one, if not done by native children, 
had been playing at erecting a miniature telegraph 
line. I did not like this creek much more than the 
Alberga, and decided to try the country still farther 
north-west. This we did, passing through some- 
what thick scrubs for eighteen miles, when we came 
full upon the creek again, and here for the first time 
since we started we noticed some bunches of 
spinifex, the Festuca irritans, and some native poplar 
trees. These have a straight stem, and are in out- 
line somewhat like a pine-tree, but the foliage is of 
a fainter green, and different-shaped leaf. They 
are very pretty to the eye, but generally inhabit the 
very poorest regions ; the botanical name of this 
tree is Codonocarpus cotinifolius. At five miles 
farther we dug in the bed of the creek, but only our 
riding-horses could be watered by night. White 
pipeclay existed on the bed. The weather was 
oppressive to-day. Here my latitude was 26° 27', 
longitude 134°. It took all next day to water 
the horses. Thermometer 92° in shade, hot wind 
blowing. The dead limb of a tree, to which we 
fixed our tarpaulin as an awning for shade, slipped 
down while we were at dinner ; it first fell on the 


head of Jimmy Andrews, which broke it in half; 
it also fell across my back, tearing my waistcoat, 
shirt, and skin ; but as it only fell on Jimmy's 
head, of course it couldn't hurt him. The countrj' 

still scrubby on both sides : we now travelled about 
norlh-north-west, and reached a low stony rise in 
the scrubs, and from it saw the creek stretching 
away towards some other ridges nearly on the line 
we were travelling. We skirted the creek, and in 

L 2 


eleven miles we saw other hills of greater elevation 
than any we had yet seen. 

Reaching the first ridge, we got water by digging 
a few inches into the pipeclay bed of the creek ; a 
more extended view was here obtained, and ranges 
appeared from west, round by north-west, to north ; 
there were many flat-topped hills and several singu- 
lar cones, and the country appeared more open. 
I was much pleased to think I had distanced the 
scrubs. One cone in the new range bore north 
52^ west, and for some distance the creek trended 
that way. On reaching the foot of the new hills, I 
found the creek had greatly altered its appearance, 
if indeed it was the same. It is possible the main 
creek may have turned more to the west, and that 
this is only a tributary, but as we found some sur- 
face water in a clay-hole, we liked it better than 
having to dig in a larger channel. Here for the first 
time for many weeks we came upon some green 
grass, which the horses greedily devoured. The 
country here is much better and more open. On 
mustering the horses this morning, one was found 
to be dead lame, with a mulga stake in his coronet, 
and as he could not travel we were forced to remain 
at the camp ; at least the camp was not shifted. This 
horse was called Trew ; he was one of the best in 
the mob, though then I had not found out all his 
good qualities — he now simply carried a pack. 
Mr. Tietkens and I mounted our horses and rode 
farther up the creek. The channel had partly 
recovered its appearance, and it may be our old one 
after all. Above the camp its course was nearly 
north, and a line of low bluff-faced hills formed its 
eastern bank. The country towards the new ranges 


looked open and inviting, and we rode to a promi- 
nent cone in it, to the west-north-west. The country 
was excellent, being open and grassy, and having 
fine cotton and salt bush flats all over it : there was 
surface water in clay-pans lying about. I called 
this the Anthony Range. We returned much pleased 
with our day s ride. 

The nights were now agreeably cool, sometimes 
very dewy. The lame horse was still very bad, but 
we lightened his load, and after the first mile he 
travelled pretty well. We steered for the singular 
cone in advance* Most of the hills, however, of the 
Anthony Range were flat-topped, though many tent- 
shaped ones exist also. I ascended the cone in 
ten miles, -west of north-west from camp. The view 
displayed hills for miles in all directions, amongst 
which were many bare rocks of red colour heaped 
into the most fantastically tossed mounds imagin- 
able, with here and there an odd shrub growing 
from the interstices of the rocks ; some small minia- 
ture creeks, with only myal and mulga growing in 
them, ran through the valleys — all of these had 
recently been running. We camped a mile or two 
beyond the cone in an extremely pretty and 
romantic valley ; the grass was green, and Nature 
appeared in one of her smiling moods, throwing a 
gleam of sunshine on the minds of the adventurers 
who had sought her in one of her wilderness 
recesses. The only miserable creature in our party 
was the lame horse, but now indeed he had a mate 
in misfortune, for we found that another horse. 
Giant Despair, had staked himself during our day s 
march, though he did not appear lame until we 
stopped, and his hobbles were about to be put on. 


Mr. Tietkens extracted a long mulga slick from his 
fetlock : neither of the two staked horses ever 
became sound again, although they worked well 
enough. In the night, or rather by morning (day- 
light), the thermometer had fallen to 30°, and though 
there was a heavy dew there was neither frost 
nor ice. 

We now passed up to the head of the picturesque 
valley, and from there wound round some of the 
mounds of bare rocks previously mentioned. They 
are composed of a kind of a red conglomerate 
granite. We turned in and out amongst the hills 
till we arrived at the banks oi a small creek lined 
with eucalyptus or gum-trees, and finding some 
water we encamped on a piece of beautiful-looking 
country, splendidly grassed and ornamented with 
the fantastic mounds, and the creek timber as back 
and fore grounds for the picture. Small birds 
twittered on each bough, sang their little songs of 
love or hate, and gleefully fled or pursued each 
other from tree to tree. The atmosphere seemed 
cleared of all grossness or impurities, a few sunlit 
clouds floated in space, and a perfume from Nature s 
own laboratory was exhaled from the flowers and 
vegetation around. It might well be said that here 

** Gusts of fragrance on the grasses. 
In the skies a softened splendour; 
Through the copse and woodland passes 
Songs of birds in cadence tender." 

The country was so agreeable here we had no 
desire to traverse it at railway speed ; it was de- 
lightful to loll and lie upon the land, in abandoned 
languishment beneath the solar ray. Thirty or forty 


miles farther away, west-north-westward, other and 
independent hills or ranges stood, though I was 
grieved to remark that the intermediate region 
seemed entirely filled with scrub. How soon the 
scenery changes ! Travelling now for the new hills, 
we soon entered scrubs, where some plots of the 
dreaded triodia were avoided. In the scrubs, at ten 
miles we came upon the banks of a large gum-tim- 
bered creek, whose trees were fine and vigorous. 
In the bed we found a native well, with water at no 
great depth ; the course of this creek where we 
struck it, was south-south-east, and we travelled along 
its banks in an opposite, that is to say, north-north- 
west direction. That line, however, took us imme- 
diately into the thick scrubs, so at four miles on this 
bearing I climbed a tree, and saw that I must turn 
north to cut it again ; this I did, and in three miles 
we came at right angles upon a creek which I felt 
sure was not the one we had left, the scrub being 
so thick one could hardly see a yard ahead. Here 
I sent Jimmy Andrews up a tree ; having been a 
sailor boy, he is well skilled in that kind of per- 
formance, but I ajn not. I told him to discover the 
whereabouts of the main creek, and say how far off 
it appeared. That brilliant genius informed me that 
it lay across the course we were steering, north, and 
it was only a mile away ; so we went on to it, as we 
supposed, but having gone more than two miles and 
not reaching it, I asked Jimmy whether he had 
not made some mistake. I said, ** We have 
already come two miles, and you said it was scarcely 
one." He then kindly informed me that I was 
going all wrong, and ought not to go that way at 
all ; but upon my questioning him as to which way 


I should go he replied, " Oh, I don't know now'* 
My only plan was to turn east, when we soon struck 
the creek. Then Jimmy declared if we had kept 
north long enough^ we would have come to it agin. 

Though Jimmy was certainly a bit of a fool, he 
was not perhaps quite a fool of the greatest size. 
Little fools and young fools somehow seem to pass 
muster in this peculiar world, but to be old and a 
fool is a mistake which is difficult, if not impossible, 
to remedy. It was too late to go any farther ; we 
couldn't get any water, but we had to camp. I 
intended to return in the morning to where we first 
struck this creek, and where we saw water in the 
native well. I called this the Krichauff. The 
mercury went down to 28° by daylight the next 
morning, but neither ice nor frost appeared. This 
morning Mr.- Tietkens, when out after the horses, 
found a rather deep native well some distance up 
the creek, and we shifted the camp to it. On the 
way there I was behind the party, and before I 
overtook them I heard the report of firearms. On 
reaching the horses, Jimmy Andrews had his re- 
volver in his hand, Mr. Tietkens and Gibson being 
away. On inquiring of Jimmy the cause of the 
reports and the reason of his having his revolver in 
his hand, he replied that he thought Mr. Tietkens 
was shooting the blacks, and he had determined to 
slaughter his share if they attacked him. Mr. Tiet- 
kens had fired at some wallabies, which, however,, did 
not appear at dinner. On arrival at the new well, 
we had a vast amount of work to perform, and only 
three or four horses got water by night. 

I told Mr. Tietkens not to work himself to death, 
as I would retreat in the morning to where there 


was water, but he persisted in working away by 
himself in the night, and was actually able to water 
all the horses in the morning. Labor omnia vincit. 
Last night there was a heavy fall of dew, thermo- 
meter 28°, but no frost or ice. I was delighted to 
turn my back upon this wretched place. 

The object of our present line was to reach 
the new hills seen from the Anthony Range. 
Three of them appeared higher than, and isolated 
from, the others. They now bore west of us — at 
least they should have done so, and I hoped they 
did, for in such thick scrubs it was quite impossible 
to see them. No matter for that, we steered west 
for them and traversed a region of dense scrubs. I 
was compelled to ride in advance with a bell on 
my stirrup to enable the others to hear which way 
to come. In seventeen miles we struck a small 
g^m creek without water, but there was good 
herbage. In the scrubs to-day we saw a native 
pheasant's nest, the Leipoa ocellata of Gould, but 
there were no eggs in it. This bird is known by 
different names in different parts of Australia. On 
the eastern half of the continent it is usually called 
the Lowan, while in Western Australia it is known 
as the Gnow ; both I believe are native names. 
Another cold night, thermometer 26^ with a 
slight hoar frost. Moving on still west through 
scrubs, but not so thick as yesterday, some beautiful 
and open ground was met till we reached the foot 
of some low ridges. 

From the top of one of these, we had before us 
a most charming view, red ridges of extraordinary 
shapes and appearance being tossed up in all 
directions, with the slopes of the soil, from whence 


they seemed to spring, rising gently, and with 
verdure clad in a garment of grass whose skirts 
were fringed with flowers to their feet. These 
slopes were beautifully bedecked with flowers of 
the most varied hues, throwing a magic charm 
over the entire scene. Vast bare red 

" Rocks piled on rocks stupendous hurled, 
Like fragments of an earlier world," 

appeared everywhere, but the main tier of ranges 
for which I had been steering was still several 
miles farther away to the west. Thinking that 
water, the scarcest here of Nature's gifts, must surely 
exist in such a lovely region as this, it was more 
with the keen and critical eye of the explorer in 
search of that element, than of the admirer of 
Nature in her wildest grace, that I surveyed the 
scene. A small gum creek lay to the south, to 
which Mr. Tietkens went. I sent Gibson to a spot 
about two miles off to the west, as straight before 
us in that direction lay a huge mass of rocks and 
bare slabs of stone, which might have rock 
reservoirs amongst them. To the north lay a 
longer jumble of hills, with overhanging ledges 
and bare precipices, which I undertook to search, 
leaving Jimmy to mind the horses until some of us 
returned. Neither Mr. Tietkens nor Gibson could 
find any water, and I was returning quite dis- 
appointed, after wandering over hills and rocks, 
through gullies and under ledges, when at length 
I espied a small and very fertile little glen whose 
brighter green attracted my notice. Here a small 
gully came down between two hills, and in the 
bed of the little channel I saw a patch of blacker 


soil, and on reaching it I found a small but deep 
native well with a little water at the bottom. It 
was an extraordinary little spot, and being funnel- 
shaped, I doubted whether any animal but a bird 
or a black man could get down to it, and I also 
expected it would prove a hideous bog; but my 
little friend (W. A.) seemed so determined to test its 
nature, and though it was nearly four feet to the 
water, he quietly let his forefeet slip down into 
it, and though his hindquarters were high and 
dry above his head he got a good drink, which 
he told me in his language he was very thankful 
for. I brought the whole party to the spot, and we 
had immediately to set to work to enlarge the well. 
We found the water supply by no means abundant, 
as, though we all worked hard at it in turns with 
the shovel, it did not drain in as fast as one horse 
could drink ; but by making a large hole, we 
expected sufficient would drain in during the night 
for the remainder of the horses. We did not cease 
from our work until it was quite dark, when we 
retired to our encampment, quite sufficiently tired 
to make us sleep without the aid of any lullaby. 




A poor water supply — Seeds planted — Beautiful country — Ride 
westward — A chopped log — Magnetic hill — Singular scenery 
— Snail-shells — Cheering prospect westward — A new chain 
of hills — A nearer mountain — Vistas of green — Gibson finds 
water — ^Turtle backs — Ornamented Troglodytes* caves — 
Water and emus — Beef-wood-trees — Grassy lawns — Gum 
creek — Purple vetch — Cold dewy night — Jumbled turtle 
backs — Tietkens returns — I proceed — Two-storied native 
huts — Chinese doctrine — A wonderful mountain — Elegant 
trees — Extraordinary ridge — A garden — Nature imitates her 
imitator — Wild and strange view — Pool of water — A lonely 
camp — Between sleeping and waking — Extract from Byron 
for breakfast — Return for the party — Emus and water — 
Arrival of Tietkens — A good camp — Tietkens's birthday 
creek — Ascend the mountain — No signs of water — Gill's 
range —Flat-topped hill — The Everard range — High mounts 
westward — Snail shells — Altitude of the mountain — Pretty 
scenes — Parrot soup — The sentinel — Thermometer 26° — 
Frost — Lunar rainbow — A charming spot — A pool of water 
— Cones of the main range — A new pass — Dreams realised 
— A long glen — Glen Ferdinand — Mount Ferdinand — The 
Reid — Large creek — Disturb a native nation — Spears hurled 
— A regular attack — Repulse and return of the enemy — 
Their appearance — Encounter Creek — Mount Officer — The 
Currie — The Levinger — Excellent country — Horse-play — 
— Mount Davenport — Small gap — A fairy space — The 
Fairies* Glen — Day dreams — Thermometer 24° — Ice — 
Mount Oberon — Titania's spring — Horses bewitched — Glen 
Watson — Mount Olga in view — The Musgrave range. 

Upon inspection this morning we found but a poor 
supply of water had drained into our tank in the 


night, and that there was by no means sufficient 
for the remaining horses ; these had no water 
yesterday. We passed the forenoon in still en- 
larging the tank, and as soon as a bucketful 
drained in, it was given to one of the horses. We 
planted the seeds of a lot of vegetables and trees 
here, such as Tasmanian blue gum, wattle, melons, 
pumpkins, cucumbers, maize, &c. ; and then Mr. 
Tietkens and I got our horses and rode to the 
main hills to the west, in hopes of discovering more 
water. We started late, and it was dark when we 
reached the range. The country passed over 
between it and our encampment, was exceedingly 
beautiful ; hills being thrown up in red ridges of 
bare rock, with the native fig-tree growing among 
the rocks, festooning them into infinite groups of 
beauty, while the ground upon which we rode was 
a periect carpet of verdure. We were therefore in 
high anticipation of finding some waters equivalent 
to the scene ; but as night was advancing, our search 
had to be delayed until the morrow. The dew was 
falling fast, the night air was cool, and deliciously 
laden with the scented exhalations from trees and 
shrubs and flowers. The odour of almonds was 
intense, reminding me of the perfumes of the wattle 
blooms of the southern, eastern, and more fertile 
portions of this continent. So exquisite was the 
aroma, that I recalled to my mind Gordon's 
beautiful lines : — 

" In the spring when the wattle gold trembles, 
*Twixt shadow and shine, 
When each dew-laden air draught resembles ; 
A long draught of wine." 


So delightful indeed was the evening that it was 
late when we gave ourselves up to the oblivion of 
slumber, beneath the cool and starry sky. We 
made a fire against a log about eighteen inches 
thick ; this was a limb from an adjacent blood-wood 
or red gum-tree, and this morning we discovered 
that it had been chopped off its parent stem either 
with an axe or tomahawk, and carried some forty 
or fifty yards from where it had originally fallen. 
This seemed very strange ; in the first place for 
natives, so far out from civilisation as this, to have 
axes or tomahawks ; and in the second place, to 
chop logs or boughs off a tree v/as totally against 
their practice. By sunrise we were upon the summit 
of the mountain ; it consisted of enormous blocks 
and boulders of red granite, so riven and fissured 
that no water could possibly lodge upon it for an 
instant. I found it also to be highly magnetic, there 
being a great deal of ironstone about the rocks. It 
turned the compass needle from its true north point 
to io° south of west, but the attraction ceased when 
the compass was removed four feet from contact 
with the rocks. The view from this mount was of 
singular and almost awful beauty. The mount, and all 
the others connected with it, rose simply like islands 
out of a vast ocean of scrub. The beauty of the 
locality lay entirely within itself. Innumerable red 
ridges ornamented with fig-trees, rising out of green 
and grassy slopes, met the eye everywhere to the 
east, north, and north-east, and the country between 
each was just sufficiently timbered to add a charm 
to the view. But the appearance of water still was 
wanting ; no signs of it, or of any basin or hollow 


that could hold it, met the gaze in any. direction. 
This alone was wanting to turn a wilderness into a 

There were four large mounts in this chain, 
higher than any of the rest, including the one I 
was on. Here we saw a quantity of what I at first 
thought were white sea-shells, but we found they 
were the bleached shells of land snails. Far away 
to the north some ranges appeared above the dense 
ocean of intervening scrubs. To the south, scrubs 
reigned supreme ; but to the west, the region for 
which I was bound, the prospect looked far more 
cheering. The far horizon, there, was bounded by 
a very long and apparently connected chain of con- 
siderable elevation, seventy to eighty miles away. 
One conspicuous mountain, evidently nearer than 
the longer chain, bore 15° to the. south of west, 
while an apparent gap or notch in the more distant 
line bore 23° south of west. The intervening 
country appeared all flat, and very much more 
open than in any other direction ; I could discern 
long vistas of green grass, dotted with yellow im- 
mortelles, but as the perspective declined, these all 
became lost in lightly timbered country. These 
grassy glades were fair to see, reminding one some- 
what of Merrie England's glades and Sherwood 
forests green, where errant knight in olden days rode 
forth in mailed sheen ; and memory oft, the golden 
rover, recalls the tales of old romance, how ladie 
bright unto her lover, some young knight, smitten 
with her glance, would point out some heroic 
labour, some unheard-of deed of fame ; he must 
carve out with his sabre, and ennoble thus his name. 
He, a giant must defeat sure, he must free the land 


from tain, he must kill some monstrous creature, or 
return not till 'twas slain. Then she'd smile on 
him victorious, call him the bravest in the land, 
fame and her, to win, how glorious — win and keep 
her heart and hand ! 

Although no water was found here, what it 
pleases me to call my mind was immediately made 
up. I would return at once to the camp, where 
water was so scarce, and trust all to the newly 
discovered chain to the west. Water must surely 
exist there, we had but to reach it. I named these 
mounts Ayers Range. Upon returning to our camp, 
six or seven miles off, I saw that a mere dribble of 
water remained in the tank. Gibson was away 
after the horses, and when he brought them, he 
informed me he had found another place, with some 
water lying on the rocks, and two native wells close 
by with water in them, much shallower than our 
present one, and that they were about three miles 
away. I rode off with him to inspect his new dis- 
covery, and saw there was sufficient surface water 
for our horses for a day or two. 

These rocks are most singular, being mostly huge 
red, rounded solid blocks of stone, shaped like the 
backs of enormous turtles. I was much pleased 
with Gibson's discovery, and we moved the camp 
down to this spot, which we always after called the 
Turtle Back. The grass and herbage were ex- 
cellent, but the horses had not had sufficient water 
since we arrived here. It is wonderful how in such 
a rocky region so little water appears to exist. The 
surface water was rather difficult for the horses to 
reach, as it lay upon the extreme summit of the 
rock, the sides of which were very steep and 


slippery. There were plenty of small birds ; 
hawks and crows, a species of cockatoo, some 
pigeons, and eagles soaring high above. More 
seeds were planted here, the soil being very good. 
Upon the opposite or eastern side of this rock was 
a large ledge or cave, under which the Troglodytes 
of these realms had frequently encamped. It was 
ornamented with many of their rude representations 
of creeping things, amongst which the serpent class 
predominated ; there were also other hideous 
shapes, of things such as can exist only in their 
imaginations, and they are but the weak endeavours 
of these benighted beings to give form and sem- 
blance to the symbolisms of the dread superstitions, 
that, haunting the vacant chambers of their darkened 
minds, pass amongst them in the place of either 
philosophy or religion. 

Next morning, watering all our horses, and having 
a fine open-air bath on the top of the Turtle Back, 
Mr. Tietkens and I got three of them and again 
started for Ayers Range, nearly west. Reaching it, 
we travelled upon the bearing of the gap which we 
had seen in the most distant range. The country 
as we proceeded we found splendidly open, beauti- 
fully grassed, and it rose occasionally into some low 
ridges. At fifteen miles from the Turtle Back we 
found some clay-pans with water, where we turned 
out our horses for an hour. A mob of emus came 
to inspect us, and Mr. Tietkens shot one in a fleshy 
part of the neck, which rather helped it to run 
away at full speed instead of detaining, so that we 
might capture it. Next some parallel ridges lying 
north and south were crossed, where some beef- 
wood, or Grevillea trees, ornamented the scene, the 

VOL. I. M 


country again opening into beautiful grassy lawns. 
One or two creek channels were crossed, and a 
larger one farther on, whose timber indeed would 
scarcely reach our course ; as it would not come to 
us, we went to it. The gum-timber upon it was 
thick and vigorous — it came from the north-west- 
ward. A quantity of the so called tea-tree [Mala- 
leuca] grew here. In two miles up the channel we 
found where a low ridge crossed and formed a kind 
of low pass. An old native well existed here, which, 
upon cleaning out with a quart pot, disclosed the 
element of our search to our view at a depth of 
nearly five feet. The natives always make these 
wells of such an abominable shape, that of a funnel, 
never thinking how awkward they must be to white 
men with horses — some people are so unfeeling ! It 
took us a long time to water our three horses. 
There was a quantity of the little purple vetch here, 
of which all animals are so fond, and which is so 
fattening. There was plenty of this herb at the 
Turtle Back, and wherever it grows it gives the 
country a lovely carnation tinge ; this, blending 
with the bright green of the grass, and the yellow 
and other tinted hues of several kinds of flowers, 
impresses on the whole region the appearance of a 

In the morning, in consequence of a cold and 
dewy night, the horses declined to drink. Regaining 
our yesterday's course, we continued for ten miles, 
when we noticed that the nearest mountain seen 
from Ayers Range was now not more than thirty 
miles away. It appeared red, bald, and of some 
altitude ; to our left was another mass of jumbled 
turtle b<ncks, and we turned to search for water 


among them. A small gum creek to the south- 
south-east was first visited and left in disgust, and 
all the rocks and hills we searched, were equally 
destitute of water. We wasted the rest of the day 
in fruitless search ; Nature seemed to have made 
no effort whatever to form any such thing as a rock- 
hole, and we saw no place where the natives had ever 
even dug. We had been riding from morning until 
night, and we had neither found water nor reached 
the mountain. We returned to our last night's 
camp, where the sand had all fallen into the well, 
and we had our last night's performance with the 
quart pot to do over again. 

In the morning I decided to send Mr. Tietkens 
back to the camp to bring the party here, while I 
went to the mountain to search for water. We 
now discovered we had brought but a poor supply 
of food, and that a hearty supper would demolish the 
lot, so we had to be sadly economical. When we 
got our horses the next morning we departed, each 
on his separate errand — Mr. Tietkens for the camp, 
I for the mountain. I made a straight course for it, 
and in three or four miles found the country ex- 
ceedingly scrubby. At ten miles I came upon 
a number of native huts, which were of large 
dimensions and two-storied ; by this I mean they 
had an upper attic, or cupboard recess. When the 
natives return to these, I suppose they know of 
some water, or else get it out of the roots of trees. 
The scrubs became thicker and thicker, and only at 
intervals could the mountain be seen. At a spot 
where the natives had burnt the old grass, and 
where some new rich vegetation grew, I gave my 
horse the benefit of an hour s rest, for he had come 

M 2 


twenty-two miles. The day was delightful ; the 
thermometer registered only 76° in the shade. I 
had had a very poor breakfast, and now had an 
excellent appetite for all the dinner I could com- 
mand, and I could not help thinking that there is a 
great deal of sound philosophy in the Chinese 
doctrine, That the seat of the mind and the intellect 
is situate in the stomach. 

Starting again and gaining a rise in the dense 
ocean of scrub, I got a sight of the mountain, whose 
appearance was most wonderful ; it seemed so rifted 
and riven, and had acres of bare red rock without a 
shrub or tree upon it. I next found myself under 
the shadow of a huge rock towering above me 
amidst the scrubs, but too hidden to perceive until I 
reached it. On ascending it I was much pleased to 
discover, at a mile and a half off, the gum timber of 
a creek which meandered through this wilderness. 
On gaining its banks I was disappointed to find that 
its channel was very flat and poorly defined, though 
the timber upon it was splendid. Elegant upright 
creamy stems supported their umbrageous tops, 
whose roots must surely extend downwards to a 
moistened soil. On each bank of the creek was a 
strip of green and open ground, so richly grassed 
and so beautifully bedecked with flowers that it 
seemed like suddenly escaping from purgatory into 
paradise when emerging from the recesses of the 
scrubs on to the banks of this beautiful, I wish I 
might call it, stream. 

Opposite to where I struck it stood an extra- 
ordinary hill or ridge, consisting of a huge red 
turtle back having a number of enormous red stones 
almost egg-shaped, traversing, or rather standing in 


a row upon, its whole length like a line of elliptical 
Tors. I could compare it to nothing else than an 
enormous oolitic monster of the turtle kind carrying 
its eggs upon its back. A few cypress pine-trees 
grew in the interstices of the rocks, giving it a most 
elegant appearance. Hoping to find some rock or 
other reservoir of water, I rode over to this crea- 
ture, or feature. Before reaching its foot, I came 
upon a small piece of open, firm, grassy ground, 
most beautifully variegated with many-coloured 
vegetation, with a small bare piece of ground in the 
centre, with rain water lying on it. The place 
was so exquisitely lovely it seemed as if only rustic 
garden seats were wanting, to prove that it had 
been laid out by the hand of man. But it was only 
an instance of one of Nature's freaks, in which she 
had so successfully imitated her imitator. Art. I 
watered my horse and left him to graze on this 
delectable spot, while I climbed the oolitic s back. 
There was not sufficient water in the garden for 
all my horses, and it was actually necessary for 
me to find more, or else the region would be 

The view from this hill was wild and strange ; 
the high, bald forehead of the mountain was still 
four or five miles away, the country between being 
all scrub. The creek came from the south-west- 
ward, and was lost in the scrubs to the east of north. 
A thick and vigorous clump of eucalypts down the 
creek induced me first to visit them, but the chan- 
nel was hopelessly dry. Returning, I next went up 
the creek, and came to a place where great boulders 
of stone crossed the bed, and where several large- 
sized holes existed, but were now dry. Hard by, 


however, I found a damp spot, and near it in the 
sand a native well, not more than two feet deep, 
and having water in it. Still farther up I found an 
overhanging rock, with a good pool of water at its 
foot, and I was now satisfied with my day's work. 
Here I camped. I made a fire at a large log lying 
in the creek bed ; my horse was up to his eyes in 
most magnificent herbage, and I could not help 
envying him as I watched him devouring his food. 
I felt somewhat lonely, and cogitated that what has 
been written or said by cynics, solitaries, or Byrons, 
of the delights of loneliness, has no real home in the 
human heart. Nothing could appal the mind 
so much as the contemplation of eternal solitude. 
Well may another kind of poet exclaim, Oh, soli- 
tude ! where are the charms that sages have seen in 
thy face ? for human sympathy is one of the passions 
of human nature. Natives had been here very 
recently, and the scrubs were burning, not far off 
to the northwards, in the neighbourhood of the 
creek channel. As night descended, I lay me down 
by my bright camp fire in peace to sleep, though 
doubtless there are very many of my readers who 
would scarcely like to do the same. Such a situa- 
tion might naturally lead one to consider how many 
people have lain similarly down at night, in fancied 
security, to be awakened only by the enemies' toma- 
hawk crashing through their skulls. Such thoughts, 
if they intruded themselves upon my mind, were 
expelled by others that wandered away to different 
scenes and distant friends, for this Childe Harold 
also had a mother not forgot, and sisters whom he 
loved, but saw them not, ere yet his weary pilgrim- 
age begun. 


Dreams also, between sleeping and waking, 
passed swiftly through my brain, and in my lonely 
sleep I had real dreams, sweet, fanciful, and bright, 
mostly connected with the enterprise upon which I 
had embarked — dreams that I had wandered into, 
and was passing through, tracts of fabulously lovely 
glades, with groves and grottos green, watered by 
never-failing streams of crystal, dotted with clusters 
of magnificent palm - trees, and having groves, 
charming groves, of the fairest of pines, of groves 
** whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm." 

" And all throughout the night there reigned the sense 
Of waking dream, with luscious thoughts overladen ; 
Of joy too conscious made, and too intense, 
By the swift advent of this longed-for aidenn." 

On awaking, however, I was forced to reflect, 
how " mysterious are these laws ! the vision's finer 
than the view : her landscape Nature never draws 
so fair as fancy drew." The morning was cold, the 
thermometer stood at 28°, and now — • 

" The mom was up again, the dewy mom ; 
With breath all incense, and with cheek all bloom, 
Laughing the clouds away with playful scorn. 
And smiling, as if earth contained no tomb : 
And glowing into day." 

With this charming extract from Byron for break- 
fast I saddled my horse, having nothing more to 
detain me here, intending to bring up the whole 
party as soon as possible. 

I now, however, returned by a more southerly 
route, and found the scrubs less thick, and came to 
some low red rises in them. Having travelled east, 
I now turned on the bearing for the tea-tree creek. 


where the party ought now to be. At six miles on 
this line I came upon some open ground, and saw 
several emus. This induced me to look around for 
water, and I found some clay-pans with enough 
water to last a week. I was very well pleased, as 
this would save time and trouble in digging at the 
tea-tree. The water here was certainly rather thick, 
and scarcely fit for human organisms, at least for 
white ones, though it might suit black ones well 
enough, and it was good enough for our horses, 
which was the greatest consideration. I rested my 
horse here for an hour, and then rode to the tea- 
tree. The party, however, were not there, and I 
waited in expectation of their arrival. In about an 
hour Mr. Tietkens came and informed me that on 
his return to the camp the other day he had found 
a nice little water, six miles from here, and where 
the party was, and to which we now rode together. 
At this agreeable little spot were the three essen- 
tials for an explorer's camp — that is to say, wood, 
water, and grass. From there we went to my clay 
pans, and the next day to my lonely camp of dreams. 
This, the 30th August, was an auspicious day in 
our travels, it being no less than Mr. Tietkens s nine- 
and-twentieth birthday. We celebrated it with 
what honours the expedition stores would afford, 
obtaining a flat bottle of spirits from the medical 
department, with which we drank to his health and 
many happier returns of the day. In honour of the 
occasion I called this Tietkens s Birthday Creek, and 
hereby proclaim it unto the nations that such should 
be its name for ever. The camp was not moved, 
but Mr. Tietkens and I rode over to the high moun- 
tain to-day, taking with us all the apparatus neces- 


sary for so great an ascent — that is to say, ther- 
mometer, barometer, compass, field glasses, quart 
pot, water-bag, and matches. In about four miles 
we reached its foot, and found its sides so bare and 
steep that I took off my boots for the ascent. It 
was formed for the most part like a stupendous 
turtle back, of a conglomerate granite, with no signs 
of water, or any places that would retain it for a 
moment, round or near its base. Upon reaching 
its summit, the view was most extensive in every 
direction except the west, and though the horizon 
was bounded in all directions by ranges, yet scrubs 
filled the entire spaces between. To the north lay 
a long and very distant range, which I thought 
might be the Gills Range of my last expedition, 
though it would certainly be a stretch either of 
imagination or vision, for that range was nearly 
140 miles away. 

To the north-westward was a flat-topped hill, 
rising like a table from an ocean of scrub ; it was 
very much higher than such hills usually are. This 
was Mount Conner. To the south, and at a con- 
siderable distance away, lay another range of some 
length, apparently also of considerable altitude. I 
called this the Everard Range. The horizon west- 
ward was bounded by a continuous mass of hills 
or mountains, from the centre of which Birthday 
Creek seemed to issue. Many of the mounts 
westward appeared of considerable elevation. The 
natives were burning the scrubs west and north- 
west. On the bare rocks of this mountain we saw 
several white, bleached snail-shells. I was grieved 
to find that my barometer had met with an accident 
in our climb ; however, by testing the boiling point 
of water I obtained the altitude. 


Water boiled at 206° giving an elevation of 
3085 feet above the level of the sea, it being about 
1200 feet above the surrounding country. The 
view of Birthday Creek winding along in little 
bends through the scrubs from its parent mountains, 
was most pleasing. Down below us were some 
very pretty little scenes. One was a small sandy 
channel, like a plough furrow, with a few eucalyptus 
trees upon it, running from a ravine near the foot of 
this mount, which passed at about a mile through 
two red mounds of rock, only just wide enough 
apart to admit of its passage. A few cypress pines 
were growing close to the little gorge. On any 
other part of the earth's surface, if, indeed, such 
another place could be found, water must certainly 
exist also, but here there was none. We had a 
perfect bird's-eye view of the spot. We could only 
hope, for beauty and natural harmony's sake, that 
water must exist, at least below the surface, if not 
above. Haviiig completed our survey, we descended 
barefooted as before. 

On reaching the camp, Gibson and Jimmy had 
shot some parrots and other birds, which must have 
flown down the barrels of their guns, otherwise they 
never could have hit them, and we had an excellent 
supper of parrot soup. Just here we have only 
seen parrots, magpies, and a few pigeons, though 
plenty of kangaroo, wallaby, and emu ; but have 
not succeeded in bagging any of the latter game, 
as they are exceedingly shy and difficult to approach, 
from being so continually hunted by the natives. 
I named this very singular feature Mount Carnarvon, 
or The Sentinel, as soon I found 

" The mountain there did stand 
T sentinel enchanted land." 


The night was cold ; mercury down to 26^. What 
little dew fell became frosted ; there was not 
sufficient to call it frozen. I found my position 
here to be in latitude 26° 3', longitude 132° 29'. 

In the night of the ist September, heavy 
clouds were flying fastly over us, and a few drops 
of rain fell at intervals. About ten o'clock p.m. 
I observed a lunar rainbow in the northern 
horizon ; its diameter was only about fifteen degrees. 
There were no prismatic colours visible about it. 
To-day was clear, fine, but rather windy. We 
travelled up the creek, skirting its banks, but cutting 
off the bends. We had low ridges on our right. 
The creek came for some distance from the south- 
west, then more southerly, then at ten miles, more 
directly from the hills to the west. The country 
along its banks was excellent, and the scenery most 
beautiful — pine-clad, red, and rocky hills being 
scattered about in various directions, while further 
to the west and south-west the high, bold, and 
very rugged chain rose into peaks and points. We 
only travelled sixteen miles, and encamped close to 
a pretty little pine-clad hill, on the north bank of the 
creek, where some rocks traversed the bed, and we 
easily obtained a good supply of water. The grass 
and herbage being magnificent, the horses were in 
a fine way to enjoy themselves. 

This spot is one of the most charming that even 
imagination could paint. In the background were 
the high and pointed peaks of the main chain, from 
which sloped a delightful green valley ; through this 
the creek meandered, here and there winding 
round the foot of little pine-clad hills of unvarying 
red colour, whilst the earth from which they sprung 


was covered with a carpet of verdure and vegetation 
of almost every imaginable hue. It was happiness 
to lie at ease upon such a carpet and gaze upon 
such a scene, and it was happiness the more ecstatic 
to know that I was the first of a civilised race of 
men who had ever beheld it. My visions of a 
former night really seemed to be prophetic. The 
trend of the creek, and the valley down which it 
came, was about 25° south of west. We soon found 
it became contracted by impinging hills. At ten 
miles from camp we found a pool of water in the 
bed. In about a couple of miles farther, to my 
surprise I found we had reached its head and its 
source, which was the drainage of a big hill. There 
was no more water and no rock-holes, neither was 
there any gorge. Some triodia grew on the hills, 
but none on the lower ground. The valley now 
changed into a charming amphitheatre. We had 
thus traced our Birthday Creek, to its own birth- 
place. It has a short course, but a merry one, and 
had ended for us at its proper beginning. As there 
appeared to be no water in the amphitheatre, we 
returned to the pool we had seen in the creek. 
Several small branch creeks running through pretty 
little valleys joined our creek to-day. We were 
now near some of the higher cones of the main 
chain, and could see that they were all entirely 
timberless. and that triodia grew upon their sides. 
The spot we were now encamped upon was another 
scene of exquisite sylvan beauty. We had now 
been a month in the field, as to-morrow was the 
4th of September, and I could certainly congratu- 
late myself upon the result of my first month's 


The night was cold and windy, dense nimbus 
clouds hovered just above the mountain peaks, and 
threatened a heavy downpour of rain, but the 
driving gale scattered them into the gelid regions of 
space, and after sunrise we had a perfectly clear 
sky. I intended this morning to push through what 
seemed now, as it had always seemed from the first 
moment I saw this range, a main gap through the 
chain. Going north round a pointed hill, we were 
soon in the trend of the pass ; in five miles we 
reached the banks of a new creek, running westerly 
into another, or else into a large eucalyptus flat or 
swamp, which had no apparent outlet This heavy 
timber could be seen for two or three miles. 
Advancing still further, I soon discovered that we 
were upon the reedy banks of a fast flowing stream, 
whose murmuring waters, ever rushing idly and un- 
heeded on, were now for the first time disclosed to 
the delighted eyes of their discoverer. 

Here I had found a spot where Nature truly had 

" Shed o*er the scene her purest of crystal, her brightest of green." 

This was really a delightful discovery. Everything 
was of the best kind here — timber, water, grass, and 
mountains. In all my wanderings, over thousands 
of miles in Australia, I never saw a more delightful 
and fanciful region than this, and one indeed where a 
white man might live and be happy. My dreams 
of a former night were of a verity realised. 

Geographically speaking, we had suddenly come 
almost upon the extreme head of a .large water-' 
course. Its trend here was nearly south, and I 
found it now ran through a long glen in that 


We saw several fine pools and ponds, where the 
reeds opened in the channel, and we flushed up and 
shot several lots of ducks. This creek and glen I 
have named respectively the Ferdinand and Glen 
Ferdinand, after the Christian name of Baron von 
Mueller.* The glen extended * nearly five miles, 
and where it ended, the water ceased to show upon 
the surface. At the end of the glen we encamped, 
and I do not remember any day s work during my 
life which gave me more pleasure than this, for I 
trust it will be believed that — 

** The proud desire of sowing broad the germs of lasting worth 
Shall challenge give to scornful laugh of careless sons of earth ; 
Though mirth deride, the pilgrim feet that tread the desert plain, 
The thought that cheers me onward is, I have not lived in 


After our dinner Mr. Tietkens and I ascended the 
highest mountain in the neighbourhood — several 
others not far away were higher, but this was the 
most convenient. Water boiled at its summit at 
204°, which gives an altitude above sea level bf 
41 3 1 feet, it being about 1500 feet above the 
surrounding country. I called this Mount Ferdi- 
nand, and another higher point nearly west of it 
I called Mount James- Winter.* The view all 
round from west to north was shut out. To the 
south and south-east other ranges existed. The 
timber of the Ferdinand could be traced for many 
miles in a southerly direction ; it finally became lost 
in the distance in a timbered if not a scrubby 
country. This mountain was highly magnetic. I 

* The names having a star against them in this book denote 
contributors to the fund raised by Baron Mueller* for this 
expedition. — E. G. 


am surprised at seeing so few signs of natives in this 
region. We returned to the camp and sowed seeds 
of many cereals, fodder plants, and vegetables. A 
great quantity of tea-tree grew in this glen. The 
water was pure and fresh. 

Two or three miles farther down, the creek 
passed between two hills ; the configuration of the 
mountains now compelled me to take a south- 
westerly valley for my road. In a few miles another 
fine creek-channel came out of the range to the 
north of us, near the foot of Mount James-Winter ; 
it soon joined a larger one, up which was plenty of 
running water ; this I called the Reid.* We were 
now traversing another very pretty valljey running 
nearly west, with fine cotton and salt-bush flats, 
while picturesque cypress pines covered the hills 
on both sides of us. Under some hills which 
obstructed our course was another creek, where we 
encamped, the grass and herbage being most excel- 
lent; and this also was a very pretty place. Our 
latitude here was 26° 24'. 

Gibson went away on horseback this morning to 
find the others, but came back on foot to say he had 
lost the one he started with. We eventually got 
them all, and proceeded down the creek south, then 
through a little gap west, on to the banks of a fine 
large creek with excellent timber on it. The natives 
were burning the grass up the channel north- 
westerly. Mr. Tietkens and I rode up in advance 
to reconnoitre; we went nearly three miles, when 
we came to running water. At the same time we 
evidently disturbed a considerable number of 
natives, who raised a most frightful outcry at our 
sudden and unexpected advent amongst them. Those 


nearest to us walked slowly into the reeds, rushes, 
tea-trees, and high salt bushes, but deliberately 
watching our every movement. While watering our 
horses a great many from the outskirts ran at us, 
poising and quivering their spears, some of which 
were over ten feet long ; of these, every individual 
had an extraordinary number. When they saw us 
sitting quietly, but not comfortably, on our horses, 
which became very frightened and impatient, they 
renewed their horrible yells and gesticulations, some 
waving us away, others climbing trees, and directing 
their spears at us from the branches. Another lot 
on the opposite side of the creek now came rushing 
up with spears advanced and ensigns spread, and 
with their yells and cries encouraged those near to 
spear us. They seemed, however, to have some 
doubts of the nature or vulnerability of our horses. 
At the head of our new assailants was one sophisti- 
cated enough to be able to call out, ** Walk, white 
fellow, walk ;" but as we still remained immobile, he 
induced some others to join in making a rush at 
us, and they hurled their jagged spears at us before 
we could get out of the way. It was fortunate 
indeed that we were at the extreme distance that 
these weapons can be projected, for they struck the 
ground right amongst our horses' hoofs, making 
them more restive than ever. 

I now let our assailants see we were not quite so 
helpless as they might have supposed. I unslipped 
my rifle, and the bullet, going so suddenly between 
two of these worthies and smashing some boughs 
just behind them, produced silence amongst the 
whole congregation, at least for a moment. All 
this time we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of 


Gibson and Jimmy, as my instructions were that if 
we did not return in a given time, they were to 
follow after us. But these valiant retainers, who 
admitted they heard the firing, preferred to remain 
out of harm s way, leaving us to kill or be killed, as 
the fortunes of war might determine ; and we at 
length had to retreat from our sable enemies, and 
go and find our white friends. We got the mob of 
horses up, but the yelling of these fiends in human 
form, the clouds of smoke from the burning grass 
and bushes, and the many disagreeable odours inci- 
dent to a large native village, and the yapping and 
howling of a lot of starving dogs, all combined to 
make us and our horses exceedingly restless. They 
seemed somewhat overawed by the number of the 
horses, and though they crowded round from all 
directions, for there were more than 200 of them, 
the women and children being sent away over the 
hills at our first approach, they did not then throw 
any more spears. I selected as open a piece of 
ground as I could get for the camp, which, however, 
was very small, back from the water, and nearly 
under the foot of a hill. When they saw us dis- 
mount, for I believe they had previously believed 
ourselves and our horses to form one animal, and 
begin to unload the horses, they proceeded properly 
to work themselves up for a regular onslaught. So 
long as the horses remained close, they seemed dis- 
inclined to attack, but when they were hobbled and 
went away, the enemy made a grand sortie, rushing 
down the hill at the back of the camp where they 
had congregated, towards us in a body with spears 
fitted in pose and yelling their war cries. 

Our lives were in imminent danger ; we had out 

VOL. I. N 


all the firearms we could muster ; these amounted 
to two rifles, two shot guns, and five revolvers. I 
watched with great keenness the motion of their 
arms that gives the propulsion to their spears, and 
the instant I observed that, I ordered a discharge of 
the two rifles and one gun, as it was no use waiting 
to be speared first. I delayed almost a second too 
long, for at the instant I gave the word several 
spears had left the enemy's hands, and it was with 
great good fortune we avoided them. Our shots, as 
I had ordered, cut up the ground at their feet, and 
sent the sand and gravel into their eyes and faces ; 
this and the noise of the discharge made the great 
body of them pause. Availing ourselves of this 
interval, we ran to attack them, firing our revolvers 
in quick succession as we ran. This, with the noise 
and the to them extraordinary phenomenon of a 
projectile approaching them which they could not 
see, drove them up into the hills from which they 
had approached us, and they were quiet for nearly 
an, hour, except for their unceasing howls and yells, 
during which time we made an attempt at getting 
some dinner. That meal, however, was not com- 
pleted when we saw them stealing down on us 
again. Again they came more than a hundred 
strong, with heads held back, and arms at fullest 
tension to give their spears the greatest projective 
force, when, just as they came within spear shot, 
for we knew the exact distance now, we gave them 
another volley, striking the sand up just before their 
feet ; again they halted, consulting one another by 
looks and signs, when the discharge of Gibson s 
gun, with two long-distance cartridges, decided 
them, and they ran back, but only to come again. 


In consequence of our not shooting any of them, 
they began to jeer and laugh at us, slapping their 
backsides at and jumping about in front of us, and 
indecently daring and deriding us. These were 
evidently some of those lewd fellows of the baser 
sort (Acts xvii. 5). 

We were at length compelled to send some rifle 
bullets into such close proximity to some of their 
limbs that at last they really did believe we were 
dangerous folk after all. Towards night their 
attentions ceased, and though they camped just on 
the opposite side of the creek, they did not trouble 
us any more. Of course we kept a pretty sharp 
watch during the night. The men of this nation 
were tall, big, and exceedingly hirsute, and in excel- 
lent bodily condition. They reminded me of, as no 
doubt they are, the prototypes of the account given 
by the natives of the Charlotte Waters telegraph 
station, on my first expedition, who declared that 
out to the west were tribes of wild blacks who were 
cannibals, who were covered with hair, and had long 
manes hanging down their backs. 

None of these men, who perhaps were only the 
warriors of the tribe, were either old or grey-haired, 
and although their features in general were not 
handsome, some of the younger ones' faces were 
prepossessing. Some of them wore the chignon, 
and others long curls ; the youngest ones who wore 
curls looked at a distance like women. A number 
were painted with red ochre, and some were in 
full war costume, with feathered crowns and head 
dresses, armlets and anklets of feathers, and having 
alternate stripes of red and white upon the upper 
portions of their bodies ; the majority of course 

N 2 


were in undress uniform. I knew as soon as I 
arrived in this region that it must be well if not 
densely populated, for it is next to impossible in 
Australia for an explorer to discover excellent and 
well-watered regions without coming into deadly 
conflict with the aboriginal inhabitants. The abori- 
gines are always the aggressors, but then the white 
man is a trespasser in the first instance, which is 
a cause sufficient for any atrocity to be com- 
mitted upon him. I named this encounter creek 
The Officer.* There was a high mount to the 
north-east from here, which lay nearly west from 
Mount James-Winter, which I called Mount Officer.* 
Though there was a sound of revelry or devilry 
by night in the enemy's camp, ours was not passed 
in music, and we could not therefore listen to the 
low harmonics that undertone sweet music's roll. 
Gibson got one of the horses which was in sight, to 
go and find the others, while Mr. Tietkens took 
Jimmy with him to the top of a hill in order to take 
some bearings for me, while I remained at the 
camp. No sooner did the natives see me alone 
than they recommenced their malpractices. I had 
my arsenal in pretty good fighting order, and deter- 
mined, if they persisted in attacking me, to let some 
of them know the consequences. I was afraid that 
some might spear me from behind while others 
engaged me in front. I therefore had to be doubly 
on the alert. A mob of them came, and I fired in 
the air, then on the ground, at one side of them 
and then at the other. At last they fell back, and 
when the others and the horses appeared, though 
they kept close round us, watching every move- 
ment, yelling perpetually, they desisted from further 


attack. I was very gratified to think afterwards 
that no blood had been shed, and that we had got 
rid of our enemies with only the loss of a little 
ammunition. Although this was Sunday, I did not 
feel quite so safe as if I were in a church or chapel, 
and I determined not to remain. The horses were 
frightened at the incessant and discordant yells and 
shrieks of these fiends, and our ears also were per- 
fectly deafened with their outcries. 

We departed, leaving the aboriginal owners of 

this splendid piece of land in the peaceful possession 
of their beautiful hunting grounds, and travelled 
west through a small gap into a fine valley. The 
main range continued stretching away north of us 
in high and heavy masses of hills, and with a fine 
open country to the south. At ten miles we came 
to another fine creek, where I found water running ; 
this I called the Currie.* It was late when, in six 
miles further, we reached another creek, where we 
got water and a delightful camp. I called this the 
Levinger.* The country to-day was excellent, 
being fine open, grassy valleys all the way ; all 
along our route in this range we saw great 
quantities of white snail-shells, in heaps, at old 
native encampments, and generally close to their 
fireplaces. In crevices and under rocks we found 
plenty of the living snails, large and brown ; it was 
evident the natives cook and eat them, the shells 
turning white in the fire, also by exposure to the 
sun. On starting again we travelled about west- 
north-west, and we passed through a piece of 
timbered country ; at twelve miles we arrived at 
another fine watercourse. The horses were almost 
unmanageable with flashness,. running about with 


their mouths full of the rich herbage, kicking up 
their heels and biting at one another, in a perfect 
state of horse-play. It was almost laughable to 
see them, with such heavy packs on their backs, 
attempting such elephantine gambols ; so I kept 
them going, to steady them a bit. The creek here 
I called Winter * Water. At five miles farther we 
passed a very high mountain in the range, which 
appeared the highest I had seen; I named it 
Mount Davenport. We next passed through a 
small gap, over a low hill, and immediately on our 
appearance we heard the yells and outcries of 
natives down on a small flat below. All we saw, 
however, was a small, and I hope happy, family, 
consisting of two men, one woman, and another 
youthful individual, but whether male or female I 
was not sufficiently near to determine. When they 
saw us descend from the little hill, they very quickly 
walked away, like respectable people. Continuing 
our course in nearly the same direction, west-north- 
west, and passing two little creeks, I climbed a 
small hill and saw a most beautiful valley about a 
mile away, stretching north-west, with eucalyptus 
or gum timber up at the head of it. The valley 
appeared entirely enclosed by hills, and was a 
most enticing sight. Travelling on through 200 
or 300 yards of mulga, we came out on the open 
ground, which was really a sight that would delight 
the eyes of a traveller, even in the Province of 
Cashmere or any other region of the earth. The 
ground was covered with a rich carpet of grass and 
herbage; conspicuous amongst the latter was an 
abundance of the little purple vetch, which, spreading 
over thousands of acres of ground, gave a lovely 


pink or magenta tinge to the whole scene. I also 
saw that there was another valley running nearly 
north, with another creek meandering through it, 
apparently joining the pne first seen. 

Passing across this fairy space, I noticed the 
whitish appearances that usually accompany springs 
and Hood-marks in this region. We soon reached 
a most splendid kind of stone trough, under a little 
stony bank, which formed an excellent spring, 
running into and filling the little trough, running 
out at the lower end, disappearing below the 
surface, evidently perfectly satisfied with the duties 
it had to perform. 

This was really the most delightful spot I ever 
saw ; a region like a garden, with springs of the 
purest water spouting out of the ground, ever 
flowing into a charming little basin a hundred 
yards long by twenty feet wide and four feet deep. 
There was a quantity of the tea-tree bush growing 
along the various channels, which all contained 
running water. 

The valley is surrounded by picturesque hills, 
and I am certain it is the most charming and 
romantic spot I ever shall behold. I immediately 
christened it the Fairies' Glen, for it had all the 
characteristics to my mind of fairyland. Here we 
encamped. I would not have missed finding such 
a spot, upon — I will not say what consideration. 
Here also of course we saw numbers of both ancient 
and modern native huts, and this is no doubt an 
old-established and favourite camping ground. 
And how could it be otherwise ? No creatures of 
the human race could view these scenes with 
apathy or dislike, nor would any sentient beings 


part with such a patrimony at any price but that 
of their blood. But the great Designer of the 
universe, in the long past periods of creation, per- 
mitted a fiat to be recorded, that the beings whom 
it was His pleasure in the first instance to place 
amidst these lovely scenes, must eventually be 
swept from the face of the earth by others more 
intellectual, more dearly beloved and gifted than 
they. Progressive improvement is undoubtedly the 
order of creation, and we perhaps in our turn may 
be as ruthlessly driven from the earth by another 
race of yet unknown beings, of an order infinitely 
higher, infinitely more beloved, than we. On me, 
perchance, the eternal obloquy of the execution of 
God's doom may rest, for being the first to lead the 
way, with prying eye and trespassing foot, into 
regions so fair and so remote ; but being guiltless 
alike in act or intention to shed the blood of any 
human creature, I must accept it without a sigh. 

The night here was cold, the mercury at daylight 
being down to 24°, and there was ice on the water 
or tea left in the pannikins or billies overnight. 

This place was so charming that I could not tear 
myself away. Mr. Tietkens and I walked to and 
climbed up a high mount, about three miles north- 
easterly from camp ; it was of some elevation. We 
ascended by a gorge having eucalyptus and 
callitris pines halfway up. We found water running 
from one little basin to another, and high up, near 
the summit, was a bare rock over which water was 
gushing. To us, as we climbed towards it, it ap- 
peared like a monstrous diamond hung in mid-air, 
flashing back the rays of the morning sun. I called 
this Mount Oberon, after Shakespeare's King of 


the Fairies. The view from its summit was limited. 
To the west the hills of this chain still run on ; to 
the east I could see Mount Ferdinand. The 
valley in which the camp and water was situate 
lay in all its loveliness at our feet, and the little 
natural trough in its centre, now reduced in size by 
distance, looked like a silver thread, or, indeed, it 
appeared more as though Titania, the Queen of the 
Fairies, had for a moment laid her magic silver 
wand upon the grass, and was reposing in the sun- 
light among the herbage and the flowers. The 
day was lovely, the sky serene and clear, and a 
gentle zephyr-like breeze merely agitated the at- 
mosphere. As we sat gazing over this delightful 
scene, and having found also so many lovely spots 
in this chain of mountains, I was tempted to believe 
I had discovered regions which might eventually 
support, not only flocks and herds, but which would 
become the centres of population also, each 
individual amongst whom would envy me as* being 
the first discoverer of the scenes it so delighted 
them to view. For here were — 

" Long dreamy lawns, and birds on happy wings 
Keeping their homes in never-rifled bowers ; 
Cool fountains filling with their murmurings 
The sunny silence 'twixt the charming hours." 

In the afternoon we returned to the camp, and 
again and again wondered at the singular manner 
in which the water existed here. Five hundred 
yards above or below there is no sign of water, but 
in that intermediate space a stream gushes out of 
the ground, fills a splendid little trough, and gushes 
into the ground again : emblematic indeed of the 
ephemeral existence of humanity — we rise out of the 


dust, flash for a brief moment in the light of life, 
and in another we are gone. We planted seeds 
here ; I called it Titania's Spring, the watercourse 
in which it exists I called Moffatt s* Creek. 

The night was totally different from the former, 
the mercury not falling below 66°. The horses 
upon being brought up to the camp this morning on 
foot, displayed such abominable liveliness and 
flashness, that there was no catching them. One 
colt, Blackie, who was the leader of the riot, I 
just managed at length to catch, and then we had to 
drive the others several times round the camp at a 
gallop, before their exuberance had in a measure 
subsided. It seemed, indeed, as if the fairies had 
been bewitching them during the night. It was 
late when we left the lovely spot. A pretty valley 
running north-west, with a creek in it, was our next 
road ; our track wound about through the most 
splendidly grassed valleys, mostly having a trend 
westerly. At twelve miles we saw the gum timber 
of a watercourse, apparently debouching through a 
glen. Of course there was water, and a channel 
filled with reeds, down which the current ran in 
never-failing streams. This spot was another of 
those charming gems which exist in such numbers in 
this chain. This was another of those '* secret nooks 
in a pleasant land, by the frolic fairies planned." 
I called the place Glen Watson.* From a hill 
near I discovered that this chain had now become 
broken, and though it continues to run on still 
farther west, it seemed as though it would shortly 
end. The Mount Olga of my former expedition 
was now in view, and bore north 17° west, a con- 
siderable distance away. I was most anxious to 


visit it. On my former journey I had made many 
endeavours to reach it, but was prevented ; now, 
however, I hoped no obstacle would occur, and I 
shall travel towards it to-morrow. There was more 
than a mile of running water here, the horses were 
up to their eyes in the most luxuriant vegetation, 
and our encampment was again in a most romantic 
spot. Ah! why should regions so lovely be 
traversed so soon ? This chain of mountains i^ 
called the Musgrave Range. A heavy dew fell last 
night, produced, I imagine, by the moisture in the 
glen, and not by extraneous atmospheric causes, as 
we have had none for some nights previously. 




Leave for Mount Olga — Change of scene — Desert oak-trees — ^The 
Mann range — Eraser's Wells — Mount Olga's foot — Gosse's 
expedition — Marvellous mountain — Running water — Black 
and gold butterflies — Rocky bath — Ayers' Rock — Appear- 
ance of Mount Olga — Irritans camp — Sugar-loaf Hill — 
Collect plants — Peaches — A patch of better country — ^A new 
creek and glen — Heat and cold — A pellucid pond — Zoe's 
Glen — Christy Bagot's Creek — Stewed ducks — A lake — 
Hector's Springs and Pass — Lake Wilson — Stevenson's Creek 
— Milk thistles — Beautiful amphitheatre — ^A carpet of verdure 
— Green swamp— Smell of camels — How I found Livingstone 
— Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit — Cotton and salt bush flats — 
The Champ de Mars — Sheets of water — Peculiar tree — 
Pleasing scene — Harriet's Springs — Water in grass — Ants 
and burrs — Mount Aloysius — Across the border — The Bell 

We left this pretty glen with its purling stream 
and reedy bed, and entered very shortly upon an 
entirely different country, covered with porcupine 
grass. We went north-west to some ridges at 
seventeen miles, where there was excellent vegeta- 
tion, but no water. I noticed to-day for the first 
time upon this expedition some of the desert 
oak trees (Casuarina Decaisneana). Nine miles 
farther we reached a round hill, from which Mount 
Olga bore north. We were still a considerable 
distance away, and as I did not know of any water 
existing at Mount Olga, I was anxious to find some, 


for the horses had none where we encamped last 
night. From this hill I could also see that the 
Musgrave chain still ran on to the west ; though 
broken and parted in masses, it rose again into high 
mounts and points. This continuation is called the 
Mann Range. Near the foot of the round hill I saw 
a small flat piece of rock, barely perceptible among 
the grass ; on it was an old native fireplace and a 
few dead sticks. On inspection there proved to be 
two fine little holes or basins in the solid rock, with 
ample water for all my horses. Scrub and triodia 
existed in the neighbourhood, and the feed was very 
poor. These were called Fraser s Wells. Mount 
Olga was still fifty miles away. We now pushed on 
for it over some stony and some scrubby country, 
and had to camp without water and with wretched 
feed for the horses. Casuarina trees were often 
passed. We generally managed to get away early 
from a bad camp, and by the middle of the next 
day we arrived at the foot of Mount Olga. Here I 
perceived the marks of a wagon and horses, and 
camel tracks ; these I knew at once to be those of 
Gosse's expedition. Gosse had come down south 
through the regions, and to the watering places 
which I discovered in my former journey. He had 
evidently gone south to the Mann range, and I 
expected soon to overtake him. I had now 
travelled four hundred miles to reach this mount, 
which, when I first saw it, was only seventy-five or 
eighty miles distant 

The appearance of this mountain is marvellous 
in the extreme, and baffles an accurate description. 
I shall refer to it again, and may remark here that 
it is formed of several vast and solid, huge, and 


rounded blocks of bare red conglomerate stones, 
being composed of untold masses of rounded stones 
of all kinds and sizes, mixed like plums in a pudding, 
and set in vast and rounded shapes upon the 
ground. Water was running from the base, down a 
stony channel, filling several rocky basins. The 
water disappeared in the sandy bed of the creek, 
where the solid rock ended. We saw several 
quandongs, or native peach-trees, and some native 
poplars on our march to-day. I made an attempt 
to climb a portion of this singular mound, but 
the sides were too perpendicular ; I could only 
get up about 800 or 900 feet, on the front or 
lesser mound ; but without kites and ropes, or pro- 
jectiles, or wings, or balloons, the main summit 
is unscaleable. The quandong fruit here was 
splendid — we dried a quantity in the sun. Some 
very beautiful black and gold butterflies, with very 
large wings, were seen here and collected. The 
thermometer to-day was 95° in the shade. We 
enjoyed a most luxurious bath in the rocky basins. 
We moved the camp to softer ground, where there 
was a well-grassed flat a mile and a half away. To 
the east was a high and solitary mound, mentioned 
in my first journal as ranges to the east of Mount 
Olga, and apparently lying north and south ; this is 
called Ayers* Rock ; I shall have to speak of it 
farther on. To the west-south-west were some 
pointed ridges, with the long extent of the Mann 
Ranges lying east and west, far beyond them to the 

The appearance of Mount Olga from this camp 
is truly wonderful ; it displayed to our astonished 
eyes rounded minarets, giant cupolas, and monstrous 


domes. There they have stood as huge memorials 
of the ancient times of earth, for ages, countless 
eons of ages, since its creation first had birth. The 
rocks are smoothed with the attrition of the alchemy 
of years. Time, the old, the dim magician, has 
ineffectually laboured here, although with all the 
powers of ocean at his command ; Mount Olga has 
remained as it was born ; doubtless by the agency 
of submarine commotion of former days, beyond 
even the epoch of far-back history's phantom 
dream. From this encampment I can only liken 
Mount Olga to several enormous rotund or rather 
elliptical shapes of rouge mange, which had been 
placed beside one another by some extraordinary 
freak or convulsion of Nature. I found two other 
running brooks, one on the west and one on the 
north side. My first encampment was on the 
south. The position of this extraordinary feature is 
in latitude 25° 20' and longitude 130° 57'. 

Leaving the mountain, we next traversed a region 
of sandy soil, rising into sandhills, with patches of 
level ground between. There were casuarinas 
and triodia in profusion — two different kinds of 
vegetation which appear to thoroughly enjoy one 
another's company. We went to the hills south- 
south-westerly, and had a waterless camp in the 
porcupine, triodia, spinifex, Festuca irritans, and 
everything-else-abominable, grass ;f 95° in shade. 
At about thirty-two miles from Mount Olga we 
came to the foot of the hills, and I found a small 
supply of water by digging ; but at daylight next 
morning there was not sufficient for half the horses, 
so I rode away to look for more ; this I found 
in a channel coming from a sugar-loaf or high- 


peaked hill. It was a terribly rough and rocky 
place, and it was too late to get the animals up to 
the ledges where the water was, and they had to 
wait till next day. 

From here I decided to steer for a notch in the 
Mann Range, nearly south-west. The country con- 
sisted chiefly of sandhills, with casuarina and flats 
with triodia. We could get no water by night. 
I collected a great quantity of various plants and 
flowers along all the way I had come in fact, but 
just about Mount Olga I fancied I had discovered 
several new species. To-day we passed through some 
mallee, and gathered quandongs or native peach, 
which, with sugar, makes excellent jam ; we also 
saw currajongs and native poplars. We now turned 
to some ridges a few miles nearer than the main 
range, and dug a tank, for the horses badly wanted 
water. A very small quantity drained in, and the 
animals had to go a second night un watered. It 
was now the 22 nd of September, and I had hoped 
to have some rain at the equinox, but none had yet 
fallen. The last two days have been very warm 
and oppressive. The country round these ridges 
was very good, and plenty of the little purple vetch 
grew here. The tank in the morning was quite 
full ; it however watered only seventeen horses, but 
by twelve o'clock all were satisfied, and we left the 
tank for the benefit of those whom it might concern. 
We were steering for an enticing-looking glen 
between two high hills about south-south-west. 
We passed over sandhills, through scrubs, and 
eventually on to open ground. At two or three 
miles from the new range we crossed a kind of dry 
swamp or water flat, being the end of a gum creek. 


A creek was seen to issue from the glen as we 
approached, and at twelve miles from our last camp 
we came upon running water in the three channels 
which existed. The day was warm, 94°. The 
water was slightly brackish. Heat and cold are 
evidently relative perceptions, for this morning, 


although the thermometer stood at 58°, I felt the 
atmosphere exceedingly cold. We took a walk up 
the glen whence the creek flows, and on to some 
hills which environ it. The water was rushing 
rapidly down the glen ; we found several fine rock- 

VOL. I. o 


basins — one in particular was nine or ten feet deep, 
the pellucid element descending into it from a small 
cascade of the rocks above ; this was the largest 
sheet of water per se I had yet discovered upon 
this expedition. It formed a most picturesque and 
delightful bath, and as we plunged into its trans- 
parent depths we revelled, as it were, in an almost 
newly discovered element. I called this charming 
spot Zoe s Glen. In our wanderings up the glen 
we had found books in the running brooks, and 
sermons in stones. The latitude of this pretty little 
retreat was 25° 59'. I rode a mile or two to the 
east to inspect another creek ; its bed was larger 
than ours, and water was running down its channel. 
I called it Christy Bagot's Creek. I flushed up a 
lot of ducks, but had no gun. On my return 
Gibson and Jimmy took the guns, and walked over 
on a shooting excursion ; only three ducks were 
shot ; of these we made an excellent stew. A 
strong gale of warm wind blew from the south all 
night. Leaving Zoe's Glen, we travelled along the 
foot of the range to the south of us ; at six or seven 
miles I observed a kind of valley dividing this 
range running south, and turned down into it. It 
was at first scrubby, then opened out. At four 
miles Mr. Tietkens and I mounted a rocky rise» and 
he, being ahead, first saw and informed me that 
there was a lake below us, two or three miles away. 
I was very much gratified to see it, and we 
immediately proceeded towards it. The valley or 
pass had now become somewhat choked with low 
pine-clad stony hills, and we next came upon a 
running creek with some fine little sheets of water ; 
it meandered round the piny hills and exhausted 


itself upon the bosom of the lake. I called these 
the Hector Springs and Hector Pass after Hector 
Wilson.* On arrival at the lake I found its waters 
were slightly brackish ; there was no timber on its 
shores ; it lay close under the foot of the mountains, 
having their rocky slopes for its northern bank. 
The opposite shore was sandy ; numerous ducks 
and other water-fowl were floating on its breast. 
Several springs from the ranges ran into its 
northern shore, and on its eastern side a large creek 
ran in, though its timber did not grow all the way. 
The water was now eight or nine miles round ; it 
was of an oblong form, whose greatest length 
is east and west. When quite full this basin 
must be at least twenty miles in circumference ; 
I named this fine sheet of water Lake Wilson.* 
The position of this lake I made out to be in lon- 
gitude 129° 52'. A disagreeable warm wind blew 
all day. 

The morning was oppressive, the warm south 
wind still blowing. We left Lake Wilson, named 
after Sir Samuel, who was the largest contributor to 
this expedition fund, in its wildness, its loneliness, 
and its beauty, at the foot of its native mountains, 
and went away to some low hills south-south-west, 
where in nine miles we got some water in a channel 
I called Stevenson's* Creek. In a few miles further 
we found ourselves in a kind of glen where water 
bubbled up from the ground below. The channel 
had become filled with reeds, and great quantities of 
enormous milk or sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceous). 
Some of the horses got bogged in this ravine, which 
caused considerable delay. Eventually it brought 
us out into a most beautiful amphitheatre, into which 

o 2 


several creeks descended. This open space was 
covered with the richest carpet of verdure, and was 
a most enchanting spot. It was nearly three miles 
across; we went over to its southern side, and 
camped under the hills which fenced it there, and 
among them we obtained a supply of water. The 
grass and herbage here were magnificent The 
only opening to this beautiful oval was some distance 
to the east ; we therefore climbed over the hills to 
the south to get away, and came upon another fine 
valley nmning westward, with a continuous line of 
hills running parallel to it on the north. We made 
a meandering course, in a south-westerly direction, 
for about fifteen miles, when the hills became low 
and isolated, and gave but a poor look out for 
water. Other hills in a more continuous line bore to 
the north of west, to which we went. In three miles 
after this we came to a valley with a green swamp 
in the middle ; it was too boggy to allow horses to 
approach. A round hill in another valley was 
reached late, and here our pack-horses, being 
driven in a mob in front of us, put their noses to the 
ground and seemed to have smelt something 
unusual, which proved to be Mr. Gosses dray 
track. Our horses were smelling the scent of his 
camels from afar. The dray track was now com- 
paratively fresh, and I had motives for following it. 
It was so late we had to encamp without finding the 
water, which I was quite sure was not far from us, 
and we turned out our horses hoping they might 
discover it in the night. 

I went to sleep that night dreaming how I had 
met Mr. Gosse in this wilderness, and produced a 
parody upon * How I found Livingstone.' We 


travelled nearly thirty miles to-day upon all courses, 
the country passed over being principally very fine 
valleys, richly clothed with grass and almost every 
other kind of valuable herbage. Yesterday, the 
28th of September, was rather a warm day; I 
speak by the card, for at ten o'clock at night Herr 
Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit had not condescended to 
fall below 82°. The horses found water in the 
night, and in the morning looked sleek and full. I 
intended now, as I said before, to follow Gosse's 
dray track, for I knew he could not be very far 
in advance. 

We followed the track a mile, when it turned 
suddenly to the south-west, down a valley with a 
creek in it that lay in that direction. But as a more 
leading one ran also in a more westerly direction, I 
left the dray track almost at right angles, and 
proceeded along the more westerly line. The 
valley I now traversed became somewhat scrubby 
with mallee and triodia. In seven or eight miles we 
got into much better country, lightly timbered with 
mulga and splendidly grassed. Here also were 
some cotton and salt bush flats. To my English 
reader I may say that these shrubs, or plants, or 
bushes are the most valuable fodder plants for 
stock known in Australia ; they are varieties of the 
Atriplex family of plants, and whenever I can 
record meeting them, I do it with the greatest 
satisfaction. At twelve miles the hills to our north 
receded, and there lay stretched out before us 
a most beautiful plain, level as a billiard table 
and green as an emerald. Viewing it from the 
top of a hill, I could not help thinking what a 
glorious spot this would make for the display 


of cavalry manoeuvres. In my mental eye I could 

" The rush of squadrons sweeping, 
Like whirlwinds o*er the plain ; " 

and mentally hear 

" The shouting of the slayers. 
The screeching of the slain." 

I called this splendid circle the Champ de Mars ; 
it is, I dare say, fifteen or sixteen miles round. The 
hills on the northern side were much higher than 
those near us, and appeared more inviting for 
water; so we rode across the circle to them. In a 
kind of gully between the hills, at four and a half 
miles, I found a rock-hole full of water in a triodia 
creek ; it was seven or eight feet deep, and almost 
hidden amongst rocks and scrubs. The water 
drained into the hole from above. By the time my 
horses were all satisfied they had lowered it very 
considerably, and I did not think there would be a 
drink for them all in the morning ; but when we 
took them up next day I found the rocky basin had 
been replenished during the night. 

A valley led away from here, along the foot of 
the northern hills, almost west. At five miles we 
crossed the channel of a fine little creek, coming 
from thence ; it had several sheets of water with 
rocky banks, and there were numerous ducks on 
the waters. The timber upon this creek was 
mostly blood-wood or red gum ; the blood-wood has 
now almost entirely supplanted the other eucalypts. 
There was another tree of a very peculiar leaf 
which I have often met before, but only as a bush ; 
here it had assumed the proportions of a tree. 


This was one of the desert acacias, but which of 
them I could not tell. Farther on were several 
bare red hills, festooned with cypress pines, which 
always give a most pleasing tone to any Australian 
view. These I called Harriet s Springs. The creek 
meandered away down the valley amongst pine- 
clad hills to the south-westward, and appeared to 
increase in size below where we crossed it. 

I ascended a hill and saw that the two lines of 
hills encircling the Champ de Mars had now 
entirely separated, the space between becoming 
gradually broader. 

A pointed hill at the far end of the southern 
line bore west, and we started away for it. We 
continued on this west course for fifteen or sixteen 
miles, having the southern hills very close to our 
line of march. Having travelled some twenty miles, 
I turned up a blind gully or water-channel in a 
small triodia valley, and found some water lying 
about amongst the grass. The herbage here was 
splendid. Ants and burrs were very annoying, 
however ; we have been afflicted with both of these 
animal and vegetable annoyances upon many oc- 
casions all through these regions. There was a 
high, black-looking mountain with a conical summit, 
in the northern line of ranges, which bore north- 
westward from here. I named it Mount Aloysius, 
after the Christian name of Sir A. F. Weld, 
Governor of Western Australia. We had entered 
the territory of the Colony of Western Australia on 
the last day of September ; the boundary between 
it and South Australia being the 129th meridian 
of east longitude. The latitude by stars of this 
camp was 26° 9'. Leaving it early, we continued 


upon the same line as yesterday, and towards the 
same hill, which we reached in five miles, and 
ascended. It was nearly the most westerly point 
of the line of hills we had been following. The 
summit of this hill I found to consist of great 
masses of rifted stone, which were either solid iron 
or stone coated thickly with it. The blocks rang 
with the sound of my iron-shod boots, while moving 
over them, with such a musical intonation and bell- 
like clang, that I called this the Bell Rock. Mount 
Aloysius bore north 9° west, distant about ten 
miles ; here I saw it was quite an isolated range, 
as, at its eastern and western extremities, open 
spaces could be seen between it and any other 




Native encampment — Fires alight — Hogarth's Wells — Mount 
Marie and Mount Jeanie — Pointed ranges to the west — Chop 
a passage — ^Traces of volcanic action — Highly magnetic 
hills — The Leipoa ocellata — Tapping pits — Glen Osborne — 
Cotton-bush flats — Frowning bastion walls — Fort Mueller — ^A 
strong running stream — Natives' smokes — Gosse returning — 
Limestone formation — Native pheasants' nests — Egg-carrying 
— Mount Squires — The Mus conditor's nest — Difficulty with 
the horses — A small creek and native well — Steer for the 
west — Night work — Very desolate places — A circular storm 
— The Shoeing Camp — A bare hijl — ^The Cups — Fresh- 
looking creek — Brine and bitter water — The desert pea — 
Jimmy and the natives — Natives prowling at night — Search- 
ing for water — Horses suffering from thirst — Horseflesh — 
The Cob — The camp on fire — Men and horses choking for 
water — Abandon the place — Displeasing view — Native signs 
— Another cup — Thermometer 106° — Return to the Cob — 
Old dry well— A junction from the east — Green rushes — 
— Another waterless camp — Return to the Shoeing Camp — 
Intense cold — Biting dogs* noses — A nasal organ— Boiling 
an tgg — Tietkens and Gibson return unsuccessful — Another 
attempt west — Country burnt by natives. 

We had now been travelling along the northern 
foot of the more southerly of the two lines of hills 
which separated, at the west end of the Champ de 
Mars ; and on reaching the Bell Rock, this southern 
line ceased, while the northern one still ran on, 
though at diminished elevation, and we now 


travelled towards two hills standing together about 
west-north-west. On reaching them, in thirteen 
miles, I found a native encampment; there were 
several old and new bough gunyahs, and the fires 
were alight at the doors ? of many of them. We 
could not see the people because they hid them- 
selves, but I knew quite well they were watching 
us close by. There was a large bare slab of rock, 
in which existed two fine cisterns several feet in 
depth, one much longer than the other, the small 
one containing quite a sufficient supply for all my 
horses. I called these Hogarth's Wells, and the 
two hills Mount Marie and Mount Jeanie. I was 
compelled to leave one of these receptacles empty, 
which for ages the simple inhabitants of these 
regions had probably never seen dry before. Some 
hills lay south-westerly, and we reached them in 
nine miles ; they were waterless. Southward the 
country appeared all scrub. The western horizon 
was broken by ranges with some high points 
amongst them ; they were a long way off. To the 
west-north-west some bald ranges also ran on. I 
made across to them, steering for a fall or broken 
gap to the north-north-west. This was a kind of 
glen, and I found a watercourse in it, with a great 
quantity of tea-tree, which completely choked up 
the passage with good-sized trees, whose limbs and 
branches were so interwoven that they prevented 
any animal larger than a man from approaching the 
water, bubbling along at their feet. We had to 
chop a passage to it for our horses. The hills were 
quite destitute of timber, and were composed of 
huge masses pf rifted granite, which could only 
have been so riven by seisriiatic action, which at 


one time must have been exceedingly frequent in 
this region. 

I may mention that, from the western half of the 
Musgrave Range, all the Mann, the Tomkinson, 
and other ranges westward have been shivered into 
fragments by volcanic force. Most of the higher 
points of all the former and latter consist of frown- 
ing masses of black-looking or intensely red iron- 
stone, or granite thickly coated with iron. Triodia 
grows as far up the sides of the hills as it is possible 
to obtain any soil ; but even this infernal grass 
cannot exist on solid rock ; therefore all the summits 
of these hills are bare. These shivered masses of 
stone have large interstices amongst them, which 
are the homes, dens, or resorts of swarms of a 
peculiar marsupial known as the rock wallaby, which 
come down on to the lower grounds at night to feed. 
If they expose themselves in the day, they are the 
prey of aborigines and eagles, if at night, they 
fall victims to wild dogs or dingos. The rocks 
frequently change their contours from earthquake 
shocks, and great numbers of these creatures are 
crushed and smashed by the trembling rocks, so 
that these unfortunate creatures, beset by so many 
dangers, exist always in a chronic state of fear and 
anxiety, and almost perpetual motion. These hills 
also have the metallic clang of the Bell Rock, and 
are highly magnetic. In the scrubs to-day Gibson 
found a lowan's or scrub pheasant's nest. These 
birds inhabit the most waterless regions and the 
densest scrubs, and live entirely without water. 

This bird is figured in Gould's work on Australian 
ornithology ; it is called the Leipoa ocellata. Two 
specimens of these birds are preserved in the 


Natural History Department of the British Museum 
at Kensington. We obtained six fresh eggs from 
it. I found another, and got five more. We saw 
several native huts in the scrubs, some of them of 
large dimensions, having limbs of the largest trees 
they could get to build them with. When living 
here, the natives probably obtain water from roots 
of the mulga. This must be the case, for we often 
see small circular pits dug at the foot of some of 
these trees, which, however, generally die after the 
operation of tapping. I called the spot Glen 
Osborne ; * we rested here a day. We always have 
a great deal of sewing and repairing of the canvas 
pack-bags to do, and a day of rest usually means a 
good day's work ; it rests the horses, however, and 
that is the main thing. Saturday night, the 4th 
October, was a delightfully cool one, and on Sunday 
we started for some hills in a south-westerly direc- 
tion, passing some low ridges. We reached the 
higher ones in twenty-two miles. Nearing them, we 
passed over some fine cotton-bush flats, so-called 
from bearing a small cotton-like pod, and im- 
mediately at the hills we camped on a piece of 
plain, very beautifully grassed, and at times liable 
to inundation. It was late when we arrived ; no 
water could be found ; but the day was cool, and 
the night promised to be so too ; and as I felt sure 
I should get water in these hills in the morning, 
I was not very anxious on account of the horses. 
These hills are similar to those lately described, 
being greatly impregnated with iron and having 
vast upheavals of iron-coated granite, broken and 
lying in masses of black and pointed rock, upon 
all their summits. Their sides sloped somewhat 


abruptly, they were all highly magnetic, and had 
the appearance of. frowning, rough-faced, bastion 
walls. Very early I climbed up the hills, and from 
the top I saw the place that was afterwards to be 
our refuge, though it was a dangerous one. This is 
called the Cavanagh Range, but as, in speaking of 
it as my depot, it was called Fort Mueller,* I shall 
always refer to it by that name. What I saw was 
a strong running stream in a confined rocky, scrubby 
glen, and smokes from natives' fires. When bring- 
ing the horses, we had to go over less difficult 
ground than I had climbed, and on the road we 
found another stream in another valley, watered the 
horses, and did not then go to my first find. There 
was fine open, grassy country all round this range ; 
we followed the creek down from the hills to it. 
On reaching the lower grassy ground, we saw 
Mr. Gosse s dray-track again, and I was not sur- 
prised to see that the wagon had returned upon 
its outgoing track, and the party were now returning 
eastwards to South Australia. I had for some days 
anticipated meeting him ; but now he was going 
east, and I west, I did not follow back after him. 
Shortly afterwards, rounding the spurs of these hilli^, 
we came to the channel of the Fort Mueller creek, 
which I had found this morning, and though there 
was no surface-water, we easily obtained some by 
digging in the sandy creek-bed. A peculiarity of the 
whole of this region is, that water cannot exist far 
from the rocky foundations of the hills ; the instant 
the valleys open and any soil appears, down sinks 
the water, though a fine stream may be running 
only a few yards above. Blankets were again 
required for the last two nights. I found my 


position here to be in latitude 26° 12', longitude 
127° 59' o". 

Leaving this encampment, we struck away for a 
new Hne of ranges. The country was very peculiar, 
and different from any we had yet met ; it was 
open, covered with tall triodia, and consisted almost 
entirely of limestone. At intervals, eucalyptus-trees 
of the mallee kind, and a few of the pretty-looking 
blood-wood-trees and some native poplars were 
seen ; there was no grass for several miles, and we 
only found some poor dry stuff for the horses in a 
patch of scrub, the ground all round being stony 
and triodia-set. To-day we came upon three lowans' 
or native pheasants* nests. These birds, which 
somewhat resemble guinea-fowl in appearance, 
build extraordinarily large nests of sand, in which 
they deposit small sticks and leaves ; here the female 
lays about a dozen eggs, the decomposition of the 
vegetable matter providing the warmth necessary to 
hatch them. These nests are found only in thick 
scrubs. I have known them five to six feet high, 
of a circular conical shape, and a hundred feet round 
the base. The first, though of enormous size, pro- 
duced only two eggs ; the second, four, and the 
third, six. We thanked Providence for supplying 
us with such luxuries in such a wilderness. There 
are much easier feats to perform than the carrying 
of lowans' eggs, and for the benefit of any readers 
who don't know what those eggs are like, I may 
mention that they are larger than a goose ^%^y and 
of a more delicious flavour than any other egg in the 
world. Their shell is beautifully pink tinted, and 
so terribly fragile that, if a person is not careful in 
lifting them, the fingers will crunch through the 


tinted shell in an instant. Therefore, carrying a 
dozen of such eggs is no easy matter. I took upon 
myself the responsibility of bringing our prize safe 
into camp, and I accomplished the task by packing 
them in grass, tied up in a handkerchief, and slung 
round my neck ; a fine fardel hanging on my chest, 
immediately under my chin. A photograph of a 
person with such an appendage would scarcely lead 
to recognition. We used some of the eggs in our 
tea as a substitute for milk. A few of the eggs 
proved to possess some slight germs of vitality, the 
preliminary process being the formation of eyes. 
But explorers in the field are not such particular 
mortals as to stand upon such trifles ; indeed, par- 
boiled, youthful, lowans' eyes are considered quite 
a delicacy in the camp. 

At early dawn there was brilliant lightning to 
the west, and the horizon in that direction became 
cloudy. Thunder also was heard, but whatever 
storm there might have been, passed away to the 
south of us. In the course of a few miles we left 
the limestone behind, and sandhills again came on. 
We went over two low ridges, and five or six miles 
of scrub brought us to the hills we were steering 
for. Some pine-clad bare rocks induced us to visit 
them to see if there were rock-holes anywhere. 
Mr. Tietkens found a native well under one of the 
rocks, but no water was seen in it, so we went to 
the higher hills, and in a gully found but a poor 
supply. There was every appearance of approach- 
ing rain, and we got everything under canvas, but 
in the night of the 9th October a heavy gale of 
wind sprang up and blew away any rain that might 


have fallen. As, however, it was still cloudy, we 
remained in camp. 

From the highest hill here, called Mount Squires, 
the appearance of the country surrounding was 
most strange. To the west, and round by north- 
west to north, was a mass of broken timbered hills 
with scrubby belts between. The atmosphere was 
too hazy to allow of distinct vision, but I could dis- 
tinguish lines of hills, if not ranges, to the westward 
for a long distance. The view was by no means 
encouraging, but as hills run on, though entirely 
different now from those behind us, our only hope 
is that water may yet be discovered in them. The 
whole region round about was enveloped in scrubs, 
and the hills were not much more than visible above 

The sky had remained cloudy all yesterday, and 
I hoped, if the wind would only cease, rain would 
surely fall ; so we waited and hoped against hope. 
We had powerful reverberations of thunder, and 
forked and vivid lightnings played around, but no 
rain fell, although the atmosphere was surcharged 
with electricity and moisture. The wished-for rain 
departed to some far more favoured places, some 
happier shores from these remote ; and as if to mock 
our wishes, on the following morning we had nearly 
three minutes' sprinkling of rain, and then the sky 
became clear and bright. 

By this time we had used up all the water we 
could find, and had to go somewhere else to get 
more. A terrible piece of next-to-impassable scrub, 
four or five miles through, lay right in our path ; it 
also rose and fell into ridges and gullies in it. We 


saw one of the Mus conditor, or building rats* nests, 
which is not the first we have seen by many on this 
expedition. The scrub being so dense, it was 
impossible to see more than two or three of the 
horses at a time, and three different times some of 
them got away and tried to give us the slip ; this 
caused a great deal of anxiety and trouble, besides 
loss of time. Shortly after emerging from the 
scrubs, we struck a small creek with one or two 
gum-trees on it ; a native well was in the bed, and 
we managed to get water enough for the horses, 
we having only travelled six miles straight all day. 
This was a very good, if not actually a pretty, 
encampment ; there was a narrow strip of open 
ground along the banks, and good vegetation for 
the horses. We slept upon the sandy bed of the 
creek to escape the terrible quantities of burrs 
which grew all over these wilds. 

We steered away nearly west for the highest 
hills we had seen yesterday ; there appeared a fall 
or gap between two ; the scrubs were very thick to- 
day, as was seen by the state of our pack-bags, an 
infallible test, when we stopped for the night, 
during the greater part of which we had to repair 
the bags. We could not find any water, and we 
seemed to be getting into very desolate places. A 
densely scrubby and stony gully was before us, 
which we had to get through or up, and on reaching 
the top I was disappointed to find that, though 
there was an open valley below, the hills all round 
seemed too much disconnected to form any good 
watering places. Descending, and leaving Gibson 
and Jimmy with the horses, Mr. Tietkens and I 

VOL. I. p 


rode in diflferent directions in search of water. In 
about two hours we met. in the only likely spot 
either of us had seen ; this was a little watercourse; 
and following it up to the foot of the hills found a 
most welcome and unexpectedly large pond for 
such a place. Above it in the rocks were a line of 
little basins which contained water, with a rather 
pronounced odour of stagnation about it: above 
them again the water was running, but there was a 
space between upon which no water was seen. We 
returned for the horses and camped as near as we 
could find a convenient spot ; this, however, w:as 
nearly a mile from the water. The valley ran 
north-east and south-west ; it was verj- narrow, not 
too open, and there was but poor grass and herbage, 
the greater portion of the vegetation being spinifex. 
At eight o'clock at night a thunderstorm came over 
us from the west, and sprinkled us with a few drops 
of rain ; from west the storm travelled north-west, 
thence north to east and south, performing a perfect 
circle around ; reaching its original starting point in 
about an hour, it disappeared, going northerly again. 
The rest of the night was beautifully calm and 
clear. Some of our horses required shoeing for the 
first time since we had left the telegraph line, now 
over 600 miles behind us. From the top of a hill 
here the western horizon was bounded by low 
scrubby ridges, with an odd one standing higher 
than the rest ; to one of these I decided to go next. 
Some other hills lay a little more to the south, but 
there was nothing to choose between them ; hills 
also ran along eastward and north-eastwards. At 
eight o'clock again to-night a thunderstorm came up 


from the westward ; it sprinkled us with a few 
drops of rain, and then became dispersed to the 
south and south-east. 

The following day we passed in shoeing horses, 
mending pack-bags, re-stuffing pack-saddles, and 
general repairs. While out after the horses Mr. 
Tietkens found another place with some water, about 
two miles southerly on the opposite or west side of 
the valley. Finishing what work we had in hand, 
we remained here another day. I found that water 
boiled in this valley at 209°, making the approxi- 
mate altitude of this country 1534 above sea level. 
This we always called the Shoeing Camp. We had 
remained there longer than at any other encamp- 
ment since we started ; we arrived on the 14th and 
left on the 1 8th October. 

Getting over a low fall in the hills opposite the 
camp, I turned on my proper course for another hill 
and travelled fifteen miles ; the first three being 
through very fine country, well grassed, having a 
good deal of salt bush, being lightly timbered, and 
free from spinifex. The scrub and triodia very soon 
made their appearance together, and we were forced 
to camp in a miserable place, there being neither 
grass nor water for the unfortunate horses. 

The next morning we deviated from our course 
on seeing a bare-looking rocky hill to the right of 
our line of march ; we reached it in ten miles. 
Searching about, I found several small holes or cups 
worn into the solid rock ; and as they mostly con- 
tained water, the horses were unpacked, while a 
farther search was made. This hill was always 
after called the Cups. I rode away to other hills 
westward, and found a fresh-looking creek, which 

p 2 


emptied into a larger one ; but I could find no 
but brine and bitter water. For the first tim 
this journey I found at this creek great quan 
of that lovely flower, the desert pea, Cliai 
Damperii. The creek ran south-westward 
searched for hours for water without success, 
returned to the party at dusk. Mr. Tietkens 
found some more water at another hill ; and he 
Gibson took some of the horses over to it, Icc 
Jimmy alone. 

Jimmy walked over to one cup we had res€ 
; for our own use, to fill the tin-billy for tea. Wa' 

; along with his eyes on the ground, and prol 

thinking of nothing at all, he reached the cup, 

: to his horror and amazement, discovered some t 

; ; or forty aboriginals seated or standing round 

,i 1 spot. As he came close up to, but without se 

^ them, they all yelled at him in chorus, elic 

from him a yell in return ; then, letting fall th< 
things he was carrying, he fairly ran back tc 
camp, when he proceeded to get all the guns 
rifles in readiness to shoot the whole lot. But 
Tietkens and Gibson returning with the ho 
having heard the yells, caused the natives to dec; 
and relieved poor Jimmy's mind of its load of 
and fear. No doubt these Autocthones 
dreadfully annoyed to find their little reser 
discovered by such water-swallowing wretche 
they doubtless thought white men and horses tc 
I could only console myself with the reflection, 
in such a region as this we must be prepare 
lay down our lives at any moment in our attei 
to procure water, and we must take it when we 
it at any price, as life and water are synonyr 


terms. I dare say they know where to get more, 
but I don't. Some natives were prowling about our 
encampment all the first half of the night, and my 
little dog kept up an incessant barking ; but the 
rest was silence. 

We used every drop of water from every cup, 
and moved away for the bitter water I found 
yesterday. I thought to sweeten it by opening the 
place with a shovel, and baling a lot of the stagnant 
water out ; but it was irreclaimable, and the horses 
could not drink it. 

Mr. Tietkens returned after dark and reported he 
had found only one poor place, that might yield 
sufficient for one drink for all the horses ; and we 
moved down three miles. It was then a mile up 
in a little gully that ran into our creek. Here 
we had to dig out a large tank, but the water 
drained in so slowly that only eight horses could be 
watered by midday ; at about three o'clock eight 
more were taken, and it was night before they were 
satisfied ; and now the first eight came up again for 
more, and all the poor wretches were standing in 
and around the tank in the morning. The next day 
was spent in doling out a few quarts of water to 
each horse, while I spent the day in a fruitless 
search for the fluid which evidently did not exist. 
Six weeks or two months ago there must have been 
plenty of water here, but now it was gone ; and had 
I been here at that time, I have no doubt I might 
have passed across to the Murchison ; but now I 
must retreat to the Shoeing Camp. When I got 
back at night, I found that not half the horses had 
received even their miserable allowance of three 
quarts each, and the horse I had ridden far and fast 


all day could get none : this was poor little W 
of my first expedition. One little wretched 
horse was upon the last verge of existence ; he 
evidently not well, and had been falling away 
shadow for some time ; he was for ever hiding 
self in the scrubs, and caused as much troubl 
look after him as all the others put together, 
was nearly dead ; water was of no use to him, 
his hide might be useful in repairing some p 
bags, and we might save our stores for a tim 
eating him ; so he was despatched from this s 
of woe, but not without woeful cruelty ; for Jii 
volunteered to shoot him, and walkttd down 
creek a few yards to where the poor little ere? 
stood. The possibility of any one not puttii 
bullet into the creature's forehead at once, n 
^; \ occurred to me ; but immediately after we hearc 

** * shot, Jimmy came sauntering up and said, ** 

he wants another dose." I jumped up and 

** Oh, you young " No, I won't say what I 

Jimmy. Then Gibson offered to do it, and wi 
very similar result. With suaviter in modo, 
fortiter in re, I informed him that I did not con 
him a sufficiently crack shot to enable him to \ 
Wimbledon shield ; and what the deuce did 
but there, I had to shoot the poor miserable crea 
who already had two rifle bullets in his carcass, 
I am sure with his last breath he thanked m^ 
that quick relief. There was not sufficient flesl 
his bones to cure ; but we got a quantity of 
there was, and because we fried it we called it s 
and because we called it steak we said we enj 
it, though it was utterly tasteless. The hide 
quite rotten and useless, being as thin and Aim 


brown paper. It was impossible now to push 
farther out west, and a retreat to the Shoeing Camp 
had to be made, though we could not reach it in a 
day. Thermometer while on this creek 99°, and 
100° in shade. This place was always called the 

We had great difficulty in driving the horses past 
the Cups, as the poor creatures "having got water 
there once, supposed it always existed there. Some 
of these little indents held only a few pints of water, 
others a few quarts, and the largest only a few gallons. 
Early the second day we got back, but we had left 
so little water behind us, that we found it nearly 
all gone. Six days having elapsed makes a won- 
derful difference in water that is already inclined 
to depart with such evaporation as is always going 
on in this region. We now went to where Mr. 
Tietkens had found another place, and he and 
Gibson took the shovel to open it out, while Jimmy 
and I unpacked the horses. Here Jimmy Andrews 
set Bre to the spinifex close to all our packs and 
saddles, and a strong hot wind blowing, soon placed 
all our belongings in the most terrible jeopardy. 
The grass was dry and thick, and the fire raged 
around us in a terrific manner ; guns and rifles, 
riding- and pack-saddles were surrounded by flames 
in a moment We ran and halloed and turned 
back, and frantically threw anything we could catch 
hold of on to the ground already burnt. Upsetting 
a couple of packs, we got the bags to dash out the 
flames, and it was only by the most desperate ex- 
ertions we saved nearly everything. The instant 
a thing was lifted, the grass under it seemed to 
catch fire spontaneously ; I was on fire, Jimmy was 


on fire, my brains were in a fiery, whirling I 
and what with the heat, dust, smoke, ashes 
wind, I thought I must be suddenly translat 
Pandemonium. Our appearance also was 
Satanic, for we were both as black as demons. 

There was no shade ; we hadn't a drop of v 

and without speaking a word, off we went u 

gully to try and get a drink ; there was onlj 

enough thick fluid for us, the horses standing 

consolately round. The day was hot, the thermoi 

; marked 105°. There was not sufficient water 

j: for the horses, and I decided, as we had not ac 

1; dug at our old camp, to return there and d 

'^ This we did, and obtained a sufficiency at 

We were enabled to keep the camp here for 
days, while Mr. Tietkens and I tried to find a 
\ northerly route to the west. Leaving Gibsor 

^' ^ Jimmy behind, we took three horses and st 

away for the north. Our route on this trip \i 
into the most miserable country, dry ridges 
spinifex, sandhills and scrubs, which rolled alo 
undulations of several miles apart. We coul 
no water, and camped after a day s journey of 

Though the day had been very hot, the 
became suddenly cool. In the morning of the 
of October, at five miles we arrived at a sci 
sand ridge, and obtained a most displeasing 
of the country further north. The surface se 
more depressed, but entirely filled up with i 
scrubs, with another ridge similar to the on 
were on bounding the view ; we reached 
about eight miles. The view we then got 
precisely similar to that behind us, except 


the next undulation that bounded the horizon was 
fifteen to eighteen miles away. We had now come 
fifty-one miles from the Shoeing Camp ; there was 
no probability of getting water in such a region. To 
the west the horizon was bounded by what appeared 
a perfectly flat and level line running northwards. 
This flat line to the west seemed not more than 
twenty-five to thirty miles away; between us and 
it were a few low stony hills. Not liking the 
northern, I now decided to push over to the western 
horizon, which looked so flat. I have said there 
were some stony hills in that direction ; we reached 
the first in twenty miles. The next was formed of 
nearly bare rock, where there were some old native 
gunyahs. Searching about we found another of 
those extraordinary basins, holes, or cups washed 
out of the solid rock by ancient ocean's force, ages 
before an all-seeing Providence placed His dusky 
children upon this scene, or even before the waters 
had sufficiently subsided to permit either animal or 
man to exist here. From this singular cup we 
oljtained a sufficient supply of that fluid so terribly 
scarce in this region. We had to fill a canvas 
bucket with a pint pot to water our horses, and we 
outspanned for the remainder of the day at this 
exceedingly welcome spot. There were a few 
hundred acres of excellent grass land, and the 
horses did remarkably well during the night. The 
day had been very hot; the thermometer in the 
shade at this rock stood at 106°. 

This proved a most abominable camp ; it swarmed 
with ants, and they kept biting us so continually, 
that we were in a state of perpetual motion nearly all 
the time we were there. A few heat-drops of rain 


fell. I was not sorry to leave the wretched place, 
which we left as dry as the surrounding void. We 
continued our west course over sandhills and 
through scrub and spinifex. The low ridges of 
which the western horizon was formed, and which 
had formerly looked perfectly flat, was reached in 
five miles ; no other view could be got. A mile 
off was a slightly higher point, to which we went ; 
then the horizon, both north and west of the same 
nature, ran on as far as could be seen, without any 
other object upon which to rest the eye. There 
were a few litde gullies about, which we wasted an 
hour amongst in a fruitless search for water. The 
Bitter Water Creek now lay south of us ; I was 
not at all satisfied at our retreat from it. I was 
anxious to find out where it went, for though we 
had spent several days in its neighbourhood, we 
had not travelled more than eight or ten miles 
down it ; we might still get a bucket or two of 
water for our three horses where I had killed the 
little cob. We therefore turned south in hopes 
that we might get some satisfaction out of that 
region at last. We were now, however, thirty-nine or 
forty miles from the water-place, and two more from 
the Cob. I was most anxious on account of the 
water at the Shoeing Camp ; it might have become 
quite exhausted by this time, and where on earth 
would Gibson and Jimmy go 'i The thermometer 
again to-day stood at 106° in the shade. 

It was late at night when we reached the Cob 
tank, and all the water that had accumulated since 
we left was scarcely a bucketful. 

Though the sky was quite overcast, and rain 
threatened to fall nearly all night, yet none 


whatever came. The three horses were huddled 
up round the perfectly empty tank, having probably 
stood there all night. I determined to try down 
the creek. One or two small branches enlarged 
the channel, and in six or seven miles we saw an 
old native well, which we scratched out with our 
hands ; but it was perfectly dry. At twelve miles 
another creek joined from some hills easterly, and 
immediately below the junction the bed was filled 
with green rushes. The shovel was at the Shoeing 
Camp, the bed was too stony to be dug into with 
our hands. Below this again another and larger 
creek joined from the east, or rather our creek ran 
into it. There were some large holes in the new 
bed, but all were dry. We now followed up this 
new channel eastwards, as our horses were very 
bad, and this was in the direction of the home 
camp. We searched everywhere, up in hills and 
gullies, and down into the creek again, but all 
without success, and we had a waterless camp once 
more. The horses were now terribly bad, they 
have had only the third of a bucket of water since 
Wednesday, it being now Friday morning. We 
had still thirty miles to go to reach the camp, and 
it was late when the poor unfortunate creatures 
dragged themselves into it. Fortunately the day 
had been remarkably cool, almost cold, the ther- 
mometer only rose to 80° in the shade. The water 
had held out well, and it still drained into the 

On the following morning, the 1st November, 
the thermometer actually descended to 32°, though 
of course there was neither frost nor ice, because 
there was nothing fluid or moist to freeze. I do 



not remember ever feeling such a sensatior 
intense cold. The day was delightfully cool ; I 
most anxious to find out if any water could be 
at the junction of the two creeks just left. 
Tietkens and Gibson took three fresh horses, 
the shovel, on Monday, the 3rd of November, 
started out there again. 

Remaining at the camp was simple agony, 
ants were so numerous and annoying ; a sti 
wind was blowing from the eastwards, and the c; 
was in a continual cloud of sand and dust. 

The next day was again windy and dusty, 
not quite so hot as yesterday. Jimmy and I 
the two dogs were at the camp. He had a h 
of biting the dogs' noses, and it was only when t 
squealed that I saw what he was doing ; to- 
Cocky was the victim. I said, ** What the d< 
do you want to be biting the dogs nose for, 
might seriously injure his nasal organ ? " **Horj 
said Jimmy, *'do you call his nose a horgin ? ' 
said, ** Yes, any part of the body of man or an 
is called an organ." ** Well," he said, ** I n< 
knew that dogs carried horgins about with t 
before." I said, ** Well, they do, and don't yoi 
biting any of them again." Jimmy of course, 
reader can see, was a queer young fellow. On 
occasion further back, a good many crows 1 
about, and they became the subject of discusi 
I remarked, '* I've travelled about in the bus! 
much as most people, and I never yet saw a 1 
crow that couldn't fly;" then Jimmy said, ** V 
when we was at the Birthday, didn't I brir 
little crow hin a hague hin ? " I said, ** What's 
a hague hin ? " To which he replied, ** I didn't 


'' hin a Jiague kin,'' I says ''Hand her hague kin** 
After this, whenever we went hunting for water, and 
found it, if there was a sufficient quantity for us we 
always said, ** Oh, there's enough to boil a hague in 
anyhow." Late in the evening of the n^xt day, 
Jimmy and I were watching at the tank for 
pigeons, when the three horses Mr. Tietkens took 
away came up to drink ; this of course informed 
me they had returned. The horses looked fearfully 
hollow, and I could see at a glance that they could 
not possibly have had any water since they left. 
Mr. Tietkens reported that no water was to be got 
anywhere, and the country to the west appeared 
entirely waterless. 

I was, however, determined to make one more 
attempt. Packing two horses with water, I intended 
to carry it out to the creek, which is forty miles 
from here. At that point I would water one horse, 
hang the remainder of the water in a tree, and 
follow the creek channel to see what became of it. 
I took Gibson and Jimmy, Mr. Tietkens remaining 
at the camp. On arriving at the junction of the 
larger creek, we followed down the channel and in 
five miles, to my great surprise, though the 
traveller in these regions should be surprised at 
nothing, we completely ran the creek out, as it 
simply ended among triodia, sandhills, and scrubby 
mulga flats. I was greatly disappointed at this 
turn of affairs, as I had thought from its size it 
would at least have led me to some water, and to 
the discovery of some new geographical features. 
Except where we struck it, the country had all been 
burnt, and we had to return to that spot to get 
grass to camp at. Water existed only in the bags 


which we carried with us. I gave the horse I 
intend riding to-morrow a couple of buckets of 
water. I suppose he would have drank a dozen — 
the others got none. The three of us encamped 
together here. 




Alone — Native signs — A stinking pit — Ninety miles from water — 
Elder's Creek — Hughes's Creek — The Colonel's range — 
Rampart-like range — Hills to the north-east — Jamieson's 
range — Return to Fort Mueller — Rain — Start for the Shoeing 
Camp once more — Lightning Rock — Nothing like leather — 
Pharaoh's inflictions — Photophobists — Hot weather — Fever 
and philosophy — Tietkens's tank — Gibson taken ill — Mys- 
terious disappearance of water — Elarthquake shock — Con- 
cussions and falling rocks — The glen — Cut an approach to 
the water — Another earthquake shock — A bough-house — 
Gardens — A journey northwards — Pine-clad hills — New line 
of ranges — Return to depot 

The following day was Sunday, the 9th of No- 
vember, but was not a day of rest to any of us. 
Gibson and Jimmy started back with the pack- 
horses for the Shoeing Camp, while I intended going 
westward, westward, and alone ! I gave my horse 
another drink, and fixed a water-bag, containing 
about eight gallons, in a leather envelope up in a 
tree ; and started away like errant knight on sad 
adventure bound, though unattended by any esquire 
or shield-bearer. I rode away west, over open 
triodia sandhills, with occasional dots of scrub 
between, for twenty miles. The horizon to the 
west was bounded by open, undulating rises of no 
elevation, but whether of sand or stone I could not 
determine. At this distance from the creek the 


sandhills mainly fell off, and the country was 
composed of ground thickly clothed with spinifex 
and covered all over with brown gravel. I gave 
my horse an hour s rest here, with the thermometer 
at 102° in the shade. There was no grass, and not 
being possessed of organs that could digest triodia 
he simply rested. On starting again, the hills I had 
left now almost entirely disappeared, and looked 
flattened out to a long low line. I travelled over 
many miles of burnt, stony, brown, gravelly un- 
dulations ; at every four or five miles I obtained a 
view of similar country beyond ; at thirty-five miles 
from the creek the country all round me was 
exactly alike, but here, on passing a rise that 
seemed a little more solid than the others, 
I noticed in a kind of little valley some signs of 
recent native encampments ; and the feathers of 
birds strewn about — there were hawks', pigeons', 
and cockatoos' feathers. I rode towards them, and 
right under my horse's feet I saw a most singular 
hole in the ground. Dismounting, I found it was 
another of those extraordinary cups from whence 
the natives obtain water. This one was entirely 
filled up with boughs, and I had great difficulty in 
dragging them out, when I perceived that this 
orifice was of some depth and contained some 
water ; but on reaching up a drop, with the greatest 
difficulty, in my hand, I found it was quite putrid ; 
indeed, while taking out the boughs my nasal 
horgin, as Jimmy would call it, gave me the same 

I found the hole was choked up with rotten 
leaves, dead animals, birds, and all imaginable sorts 
of filth. On poking a stick down into it, seething 


bubbles aerated through the putrid mass, and yet 
the natives had evidently been living upon this fluid 
for some time ; some of the fires in their camp were 
yet alight. I had very great difficulty in reaching 
down to bale any of this fluid into my canvas bucket. 
My horse seemed anxious to drink, but one bucket- 
ful was all he could manage. There was not more 
than five or six buckets of water in this hole ; it 
made me quite sick to get the bucketful for the 
horse. There were a few hundred acres of silver 
grass in the little valley near, and as my horse 
began to feed with an apparent relish, I remained 
here, though I anticipated at any moment seeing a 
number of natives make their appearance. I said 
to myself, ** Come one, come all, this rock shall fly 
from its firm base as soon as I." No enemies came, 
and I passed the night with my horse feeding 
quietly close to where I lay. To this I attributed 
my safety. 

Long before sunrise I was away from this dismal 
place, not giving my horse any more of the dis- 
gusting water. In a mile or two I came to the top 
of one of those undulations which at various dis- 
tances bound the horizon. They are but swells a 
little higher than the rest of the country. How far 
this formation would extend was the question, and 
what other feature that lay beyond, at which water 
could be obtained, was a difficult problem to solve. 
From its appearance I was compelled to suppose 
that it would remain unaltered for a very consider- 
able distance. From this rise all I could see was 
another ; this I reached in nine miles. Nearly 
all the country hereabout had been burnt, but not 
very recently. The ground was still covered with 

VOL. I. Q 


gravel, with here and there small patches of scrub, 
the country in general being very good for travelling. 
I felt sure it would be necessary to travel 1 50 miles 
at least before a watered spot could be found. 
How ardently I wished for a camel ; for what is 
a horse where waters do not exist except at great 
distances apart ? I pushed on to the next rising 
ground, ten miles, being nearly twenty from where 
I had camped. The view from here was precisely 
similar to the former ones. My horse had not 
travelled well this morning, he seemed to possess 
but little pluck. Although he was fat yesterday, he 
is literally poor now. This horse s name was Pratt ; 
he was a poor weak creature, and died subsequently 
from thirst. I am afraid the putrid water has made 
him ill, for I have had great difficulty in getting him 
to go. I turned him out here for an hour at eleven 
o'clock, when the thermometer indicated 102° in the 
shade. The horse simply stood in the shade of a 
small belt of mulga, but he would not try to eat. 
To the south about a mile there was apparently a 
more solid rise, and I walked over to it, but there 
was no cup either to cheer or inebriate. I was now 
over fifty miles from my water-bag, which was 
hanging in a tree at the mercy of the winds and 
waves, not to mention its removal by natives, and if 
I lost that I should probably lose my life as well. 
I was now ninety miles from the Shoeing Camp, and 
unless I was prepared to go on for another hundred 
miles ; ten, fifteen, twenty, or fifty would be of little 
or no use. It was as much as my horse would do 
to get back alive. From this point I returned. 
The animal went so slowly that it was dusk when 
I got back to the Cup, where I observed, by the 


removal of several boughs, that natives had been 
here in my absence. They had put a lot of boughs 
back into the hole again. I had no doubt they 
were close to me now, and felt sure they were 
watching me and my movements with lynx-like 
glances from their dark metallic eyes. I looked 
upon my miserable wretch of a horse as a safe- 
guard from them. He would not eat, but imme- 
diately hobbled off to the pit. and I was afraid he 

would jump in before I could stop him, he was so 
eager for drink. It was an exceedingly difficult 
operation to get water out of this abominable hole, 
as the bucket could not be dipped into it, nor could 
I reach the frightful fluid at ^1 without hanging my 
head down, with my legs stretched across the mouth 
of it, while I baled the foetid mixture into the 

Q 2 


bucket with one of my boots, as I had no other 
utensil. What with the position I was in and the 
horrible odour which rose from the seething fluid, 
I was seized with violent retching. The horse 
gulped down the first half of the bucket with 
avidity, but after that he would only sip at it, and I 
was glad enough to find that the one bucketful I 
had baled out of the pit was sufficient. I don't 
think any consideration would have induced me to 
bale out another. 

Having had but little sleep, I rode away at three 
o'clock next morning. The horse looked wretched 
and went worse. It was past midday when I had 
gone twenty miles, when, entering sandhill country, 
I was afraid he would knock up altogether. After 
an hour and a halfs rest he seemed better; he 
walked away almost briskly, and we reached the 
water-bag much earlier than I expected. Here we 
both had a good drink, although he would have 
emptied the bag three times over if he could have 
got it. The day had been hot. 

When I left this singular watercourse, where 
plenty of water existed in its upper portions, but 
was either too bitter or too salt for use, I named it 
Elder's Creek. The other that joins it I called 
Hughes's Creek, and the range in which they exist 
the Colonel's Range. 

There was not much water left for the horse. 
He was standing close to the bag for some hours 
before daylight. He drank it up and away we 
went, having forty miles to go. I arrived very late. 
Everything was well except the water supply, and 
that was gradually ceasing. In a week there will 
be none. The day had been pleasant and cool. 


Several more days were spent here, re-dlgging 
and enlarging the old tank and trying to find a new. 
Gibson and I went to some hills to the south, with 
a rampart-like face. The place swarmed with 
pigeons, but we could find no water. We could 
hear the birds crooning and cooing in all directions 
as we rode, ** like the moan of doves in immemorial 
elms, and the murmurings of innumerable bees." 
This rampart-like ridge was festooned with cypress 
pines, and had there been water there, I should have 
thought it a very pretty place. Every day was 
telling upon the water at the camp. We had to 
return unsuccessful, having found none. The horses 
were loose, and rambled about in several mobs 
and all directions, and at night we could not get 
them all together. The water was now so low 
that, growl as we may, go we must. It was five 
P.M. on the 17th of November when we left. The 
nearest water now to us that I knew of was at Fort 
Mueller, but I decided to return to it by a different 
route from that we had arrived on, and as some hills 
lay north-easterly, and some were pretty high, we 
went away in that direction. 

We travelled through the usual poor country, 
and crossed several dry water-channels. In one 
I thought to get a drink for the horses. The 
party having gone on, I overtook them and sent 
Gibson back with the shovel. We brought the 
horses back to the place, but he gave a very gloomy 
opinion of it. The supply was so poor that, after 
working and watching the horses all night, they 
could only get a bucketful each by morning, and I 
was much vexed at having wasted time and energy 
in such a wretched spot, which we left in huge 


disgust, and continued on our course. Very poor 
regions were traversed, every likely-looking spot 
was searched for water. I had been steering for a 
big hill from the Shoeing Camp ; a dry creek issued 
from its slopes. Here the hills ceased in this 
northerly direction, only to the east and south-east 
could ranges be seen, and it is only in them that 
water can be expected in this region. Fort Mueller 
was nearly fifty miles away, on a bearing of 30° 
south of east. We now turned towards it. A 
detached, jagged, and inviting-looking range lay a 
little to the east of north-east ; it appeared similar 
to the Fort Mueller hills. I called it Jamieson's* 
Range, but did not visit it. Half the day was lost 
in useless searching for water, and we encamped 
without any; thermometer 104° at ten a.m. At 
night we camped on an open piece of spinifex 
country. We had thunder and lightning, and about 
six heat-drops of rain fell. 

The next day we proceeded on our course for 
Fort Mueller ; at twelve miles we had a shower of 
rain, with thunder and lightning, that lasted a few 
seconds only. We were at a bare rock, and had 
the rain lasted with the same force for only a minute, 
we could have given our horses a drink upon the 
spot, but as it was we got none. The horses 
ran all about licking the rock with their parched 

Late at night we reached our old encampment, 
where we had got water in the sandy bed of the 
creek. It was now no longer here, and we had to 
go further up. I went on ahead to look for a spot, 
and returning, met the horses in hobbles going up 
the creek, some right in the bed. 1 intended to 


have dug a tank for them, but the others let them 
go too soon. I consoled myself by thinking that 
they had only to go far enough, and they would get 
water on the surface. With the exception of the 
one bucket each, this was their fourth night without 
water. The sky was now as black as pitch ; it 
thundered and lightened, and there was every 
appearance of a fall of rain, but only a light mist or 
heavy dew fell for an hour or two ; it was so light 
and the temperature so hot that we all lay without 
a rag on till morning. 

At earliest dawn Mr. Tietkens and I took the 
shovel and walked to where we heard the horse- 
bells. Twelve of the poor animals were lying in 
the bed of the creek, with limbs stretched out as if 
dead, but we were truly glad to find they were still 
alive, though some of them could not get up. Some 
that were standing up were working away with 
their hobbled feet the best way they could, stamp- 
ing out the sand trying to dig out little tanks, and 
one old stager had actually reached the water in his 
tank, so we drove him away and dug out a proper 
place. We got all the horses watered by nine 
o'clock. It was four a.m. when we began to dig, and 
our exercise gave us an excellent appetite for our 
breakfast. Gibson built a small bough gunyah, 
under which we sat, with the thermometer at 102°. 

In the afternoon the sky became overcast, and at 
six P.M. rain actually began to fall heavily, but only 
for a quarter of an hour, though it continued to drip 
for two or three hours. During and after that we 
had heavy thunder and most vivid lightnings. The 
thermometer at nine fell to 48^ ; in the sun to-day it 
had been 176"^, the difference being 128^ in a few 


hours, and we thought we should be frozen stiff 
where we stood. A slight trickle of surface water 
came down the creek channel. The rain seemed to 
have come from the west, and I resolved to push 
out there again and see. This was Friday ; a day's 
rest was actually required by the horses, and the 
following day being Sundky, we yet remained. 

Monday, 24th November. — We had thunder, 
lightnings, and sprinklings of rain again during last 
night. We made another departure for the Shoeing 
Camp and Elder's Creek. At the bare rock pre- 
viously mentioned, which was sixteen miles en route 
30° north of west, we found the rain had left suffi- 
cient water for us, and we camped. The native well 
was full, and water also lay upon the rock. The 
place now seemed exceedingly pretty, totally diffe- 
rent from its original appearance, when we could 
get no water at it. How wonderful is the difference 
the all-important element creates ! While we were 
here another thunderstorm came up from the west 
and refilled all the basins, which the horses had 
considerably reduced. I called this the Lightning 
Rock, as on both our visits the lightning played so 
vividly around us. Just as we were starting, more 
thunder and lightnings and five minutes* rain came. 

From here I steered to the one-bucket tank, and 
at one place actually saw water lying upon the 
ground, which was a most extraordinary circum- 
stance. I was in great hopes the country to the 
west had been well visited by the rains. The country 
to-day was all dense scrubs, in which we saw a Mus 
conditor*s nest. When in these scrubs I always 
ride in advance with a horse s bell fixed on my 
stirrup, so that those behind, although they cannot 


see, may yet hear which way to come. Continually 
working this bell has almost deprived me of the 
•faculty of hearing; the constant passage of the 
horses through these direful scrubs has worn out 
more canvas bags than ever entered into my calcu- 
lations. Every night after travelling, some, if not 
all the bags, are sure to be ripped, causing the 
frequent loss of flour and various small articles that 
get jerked out. This has gone on to such an 
extent that every ounce of twine has been used up ; 
the only supply we can now get is by unravelling 
some canvas. Ourselves and our clothes, as well 
as our pack-bags, get continually torn also. Any 
one in future traversing these regions must be 
equipped entirely in leather ; there must be leather 
shirts and leather trousers, leather hats, leather 
heads, and leather hearts, for nothing else can stand 
in a region such as this. 

We continued on our course for the one-bucket 
place ; but searching some others of better appear- 
ance, I was surprised to find that not a drop of rain 
had fallen, and I began to feel alarmed that the 
Shoeing Camp should also have been unvisited. 
One of the horses was unwell, and concealed him- 
self in the scrubs ; some time was lost in recovering 
him. As it was dark and too late to go on farther, 
we had to encamp without water, nor was there 
any grass. 

The following day we arrived at the old camp, at 
which there had been some little rain. The horses 
were choking, and rushed up the gully like mad ; 
we had to drive them into a little yard we had 
made when here previously, as a whole lot of them 
treading into the tank at once might ruin it for 


ever. The horse that hid himself yesterday 
knocked up to-day, and Gibson remained to bring 
him on ; he came four hours after us, though we 
only left him three miles away. There was not 
sufficient water in the tank for all the horses ; I 
was greatly grieved to find that so little could 
be got. 

The camp ground had now become simply a 
moving mass of ants ; they were bad enough when 
we left, but now they were frightful ; they swarmed 
over everything, and bit us to the verge of madness. 
It is eleven days since we left this place, and now 
having returned, it seems highly probable that I 
shall soon be compelled to retreat again. Last night 
the ants were unbearable to Mr. Tietkens and my- 
self, but Gibson and Jimmy do not appear to lose 
any sleep on their account. With the aid of a quart 
pot and a tin dish I managed to get some sort of a 
bath ; but this is a luxury the traveller in these 
regions must in a great measure learn to do without. 
My garments and person were so perfumed with 
smashed ants, that I could almost believe I had 
been bathing in a vinegar cask. It was useless to 
start away from here with all the horses, without 
knowing how, or if any, rains had fallen out west. 
I therefore despatched Mr. Tietkens and Jimmy to 
take a tour round to all our former places. At twenty- 
five miles was the almost bare rocky hill which I 
called par excellence the Cups, from the number 
of those little stone indentures upon its surface, 
which I first saw on the 19th of October, this being 
the 29th of November. If no water was there, I 
directed Mr. Tietkens then only to visit Elders 
Creek and return ; for if there was none at the 


Cups, there would be but little likelihood of any in 
other places. 

Gibson and I had a most miserable day at the 
camp. The ants were dreadful ; the hot winds 
blew clouds of sandy dust all through and over the 
place ; the thermometer was at 102°. We repaired 
several pack-bags. A few mosquitoes for variety 
paid us persistent attentions during the early part 
of the night ; but their stings and bites were 
delightful pleasures compared to the agonies in- 
flicted on us by the myriads of small black ants. 
Another hot wind and sand-dust day ; still sewing 
and repairing pack-bags to get them into something 
like order and usefulness. 

At one P.M. Mr. Tietkens returned from the west, 
and reported that the whole country in that 
direction had been entirely unvisited by rains, with 
the exception of the Cups, and there, out of several 
dozen rocky indents, barely sufficient water for their 
three horses could be got. Elder s Creek, the Cob 
tank, the Colonel's Range, Hughes's Creek, and all 
the ranges lying between here and there, the way 
they returned, were perfectly dry, not a drop of 
moisture having fallen in all that region. Will it 
evermore be thus ? Jupiter impluvius ? Thermo- 
meter to-day 106° in shade. The water supply is 
so rapidly decreasing that in two days it will be 
gone. This is certainly not a delightful position to 
hold, indeed it is one of the most horrible of 
imaginable encampments. The small water supply 
is distant about a mile from the camp, and we have 
to carry it down in kegs on a horse, and often when 
we go for it, we find the horses have just emptied 
and dirtied the tank. We are eaten alive by flies, 


ants, and mosquitoes, and our existence here cannot 
be deemed a happy one. Whatever could have 
obfuscated the brains of Moses, when he omitted to 
inflict Pharaoh with such exquiste torturers as ants, 
I cannot imagine. In a fiery region like to this I 
am photophobist enough to think I could wallow at 
ease, in blissful repose, in darkness, amongst cool 
and watery frogs ; but ants, oh ants, are frightful ! 
Like Othello, I am perplexed in the extreme — rain 
threatens every day, I don't like to go and I can't 
stay. Over some hills Mr. Tietkens and I found an 
old rocky native well, and worked for hours with 
shovel and levers, to shift great boulders of rock, 
and on the 4th of December we finally left the 
deceitful Shoeing Camp — never, I hope, to return. 
The new place was no better ; it was two and a half 
miles away, in a wretched, scrubby, rocky, dry hole, 
and by moving some monstrous rocks, which left 
holes where they formerly rested, some water 
drained in, so that by night the horses were all 
satisfied. There was a hot, tropical, sultry feeling in 
the atmosphere all day, though it was not actually 
so hot as most days lately ; some terrific lightnings 
occurred here on the night of the 5th of December, 
but we heard no thunder. On the 6th and 7th Mr. 
Tietkens and I tried several places to the eastwards 
for water, but without success. At three p.m. of the 
7th, we had thunder and lightning, but no rain ; 
thermometer 106°. On returning to camp, we were 
told that the water was rapidly failing, it becoming 
fine by degrees and beautifully less. At night the 
heavens were illuminated for hours by the most 
wonderful lightnings ; it was, I suppose, too distant 
to permit the sound of thunder to be heard. On 


the 8th we made sure that rain would fall, the night 
and morning were very hot. We had clouds, 
thunder, lightning, thermometer 112°, and every 
mortal disagreeable thing we wanted ; so how could 
we expect rain ? but here, thanks to Mgses, or 
Pharaoh, or Providence, or the rocks, we were not 
troubled with ants. The next day we cleared out ; 
the water was gone, so we went also. The ther- 
mometer was 110° in the shade when we finally 
left these miserable hills. We steered away again 
for Fort Mueller, vi4 the Lightning Rock, which 
was forty-five miles away. We traversed a country 
nearly all scrub, passing some hills and searching 
channels and gullies as we went. We only got 
over twenty-one miles by night ; I had been very 
unwell for the last three or four days, and to-day I 
was almost too ill to sit on my horse ; I had fever, 
pains all over, and a splitting headache. The 
country being all scrub, I was compelled as usual to 
ride with a bell on my stirrup. Jingle jangle all 
day long ; what with heat, fever, and the pain I was 
in, and the din of that infernal bell, I really thought 
it no sin to wish myself out of this world, and into 
a better, cooler, and less noisy one, where not 
even — 

" To heavenly harps the angelic choir. 

Circling the throne of the eternal King ; " 

should — 

" With hallowed lips and holy fire. 

Rejoice their hymns of praise to sing ; " 

which revived in my mind vague opinions with 
regard to our notions of heaven. If only to sit for 
ever singing hymns before Jehovah's throne is to be 
the future occupation of our souls, it is doubtful if 


the thought should be so pleasing, as the opinions 
of Plato and other philosophers, and which Addison 
has rendered to us thus — 

" Eternity, thou pleasing, dreadful thought, 
Through what variety of untried being. 
Through what new scenes and changes must we pass 
The wide, the unbounded prospect lies before me," &c. 

But I am trenching upon debatable ground, and 
have no desire to enter an argument upon the 
subject. It is doubtless better to believe the tenets 
tauirht us in our childhood, than to seek at mature 
aijc to unravel a mystery which it is self-evident 
the Great Creator never intended that man in this 
state of existence should become acquainted w^ith. 
However, I'll say no more on such a subject, it is 
quite foreign to the matter of my travels, and does 
not ease my fever in any way— in fact it rather 
auirments it. 

The next morning, the loth, I was worse, and it 
was agony to have to rise, let alone to ride. We 
reached the Lightning Rock at three p.m., when the 
thermometer indicated iio*^. The water was all 
but gone from the native well, but a small quantity- 
was obtained by digging. I was too ill to do 
anything. A number of native fig-trees were grow- 
ing on this rock, and while Gibson was using the 
shovel, Mr. Tietkens went to get some for me, as 
he thought they might do me good. It was most 
fortunate that he went, for though he did not get 
any figs, he found a fine rock water-hole which we 
had not seen before, and where all the horses could 
drink their fill. I was never more delighted in my 
life. The thought of moving again to-morrow was 


killing — indeed I had intended to remain, but this 
enabled us all to do so. It was as much as I could 
do to move even the mile, to where we shifted our 
camp; thermometer 108°. By the next day, 12th, 
the horses had considerably reduced the water, and 
by to-morrow it will be gone. This basin would be 
of some size were it cleaned out ; we could not tell 
what depth it was, as it is now almost entirely filled 
with the debris of ages. Its shape is elliptical, and 
is thirty feet long by fifteen broad, its sides being 
even more abrupt than perpendicular — that is to say, 
shelving inwards — and the horses could only water 
by jumping down at one place. There was about 
three feet of water, the rest being all soil. To- 
day was much cooler. I called this Tietkenss 
Tank. On the 14th, the water was gone, the tank 
dry, and all the horses away to the east, and it was 
past three when they were brought back. Un- 
fortunately, Gibson's little dog Toby followed him 
out to-day and never returned. After we started I 
sent Gibson back to await the poor pup s return, 
but at night Gibson came without Toby ; I told 
him he could have any horses he liked to go back 
for him to-morrow, and I would have gone myself 
only I was still too ill. During the night Gibson 
was taken ill just as I had been ; therefore poor 
Toby was never recovered. We have still one 
little dog of mine which I bought in Adelaide, of 
the same kind as Toby, that is to say, the small 
black-and-tan English terrier, though I regret to 
say he is decidedfy not, of the breed of that Billy 
indeed, who used to kill rats for a bet ; I forget 
how many one morning he ate, but you*ll find it in 
sporting books yet. It was very late when* we 


reached our old bough gunyah camp ; there was no 
water. I intended going up farther, but, being 
behind, Mr. Tietkens and Jimmy had began to 
unload, and some of the horses were hobbled out 
when I arrived ; Gibson was still behind. For the 
second time I have been compelled to retreat to this 
range ; shall I ever get away from it ? When we 
left the rock, the thermometer indicated iio° in the 

Next morning I was a little better, but Gibson 
was very ill — indeed I thought he was going to die, 
and would he had died quietly there. Mr. Tietkens 
and I walked up the creek to look for the horses. 
We found and took about half of them to the 
surface water up in the narrow glen. When we 
arrived, there was plenty of water running merrily 
along the creek channel, and there were several 
nice ponds full, but when we brought the second lot 
to the place an hour and a half afterwards, the 
stream had ceased to flow, and the nice ponds just 
mentioned were all but empty and dry. This 
completely staggered me to find the drainage cease 
so suddenly. The day was very hot, i lo^ when we 
returned to camp. 

1 was in a state of bewilderment at the thought of 
the water having so quickly disappeared, and I was 
wondering where I should have to retreat to next, 
as it appeared that in a day or two there would 
literally be no water at all. I felt ill again from my 
morning s walk, and lay dqwn in the 1 10° of shade, 
afforded by the bough gunyah which Gibson had 
formerly made. 

I had scarcely settled myself on my rug when a 
most pronounced shock of earthquake occurred. 


the volcanic wave, which caused a sound like 
thunder, passing along from west to east right 
under us, shook the ground and the gunyah so 
violently as to make me jump up as though nothing 
was th.e matter with me. As the wave passed on, 
we heard up in the glen to the east of us great 
concussions, and the sounds of smashing and falling 
rocks hurled from their native eminences rumbling 
and crashing into the glen below. The atmosphere 
was very still to-day, and the sky clear except to 
the deceitful west. 

Gibson is still so ill that we did not move the 
camp. I was in a great state of anxiety about the 
water supply, and Tietkens and I walked first after 
the horses, and then took them up to the glen, 
where I was enchanted to behold the stream again 
in full flow, and the sheets of surface water as large, 
and as fine as when we first saw them yesterday. 
I was puzzled at this singular circumstance, and 
concluded that the earthquake had shaken the 
foundations of the hills, and thus forced the water 
up ; but from whatsoever cause it proceeded, I was 
exceedingly glad to see it. To-day was much 
cooler than yesterday. At three p.m., the same time 
of day, we had another shock of earthquake similar 
to that of yesterday, only that the volcanic wave 
passed along a little northerly of the camp, and the 
sounds of breaking and falling rocks came from over 
the hills to the north-east of us. 

Gibson was better on the 17th, and we moved 
the camp up into the glen where the surface water 
existed. We pitched our encampment upon a 
small piece of rising ground, where there was a fine 
little pool of water in the creek bed, partly formed 

VOL. I. R 


of rocks, over which the purling streamlet fell, form- 
ing a most agreeable little basin for a bath. 

The day was comparatively cool, ioo°. The glen 
here is almost entirely choked up with tea-trees, 
and we had to cut great quantities of wood away so 
as to approach the water easily. The tea-tree is 
the only timber here for firewood ; many trees are 
of some size, being seven or eight inches through, 
but mostly very crooked and gnarled. The green 
wood appears to burn almost as well as the dead, 
and forms good ash for baking dampers. Again 
to-day we had our usual shock of earthquake and at 
the usual time. Next day at three p.m., earthquake, 
quivering hills, broken and toppling rocks, with 
scared and agitated rock wallabies. This seemed 
a very ticklish, if not extremely dangerous place for 
a depot. Rocks overhung and frowned down upon 
us in every direction ; a very few of these let loose 
by an earthquake would soon put a period to any 
further explorations on our part. We passed a great 
portion of to-day (i8th) in erecting a fine" large 
bough-house ; they are so much cooler than tents. 
We also cleared several patches of rich brown soil, 
and made little Gardens (de Plantes), putting in all 
sorts of garden and other seeds. I have now 
discovered that towards afternoon, when the heat 
is greatest the flow of water ceases in the creek 
daily ; but at night, during the morning hours and 
up to about midday, the little stream flows murmur- 
ing on over the stones and through the sand as 
merrily as one can wish. Fort Mueller cannot be 
said to be a pretty spot, for it is so confined by the 
frowning, battlemented, fortress-like walls of black 
and broken hills, that there is scarcely room to turn 


round in it, and attacks by the natives are much to 
be dreaded here. 

We have had to clear the ground round our fort 
of the stones and huge bunches of triodia which we 
found there. The slopes of the hills are also thickly 
clothed with this dreadful grass. The horses feed 
some three or four miles away on the fine open 
grassy country which, as I mentioned before, sur- 
rounds this range. The herbage being so excellent 
here, the horses got so fresh, we had to build a yard 
with the tea-tree timber to run them in when we 
wanted to catch any. I still hope rain will fall, and 
lodge at Elder's Creek, a hundred miles to the west, 
so as to enable me to push out westward again. 
Nearly every day the sky is overcast, and rain 
threatens to fall, especially towards the north, where 
a number of unconnected ridges or low ranges lie. 
Mr. Tietkens and I prepared to start northerly 
to-morrow, the 20th, to inspect them. 

We got out in that direction about twenty miles, 
passed near a hill I named Mount Scott,* and 
found a small creek, but no water. The country 
appeared to have been totally unvisited by rains. 

We carried some water in a keg for ourselves, but 
the horses got none. The country passed over to- 
day was mostly red sandhills, recently burnt, and 
on that account free from spinifex. We travelled 
about north, 40° east. We next steered away for a 
dark-looking, bluff-ending hill, nearly north-north- 
east Before arriving at it we searched among a 
lot of pine-clad hills for water without effect, 
reaching the hill in twenty-two miles. Resting our 
horses, we ascended the hill ; from it I discovered, 
with glasses, that to the north and round easterly 

R 2 


and westerly a number of ranges lay at a ver>' 
considerable distance. The nearest, which lay north, 
was evidently sixty or seventy miles off. These 
ranges appeared to be of some length, but were not 
sufficiently raised above the ocean of scrubs, which 
occupied the intervening spaces, and rose into high 
and higher undulations, to allow me to form an 
opinion with regard to their altitude. Those east 
of north appeared higher and farther away, and 
were bolder and more pointed in outline. None of 
them were seen with the naked eye at first, but, 
when once seen with the field-glasses, the mind's 
eye would always represent them to us, floating and 
faintly waving apparently skywards in their vague 
and distant mirage. This discovery instantly created 
a burning desire in both of us to be off and reach 
them ; but there were one or two preliminary' 
determinations to be considered before starting. 
We are now nearly fifty miles from Fort Mueller, 
and the horses have been all one day, all one night, 
and half to-day without water. There might cer- 
tainly be water at the new ranges, but then again 
there might not, and although they were at least 
sixty miles off, our horses might easily reach them. 
If, however, no water were found, they and perhaps 
we could never return. My reader must not con- 
found a hundred miles' walk in this region with the 
same distance in any other. The greatest walker 
that ever stepped would find more than his match 
here. In the first place the feet sink in the loose 
and sandy soil, in the second it is densely covered 
with the hideous porcupine ; to avoid the constant 
prickings from this the walker is compelled to raise 
his feet to an unnatural height ; and another hideous 


vegetation, which I call sage-bush, obstructs even 
more, although it does not pain so much as the 
irritans. Again, the ground being hot enough to 
bum the soles off one's boots, with the thermometer 
at something like 180° in the sun, and the choking 
from thirst at every movement of the body, is 
enough to make any one pause before he foolishly 
gets himself into such a predicament. Discretion 
in such a case is by far the better part of valour — 
for valour wasted upon burning sands to no purpose 
is like love's labour lost. 

Close about in all directions, except north, were 
broken masses of hills, and we decided to search 
among them for a new point of departure. We 
re-saddled our horses, and searched those nearest, 
that is to say easterly ; but no water was found, nor 
any place that could hold it for an hour after it 
fell from the sky. Then we went north-west, to a 
bare-looking hill, and others with pines ornamenting 
their tops ; but after travelling and searching all 
day, and the horses doing forty-six miles, we had to 
camp again without water. 

In the night the thermometer went down to 62°. 
I was so cold that I had to light a fire to lie down by* 
All this day was uselessly lost in various traverses 
and searchings without reward ; and after travelling 
forty-two miles, the unfortunate horses had to go 
again for the third night without water. We were, 
however, nearing the depot again, and reached it, 
in sixteen miles, early the next morning. Thankful 
enough we were to have plenty of water to drink, a 
bath, and change of clothes. 



FROM 2 3RD DECEMBER, 1873 TO i6tH JANUARY, 1874. 

Primitive laundry — Natives troublesome in our absence — The 
ives — Gibson's estimate of a straight heel — Christmas day, 
1873 — Attacked by natives — A wild caroo — Wild grapes 
from a sandal-wood tree — More earthquakes — The moon 
on the waters — Another journey northwards — Retreat to 
the depot — More rain at the depot — Jimm/s escape — A 
" canis familiaris " — An innocent lamb — Sage-bush scrubs — 
Groves of oak-trees — Beautiful green flat — Crab-hole water 
— Bold and abrupt range — A glittering cascade — Invisibly 
bright water — The murmur in the shell — A shower bath — 
The Alice Falls — Ascend to the summit — A strange view — 
Gratified at our discoveries — Return to Fort Mueller — 
Digging with a tomahawk — Storing water — Wallaby for 
supper — Another attack — Gibson's gardens — Opossums 
destructive — Birds — Thoughts — Physical peculiarities of the 
region — Haunted — Depart. 

The way we wash our clothes is primitive — it can 
only be done at a depot. When we have sufficient 
water, we simply put them into it, and leave them 
until we want to change again, and then do the 
same with those we take off; sometimes they 
sweeten for several days, oftener much less. It is 
an inexpensive method, which, however, I suppose 
I must not claim as an invention. On the 23rd, 
when we arrived, Gibson informed us that the 
natives had been exceedingly troublesome, and had 
thrown several spears and stones down from the 


rocks above, so that he and Jimmy had had to 
defend themselves with firearms. Our bough-house 
was a great protection to them, and it appeared also 
that these wretches had hunted all the horses away 
from their feeding ground, and they had not been 
seen for three days, and not having come up to 
water all the time we were away. At four p.m. we 
had our afternoon earthquake, and Gibson said the 
shock had occurred twice during our absence. 
The hostility of the natives was very annoying in 
more senses than one, as it would delay me in 
carrying out my desire to visit the new and distant 
ranges north. Christmas had been slightly antici- 
pated by Gibson, who said he had made and cooked 
a Christmas pudding, and that it was now ready 
for the table. We therefore had it for dinner, and 
did ample justice to Gibson's cookery. They had 
also shot several rock-wallabies, which abound here. 
They are capital eating, especially when fried ; then 
they have a great resemblance to mutton. 

Gibson and Jimmy did not agree very well ; 
Jimmy always had some tale of woe to pour into 
my ear whenever I returned from an outside trip. 
He was a very clean young fellow, but Gibson 
would never wash himself; and once when Jimmy 
made some remark about it, Gibson said to me, *' I 
can't think what you and Tietkens and Jimmy are 
always washing yourselves for." ** Why," I said, 
**for health and cleanliness, to be sure." *'0h," 
said he, **if I was to bathe like you do, it would 
give me the ivesJ' I often showed the others how 
to mend their boots. One day, sitting in the shade 
of our bough-house, we were engaged in cobbling. 
Gibson used to tread so unevenly on his boots that 


the heels were turned nearly upwards, and he 
walked more on the uppers than on the soles, 
therefore his required all the more repairing. 
Picking up one of my boots that I had just mended, 
Gibson looked very hard at it, and at last said, 
"How do you manage to wear your boots so 
straight ? " ** Oh," I said, ** perhaps my legs are 
straight." He rejoined, ** Well, ain't mine straight 
too ? " I said, ** I don't know ; I don't see them 
often enough to tell," alluding to his not bathing. 
** Well," he said at last, with a deep sigh, ** By 
G — " — gum, I suppose he meant — "I'd give a 
pound to be able to wear my boots as straight as 
you. No, I'm damned if I wouldn't give five-and- 
twenty bob ! " We laughed. We had some rolls 
of smoked beef, which caused the ants to come 
about the camp, and we had to erect a little table 
with legs in the water, to lay these on. One roll 
had a slightly musty smell, and Gibson said to me, 
** This roll's rotten ; shall I chuck it away ? " 
" Chuck it away," I said ; " why, man, you must 
be cranky to talk such rubbish as throwing away 
food in such a region as this ! " " Why," said he, 
" nobody won't eat it." " No," said I, " but some- 
body will eat it ; I for one, and enjoy it too." 
Whereupon he looked up at me, and said, " Oh, 
are you one of them as likes yer meat 'igh ? " I 
was annoyed at his stupendous stupidity, and said, 
" One of them ! Who are you talking about ? Who 
are they I'd like to know ? When we boil this 
meat, if we put a piece of charcoal in the pot, it 
will come out as sweet as a nut." He merely 
replied, with a dubious expression of face, 
'* Oh ! " but he ate his share of it as readily as 


anybody else. The next day, Christmas eve, I sent 
Mr. Tietkens and Gibson on two of the horses we 
had lately brought back, to find the mob, which 
they brought home late, and said the tracks of the 
natives showed that they had driven the horses 
away for several miles, and they had found them 
near a small creek, along the south face of the 
range, where there was water. While they were 
away some ducks visited the camp, but the tea-tree 
was too thick to allow us to shoot any of them. 
The day was cool, although there is a great oppres- 
sion in the atmosphere, and it is impossible to tell 
by one s feelings what might be the range of the 
thermometer, as I have often felt it hotter on some 
days with the thermometer at 96° or 98^, than when 
it ranged up to 108^ or 110°. The afternoons are 
excessively relaxing, for although the mercury falls 
a little after three o'clock, still the morning s heat 
appears to remain until the sun has actually set. 
It is more than probable that the horses having 
been hunted by the natives, and having found more 
water, will not come back here of their own accord 
to water any more ; so I shall keep one tied up 
at the camp, to fetch the others up with every 

And now comes Thursday, 25 th December, 
Christmas Day, 1873. Ah, how the time flies! 
Years following years, steal something every day ; 
at last they steal us from ourselves away. What 
Horace says is, Eheu fugaces, anni labuntur 
postume, postume : — Years glide away, and are lost 
to me, lost to me. 

While Jimmy Andrews was away after the others, 
upon the horse that was tied up all night, we were 


startled out of our propriety by the howls and yells 
of a pack of fiends in human form and aboriginal 
appearance, who had clambered up the rocks just 
above our camp. I could only see some ten or a 
dozen in the front, but scores more were dodging 
in and out among the rocks. The more prominent 
throng were led by an ancient individual, who, 
having fitted a spear, was just in the act of 
throwing it down amongst us, when Gibson seized 
a rifle, and presented him with a conical Christmas 
box, which smote the rocks with such force, and 
in such near proximity to his hinder parts, that in 
a great measure it checked his fiery ardour, and 
induced most of his more timorous following to climb 
with most perturbed activity over the rocks. The 
ancient more slowly followed, and then from behind 
the fastness of his rocky shield, he spoke spears and 
boomerangs to us, though he used none. He, how- 
ever, poured out the vials of his wrath upon us, as 
he probably thought to some purpose. I was not 
linguist enough to be able to translate all he said ; 
but I am sure my free interpretation of the gist of 
his remarks is correct, for he undoubtedly stigma- 
tised us as a vile and useless set of lazy, crawling, 
white-faced wretches, who came sitting on hideous 
brutes of hippogryphs, being too lazy to walk like 
black men, and took upon ourselves the right to 
occupy any country or waters we might chance to 
find ; that we killed and ate any wallabies and other 
game we happened to see, thereby depriving him 
and his friends of their natural, lawful food, and 
that our conduct had so incensed himself and his 
noble friends, who were now in the shelter of the 
rocks near him, that he begged us to take warning 


that it was the unanimous determination of himself 
and his noble friends to destroy such vermin as he 
considered us, and our horses to be, and drive us 
from the face of the earth. 

It appeared to me, however, that his harangue 
required punctuation, so I showed him the rifle 
again, whereupon he incontinently indulged in a 
full stop. The natives then retired from those 
rocks, and commenced their attack by throwing 
spears through the tea-tree from the opposite side of 
the creek. Here we had the back of our gunyah 
for a shield, and could poke the muzzles of our guns 
and rifles through the interstices of the boughs. 
We were compelled to discharge our pieces at them 
to ensure our peace and safety. 

Our last discharge drove away the enemy, and 
soon after, Jimmy came with all the horses. Gibson 
shot a wallaby, and we had fried chops for our 
Christmas dinner. We drew from the medical 
department a bottle of rum to celebrate Christmas 
and victory. We had an excellent dinner (for 
explorers), although we had eaten our Christmas 
pudding two days before. We perhaps had no 
occasion to envy any one their Christmas dinner, 
although perhaps we did. Thermometer 106° in 
the shade. On this occasion Mr. Tietkens, who 
was almost a professional, sang us some songs in a 
fine, deep, clear voice, and Gibson sang two or 
three love songs, not altogether badly ; then it was 
Jimmy's turn. He said he didn't know no love 
songs, but he would give us Tommy or Paddy 
Brennan. This gentleman appears to have started 
in business as a highwayman in the romantic 
mountains of Limerick. One verse that Jimmy 


gave, and which pleased us most, because we 
couldn't quite understand it, was : — 

" It was in sweet Limerick (er) citty 
That he left his mother dear ; 
And in the Limerick (er) mountains, 
He commenced his wild caroo-oo." 

Upon our inquiring what a caroo was, Jimmy said 
he didn't know. No doubt it was something very 
desperate, and we considered we were perhaps upon 
a bit of a wild caroo ourselves. 

The flies had now become a most terrible plague, 
especially to the horses, but most of all to the 
unfortunate that happens to be tied up. One horse, 
when he found he could not break away, threw 
himself down so often and so violently, and hurt 
himself so much, that I was compelled to let him 
go, unless I had allowed him to kill himself, which 
he would certainly have done. 

A small grape-like fruit on a light green bush of 
the sandal-wood kind, having one soft stone, was 
got here. This fruit is black when ripe, and very 
good eating raw. We tried them cooked with 
sugar as jam, and though the others liked them 
very much, I could not touch them. The after- 
noons were most oppressive, and we had our usual 
earthquakes ; one on the 28th causing a more than 
usual falling of rocks and smashing of tea-trees. 

For a few days I was taking a rest. I was 
grieved to find that the water gradually ceased 
running earlier than formerly — that is to say, be- 
tween eleven and twelve — the usual time had been 
between two and three p.m. ; but by the morning 
every little basin was refilled. The phases of the 
moon have evidently something to do with the water 


supply. As the moon waxes, the power of the 
current wanes, and vice versi. On the ist January, 
1874, the moon was approaching its full, a quarter's 
change of the moon being the only time rain is 
likely to fall in this country ; rain is threatening 
now every day. After a hot and sultry night, on 
the 2nd, at about two o'clock, a fine thunder-shower 
from the east came over the range, and though it 
did not last very long, it quite replenished the 
water supply in the creek, and set it running again 
after it had left off work for the day. This shower 
has quite reanimated my hopes, and Mr. Tietkens 
and I at once got three horses, and started off to 
reach the distant range, hoping now to find some 
water which would enable us to reach it. For ten 
miles from the camp the shower had extended ; but 
beyond that distance no signs of it were visible 
anywhere. On the 4th we found a clay-pan, having 
a clay-hole at one end with some mud in it, and 
which the natives had but just left, but no water ; 
then another, where, as thunderstorms were flying 
about in all directions, we dug out a clay tank. 
While at work our clothes were damped with a 
sprinkling, but not enough rain fell to leave any on 
the ground. It seemed evident I must pack out 
water from Fort Mueller, if ever I reached the new 
feature, as Nature evidently did not intend to assist, 
though it seemed monstrous to have to do so, while 
the sky was so densely overcast and black, and 
threatening thunderstorms coming up from all 
directions, and carrying away, right over our heads, 
thousands of cubic acres of water which must fall 
somewhere. I determined to wait a few days and 
see the upshot of all these threatenings. To the 
east It was undoubtedly raining, though to the west 


the sky was beautifully clear. We returned to the 
native clay-pan, hoping rain might have fallen, but 
it was drier than when we left it. The next morn- 
ing the clear sky showed that all the rains had 
departed. We deepened the native clay-hole, and 
then left for the depot, and found some water in a 
little hole about ten miles from it. We rested the 
horses while we dug a tank, and drained all the 
water into it ; not having a pickaxe, we could not 
get down deep enough. 

From here I intended to pack some water out 
north. While we were digging, another thunder- 
storm came up, sprinkling us with a few drops to 
show its contempt ; it then split in halves, going 
respectively north and south, apparently each 
dropping rain on the country they passed over. 

On reaching the camp, we were told that two 
nice showers had fallen, the stream now showing 
no signs of languishing all the day long. With his 
usual intelligence, Jimmy Andrews had pulled a 
double-barelled gun out from under a heap of pack- 
bags and other things by the barrel ; of course, the 
hammer got caught and snapped down on the 
cartridge, firing the contents, but most fortunately 
missing his body by half an inch. Had it been 
otherwise, we should have found him buried, and 
Gibson a lunatic and alone. No natives had ap- 
peared while we were away ; as I remembered what 
the old gentleman told me about keeping away, so 
I hoped he would do the same, on account of my 
parting remarks to him, which it seems he must 
have understood. 

In the middle of the night my little dog Cocky 
rushed furiously out of the tent, and began to bark 

ftAIN AT NIGHT. 255 

at, and chase some animal round the camp ; he 
eventually drove it right into the tent. In the 
obscured moonlight I supposed it was a native dog, 
but it was white, and looked exactly like a large 
fat lamb. It was, at all events, an innocent lamb to 
come near us, for as it sauntered away, I sent a 
revolver bullet after it, and it departed at much 
greater speed, squealing and howling until out of 

On the 7th Mr. Tietkens and I again departed 
for the north. That night we got wet through ; 
there was plenty of water, but none that would 
remain. Being sure that the native clay-hole would 
now be full, we passed it on our left, and at our 
outmost tank at nineteen miles were delighted to 
find that both it and the clay-pan near it were full. 
We called this the Emu Tank. We now went to 
the bare red hill with pines, previously mentioned, 
and found a trickling flow of water in a small gully. 
I hope it will trickle till I return. We are now 
fifty miles from Fort Mueller, and the distant 
ranges seemed even farther away than that. 

Moving north, we went over a mass of open- 
rolling sandhills with triodia, and that other 
abominable plant I call the sage-bush. In appear- 
ance it is something like low tea-tree, but it differs 
entirely from that family, inasmuch as it utterly 
abhors water. Although it is not spiny like the 
triodia, it is almost as annoying, both to horse and 
man, as it grows too high for either to step over with- 
out stretching, and it is too strong to be easily moved 
aside ; hence, horse-tracks in this region go zigzag. 

At thirty-five miles the open sandhills ceased, 
and scrubs came on. It was a cool and cloudy day. 


We passed through a few groves of the pretty 
desert oak-trees, which I have not seen for some 
time ; a few native poplars and currajongs were 
also seen to-day. The horses wandered a long 
way back in the night. 

After travelling fifteen miles, we were now rapidly 
approaching the range, and we debouched upon a 
eucalyptus flat, which was covered with a beautiful 
carpet of verdure, and not having met with gum- 
trees for some time, those we saw here, looked 
exceedingly fine, and the bark dazzling white. 
Here we found a clay crab-hole. These holes are 
so-called in parts of Australia, usually near the 
coasts, where freshwater crabs and crayfish bury 
themselves in the bottoms of places where rain 
water often lodges ; the holes these creatures make 
are tubes of two, three, or four feet deep, whose 
sides and bottom are cemented, and which hold 
water like a glass bottle ; in these tubes they remain 
till rain again lodges above, when for a time they 
are released. The crab-hole we found contained 
a little water, which our horses drank with great 
avidity. The range was now only six or seven 
miles off, and it stood up bold and abrupt, having 
steep and deep gorges here and there, in its southern 
front. It was timberless and whitish-looking, and 
I had no doubt of finding water at it. I was 
extremely annoyed to discover that my field- 
glasses, an excellent pair, had been ripped off my 
saddle in the scrubs, and I should now be dis- 
appointed in obtaining any distant view from the 

" They were lost to the view like the sweet morning's dew ; 
They had been, and were not, was all that I knew." 


From the crab-hole, in seven miles we reached a 
gorge in the mountain side, travelling through 
scrub, over quartz, pebbly hills, and occasional gum 
flats, all trending west, probably forming a creek in 
that direction. 

In the gorge facing us we could discover a 
glittering little thread of water pouring down in a 
cascade from the top of the mountain into the 
gorge below, and upon reaching it we found, to our 
great delight, that we were upon the stony bank of 
a beautiful and pellucid little stream, whose almost 
invisibly bright water was so clear that not till our 
horses splashed it up with their feet could we quite 
realise this treasure trove. It was but a poor place 
for the horses to graze, on account of the glen being 
so stony and confined, but there was no occasion for 
them to ramble far to get plenty of grass, or a 
shady place either. We had some dinner and a 
most agreeable rest, — 

" *Neath the gum-trees' shade reclining, 
Where the dark green foliage twining, 
Screened us from the fervid shining 
Of the noontide sun." 

This spot was distant about ninety miles from Fort 
Mueller, in a straight line. The day was cool and 
breezy. After our dinner we walked up to the foot 
of the cascade, along the margin of the transparent 
stream, which meandered amongst great boulders 
of rock ; at the foot we found the rocks rose almost 
perpendicularly from a charming little basin, into 
which the stream from above and the spray from 
below mingled with a most melodious sound, so 
pleasant to the ear at any time, but how much more 

VOL. I. s 


to our drought-accustomed senses ; contii 
sounding like the murmur in the sea-shell, \ 
as the poets say, remembering its ancient and a 
abode, still murmurs as it murmured then, 
water fell from a height of 150 feet; the d( 
was not quite unbroken. A delightful shov 
spray fell for many yards outside the basin, in 
to a bath, which we exquisitely enjoyed ; the 
was not more than six feet deep. I am 
delighted with this new feature. There 
gorges to the right of us, gorges to the left 
and there was a gorge all round us. I sha 
stay now to explore them, but will enter upo 
task con amore when I bring the whole party 
I called these the Alice Falls, after one c 
sisters. It was impossible to ascend the moi 
via the cascade, so we had to flank it to reac 
top. The view from thence, though inspiriting 
still most strange. Ranges upon ranges, son 
and some near, bounded the horizon at all f 
There was a high, bold-looking mount or ran 
the north-west forty or fifty miles off. Up 
certain time we always called this the North- 
Mountain, as it bore in that direction whei 
seen, until we discovered its proper name, w 
christened it Mount Destruction. Other i 
intervened much nearer. The particular port 
the range we were now on, was looo feet abo' 
surrounding level. I found the boiling-po 
water on this summit was 206°, being the sai 
upon the summit of the Sentinel — that is ti 
30S5 feet above the sea. The country interv 
between this and the otlier ranges in view, apf 
open and good travelling ground. The r 


beyond this have a brownish tinge, and are all 
entirely different from those at Fort Mueller. The 
rock formation here is a white and pinkish con- 
glomerate granite. All the ranges visible are 
entirely timberless, and are all more or less rounded 
and corrugated, some having conical summits, and 
some looking like enormous eggs standing up on 
end ; this for the first view. We descended, caught 
our horses, and departed for Fort Mueller, much 
gratified at the discoveries already made at this 
new geographical feature. On the road back I 
recovered my glasses. The day was most de- 
liciously cool, there was a sweet perfume in the 
air, the morning was like one of those, so enjoyable 
in the spring, in the far-off agricultural districts of 
the fertile portions of the southern and eastern 
Colonies. When we reached the red bare hill, 
fifty miles from home, we found the water had ceased 
to flow. 

At our Emu Tank all the outside surface water 
was gone, the tank only holding some. Our three 
horses greatly reduced its volume, and, fearing it 
would all evaporate before we could return, we cut 
a quantity of bushes and sticks to protect it from 
the sun. Remounting, we now made for the native 
clay-hole that we had avoided in going out. The 
outside water was now all but gone, but the hole 
still contained some, though not sufficient for all 
the horses ; we set to work and chopped out 
another hole with a tomahawk, and drained all the 
thick water off the clay-pan into it. Then we cut 
boughs, bushes, and sticks to cover them, and 
proceeded homewards. On reaching the ten-mile 
or kangaroo tank, we found to our disgust that the 

s 2 


water was nearly all gone, and our original tank 
not large enough, so we chopped out another and 
drained all the surplus water into it. Then the 
boughs and bushes and sticks for a roof must be 
got, and by the time this was finished we were 
pretty well sick of tank making. Our hands were 
blistered, our arms were stiff, and our whole bodies 
bathed in streams of perspiration, though it was a 
comparatively cool day. We reached home very 
late on the 13th, having left the range on the loth. 
I was glad to hear that the natives had not troubled 
the camp in my absence. Another circumstance 
gratified us also, and that was, Gibson had shot a 
large wallaby ; we had not tasted meat since we 
left on the 7th. 

To-day, 14th, we were getting all our packs 
and things ready for a start into the new and 
northern regions, when at eleven a.m. Mr. Tietkens 
gave the alarm that all the rocks overhead were 
lined with natives, who began to utter the most 
direful yells so soon as they found themselves 
discovered. Their numbers were much larger than 
before, and they were in communication with others 
in the tea-tree on the opposite side of the creek, 
whose loud and inharmonious cries made even the 
heavens to echo with their sounds. They began 
operations by poising their spears and waving us 
away. We waited for some little time, watching 
their movements, with our rifles in our hands. A 
lliijht of spears came crashing through the flimsy 
sides of our house, the roof and west gable being 
the only parts thickly covered, and they could see 
us jumping about inside to avoid their spears. 
Then a flight of spears came from the concealed 


enemy in the tea-tree. Mr. Tietkens and I rushed out, 
and fired right into the middle of the crowd. From 
the rocks behind which they hid, they sent another 
flight of spears ; how we escaped them I can't 
imagine. In the meantime Gibson and Jimmy 
were firing through the boughs, and I decided that 
it was for us to take the aggressive. We rushed 
up the rocks after the enemy, when they seemed to 
drop like caterpillars, as instantaneously, they were 
all down underneath us right at the camp. I was 
afraid they would set fire to it ; we however finally 
drove them from our stronghold, inducing them to 
decamp more or less the worse, and leave behind 
them a considerable quantity of military stores, 
in the shape of spears, wommerahs, waddies, 
wallabies' skins, owls, fly-flappers, red ochre, and 
numerous other minor valuables. These we 
brought in triumph to the camp. It always dis- 
tressed me to have to fire at these savages, and 
it was only when our lives were in most imminent 
danger that we did so, for, as I ago says, though 
in the trade of war I have slain men, yet do I hold 
it very stuff* o' the conscience to do no contrived 
murder. I lack iniquity, sometimes, to do me 
service. We then went on with our work, though 
expecting our foes to return, but we were not again 
molested, as they now probably thought we were 
vipers that would not stand too much crowding. 

Three horses were missing, therefore we could 
not leave that day, and when they were found on 
the next, it was too late to start. I tied one of these 
wretches up all night, so as to get the mob early 
to-morrow. I was very uneasy about the water in 
our tanks, as every hour's delay was of the greatest 


consequence. I had no very great regret at leaving 
this depot, except that I had not been able to push 
out more than 1 50 miles to the west from it. I now 
thought by going to the new northern range, that 
my progress thence might be easier. We may per- 
haps have paid the passing tribute of a sigh at 
leaving our little gardens, for the seeds planted in 
most of them had grown remarkably well. The 
plants that throve best here were Indian gram, 
maize, peas, spinach, pumpkins, beans, and cucum- 
bers ; melons also grew pretty well, with turnips 
and mustard. Only two wattles out of many dozens 
sown here came up, and no eucalypts have ap- 
peared, although the seeds of many different kinds 
were set. Gibson had been most indefatigable in 
keeping the little gardens in order, and I believe 
was really grieved to leave them, but the inexorable 
mandates of circumstance and duty ibrced us from 
our pleasant places, to wander into ampler realms 
and spaces, where no foot has left its traces. De- 
parting, still we left behind us some lasting memo- 
rials of our visit to this peculiar place, which, 
though a city of refuge to us, was yet a dangerous 
and a dreadful home. The water supply was now 
better than when we arrived. 

" Our fount disappearing, 

From the rain-drop did borrow, 
To me comes great cheering, 
I leave it to-morrow." 

There were a number of opossums here which 
often damaged the garden produce in the night. 
There were various dull-plumaged small birds, with 
hawks, crows, and occasionally ducks, and one 


abominable croaking creature at night used to 
annoy me exceedingly, and though I often walked 
up the glen I could never discover what sort of bird 
it was. It might have been a raven ; yes, a raven 
never flitting may be sitting, may be sitting, on 
those shattered rocks of wretchedness — on that 
Troglodytes' shore, where in spirit I may wander, 
o'er those arid regions yonder ; but where I wish to 
squander, time and energies no more. Though a 
most romantic region, its toils and dangers legion, 
my memory oft besieging, what time cannot re- 
store ; again I hear the shocks of the shattering 
of the rocks, see the wallabies in flocks, all trem- 
bling at the roar, of the volcanic reverberations, or 
seismatic detonations, which peculiar sensations 
I wish to know no more. The horses were mus- 
tered at last, and at length we were about to depart, 
not certainly in the direction I should have wished 
to go, but still to something new. 

Fort Mueller, of course, was named after my kind 
friend the Baron,* who was a personal contributor 
to the fund for this expedition. It was really the 
most astonishing place it has ever been my fortune 
to visit. Occasionally one would hear the metallic 
sounding clang, of some falling rock, smashing into 
the glen below, toppled from its eminence by some 
subterranean tremour or earthquake shock, and the 
vibrations of the seismatic waves would precipitate 
the rocks into different groups and shapes than they 
formerly possessed. I had many strange, almost 
superstitious feelings with regard to this singular 
spot, for there was always a strange depression upon 
my spirits whilst here, arising partly perhaps from 
the constant dread of attacks from the hostile 


natives, and partly from the physical peculiarities of 
the region itself. 

" On all there hung a shadow and a fear, 
A sense of mystery, the spirit daunted, 
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear. 
This region's haunted." 

On the 1 6th we departed, leaving to the native 
owners of the soil, this singular glen, where the 
water flowed only in the night, where the earth- 
quake and the dry thunderstorm occurred every 
day, and turned our backs for the last time upon 

" Their home by horror haunted. 
Their desert land enchanted," 

and plunged again into the northern wilderness. 

DEPART, 26s 



The Kangaroo Tanks — Horses stampede — ^Water by digging — 
Staggering horses — Deep rock-reservoir — Glen Gumming — 
Mount Russell— Glen Gerald— Glen Fielder — The Alice Falls 
— Separated hills — Splendid-looking creek — Excellent country 
— The Pass of the Abencerrages — Sladen Water — An alarm 
— Jimmy's anxiety for a date — Mount Barlee — Mount Butt- 
field — " Stagning " water — Ranges continue to the west — A 
notch — Dry rocky basins — Horses impounded — Desolation 
Glen — ^Wretched night — Terrible Billy — A thick clump of 
gums — A strong and rapid stream — The Stemodia viscosa 
— Head first in a bog — Leuhman's Spring — Groener's and 
Tyndall's Springs — The Great Gorge — Fort McKellar — The 
Gorge of Tarns — Ants again — Swim in the tarn — View from 
summit of range — Altitude — Tatterdemalions — An explorer's 
accomplishments — Cool and shady caves — Large rocky tarn 
— The Circus — High red sandhills to the w^st — Ancient lake 
bed — Burrowing wallabies — ^The North-west Mountain — 
Jimmy and the grog bottle — The Rawlinson Range — Moth- 
and fly-catching plant — An inviting mountain — Inviting valley 
— Fruitless search for water — Ascend the mountain — Mount 
Robert — Dead and dying horses — Description of the mob — 
Mount Destruction — Reflections — Life for water — Hot winds 
— Retreat to Sladen Water — Wild ducks — An ornithological 
lecture — Shift the camp — Cockatoo parrots — Clouds of 
pigeons — Dragged by Diaway — Attacked by the natives. 

It was late on the i6th of January when we left 
Fort Mueller. We reached our first or Kangaroo 
Tanks in eleven miles, so called as we saw several 
kangaroos there on our first visit ; but only having 


revolvers, we could not get near enough to shoot 
any of them. The water had remained in them 
quite as well as I could expect, but we did not use 
it that night. The horses were evidently inclined 
to ramble back, so we short-hobbled them ; but as 
soon as it became dusk, they all went off at a gallop. 
Mr. Tietkens and I went after them, but the wretches 
would not allow us to get up with them. The 
moment they heard us breaking any sticks in the 
scrubs behind them, off they started again ; we had 
to go five or six miles before we could get hold of 
any of them, and it being cloudy and dark, we 
hardly knew which way to drive them back ; at 
length we saw the reflection of a fire, and it proved 
we were taking them right ; it was midnight when 
we got back. We tied one up and waited for morn- 
ing, when we found they were all gone again, but 
having one to ride we thought to get them pretty 
soon. It now appeared that in the scrubs and 
darkness last night we had missed three. Now we 
had to use our tank water, the three missing horses 
not being found by night. The missing horses were 
found the next day, the i8th, and we continued our 
journey from these now empty tanks at twelve o'clock, 
and reached the native clay-pan tanks by night. 
The second one we had dug, though well shaded, 
was quite dry, and the native hole contained only 
sufficient for about half the horses. Some drank it 
all up, the rest going without, but we consoled them 
with the assurance that they should have some 
when we reached the top or Emu Tank. We 
wanted to fill up our own water-bags, as our supply 
was exhausted. On reaching it, however, to our 
disgust wc found it perfectly dry, and as we couldn't 


get any water, the only thing to do was to keep 
pushing on, as far and as fast as we could, towards 
the Alice Falls. We got some water by digging in 
a small Grevillea (beef-wood-tree), water-channel, 
about three miles this side of it. The horses were 
exceedingly thirsty, and some of them when they 
got water were afflicted with staggers. The grass 
was beautifully green. The last few days have been 
comparatively cool. As the horses had two heavy 
days' stages, I did not move the camp, but Mr. 
Tietkens and I rode off to the main range to 
explore the gorges we had formerly seen to the 
east. The country at the foot of the range was 
very stony, rough, and scrubby. We reached the 
mouth of the most easterly gorge, tied up our 
horses, and walked up. We very soon came upon 
a fine deep long rock-reservoir with water running 
into and out of it. I could not touch the bottom 
with over twenty feet of string. The rocky sides 
of this gorge rose almost perpendicularly above us, 
and the farther we went up, the more water we saw, 
until our passage was completely stopped by the 
abruptness of the walls and the depth of the water 
at their feet ; I called this Glen Gumming.* The 
particular part or hill of the range on which this re- 
servoir exists I named Mount Russell ; * this was the 
most eastern mount of the range. We then turned 
westerly towards the Alice Falls, and in a mile and 
a half we came to another gorge, where there was 
a cascade falling into a very clear round basin over 
twenty feet deep, washed out of solid white stone. 
There were numerous other basins, above and 
below the large one. I called this place Glen 
Gerald. Proceeding on our way, we came to another 


cascade and basin ; the fall of water was from a 
lesser height. I called this Glen Fielder. From 
here we went to the Alice Falls, rested the horses, 
and had a swim and delicious shower bath. A 
warm wind from the south-east prevailed all 

I wished to find a road through or over this 
range, but will evidently have to go farther to the 
west, where at seven or eight miles there are ap- 
parently two separate hummocks. We returned to 
camp quite charmed with our day's ramble, although 
the country was very rough and stony. The vege- 
tation about here is in no way different from any 
which exists between this range and Mount Olga. 
Making a move now in the direction of the two 
apparently separated hills, we passed through some 
scrub of course, and then came to grassy gum-tree 
or eucalyptus flats, with water-channels. At twelve 
miles we came fairly on to the banks of a splendid- 
looking creek, with several sheets of water ; its bed 
was broad, with many channels, the intermediate 
spaces being thickly set with long coarse green 
rushes. The flow of the water was to the north, 
and the creek evidently went through a glen or 
pass ; the timber grew thick and vigorous ; the 
water had a slightly brackish taste. All through 
the pass we saw several small sheets of water. 
One fine hole had great quantities of ducks on it, 
but Gibson, who started to shoot some of them, 
couldn't get his gun to go off, but the ducks' fire- 
arms acted much better, for they went off extremely 

We encamped at a place near a recent native 
camp, where the grass was very good. This was 


evidently a permanently watered pass, with some 
excellent country round it to the south. 

The range appeared to continue to the west, and 
this seemed the only pass through it. I called this 
the Pass of the Abencerrages — that is to say, the 
Children of the Saddle. The creek and its 
waters I named Sladen Water, after the late Sir 
Charles Sladen.* This evening, having had a com- 
fortable bath, I was getting my blankets ready for 
bed when Jimmy Andrews came rushing over to 
me. I immediately grabbed a rifle, as I thought 
it was an attack by the natives. He merely begged 
to know what day of the month it was, and 
requested me to mention the fact, with day and 
date in my journal, that — yes, Gibson was actually 
seen in the act of bathing. I thought Jimmy was 
joking, as this I could not believe without the 
sensible and true avouch of mine own eyes, but 
there was the naked form, the splashing water, and 
the swimming dog. It was a circumstance well 
worth recording, for I am sure it is' the first full- 
bodied ablution he has indulged in since leaving 
Mount Olga, eighteen weeks to a day, and I am 
not at all sure that he bathed there. It was there- 
fore with great pleasure that I recorded the unusual 
circumstance. When Jimmy left me grinning, and 
I had time to get over my surprise, and give mature 
consideration to this unusual matter, it did seem to 
me better, having the welfare of the whole of the 
members of my expedition at heart — I say, it did 
appear better, on the principle of the greatest good 
for the greatest number, that Gibson should endure 
the agony of an all-over wash, than that we should 
be attacked and perhaps killed by the natives. 


The flies on this range are evidently very nume- 
rous, for their attention to our eyes is not only 
persistent but very annoying. 

This morning I made the latitude of this pass to 
be 24° 58', and longitude 127° 55'. We followed 
this creek ; travelling along its banks, we found 
native huts very numerous, and for a few miles 
some sheets of water were seen ; the bed then 
became too sandy ; its course was about north-west. 
In eight or nine miles we found that sandhill and 
casuarina country existed, and swallowed up the 
unfortunate creek. The main line of ranges con- 
tinued westerly, and, together with another range in 
front of us to the north, formed a kind of crescent. 
No pass appeared to exist between them. I now 
went to the eastern end of a range that lay to the 
north of us, and passing over a low ridge had a 
good view of the surrounding country. Ranges 
appeared in almost all directions ; the principal ones 
lay to the west and north-west. One conspicuous 
abrupt-faced mount bore north 1 7° east ; this I 
named Mount Barlee. There were others to the 
east-north-east, and the long sweep of the range 
from which we had come to the south. One hill 
near us looked inviting, and we found a deep rocky 
gorge with water in its neighbourhood. In fact 
there were several fine rocky basins ten and twelve 
feet deep, though they were very rough places to 
get horses to. I called the high hill Mount Butt- 
field. It appeared as if no rain had fallen here 
lately ; the water in all these holes was greenish 
and stagnant, or stagning as Gibson and Jimmy 
called it. The grass, such as there was, was old, 
white, and dry. The country down below, north- 


wards, consisted of open, sandy, level, txiodia ground, 
dotted with a few clumps of the desert oak, giving 
a most pleasing appearance to the eye, but its reality 
is startlingly different, keeping, as it were, the word 
of promise to the eye, but breaking it to the hope. 
While the horses were being collected this morning 
I ascended Mount Buttfield, and found that ranges 
continued to the west for a considerable distance. 
I now decided to make for a notch or fall in the 
main range we had left, which now bore nearly 
west, as there appeared to be a creek issuing from 
the hills there. Travelling over casuarina sandhills 
and some level triodia ground, we found there was 
a creek with eucalypts on it, but it was quite evident 
that none of the late showers had fallen there. 
Hardly any grass was to be found, the ground 
being open and stony, with thorny vegetation. 

In the main channel we could only find deep, 
rocky, dry basins, but up a small branch gorge I 
found three small basins with a very limited supply 
of water, not sufficient for my horses both now and 
in the morning, so we thought it better that they 
should do without it to-night. Above the camp 
there was a kind of pound, so we put all the horses 
up there, as it was useless to let them ramble all 
over the country in the night. The ants were 
excessively troublesome here. I could not find 
sufficient shade for the thermometer to-day, but 
kept it as cool as I could for fear of its bursting. 

This glen, or rather the vegetation which had 
existed in it, had been recently burned by the 
natives, and it had in consequence a still more 
gloomy and dreary appearance. I called it by its 
proper name, that is to say, Desolation Glen. 


I could get no rest last night on account of the 
ants, the wretches almost ate me alive, and the 
horses tried so often to pass by the camp that I was 
delighted at the reappearance of the morn. Mr. 
Tietkens also had to shift his camp, and drove the 
horses back, but ants as big as elephants, or an 
earthquake that would destroy the world, would 
never wake Gibson and Jimmy. It was difficult to 
get the horses to the place where the water was, 
and we could only manage three at a time. There 
was fortunately just enough water, though none to 
spare. One old fool of a horse must needs jump 
into an empty rock basin ; it was deep and funnel- 
shaped, so that he could not stand when he got 
there, so he fell, and had knocked himself about 
terribly before we could get him out. Indeed, I 
never thought he could come out whole, and I was 
preparing to get him out in pieces when he made 
one last super-equine exertion, and fell up and out 
at the same time. 

The delay in watering the horses, and extracting 
Terrible Billy from the basin, made it twelve 
o'clock before we could turn our backs upon this 
hideous place, hoping to find no more like it. We 
travelled along the stony slope of the range nearly 
west, and in less than two miles we crossed a small 
creek -channel with a thick clump of gum-trees 
right under the range. The tops of a second 
clump were also visible about half a mile off. Mr. 
Tietkens went to search down Desolation Creek. 
I directed Gibson to go on with the horses to the 
foot of a hill which I pointed out to him, and to 
remain there until I overtook him. Up the creek 
close to the clump of timber the whole glen was 


choked with a rank vegetation, beneath which the 
water ran in a strong and rapid stream that issued 
to the upper air from the bottom of the range. 
In trying to cross this channel, my horse became 
entangled in the dense vegetation, whose roots, 
planted in rich and oozy soil, induced the tops of 
this remarkable plant to grow ten, twelve, and 
fifteen feet high. It had a nasty gummy, sticky 
feel when touched, and emitted a strong, coarse 
odour of peppermint. The botanical name of this 
plant is Stemodia viscosa. This vegetation was 
not substantial enough to sustain my horse, and he 
plunged so violently that he precipitated me head 
first into the oozy, black, boggy mass, and it 
appeared as though he must be swallowed up alive. 
I had in such a place great difficulty in getting my 
saddle, rifle, revolver, and other gear off the animals 
back. I gave up all hopes of recovering the horse, 
for he had ceased struggling, and was settling down 
bodily in the morass. 

I left him and ran shouting after Gibson and 
Jimmy, but they were too far away ; Mr. Tietkens, 
however, on his way after them, heard me and rode 
up. His astonishment was great indeed when I 
showed him the horse, now deeply imbedded in the 
bog. The vegetation could hold us up above the 
running stream, and at last, but how I never could 
make out, by dint of flogging, helping to lift, and 
yelling at him, the creature, when he found we were 
trying to help him, interested himself once more in 
the matter, and at length we got him out of this 
bottomless pit. He was white when he went in, 
but coal black when he came out. There were no 
rock-holes at the head of this spring; the water 

VOL. I. T 


drains from underneath the mountains, and is 
permanent beyond a doubt. I called this Lueh- 
man s Springs. The water appears on the surface 
for a little over a mile. Having re-saddled my 
dirty black beast, we went to the next gorge, where 
the clump of eucalyptus was very thick and fine- 
looking ; the water here springing from the hills 
as at the last, we were mighty skeery how we 
approached this. A fine stream of water ran 

After this we found five other glens with running 
springs, in about as many miles ; they were named 
respectively, but afterwards, Groener s and Tyndall's 
Springs, the Great Gorge, Fort McKellar,* where 
I subsequently had a depot, and the Gorge of 
Tarns. Fort McKellar is the most western water 
suitable for a depot, and is the most agreeable 
encampment. Many of these glens had fine rock- 
holes as well as running springs ; most of the 
channels were full of bulrushes and the peculiar 
Stemodia. This plant is of a dark-green colour, of a 
pulpy nature, with a thick leaf, and bears a minute 
violet-coloured flower. It seemed very singular 
that all these waters should exist close to the place 
I called Desolation Glen ; it appeared as if it must 
be the only spot on the range that was destitute of 
water. After some time spent in exploring these 
charming places, it was time to look about for the 
horses, and though Gibson had crossed all these 
channels within sight of their waters, he never 
stopped for a moment to see if the horses would 
drink. We expected to overtake him in a mile or 
two, as the hill pointed out to him was now close at 
hand. The country was so solid and stony that we 


could not follow the tracks of the horses for any 
distance, they could only be picked up here and 
there, but the country being open, though rising and 
falling into gullies and ridges, we thought to see 
them at any moment, so that, as we had found so 
many waters and the day was Sunday, I wanted to 
camp early and rest. Gibson, however, kept 
driving on, driving on, going in no particular 
direction — north, north-north-west, north-west, south- 
west, north again ; and having got such a start of 
us, it was just night when we overtook him, still 
driving on up a dry creek, going due south, slap 
into the range amongst rocks and stones, &c. I 
was greatly annoyed, for, having found six splendid 
permanent waters, we had to camp without a drop 
of water either for ourselves or our horses, the 
animals being driven about the whole day when 
they might have had a fine day's rest, with green 
grass and splendid water. It is impossible to drill 
sense into some people's heads ; but there — perhaps 
I had no sense in coming into such a region 

A fierce, warm south wind blew all night ; the 
ants were dreadful, and would not allow me to sleep 
for a minute, though the others did not seem to feel 
them. The range still continued to the west, and 
other creeks were visible in that direction, but I 
decided to return to the last water I had seen — that 
is to say, at the Gorge of Tarns. Not being able to 
sleep, I went after the horses long before daylight, 
and found they had wandered a terrible distance, 
although short-hobbled. I soon found out the 
cause, for one horse had been loose all night with 
his pack on, and had consequently led the others a 

T 2 


fine jaunt. When all were found and packed, we 
returned to the gorge which, in consequence of its 
having so many splendid basins of deep water, I 
named as before said. On arriving, we fixed our 
camp close up to the large basins, but the horses 
could water a mile below, where some tea-tree 
grew, and where the water reappeared upon the 
surface after sinking beneath it. There was some 
good feed here for the horses, but it was over a very 
limited area. 

We had a swim in the fine rocky tarn, and we 
were delighted to be joined by Gibson in our 
ablutions. Could the bottom of this pool be cleared 
of the loose blocks of stone, gravel, and sand, it 
would doubtless be found of very great depth ; but 
the rains and floods of ages have nearly filled it with 
stones, loosened from the upper rocks, and it is 
only in the crevices between the rocks at the bottom 
that one can discover the depth to be greater than 
seven feet. Shade here is very scarce when the sun 
is overhead, except up around the large basin, 
where there are caves and overhanging rocky 
ledges, under which we sit, and over which the 
splashing waters from their sources above fall into 
the tarn below. 

The view from the top of the range was very 
similar to that from Mount Buttfield, only that now 
to the south we could see an horizon of scrub. To 
the north, the natives were burning the spinifex, 
and! this produced such a haze that no definite view 
could be obtained. Other portions of the range 
quite prevented a western view. The altitude of 
this summit was a little over 3000 feet above sea 


Not being able to glean any farther information 
about the surrounding country, we (con)descended to 
work in the shady caves, swimming and working 
alternately during the day, for we had plenty of the 
ever-recurring tasks to do, viz. the repairing of 
pack-bags and clothes, and the unravelling of canvas 
for twine. 

The first night we passed here was close and hot. 
We had so much of sewing to do that we set to work 
with a will ; our clothes also require as much 
attention as the pack-bags and pack-saddles. No 
one could conceive the amount of tearing and 
patching that is for ever going on ; could either a 
friend or stranger see us in our present garb, our 
appearance would scarcely be thought even pic- 
turesque ; for a more patched and ragged set of 
tatterdemalions it would be difficult to find upon 
the face of the earth. We are not, indeed, actually 
destitute of clothes, but, saving our best for future 
emergencies, we keep continually patching our 
worst garments, hence our peculiar appearance, as 
our hats, shirts, and trousers, are here and there, so 
quilted with bits of old cloth, canvas, calico, basil, 
greenhide, and old blanket, that the original garment 
is scarcely anywhere visible. In the matter of boots 
the traveller must be able to shoe himself as well as 
his horses in these wild regions of the west. The 
explorer indeed should be possessed of a good few 
accomplishments — amongst these I may enumerate 
that he should be able to make a pie, shoe himself 
or his horse, jerk a doggerel verse or two, not for 
himself, but simply for the benefit or annoyance of 
others, and not necessarily for publication, nor as a 
guarantee of good faith ; he must be able to take, 


and make, an observation now and again, mend a 
watch, kill or cure a horse as the times may require, 
make a pack-saddle, and understand something of 
astronomy, surveying, geography, geology, and 
mineralogy, et hoc, simile huic. 

With regard to shoeing oneself, I will give my 
reader some idea of what strength is required for 
boots in this country. I repaired mine at Fort 
Mueller with a double sole of thick leather, with 
sixty horseshoe nails to each boot, all beautifully 
clenched within, giving them a soft and Turkish 
carpet-like feeling to the feet inside ; then, with an 
elegant corona of nail-heads round the heel and 
plates at the toes, they are perfect dreadnoughts, 
and with such understandings I can tread upon a 
mountain with something like firmness, but they 
were nearly the death of me afterwards for all that. 

In the shade of our caves here the thermometer 
does not rise very high, but in the external glen, 
where we sleep in the open air, it is no cooler. 

On the 29th we left this cool and shady spot — 
cool and shady, however, only amongst the caves — 
and continued our march still westward, along the 
slopes of the range. 

In eight miles we crossed ten creeks issuing from 
glens or gorges in the range ; all that I inspected 
had rocky basins, with more or less water in them. 
Other creeks were seen ahead, but no view could 
be got of any horizon to the west ; only the 
northern and eastern ones being open to our view. 
The country surrounding the range to the north 
appeared to consist of open red sandhills, with 
casuarina in the hollows between. At sixteen miles 
I found a large rocky tarn in a creek-gorge ; but 


little or no grass for the horses — indeed, the whole 
country at the foot of this range is very bare of that 
commodity, except at Sladen Water, where it is 

Since we left Sladen Water the horses have not 
done well, and the slopes of this range being so 
rough and stony, many of them display signs of 
sore-footedness. I cannot expect the range to 
continue farther than another day's stage; and 
though I cannot see its end, yet I feel 'tis near. 

Many delays by visiting places caused it to be 
very late when we sat down amongst stones and 
triodia to devour our frugal supper. A solitary 
eagle was the monarch of this scene ; it was perched 
upon the highest peak of a bare ridge, and formed a 
feathery sky-line when looking up the gorge — always 
there sat the solemn, solitary, and silent bird, like 
the Lorelei on her rock — above — beautifully, there, 
as though he had a mission to watch the course of 
passing events, and to record them in the books of 
time and fate. There was a larger and semicircular 
basin still farther up the gorge ; this I called the 
Circus, but this creek and our rock-hole ever after 
went by the name of the Circus. In a few miles 
the next day I could see the termination of the 
range. In nine miles we crossed three creeks, then 
ascended a hill north of us, and obtained at last a 
western view. It consisted entirely of high, red sand- 
hills with casuarinas and low mallee, which formed 
the horizon at about ten miles. The long range that 
had brought us so far to the west was at an end ; 
it had fallen off slightly in altitude towards its 
western extremity, and a deep bed of rolling sand- 
hill country, covered with desert vegetation, sur- 


rounded it on all sides. Nearer to us, north-westerly, 
and stretching nearly to west, lay the dry, irregular, 
and broken expanse of an ancient lake bed. On 
riding over to it we found it very undefined, as 
patches of sandhills occurred amongst low ridges of 
limestone, with bushes and a few low trees all over 
the expanse. There were patches of dry, soda-like 
particles, and the soil generally was a loose dust- 
coloured earth. Samphire bushes also grew in 
patches upon it, and some patches of our arch-enemy, 
triodia. Great numbers of wallaby, a different kind 
from the rock, were seen amongst the limestone 
rises ; they had completely honeycombed all we 
inspected. Water there was none, and if Noah's 
deluge visited this place it could be conveniently 
stowed away, and put out of sight in a quarter of an 

Returning to the horses, we turned southerly to 
the most westerly creek that issues from the range. 
I found some water up at the head of it in 
rock-holes ; but it was so far up easterly, that we 
could not have been more than five or six miles 
across the hills from our last night's encampment at 
the Circus. There was only a poor supply of water 
in two small holes, which could not last longer than 
three days at the most. The thermometer ranged 
up to 104° to-day. Some of the horses are now 
terribly footsore. I would shoe them, only that we 
are likely to be in the sandhills again immediately. 
I did not exactly know which way to go. Mr. 
Tietkens and I ascended the highest hill in this part 
of the range. I had yesterday seen something like 
the top of a ridge south-westerly ; I now found it 
was part of a low distant range, and not of a very 


promising nature. There was a conspicuous moun- 
tain, which now bore north-east about fifty miles 
away, and I fancied I saw the refracted tops of other 
ranges floating in the mirage. I thought, from the 
mountain just mentioned, I might discover others, 
which might lead me away to the west. Up to the 
present time we had always called this, in conse- 
quence of its bearing when first seen, the North- 
west Mountain. I thought a change of country 
might be met with sooner in a north or north- 
westerly direction than in a west or south-westerly 
one, as the sources of the Murchison River must be 
met somewhere in the former direction. I tried the 
boiling-point of water here, and found that the 
ebullition occurred at two degrees higher than at the 
Alice Falls, which indicated a fall of nearly 
1000 feet, the western end of the range being 
much lower than the middle or eastern. We had 
still a couple of bottles of spirit left in the medical 
department, and as nobody seemed inclined to get ill, 
we opened one here. Jimmy Andrews having been 
a sailor boy, I am afraid had learnt bad habits, as he 
was very fond of grog. When we opened the last 
bottle at Christmas, and Jimmy had had a taste, he 
said, " What's the use of only a nobbier or two ? I 

wouldn't give a d ," dump, I suppose he meant, 

"for grog unless I could get drunk." I said, " Well, 
now, my impression is that it would require very little 
grog to do that." He said, " Why, I'd drink six 
bottles off" and never know it." I said, " Well, the 
next bottle we open you shall have as much out of 
it as you can take in one drink, even if you drink 
the whole bottle." He replied, ** Oh, all right, I'll 
leave a nobbier for you, you know, Mr. Giles ; and 


I'd like to give Tietkens a taste ; but that [adjective] 
Gibson, Til swear he won't git none." So we 
opened the bottle, and I said, " Now then, Jimmy, 
here's your grog, let's see how much you can drink." 
•' Oh ! " said he, ** I ain't going to drink it all at once." 
** All right," I said, ** if you don't, we shall — so now is 
your chance." Jimmy poured out a good stiff glass 
and persisted in swallowing it raw. In five minutes 
he was fast asleep, and that was all he got out of 
the bottle ; he never woke till morning, and then — 
well, the bottle was empty then. 

My readers will form a better idea of this 
peculiar and distant mountain range when I tell 
them that it is more than sixty miles long, averaging 
five or six miles through. It is of a bold and 
rounded form ; there is nothing pointed or jagged 
in its appearance anywhere, except where the eagle 
sat upon the rock at the Circus ; its formation is 
mostly a white conglomerate, something between 
granite, marble, and quartz, though some portions 
are red. It is surrounded, except to the east, by 
deserts, and may be called the monarch of those 
regions where the un visited mountains stand. It 
possesses countless rocky glens and gorges, creeks 
and valleys, nearly all containing reservoirs of the 
purest water. When the Australian summer sunset 
smooths the roughness of the corrugated range, 
like a vast and crumpled garment, spread by 
the great Creator's hand, east and west before me 
stretching, these eternal mountains stand. It is a 
singular feature in a strange land, and God knows 
by what beady drops of toilsome sweat Tietkens 
and I rescued it from its former and ancient 
oblivion. Its position in latitude is between the 


24th and 25th parallels, and its longitude between 
127° 30' and 128^30'. I named it the Rawlinson 
Range, after Sir Henry Rawlinson, President of the 
Royal Geographical Society of London. I found 
a singular moth, and fly-catching, plant in this 
range ; it exudes a gummy substance, by which 
insects become attached to the leaves. The ap- 
pearance of this range from a distance is white, flat, 
corrugated, rounded, and treeless. It rises between 
1 100 and 1200 feet in its highest portions, about 
the centre, in the neighbourhood of Fort McKellar, 
above the surrounding country, though its greatest 
elevation above the sea is over 3000 feet. 

On the ist of February, after a very hot night, 
we made a late start for the North-west Mountain, 
which now bore nearly north-east. It took some 
miles to get clear of the stones of the range, the 
appearance of the new feature we were steering for 
being most inviting. Its corrugated front pro- 
claimed the existence of ravines and gorges, while 
a more open valley ran between it and some lower 
hills immediately to the west of it. 

The horses were so delighted to get off" the 
stones, that they travelled uncommonly fast, and we 
got over twenty-eight miles by night, though the 
country was exceedingly heavy travelling, being all 
high, red sandhills, and until near the end of our 
day s stage we could scarcely ever see the 
mountain at all. We encamped without water, 
but I expected to get some early next day at the 
mountain. Two of the horses lay down at the camp 
all night, being thirsty, tired, and footsore ; there 
was no grass for them. The thermometer to-day 
indicated 108'^ in the shade. A great number of 


the horses, from being footsore, were lying down 
this morning, and when mustered they all looked 
excessively hollow and thirsty. If no water be 
found at this mountain, how many of them will be 
alive in a couple of days ? Yesterday we made 
twenty-eight, and to-day at twenty-three, miles we 
reached the foot of the mount. There was an 
inviting valley, up which we took the horses a mile. 
Then, leaving Gibson and Jimmy to await our 
return, Mr. Tietkens and I rode away in search of 
water. It was evident that only a trifling shower, 
if any, had visited this range, for not a drop of 
water could be found, nor any rock reservoirs where 
it might lodge. We parted company, and searched 
separately, but when we met again we could only 
report to each other our non-success. It was now 
past two o clock, our horses had been ridden some- 
what fast over the most horrible and desolate stony 
places, where no water is, and they were now in a 
very exhausted state, especially Mr. Tietkens's. 

There were yet one or two ravines in the southern 
face of the range, and while I ascended the moun- 
tain, Mr. Tietkens and the others took the horses 
round that way and searched. From the summit 
of this sterile mount I had expected at least a 
favourable view, but to my intense disappointment 
nothing of the kind was to be seen. Two little 
hills only, bearing 20° and 14° west of north, were 
the sole objects higher than the general horizon ; 
the latter was formed entirely of high, red sand- 
hills, with casuarina between. To the east only 
was a peaked and jagged range, which I called 
Mount Robert, after my brother ; all the rest was 
a bed of undulating red sand. What was to be 


hoped from a region such as this ? Could water 
exist in it ? It was scarcely possible. For an 
independent watercourse I could not hope, because 
in the many hundreds of miles westward from the 
telegraph line which we had travelled, no creek had 
been met, except in the immediate vicinity of 
ranges, and not a drop of water, so to speak, had I 
obtained away from these. I was upon the point 
of naming this Mount Disappointment, it looked so 
inviting from a distance, and yet I could find no 
water ; and if none here, what possibility could there 
be of getting any in the midst of the dense bed of 
sandhills beyond ? I did not test the boiling-point 
of water, for I had none to boil, but the elevation 
was about 1 100 feet above the surrounding country. 
From a distance this mount has a very cheering 
and imposing appearance, and I would have gone 
to it from almost any distance, with a full belief in 
its having water about it. But if, indeed, the inland 
mountain has really voice and sound, what I could 
gather from the sighings of the light zephyrs that 
fanned my heated brow, as I stood gazing hope- 
lessly from this summit, was anything but a friendly 
greeting, it was rather a warning that called me 
away ; and I fancied I could hear a voice 
repeating. Let the rash wandVer here beware ; 
Heaven makes not travellers its peculiar care. 

Descending now, I joined the others at the foot 
of the hill, when Mr. Tietkens and Gibson informed 
me they had searched everywhere, but in vain. 
The horses were huddled together in the shade of 
a thicket, three or four of them lying down with 
their packs on, and all looking the pictures of 
wretchedness and woe. It was now past four 


o'clock, and there was no alternative but to 

The Gorge of Tarns, thirty miles away, about 
south-south-west, was the nearest water, but 
between us and it was another low range with a 
kind of saddle or break in the middle. I wished, 
if possible, to get over this before night, so we 
turned the horses' heads in that direction. One 
fine horse called Diamond seemed suffering more 
than the rest. Mr. Tietkens's riding-horse, a small 
blue roan, a very game little animal that had always 
carried him well, albeit not too well treated, was 
also very bad, and two others were very trouble- 
some to drive along. The saddle in the low range 
was a most difficult and stony pass ; so dreadfully 
rough and scrubby was it, I was afraid that night 
would descend upon us before we could reach the 
southern side. Mr. Tietkens s Bluey gave in here, 
and fell heavily down a stony slope into a dense 
thicket of scrub ; we had the greatest difficult in 
getting him out, and it was only by rolling him over 
the stones and down the remainder of the slope, 
for he could not stand, that we got him to the 
bottom. He was severely cut and bruised in the 
descent. We just managed to get clear of the 
stones by dark, and unpacked the exhausted 
animals, which had been travelling almost ever 
since daylight. We had no water except a mouth- 
ful for the little dog. The thermometer stood at 
1 08°, ourselves and our horses were choking for 

In the morning several of the horses were lying 
dying about the camp ; Bluey, Diamond, a little 
cob — mate or brother of the one killed on Elder s 


Creek — and one or two more, while those that were 
able had wandered away. Though we were up and 
after them at three in the morning, it was ten before 
I could despatch Mr. Tietkens and Jimmy with the 
main mob. Poor little Bluey died soon after sun- 
rise. Gibson was after the absent horses, which he 
brought at length, and we packed up and went after 
the others. Gibson s usual riding-horse, Trew, was 
very bad, and quite unable to carry him. Mr. 
Tietkens was now riding an old horse which I had 
purchased in Victoria, and had owned for some 
time ; he was called Widge. I had him out on 
my former expedition. He was a cool, calcula- 
ting villain, that no ordinary work could kill, and 
he was as lively as a cricket when Mr. Tietkens 
rode him away ; he usually carried a pack. Jimmy 
carried the little dog Cocky, now nearly dead from 
thirst and heat, though we had given him the last 
drop of water we possessed. Dogs, birds, and large 
beasts in Australia often die of heat, within sight of 
water. Jimmy was mounted on a gray-hipped 
horse, which was also out on my former trip ; 
he carried his rider well to the end. Gibson I had 
mounted on a young bay mare, a creature as good 
as they make them ; she was as merry and gay, as 
it is possible for any of her sex, even of the human 
kind, to be. Her proper name was the Fair Maid 
of Perth ; but somehow, from her lively, troublesome, 
and wanton vagaries, they called her the Sow- Cow. 
My own riding-horse, a small, sleek, cunning little 
bay, a fine hack with excellent paces, called W. A., 
I also had out previously. He would pull on 
his bridle all day long to eat, he would even pre- 
tend to eat spinifex ; he was now very bad and 


footsore. Gibson and I overtook Mr. Tietkens and 
Jimmy, and we pushed on as fast as we could, the 
distance we had now to go, not being more than ten 
or eleven miles. The sandhills were exceedingly 
high and severe, but all the horses got over the last 

We were now in full view of the range, with the 
Gorge of Tarns not more than five miles away. 
But here Diamond and another, Pratt, that I had 
out by myself at the stinking pit in November, fell, 
never to rise. We took off their packs and left 
them on the ground. The thermometer then stood 
at 106° in the shade. We pushed on, intending to 
return immediately with water to the relief of these 
unfortunates. The pack-horses now presented a 
demoralised and disorganised rout, travelling in a 
long single file, for it was quite impossible to keep 
the tail up with the leaders. I shall try to give my 
reader some slight idea of them, if description is 
sufficiently palpable to do so. The real leader was 
an old black mare, blear-eyed from fly-wounds, for 
ever dropping tears of salt rheum, fat, large, strong, 
having carried her 180 lbs. at starting, and now 
desperately thirsty and determined, knowing to an 
inch where the water was ; on she went, reaching 
the stony slopes about two miles from the water. 
Next came a rather herring-gutted, lanky bay horse, 
which having been bought at the Peake, I called 
Peveril ; he was generally poor, but always able, if 
not willing, for his work. Then came a big bay 
cob, and an old flea-bitten gray called Buggs, that 
got bogged in the Stemodia Viscosa Creek, and a 
nuggetty-black harness-horse called Darkie, always 
very fat. These last three carried 200 lbs. each at 


Starting. Then Banks, the best saddle-horse I 
have, and which I had worked too much in dry 
trips before reaching this range ; he was very much 
out of sorts and footsore. Then an iron-grey colt, 
called Diaway, having been very poor and miserable 
when first purchased, but he was a splendid horse. 
Then came the sideways-going old crab. Terrible 
Billy. He was always getting into the most absurd 
predicaments — poor old creature ; got down our 
throats at last ! — falling into holes, and up and down 
slopes, going at them sideways, without the slightest 
confidence in himself, or apparent fear of conse- 
quences ; but the old thing always did his work 
well enough. Blackie next, a handsome young colt 
with a white stripe down his face, and very fast ; 
and Formby, a bay that had done excellent harness- 
work with Diamond on the road to the Peake ; he 
was a great weight-carrier. The next was Hollow 
Back, who had once been a fine-paced and good 
jumping horse, but now only fit for packing ; he 
was very well bred and very game. The next was 
Giant Despair, a perfect marvel. He was a chest- 
nut, old, large-framed, gaunt, and bony, with screwed 
and lately staked feet. Life for him seemed but 
one unceasing round of toil, but he was made of 
iron ; no distance and no weight was too much for 
him. He sauntered along after the leaders, looking 
not a whit the worse than when he left the last 
water, going neither faster nor slower than his wont. 
He was dreadfully destructive with his pack-bags, 
for he would never get out of the road for anything 
less than a gum-tree. Tommy and Badger, two of 
my former expedition horses ; Tommy and Hippy 
I bought a second time from Carmichael, when 
VOL. I. u 


coming up to the Peake. Tommy was poor, old, 
and footsore, the most wonderful horse for his size 
in harness I ever saw. Badger, his mate, was a 
big ambling cob, able to carry a ton, but the greatest 
slug of a horse. I ever came across ; he seems 
absolutely to require flogging as a tonic ; he must 
be flogged out of camp, and flogged into it again, 
mile after mile, day after day, from water and to it. 
He was now, as usual, at the tail of the straggling 
mob, except Gibsons former riding-horse called 
Trew. He was an excellent little horse, but now so 
terribly footsore he could scarcely drag himself 
along ; he was one of six best of the lot. If I put 
them in their order I should say. Banks, the Fair 
Maid of Perth, Trew, Guts (W. A.), Diaway, 
Blackie and Darkie, Widge, the big cob Buggs — 
the flea-bitten grey — Bluey, Badger, who was a fine 
ambling saddle-horse, and Tommy ; the rest might 
range anyhow. The last horse of all was the poor 
little shadow of a cob, the harness-mate of the one 
killed at Elders Creek. On reaching the stones 
this poor little ghost fell, never again to rise. We 
could give him no relief, we had to push on. Guts 
gave in on the stones ; I let him go and walked to 
the water. I need scarcely say how thirsty we all 
were. On reaching the water, and wasting no time, 
Mr. Tietkens and I returned to the three fallen 
horses, taking with us a supply of water, and using 
the Fair Maid, Widge, Formby, and Darkie ; we 
went as fast as the horses could go. On reaching 
the little cob we found him stark and stiff, his hide 
all shrivelled and wrinkled, mouth wide open, and 
lips drawn back to an extraordinary extent. Push- 
ing on we arrived where Diamond and Pratt had 


fallen. They also were quite dead, and must have 
died immediately after they fell ; they presented the 
same appearance as the little cob. Thus my visit 
to the North-west Mountain had cost the lives of 
four horses, Bluey, Diamond, Pratt, and the cob. 
The distance they had to travel was not great — less 
than ninety miles — and they were only two nights 
without water; but the heat was intense, the 
country frightful, and to get over the distance as 
soon as possible, we may have travelled rather fast. 
The horses had not been well off for either grass 
or water at starting, and they were mostly footsore ; 
but in the best of cases, and under the most favour- 
able start from a water, the ephemeral thread of a 
horse s life may be snapped in a moment, in the height 
of an Australian summer, in such a region as this, 
where that detestable vegetation, the triodia, and 
high and rolling sandhills exist for such enormous 
distances. The very sight of the country, in all its 
hideous terrors clad, is sufficient to daunt a man 
and kill a horse. I called the vile mountain which 
had caused me this disaster, Mount Destruction, for 
a visit to it had destroyed alike my horses and my 
hopes. I named the range of which it is the highest 
point, Carnarvon Range. 

We returned again to the Gorge of Tarns, as Mr. 
Tietkens very tritely remarked, sadder but wiser 
men. Our position here is by no means enviable, 
for although there is plenty of permanent water in 
this range, it appears to be surrounded by such 
extensive deserts that advance or retreat is equally 
difficult, as now I had no water in tanks or other- 
wise between this and Fort Mueller, and not a 
horse might ever reach that goal. I am again 

u 2 


seated under the splashing fountain that falls from 
the rocks above, sheltered by the sunless caverns of 
this Gorge of Tarns, with a limpid liquid basin of 
the purest water at my feet, sheltered from the 
heated atmosphere which almost melts the rocks 
and sand of the country surrounding us — sitting as I 
may well declare in the shadow of a great rock in 
a weary land, but we cannot shut out from the 
mind the perils we have endured, the perils 
we may yet have to endure. For the present our 
wants and those of our gallant horses are supplied, 
but to the traveller in such a wilderness, when he 
once turns his back upon a water, the ever-recurring 
question presents itself, of when and where shall I 
obtain more ? The explorer is necessarily insatiable 
for water ; no quantity can satisfy him, for he 
requires it always and in every place. Life for 
water he will at any moment give, for water cannot 
be done without. Thermometer in outer shade 
1 06° ; in the caverns 98°. 

We shall have to remain here for a few days. 
The bare rocks in this glen and the walls of stone 
that form it become so heated during the day that 
the nights passed in it are most oppressive. The 
rocks have not time to cool before the sun is upon 
them again, and at evening, when descending from 
the caves, we find the thermometer actually rises in 
the night air. In the caves during to-day it was 
98°, and at eight o'clock at night outside it was 
101°. We are pestered here terribly by flies, but 
not plagued by either ants or mosquitoes. This 
evening Gibson and Jimmy shot three wallabies. 
This range swarms also with pigeons in every gorge 
and glen, and they come in clouds at night and 


morning for water. Unfortunately nearly all our 
sporting ammunition is gone, though I have a good 
supply of defensive. To-day the thermometer in 
the caves was only 88°, while in the outside shade 
104° the cause being hot winds from the south- 
east. While here we shod the most tender-footed 
of our horses. There was a good deal of thunder 
and lightning. The daytime in this gorge is less 
oppressive than the night. The sun does not 
appear over the eastern hills until nearly nine 
o'clock, and it passes behind the western ones at 
about 4.15 P.M. The horses cannot recover well 
here, the ground being too stony, and the grass and 
herbage too poor ; therefore I shall retreat to the 
Pass of the Abencerrages and the pleasant encamp- 
ment of Sladen Water. One horse. Tommy, was 
still very bad, and had to be left on the road, not 
from want of water, but old age and exhaustion. 
I sent for him the next day, and he rejoined the 
mob. We got back on the 12th of February ; there 
was a fine lot of ducks when we arrived, but those 
sportsmen Gibson and Jimmy went blazing away as 
usual without getting one, wasting the powder and 
shot, which has now become such a scarcity, and 
losing and making the ducks wild into the bargain. 
The birds were so frightened that they split into 
several mobs, and only one mob of eight remained 
at the pass. I wanted to get these, and went to 
some trouble to do so. I first walked away and 
got a horse, and riding him bare-backed I drove the 
ducks quietly down to the camp water-hole, but the 
moment they arrived, I being behind with the 
horse, Gibson and Jimmy must needs go blazing 
away at them again, although they knew they could 


never hit any of them ; and just as I arrived I heard 
the report and saw all the ducks come flying over- 
head up the pass. They went up therefore through 
the regions of the air singing sweetly as they went, 
but I did not sing so sweetly on the occasion. Then 
ensued quite a scientific little ornithological lecture 
on my part, referring mostly to the order of ducks, 
and the species known as wild ones more particu- 
larly, and I explained the subject to them in such a 
plain and forcible manner that both of them ad- 
mitted they quite understood what I was talking 
about, which is a great matter for lecturers to 
consider, because if, after a forcible harangue, a 
speaker's audience is in any way mystified, or not in 
touch with him as to the meaning of his remarks, 
why, then, his time and labour are both lost ; there- 
fore I purposely refrained from any ambiguity, and 
delivered my figures of speech and rounded periods 
in words suitable for the most ordinary comprehen- 
sion, and I really think it had a good effect on both 
of them. Of course I addressed them more in 
sorrow than in anger, although the loss of eight 
ducks was a frightfully heavy one to all of us ; but 
I was partially consoled with the thought that they 
would have to bear their share of the loss. A few 
hours afterwards I went after the ducks again, and 
by good fortune bagged six in one shot ; one got 
away in the bushes, and the other flew away ; and 
he seemed to me to have a very crooked flew at 
that. These were the fattest birds I ever ate. We 
had a fine supper of ducks, their flavour being 

The ants were terribly troublesome at this water- 
hole, although we slept on the damp sand ; so we 


shifted the camp up to the sweet water-hole, and 
selected as open a piece of ground as possible, as 
I intended the camp to remain here for a week or 
two. More thunder and lightning, with great heat 
and a few drops of rain. Thermometer, 106°. 
There were countless numbers of the little cockatoo 
parrots here ; they are very shy, and even when 
Gibson or Jimmy lets off a gun at them, a dozen or 
two are sure to fall ; it takes some time, however, 
before another shot can be had at them. I fancy 
they are migrating. The pigeons swarm at night 
to water. I intend to visit the ridges which I 
mentioned as lying to the south-west, from the west 
end of this range. We shod the old black mare, 
Diaway, and old Buggs, to take with us. The i8th 
of February, 1874, was like to have proved a most 
eventful day in my life, for it was very nearly the 
termination of it. I was riding Diaway, the colt 
just shod ; he is seldom ridden, though a very fine 
hack, as he is such a splendid weight-carrier as a 
pack-horse ; he is rather skittish, and if anything 
goes wrong with his pack, he 11 put it right (on the 
ground) almost instantaneously. I was driving all 
the horses up to the camp, when one broke from 
the mob, and galloped across the creek. There 
was a bank of stones about three feet high, which 
was hidden by a growth of rushes ; Diaway went 
bounding over the great bushes and inequalities 
of the channel, and reached the bank without 
seeing it, until too late, when he made a bound at, 
but fell on the top of, it, rolling over upon me at 
the same time. He scrambled up, but left me on 
the broad of my back. On my feet were those 
wonderful boots before described, with the sixty 


horseshoe nails in each, and it was no wonder that 
one of my feet got caught in the stirrup on the off 
side of the horse.- It is one of the most horrible 
positions that the mind can well imagine, to con- 
template being dragged by a horse. I have been 
dragged before now, and only escaped by miracles 
on each occasion. In this case, Diaway, finding me 
attached to him, commenced to lash out his newly- 
shod heels at me, bounding away at the same time 
into a dense thicket of scrub close by. Mr. Tietkens 
and the others seeing the accident came running 
up behind, as Diaway and I were departing. For- 
tunately I was not dragged far, but was literally 
kicked free from and by, the frightened and un- 
controlled animal. The continual kickings I re- 
ceived — some on my legs and body, but mostly upon 
that portion of the frame which it is considered equally 
indecorous to present either to a friend or an enemy 
— at length bent one or two of the nail-heads which 
held me, and, tearing the upper leather off my boot, 
which fortunately was old, ripped it off, leaving me 
at length free. As I lay on my excoriated back, I 
saw Diaway depart without me into the scrub, with 
feelings of the most profound delight, although 
my transports were considerably lessened by the 
agonising sensations I experienced. Mr. Tietkens 
helped me to hobble over to the camp in a most 
disorganised state, though thanking Providence for 
so fortunate an escape. Had Diaway but entered 
the scrub not two yards from where I was released, 
I could not have existed more than a minute. The 
following day Mr. Tietkens was getting everything 
ready to go with me to the south-west ridges, though 
I had great doubts of my ability to ride, when we 


became aware of the presence of a whole host of 
natives immediately below the camp. All the 
morning the little dog had been strangely per- 
turbed, and we knew by the natives' fires that they 
were in our immediate neighbourhood. There was 
.so much long grass and tall rushes in the creek 
bed, that they could approach very close before 
we could possibly see them. So soon as they 
found themselves detected, as usual they set up 
the most horrible yells, and, running up on the open 
ground, sent a flight of spears at us before a rifle 
or a gun could be seized, and we had to jump 
behind a large bush, that I left standing on purpose, 
to escape. Our stand of arms was there, and we 
immediately seized them, sending the bullets flying 
just above their heads and at their feet. The report 
of the weapons and the whirring sound of the 
swiftly passing shots made them pause, and they 
began an harangue, ordering us out of their terri- 
tories, to the south. Seeing us, however, motion- 
less and silent, their courage returned, and again 
they advanced, uttering their war cries with renewed 
energy. Again the spears would have been amongst 
us ; but I, not relishing even the idea of barbed 
spears being stuck through my body, determined 
not to permit either my own or any of my 
party's lives to be lost for the sake of not dis- 
charging my firearms. Consequently we at length 
succeeded in causing a rout, and driving the enemy 
away. There were a great number of natives in 
the bushes, besides those who attacked us. There 
were not many oldish men among them, only one 
with grey hair. I am reminded here to mention 
that in none of my travels in these western wilds 


have I found any places of sepulture of any kind. 
The graves are not consumed by the continual 
fires that the natives keep up in their huntings, 
for that would likewise be the fate of their old 
and deserted gunyahs, which we meet with fre- 
quently, and which are neither all nor half destroyed. 
Even if the natives put no boughs or sticks upon 
their graves, we must see some mounds or signs of 
burial-places, if not of bones or skulls. My opinion 
is, that these people eat their aged ones, and most 
probably those who die from natural causes also. 

It was a cool, breezy day, ancl, in consequence of 
the hostile action of the natives, I did not depart on 
the south-west excursion. 1 was not sorry to delay 
my departure, for I was in great pain all over. I 
now decided to leave Mr. Tietkens and take Jimmy 
with me. I cannot say I anticipate making any 
valuable discovery on this trip ; for had there been 
ranges of any elevation to the westward, or beyond 
the ridges in question, I should in all probability 
have seen them from the end of this range, and 
should have visited them in preference to Mount 
Destruction. I felt it incumbent on me to visit 
them, however, as from them I might obtain a 
view of some encouraging features beyond. 




Journey south-west — Glens and springs — Rough watering-place 
— A marble bath — Glassy rocks — Swarms of ants — Solitary 
tree — An oven — Terrible night — And day — Wretched 
appearance of the horses — Mountains of sand — Hopeless 
view — Speculations — In great pain — Horses in agony — 
Difficulty in watering them — Another night of misery — 
Dante's Inferno — The waters of oblivion — Return to the 
pass — Dinner of carrion — A smoke-house — A tour to the east 
— Singular pinnacle — Eastern ranges — A gum creek — Basins 
of water — Natives all around — Teocallis — Horrid rites — A 
chip of the old block — A wayside inn — Gordon's Springs. 

Taking Jimmy and three horses, we travelled, after 
clearing the pass, on the south slopes of the range 
westward, crossing several small creek-channels, 
which might or might not have waters in them. 
At twelve miles we came to a green-looking channel 
and found water, running so far down as a rocky 
hole, near where we crossed. We outspanned here 
for an hour, as I found riding very severe toil after 
my late kicking. I named this secluded but pretty 
little spot. Glen Helen. It was very rough travel- 
ling ground — worse than on the northern side of the 
range. Three miles farther, we crossed another 
running water, and called it Edith Hull's Springs. 
At ten miles farther, after crossing several channels, 
we turned up one, and got some water in a very 
rough and stony gorge off the main channel, which 


was dry. There was very poor feed, but we were 
compelled to remain, as there was no other creek in 
sight for some miles, and the horses, although shod, 
could only travel slowly over the terribly rough 
ground. When we turned them out, they preferred 
to stand still, rather than roam about among the 
rocks and boulders for food. The day was cool ; 
the southern horizon, the only one we could see, 
was bounded entirely by red sandhills and casuarina 
timber. The horses ate nothing all night, and 
stood almost where they were hobbled. 

In this region, and in the heat of summer, the 
moment horses, no matter how fat and fresh they 
may be, are taken away from their companions to 
face the fearful country that they kr^ow is before 
them, they begin to fret and fall away visibly. 
They will scarcely eat, and get all the weaker in 
consequence, and then they require twice as much 
water as they otherwise would if their insides were 
partly filled with grass. When I released our three 
from the hobbles this morning, they immediately 
pretended to feed ; but this old ruse has been 
experienced before, and time was now up, to move 
on again. They were very thirsty, and nearly 
emptied the rock basin, where we had a kind of 
bath before starting. Along the foot-hills over 
which we were obliged to travel, the country was 
much rougher than yesterday ; so much so, that I 
kept away as much as possible. At twenty miles 
we turned up a creek-channel, which proved to 
be a dreadful gorge, being choked up with huge 
boulders of red and white granite. Among these I 
found a fine rock tarn ; indeed, I might call it a 
marble bath, for the rock was almost pure white, 


was dry. There was very poor feed, but we were 
compelled to remain, as there was no other creek in 
sight for some miles, and the horses, although shod, 
could only travel slowly over the terribly rough 
ground. When we turned them out, they preferred 
to stand still, rather than roam about among the 
rocks and boulders for food. The day was cool ; 
the southern horizon, the only one we could see, 
was bounded entirely by red sandhills and casuarina 
timber. The horses ate nothing all night, and 
stood almost where they were hobbled. 

In this region, and in the heat of summer, the 
moment horses, no matter how fat and fresh they 
may be, are taken away from their companions to 
face the fearful country that they know is before 
them, they begin to fret and fall away visibly. 
They will scarcely eat, and get all the weaker in 
consequence, and then they require twice as much 
water as they otherwise would if their insides were 
partly filled with grass. When I released our three 
from the hobbles this morning, they immediately 
pretended to feed ; but this old ruse has been 
experienced before, and time was now up, to move 
on again. They were very thirsty, and nearly 
emptied the rock basin, where we had a kind of 
bath before starting. Along the foot-hills over 
which we were obliged to travel, the country was 
much rougher than yesterday ; so much so, that I 
kept away as much as possible. At twenty miles 
we turned up a creek-channel, which proved to 
be a dreadful gorge, being choked up with huge 
boulders of red and white granite. Among these I 
found a fine rock tarn ; indeed, I might call it a 
marble bath, for the rock was almost pure white, 


was dry. There was very poor feed, but we were 
compelled to remain, as there was no other creek in 
sight for some miles, and the horses, although shod, 
could only travel slowly over the terribly rough 
ground. When we turned them out, they preferred 
to stand still, rather than roam about among the 
rocks and boulders for food. The day was cool ; 
the southern horizon, the only one we could see, 
was bounded entirely by red sandhills and casuarina 
timber. The horses ate nothing all night, and 
stood almost where they were hobbled. 

In this region, and in the heat of summer, the 
moment horses, no matter how fat and fresh they 
may be, are taken away from their companions to 
face the fearful country that they ki^ow is before 
them, they begin to fret and fall away visibly. 
They will scarcely eat, and get all the weaker in 
consequence, and then they require twice as much 
water as they otherwise would if their insides were 
partly filled with grass. When I released our three 
from the hobbles this morning, they immediately 
pretended to feed ; but this old ruse has been 
experienced before, and time was now up, to move 
on again. They were very thirsty, and nearly 
emptied the rock basin, where we had a kind of 
bath before starting. Along the foot-hills over 
which we were obliged to travel, the country was 
much rougher than yesterday ; so much so, that I 
kept away as much as possible. At twenty miles 
we turned up a creek-channel, which proved to 
be a dreadful gorge, being choked up with huge 
boulders of red and white granite. Among these I 
found a fine rock tarn ; indeed, I might call it a 
marble bath, for the rock was almost pure white, 


was dry. There was very poor feed, but we were 
compelled to remain, as there was no other creek in 
sight for some miles, and the horses, although shod, 
could only travel slowly over the terribly rough 
ground. When we turned them out, they preferred 
to stand still, rather than roam about among the 
rocks and boulders for food. The day was cool ; 
the southern horizon, the only one we could see, 
was bounded entirely by red sandhills and casuarina 
timber. The horses ate nothing all night, and 
stood almost where they were hobbled. 

In this region, and in the heat of summer, the 
moment horses, no matter how fat and fresh they 
may be, are taken away from their companions to 
face the fearful country that they ki^ow is before 
them, they begin to fret and fall away visibly. 
They will scarcely eat, and get all the weaker in 
consequence, and then they require twice as much 
water as they otherwise would if their insides were 
partly filled with grass. When I released our three 
from the hobbles this morning, they immediately 
pretended to feed ; but this old ruse has been 
experienced before, and time was now up, to move 
on again. They were very thirsty, and nearly 
emptied the rock basin, where we had a kind of 
bath before starting. Along the foot-hills over 
which we were obliged to travel, the country was 
much rougher than yesterday ; so much so, that I 
kept away as much as possible. At twenty miles 
we turned up a creek-channel, which proved to 
be a dreadful gorge, being choked up with huge 
boulders of red and white granite. Among these I 
found a fine rock tarn ; indeed, I might call it a 
marble bath, for the rock was almost pure white. 


was dry. There was very poor feed, but we were 
compelled to remain, as there was no other creek in 
sight for some miles, and the horses, although shod, 
could only travel slowly over the terribly rough 
ground. When we turned them out, they preferred 
to stand still, rather than roam about among the 
rocks and boulders for food. The day was cool ; 
the southern horizon, the only one we could see, 
was bounded entirely by red sandhills and casuarina 
timber. The horses ate nothing all night, and 
stood almost where they were hobbled. 

In this region, and in the heat of summer, the 
moment horses, no matter how fat and fresh they 
may be, are taken away from their companions to 
face the fearful country that they ki^ow is before 
them, they begin to fret and fall away visibly. 
They will scarcely eat, and get all the weaker in 
consequence, and then they require twice as much 
water as they otherwise would if their insides were 
partly filled with grass. When I released our three 
from the hobbles this morning, they immediately 
pretended to feed ; but this old ruse has been 
experienced before, and time was now up, to move 
on again. They were very thirsty, and nearly 
emptied the rock basin, where we had a kind of 
bath before starting. Along the foot-hills over 
which we were obliged to travel, the country was 
much rougher than yesterday ; so much so, that I 
kept away as much as possible. At twenty miles 
we turned up a creek-channel, which proved to 
be a dreadful gorge, being choked up with huge 
boulders of red and white granite. Among these I 
found a fine rock tarn ; indeed, I might call it a 
marble bath, for the rock was almost pure white, 



was dry. There was very poor feed, but we were 
compelled to remain, as there was no other creek in 
sight for some miles, and the horses, although shod, 
could only travel slowly over the terribly rough 
ground. When we turned them out, they preferred 
to stand still, rather than roam about among the 
rocks and boulders for food. The day was cool ; 
the southern horizon, the only one we could see, 
was bounded entirely by red sandhills and casuarina 
timber. The horses ate nothing all night, and 
stood almost where they were hobbled. 

In this region, and in the heat of summer, the 
moment horses, no matter how fat and fresh they 
may be, are taken away from their companions to 
face the fearful country that they ki^ow is before 
them, they begin to fret and fall away visibly. 
They will scarcely eat, and get all the weaker in 
consequence, and then they require twice as much 
water as they otherwise would if their insides were 
partly filled with grass. When I released our three 
from the hobbles this morning, they immediately 
pretended to feed ; but this old ruse has been 
experienced before, and time was now up, to move 
on again. They were very thirsty, and nearly 
emptied the rock basin, where we had a kind of 
bath before starting. Along the foot-hills over 
which we were obliged to travel, the country was 
much rougher than yesterday ; so much so, that I 
kept away as much as possible. At twenty miles 
we turned up a creek-channel, which proved to 
be a dreadful gorge, being choked up with huge 
boulders of red and white granite. Among these I 
found a fine rock tarn ; indeed, I might call it a 
marble bath, for the rock was almost pure white, 


was dry. There was very poor feed, but we were 
compelled to remain, as there was no other creek in 
sight for some miles, and the horses, although shod, 
could only travel slowly over the terribly roug^ 
ground. When we turned them out, they preferred 
to stand still, rather than roam about among the 
rocks and boulders for food. The day was cool ; 
the southern horizon, the only one we could sec, 
was bounded entirely by red sandhills and casuarina 
timber. The horses ate nothing all night, and 
stood almost where they were hobbled. 

In this region, and in the heat of summer, the 
moment horses, no matter how fat and fresh they 
may be, are taken away from their companions to 
face the fearful country that they know is before 
them, they begin to fret and fall away visibly. 
They will scarcely eat, and get all the weaker in 
consequence, and then they require twice as much 
water as they otherwise would if their insides were 
partly filled with grass. When I released our three 
from the hobbles this morning, they immediately 
pretended to feed ; but this old ruse has been 
experienced before, and time was now up, to move 
on again. They were very thirsty, and nearly 
emptied the rock basin, where we had a kind of 
bath before starting. Along the foot-hills over 
which we were obliged to travel, the country was 
much rougher than yesterday; so much so, that I 
kept away as much as possible. At twenty miles 
we turned up a creek-channel, which proved to 
be a dreadful gorge, being choked up with huge 
boulders of red and white granite. Among these I 
found a fine rock tarn ; indeed, I might call it a 
marble bath, for the rock was almost pure white. 


and perfectly bare all round. The water was con- 
siderably over our heads, and felt as cold as ice. 
It was a dreadful place to get horses up to, and 
two of them fell two or three times on the glassy, 
shelving, and slippery rocks. The old grey, Buggs, 
hurt himself a good deal. 

Time seems to fly in these places, except when 
you want it to do so, and by the time the horses 
got down from the water the day was nearly gone. 
The feed for them was very little better than at 
our last night's camp, nor was the glen any less 
stony or rough. The day was 12° hotter than 
yesterday ; the thermometer indicated 104°. The 
ants in this glen were frightful ; they would not 
allow me a moment's rest anywhere. There was 
but one solitary eucalyptus or gum-tree, and in its 
scanty shade they swarmed in countless myriads. 
The sun poured his fiery beams full down upon us, 
and it was not until he departed over the cliffs to 
the west that we had a moment's respite ; the place 
was a perfect oven. 

I passed the time mostly in the marble bath, and 
then took a walk up to the top of the range and 
could see the hills I desired to visit ; they now bore 
nearly south-west. So long as the sun's rays were 
pouring down upon their unsheltered hides, the 
horses would not attempt to eat, but when he 
departed they fed a little on the coarse vegetation. 
This glen, like all the others in this range, swarmed 
with pigeons, and we got enough for breakfast at 
one shot. During the hot months, I believe whites 
could live entirely on pigeons in this range. At the 
camp at Sladen Water they came to the water in 
clouds, their very numbers sometimes preventing 


us getting a good shot, and we had been living 
entirely on them, for now we had no other meat. 
Unfortunately, our ammunition is almost exhausted, 
but so long as it lasts we shall have birds. When 
it is gone we must eat horseflesh, and should have 
been driven to do so before now, only for these 
birds. I have an old horse now fattening for the 
knife, and I am sorry, i.e. happy, to say, whenever I 
inspect him he looks better. The one I mean is 
the old sideways-going Terrible Billy. Poor old 
creature ! to work so many years as he has done for 
man, and then to be eaten at last, seems a hard 
fate ; but who or what can escape that inexorable 
shadow, death ? 

It may be the destiny of some of ourselves to be 
eaten ; for I fully believe the natives of these regions 
look upon all living organisms as grist for their 
insatiable mills. As night came on, I was com- 
pelled to lie down at last, but was so bitten and 
annoyed by the ants, that I had to keep moving about 
from place to place the whole night long, while the 
[in]sensible Jimmy lay sleeping and snoring, though 
swarmed over and almost carried away by the ants, 
as peacefully as though he had gone to rest under 
the canopy of costly state, and lulled with sounds of 
sweetest melody. I could not help moralising, as 
I often stood near him, wondering at his peace and 
placidity, upon the differences of our mental and 
physical conditions : here was one human being, 
young and strong, certainly, sleeping away the, to 
me, dreary hours of night, regaining that necessary 
vigour for the toils of the coming day, totally 
oblivious of swarms of creeping insects, that not 
only crawled all over him, but constantly bit into 


his flesh ; while another, who prided himself perhaps 
too much upon the mental powers bestowed by 
God upon him, was compelled by the same insects 
to wander through the whole night, from rock to 
rock and place to place, unable to remain for more 
than a moment or two anywhere ; and to whom 
sleep, under such circumstances, was an utter im- 
possibility. Not, indeed, that the loss of sleep 
troubles me, for if any one could claim to be called 
the sleepless one, it wduld be I — that is to say, 
when engaged in these arduous explorations, and 
curtained by night and the stars ; but, although I 
can do without sleep, I require a certain amount of 
horizontal repose, and this I could not obtain in 
this fearful glen. It was, therefore, with extreme 
pleasure that I beheld the dawn, and — 

" To the eastward where, cluster by cluster. 
Dim stars and dull planets that muster, 
Waxing wan in a world of white lustre, 
That spread far an<i high." 

No human being could have been more pleased 
than I at the appearance of another day, although I 
was yet doomed to several hours more misery in 
this dreadful gorge. The pigeons shot last night 
were covered within and without by ants, although 
they had been put in a bag. The horses looked 
wretched, even after watering, and I saw that it was 
actually necessary to give them a day's rest before 
I ventured with them into the frightful sandhills 
which I could see intervened between us and the 
distant ridges. Truly the hours I spent in this 
hideous gorge were hours of torture ; the sun 


roasted us, for there was no shade whatever to 
creep into ; the rocks and stones were so heated that 
we could neither touch, nor sit upon them, and the 
ants were more tormenting than ever. I almost 
crifed aloud for the mountains to fall upon me, and 
the rocks to cover me. I passed several hours in 
the marble bath, the only place the ants could not 
encroach upon, though they swarmed round the 
edge of the water. But in the water itself were 
numerous little fiendish water-beetles, and these 
creatures bit one almost as badly as the ants. In 
the bath I remained until I was almost benumbed 
by the cold. Then the sunshine and the heat in 
the gorge would seem delightful for a few minutes, 
till I became baked with heat again. The ther- 
mometer stood at 1 06° in the shade of the only tree. 
At three p.m. the horses came up to water. I was 
so horrified with the place I could no longer remain, 
though Jimmy sat, and probably slept, in the scanty 
one tree's shade, and seemed to pass the time as 
comfortably as though he were in a fine house. In 
going up to the water two of the horses again fell 
and hurt themselves, but the old blear-eyed mare 
never slipped or fell. At four p.m. we mounted, 
and rode down the glen until we got clear of the 
rough hills, when we turned upon our proper course 
for the ridges, which, however, we could not see. 
In two or three miles we entered the sandhill regions 
once more, when it soon rose into hills. The triodia 
was as thick and strong as it could grow. The 
country was not, so to say, scrubby, there being 
only low bushes and scrubs on the sandhills, and 
casuarina trees of beautiful outline and appearance 


in the hollows. When the horses got clear of the 
stones they began to eat everything they could 
snatch and bite at. 

At fifteen miles from the gorge we encamped on 
a patch of dry grass. The horses fed pretty well 
for a time, until the old mare began to think it time 
to be off, and she soon would have led the others 
back to the range. She dreaded this country, and 
knew well by experience and instinct what agony 
was in store for her. Jimmy got them back and 
short-hobbled them. There were plenty of ants 
here, but nothing to be compared to the number in 
the gorge, and having to remove my blankets only 
three or four times, I had a most delightful night's 
rest, although, of course, I did not sleep. The 
horses were sulky and would not eat ; therefore 
they looked as hollow as drums, and totally unfit to 
traverse the ground that was before them. How- 
ever, this had to be done, or at least attempted, and 
we got away early. We were in the midst of the 
sandhills, and here they rose almost into mountains 
of sand. It was most fatiguing to the horses, the 
thermometer 104° in the shade when we rested at 
twenty-two miles. Nor was this the hottest time of 
the day. We had been plunging through the sand 
mountains, and had not sighted the ridges, for 
thirty-seven miles, till at length we found the nearest 
were pretty close to us. They seemed very low, 
and quite unlikely to produce water. Reaching the 
first, we ascended it, and I could see at a glance 
that any prospect of finding water was utterly hope- 
less, as these low ridges, which ran north and south, 
were merely a few oblique-lying layers of upheaved 
granite, not much higher than the sandhills which 

VOL. I. X 


surrounded them, and there was no place where 
water could lodge even during rains. Not a rise 
could be seen in any direction, except, of course, 
from where we had come. We went on west five 
or six miles farther to the end of these, just about 
sundown : and long, indeed, will that peculiar sun- 
set rest in my recollection. The sun as usual was 
a huge and glaring ball of fire that with his last 
beams shot hot and angry glances of hate at us, in 
rage at our defiance of his might. It was so strange 
and so singular that only at this particular sunset, 
out of the millions which have elapsed since this 
terrestrial ball first floated in ether, that I, or indeed 
any while man, should stand upon this wretched 
hill, so remote from the busy haunts of my fellow 
men. My speculations upon the summit, if, indeed, 
so insignificant a mound can be said to have a 
summit, were as wild and as incongruous as the 
regions which stretched out before me. In the 
first place I could only conclude that no water could 
exist in this region, at least as far as the sand beds 
extend. I was now, though of course some distance 
to the south also, about thirty miles to the west of 
the most western portion of the Rawlinson Range. 

From that range no object had been visible above 
the sandhills in any westerly direction, except these 
ridges I am now upon, and from these, if any other 
ranges or hills anywhere within a hundred miles of 
the Rawlinson existed, I must have sighted tjiem. 
The inference to be drawn in such a case was, that 
in all probability this kind of country would remain 
unaltered for an enormous distance, possibly to the 
very banks of the Murchison River itself. The 
question very naturally arose. Could the country be 


penetrated by man, with only horses at his com- 
mand, particularly at such a heated time of year ? 
Oh, would that I had camels ! what are horses in 
such a region and such a heated temperature as 
this ? The animals are not physically capable of 
enduring the terrors of this country. I was now 
scarcely a hundred miles from the camp, and the 
horses had had plenty of water up to nearly half- 
way, but now they looked utterly unable to return. 
What a strange maze of imagination the mind can 
wander in when recalling the names of those sepa- 
rated features, the only ones at present known to 
supply water in this latitude — that is to say, the 
Murchison River, and this new-found Rawlinson 
Range, named after two Presidents of the Royal 
Geographical Society of London. The late and 
the present, the living and the dead, physically and 
metaphysically also, are not these features, as the 
men, separated alike by the great gulf of the un- 
known, by a vast stretch of that undiscovered 
country from whose bourne no traveller returns ? 

The sun went down, and I returned to my youth- 
ful companion with the horses below. We were 
fifty-one miles from the water we had left. The 
horses were pictures of misery, old Buggs s legs had 
swelled greatly from the contusions he had received 
in falling on the slippery rocks. The old black 
mare which I rode, though a sorry hack, looked 
worse than I had ever seen her before, and even 
the youthful and light-heeled and hearted Diaway 
hung his head, and one could almost span him 
round the flanks. The miserable appearance of the 
animals was caused as much by want of food as 
want of water, for they have scarcely eaten a mouth- 

X 2 


ful since we left the pass ; indeed, all they had seen 
to eat was not inviting. 

We slowly left these desolate ridges behind, and 
at fifteen miles we camped, Jimmy and I being 
both hungry and thirsty. Our small supply of 
water only tantalised, without satisfying us when- 
ever we took a mouthful. We now found we had 
nothing to eat, at least nothing cooked, and we had 
to sacrifice a drop of our stock of water \Jb make a 
Johnny-cake. It was late by the time we had eaten 
our supper, and I told Jimmy he had better go to 
sleep if he felt inclined ; I then caught and tied up 
the horses, which had already rambled some distance 
away. When I got back I found Jimmy had literally 
taken me at my word ; for there he was fast asleep 
among the coals and ashes of the fire, in which we 
had cooked our cake. I rolled him over once or 
twice to prevent him catching fire, but he did not 
awake The night was very warm ; I tried to lay 
down on my rug, but I was in such pain all over 
from my recent accident, that I could not remain still. 
I only waited to allow Jimmy a little sleep, or else 
he would have fallen off his horse, and caused more 
delay. I walked to, and tried to console, the horses. 
Sleepless and restless, I could no longer remain. 

Fast asleep is Armor lying — do not touch him, do 
not wake him ; but Armor had to be awakened. 
But first I saddled and put up everything on the 
horses. Jimmy's lips were cracked and parched, and 
his tongue dry and half out of his mouth ; I thought 
the kindest way to wake him was to pour a little 
water into his mouth. Up he jumped in a moment, 
and away we went at three o'clock in the morning, 
steering by the stars until daylight ; slowly moving 


over sandhill after sandhill. Soon after sunrise 
we fell in with our outgoing track, and continued 
on, though we had great trouble to keep the horses 
going at all, until we reached our old encampment 
of the night before last, being now only fifteen 
miles from the water. For the last few miles the 
horses had gone so dreadfully slow, I thought they 
would give in altogether. So soon as they were 
unsaddled they all lay down, shivering and groaning 

To see a horse in a state of great thirst is terrible, 
the natural cavity opens to an extraordinary size, 
and the creature strains and makes the most lament- 
able noises. Mares are generally worse in these 
cases than horses. Old Buggs and the mare were 
nearly dead. Diaway suffered less than the others. 
We had yet a small quantity of water in our bag, 
and it was absolutely necessary to sacrifice it to the 
horses if we wished them ever to return. We had 
but three pints, which we gave to Buggs and the 
mare, Diaway getting none. What the others got was 
only just enough to moisten their tongues. Leaving 
this place at eleven a.m., we reached the gorge at 
sundown, travelling at the rate of only two miles an 
hour. The day was hot, 104° at eleven a.ivi. When 
we took the saddles off the horses, they fell, as they 
could only stand when in motion — old Buggs fell 
again in going up the gorge ; they all fell, they were 
so weak, and it took nearly an hour to get them up 
to the bath. They were too weak to prevent them- 
selves from slipping in, swimming and drinking at 
the same time ; at last old Buggs touched the bottom 
with his heels, and stood upon his hind-legs with his 
fore-feet against the rock wall, and his head bent 


down between, and drank thus. I never saw a horse 
drink in that fashion before. 

It was very late when we got them back to the 
camp-tree, where we let them go without hobbles. 
The ants were as rampant as ever, and I passed 
another night in walking up and down the glen. 
Towards midnight the horses came again for water, 
but would not return, preferring to remain till morn- 
ing rather than risk a passage down in the dark. 

I went right up to the top of the mountain, and 
got an hours peace before the sun rose. In the 
morning all the horses' legs were puffed and swelled, 
and they were frightened to move from the water. 
I had great trouble in getting them down at all. 
It was impossible to ride them away, and here we 
had to remain for another day, in this Inferno. 
Not Dante's, gelid lowest circle of Hell, or city of 
Dis, could cause more anguish, to a forced resident 
within its bounds, than did this frightful place to 
me. Even though Moses did omit to inflict ants 
on Pharaoh, it is a wonder Dante never thought to 
have a region of them full of wicked wretches, 
eternally tortured with their bites, and stings, and 
smells. Dante certainly was good at imagining 
horrors. But imagination can't conceive the horror 
of a region swarming with ants ; and then Dante 
never lived in an ant country, and had no concep- 
tion what torture such creatures can inflict. The 
smaller they are the more terrible. My only con- 
consolation here was my marble bath, which the 
horses had polluted ; within its cool and shady 
depths I could alone find respite from my tormentors. 
Oh, how earnestly did I wish that its waters were 
the waters of oblivion, or that I could quaff some 


kind nepenthe, which would make me oblivious of 
my woes, for the persistent attacks of the ants 
unceasingly continued 

" From night till mom, from mom till dewy eve." 

Here of course we had no dewy eve. Only one slight 
source of pleasure at length occurred to me, and 
that was, that Jimmy began to shift about a bit at 
last. On the 26th, with what delight I departed 
from this odious gorge after another night of rest- 
lessness, agony, and misery, may perhaps be 
imagined, though of course I was indebted to the 
glen for water, and unless we actually give up our 
lives, we cannot give up that. There was a good 
deal of water in this bath, as may be supposed when 
horses could swim about in it. I called it Edith's 
Marble Bath, after my niece, having named Glen 
Edith also after her on my former expedition. The 
stone here is not actually marble, though very like 
it. I saw no limestone in this range ; the only 
approach to it is in the limestone formation in the 
bed of the ancient Lake Christopher, mentioned as 
lying to the west of the Rawlinson Range. The 
stone here was a kind of milky quartz. We kept 
away as much as possible off the rough slopes of the 
range, and got to Glen Helen at night, but old Buggs 
knocked up, and we had to lead, beat, and drive 
him on foot, so that it was very late before we got 
to the glen. We got all three horses back to the 
pass early the next day. No natives had appeared, 
but the horses had never been seen since I left. 
Oh, didn't I sleep that night ! no ants. Oh, happi- 
ness ! I hadn't slept for a week. 

The next day, the 28th of February, Gibson and 


Jimmy went to look for the mob of horses. There 
was a watering-place about two miles and a half south 
from here, where emus used to water, and where 
the horses did likewise ; there they found all the 
horses. There was a very marked improvement in 
their appearance, they had thriven splendidly. 
There is fine green feed here, and it is a capital 
place for an explorers depot, it being such an 
agreeable and pretty spot. Gibson and Jimmy went 
to hunt for emus, but we had none for supper. We 
got a supply of pigeons for breakfast. Each day we 
more deeply lament that the end of our ammunition 
is at hand. For dinner we got some hawks, crows, 
and parrots. I don't know which of these in 
particular disagreed with me, but I suppose the 
natural antipathy of these creatures to one another, 
when finding themselves somewhat crowded in my 
interior, was casus belli enough to set them quar- 
relling even after death and burial ; all I knew 
was the belli was going on in such a peculiar manner 
that I had to abandon my dinner almost as soon as I 
had eaten it. It is now absolutely necessary to kill 
a horse for food, as our ammunition is all but gone. 
Mr. Tietkens and I went to find a spot to erect a 
smoke-house, which required a soft bank for a flue ; 
we got a place half a mile away. Thermometer 
104°. Mr. Tietkens and I commenced operations 
at the smoke-house, and the first thing we did was 
to break the axe handle. Gibson, who thought he 
was a carpenter, blacksmith, and jack-of-all-trades 
by nature, without art, volunteered to make a 
new one, to which no one objected. The new 
handle lasted until the first sapling required was 
almost cut in two, when the new handle came 


in two also ; so we had to return to the camp, 
while Gibson made another handle on a new 
principle. With this we worked while Gibson 
and Jimmy shod a couple of horses. A pair of 
poking brutes of horses are always away by them- 
selves, and Mr. Tietkens and I went to look for, 
but could not find them. We took the shovel and 
filled up the emu water-hole with sand, so that the 
horses had to show themselves with the others at 
the pass at night. For two or three days we shod 
horses, shot pigeons, and worked at the smoke- 
house. I did not like the notion of killing any of 
the horses, and determined to make a trip east- 
wards, to see what the country in that direction was 
like. We chopped up some rifle bullets for shot, to 
enable Gibson and Jimmy to remain while we were 
away, as a retreat to Fort Mueller from here was 
a bitter idea to me. Before I can attempt to 
penetrate to the west, I must wait a change in the 
weather. The sky was again becoming cloudy, and 
I had hopes of rain at the approaching equinox. 

The three horses we required for the trip we put 
down through the north side of the pass. On 
March loth, getting our horses pretty easily, we 
started early. As soon as we got clear of the pass 
on the north side, almost immediately in front of 
us was another pass, lying nearly east, which we 
reached in five miles. I called this the Weld Pass. 
From hence we had a good view of the country 
farther east. A curved line of abrupt-faced hills 
traversed the northern horizon ; they had a peculiar 
and wall-like appearance, and seemed to end at a 
singular-looking pinnacle thirty-four or five miles 
away, and lying nearly east. This abrupt-faced 


range swept round in a half circle, northwards, and 
thence to the pinnacle. We travelled along the 
slopes of the Rawlinson Range, thinking we might 
find some more good gorges before it ended, we 
being now nearly opposite the Alice Falls. One or 
two rough and stony gullies, in which there was no 
water, existed ; the country was very rough. I 
found the Rawlinson Range ended in fifteen or 
sixteen miles, at the Mount Russell* mentioned 
before. Other ranges rose up to the east ; the inter- 
vening country seemed pretty well filled with scrub. 
We pushed on for the pinnacle in the northern line, 
but could not reach it by night as we were delayed 
en route by searching in several places for water. 
The day was hot, close, cloudy, and sultry. In 
front of us now the country became very scrubby 
as we approached the pinnacle, and for about three 
miles it was almost impenetrable. We had to stop 
several times and chop away limbs and boughs to 
get through, when we emerged on the bank of a 
small gum creek, and, turning up its channel, soon 
saw some green rushes in the bed. A little further 
up we saw more, brighter and greener, and amongst 
them a fine little pond of waten Farther up, the 
rocks rose in walls, and underneath them we found 
a splendid basin of overflowing water, which filled 
several smaller ones below. We could hear the 
sound of splashing and rushing waters, but could 
not see from whence those sounds proceeded. 
This was such an excellent place that we decided to 
remain for the rest of the day. The natives were 
all round us, burning the country, and we could 
hear their cries. This morning we had ridden 
through two fresh fires, which they lit, probably, to 


prevent our progress ; they followed us up to this 
water. I suppose they were annoyed at our finding 
such a remarkably well-hidden place. It is a very 
singular little glen. There are several small 
mounds of stones placed at even distances apart, 
and, though the ground was originally all stones, 
places like paths have been cleared between them. 
There was also a large, bare, flat rock in the centre of 
these strange heaps, which were not more than two 
and a half feet high. I concluded — it may be said 
uncharitably, but then I know some of the ways and 
customs of these people — that these are small kinds 
of teocallis, and that on the bare rock already 
mentioned the natives have performed, and will 
again perform, their horrid rites of human butchery, 
and that the drippings of the pellucid fountains from 
the rocky basins above have been echoed and 
re-echoed by the dripping fountains of human gore 
from the veins and arteries of their bound and 
helpless victims. Though the day was hot, the 
shade and the water were cool, and we could 
indulge in a most luxurious bath. The largest 
basin was not deep, but the water was running in 
and out of it, over the rocks, with considerable force. 
We searched about to discover by its sound from 
whence it came, and found on the left-hand side a 
crevice of white quartz-like stone, where the water 
came down from the upper rocks, and ran away 
partly into the basins and partly into rushes, under 
our feet. On the sloping face of the white rock, 
and where the water ran down, was a small indent 
or smooth chip exactly the size of a person's mouth, 
so that we instinctively put our lips to it, and drank 
of the pure and gushing element. I firmly believe 


this chip out of the rock has been formed by 
successive generations of the native population, for 
ages placing their mouths to and drinking at this 
spot ; but whether in connection with any sacrificial 
ceremonies or no, deponent knoweth, and sayeth not. 
The poet Spenser, more than three hundred years 
ago, must have visited this spot — at least, in 
imagination, for see how he describes it : — 

" And fast beside there trickled softly down, 
A gentle stream, whose murmuring waves did play 
Amongst the broken stones, and made a sowne, 
To lull him fast asleep, who by it lay : 
The weary traveller wandering that way 
Therein might often quench his thirsty heat, 
And then by it, his weary limbs display ; 
(Whiles creeping slumber made him to forget 
His former pain), and wash away his toilsome sweat." 

There is very poor grazing ground round this 
water. It is only valuable as a wayside inn, or out. 
I called the singular feature which points out 
this water to the wanderer in these western wilds, 
Gill's Pinnacle, after my brother-in-law, and the 
water, Gordon's Springs, after his son. In the 
middle of the night, rumblings of thunder were 
heard, and lightnings illuminated the glen. When 
we were starting on the following morning, some 
aborigines made their appearance, and vented their 
delight at our appearance here by the emission of 
several howls, yells, gesticulations, and indecent 
actions, and, to hem us in with a circle of fire, 
to frighten us out, or roast us to death, they set 
fire to the triodia all round. We rode through the 
flames, and away. 

( 317 ) 


Albkrga Creek, 7, 139, 143 
Alice Falls, the, 258 
Aloysius, Mount, 199 
An expanse of salt, 97 
Anthony Range, 149 
Ants and their nests, 66 
Ayers's Range, 160 

Bagot's Creek, 112 
Barlee, Mount, 270 
Bell Rock, 200 
Bitter Water Creek, 218 
Black family, a, 129 

oak, 51 

Brachychiton, 72 
Briscoe's Pass, 126 
Butterflies, 190 
Buttfield, Mount, 270 

Callitris, 22, 43, 74 
Canis familiaris, 68 
Capparis, 38 
Carnarvon, Mount, 170 

Range, 291 

Carmichael Creek, 39 
Carmichael's Crag, 1 10 
Casuarina Decaisneana, 10, iSS 
Chambers's Pillar, 9 
Champ de Mars, 198 
Chandler's Range, 16 
Charlotte Waters Station, 7 
Christmas Day, 249 
Christopher's Pinnacle, 16 
Christy Bagot's Creek, 194 
Circus, the, 229 
Clay crabholc, a, 256 

pans, 39, 102 

Clianthus Damperii, the, 212 

Cob, the, 215 

Codonocarpus cotinifolius, 67, 146 

Colonel's Range, 228 

Conner, Mount, 169 

Corkwood-tree, 66 

Cups, the, 211 

Curious mound-springs, 9 

Currajong-tree, 72 

Currie, The, 181 

Cumming, Glen, 267 

Davenport, Mount, 182 
Desert oak, 188 
Desolation Creek, 272 

Glen, 271 

Destruction, Mount, 258, 291 

Dog- puppies, 113 

Diamond bird (Amadina), 69, 95 

Eagle-hawk, 68 
Earthquake, a shock, 240 
Edith, Glen, 84 

Hull's Springs, 299 

Edith's Marble Bath, 311 
Ehrenberg Ranges, 64 
Elder's Creek, 228 
EUery's Creek, 29 
Emus, 161 
Emu Tank, 255 
Encounter Creek, 180 
Escape Glen, 123 
Eucalypts, 73 
Everard Range, 169 

Fairies' Glen, 183 
Ferdinand Creek, 174 

, Glen, 1 74 

, Mount, 174