Explorations in Australia
by John Forrest
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24th. Rested at Colona. In the afternoon was rather surprised at the arrival of Police-trooper Richards and party, who were on their way to try and find out our whereabouts. He handed me a circular for perusal, stating that anything I required would be paid for by the South Australian Government.

25th. Left Colona, accompanied by Police-trooper Richards and party. Mr. Maiden also accompanied us a few miles, when he returned, bearing with him my sincere thanks for his kindness to myself and party. After travelling eleven miles, we reached the hospitable residence of Messrs. Heathcote and Mathers, where we stayed to dinner, and, although pressed to stay, pushed on seven miles, and camped at a well called Pintumbra.

26th. Rested at Pintumbra, as there was good feed for our tired and hungry horses. Police-trooper Richards and party also remained with us.


27th. Travelled towards Fowler's Bay, and at ten miles reached Yallata, the residence of Mr. Armstrong, where we had dinner, and afterwards reached Fowler's Bay and put up at the Police-station.

28th to 31st. Remained at Fowler's Bay, recruiting ourselves and horses, and wrote the following letters to the Honourable the Colonial Secretary, Western Australia, and to his Excellency Sir James Fergusson, Governor of South Australia:—

Fowler's Bay, 29th July, 1870.


I have the honour to report, for the information of his Excellency the Governor, the safe arrival here of the exploring expedition under my command, and beg to give you a brief outline of our proceedings since the departure of the schooner Adur from Port Eucla.

On the 8th of July, started on a flying trip north from Eucla, with fourteen days' provisions, but was unable to penetrate more than thirty miles (which was over clear open plains of grass, etc., scarcely a tree visible), on account of the scarcity of water, not meeting with a drop of water on the whole journey. Returned to Eucla on the 9th, and, as summer had apparently set in, and there appeared no likelihood of rain, I decided to at once start for Fowler's Bay and Adelaide.

On the 14th, therefore, we started, carrying with us about thirty gallons of water. After great privation to our horses, and not meeting with a drop of water for 135 miles, by travelling day and night we reached the Head of the Bight on the evening of the 17th July, and found abundance of water by digging in the sand-hills.

Our horses had been ninety hours without a drop of water, and many of us were very weary from long marching without sleep. Many of the horses could scarcely walk, and a few were delirious; they, however, all managed to carry their loads. They have not, however, yet recovered, but with a few days' rest I hope to see them well again. There being very little feed at the Head of the Bight we continued our journey, and on the 23rd July reached Colona (head station of Degraves and Co.), where we met Police-trooper Richards, who was on his way to the Head of the Bight to meet us, in accordance with instructions from his Excellency Sir James Fergusson.

Leaving Colona on the 25th, we reached Fowler's Bay on the 27th July, all well.

We are now about 600 miles from Adelaide. Our route will be through the Gawler Ranges, skirting the south end of Lake Gairdner, and thence to Port Augusta and Adelaide, which we shall probably reach in five or six weeks from date.

By this mail I have written to his Excellency Sir James Fergusson, apprising him of our safe arrival, as well as giving him a brief account of our journey. According to present arrangements we shall, at latest, be in Perth by the October mail.

Trusting that these proceedings may meet with the approval of his Excellency the Governor, I have, etc.,


Leader of Expedition to Eucla and Adelaide.

The Honourable the Colonial Secretary, Perth, Western Australia.

Fowler's Bay, 29th July, 1870.


In accordance with my instructions from the Government of Western Australia, I have the honour to report, for the information of his Excellency Sir James Fergusson, that the exploring expedition organized by that Government and placed under my command, has reached this place in safety.

With his Excellency's permission, I will give a brief account of our journey since leaving Perth.


Leaving Perth on the 30th March, we reached Esperance Bay, the station of the Messrs. Dempster, on the 25th April, and remained to recruit our horses until the 9th May, when we continued in an easterly direction for about 130 miles, and reached Israelite Bay, in latitude 33 degrees 37 minutes South and longitude 123 degrees 48 minutes East, where we met a coasting vessel with our supplies, etc.

Left Israelite Bay on May 30th, and reached the water shown on Mr. Eyre's track in longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East on the 14th June, depending wholly on rock water-holes during the journey. Here we recruited and made a trip inland for fifty miles, finding the country to be very clear and well grassed, but entirely destitute of permanent water.

Leaving longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East on 24th June, we reached Eucla on the 2nd July, depending again solely on rock water-holes, our horses often being in great want of water. At Eucla we again met the coaster with supplies, etc.

After despatching the coaster on her return to Swan River, attempted to get inland north of Eucla; but, owing to the scarcity of water and the dryness of the season, was unable to get more than thirty miles inland. I therefore concluded to continue the journey towards Adelaide, and accordingly left Eucla on July 14th, reaching the Head of the Great Australian Bight on the evening of the 17th, after a very hard and fatiguing journey, without a drop of water for our horses for ninety hours, in which time we travelled 138 miles.

Men and horses were in a very weary state when we reached the water, which we found by digging in the sand-hills at the extreme Head of the Bight. Continuing, we reached Fowler's Bay on the 27th July.

From longitude 124 degrees 25 minutes East to Port Eucla, in longitude 128 degrees 53 minutes East, our route was from twenty to thirty miles from the sea, and in the whole of that distance we only procured permanent water in one spot, namely that shown on Mr. Eyre's track in longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East.

On our route we passed over many millions of acres of grassy country, but I am sorry to say I believe entirely destitute of permanent water. The natives met with were friendly, but to us altogether unintelligible. The health of my party has been excellent, and we have reached this place without losing a single horse.

Before reaching Fowler's Bay, we were met by Police-trooper Richards, who was on his way to meet us, in accordance with instructions from his Excellency. I am truly thankful for this, as he has been of great service to us, and has been very attentive to our requirements. I hope to reach Adelaide in five weeks from date. My route will be through the Gawler Ranges to Port Augusta, and thence to Adelaide.

Trusting that this short account of our journey may not be wholly uninteresting to his Excellency, I have, etc.,


Leader of Expedition from Western Australia.

The Private Secretary, Government House, Adelaide, South Australia.

August 1st. Left Fowler's Bay, accompanied by Police-trooper Richards, en route for Port Augusta. Travelled fourteen miles in about an East-North-East direction and camped. Rained lightly this evening.

2nd. Reached Pinong station. Distance travelled, thirty miles. Passed several huts and wells. The whole journey was over most beautifully-grassed country.

3rd. Left Pinong, and, after travelling thirty miles, reached a spot called Athena; then camped, leaving Charra station about seven miles to the southward. Passed a few huts and wells during the day.

4th. At seventeen miles reached Denial Bay, when we turned off towards Hosken and Broadbent's stations, and at thirteen miles further camped on a very grassy rise, with two small rock water-holes, called Merking. By meridian altitude of a Lyrae (Vega), found it to be in latitude 32 degrees 12 minutes 36 seconds South.


5th. After travelling eight miles, came to a deserted station of Hosken and Broadbent's, and found abundance of water in a rock water-hole called Chillandee. As the horses were very tired, and there was splendid feed for them, we camped here for the remainder of the day.

6th. Left Chillandee, and after travelling twenty-six miles, passed Madebuckela, the homestead of Mr. Hosken, where we camped at a deserted hut, with splendid feed and water for the horses.

7th. Travelled towards Gawler Ranges for thirteen miles, and camped at a spot called Conkabeena, from which the ranges were clearly visible.

8th. Continuing in an easterly direction for twelve miles, we reached Wollular, a granite hill with plenty of water on the rocks; after which proceeded due east for twelve miles, through dense thickets and sandy hills, when we came on a small patch of grassy land and camped, Mount Centre bearing North 95 degrees East magnetic.

9th. Continuing towards Mount Centre for eighteen miles, over a succession of salt lakes and very sandy hills and scrub, we reached a road making a little farther north, which was followed, and after travelling five miles came to Narlibby, and camped on most beautiful feed.

10th. After taking wrong roads and going a good deal out of our way, we reached Paney station and camped at the police-station.

11th and 12th. Rested at Paney, as the horses were very tired, and there was splendid feed for them. Police-trooper Richards intends returning to-morrow to Fowler's Bay. He has given us every assistance in his power, and deserves our very sincere thanks for his kindness and attention.

13th to 17th. Travelling towards Port Augusta, accompanied for half the distance by Police trooper O'Shanahan, from Paney station.

18th. Reached Port Augusta. Telegraphed to his Excellency Sir James Fergusson, informing him of our arrival. Camped five miles from Port Augusta, at a small township named Stirling.

19th. Received telegram from his Excellency Sir James Fergusson, congratulating us on our success. Camped a few miles from Mount Remarkable.

20th. Passed through Melrose, and on the 23rd reached Clare, where I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. John Roe, son of the Honourable Captain Roe, our respected Surveyor-General.

On August 24th reached Riverton, and on the 25th Gawler. On the 26th we arrived at Salisbury, twelve miles from Adelaide. Through all these towns we have been most cordially received, and I shall never forget the attention and kindly welcome received on the journey through South Australia.


On the 27th August we left Salisbury, and for an account of our journey from there to Adelaide I cannot do better than insert an extract from the South Australian Register of August 27th, 1870:—

"On Saturday morning the band of explorers from Western Australia, under the leadership of Mr. Forrest, made their entrance into Adelaide. They left Salisbury at half-past nine o'clock, and when within a few miles of the city were met by Inspector Searcy and one or two other members of the police force. Later on the route they were met by an escort of horsemen, who had gone out to act as a volunteer escort. At Government House Gate a crowd of persons assembled, who gave them a hearty cheer as they rode up. The whole party at once rode up to Government House, where they were received by his Excellency, who was introduced to all the members of the expedition, and spent a quarter of an hour in conversation with Mr. Forrest, and in examining with interest the horses and equipments, which all showed signs of the long and severe journey performed. Wine having been handed round, the party withdrew, and were again greeted at Government Gate by hearty cheers from the crowd, which now numbered several hundreds. They then proceeded by way of Rundle Street to the quarters assigned them at the police barracks. The men are to remain at the barracks, and the officers are to be entertained at the City of Adelaide Club."

From August 28th to September 12th we remained in Adelaide, having been most kindly received by all with whom we came in contact. We saw as much of the country as possible. I disposed of my horses and equipment by public auction; then left in the steamer Alexandra with the whole of my party on the 12th, reaching King George's Sound on the 17th at 1 a.m. Left King George's Sound on the 19th, and arrived in Perth on the 27th, where we were most cordially welcomed by his Excellency the Governor and the citizens of Perth, having been absent 182 days.

In the foregoing I have attempted to give a faithful and correct account of our proceedings, and, in conclusion, beg to make a few remarks respecting the character and the capabilities of the country travelled over.

In about longitude 124 degrees East the granite formation ends, at least on and near the coast; but from longitude 124 degrees to the Head of the Bight, a distance of over 400 miles, there is no change in the formation, being limestone and high table land the whole distance.

The portion most suited for settlement is, I believe, between longitude 126 degrees 12 minutes East and longitude 129 degrees East, near Eucla harbour, or, in other words, the country to the north of the Hampton Range—the country north of the range being most beautifully grassed, and I believe abundance of water could be procured anywhere under the range by sinking twenty or thirty feet. There is also under the same range a narrow strip of fine grassy country for the whole length of the range, namely about 160 miles. I have every confidence that, should the country be settled, it would prove a remunerative speculation, and, if water can be procured on the table land, would be the finest pastoral district of Western Australia.


Before I conclude, I have the pleasing duty to record my entire appreciation of every member of the party. I need not particularize, as one and all had the interest and welfare of the expedition at heart, and on no occasion uttered a single murmur.

Finally, sir, my best and most sincere thanks are due to his Excellency Governor Weld for the very efficient manner in which the expedition was equipped. It is chiefly owing to the great zeal and desire of his Excellency that I should have everything necessary that the success of the enterprise is attributable.

I have, etc.,


Leader of Expedition.

The Honourable F.P. Barlee, Esquire,

Colonial Secretary, Western Australia.



Departure from Gawler and Arrival at Adelaide. Appearance of the Party. Public Entrance. Complimentary Banquet. Grant by the Government of Western Australia.


On Saturday, the 27th of August, we reached Adelaide. On the previous day we had left Gawler for Salisbury, where we rested until the following morning, when we started at half-past nine o'clock for Adelaide. A few miles from there we were met by the chief inspector of police and some troopers sent to escort us, and soon afterwards a volunteer escort of horsemen gave us a friendly welcome. We were heartily cheered as we entered the town and then rode to Government House, where we were received in the most cordial manner by the Governor, Sir James Fergusson. After a brief time spent in examining the horses (which were all the worse for the long and arduous journey) also the equipments, and in partaking of refreshments, we left the Government House, the people cheering lustily, and passed through King William and Rundle Streets on the way to the City of Adelaide Club. My brother and self stayed there while in town, and the others at the police barracks, where man and horse enjoyed the much-needed rest and refreshment.

It may interest the reader to quote from the South Australian Advertiser the description of our appearance when we first entered Adelaide: "It was a genuine Australian bush turnout, the trappings, water-drums, and other necessaries being admirably adapted for the purpose. The horses looked somewhat the worse for wear; but, considering the immense distance that they have travelled, their condition was not to be complained of, and a few weeks in the Government paddocks will put them in capital condition. The officers and men, both white and black, look the picture of health, and their satisfaction at having completed their long and arduous task is beaming from their countenances."

Whatever our countenances may have expressed, I know we felt an intense satisfaction at having been enabled to discharge the duty we had undertaken.

On the evening of the 3rd of September Sir James Fergusson entertained us at dinner, and many old colonists who, in their time, had been engaged in exploring expeditions, were among the guests. Mr. Barlee, the Colonial Secretary of Western Australia, who arrived in Adelaide a day or two after we had reached it, was present with me at the luncheon on the occasion of the inauguration of the Northern Railway Extension at Kooringa. In replying to the toast of The Visitors, he took the opportunity of thanking the South Australian people and the Government for the courtesy and kindness extended to me and the members of my party, who, he said, had carried out the instructions so successfully and in a manner which made him proud of the colony to which he belonged. He hoped that the line of communication that had been opened might soon lead to much better and closer intercommunication between the colonies.

With characteristic consideration and kindness Governor Weld, immediately on receiving my report from Eucla, addressed a private letter to my father, congratulating him on my success.


Anxious to lose no time in reporting myself to my Government, I only remained in South Australia about a fortnight, and then left for Perth in the Branch mail steamer, and arrived there on Tuesday, the 27th of September. The City Council determined to give us a public reception and present an address. A four-in-hand drag was despatched to bring us into the city, and a procession, consisting of several private carriages, a number of the citizens on horseback, and the volunteer band, escorted us. The city flag was flying at the Town Hall, and there was a liberal display of similar tokens from private dwellings. The Governor and his aide-de-camp came out five miles to meet us, and accompanied us to the beginning of the city, where he handed us over to the Council, meeting us again at the Government offices. A crowd had collected in front of the Government offices, where we were to alight, and amid cheering and general hand-shaking we entered the enclosure.

Here his Excellency the Governor received us with warm congratulations, and the City Council presented the address, which was read by the chairman, Mr. Glyde. He said:—

"Mr. Forrest,

In the name of the citizens I have the very great pleasure to bid you a cordial welcome on your safe return to Perth. We sincerely congratulate yourself and party on the success which has attended your adventurous expedition overland to Adelaide. It must have been gratifying to you to have been selected to lead this expedition, and to follow such explorers as Captain Roe, Gregory, Austin, and others, of whom West Australia may well be proud. Your expedition, however, has an additional interest from the fact that its leader and members were born in the colony. I trust, sir, that at no distant date you may have the satisfaction to see the advantages realized which the route opened by your expedition is calculated to effect."

I had had no reason to expect such a marked official reception, and could only express the pleasure I experienced in knowing that the colonists so fully appreciated my efforts to carry out successfully the task confided to me.

The Governor also offered his congratulations, and three cheers having been given the party, and three more for the Governor, we left for our quarters highly gratified with the reception. His Excellency gave a large dinner-party to celebrate our return, and on Monday, the 24th of October, a public demonstration of welcome was afforded by a banquet to which we were invited by the citizens. The following is a report from the Perth journal:—


On Monday evening last a Complimentary Banquet was given to Mr. Forrest, the explorer, at the Horse and Groom tavern. About seventy sat down to dinner, among whom were his Excellency the Governor, the Private Secretary, the Colonial Secretary, the Surveyor-General, Captain Roe, and many of the leading inhabitants of Perth and Fremantle. The chair was taken by Captain Roe. On his right was his Excellency the Governor, and on his left the guest of the evening—Mr. Forrest. The vice-chair was filled by Mr. Landor. After the cloth had been removed, the chairman, Captain Roe, rose and proposed the Queen, a lady whom the people could not consider without being proud of the sovereign by whom they were governed.

The Chairman said he rose to propose another toast, which, he trusted, was not always given as a matter of course, but with heartfelt satisfaction. It was the health of the Heir Apparent to the Throne. (Cheers). The Prince of Wales will, it is hoped, one day fill the throne of his illustrious mother—may that day be far distant!—but, when that day does arrive, may he display the exemplary virtues of his illustrious mother and the sterling qualities that distinguished his great father!

The Chairman, in proposing the next toast, His Excellency the Governor, said he had some difficulty in doing so, particularly as the subject of it was on his right hand that evening; yet he considered the gratitude of the colonists was due to her Majesty's Government for selecting a gentleman who was so well qualified to benefit the colony. He believed his Excellency was the man to drag the colony out of the hole (cheers); and he believed his Excellency was the man to attain for us that prosperity we so much desired (hear, hear); but we must do our utmost to support him in the effort to secure it. It was impossible for any man to perform one hundredth part of what was wanted of him; yet he believed his Excellency would do all in his power to benefit the colony in every way. Let every one give his Excellency that strenuous support necessary to attain prosperity, and we would attain success. He trusted that when the term of his Excellency's sojourn amongst us had arrived, he would remember with pleasure the days he had spent in Western Australia. The toast was drunk with cheers and enthusiasm.

His Excellency the Governor, who was received most cordially, rose to thank them for the very kind manner in which they had received the toast which had been proposed by the worthy chairman. The chairman was right in saying that they might rely upon his doing his best for the benefit of the country, but they must not be disappointed; he could not do everything, but they might depend upon it he would do what he considered right for the people and the colony, without the fear or favour of any. But "many men of many minds," as the old school copy says. People thought widely different, but he would do his best for the welfare of the colony. (Cheers). He did not, however, rise to speak of himself; the toast that evening was in honour of Mr. Forrest, and at the present moment, viewing the state of Europe, looking at the fact that at this very time two of the largest nations in the world are carrying on a deadly strife; that on either side deeds of daring have been done, which we all admire, and by which we are all fascinated—and why? Because the human mind admired daring and enterprise. But war devastated the world—war meant misery, destitution, widows, orphans, and destruction, yet we behold all these with a species of fascination. But not only in time of war, but at a period of peace, are the highest feelings of human nature and the noblest instincts of mankind brought out. It was in a spirit of daring, of self-sacrifice, of love of fame and science, that induced the gentleman, whose health will be duly proposed to you this evening, to undertake the task he has so successfully completed. The same motives, no doubt, led the warrior into the battle-field, as the explorer into a new and unknown country. He, like the warrior, combated dangers regardless to self. Peace, then, has triumphs as well as war. Mr. Forrest and his party well deserve the triumphs they have secured in their successful journey from this colony to Adelaide. The benefits conferred on the colony can best be appreciated by those who have the greatest capacity of looking into futurity, and as long as Australia has a history, the names of Mr. Forrest and his companions will be borne down with honour. To himself it will be a source of pleasure to know that the first year of his administration will be rendered memorable by the exertion, zeal, and enterprise of Mr. Forrest. His Excellency resumed his seat amidst loud and continued applause.

Captain Roe said a very pleasing duty now devolved upon him; it was to recognize services well done and faithfully performed. It was always satisfactory to have our services recognized, and the leader of the expedition over a distance of more than 2000 miles, from Perth to Adelaide, so successfully, was deserving of esteem. That expedition had brought the colony into note, and the good results from it would soon be apparent. He personally felt more than he could say on the subject. He felt more in his heart than he could express in words. He trusted that the success of Forrest and his party would be a solace to him in his latest day, and that in their latter days they would look back with pride to the energy and pluck they displayed in their younger. He called upon them to drink The health and success of Mr. Forrest and his companions during life. (Loud and continued cheering.)

Mr. Barlee: One more cheer for the absentees—Mr. Forrest's companions. (Immense cheering.)

A Voice: One cheer more for the black fellows. (Applause.)

Mr. Forrest, who was received with enthusiasm, said he felt quite unequal to the task of responding to the toast which had been so ably and feelingly proposed by Captain Roe, and so kindly received by his fellow-colonists. He was extremely gratified to find that his services had been so highly appreciated, and were so pleasing to his friends and fellow-colonists. He was much flattered at the kind way in which himself and his party had been received by his Excellency Governor Fergusson and the people of South Australia; but he must say he was much better pleased at the reception he received from his Excellency Governor Weld and the citizens of Perth on his return. He was sorry he did not see round the table his companions of the expedition—some had gone out of town—but he must say that during the whole of their long and severe march, oftentimes without water, not one refused to do his duty or flinched in the least for a single moment. On the part of himself and his companions, he sincerely thanked them for the very kind manner in which they had drunk their health. (Great applause.)

Mr. Landor rose and said he had a toast to propose—it was the Members of the Legislative Council—and in doing so he would like to make a few observations upon the old. That evening they had had the pleasure of hearing one of the oldest of the Council, one who had seen more trial and suffering than any other, and to whom the grateful task fell that evening of introducing to you one who was new in travel; and, while admiring that act, he could not but call to mind the hardships that that gentleman had endured in former days. In times gone by parties were not so well provisioned as they were now, and he remembered the time when Captain Roe, short of provisions, discovered a nest of turkey's eggs, and, to his consternation, on placing them in the pan found chickens therein. But things have altered. Captain Roe belonged to an old Council, and it is of the new he proposed speaking. From the new Council great things are expected, and of the men who have been selected a good deal might be hoped. We all wanted progress. We talked of progress; but progress, like the philosopher's stone, could not be easily attained. He hoped and believed the gentlemen who had been elected would do their best to try to push the colony along. He trusted the gentlemen going into Council would not, like the French, get the colony into a hole; but, if they did, he trusted they would do their best to get it out of the hole. What the colony looked for was, that every man who went into the Council would do his duty. He had much pleasure in proposing the new members of Council with three times three.

Mr. Carr begged to express his thanks for the very flattering manner in which the toast of the new Council had been proposed and seconded. As a proof of the confidence reposed in them by their constituents, he could assure them that they would faithfully discharge their duties to them in Parliament, and work for the good of the colony generally. (Cheers.) Again thanking them for the honour done the members of the new Council, Mr. Carr resumed his seat amidst great applause.

Mr. Leake (who, on rising, was supposed to follow Mr. Carr) said his rising was not important. As the next toast fell to his lot, he would ask them to charge their glasses. The toast that was placed in his hands was to propose the health of his friend, Mr. Barlee, the Colonial Secretary. He trusted they would join him in giving Mr. Barlee a hearty welcome after his travels in foreign parts. Mr. Barlee started on his journey with the approval of the entire colony, and that the acts of the Government had always the approval of the colonists was more than could be said at all times. (Laughter.) Mr. Barlee's visit to the other colonies must have been beneficial, and he trusted Mr. Barlee would that evening give them his experience of the other colonies. We have not had an opportunity of hearing of Mr. Barlee, or what he has done since he was in Adelaide. In Adelaide Sir J. Morphett, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, had said that Mr. Barlee was a hard-working man, and that was a good deal to say for a man in this part of the world. (Loud laughter.) Mr. Barlee, no doubt, would that evening give them a history of his travels, and tell them what he had done in Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney. Mr. Barlee was a proven friend of the colonists and of West Australia. He would ask them to join him in drinking the health of Mr. Barlee with three hearty cheers. (Drunk with enthusiasm.)

Mr. Barlee, who on rising was received with unbounded applause, said it would be impossible for him to conceal the fact that he was much pleased at the hearty manner in which his health had been proposed and received that evening. He did not require to leave the colony to know the good feeling of his fellow-colonists for him, nor to acquire testimony as to his quality as a public officer. There was one matter, however, he very much regretted, and that was that he was not present at the ovation given by the people of South Australia to Mr. Forrest and his party. Mr. Forrest had passed through Adelaide one day before his arrival. Mr. Forrest and his party had attracted attention not only in South Australia, but also, as he found, in all the other Australian colonies. Having done so much, we were expected to do more in the way of opening up the large tract of country that had been discovered. It was our duty to assure the other colonies that the country would carry stock, and stock would be forthcoming. If Mr. Forrest in former days established his fame as an explorer, his late expedition only proves that he must commence de novo. Of the modesty and bearing of Mr. Forrest and his party in South Australia he could not speak too highly. There was, however, one exception, and that was his friend Windich (native). He was the man who had done everything; he was the man who had brought Mr. Forrest to Adelaide, and not Mr. Forrest him. He (Mr. Barlee) was in his estimation below par to come by a steamer, and he walked across (laughter); and it was an act of condescension that Windich even looked upon him. (Great laughter.) He was quite aware Mr. Leake, in asking him to give an account of his travels in foreign parts, never seriously intended it. If he did, he would only keep them until to-morrow morning. He would say that his was a trip of business, and not pleasure, and hard work he had. Morning and night was he at work, and he trusted he would be spared to see the results of some of his efforts to benefit West Australia. (Loud cheers.) He considered, what with our lead and copper-mines, our Jarrah coal-mines, and the prospect of an auriferous country being found, a new era was dawning on the colony. (Cheers.) For the first time in the last sixteen years he had the pleasure of drinking that evening the health of the members of the Legislative Assembly. He was not yet a member of that Council, but it was probable he would be a member, and have important duties to discharge therein. He was proud to learn the quiet and orderly manner in which the elections had been conducted, and the good feeling and harmony that existed on all sides, and to learn that the defeated candidates were the first to congratulate the successful ones on their nomination. He sincerely trusted that the same quiet good feeling and harmony would remain and guide the Council in their deliberations hereafter.

Other complimentary toasts having been duly honoured, the company broke up.

While the citizens of Perth were thus exhibiting encouraging approval of our exertions, official recognition, in a practical form, was not wanting. On the 6th of October, Captain Roe forwarded to me the following communication:—

Surveyor-General's Office, Perth,

6th October, 1870.


Having submitted to the Governor your report of the safe return to head-quarters of the overland expedition to Eucla and Adelaide, entrusted to your leadership, I have much pleasure in forwarding to you a copy of a minute in which his Excellency has been pleased to convey his full appreciation of your proceedings, and of the judgment and perseverance displayed in your successful conduct of the enterprise.

In these sentiments I cordially participate, and, in accordance with the wish expressed in the minute, I beg you will convey to the other members of the expedition the thanks of his Excellency for their co-operation and general conduct.


As a further recognition of the services of the party, his Excellency has been pleased to direct that the sum of Two Hundred Pounds be distributed amongst them, in the following proportions, payable at the Treasury, namely:—

To the Leader of the expedition...75 pounds.

To the Second in command...50 pounds.

To H. McLarty and R. Osborne, 25 pounds each...50 pounds.

To the Aborigines, Windich and Billy, 12 pounds 10 shillings....25 pounds.

Total 200 pounds.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

J.S. ROE, Surveyor-General.

John Forrest, Esquire,

Leader of Expedition, etc., etc.

The following is the minute referred to in the above:—


I beg that you will convey to Mr. John Forrest, leader of the Eucla expedition, the expression of my appreciation of the zeal, judgment, and perseverance which he has displayed in the successful conduct of the enterprise committed to his charge. Great credit is also due to the second in command, and to every member of the party. All have done their duty well, and to them also I desire to render my thanks.

It is with much pleasure that, with the advice of my Executive Council, I authorize a gratuity of 200 pounds, to be divided in the proportions you have submitted to me.

(Signed) FRED. A. WELD.

1st October, 1870.

It will be remembered that the York Agricultural Society had previously proposed an overland expedition, but had not succeeded in obtaining official sanction, it being then believed that Eucla could be best approached from the sea. After my return the Society held a meeting, at which his Excellency the Governor was present, when my report of the expedition was received with every mark of approval of my labours.



Proposal to undertake a New Expedition. Endeavour to explore the Watershed of the Murchison. Expeditions by South Australian Explorers. My Journal. Fight with the Natives. Finding traces of Mr. Gosse's Party. The Telegraph Line reached. Arrival at Perth Station.

The success which had attended my previous expeditions, and the great encouragement received from the Government and public of each colony, made me wish to undertake another journey for the purpose of ascertaining whether a route from Western Australia to the advanced settlements of the Southern colony was practicable. I also hoped to contribute, if possible, towards the solution of the problem, What is the nature of the interior? My first journey, when I succeeded in penetrating for about 600 miles into the unknown desert of Central Australia, had convinced me that, although there might, and doubtless would, be considerable difficulties to be encountered, there were no insuperable obstacles except a probable failure in the supply of water. That certainly was the most formidable of all the difficulties that would no doubt have to be encountered; but on the previous journey the scarcity of water had been endured, not without privation and suffering, but without any very serious result. At any rate, the expedition I desired to undertake appeared to be of an extremely interesting character. It might contribute to the knowledge of an immense tract of country of which hardly anything was known; it might also be the means of opening up new districts, and attaining results of immense importance to the colonies. Perhaps, too, I was animated by a spirit of adventure—not altogether inexcusable—and, having been successful in my previous journeys, was not unnaturally desirous of carrying on the work of exploration.


In 1871 an expedition went out to the eastward of Perth under command of my brother, Mr. A. Forrest, in search of fresh pastoral country. It was a very good season, but the expedition was too late in starting. It succeeded in reaching latitude 31 degrees South, longitude 123 degrees 37 minutes East, and afterwards struck South-South-East towards the coast; then, with considerable difficulty, it reached Mount Ragged and the Thomas River, and, continuing westerly, got as far as Esperance Bay, the homestead of the Messrs. Dempster. This expedition discovered a considerable tract of good country, some of which has been taken up and stocked. It was equipped on very economical principles, and did not cost more than 300 pounds.

The leader had been previously with me as second in command on the journey to Adelaide in 1870, and afterwards accompanied me in 1874 from the west coast through the centre of the western part of Australia to the telegraph line between Adelaide and Port Darwin.

He received great credit from the Government for the energy and perseverance displayed on this expedition—a character borne out by future services as second in command with me.

In July, 1872, I addressed the following letter to the Honourable Malcolm Fraser, the Surveyor-General:—

Western Australia, Perth,

July 12th, 1872.


I have the honour to lay before you, for the consideration of his Excellency the Governor, a project I have in view for the further exploration of Western Australia.

My wish is to undertake an expedition, to start early next year from Champion Bay, follow the Murchison to its source, and then continue in an east and north-east direction to the telegraph line now nearly completed between Adelaide and Port Darwin; after this we would either proceed north to Port Darwin or south to Adelaide.

The party would consist of four white and two black men, with twenty horses, well armed and provisioned for at least six months.

The total cost of the expedition would be about 600 pounds, of which sum I hope to be able to raise, by subscriptions, about 200 pounds.

The horses will be furnished by the settlers, many having already been promised me.

The geographical results of such an expedition would necessarily be very great; it would be the finishing stroke of Australian discovery; would be sure to open new pastoral country; and, if we are to place any weight in the opinions of geographers (among whom I may mention the Reverend Tenison Woods), the existence of a large river running inland from the watershed of the Murchison is nearly certain.

Referring to the map of Australia you will observe that the proposed route is a very gigantic, hazardous, and long one; but, after careful consideration, I have every confidence that, should I be allowed to undertake it, there are reasonable hopes of my being able to succeed.

Minor details are purposely omitted; but, should his Excellency favourably entertain this proposition, I will be too glad, as far as I am able, to give further information on the subject.

Trusting you will be able to concur in the foregoing suggestions.

I have, etc.,


To this letter the Governor appended the following memorandum:—

Mr. J. Forrest, in a most public spirited manner, proposes to embark in an undertaking, the dangers of which, though not by any means inconsiderable, would be outweighed by the advantages which might accrue to this colony, and which would certainly result in a great extension of our geographical knowledge. Should he succeed in this journey, his name will fitly go down to posterity as that of the man who solved the last remaining problem in the Australian continent; and, whatever may come after him, he will have been the last (and certainly, when the means at his disposal and the difficulties of the undertaking are considered, by no means the least) of the great Australian explorers.

The honour to be gained by him, and most of the advantages, will ultimately fall to this colony, which is his birth-place; and for my own part I shall be very proud that such a design should be carried out during my term of office. I wish that the means of the colony were sufficient to warrant the Government in proposing to defray the entire cost of the expedition, and I think it would be a disgrace to the colony if it did not at least afford some aid from public funds.

These papers will be laid before the Legislature, and the Government will support a vote in aid, should the Legislature concur.


July 20th, 1872.

This memorandum showed that his Excellency thoroughly sympathized with my reason for desiring to undertake the expedition. The proposition, supported by official approval, was acceded to by the Legislative Council, which voted the 400 pounds stated to be required in addition to the 200 pounds which I hoped to be able to raise by subscription.

Just at this time, however, South Australia was making great efforts to solve the problem I had undertaken to attempt, preparations being made for the departure of three expeditions. Stuart's great feat of crossing the continent from south to north had been followed by other successful efforts in the same direction. Another result was the establishing a line of telegraph from Adelaide to Port Darwin. This might therefore be considered the eastern boundary of the unknown districts, and moreover was the point of departure for the South Australian expeditions in a westerly direction. It was also the limit I desired to reach, and, reaching it, I should achieve the object I had so much at heart. Of the South Australian expeditions, only one was successful in getting to the western colony, and that one, led by Colonel Warburton, involved much suffering and was comparatively barren of practical results. Besides, as we afterwards knew, the route selected by him was so far to the north as not to interfere with my project.

The following letter to me expresses the official estimate of the result of Colonel Warburton's expedition:—

Surveyor-General's Office, Perth,

March 27th, 1874.

The gist of the information I have from Colonel Warburton may be summed up in a few words. From the MacDermot Ranges in South Australia to the head of the Oakoon River (about 150 miles from the coast), keeping between the parallels of 20 and 22 degrees south latitude, he traversed a sterile country, in which he states horses could not possibly exist—they would starve, as they could not live on the stunted scrub and herbage which the camels managed to keep alive on.

The general character of the country seen was that of a high, waterless, slightly undulating, sandy table-land, with in some parts sand deserts in ridges most harassing to traverse. There was nothing visible in the way of water courses in which water could be retained; but they were successful in finding, at long distances, sufficient to maintain themselves and their camels as they fled, as it were for their lives, westward over the Sahara, which appears to be in a great part a desolate wilderness, devoid of life, or of anything life sustaining. Though this is a grim picture put before you, yet I would not have you daunted. Your task is a different one, and one which all the colony is looking forward to see successfully completed by you.

I have, etc.,

(Signed) MALCOLM FRASER, Surveyor-General.

Governor Weld, however, decided that it might be better to postpone my expedition, as it would not be advisable to appear to enter into competition with the other colony; besides which it might be of considerable advantage to wait and avail ourselves of the results of any discoveries that might be made by the South Australian explorers. Another reason for delay was that I was required to conduct a survey of considerable importance, which it was desirable should be completed before undertaking the new expedition.

It may assist my readers to understand the references in the latter part of my Journal if I state that in April, 1873, Mr. Gosse, one of the South Australian explorers, quitted the telegraph line about forty miles south of Mount Stuart; that the farthest point in a westerly direction reached by him was in longitude 126 degrees 59 minutes East; and that Mr. Giles, a Victorian explorer, had reached longitude 125 degrees, but had been unable to penetrate farther.

Some records of these expeditions, and a copy of the chart made by Mr. Gosse, were in my possession, when at length, in March, 1874, I set to work on the preliminary arrangements for the expedition. Before leaving Perth I received from the Surveyor-General the following outline of instructions for my general guidance:—


Western Australia, Surveyor-General's Office,

Perth, 17th March, 1874.


The arrangements connected with the party organized for the purpose of proceeding on an exploratory expedition to the north-eastern division of this territory having now been completed, I am directed to instruct and advise you generally in the objects and the intention of the Government in regard to it.

The chief object of the expedition is to obtain information concerning the immense tract of country from which flow the Murchison, Gascoigne, Ashburton, DeGrey, Fitzroy, and other rivers falling into the sea on the western and northern shores of this territory, as there are many good and reasonable grounds for a belief that those rivers outflow from districts neither barren nor badly watered.

Mr. A.C. Gregory, coming from the northwards by Sturt's Creek, discovered the Denison Plains, and it may be that from the head of the Murchison River going northwards there are to be found, near the heads of the rivers above alluded to, many such grassy oases; and, looking at the success which has already attended the stocking of the country to the eastward of Champion Bay, and between the heads of the Greenough River and Murchison, it will be most fortunate for our sheep farmers if you discover any considerable addition to the present known pasture grounds of the colony; and by this means no doubt the mineral resources of the interior will be brought eventually to light. Every opinion of value that has been given on the subject tells one that the head of the Murchison lies in a district which may prove another land of Ophir.

In tracing up this river from Mount Gould to its source, and in tracing other rivers to and from their head waters, detours must be made, but generally your course will be north-east until you are within the tropics; it will then be discretionary with you to decide on your route, of which there is certainly a choice of three, besides the retracing of your steps for the purpose, perhaps, of making a further inspection of the good country you may have found.

Firstly, There is to choose whether you will go westward, and fall back on the settlements at Nicol Bay or the De Grey River, on the north-west coast.

Secondly, To consider whether you might advantageously push up Sturt's Creek, keeping to the westward of Gregory's track.

Thirdly, To decide whether or not you will go eastward to the South Australian telegraph line.

Possibly this latter course may be the most desirable and most feasible to accomplish, as the telegraph stations, taking either Watson's Creek or Daly Waters, are not more than 300 miles from the known water supply on Sturt's Creek, and, supposing you do this successfully, the remaining distance down the telegraph line to Port Darwin is a mere bagatelle, provided an arrangement can be made with the South Australian Government to have a supply of provisions at Daly Waters.

In the event of your going to Port Darwin, the plan probably will be to sell your equipment and horses, returning with your party by sea, but in this and in other matters of detail there is no desire to fetter you, or to prevent the proper use of your judgment, as I am fully aware that your sole object is in common with that of the Government—the carrying to a satisfactory result the work to be done.

I hope that before you individually leave we shall have the pleasure of welcoming Colonel Warburton, and I have no doubt will be able to obtain some valuable information from him.

Having now dwelt generally on the objects of the expedition, I will go more into details.

Your party will consist of yourself as leader, Mr. Alexander Forrest as surveyor and second in command, James Sweeney (farrier), police-constable James Kennedy, and two natives, Tommy Windich and Tommy Pierre, making six in number and twenty horses. The party will be well armed; but by every means in your power you will endeavour to cultivate and keep on friendly relations with all the aborigines you may fall in with, and avoid, if possible, any collision with them.

The provisions and other supplies already arranged for are calculated to serve the party for eight months. The expedition will start from Champion Bay, to which you will at once despatch by sea the stores to be obtained here; and the men and horses should proceed overland without delay. You will be probably able to charter carts or drays to take most of your impedimenta from Geraldton to Mr. Burges's farthest out-station on the Murchison; this will save you 200 miles of packing, and husband the strength of your horses for that distance.

Having the assistance of Mr. Alexander Forrest as surveyor to the party, you will do as much reconnaissance work in connexion with the colonial survey as it may be possible; and also, by taking celestial observations at all convenient times, and by sketching the natural features of the country you pass over, add much to our geographical knowledge. All geological and natural history specimens you can collect and preserve will be most valuable in perfecting information concerning the physical formation of the interior.

You will be good enough to get the agreement, forwarded with this, signed by the whole of the party.

I am, etc.,




On the 18th of March, 1874, the expedition quitted Perth. Colonel Harvest, the Acting-Governor, wished us a hearty God-speed, which was warmly echoed by our friends and the public generally. The Surveyor-General and a party accompanied us for some distance along the road. Ten days afterwards we reached Champion Bay, where we intended to remain for three days, having settled to commence our journey on the 1st of April. We had enough to do in preparing stores, shoeing horses, and starting a team with our heaviest baggage to a spot about fifty miles inland. On the 31st March we were entertained at dinner by Mr. Crowther (Member of the Legislative Council for the district) at the Geraldton Hotel. It was from that point we considered the expedition really commenced, and my Journal will show that we numbered our camps from that place. Our final start was not effected without some trouble. The horses, happily ignorant of the troubles which awaited them, were fresh and lively, kicking, plunging, and running away, so that it was noon before we were fairly on the move. Our first day's journey brought us to a place named Knockbrack, the hospitable residence of Mr. Thomas Burges, where we remained two days, the 3rd being Good Friday. On the 4th we were again on our way—a party of friends, Messrs. E. and F. Wittenoom, Mr. Lacy, and others, accompanying us as far as Allen Nolba. We camped that night at a well known as Wandanoe, where, however, there was scarcely any feed for the horses, who appeared very dissatisfied with their entertainment, for they wandered away, and several hours were spent on the following morning in getting them together.

Our route lay by way of Kolonaday, North Spring, Tinderlong, and Bilyera to Yuin, Mr. Burges's principal station, which we reached on the 9th, and remained until Monday the 13th. Then we started on a route east-north-east, and camped that night at a rock water-hole called Beetinggnow, where we found good feed and water. My brother and Kennedy went on in advance to Poondarrie, to dig water-holes, and we rejoined them there on the 14th. This place is situated in latitude 27 degrees 48 minutes 39 seconds South, and longitude 116 degrees 16 minutes 11 seconds East.

On the following day we were very busy packing up the rations, for I had arranged to send back the cart, gone on in advance. We had eight months' provisions, besides general baggage, and I certainly experienced some difficulty in arranging how to carry such a tremendously heavy load, even with the aid of eighteen pack-horses, and a dozen natives who accompanied us. I intended to start on the 16th, but one of the horses was missing, and, although Pierre and I tracked him for five miles, we were compelled to give up the search for that night, as darkness came on, and return to camp. On the following day, however, we followed up the tracks, and caught the horse after a chase of twenty miles. He had started on the return journey, and was only a mile from Yuin when we overtook him.


By half-past nine on the morning of the 18th we had made a fair start. The day was intensely hot, and as we had only three riding-horses, half of the party were compelled to walk. We travelled in a north-easterly direction for eleven miles, and reached a spring called Wallala, which we dug out, and so obtained sufficient water for our horses. I may mention here that Colonel Warburton and other explorers who endeavoured to cross the great inland desert from the east had the advantage of being provided with camels—a very great advantage indeed in a country where the water supply is so scanty and uncertain as in Central Australia. As we ascertained by painful experience, a horse requires water at least once in twelve hours, and suffers greatly if that period of abstinence is exceeded. A camel, however, will go for ten or twelve days without drink, without being much distressed. This fact should be remembered, because the necessity of obtaining water for the horses entailed upon us many wearying deviations from the main route and frequent disappointments, besides great privation and inconvenience to man and beast.

The 19th was Sunday, and, according to practice, we rested. Every Sunday throughout the journey I read Divine Service, and, except making the daily observations, only work absolutely necessary was done. Whenever possible, we rested on Sunday, taking, if we could, a pigeon, a parrot, or such other game as might come in our way as special fare. Sunday's dinner was an institution for which, even in those inhospitable wilds, we had a great respect. This day, the 19th, ascertained, by meridian altitude of the sun, that we were in latitude 27 degrees 40 minutes 6 seconds South. We had several pigeons and parrots, which, unfortunately for them, but most fortunately for us, had come within range of our guns. While thus resting, Police constable Haydon arrived from Champion Bay, bringing letters and a thermometer (broken on the journey), also a barometer. When he left we bade good-bye to the last white man we were destined to see for nearly six months.

After the usual difficulty with the horses, which had again wandered, we started on Monday, the 20th, at half-past ten, and steering about 30 degrees East of north for seven miles, came to a spring called Bullardo, and seven miles farther we camped at Warrorang, where there was scarcely any water or feed. We were now in latitude 27 degrees 33 minutes 21 seconds South, Cheangwa Hill being North 340 degrees East magnetic.

I now take up the narrative in the words of my Journal, which will show the reason for ultimately adopting the third of the routes which the letter of instructions left to my discretion.

April 21st. Continued on North 340 degrees East to Cheangwa Hill four miles; thence northerly, passing Koonbun, and on to a place called Pingie, on the Sandford River. From camp to Pingie, Barloweery Peaks bore North 322 degrees East magnetic, Cheangwa Hill North 207 degrees East, latitude 27 degrees 19 minutes 33 seconds. Found water by digging. Rather warm; barometer rising. Clear flats along water-courses; otherwise dense thickets.


22nd. Continued northerly; at twelve miles crossed the dividing range between the Sandford and other creeks flowing into the Murchison. Camped at a granite hill called Bia, with a fine spring on its north side. Got a view of Mount Murchison, which bore North 7 degrees East magnetic from camp. Fine grassy granite country for the first eight miles to-day. Splendid feed at this camp. Travelled about fifteen miles. Latitude by meridian altitude of Regulus 27 degrees 7 minutes South. Walking in turns every day.

23rd. Steering a little west of north over level country for six miles, with a few water-courses with white gums in them, we came into granite country with bare hills in every direction. Kept on till we came to a brook with pools of fresh water, where we camped about one mile from the Murchison River. Latitude 26 degrees 52 minutes 38 seconds, Mount Murchison bearing North 50 degrees East. Went with Pierre to a peak of granite North 50 degrees East, about one mile and a half from camp, from which I took a round of angles and bearings. Travelled about eighteen miles to-day.

24th. At one mile reached the Murchison River, and followed along up it. Fine grassy flats, good loamy soil, with white gums in bed and on flats. Travelled about fourteen miles, and camped. Rather brackish water in the pools. Latitude of camp 26 degrees 42 minutes 43 seconds by Regulus. Shot seven ducks and eight cockatoos. Saw several kangaroos and emus. Rain much required. Mount Murchison bears from camp North 122 degrees East, and Mount Narryer North 14 degrees East magnetic.

25th. Continued up river for about nine miles, and camped at a fine spring in the bed of river, of fresh water, which I named Elizabeth Spring; it is surrounded by salt water, and is quite fresh. Mount Narryer bore from camp North 4 degrees East magnetic, and Mount Murchison North 168 degrees 30 minutes East magnetic. Windich shot an emu, and some ducks were also shot. Fine grassy country along river; white gums in flats; large salt pools. Very hot weather; thermometer 90 degrees in pack-saddle.

26th (Sunday). Did not travel to-day. Plotted up track and took observations for time and longitude. Barometer 29.18; thermometer 83 degrees at 6 p.m. Latitude of camp 26 degrees 35 minutes 8 seconds South by Regulus.

27th. Travelled up river for about sixteen miles; camped at a fine fresh pool in latitude 26 degrees 24 minutes 52 seconds South, Mount Narryer bearing North 238 degrees East, and Mount Dugel North 334 degrees East magnetic. Fine grassy country along river. Shot six ducks; great numbers were in the river, also white cockatoos. Very warm mid-day; cloudy in evening. Marked a tree F on the right bank of river.


28th. Followed up the river. Fine pools for the first six miles, with numbers of ducks in them. After travelling about twenty miles we lost the river from keeping too far to the east, and following branches instead of the main branch—in fact, the river spreads out over beautifully-grassed plains for many miles. Fearing we should be without water, I pushed ahead, and after following a flat for about six miles, got to the main river, where there were large pools of brackish water. As it was getting late, returned in all haste, but could not find the party, they having struck westward. I got on the tracks after dark, and, after following them two miles, had to give it up and camp for the night, tying up my horse alongside. Neither food nor water, and no rug.

29th. I anxiously awaited daylight, and then followed on the tracks and overtook the party, encamped on the main branch of the river, with abundance of brackish water in the pools. Shot several cockatoos. From camp Mount Narryer bore North 211 degrees 30 minutes East magnetic, and Mount Dugel 225 degrees 15 minutes East magnetic. Camp is in latitude 26 degrees 6 minutes 12 seconds. Marked a tree with the letter F on right bank of river.

30th. Two of the horses could not be found till half-past twelve. After this we continued up the river over well-grassed country for about ten miles. Camped at a small pool of fresh water, in latitude 26 degrees 2 minutes 52 seconds, which we luckily found by tracking up natives. Large pools of salt water in river. Three walking and three riding every day. Set watch to-night, two hours each.

May 1st. Followed up river, keeping a little to the south of it for about fifteen miles. We camped on a splendid grassy flat, with a fine large pool of fresh water in it. Shot several ducks. This is the best camp we have had—-plenty of grass and water—and I was very rejoiced to find the month commence so auspiciously. Barometer 29.10; thermometer 78 degrees at 5.30 p.m.; latitude 26 degrees 0 minutes 52 seconds South. Sighted Mount Gould, which bore North 58 degrees East magnetic. Marked a white gum-tree F 20, being 20th camp from Geraldton.


2nd. Steered straight for Mount Gould, North 58 degrees East, for sixteen miles, when I found I had made an error, and that we had unknowingly crossed the river this morning. After examining the chart, I steered South-East towards Mount Hale and, striking the river, we followed along it a short distance and camped at some brackish water, Mount Hale bearing North 178 degrees East, and Mount Gould North 28 degrees East. Barometer 28.96; thermometer 77 degrees at 5.30 p.m. As Pierre was walking along, he suddenly turned round and saw four or five natives following. Being rather surprised, he frightened them by roughly saying, "What the devil you want here?" when they quickly made off. Windich and I then tried to speak to them, but could not find them. Latitude 25 degrees 57 minutes 32 seconds South; longitude about 117 degrees 20 minutes East.

3rd (Sunday). Went to summit of Mount Hale in company with Pierre, and after an hour's hard work reached it. It was very rough and difficult to ascend. The rocks were very magnetic; the view was extensive; indeed, the whole country was an extended plain. To the east, plains for at least thirty miles, when broken ranges were visible. Mount Gould to the North-North-East showed very remarkably. Mount Narryer range was visible. To the south, only one hill or range could be seen, while to the South-East broken ranges of granite were seen about thirty miles distant. Mount Hale is very lofty and rugged, and is composed of micaceous iron ore, with brown hematite; being magnetic, the compass was rendered useless. Returned about one o'clock. Windich and the others had been out searching for fresh water, and the former had seen three natives and had a talk with them. They did not appear frightened, but he could not make anything out of them. They found some good water. Barometer, at 6.30 p.m., 28.88; thermometer 76 degrees. Took observations for time and longitude. We are much in want of rain, and thought we should have had some, but the barometer is rising this evening. To-morrow we enter on country entirely unknown.

4th. Started at nine o'clock, and, travelling North-East for three miles, came to junction of river from Mount Gould, when we got some fresh water, also met two natives who were friendly, and they accompanied us. We took the south or main branch of river, and, steering a little south of east for about nine miles, over splendidly-grassed country, we camped on a small pool of fresh water on one of the courses of the river, Mount Gould bearing North 334 degrees 30 minutes East magnetic, and Mount Hale North 228 degrees 30 minutes East magnetic. Barometer 28.90; thermometer 76 degrees at 6 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 54 minutes 37 seconds by Regulus. Marked a tree F 22, being 22nd camp from Geraldton.


5th. We travelled up easterly along the river, which spreads out and has several channels, sometimes running for miles separately, then joining again. There were many fine fresh pools for the first four miles, after which they were all salt, and the river divided into so many channels that it was difficult to know the main river. After travelling about sixteen miles over fine grassy plains and flats, we were joined by seven natives, who had returned with the two who had left us this morning. They told us that there was no fresh water on the branch we were following, and we therefore followed them North 30 degrees East for seven miles (leaving the river to the southward), when they brought us to a small pool in a brook, where we camped, Mount Gould bearing North 285 degrees 30 minutes East magnetic, Mount Hale North 250 degrees East magnetic. Latitude 25 degrees 52 minutes from mean of two observations. Barometer 28.78; thermometer 77 degrees at 6 P.M.

6th. Three of the natives accompanied us to-day. We travelled east for six miles, when I ascended a rise and could see a river to the north and south; the one to the north the natives say has fresh water. As the natives say there is plenty of water ahead, North 70 degrees East, we continued onwards to a hill, which I named Mount Maitland. After about twenty miles we reached it, but found the spring to be bad, and after digging no water came. For our relief I tied up the horses for some time before letting them go. Ascending the hill close to the camp, I saw a very extensive range, and took a fine round of angles. The compass is useless on these hills, as they are composed of micaceous iron ore, with brown hematite, which is very magnetic. To the east a line of high, remarkable ranges extend, running eastwards, which I have named the Robinson Range, after his Excellency Governor Robinson. One of the highest points I named Mount Fraser, after the Honourable Commissioner of Crown Lands, from whom I received much assistance and consideration, and who has aided the expedition in every possible way; the other highest point, Mount Padbury, after Mr. W. Padbury, a contributor to the Expedition Fund. The river could be traced for thirty miles by the line of white gums, while to the south long lines of white gums could also be seen. I am not sure which is the main branch, but I intend following the one to the north, as it looks the largest and the natives say it has fresh water. Barometer 28.45; thermometer 69 degrees at 6 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 46 minutes South. The last thirty-five miles over fine grassy plains, well adapted for sheep-runs; and water could, I think, be easily procured by digging, as well as from the river.

7th. The three natives ran away this morning, or at least left us without asking leave. We had to keep watch all last night over the horses to keep them from rambling. Got an early start, and steering North 70 degrees East for about twelve miles, we reached the river, and camped at a fresh pool of splendid water. This is a fine large branch; it is fresh, and I believe, if not the main, is one of the largest branches. The country is now more undulating and splendidly grassed, and would carry sheep well. The whole bed of the river, or valley, is admirably adapted for pastoral purposes, and will no doubt ere long be stocked. Latitude 25 degrees 42 minutes 12 seconds South, and longitude about 118 degrees 9 minutes East. Barometer 28.57; thermometer 75 degrees at 5.30 p.m. Marked a white gum on right bank of river F 25, being the 25th camp from Champion Bay.

8th. Continued up the river for about fifteen miles, the stream gradually getting smaller, many small creeks coming into it; wide bed and flat. Fine grassy country on each side, and some permanent pools in river. Camped at a small pool of fresh water, and rode up to a low ridge to the North-East, from which I got a fine view to the eastward. I do not think the river we are following goes much farther; low ranges and a few hills alone visible. Barometer 28.48; thermometer 70 degrees at 6 o'clock p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 47 minutes 53 seconds by meridian altitude of Jupiter.

9th. Continued along river, which is gradually getting smaller, for about thirteen miles over most beautiful grassy country, the best we have seen. White gums along bed. I believe the river does not go more than twenty miles from here, it being now very small. Found a nice pool of water and camped. Barometer 28.48; thermometer 68 degrees at half-past five o'clock.


10th (Sunday). Went with Windich south about eight miles to a low range, which I rightly anticipated would be a watershed. Could see a long line of white gums; believe there may be a river to the south, or it may be the salt branch of the Murchison. Returned to camp at two o'clock; plotted up track. Barometer 28.52; thermometer 69 degrees at 6 p.m. Mount Fraser bears North 328 degrees East magnetic from camp, which is in latitude 25 degrees 51 minutes 46 seconds, longitude about 118 degrees 30 minutes East. The country is very dry indeed; in fact, we could not be more unfortunate in the season thus far. I only trust we may be blessed with abundance of rain shortly, otherwise we shall not be able to move onwards.

11th. Continued up river, which is getting very small, over beautifully-grassed country, and at seven miles came to a fine flat and splendid pool of permanent water. Although a delightful spot, I did not halt, as we had come such a short distance. Here we met six native women, who were very frightened at first, but soon found sufficient confidence to talk and to tell us there was plenty of water ahead. As they always say this, I do not put any faith in it. We continued on about east for eight miles to a high flat-topped hill, when we got a view of the country ahead and turned about North-East towards some flats, and at about eight miles camped on a grassy plain, with some small clay-pans of water. Splendid feeding country all along this valley—I may say for the last 100 miles. Heard a number of natives cooeying above our camp, but did not see them. Barometer 28.37; thermometer 68 degrees at six o'clock p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 51 minutes South by meridian altitude of Jupiter.

12th. Started East-North-East for four miles, then north three miles to the range, where we searched over an hour for water without success. We then travelled South-East for five miles and south one mile and a half to a water-hole in a brook, by digging out which we got abundance of water. About a quarter of a mile farther down the brook found a large pool of water and shot six ducks. As soon as we unloaded, it commenced to rain, and kept on steadily till midnight. I am indeed pleased to get this rain at last, as the country is very dry. Splendid open feeding country all to-day, and the camp is a beautifully-grassed spot. Marked a white gum-tree F 29, close to the pool or spring on the right bank of this brook.


13th. Continued on, steering about south-east, as the flat we have been following the last week is now nearly at an end. Afterwards determined to bear southward, in order to see where the south branch of the river goes to. For the first six miles over most magnificent grassed country. Ascended a low range to get a view of the country. The prospect ahead, however, not cheering. Took round of bearings. A very conspicuous range bore about south, which I named Glengarry Range, in honour of Mr. Maitland Brown, a great supporter of the expedition; while to the south-east only one solitary hill could be seen, distant about twenty miles. We, however, continued for about ten miles over most miserable country, thickets and spinifex, when we reached some granitic rocks and a low rise of granite, on which we found sufficient water to camp. Barometer 28.12; thermometer 60 degrees at 5.30 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 57 minutes 11 seconds South by Regulus.

14th. Steered South-East for about fourteen miles to a stony low range, thence East-North-East and east and south for six miles, turning and twisting, looking for water. Windich found some in a gully and we camped. Spinifex for the first fourteen miles, and miserable country. The prospect ahead not very promising. Barometer 28.06; thermometer 83 degrees at 5 p.m. Every appearance of rain. Latitude 26 degrees 8 minutes 31 seconds South, longitude about 119 degrees 18 minutes East.

15th. Raining lightly this morning. I did not proceed, but gave the horses rest.

16th. Continued east for five miles, when we found three of the horses were missing; returned with Windich, and found them near camp, having never started at all. Seeing white gums to the south-east, we followed for five miles down a fine brook (which I named Negri Creek, after Commander Negri, founder of the Geographical Society of Italy), with fine grassy country on each side. Afterwards it joined another brook, and went south-east for about three miles, where it lost itself in open flats. Struck south for two miles to some large white gums, but found no water. After long looking about I found water in a gully and camped. Distance travelled about twenty miles. Spinifex and grassy openings the first five miles to-day. Barometer 28.20; thermometer 67 degrees at 6 o'clock p.m.; latitude 26 degrees 16 minutes 8 seconds by Jupiter. Windich shot a turkey.


17th (Sunday). The horses rambled far away, and it was noon before they were all collected. Shifted three and a half miles north, where there was better feed and water. Went on to a low hill on the north of our last night's camp, and got a fine view of the country to the south and south-east. Two remarkable flat-topped hills bore South-East, which I named Mount Bartle and Mount Russell, after the distinguished President and Foreign Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society. Saw a long line of white gums (colalyas) running East and West about ten miles distant, looking very much like a river. To the east and north the view was intercepted by long stony rises, apparently covered with spinifex. Large white gum clumps studded the plains in every direction. Evidences of heavy rainfall at certain times to be seen everywhere. Barometer 28.28; thermometer 72 degrees at 5 p.m.; latitude 26 degrees 13 minutes 4 seconds South.

18th. Steered South-South-East for four miles, then South-East generally, towards the flat-topped hills seen yesterday, and which bore 144 degrees East magnetic from Spinifex Hill. At six miles crossed a low range covered with spinifex, after which we passed over country generally well grassed, some of it most beautifully, and white gums very large in clumps were studded all over the plains. At about twenty-two miles reached the flat-topped hills, and camped, finding some water in a clay-pan. The line of white gums I find are only large clumps studded over extensive plains of splendidly-grassed country. No large water-course was crossed, but several small creeks form here and there, and afterwards run out into the plains, finally finding their way into the Murchison. It was sundown when we camped. Walked over twenty miles myself to-day. Barometer 28.38; thermometer 60 degrees at six o'clock; latitude 26 degrees 27 minutes 38 seconds South, longitude about 119 degrees 42 minutes East.

19th. Continued in a north-easterly direction for about eight miles over fine grassy plains, and camped at some water in a small gully with fine feed. I camped early in order to give the backs of the horses a good washing, and to refit some of the pack-saddles. Passed several clay-pans with water. We have not seen any permanent water for the last eighty miles. I much wish to find some, as it is very risky going on without the means of falling back. The country seems very deficient of permanent water, although I believe plenty could be procured by sinking. Barometer 28.46; thermometer 63 degrees at 5 p.m.; latitude 26 degrees 23 minutes 39 seconds South. Left a pack-saddle frame and two pack-bags hanging on a tree.


20th. Steering North-East for five miles over fine grassy plains, came to a low stony range, ascending which we saw, a little to the south, a line of (colalya) white gums, to which we proceeded. Then following up a large brook for about five miles North-East, we camped at a small water-hole in the brook. In the afternoon I went with Pierre about one mile North-East of camp to the summit of a rough range and watershed, which I believe is the easterly watershed of the Murchison River. All the creeks to the west of this range (which I named Kimberley Range, after the Right Honourable Lord Kimberley, the Secretary of State for the Colonies) trend towards the Murchison, and finally empty into the main river. From this range we could see a long way to the eastward. The country is very level, with low ranges, but no conspicuous hills. Not a promising country for water, but still looks good feeding country. This range is composed of brown hematite, decomposing to yellow (tertiary), and is very magnetic, the compass being useless. Bituminous pitch found oozing out of the rocks—probably the result of the decomposition of the excrement of bats. It contains fragments of the wing cases of insects, and gives reactions similar to the bituminous mineral or substance found in Victoria. Barometer 28.285; thermometer 63 degrees at 5 p.m. On summit of watershed, barometer 28.15; thermometer 69 degrees; latitude 26 degrees 17 minutes 12 seconds, longitude about 119 degrees 54 minutes East.

21st. Continued on North-East, and, travelling over the watershed of the Murchison, we followed along a gully running North-East; then, passing some water-holes, travelled on and ascended a small range, from which we beheld a very extensive clear plain just before us. Thinking it was a fine grassy plain we quickly descended, when, to our disgust, we found it was spinifex that had been burnt. We continued till three o'clock, with nothing but spinifex plains in sight. I despatched Windich towards a range in the distance, and followed after as quickly as possible. When we reached the range we heard the welcoming gunshot, and, continuing on, we met Tommy, who had found abundance of water and feed on some granite rocks. We soon unloaded, and were all rejoiced to be in safety, the prospect this afternoon having been anything but cheering. Distance travelled about thirty miles. Barometer 28.22; thermometer 56 degrees at 6 p.m. Cold easterly wind all day. About eighteen miles of spinifex plains. Latitude 26 degrees 0 minutes 53 seconds by Arcturus and e Bootes.

22nd. Did not travel to-day, the horses being tired, and the country ahead did not seem very inviting. Windich found a native spring about a mile to the North-East. This is a very nice spot, surrounded as it is by spinifex. Variation 2 degrees 40 minutes West by observation.

23rd. Continued on North-East for about twelve miles over spinifex plains and sandy ridges. Went on ahead with Windich, and came to a gorge and some granite rocks with abundance of water, and were soon joined by the party. Barometer 28.30; thermometer 60 degrees at 6 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 53 minutes 52 seconds by Altair.

24th (Sunday). We rested at camp. I was all day calculating lunar observations. Barometer 28.22; thermometer 64 degrees at 5.30 p.m.


25th. Travelled onwards about North 40 degrees East for eight miles, passing a low granite range at six miles. Came to a fine brook trending a little south of east, which we followed downwards seven miles, running nearly east. This brook was full of water, some of the pools being eight or ten feet deep, ten yards wide, and sixty yards long. It flowed out into a large flat, and finally runs into a salt lake. I named this brook Sweeney Creek, after my companion and farrier, James Sweeney. Leaving the flat, we struck North-North-East for four miles, and came to a salt marsh about half a mile wide, which we crossed. Following along, came into some high ranges, which I named the Frere Ranges, after Sir Bartle Frere, the distinguished President of the Royal Geographical Society. Found a small rock water-hole in a gully and camped. Water appears exceedingly scarce in these ranges. It is very remarkable that there should have been such heavy rain twelve miles back, and none at all here. Rough feed for horses. Distance travelled about twenty-seven miles. These ranges run east and west, and are the highest we have seen. The marsh appears to follow along the south side of the range. Barometer 28.38; thermometer 70 degrees at 5.30 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 43 minutes 44 seconds by Arcturus.

26th. Ascended the Frere Ranges and got a fine view to the north and east. Fine high hills and ranges to the north; a salt marsh and low ranges to the east and South-East. Continued on North-East for four miles, then North-North-West for three miles, passing plenty of water in clay-holes and clay-pans in bed of marsh, we camped at a fine pool in a large brook that runs into the marsh, which I called Kennedy Creek, after my companion James Kennedy. The prospect ahead is very cheering, and I hope to find plenty of water and feed for the next 100 miles. Latitude 25 degrees 38 minutes 44 seconds South; barometer 28.42; thermometer 41 degrees at 10 p.m. Marked a white gumtree F 40 close to camp in bed of river. The banks of the brook at this spot are composed of purple-brown slate (Silurian).

27th. Followed up the Kennedy Creek, bearing North-North-East and North for about seven miles, passing a number of shallow pools, when we came to some splendid springs, which I named the Windich Springs, after my old and well-tried companion Tommy Windich, who has now been on three exploring expeditions with me. They are the best springs I have ever seen—flags in the bed of the river, and pools twelve feet deep and twenty chains long—a splendid place for water. We therefore camped, and found another spot equally good a quarter of a mile west of camp in another branch. There is a most magnificent supply of water and feed—almost unlimited and permanent. A fine range of hills bore north-west from the springs, which I named Carnarvon Range, after the Right Honourable the present Secretary of State for the Colonies. The hills looked very remarkable, being covered with spinifex almost to their very summit. We shot five ducks and got three opossums this afternoon, besides doing some shoeing. There is an immense clump of white gums at head of spring. Barometer 28.34; thermometer 46 degrees at 11 p.m. Marked a large white gum-tree F 41 on west side close to right bank of river, being our 41st camp from Geraldton. Latitude 25 degrees 22 minutes 26 seconds South, longitude about 120 degrees 42 minutes East.


28th. Steering North 30 degrees East for eleven miles, we came to a rough hill, which I ascended, camped on north side of it, and found water in a gully. The view was very extensive but not promising—spinifex being in every direction. A bold hill bore North 31 degrees East magnetic, about seven miles distant to the North-North-West, which I named Mount Salvado, after Bishop Salvado, of Victoria Plains, a contributor to the Expedition Fund. The Carnarvon Ranges looked very remarkable. To the East and North-East spinifex and low ranges for fifteen miles, when the view was intercepted by spinifex rises—altogether very unpromising. Barometer 28.26; thermometer 70 degrees at 5 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 24 minutes 11 seconds South.

29th. Steered East-North-East for seven miles, when we came to some fine water in a gully, which we did not camp at, owing to my being ahead with Windich, and my brother not seeing a note I left telling him to remain there while I went on to get a view ahead. Passing this at ten miles, we reached a low spinifex hill capped with rock, from which a remarkable hill was visible, which I named Mount Davis, after my friend Mr. J.S. Davis, who was a contributor to the Expedition Fund. Mount Salvado was also visible. Spinifex in every direction, and the country very miserable and unpromising. I went ahead with Windich. Steering about North 15 degrees East for about eight miles over spinifex sand-hills, we found a spring in a small flat, which I named Pierre Spring, after my companion Tommy Pierre. It was surrounded by the most miserable spinifex country, and is quite a diamond in the desert. We cleared it out and got sufficient water for our horses. To the North, South, and East nothing but spinifex sand-hills in sight. Barometer 28.44; thermometer 70 degrees at 5 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 14 minutes 34 seconds South by Altair.

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