SEARCHING FOR WATER.
30th. Steering East-North-East over spinifex red sand-hills for nine miles, we came to a valley and followed down a gully running North-North-East for two miles, when it lost itself on the flat, which was wooded and grassy. About a mile farther on we found a clay-pan with water, and camped, with excellent feed. The country is very dry, and I should think there has not been any rain for several months. The appearance of the country ahead is better than it looked yesterday. I went onwards with Windich to-day, and found the water. Barometer 28.46; thermometer 66 degrees at 5.30 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 10 minutes 32 seconds.
31st. (Sunday). Rested at camp. Took observations for time. Left two pack-saddle bags hanging on a tree.
June 1st. Barometer 28.38; thermometer 45 degrees at 8 a.m. In collecting the horses we came on an old native camp, and found the skull of a native, much charred, evidently the remains of one who had been eaten. Continued on about North-East along a grassy flat, and at five miles passed some clay-pans of water, after which we encountered spinifex, which continued for fifteen miles, when we got to a rocky range, covered with more spinifex. Myself and Windich were in advance, and after reaching the range we followed down a flat about North for six miles, when it joined another large water-course, both trending North-North-West and North-West. We followed down this river for about seven miles, in hopes of finding water, without success. Night was fast approaching, and I struck north for four miles to a range, on reaching which the prospect was very poor; it proved to be a succession of spinifex sand-hills, and no better country was in view to the North-East and East. It was just sundown when we reached the range; we then turned east for two miles, and south, following along all the gullies we came across, but could find no water. It was full moon, so that we could see clearly. We turned more to the westward and struck our outward tracks, and, following back along them, we met the party encamped at the junction of the two branches mentioned before. We kept watch over the horses to keep them from straying. Mine and Windich's horses were nearly knocked up, and Windich himself was very ill all night. Latitude 24 degrees 55 minutes 19 seconds South.
AT WELD SPRINGS.
2nd. Early this morning went with Pierre to look for water, while my brother and Windich went on the same errand. We followed up the brook about south for seven miles, when we left it and followed another branch about South-South-East, ascending which, Pierre drew my attention to swarms of birds, parroquets, etc., about half a mile ahead. We hastened on, and to our delight found one of the best springs in the colony. It ran down the gully for twenty chains, and is as clear and fresh as possible, while the supply is unlimited. Overjoyed at our good fortune, we hastened back, and, finding that my brother and Windich had not returned, packed up and shifted over to the springs, leaving a note telling them the good news. After reaching the springs we were soon joined by them. They had only found sufficient water to give their own horses a drink; they also rejoiced to find so fine a spot. Named the springs the Weld Springs, after his Excellency Governor Weld, who has always taken such great interest in exploration, and without whose influence and assistance this expedition would not have been organized. There is splendid feed all around. I intend giving the horses a week's rest here, as they are much in want of it, and are getting very poor and tired. Barometer 28.24; thermometer 71 degrees at 5 p.m. Shot a kangaroo.
3rd. Rested at Weld Springs. Light rain this morning. The horses doing well, and will improve very fast. Towards evening the weather cleared, which I was sorry for, as good rains are what we are much in need of. Did some shoeing. Barometer 28.13; thermometer 61 degrees at 5 p.m.
4th. Barometer 28.16; thermometer 53 degrees at 8 a.m. Rested at Weld Springs. Shod some of the horses. Repairing saddles. Rating chronometer. Windich shot an emu. Horses doing first-rate, and fast improving.
5th. Barometer 28.28; thermometer 53 degrees at 6 p.m. Rested at Weld Springs. Shoeing and saddle-stuffing. Ten emus came to water; shot twice with rifle at them, but missed. Rated chronometer.
6th. Rested at Weld Springs. Took three sets of lunars. Pierre shot a kangaroo. Marked a tree F 46 on the east side of the spring at our bivouac, which is in latitude 25 degrees 0 minutes 46 seconds South, longitude about 121 degrees 21 minutes East. Mended saddles. Horses much improved, and some of them getting very fresh.
7th (Sunday). Pierre shot an emu, and the others shot several pigeons. This is a splendid spot; emus and kangaroos numerous, pigeons and birds innumerable, literally covering the entire surface all round the place in the evenings. We have been living on game ever since we have been here. Intend taking a flying trip to-morrow; party to follow on our tracks on Tuesday. Read Divine Service. Barometer 28.38; thermometer 55 degrees at 7 p.m.
8th. Started with Tommy Pierre to explore the country East-North-East for water, leaving instructions for my brother to follow after us to-morrow with the party. We travelled generally East-North-East for twenty miles over spinifex and undulating sand-hills, without seeing any water. We turned east for ten miles to a range, which we found to be covered with spinifex. Everywhere nothing else was to be seen; no feed, destitute of water; while a few small gullies ran out of the low range, but all were dry. Another range about twenty-four miles distant was the extent of our view, to which we bore. At twenty miles, over red sandy hills covered with spinifex and of the most miserable nature, we came to a narrow samphire flat, following which south for two miles, we camped without water and scarcely any feed. Our horses were knocked up, having come over heavy ground more than fifty miles. The whole of the country passed over to-day is covered with spinifex, and is a barren worthless desert.
BACK TO THE SPRINGS.
9th. At daybreak continued east about four miles to the range seen yesterday, which we found to be a low stony rise, covered with spinifex. The view was extensive and very gloomy. Far to the north and east, spinifex country, level, and no appearance of hills or water-courses. To the south were seen a few low ranges, covered also with spinifex; in fact, nothing but spinifex in sight, and no chance of water. Therefore I was obliged to turn back, as our horses were done up. Travelling south for five miles, we then turned West-North-West until we caught our outward tracks, and, following them, we met the party at 3 o'clock, coming on, about twenty miles from the Weld Springs. Our horses were completely done up. We had not had water for thirty-one hours. We all turned back, retreating towards the springs, and continued on till 10 o'clock, when we camped in the spinifex and tied up the horses.
10th. We travelled on to the springs, which were only about three miles from where we slept last night, and camped. I intend staying here for some time, until I find water ahead or we get some rain. We are very fortunate in having such a good depot, as the feed is very good. We found that about a dozen natives had been to the springs while we were away. They had collected some of the emu feathers, which were lying all about. Natives appear to be very numerous, and I have no doubt that there are springs in the spinifex or valleys close to it. Barometer 28.08; thermometer 62 degrees at 5.30 p.m.
11th. Rested at the Weld Springs. Shot an emu; about a dozen came to water. My brother and Windich intend going a flying trip East-South-East in search of water to-morrow. Barometer 28.15; thermometer 60 degrees at 5 p.m.
12th. My brother and Windich started in search of water; myself and Pierre accompanied them about twelve miles with water to give their horses a drink. About ten o'clock we left them and returned to camp.
FIGHT WITH THE NATIVES.
13th. About one o'clock Pierre saw a flock of emus coming to water, and went off to get a shot. Kennedy followed with the rifle. I climbed up on a small tree to watch them. I was surprised to hear natives' voices, and, looking towards the hill, I saw from forty to sixty natives running towards the camp, all plumed up and armed with spears and shields. I was cool, and told Sweeney to bring out the revolvers; descended from the tree and got my gun and cooeyed to Pierre and Kennedy, who came running. By this time they were within sixty yards, and halted. One advanced to meet me and stood twenty yards off; I made friendly signs; he did not appear very hostile. All at once one from behind (probably a chief) came rushing forward, and made many feints to throw spears. He went through many manoeuvres, and gave a signal, when the whole number made a rush towards us, yelling and shouting, with their spears shipped. When within thirty yards I gave the word to fire: we all fired as one man, only one report being heard. I think the natives got a few shots, but they all ran up the hill and there stood, talking and haranguing and appearing very angry. We re-loaded our guns, and got everything ready for a second attack, which I was sure they would make. We were not long left in suspense. They all descended from the hill and came on slowly towards us. When they were about 150 yards off I fired my rifle, and we saw one of them fall, but he got up again and was assisted away. On examining the spot we found the ball had cut in two the two spears he was carrying; he also dropped his wommera, which was covered with blood. We could follow the blood-drops for a long way over the stones. I am afraid he got a severe wound. My brother and Windich being away we were short-handed. The natives seem determined to take our lives, and therefore I shall not hesitate to fire on them should they attack us again. I thus decide and write in all humility, considering it a necessity, as the only way of saving our lives. I write this at 4 p.m., just after the occurrence, so that, should anything happen to us, my brother will know how and when it occurred.
5 p.m. The natives appear to have made off. We intend sleeping in the thicket close to camp, and keeping a strict watch, so as to be ready for them should they return to the attack this evening. At 7.30 my brother and Windich returned, and were surprised to hear of our adventure. They had been over fifty miles from camp East-South-East, and had passed over some good feeding country, but had not found a drop of water. They and their horses had been over thirty hours without water.
14th (Sunday). The natives did not return to the attack last night. In looking round camp we found the traces of blood, where one of the natives had been lying down. This must have been the foremost man, who was in the act of throwing his spear, and who urged the others on. Two therefore, at least, are wounded, and will have cause to remember the time they made their murderous attack upon us. We worked all day putting up a stone hut, ten by nine feet, and seven feet high, thatched with boughs. We finished it; it will make us safe at night. Being a very fair hut, it will be a great source of defence. Barometer 28.09; thermometer 68 degrees at 5 p.m. Hope to have rain, as without it we cannot proceed.
15th. Finished the hut, pugging it at the ends, and making the roof better. Now it is in good order, and we are quite safe from attack at night, should they attempt it again, which I think is doubtful, as they got too warm a reception last time. I intend going with Windich to-morrow easterly in search of water. Barometer 29.09 at 5 p.m.; thermometer 62 degrees.
16th. Left the Weld Springs with Windich and a pack-horse carrying fourteen gallons of water. Steered South-East for twelve miles over spinifex, after which we got into a grassy ravine, which we followed along three miles, passing some fine clay-holes which would hold plenty of water if it rained. We then turned East-North-East for twelve miles over spinifex, miserable country, when we struck the tracks of my brother and Windich on their return, June 13th. We followed along them South-East for four miles, and then South-East to a bluff range about eighteen miles, which we reached at sundown. Spinifex generally, a few grassy patches intervening, on which were numbers of kangaroos. We camped close to the bluff, and gave the horses one gallon of water each out of the cans. Just when the pannicans were boiled, heard noises which we thought were natives shouting. We instantly put out the fire and had our supper in the dark, keeping a sharp look-out for two hours, when we were convinced it must have been a native dog, as there were hundreds all round us, barking and howling. The weather is heavy and cloudy, and I hope to get some rain shortly. We slept without any fire, but it was not very cold.
17th. As the horses did not ramble far, we got off early and followed along and through the ranges East-South-East about, the distance being eighteen miles. Passed some splendid clay-pans quite dry. The flats around the ranges are very grassy, and look promising eastwards, but we cannot find any water. Kangaroos and birds are numerous. Being about seventy miles from camp, we cannot go any farther, or our horses will not carry us back. We therefore turned, keeping to the south of our outward track, and at about eleven miles found some water in some clay-holes, and camped at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. There is sufficient water to last the party about a week, but not more. The weather is dark and threatening, and I believe there will be rain to-night, which will be a great boon, and will enable us to travel along easily. It is in circumstances such as I am at present placed that we are sure to implore help and assistance from the hand of the Creator; but when we have received all we desire, how often we forget to give Him praise!
18th. Rained lightly last night, and we had a nice shower this morning. Yet did not get very wet, as we had our waterproofs. Fearing that the rain would obliterate the tracks and the party be unable to follow them, I decided to return towards Weld Springs. Therefore followed along our outward track, but found, to our sorrow, that there had been no rain west of our last night's camp. We pushed along and got within eighteen miles of Weld Springs and camped without water, having left the cans behind, thinking we should find plenty of rain-water.
19th. We had to go about two miles for our horses this morning; after which, we made all haste towards Weld Springs, as I knew the party would be coming on along our tracks to-day. When we were within six miles of the spring we met the party, but, being obliged to take our horses to water, I decided that all should return and make a fresh start to-morrow. The natives had not returned to the attack during our absence, so I conclude they do not intend to interfere with us further. On our way to-day we passed some fine rock holes, but all were quite dry. Rain is very much required in this country.
20th. Started at 9.30 a.m., and steering South-East towards the water found on the 17th for twenty-four miles; thence East-South-East for eight miles, and camped without water on a small patch of feed. The last ten miles was over clear spinifex country of the most wretched description. The country all the way, in fact, is most miserable and intolerable. Barometer 28.50; thermometer 56 degrees at 8 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 13 minutes 36 seconds South by meridian altitude of Arcturus. Left the rum-keg and a pair of farrier's pincers in the stone hut at Weld Springs.
21st (Sunday). Got an early start, and continued on East-South-East. At about three miles reached a spring on a small patch of feed in the spinifex and camped, but found, after digging it out, that scarcely any water came in. I have no doubt that it will fill up a good deal in the night; but, our horses being thirsty, I re-saddled and pushed on to the water about sixteen miles ahead, which we reached at 4 p.m. There is not more than a week's supply here, therefore I intend going ahead with Pierre to-morrow in search of more. The country ahead seems promising, but there is a great deal of spinifex almost everywhere. From Weld Spring to our present camp is all spinifex, with the exception of a few flats along short gullies. Latitude 25 degrees 22 minutes 50 seconds South, longitude about 121 degrees 57 minutes East. Barometer 28.50; thermometer 62 degrees at 5 p.m.
22nd. Left camp in company with Tommy Pierre, with a pack-horse carrying fifteen gallons of water. Steered South-East for four miles, then east for about eight miles over fine grassy country, then South-East towards a high range about twenty-five miles distant. After going about three miles, struck a flat trending South-South-East, which we followed down about four miles, passing two small clay-holes with water in them; then we struck South-East for four miles, and came to a large brook trending South-East, which we followed along until it lost itself on the plain about six miles. Fine grassy country all the way, and game abundant. There were a few gallons of water here and there in the brook, but none large enough to camp at. I then turned east, and at about seven miles reached the hill seen this morning, which I named Mount Moore, after Mr. W.D. Moore, of Fremantle, a subscriber to the Expedition Fund. Ascending the hill we had an extensive view to the South-West, South, and South-East. Fine grassy country all round and very little spinifex. To the south about nine miles we saw a lake, and farther off a remarkable red-faced range, which I named Timperley Range, after my friend Mr. W.H. Timperley, Inspector of Police, from whom I received a great deal of assistance before leaving Champion Bay. A remarkable peak, with a reddish top, bore South-South-East, which I named Mount Hosken, after Mr. M. Hosken, of Geraldton, a contributor to the expedition. I made south towards the lake, and at one mile and a half came on to a gully in the grassy plain, in which we found abundance of water, sufficient to last for months. We therefore camped for the night, with beautiful feed for the horses. I was very thankful to find so much water and such fine grassy country, for, if we had not found any this trip, we should have been obliged to retreat towards Weld Springs, the water where I left the party being only sufficient to last a few days. The country passed over to-day was very grassy, with only a little spinifex, and it looks promising ahead. Distance from camp about thirty-five miles.
23rd. Steering south for about eight miles, we reached the lake, which I named Lake Augusta. The water is salt, and about five miles in circumference. Grassy country in the flat; red sand-hills along the shore. It appeared deep, and swarmed with ducks and swans. Pierre shot two ducks, after which we pushed on North-East for about twelve miles to a low rocky bluff, which we ascended and got a view of the country ahead—rough broken ranges to the east and south. We continued on east for six miles, when, on approaching a rocky face of a range, we saw some natives on top of it, watching us. Approaching nearer, we heard them haranguing and shouting, and soon afterward came within thirty yards of one who was stooping down, looking intently and amazedly at us. I made friendly signs, but he ran off shouting, and apparently much afraid. He and several others ran up and joined the natives on the cliff summit, and then all made off. We turned, and steering East-North-East for six miles, and then east for about fourteen miles, the last few miles being miserable spinifex country, we camped, with poor feed, amongst some spinifex ranges. A good deal of grassy country the first part of the day. Kangaroos very numerous, and emus also. Evidences of the natives being in great numbers.
24th. Ascended a red-topped peak close to our bivouac and got a view ahead. A salt lake was visible a few miles to the east, towards which we proceeded. Passing along samphire flats and over red sand-hills, we got within a mile of the lake. The country close to it not looking promising, I determined to turn our faces westward towards the party. Steering a little south of west for three miles, we struck a large brook trending North-East into the lake, and, following it up a mile, found a fine pool of fresh water, with splendid feed. This is very fortunate, as it is a good place to bring the party to. Elated with our success, we continued on westerly, passing some fine rock water-holes, half full of water, and at twenty miles from the pool we found a springy hole, with plenty of water in it, within a few hundred yards of our outward track. We had missed it going out; it is in the centre of a very fine grassy plain. Kangaroos and emus numerous, also natives. Giving the horses water, we pushed on for twelve miles and camped on some fine grassy flats. Every appearance of rain.
25th. Having finished all our rations last night, I shot two kangaroos while out for the horses, and brought the hind quarters with us. Continuing westerly for about ten miles, we reached the water, our bivouac on the 22nd. I awaited the arrival of the party, which should reach here this morning. At two o'clock heard gunshots, and saw my brother and Windich walking towards us. Found that they had missed our tracks and were camped about a mile higher up the gully, at some small clay-holes. We got our horses and accompanied them back. Rained this evening more than we have had before. Very cloudy. Barometer 28.18, but inclined to rise. Everything had gone on well during my absence.
26th. Did not travel to-day, as there was good feed and water at this camp. My brother, Windich, and Pierre rode over to Lake Augusta to get some shooting, and returned in the afternoon with a swan and two ducks. On their way out they saw a native and gave him chase. He climbed up a small tree, and, although Windich expended all his knowledge of the languages of Australia to get him to talk, he would not open his lips, but remained silent; they therefore left him to get down from the tree at his leisure. Re-stuffed some of the pack-saddles. Marked a tree F 50, being our 50th camp from Geraldton. Barometer 28.40; thermometer 50 degrees at 6 p.m.; weather cleared off and fine night. Latitude 25 degrees 37 minutes 38 seconds South; longitude about 122 degrees 22 minutes East.
27th. Erected a cairn of stones on South-East point of Mount Moore, after which continued on and reached the spring found by me on the 24th; distance fifteen miles. The last six miles poor spinifex country. Fine and grassy round spring. Barometer 28.54; thermometer 56 degrees at 7 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 37 minutes 53 seconds by Arcturus. Marked a tree F 51, being the 51st camp from Geraldton.
28th (Sunday). Rested at spring. Found the variations to be 1 degree 52 minutes West by azimuths.
29th. Reached the pool found by me on the 24th; distance seventeen miles. Latitude 25 degrees 41 minutes 22 seconds South; longitude about 122 degrees 53 minutes East. Splendid feed round camp. Marked a tree F 52, being the 52nd from Geraldton. About two miles west of camp I ascended a remarkable hill and took a round of bearings, naming it Mount Bates, after the Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society.
30th. Left camp F 52 in company with Tommy Windich, taking one pack-horse, to find water ahead eastward. Steered East-North-East over salt marshes and spinifex sand-hills, and at about eleven miles found water in some clay-pans, and left a note telling my brother to camp here to-morrow night. Continued on and found several more fine water-pans and fine grassy patches. Ascended a range to get a view ahead. In every direction spinifex, more especially to the north; to the east some low ranges were visible, about twenty miles distant, towards which we proceeded. On our way we surprised an emu on its nest and found several eggs; we buried four with a note stuck over them, for the party to get when they came along, and took three with us. Soon after this the horse Windich was riding (Mission) gave in, and we had great difficulty in getting him along. I was much surprised at this, for I considered him the best horse we had. We reached the range and found water in some of the gorges, but no feed; spinifex everywhere. We continued on till dark, passing some natives' fire, which we did not approach, then camped with scarcely any feed. I hope to have better luck to-morrow. We have found plenty of water, but no feed; this is better than having no water and plenty of feed. We had one wurrung, four chockalotts, and three emu eggs, besides bread and bacon, for tea to-night, so we fared sumptuously.
July 1st. Got off early and continued easterly to a low stony range three miles off, over spinifex sandy country. Found a rock water-hole and gave our horses a drink. Continuing about east to other ranges, which we followed along and through, and from range to range, spinifex intervening everywhere, and no feed, a few little drops of water in the gullies, but not sufficient for the party to camp at. When we had travelled about fifteen miles, we turned north for three miles, and again east, through and over some ranges. No feed and scarcely any water. Saw a range about twenty-five miles farther east—spinifex all the way to it. Mission being again knocked up, although carrying only a few pounds, we camped about three o'clock at a small hole of water in a gully—only large enough to serve the party one night—the first to-day that would even do that. The last forty miles was over the most wretched country I have ever seen; not a bit of grass, and no water, except after rain; spinifex everywhere. We are very fortunate to have a little rain-water, or we could not get ahead.
2nd. Steered towards the range seen yesterday a little south of east, and, after going twelve miles, my horse completely gave in, Mission doing the same also. I had hard work to get them along, and at last they would not walk. I gave them a rest and then drove them before me, following Windich till we reached the range. Found a little water in a gully, but no feed. Spinifex all the way to-day; most wretched country. We ascended the range, and the country ahead looks first-rate; high ranges to the North-East, and apparently not so much spinifex. We continued North-East, and after going four miles camped on a patch of feed, the first seen for the last sixty miles. I was very tired, having walked nearly twenty miles, and having to drive two knocked-up horses. I have good hopes of getting both feed and water to-morrow, for, if we do not, we shall be in a very awkward position.
3rd. Soon after starting, found a little water in a gully and gave our horses a drink. Ascended a spur of the range and had a good view ahead, and was very pleased with the prospect. Steering North-East towards a large range about fifteen miles off, we found a great deal of spinifex, although the country generally was thickly wooded. I rode Mission, who went along pretty well for about twelve miles, when Williams gave in again, and Mission soon did the same. For the next six miles to the range we had awful work, but managed, with leading and driving, to reach the range; spinifex all the way, and also on the top of it. I was very nearly knocked up myself, but ascended the range and had a very extensive view. Far to the north and east the horizon was as level and uniform as that of the sea; apparently spinifex everywhere; no hills or ranges could be seen for a distance of quite thirty miles. The prospect was very cheerless and disheartening. Windich went on the only horse not knocked up, in order to find water for the horses. I followed after his tracks, leading the two poor done-up horses. With difficulty I could get them to walk. Over and through the rough range I managed to pull them along, and found sufficient water to give them a good drink, and camped on a small patch of rough grass in one of the gorges. Spinifex everywhere; it is a most fearful country. We cannot proceed farther in this direction, and must return and meet the party, which I hope to do to-morrow night. We can only crawl along, having to walk and lead the horses, or at least drag them. The party have been following us, only getting a little water from gullies, and there is very little to fall back on for over fifty miles. I will leave what I intend doing until I meet them. I am nearly knocked up again to-night; my boots have hurt my feet, but I am not yet disheartened.
4th. We travelled back towards the party, keeping a little to the west of our outward track; and after going five miles found some water in clay-holes, sufficient to last the party about one night. Two of our horses being knocked up, I made up my mind to let the party meet us here, although I scarcely know what to do when they do arrive. To go forward looks very unpromising, and to retreat we have quite seventy miles with scarcely any water and no feed at all. The prospect is very cheerless, and what I shall do depends on the state of the horses, when they reach here. It is very discouraging to have to retreat, as Mr. Gosse's farthest point west is only 200 miles from us. We finished all our rations this morning, and we have been hunting for game ever since twelve o'clock, and managed to get a wurrung and an opossum, the only living creatures seen, and which Windich was fortunate to capture.
LOSS OF HORSES.
5th (Sunday). Early this morning Windich and I went in search of more water. Having nothing to eat, it did not take us long to have a little drink of water for our breakfast. Went a few miles to the North-West and looked all round, but only found a small rock water-hole. Windich got an opossum out of a tree. We returned about twelve o'clock and then ate the opossum. At about one o'clock we saddled up and made back towards the party, which I thought should have arrived by this time. When about two miles we met them coming on; they had been obliged to leave two horses on the way, knocked up, one named Fame, about twenty-four miles away, and Little Padbury about eight miles back; all the others were in pretty good trim, although very hungry and tired. We returned to the little water, which they soon finished. I was glad to meet the party again, although we were in a bad position. Intend returning to-morrow to the range left by the party this morning, where there is enough water for half a day, and search that range more thoroughly. The horses will have a good night's feed and I have every confidence that, if the worst comes, we shall be able to retreat to a place of safety. Found my brother in good spirits. We soon felt quite happy and viewed the future hopefully. I was sorry to lose the horses, but we cannot expect to get on through such a country without some giving in. The country is so dry; the season altogether dry, otherwise we could go ahead easily. A good shower of rain is what is required. It has been very warm the last three days, and I hope much for a change. Read Divine Service. Latitude 25 degrees 31 minutes 45 seconds South, longitude about 124 degrees 17 minutes East. Barometer 28.62 at 4 p.m.
6th. Retreated back to the water left by the party in the range fourteen miles South-West. At one mile we gave the horses as much water as they required from some rock holes. After reaching the water and having dinner, Pierre and myself, and my brother and Windich, started off on foot to examine the range for water, but could find only a few gallons. I think there will be sufficient water to last us here to-morrow, and we will give the country a good searching. If we fail, there must be a retreat westwards at least seventy miles. Barometer 28.53; thermometer 64 degrees at 5 p.m.
7th. Early this morning Pierre and I and my brother and Windich started off in search of water, as there was scarcely any left at camp. Unless we are fortunate enough to find some, retreat is inevitable. Pierre and myself searched the range we were camped in, while Windich and my brother went further south towards another range. We searched all round and over the rough ranges without success, and reached camp at one o'clock. To our relief and joy learnt that my brother and Windich had found water about five miles South-South-East, sufficient to last two or three weeks. This was good news; so after dinner we packed up and went over to the water. The feed was not very good, but I am truly thankful to have found it, as a retreat of seventy miles over most wretched country was anything but cheering. Barometer 28.52; thermometer 70 degrees at 5 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 43 minutes 8 seconds by Arcturus.
8th. Rested at camp. Devoted the day to taking sets of lunar observations. There is very little feed about this water, and to-morrow my brother and Pierre go on a flying trip ahead. It is very warm to-day, and has been for the last week. Barometer 28.59; thermometer 79 degrees at 5 p.m.
9th. Very cloudy this morning, although the barometer is rising. My brother and Pierre started on the flying trip; intend following on their tracks on Saturday. Could not take another set of lunars on account of the cloudy weather. Was very busy all day repairing pack-saddles and putting everything in good order. Did away with one pack-saddle, and repaired the others with the wool. Shall leave here with twelve pack-horses, and three running loose and two riding, besides the two that are on flying trip. Barometer 28.59 thermometer 69 degrees at 5 p.m.
10th. Finished repairs and got everything ready for a good start to-morrow morning, when we will follow my brother's and Pierre's tracks. Cloudy day, but barometer does not fall. Marked a tree F 59, being our 59th bivouac from Geraldton. Hung up on the same tree four pack-bags and one pack-saddle frame. Barometer 28.56; thermometer 74 degrees at 5 p.m. Tommy Windich shot a red kangaroo this afternoon, and also found a fine rock water-hole about one mile North-East of camp.
11th. Followed on the tracks of my brother and Pierre, south seven miles to a rough broken range—spinifex and rough grass all the way. Thence we turned South-East for three miles; then North-East and East over most wretched spinifex plains for nine miles, when we got on to a narrow grassy flat, and, following it along about four miles, came to some water in a clay-pan, sufficient for the night, and camped. With the exception of this narrow flat the country passed over to-day is most miserable and worthless, and very dusty. Another hot day. Barometer 28.70; thermometer 67 degrees at 5 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 52 minutes 30 seconds South.
12th (Sunday.). Our horses finished all the water. We got off early, and, steering east, followed my brother's and Pierre's tracks for eight miles, when we reached a low rise, and a fine rock water-hole holding over a hundred gallons of water. While we were watering our horses we heard gunshots, and soon beheld my brother and Pierre returning. They had good news for us, having found some springs about twenty-five miles to the eastward. They had seen many natives; but for an account of their proceedings I insert a copy of his journal. Barometer 28.60; thermometer 60 degrees. We camped for the day. Latitude 25 degrees 53 minutes 23 seconds South. Read Divine Service.
A. FORREST'S JOURNAL.
July 10th. Steered east from the rock hole for the first fifteen miles, over clear open sand-plains and red sand-hills covered with spinifex; then South-South-East for ten miles over similar country to a rough range; after going nearly all round it only found about one gallon of water. As my horse was very tired, I almost gave up all hopes of finding any, as it would take us all our time to get back; however, I went South-East for seven miles further, and found about fifty gallons in a rock hole, but not a blade of grass near it. As it was nearly dark, and no feed near, I bore south for a low range about five miles distant, and found a little feed but no water, and camped. My horse completely gave in; I had great difficulty in getting him to the range.
11th. Again bore west on our return to meet the party. After going seven miles we saw a beautiful piece of feeding country—the first we had seen for the last 130 miles—and after looking for water, and our fondest hopes beginning to fail, we at last followed what seemed to be the largest gully to its head, when we were gratified in beholding abundance of water, with several springs, and good feed in the flats below. My horse was completely knocked up, and I was glad to be able to give him a rest. After being an hour here, Pierre, who is always on the look-out, saw two natives, fully armed and in war costume, making for us. I was soon on my legs and made towards them, but as soon as they saw us they began to move off, and were soon out of sight in the thicket. At two o'clock continued on West-North-West for twelve miles, camped in a thicket, and, after taking off our saddles and making a fire, were very much surprised to find a party of eight or nine natives going to camp close to us, and a number more coming down the hill. As it was just dark we thought it best to move on a few miles, which we did after dark. I believe, myself, they intend attacking us after dark.
13th. Steering straight for the water found by my brother, about East-South-East for twenty-five miles, over most miserable spinifex country, without a break. Just before we got to the water Windich shot an emu. We saw two natives, who made off. Many fires in every direction. Latitude 26 degrees 5 minutes 10 seconds South, longitude about 124 degrees 46 minutes East. Fine water at this place. I have no doubt water is always here. I named it the Alexander Spring, after my brother, who discovered it. Abundance of water also in rock holes.
14th. Rested at Alexander Spring. Eating emu was our chief occupation to-day, I think. Weather cloudy. Barometer 28.75; thermometer 60 degrees at 5 p.m.
15th. Rested at Alexander Spring. Went for a walk to a flat-topped hill about South-South-East 50 chains from camp, which I have since named Mount Allott, and placed a cairn on it; another hill close by I named Mount Worsnop, after respectively the Mayor and Town Clerk of Adelaide. Found two natives' graves close to camp; they were apparently about two feet deep, and covered with boughs and wood; they are the first I have ever seen in all my travels to the eastward in Australia, and Windich says he has never come across one before either. We also found about a dozen pieces of wood, some six feet long and three to seven inches wide, and carved and trimmed up. All around were stones put up in the forked trees. I believe it is the place where the rite of circumcision is performed. Barometer 28.84; thermometer 60 degrees at 5 p.m.
16th. Left Alexander Spring, in company with Windich, to look for water ahead. Steered east for twelve miles, over spinifex sand-hills with some salt-marsh flats intervening. We then turned South-East for seven miles to some cliffs, and followed them along east about one mile and a half, when we saw a clear patch a little to the North-East, on reaching which we found a fine rock water-hole holding over 100 gallons of water. We had a pannican of tea, and gave our horses an hour and a half's rest. Left a note for my brother, advising him to camp here the first night. We continued on a little to the south of east for about fifteen miles over spinifex plains, when we camped on a small patch of feed. Saw a fire about three quarters of a mile south of our camp, and supposed that natives were camped there.
17th. Early this morning we proceeded to where we saw the fire last night, but could not find any natives: it must have been some spinifex burning. We continued about east for two miles; found a rock water-hole holding about fifty gallons, and had breakfast. After this, continued on a little south of east for twelve miles, when we turned more to the north, searching every spinifex rise that had a rocky face, first North and then North-West and West, all over the country, but not over any great extent, as my horse (Brick) was knocked up. About one o'clock we found enough to give the horses a drink, and to make some tea for ourselves. We saw some low cliffs to the north, and proceeding towards them we saw ahead about North-North-East a remarkable high cliff. I therefore decided to make for it. I had to walk and drive my horse before me, and before we reached the cliff we had hard work to get him to move. When we got close we were rejoiced to see cliffs and gorges without end, and descending the first hollow found a fine rock hole containing at least 250 gallons. We therefore camped, as it was just sundown. I am very sanguine of finding more water to-morrow, as our horses will soon finish this hole. There was very little feed about the water.
SEARCHING FOR WATER.
18th. This morning we began searching the ranges for water. First tried westerly, and searched some fine gullies and gorges, but without success. My horse soon gave in again, and I left him on a patch of feed and continued the search on foot. I had not walked a quarter of a mile before I found about 200 gallons in a gully, and, following down the gully, we found a fine pool in a sandy bed, enough to last a month. We were rejoiced at our good fortune, and, returning to where we left the horse, camped for the remainder of the day. There is not much feed anywhere about these cliffs and gullies, but as long as there is plenty of water the horses will do very well. To-morrow I intend going back to meet the party, as the way we came was very crooked, and I hope to save them many miles. It is certainly a wretched country we have been travelling through for the last two months, and, what makes it worse, the season is an exceptionally dry one; it is quite summer weather. However, we are now within 100 miles of Mr. Gosse's farthest west, and I hope soon to see a change for the better. We have been most fortunate in finding water, and I am indeed very thankful for it.
19th (Sunday). Started back to meet the party, leaving old Brick hobbled, and my saddle, rug, etc., hidden in a tree. After travelling about twenty miles, met the party coming all right. Everything had gone on well during my absence. They had slept last night at the rock hole, where we stayed on the 16th, and found sufficient water for the horses in it. The note I left had been taken away by the natives, who were very numerous about there. Many tracks were seen, following mine and Windich's for several miles. The party had not, however, seen any of them. They were rejoiced to hear of the water ahead, and we steered for it, keeping to the west of our return route to search some cliffs on the way for water. After travelling nine miles we camped without water, on a grassy flat close to some cliffs; most miserable spinifex country all day; this is the first grass seen. Walked over twenty miles to-day myself.
20th. Steered North-East straight for the water found on the 18th for fourteen miles; reached it and camped. Found the horse Brick I left behind, and saddle, rug, etc., as we left them. Horses were very thirsty, but there is plenty of water for them. Feed is rather scarce. I named this creek and pool after the Honourable Arthur Blyth, Chief Secretary of South Australia.
21st. Rested at camp. I took observations for time, intending to take several sets of lunars, but the day was cloudy, and I only managed to get one. Intend going ahead to-morrow in search of water.
22nd. Started in company with Pierre to look for water ahead, steered a little north of east for about twelve miles to the points of the cliffs, and ascended a peak to get a view ahead. The line of cliff country ran North-East, and to the east, spinifex undulating country; nevertheless, as I wished to get a view of some of the hills shown on Mr. Gosse's map, I bore East and East-South-East for over thirty miles, but could not find a drop of water all day, and we had come nearly fifty miles. Camped on a small patch of feed. Very undulating spinifex country, and no place that would hold water, even after rain, for more than a day or two.
23rd. Decided not to go any further, although I much wished to get a view further to the east, but our horses would have enough to do to carry us back. Steered north for a few miles, and then North-West for twenty miles, thence West-South-West to camp, which we reached after dark, not having had any water for ourselves or horses since we left it yesterday morning. The weather was very warm, and our horses were done up when they reached camp. On our return we got a fine view to the North-East, which looks more promising. My brother and Windich intend going to-morrow in that direction in search of water.
24th. My brother and Windich started in search of water. We rested at camp. Took lunar observations, but did not get results which I care much to rely on, owing to the distances being too great.
25th. Rested at camp. My brother and Windich did not return, so I have good hopes that they have found water ahead. Took several sets of lunars this evening. Barometer 28.80 at 5 p.m.; warm weather.
26th (Sunday). Rested at camp. My brother and Windich returned late this evening, having been over sixty miles to the East-North-East, and having found only one small rock water-hole with water in it. Many rock holes had been seen, but all dry. They had met several natives. One woman and child they had caught and talked to. She did not seem frightened, and ate readily the damper and sugar given her. The country appears more parched than it has been, which I had thought scarcely possible. A range and flat-topped hill were seen about fifteen miles to the east of their farthest point, but they were unable to reach it. Barometer 28.70; fine.
27th. Rested at Blyth Pool. Intend going a flying trip to-morrow. Worked out several lunar observations, and the position of Blyth Pool is in latitude 26 degrees 1 minute, 50 seconds South, longitude 125 degrees 27 minutes East. Barometer 28.72; thermometer 67 degrees at 5 p.m.
28th. Left camp in company with Windich to look for water ahead, taking a pack-horse and ten gallons of water, besides two small tins for our own use. Steered North-East nearly along my brother's tracks for twenty miles, and reached the water in the rock hole seen by him, and had dinner. In the afternoon continued on a little south of east for about seven miles. Camped without water for the horses on a small patch of old feed. The weather is dark and cloudy, and there is much thunder about. I expect rain this evening; if it comes it will be a great boon, and will enable us to travel on easily.
29th. Rained lightly during the night; my rug got wet. Thinking we could get plenty of water ahead, I left the drums and water, as the horses would not drink. We steered about east over miserable spinifex country, and cut my brother's return tracks. Passed a rock hole seen by him, and found only a few pints of water in it, proving to us that very little rain had fallen. We sighted the range and hill seen by my brother, and reached it at sundown. I have named it the Todd Range, and the highest hill, which is table-topped, I have named Mount Charles, after Mr. C. Todd, C.M.G., Postmaster-General of South Australia. No sign of water, and apparently very little rain has fallen here last night. Found an old natives' encampment, and two splendid rock holes quite dry; if full they would hold 700 or 800 gallons. Was very disappointed at this, and it being now after dark we camped without water for the horses, having travelled over forty miles. Before we reached the range we had most miserable spinifex sand-hills. Scarcely any feed in the range, and spinifex everywhere. What grass there is must be over two years old.
30th. Very thick fog this morning. We bore north for four or five miles, and then South-East for about five miles, when we got a fine view to the east, and could see some hills, which are no doubt near Mr. Gosse's farthest west. They bore South-East about eighteen miles distant. I could not go on to them, as I was afraid the party would be following us, on the strength of the little rain we had the night before last. Reluctantly, therefore, we turned westward, and soon after came to an old native encampment with a rock hole quite dry, which would hold 1000 gallons if full. It must be a long while since there has been rain, or it would not have been dry. We continued on, searching up and down and through the Todd Ranges, finding enough for our horses from the rain. Late in the afternoon we found another camping-place with four rock holes quite empty, which, if full, would hold 3000 or 4000 gallons at least. This was very disheartening, and we felt it very much. It appeared to us that there was no water in this country at this season, and we felt it was useless looking for it. We now decided to make back towards the party; but being uncertain that my brother would not follow, on the strength of the rain, determined to bear South-West until we struck our outward tracks. After going six miles, camped without water, and nothing but some old coarse scrub for the horses. One good shower of rain would enable us to get over this country easily; but in this season, without rain, it is quite impossible to move a number of horses.
A NATIVE HUSBAND.
31st. Steering about South-East towards our outward tracks, came across a native with his wife and two children, the youngest about two years old. As soon as they saw us, the man, who had a handful of spears, began talking at us and then ran off (the eldest child following him), leaving his wife and the youngest child to take care of themselves. The child was carried on its mother's back, and hung on without any assistance. Thus encumbered, the woman could not get away. She evidently preferred facing any danger to parting with her child. Windich spoke to her, and she talked away quietly, and did not seem much afraid. We could not understand anything she said, so allowed her to follow her husband, who certainly did not come up to our standard of gallantry. We continued on until we reached our outward tracks, and I was much relieved to find that the party had not gone on. We found a little water in a small rock hole, and rested two hours, as our pack-horse (Little Brown) was knocked up. We continued on about five miles, and camped on a patch of feed in a range, without water. Little Brown was so knocked up that we had great difficulty in getting him to walk.
August 1st. Steering westerly for about eight miles, reached our bivouac of the 28th, and gave our horses the water from the drums. Continued on, making straight for camp; stayed two hours to give the horses a rest, and when within fifteen miles of camp found a rock hole with about 100 gallons of water in it. Little Brown completely gave in, and we were obliged to leave him. Pushed on and reached the party a little after dark, and found all well, having been absent five days, in which time we had travelled about 200 miles.
2nd (Sunday). My brother and Pierre went on a flying trip to the South-East in search of water. Kennedy and myself went and brought Little Brown and pack-saddle, etc., to camp. Windich shot an emu; saw about twenty. Thermometer 95 degrees in sun during the day; barometer 28.62 at 5 p.m.
PREPARING FOR A STRUGGLE.
I now began to be much troubled about our position, although I did not communicate my fears to any but my brother. We felt confident we could return if the worst came, although we were over 1000 miles from the settled districts of Western Australia. The water at our camp was fast drying up, and would not last more than a fortnight. The next water was sixty miles back, and there seemed no probability of getting eastward. I knew we were now in the very country that had driven Mr. Gosse back. I have since found it did the same for Mr. Giles. No time was to be lost. I was determined to make the best use of it if only the water would last, and to keep on searching. (Even now, months after the time, sitting down writing this journal, I cannot but recall my feelings of anxiety at this camp.) Just when the goal of my ambition and my hopes for years past was almost within reach, it appeared that I might not even now be able to grasp it. The thought of having to return, however, brought every feeling of energy and determination to my rescue, and I felt that, with God's help, I would even now succeed. I gave instructions to allowance the party, so that the stores should last at least four months, and made every preparation for a last desperate struggle.
3rd. Rested at camp. My brother and Pierre did not return this evening, so I concluded they must have found some water for their horses. Barometer falling slowly; getting cloudy towards evening.
4th. A light shower of rain this morning. Rested at camp. My brother and Pierre returned this evening, having found a few small rock water-holes, but not sufficient to shift on. They had been about fifty miles East-South-East, and had passed over most miserable spinifex country the whole way. They had not had any rain, not even the light shower we had this morning. They had seen four natives, but did not get near enough to talk to them. I intend going with Windich ahead to-morrow, in the hope that rain may have fallen last night to the East-North-East. The weather, which had looked threatening all day, cleared off this evening. Barometer 28.56.
THE BAKER RANGE.
5th. Thinking that rain might have fallen to the North-East, I left camp with Windich to ascertain, instructing my brother to follow on the 7th; before leaving to bury some flour and everything that could be dispensed with, and to carry all the drums full of water. He has since informed me that he buried on left bank of brook, seven yards north of a small tree with a tin plate nailed on it, on which is written, DIG 7 yds. N., two pack-bags, containing 135 pounds flour, six leather water-bottles, two tomahawks, one pick, one water canteen, one broken telescope, three emu eggs, some girths and straps, one shoeing hammer, one pound of candles, and left a lantern hanging on a tree. A bottle was also buried, with a letter in it, giving the latitude and longitude of the camp, and a brief outline of our former and future intended movements. We reached the rock holes about North-East twenty miles, and were delighted to see them full, besides plenty on the rocks. This was very encouraging, and after resting two hours we pushed on East-North-East, to a range visited by my brother on his last flying trip, and which I named the Baker Range, and the highest point Mount Samuel, after Sir Samuel Baker, the great African Explorer, and could see that lately rain had fallen, although much more in some places than in others. Travelled till after dark through and over spinifex plains, wooded with acacia and mulga scrub, and camped without water and only a little scrub for the horses, having travelled nearly forty miles.
6th. Our horses strayed during the night. After we had found them we proceeded to the Baker Range and found water in a gully on some rocks, and the rock holes seen by my brother and Windich on their former trip had also a good deal in them. I was greatly delighted at this; there must have been a good shower or two here. Before reaching water Windich shot a turkey, which we roasted and ate for breakfast, not having had any tea last night. We rested here about two hours. Continuing on East-North-East for about sixteen miles, came to the four large rock holes seen by Windich and myself on our former trip. They were quite dry, but, as we suspected, there was a good deal of water in a rocky gully close by. About two miles before we reached here we passed a rock hole full of water, about sixty gallons. I left a note telling my brother to camp here on Sunday night, and to follow on our tracks on Monday. We continued on about five miles, and camped not far from Mount Charles, without water for the horses; but they were not thirsty. So far we have been most fortunate, although there is very little to fall back on should we be unable to proceed; in fact, as soon as the surface water dries up it will be impossible. We are, however, three days in advance of the party, and if we can get enough for our two riding-horses we shall be able to stop them before there is any great danger, although we may lose some of the horses.
7th. Steered South-South-East for about four miles to two large rock holes seen by Windich and myself on our former trip, but found them quite dry, as before. Continued on South-East towards the hills seen by us formerly, and, after travelling about ten miles, got a fine view of the country, which looked splendid. High hills and ranges as far as could be seen to the south and east, and we thought all our troubles were over. We pushed on about East-South-East to a high hill about ten miles off, over red sand-hills covered with spinifex. Country of the most miserable description. We reached the hill, which I named Mount Harvest, after Colonel Harvest, the Acting-Governor of Western Australia at the time of our departure, and who took a great interest in the expedition. We ascended the hill; more ranges and hills were seen—in fact, the whole country was one mass of hills and ranges to the south, South-East, and east. We followed down gullies and over hills, passing two rock holes dry, until after dark, but could not find any water. The country is most beautifully grassed, and is a great relief after travelling over so many hundreds of miles of spinifex; but the season is very dry, and all the gullies are dry. We camped for the night without water for ourselves or horses. I have since learnt that these ranges were seen by Mr. Giles, and were named the Warburton Ranges.
SIGNS OF WHITE MEN.
8th. Early this morning Windich and I went on foot to search the hills and gullies close around, as our horses were knocked up for want of water. We returned unsuccessful about 8 o'clock. Close to where we found our horses we found a tree with the bark cut off one side of it with an AXE which was sharp. We were sure it was done by a white man, as the axe, even if possessed by a native (which is very improbable), would be blunt. We are now in the country traversed by Mr. Gosse, although I am unable to distinguish any of the features of the country, not having a map with me, and not knowing the latitude. Should we find water, and the party reach here, there will no doubt be little difficulty in distinguishing the hills. The country certainly does not answer the description given of his farther westward. However, I will leave our position geographically for the present, and treat of what is of much more importance to us, namely, the finding of water. We saddled our horses and continued our search about South-East, over hills and along valleys—the distance or direction I am unable to give—our horses scarcely moving, and ourselves parched with thirst. The sun was very hot. At about noon we found some water in a gully by scratching a hole, but it was quite salt. As our horses would not drink it, it can be imagined how salt it was. We drank about a pint of it, and Windich said it was the first time he ever had to drink salt water. I washed myself in it, which refreshed me a little. Our horses could not go much further without water, but we crawled along about north, and shortly afterwards found a small rock hole in the side of a large rough granite hill, with about five gallons of good water in it. We had a good drink ourselves, put half a gallon into a canteen, and gave the rest to the horses. From here our usual good fortune returned. We had not gone far when Windich called me back and said he had found horses' tracks, and sure enough there were the tracks of horses coming from the westward. Windich took some of the old dung with him to convince our companions that we had seen them. We followed westward along the tracks for half a mile, when we found two or three small rock holes with water in them, which our horses drank. Still bearing to the north we kept finding little drops in the granite rocks—our old friend the granite rock has returned to us again, after having been absent for several hundred miles. We satisfied our horses, and rested a short time to have something to eat, not having had anything for forty-eight hours. We bore North-West, and soon afterwards found a fine rock hole of water in granite rocks, sufficient to last the party a day. Plenty of water on rocks, also, from recent rain here. We were rejoiced, as we now had a place to bring the party to. But our good fortune did not end here: continuing on westerly or a little north of it, we came on a summer encampment of the natives, and found a native well or spring, which I believe would give water if dug out. This may make a good depot if we require to stay long in this neighbourhood. We were overjoyed; and I need not add I was very thankful for this good fortune. When everything looked at its worst, then all seemed to change for our benefit. We camped two miles from the water.
9th (Sunday). Took the horses back to the water, and on our way there found a clay-pan with a few hundred gallons of water in it. Started back to meet the party, intending to await their arrival at the first range we came to on our outward track. Steering a little north of west for fourteen miles, we camped on west side of Mount Harvest, not having seen a drop of water on our way. Luckily we brought nearly half a gallon with us, so shall be able to manage until the party overtake us to-morrow. Our horses will be very thirsty, but I will give them five gallons each out of the drums. Shot a wurrung on our way, which we had for dinner. Found two fine rock holes quite empty. There appears to have been no rain here, although fifteen miles east there has been a good deal. I hope the change of moon on the 11th will bring us some rain, as we shall then be able to travel along easily. My personal appearance contrasts most strikingly with town life—very dirty, and I may say ragged. I scarcely think my friends would know me. Washing, or brushing one's hair is out of the question, unless when resting at camp.
10th. We stayed at our last night's bivouac until 12 o'clock, when we saddled up and followed back along our outward tracks to meet the party, which we expected to find this afternoon. About 3 o'clock met them coming on, all well. They were all rejoiced to hear of the water ahead. We gave the horses water out of the drums, and turned eastward with them. We reached Mount Harvest by sundown, the party having travelled thirty miles, and camped on grassy flat without water for the horses. Latitude 25 degrees 55 minutes 43 seconds South by Altair, longitude 126 degrees 32 minutes East. Everything had gone on first-rate with the party. They had nearly finished all the water at Mount Samuel, and in the Todd Range, so that we cannot now turn back, even if we wished, unless with the risk of having to go ninety or a hundred miles without water.
11th. Continued on to the water found ahead, and on our way saw some clay-holes with water and satisfied the horses. When near the spring, saw natives' tracks, and shortly afterwards a fire with a whole kangaroo roasting in it. The natives had made off when they saw us, leaving their game cooking. Continuing on, and passing the native well, we reached the granite rocks, two miles from the spring, and camped. While having dinner we saw two natives about a quarter of a mile from us, watching us; we beckoned to them, and Windich and I approached them. As we neared them they began talking and moving off slowly; we could not get close to them, although they did not appear to be afraid of us. Some fine ranges are visible from here South-East. Latitude of camp 25 degrees 54 minutes 53 seconds South, by meridian altitude of Altair. Marked a tree F 70, being the 70th camp from Geraldton. Barometer 28.26 at 5 p.m. We are not in the latitude of Mr. Gosse's track by fifteen miles, yet there are tracks only about two miles south of us! I cannot account for this. The tracks may be Mr. Giles's, as I cannot think Mr. Gosse could be out in his latitude.
12th. Left camp with Tommy Windich to find water ahead, instructing my brother to follow on to-morrow. We bore East-South-East for a few miles over grassy flats towards some high hills, but, seeing what we supposed a good spot for water, we turned east towards it, over miserable spinifex sand-hills, and found some splendid granite rocks and holes, but not much water—enough, however, to give the horses a drink. If there was rain, there would be enough water here for a month or more. Near these rocks found a tree resembling the figtree (Ficus Platypoda), with ripe fruit about the size of a bullet, which tasted very much like a fig. I ate some of the fruit, which was very good. Fine hills and ranges to the eastward, and country very promising, and in many places beautifully grassed. After resting two hours we pushed on about east, and, after going five miles over spinifex sand-hills, came to a granite range and found two fine rock holes, sufficient to satisfy the horses. Continuing on, we camped close to a peaked granite hill, which I named Mount Elvire. No water for the horses. Found the old horse-tracks, just before we camped, coming from eastward. I cannot make them out to be Mr. Gosse's; they must be Mr. Giles's. There appears to be a great number of horses', but am uncertain if there are any camel-tracks.
13th. Found a rock hole with about forty gallons of water in it close to camp. After watering our horses we followed along the old tracks, going nearly North-East, and passed a gnow's nest, where they had apparently got out eggs. Shortly afterwards found where the party had camped without water, and continued on to some high hills and ranges; then we left them to follow some emu tracks, which, after following up a gully and over a hill, brought us to a fine spring of good water in a gully. We camped here, and intend waiting for our party, which will reach here to-morrow. We watched at the water for emus, and after waiting about four hours saw two coming, one of which Windich shot. Fine grass, although old and dry, down this gully. Ranges in every direction. The country contrasts strikingly with what we have been travelling through for the last three months. The party whose tracks we followed this morning have not been to this spring, so they must have missed it. All my troubles were now over, inasmuch as I felt sure we would accomplish our journey and reach the settled districts of South Australia; although, as it afterwards proved, we had many days of hard work and some privation yet to endure. Still the country was much improved, and not altogether unknown. I then gave out publicly to the party that we were now in safety, and in all human probability in five or six weeks would reach the telegraph line. I need not add how pleased all were at having at last bridged over that awful, desolate spinifex desert.
14th. Went to a hill close to camp, the highest in this neighbourhood, and erected a pile of stones. About 1 o'clock the party arrived all safe. They reported having seen three natives the day we left, and had induced them to come to camp, and had given them damper and sugar and a red handkerchief each; they did not remain long. Each had two spears, very long and thick, and made out of three pieces spliced together, with large barbs on them. The party had finished all the water on their way, the horses yesterday having drank over ten gallons each. This afternoon I took a round of angles and bearings from a pile of stones on the hill. Marked a tree F 72, near spring, which I named Barlee Spring, after the Honourable F.P. Barlee, Colonial Secretary of Western Australia, from whom I have ever received much kindness and assistance, and who took a great interest in this expedition. A remarkable hill bore South-South-West from spring, which I named Mount Palgrave. Barlee Spring is in longitude about 127 degrees 22 minutes East. Unable to get latitude: too cloudy.
15th. Left camp with Windich to look for water ahead, instructing my brother to follow to-morrow. Steered East along the South side of a rocky range for ten miles, when we ascended a hill to get a view ahead. About thirty miles to east fine bold ranges are visible, also broken ranges from North-East and round to South-East; they are no doubt the Cavanagh Ranges of Mr. Gosse. About five miles ahead we saw some granite rocks, to which we proceeded, and found a tremendous rock hole full of water; it was in between two large rocks and completely shaded from the sun. As the country east to the ranges appears to be all spinifex and red sand-hills, I decided to remain here to-night and continue on in the morning. Left a note telling my brother to camp here on Sunday night. In the afternoon got a fine round of angles from granite rocks. The country passed over to-day was along and through ranges which are no doubt the Barrow Ranges of Mr. Gosse. The flats are very grassy, but the hills are covered with spinifex. My brother marked a tree at this camp F 73, and observed the latitude to be about 26 degrees 4 minutes, but was unable to get very good observation on account of clouds. The Ficus Platypoda was also found here, loaded with ripe fruit.
16th (Sunday). Steering about East-North-East towards the ranges, we passed over very miserable spinifex plains and red sand-hills the whole way, about thirty miles. After reaching the ranges we followed up a fine grassy wide flat, splendidly grassed, although old; and on the flat were innumerable horse-tracks—unmistakable evidence of horses being camped for months in this neighbourhood. Kept on up the gully and flat for about a mile and a half, when Windich found a gum-tree marked E. GILES OCT. 7, 73. My former suspicions that Mr. Giles must have been in this neighbourhood were now confirmed. Soon after we came on a cart-track, which rather astonished us, and soon found that it must have belonged to Mr. Gosse, who also camped close here. A deep, well-beaten track went along up the gully, which we followed, knowing it was the daily track of the horses to the water, and soon after found their old camp at a beautiful spring running down the gully a quarter of a mile. A stock-yard had been built, and gardens made, besides a large bush hut to shelter the party from the sun as well as rain. Trenches were dug round the hut and tent, so that they must have had rain. I should say Mr. Giles must have been camped here for two or three months at least. We camped half a mile down the gully from the spring. Mr. Gosse and Mr. Giles were within a few miles of each other at the same time, and did not meet.
17th. Went for a walk to examine the cart-tracks; found two tracks going east and west. This convinced me that the cart belonged to Mr. Gosse, who I knew had returned. Went to the top of a high hill to take angles, while Windich tried to shoot a kangaroo. After a hard climb I reached the summit, and had just commenced taking angles when I heard three shots, and shortly after Windich cooeying. Looking round, I saw a native running along about 300 yards from me. He disappeared in a hollow. Fearing that Windich had been attacked by the natives I descended towards him as quickly as possible, but could not see him. I looked about, keeping a sharp look-out, expecting to be attacked, but could not find Windich. Sat down a short time and finally made my way back to the horses, and, after finding them, saddled one and started back to look for Windich. Found him coming along with a kangaroo on his back, having shot three, but had not seen any natives; he had been waiting for me a good while. After dinner I went back to get my coat and a compass left at the foot of the hill, and then again ascended the hill and got a fine round of angles. The rock is very magnetic, and the compass is quite useless. Could see the dust from the party coming across the spinifex sand-hills, and, descending, met them just before sundown.
ANOTHER ENCOUNTER WITH NATIVES.
They reported having had an encounter with the natives on the 16th, and having been followed by a number of armed natives for a long way. Finally they had been compelled to fire on them, but had not killed any. They were glad to hear of the spring found, and, continuing on, reached it about half-past 6 o'clock. The spring is Fort Mueller of Mr. Giles, where he was camped for a long while, and his most westerly permanent water. By observation Fort Mueller is in latitude 26 degrees 11 minutes 30 seconds South, and longitude by lunar observation 128 degrees East, the variation being about 1 degree 25 minutes East by azimuths.
18th. Rested at spring. Marked a tree sixty yards south of camp F 74, being 74th camp from Geraldton. Also erected a pile of stones on peak, thirty chains West-South-West of camp, with a pole in centre, on which is marked:
J. FORREST, AUGUST 17, '74.
Took four sets of lunars, which place spring in longitude 128 degrees East of Greenwich.
19th. Steering East-South-East along Mr. Gosse's track for about thirty-five miles, over most miserable sandy hills and plains of spinifex, with the exception of a few miles at first, along a grassy flat. Two rock holes passed were quite dry. Camped without water on a grassy flat not far from the ranges; hope to find water early to-morrow, as our horses are too poor to go long without it. Was obliged to abandon police-horse Brick to-day, as he was completely done up. Nothing but downright poverty is the cause of his giving in; and the same in the case of Fame and Little Padbury, which we abandoned over a month ago. They were poor when they left, and have only had very dry grass ever since. It is a wonder to me they all do not give in, as many are mere skeletons. Poor old Brick held up as long as he could, but was forced to give in, and we had to leave him to his solitary fate; he will probably go back to the spring (Fort Mueller). Barometer 28.30; latitude 26 degrees 22 minutes 30 seconds South.
20th. Got a very early start, and continued on. At one mile found a sandy soak in a gully, and by digging it out got sufficient water for all our horses. Still proceeding onwards, following a gully for two miles, came to Mr. Gosse's depot Number 13, at Skirmish Hill. A bullock had been killed here, and the flesh jerked. Found a large white gum-tree marked GOS. 13 at camp. All the water was gone. I, however, camped, and took our horses to a place a mile west, where, by digging in the sand, we got enough for them. Went with Pierre to the summit of Skirmish Hill, and took angles. To the south, nothing but sand-hills and spinifex; to the North-East the Tomkinson Ranges showed up and looked very remarkable and promising. Marked a tree F 76, being 76th camp from Geraldton. Camp is in latitude 26 degrees 23 minutes 28 seconds, longitude about 128 degrees 32 minutes East.
21st. Left camp at Skirmish Hill in company with Windich, instructing my brother to follow to-morrow. Found a fine rock hole two miles from camp, and followed along Mr. Gosse's track for twenty miles to the Tomkinson Ranges, over most miserable sandy ridges, covered with spinifex. Fine grassy flats along and through the ranges. We left the track to examine a gully to the north, but could not find any water. Got on the track just before dark and followed it along a few miles. Camped without water for our horses on a fine flat of very old grass. Windich's horse completely knocked up, and we had to walk and drive him before us this afternoon. The day was excessively hot, and the horses are very thirsty. We have only about a quart ourselves.
22nd. Early this morning we continued on, Windich's horse scarcely able to walk. After about ten miles, found a rock hole with three gallons of water in it, which we gave to our horses. Followed Mr. Gosse's track to see if there was any water about his depot Number 12, but we either missed it or had not reached it. About noon Windich's horse could go no farther, and mine was not much better. What was to be done? We nearly finished what water we had with us. The party were coming on to-day, and were depending on us to find water. I determined not to follow the track any farther, but to search for water ourselves. The horses were unable to move; we therefore decided to leave them and go for a search on foot. Windich said he had seen emu tracks, and he thought they were making south. We therefore started on foot. The sun's heat was excessive. About 3 o'clock returned unsuccessful, and finished what water we had with us. What next to do was the question; no time was to be lost. Mr. Gosse's map showed some gullies ahead, but whether there was any water in them was questionable; he states, "Nearly all the waters discovered in the Mann and Tomkinson Ranges were running when left, and from a considerable height." It must have been a good season, and not like this. We decided to go on foot to a gully about two miles north, which had white gums in it. We started off and saw more emu tracks going and coming, also natives' tracks. Windich shot a wurrung, which he said had lately drunk water. When we reached the gully, many tracks were seen ascending it, and we felt sure we should find water, and surely enough we soon reached a most splendid spring, running down the gully half a mile. We were elated and very thankful. Windich got a shot at an emu, but missed it. After having a good drink we went back and got our horses, reaching the spring with them after dark. They were very thirsty and completely done up. Mr. Gosse missed this spring; probably there was water on the flats when he was here, and he did not look much. Although his track is easily followed, we had nearly got into serious difficulty by following it. Had we not found this spring our position would be very critical, not having any water for ourselves or horses, and the party in the same predicament. I will be careful not to follow the track too far in future, but to trust to our own resources and look for ourselves. We feel sure we passed water this morning, as in one place we saw emu tracks and pigeons. The party will reach here to-morrow, and I feel very thankful and relieved to have such a fine spring to bring them to. The feed is good a mile down from the spring, although it is very old and dry. There has not been any rain to speak of since Mr. Gosse was here, nearly twelve months ago, as can be seen by the cart-tracks crossing the gullies. I named this spring the Elder Springs, after my friend the Honourable Thomas Elder, who has been such a great supporter of exploration, and from whom I received a great deal of kindness and attention.
23rd (Sunday). Awaited the arrival of the party. Shot an emu; and, while skinning it, heard a gun-shot, and soon after saw Kennedy coming on, walking. Found that the party were only half a mile off. They had been very distressed for water, and had left 120 pounds of flour and a pack-saddle five miles back, Taylor's mare about three miles back, and Burges and his saddle two miles back. When they saw my note, directing them to the water, they had gone back and got Burges, and with great difficulty got him close to camp, when he lay down and they left him. Windich and I started back on foot at once with two buckets of water, and met Burges within a quarter of a mile of camp, crawling along; we gave him the water and he then went on to the spring. We went back and found Taylor's mare, and brought her slowly to camp. We are now safe again, and I must give the horses a few days' rest. The weather has been hot, and if we had not found this spring, not more than five horses would have lasted out the day. I will send back and get the flour, as it is only five miles off. The party were all very glad to see such a fine spring, as their position was very dangerous, having only three gallons of water with them altogether.
24th. Rested at Elder Spring. Found the barometer had got broken, which I was very sorry for. Worked out several lunars taken on the 11th at Giles's camp.
25th. Worked out the remainder of the lunars. Marked a large white gum-tree close to camp, on left bank of Elder Springs, F 78, being the 78th camp from Geraldton. Found camp to be in south latitude 26 degrees 15 minutes 10 seconds and longitude about 129 degrees 9 minutes East. My brother and Pierre went back and brought up the flour left five miles back on the 23rd.
26th. Went with Pierre to a high peak, which I named Mount Jane, about four miles South-South-East from camp, and got a round of angles, and a fine view of the country. To the east high ranges and grassy flats, but to the south, and from South-East to west, nothing but level country with a few low rises here and there, apparently sand-hills covered with spinifex—most miserable country.
27th. Left camp with Tommy Windich to look for water ahead, instructing my brother to follow to-morrow. Steered east for four miles, when we struck Mr. Gosse's cart-track. Followed along it a few miles, when we bore more to the north; then in the direction of emu tracks, and passed along a fine grassy flat with hundreds of kangaroos in every direction; also many emu tracks. We were sure we were getting close to water. A little farther on saw about twenty-five emus, and soon reached a spring in the brook, and camped for dinner. Concluded to remain here the remainder of the day. Went for a walk higher up the brook and found another spring, about one mile from the first. Returned and took our horses up to it, as there was better feed there. Left a note, telling the party to camp there also. In a good season these flats must look magnificent; at this time they are very dry, but there is a good deal of old grass on them. My brother marked a tree at spring F 79, which he found to be in latitude 26 degrees 13 minutes. I named this spring Wilkie Spring, after the Honourable Dr. Wilkie, the honorary treasurer of the Burke and Wills Exploration Fund, who took such a lively interest in Australian Exploration.
28th. Continued on eastward and soon struck Mr. Gosse's cart-track. Followed it along about seven miles, passing Mount Davies, when we bore more to the south. Following the direction of some natives' tracks, and after going about two miles, found a native well in a gully, where water could be procured by digging. Left a note telling my brother to dig it out and see if he could get enough for the horses. We continued on about East-North-East, and soon after shot a kangaroo and rested an hour for dinner, after which we bore about North-East towards a gully and white gums, and found it to be Nilens Gully of Mr. Gosse. Found his camp and a white gum marked with a broad arrow, but no water. We followed along and through the ranges, twisting and turning about, and at last found a number of natives' tracks, making towards a gap, and, following along them, found they led to a gorge and white gum gully, ascending which we found water in some little springs. After watering our horses we returned towards the party three miles and camped, intending to bring the party to the spring to-morrow.
29th. Returned about five miles and met the party coming on all right. They reported having met about twenty natives yesterday, who were friendly, and who came to them, first of all laying down their spears. They had given them damper and a handkerchief. Pierre gave them two kylies. They had three kangaroos roasting in their fire. When we were passing Nilens gully I saw a native running, and, calling Windich, we went over and saw five natives sitting on some rocks watching us. I went towards them; at first they appeared hostile, but after talking at them and making signs they began to be friendly and came down close to us. They were all armed with spears. One of them gave me his spear, which was very blunt, and I sharpened it for him. He made signs for me to give him the knife, but I could not, as we were very short of knives. They were afraid at first when I showed them how a horse could gallop, but soon were very pleased and laughed heartily. Windich shot a chockalott and gave it to them. They were amazed at seeing the bird drop, and were very pleased when it was given to them, as they much prize the feathers of these birds. After this we left them and continued on to the spring found yesterday, and camped. Got plenty of water by digging a few holes in the springy places. Marked a tree F 80 in gorge close to spring. Found spring to be in latitude 26 degrees 7 minutes 28 seconds South, longitude about 129 degrees 39 minutes east.
THE MANN RANGES.
30th (Sunday). Rested at spring. Took bearings from hill close to spring, Mount Hardy bearing north 117 degrees east magnetic, and Mount Davies north 253 degrees east magnetic. The Mann Ranges were also clearly visible about ten miles off. In the afternoon Windich found a fine spring in a gully about half a mile north of camp, at which he shot an emu. I named these springs the Crowther Springs, after my friend Mr. Charles Crowther, of Geraldton. Emus and kangaroos very numerous in these ranges.
31st. Got an early start and took the horses to the water found by Windich yesterday, where they could help themselves. Steered East-North-East about, over level country; spinifex generally, studded with desert oaks, with limestone and snail-shells on surface for about twenty miles. Reached the Mann Ranges. Before we reached the ranges we struck Mr. Gosse's track, and followed it along, and shortly came to a very large and recent encampment of the natives. There must have been a hundred camped here about a week ago. Found two small springs not far off, but not strong enough to water all our horses; but we soon found some fine springy pools in a gully about half a mile further on, where Mr. Gosse also had been camped, and marked a tree with a broad arrow. I marked on the same tree F 81, being our 81st camp from Geraldton. Mr. Gosse's return track leaves his outward track at this spot. I intend following his return track and make in to the telegraph line, down the Alberga, and on to the Peake. There is abundance of water at this place, which I have no doubt is permanent, as there are four springs within half a mile of one another, but three are very small. Took bearings from a very high range close by; Mount Davies, Mount Edwin, and Mount Hardy being visible. The Mann Ranges are very high and rough, and are composed of reddish granite. They are the highest ranges met with since leaving Mount Hale and Mount Gould, on the Murchison. Found camp F 81 to be in latitude 26 degrees 3 minutes 20 seconds South by meridian altitude of Altair and Vega, and longitude about 129 degrees 53 minutes East.