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September 22. — This morning I ascended one of the heights in the Gawler range, from which the view is extensive to the southward, over a generally low level country, with occasional elevations at intervals; to the north the view is obstructed by the Gawler range, consisting apparently of a succession of detached ridges high and rocky, and entirely of a porphoritic granite lying in huge bare masses upon the surface. The hills [Note 21 at end of para.] were without either timber or shrubs, and very barren, with their front slopes exceedingly steep, and covered by small loose stones; several salt lakes were seen in various directions, but no indications of fresh water or springs.

[Note 21: Peron’s description of the mountains on the South-western coast, is singularly applicable to the Gawler range — He says, Tom. III. p. 233. “Sur ces montagnes pelees on ne voit pas un arbre, pas un arbriseau, pas un arbuste; rien, en un mot, qui puisse faire souponner l’existence de queque terre vegetale. La durete du roc paroit braver ici tous les efforts de la nature, et resister a ces memes moyens de decomposition qu’ elle emploie ailleurs avec tant de succes.”]

It was late before the party moved on to-day, but the road was somewhat better, and there were many intervals of open grassy plains under the hills along which we travelled, at a course of E. 17 degrees N. for twenty-five miles. Encamping at night with tolerable grass, but without water. There had been a considerable pool of rain water here a few days ago, but it was now nearly dried up by the sun, and I was obliged to order the horses to be watched during the night.

To-day I found a most splendid creeping plant in flower, growing in between the ranges, it was quite new to me, and very beautiful; the leaf was like that of the vetch but larger, the flower bright scarlet, with a rich purple centre, shaped like a half globe with the convex side outwards; it was winged, and something like a sweet pea in shape, the flowers hung pendent upon long slender stalks, very similar to those of sweet peas, and in the greatest profusion; altogether it was one of the prettiest and richest looking flowers I have seen in Australia.