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September 27. — We had a very bad stony road to-day, consisting principally of quartz and iron-stone, of which the ranges had latterly been entirely composed. Our stage was sixteen miles, passing round the south end of Baxter’s range, and encamping under it, on the eastern front, upon a gorge, in which was plenty of water and good grass. We had thus, by taking advantage of the rains that had fallen, been enabled to force a passage from Streaky Bay to Spencer’s Gulf; but we had done so with much difficulty, and had we been but a few days later, we should have failed altogether, for though travelling for a great part of the distance under very high rocky ranges, we never found a drop of permanent fresh-water nor a single spring near them. There are no watercourses, and no timber; all is barren rocky and naked in the extreme. The waters that collected after rains, lodged in the basins of small lakes; but such was the nature of the soil that these were invariably salt.

It was through this dreary region I had left my overseer to take his division of the party when we separated at Baxter’s range; but I confided the task to him with confidence. Rain had at that time fallen very abundantly; he had already been over the road with me before, and knew all the places where water or grass was likely to be found; and our former dray tracks of 1839, which were still distinctly visible, would be a sufficient guide to prevent his getting off the line of route. The skill, judgment, and success with which the overseer conducted the task assigned to him, fully justified the confidence I reposed in him; and upon my rejoining the party at Streaky Bay, after an absence of seven weeks, I was much gratified to find that neither the men, animals, or equipment, were in the least degree the worse for their passage through the desert.