December 12. — I had proceeded a day in advance of the men and horses coming to recover the dray, in order that I might satisfy myself whether there was water or not near the plains to the east or north-east, as there were some grounds for supposing that such might be the case, from the fact of so many natives having been twice seen there, and the probability that they had remained for five days in the neighbourhood. To-day I devoted to a thorough examination of the country around; and, accompanied by the boy, proceeded early away to the north-east, returning southerly, and then crossing back westerly to the camp. We travelled over a great extent of ground, consisting principally of very dense scrub, with here and there occasional grassy openings; but no where could we observe the slightest indications of the existence of water, although the traces of natives were numerous and recent; and we tracked them for several miles, often seeing places where they had broken down the shrubs to get a grub, which is generally found there, out of the root; and observing the fragments of the long lateral roots of the gum-scrub, which they had dug up to get water from. And this, I am inclined to think, is what they depend upon principally in these arid regions for the little water they require. The general direction taken by these wanderers of the desert, was to the north-east. About four o’clock the men with the dray-horses arrived, bringing ten gallons of water, which we divided among the horses, and then took it in turn to watch them during the night.
- Category: Edward John Eyre - Vol 1 - Ch 12
- Written by Edward John Eyre
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