config

On the 26th, I found that our horses and sheep were falling off so much in condition, from the scarcity of grass, and its dry and sapless quality, that it became absolutely necessary for us to remove elsewhere; I had already had all our surplus stores and baggage headed up in casks, or packed in cases, and carefully buried (previously covered over with a tarpaulin and with bushes to keep them from damp), near the sand-hills, and to-day I moved on the party for five miles to the well in the plains; the grass here was very abundant, but still dry, and without much nourishment; the water was plentiful, but brackish and awkward to get at, being through a hole in a solid sheet of limestone, similar to that behind Point Brown. Upon cleaning it out and deepening it a little, it tasted even worse than before, but still we were thankful for it.

The geological character of the country was exactly similar to that we had been in so long, entirely of fossil formation, with a calcareous oolitic limestone forming the upper crusts, and though this was occasionally concealed by sand on the surface, we always were stopped by it in digging; it was seemingly a very recent deposit, full of marine shells, in every stage of petrifaction. Granite we had not seen for some time, though I have no doubt that it occasionally protrudes; a small piece, found near an encampment of the natives, and evidently brought there by them, clearly proved the existence of this rock at no very great distance, probably small elevations of granite may occasionally be found among the scrubs, similar to those we had so frequently met with in the same character of country. Another substance found at one of the native encampments, and more interesting to us, not having been before met with, was a piece of pure flint, of exactly the same character as the best gun flint. This probably had been brought from the neighbourhood of the Great Bight, in the cliffs of which Captain Flinders imagined he saw chalk, and where I hoped that some change in the geological formation of the country would lead to an improvement in its general appearance and character.

The weather had been (with the exception of one or two hot days) unusually cold and favourable for the time of year. Our horses had enjoyed a long rest, and though the dry state of the grass had prevented them from recovering their condition, I hoped they were stronger and in better spirits, and determined to make one more effort to get round the head of the Bight; — if unsuccessful this time, I knew it would be final, as I should no longer have the means of making any future trial, for I fully made up my mind to take all our best and strongest animals, and either succeed in the attempt or lose all.