June 26.—This morning brought a very heavy fog, through which we literally could not see 100 yards, when the party moved on to the “Hutt” chain of ponds, and then followed that watercourse up to the Broughton river, which was crossed in Lat. 33 degrees 28 minutes S. At this point the bed of the Broughton is of considerable width, and its channel is occupied by long, wide and very deep water holes, connected with one another by a strongly running stream, which seldom or never fails even in the driest seasons. The soil upon its banks however is not valuable, being generally stony and barren, and bearing a sort of prickly grass, (Spinifex). Wild fowl abound on the pools. On a former occasion, when I first discovered the Broughton, I obtained both ducks and swans from its waters, but now I had no time for sporting, being anxious to push on to the “reedy watercourse,” a halting place in my former journey, so as to get over all the rough and hilly ground before nightfall, that we might have a fair start in the morning. I generally preferred, if practicable, to lengthen the stage a little in the vicinity of watercourses or hills, in order to get the worst of the road over whilst the horses worked together and were warm, rather than leave a difficult country to be passed over the first thing in the morning, when, for want of exercise, the teams are chill and stiff, and require to be stimulated before they will work well in unison. Our journey to–day was about twenty miles, and the last five being over a rugged hilly road, it was late in the afternoon when we halted for the night.
“The reedy watercourse,” is a chain of water–holes taking its rise among some grassy and picturesque ranges to the north of us, and trending southerly to a junction with the Broughton. Among the gorges of this range, (which I had previously named Campbell’s range,)[Note 1: After R. Campbell, Esq. M. C. of Sydney.] are many springs of water, and the scenery is as picturesque as the district is fertile. Many of the hills are well rounded, very grassy, and moderately well timbered even to their summits. This is one of the prettiest and most desirable localities for either sheep or cattle, that I have yet seen in the unoccupied parts of South Australia, whilst the distance from Adelaide by land, does not at the most exceed one hundred and twenty miles. [Note 2: All this country, and for some distance to the north, is now occupied by stations.] The watercourse near our camp took its course through an open valley, between bare hills on which there was neither tree nor shrub for firewood and we were constantly obliged to go half a mile up a steep hill before we could obtain a few stunted bushes to cook with. As the watercourse approached the Broughton the country became much more abrupt and broken, and after its junction with that river, the stream wound through a succession of barren and precipitous hills, for about fifteen miles, at a general course of south–west; these hills were overrun almost everywhere with prickly grass and had patches of the Eucalyptus dumosa scattered over them at intervals.
Up to the point where it left the hills, there were ponds of water in the bed of the Broughton, but upon leaving them the river changed its direction to the northward, passing through extensive plains and retaining a deep wide gravelly channel, but without surface water, the drainage being entirely underground, and the country around comparatively poor and valueless.
- Category: Edward John Eyre - Vol 1 - Ch 2
- Written by Edward John Eyre
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