September 1.—This morning I sent the man back to the depot with the pack–horse, with orders to the overseer to move back the party as rapidly as possible towards Mount Arden, that by taking advantage of the rain we might make a short route through the plains, and avoid the necessity of going up among the rugged and stony watercourses of the hills.
This retrograde movement was rendered absolutely necessary from our present position, for since we had wound through the hills to the north, and come out upon the open plains, I saw that Flinders range had terminated, and I now only wished to trace its northern termination so far east as to enable me to see round it to the southward, as well as to ascertain the character and appearance of the country to the north and to the east; as soon therefore as the man had left, I proceeded at a course of E. 35 degrees N. for a low and very distant elevation, apparently the last of the hills to the eastward, this I named Mount Distance, for it deceived us greatly as to the distance we were from it.
In passing through the plains, which were yesterday so arid and dry, I found immense pools, nay almost large reaches of water lodged in the hollows, and in which boats might have floated. Such was the result of only an hour or two’s rain, whilst the ground itself, formerly so hard, was soft and boggy in the extreme, rendering progress much slower and more fatiguing to the horses than it otherwise would have been. By steadily persevering we made a stage of thirty–five miles, but were obliged to encamp at night some miles short of the little height I had been steering for.
During our ride we passed several dry watercourses at five, ten, twenty–five, thirty, and thirty–five miles from our last encampment. The last we halted upon with good feed for the horses, and rainwater lodged everywhere. All these watercourses took their course to the north, emptying and losing themselves in the plains. In the evening heavy showers again fell, and the night set in very dark.