Thursday, 16th May, Sturt Plains.
- Written by John McDouall Stuart
- Category: John McDouall Stuart - Fifth Expedition
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Thursday, 16th May, Sturt Plains. Sent Thring to see if there is a creek or a sign of water under the rise. At 8.20 a.m. he returned, having found no water. It is a low sandy rise, covered with a dense scrub. Started at 8.20 a.m.; course, east. At three miles I was forced to return; the scrub is so dense that it is impossible to get through. Came back two miles; changed to 20 degrees west of south to get out of it. At two miles gained the plain, then changed to the east of south at 10.45. At 2 p.m. there is no hope of a creek or water. Changed to south-west. At two miles and a half struck our tracks and proceeded to Lawson Creek. We found the open parts of the plain black alluvial soil so rotten and cracked, that the horses were sinking over their knees; this continued for six miles. It is covered with long grass and polygonum; also a few eucalypti scattered over it. The scrub we were compelled to return from was the thickest I have ever had to contend with. The horses would not face it. They turned about in every direction, and we were in danger of losing them. In two or three yards they were quite out of sight. In the short distance we penetrated it has torn our hands, faces, clothes, and, what is of more consequence, our saddle-bags, all to pieces. It consists of scrub of every kind, which is as thick as a hedge. Had we gone further into it we should have lost everything off the horses. No signs of water. From south to west, north and north-east nothing visible but Sturt Plains, with a few sand rises having scrub on them, which terminate the spurs of the stony rises. They are a complete barrier between me and the Victoria. I should think that water could be easily obtained at a moderate depth in many places on the plains. If I had plenty of provisions I would try to make it by that way. The only course that I can now try is to the north-east or east, to round the dense scrub and plains. At sundown arrived at Lawson Creek. The horses, owing to the dryness of the grass, drank a great quantity of water; they are falling off very much. Wind, south-east.