John McDouall Stuart - Fifth Expedition


Friday, 15th March, The Hugh, James Range.

Friday, 15th March, The Hugh, James Range. A few drops of rain have fallen during the night, but this morning it seems to be breaking up again, which is a great disappointment. Started at 8 a.m., course 10 degrees west of north; passed through the gorge in James range, found all the water gone that I had seen on my journey down; followed up the creek to the native wells that Thring found yesterday. This water is situated about one mile and a half from where the creek enters the gorge in James range, and under a concrete bank on the north side. The natives seem to have quitted this water on hearing us coming, for they have left behind them a large, long, and unfinished spear, two smaller ones, and some waddies, one of which was quite wet, as if the owner had been in the act of clearing out one of the wells when he heard or saw us coming: he also left a shield cut out of solid wood, which I think was, from its lightness, cork-wood. I also observed on one of the gum-trees, marks similar to those which I saw on the Finke, broad arrows and a wavy line round the tree. Still cloudy, but much broken. No rain. Wind, south-east.

Saturday, 16th March, The Hugh, James Range.

Saturday, 16th March, The Hugh, James Range. Rain all gone. Proceeded up the creek, course 30 degrees, to examine the east bend before it enters the Waterhouse range; in about six miles arrived and followed it upwards, pushing on through the gorge to the large water I had previously seen on the north side of the range; found it gone, but water in some native wells in its bed. Proceeded on to the second bend of the creek from Waterhouse range, to a water which I consider to be a spring (it is under conglomerate rock), and am glad to see that there is still a large hole of beautiful water, with bulrushes growing round about it. Camped. This water I have named Owen Springs, after William Owen, Esquire, M.P. Wind variable, from south-east to north-east. Cloudy.

Sunday, 17th March, Owen Springs, The Hugh.

Sunday, 17th March, Owen Springs, The Hugh. During the night we had a few light showers, which will be of great advantage to us, causing the green feed to spring up. The morning still cloudy; wind from the east, with a few drops of rain. Wind still variable--all round the compass.

Tuesday, 19th March, Owen Springs, The Hugh.

Tuesday, 19th March, Owen Springs, The Hugh. Saddled and started for Brinkley Bluff, bearing 349 degrees. After entering the McDonnell range the water is permanent. It has been here for twelve months; no rain has fallen during that time, for my former tracks, both up and down, are as distinct as if they had been made a month ago. At 3.30 p.m. camped at the waterhole about a mile north-west of Brinkley Bluff; it is situated under a rocky cliff. There are some seams of beautiful grey granite crossing the creek, and abundance of marble of all colours, also a little iron and limestone. We found some specimens of the palm tree, but there is neither seed nor blossom at this season of the year. Lawrence got one of the leaves, ate the lower end of it, and found it sweet--resembling sugar-cane; he ate a few inches of it, and in about two hours became very sick, and vomited a good deal during the evening. Wind variable; but mostly south-east, with heavy thunder clouds.