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John McDouall Stuart - Fifth Expedition

JOURNAL OF MR. STUART'S FIFTH EXPEDITION. FROM NOVEMBER, 1860, TO SEPTEMBER, 1861.

Sunday 24th March, Hamilton Springs.

Sunday 24th March, Hamilton Springs. I am compelled to have some of the horses shod to-day, and also to have a number of saddle-bags mended, which were torn by the scrub yesterday. This afternoon there is a great deal of thunder and lightning in the north and north-east.

Monday, 25th March, Hamilton Springs.

Monday, 25th March, Hamilton Springs. Part of the horses missing this morning in consequence of the green feed; did not get a start until 10.20 a.m.; bearing 43 degrees. The country became so boggy after seven miles that we were unable to proceed further than eleven miles. There being no surface water, although the ground was so soft that the horses kept bogging up to their bodies, we were forced to retreat five miles to obtain some for them. Wind south-east, the stormy weather apparently breaking up. Camped at 5 p.m. Latitude, 23 degrees 28 minutes 51 seconds.

Tuesday, 26th March, Scrub North-east of Hamilton Springs.

Tuesday, 26th March, Scrub North-east of Hamilton Springs. Started at 9 a.m. on a south-south-east course to round the boggy country. At about six miles we were enabled to cross the lower part, and go in the direction of a low range. Camped on the north-east side of it. The last four miles were over fair travelling-country of a red soil, with mulga and other bushes, in some places rather thick, abounding in green grass. We also passed many bushes of the honey mulga, but the season is passed, and it is all dried up. Wind, east. Latitude by Pollux, 23 degrees 24 minutes 51 seconds; by Jupiter, 23 degrees 24 minutes 52 seconds.

Wednesday, 27th March, Low Granite Range in Scrub.

Wednesday, 27th March, Low Granite Range in Scrub. More than half of the horses are missing this morning; at noon we have managed to get all but ten; they are scattered all over the place; at 5 p.m. they cannot be found, and the water is nearly all gone, and the country much dried towards Strangway range. I have sent the horses four miles back to a large clay-pan that we saw yesterday, to remain there to-night and in the morning to return. Two of the party to separate from there, and to go in search of the missing horses, which I suppose have gone back to the Hamilton Springs; it is very vexing, some of our best are amongst them. Wind, east.

Thursday, 28th March, Low Granite Range in Scrub.

Thursday, 28th March, Low Granite Range in Scrub. At 11 a.m. the horses were brought back from the clay-pan. Two of the missing ones were found about a mile after they started, making towards where they had camped last night. I think that the other eight must be also in that direction; we find that all the tracks have gone that way; I shall therefore move down to-day to the south end of the swampy country, which I know they cannot cross, and endeavour, if possible, to find them to-night. By 1 p.m. arrived at the end of the swamp; camped, and despatched Thring in one direction and Sullivan in another to try and cut their tracks; at a little before sunset Sullivan returned with three of the missing ones. Five are still wanting. Wind, south-east.