- Category: John McDouall Stuart - Fourth Expedition
- Written by John McDouall Stuart
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Tuesday, 22nd May, The Hanson. I got a little sleep last night, and feel a great deal easier this morning, and shall try my horse back again. I shall now steer north-east to a range of hills that I saw from the top of Central Mount Stuart, and hope from these to obtain an entrance to the north-west or north-east. I also hope to cut the creek that carries off the surplus water from all the creeks which I have passed since March. It must go somewhere, for it is difficult to believe that those numerous bodies of water can be consumed by evaporation. Started on a bearing of 48 degrees, crossed the Hanson, running a little on our right; at six miles crossed it again, running more to the north for two miles further. We crossed four more of its courses, all running in the same direction. The most easterly one is spread over a large salt-creek valley, and forms a lagoon at the foot of some sand ridges, the highest of which is ten miles and a half from our last camp. On the east side of it there is a large lagoon, five miles long by one mile and a half broad, in which water has lately been, but it is now dry. We then proceeded through a little scrub, with splendid grass, and at twelve miles cut a small gum creek, coming from the range. We saw a number of birds about, and there were tracks of natives, quite fresh, in the creek. Sent Kekwick down it to see if there were water, while I went up and examined it. This is the large gum plain that we met with the day we made the Centre; it is completely covered with grass. Kekwick ran the creek out. At about two miles he observed a little water in the creek, where the natives had been digging. He also came upon two of them, and two little children. They did not observe him until he was within fifty yards, when they stood for a few minutes paralysed with astonishment; then, snatching up the children, ran off as quickly as their legs could carry them. They did not utter a sound, although he called to them. He remarked that they had no hair on their heads, or it was as short as if it had been burned off close. I wish I had seen them; I should have overtaken them and seen if it were a fact that the hair was burnt. It is reported in Adelaide that there are natives in the interior without hair on their bodies. At fourteen miles we again struck the creek, and found plenty of water in it. It winds all over the plain in every direction. Camped for the night very much done up. I could hardly sit in my saddle for this short distance. Wind north-west.