- Category: John McDouall Stuart - Fourth Expedition
- Written by John McDouall Stuart
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Thursday, 21st June, Scrub. The horses having gone back on the track, we did not get a start until 8.30--course, 32 degrees 30 minutes to a high hill on the other side of the lake, passing through a thick scrub of cork-tree and gums, with spinifex and grass. At seven miles came upon what I thought was the lake, but it turns out to be a large plain of rich alluvial soil covered with dry grass, which gave it the appearance of a lake. It was three miles across to the top of the hill; no water-course through, nor any water to be seen. The hills on the north side are composed of ironstone and granite, and, from the distance, looked very much like sand hills. From the top of the hill I can see the plain extending a little to the west of north, but I cannot see far for the mirage. To the north-north-east is another plain of the same description, but much smaller, about a mile and a half broad, and nearly circular. To the north-east is another very extensive one; its dimensions I cannot see. I seem to have got into the land of grassy plains and low stony hills. I wish my horses had had water last night or yesterday. They seem to be very much in want of it. I must devote the rest of this day to a search for it. I shall now direct my course for the south part of the plain that I have just crossed; it seems to be the lowest part, and the flight of the birds is directed that way. Searched all round, but can find no water; so I must return to Kekwick Ponds. The day is extremely hot, and my horses cannot stand two more nights without water. Would that they had more endurance! It is dreadful to have to turn back almost at the threshold of success. I cannot be far from the dip of the country to the Gulf. Returned by another course to where I camped last night, but still no water. I would fain try the plain to the south, but I dare not risk the loss of more horses. Proceeded to the low range that I crossed yesterday; examined round it, but cannot find any water. Camped. Two of the horses very much done up. I must go back through that nasty scrub again.