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John McDouall Stuart - Fourth Expedition

JOURNAL OF MR. STUART'S FOURTH EXPEDITION--FIXING THE CENTRE OF THE CONTINENT. FROM MARCH TO SEPTEMBER, 1860.

Sunday, 11th March, Milne Springs.

Sunday, 11th March, Milne Springs. About 10 o'clock last night we were flooded with water, although upon rising ground, and were obliged to move our camp to the top of a small hill. It rained all night and morning, but there are signs of a break in the clouds. During the day it has rained at intervals. The creek is coming down very rapidly, covering all the valley with a sheet of water.

Monday, 12th March, Milne Springs.

Monday, 12th March, Milne Springs. A few heavy showers during the night, but now there seems a chance of a fine day, which will enable us to get our provisions dried again. The country is so boggy that I cannot proceed to-day, but if it continues fair I shall attempt it to-morrow morning. This rain is a great boon to me, as it will give me both feed and water for my horses, and if it has gone to the north-west it will save me a great deal of time looking for water.

Tuesday, 13th March, Milne Springs.

Tuesday, 13th March, Milne Springs. Started for Freeling Springs. The country in some places is very soft, but the travelling is better than I expected. As we approached the Denison ranges the rain did not seem to have been so heavy, but when we came to the Peake, we found it running bank high, and very boggy. Impossible to cross it here, so I shall follow it up in a west-south-west direction. Camped at Freeling Springs.

Wednesday, 14th March, Freeling Springs.

Wednesday, 14th March, Freeling Springs. Started on a course a little to the south of west, to try and find a crossing-place. At two miles it turned a little to the north of west, but at ten miles it turned to the south-west, and was running very rapidly, about five miles an hour. I was obliged to stop at this point, as I could not cross the creek, the banks being so boggy. I have discovered another spring at eleven miles on the same bearing as the Freeling Springs, but I cannot get to it. From here it has the appearance of being very good; a hill covered with reeds at the top, the creek running round the east side of it. I shall endeavour to cross to-morrow and examine it.

Thursday, 15th March, The Peake.

Thursday, 15th March, The Peake. The creek being still impassable, I remained here another day. Yesterday the horse that was carrying my instruments broke away from the man who was leading him, burst the girths, and threw the saddlebags on the ground. The instruments were very much injured, in fact very nearly ruined; the sextant being put out of adjustment, has taken me all day to repair, and I am not sure now whether it is correct or not. It is a great misfortune. Wind north; clouds north-east.