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John McDouall Stuart - First Expedition

JOURNAL OF MR. STUART'S EXPEDITION TO THE NORTH-WEST. MAY TO SEPTEMBER, 1858.

Sunday, 4th July, Same Place.

Sunday, 4th July, Same Place. Not the slightest appearance of a change. It rained in torrents all night and all day, though at sundown it seemed to be breaking a little. The creek came down in the forenoon, overflowed its banks, and left us on an island before we knew what we were about. We were obliged to seek a higher place. Not content with depriving us of our first worley, it has now forced us to retreat to a bare hill, without any protection from the weather. The rain has come from the north-east.

Monday, 5th July, Same Place.

Monday, 5th July, Same Place. The rain lasted the greater part of the night, but became light before morning. Started at 12.30 on a bearing of 312 degrees for eleven miles to some sand hills. A fearfully hard day's work for the poor horses over a stony plain, sinking up to their knees in mud, until at eight miles we crossed a reedy swamp two miles in breadth, and how many in length I know not, for it seemed all one sheet of water: it took our horses up to their bellies

Tuesday, 6th July, Sand Hills.

Tuesday, 6th July, Sand Hills. All our rations and everything we have got being perfectly saturated with wet, I have made up my mind to stop and put them to rights; if we neglect them it will soon be all over with us. This was a beautiful day, not a cloud to be seen. There are a great many natives' tracks in these sand hills, and plenty of grass.

Wednesday, 7th July, Sand Hills.

Wednesday, 7th July, Sand Hills. Heavy dew last night. Started on a bearing of 312 degrees at 9 a.m. At eleven miles the sand hills cease, and stony plain commences. The sand hills were well grassed: also the stony plain. Dip of the country still north-east. We crossed two watercourses--one at this side of the plain, and the other two miles back, broad and shallow. I could see gum-trees on the latter about two miles to the north-east as if it formed itself into a deeper channel. Travelling very heavy. Distance to-day, twenty-five miles.

Thursday, 8th July, Sand Hills.

Thursday, 8th July, Sand Hills. A very heavy dew again last night. Started at 9 a.m. At one mile we came on yesterday's course; could see nothing; changed the bearing to 272 degrees. At seven miles crossed a creek running north and a little west, the water being up to our saddle-flaps. At twelve miles the sand hills ceased, and we came upon an elevated plain, of a light-brown soil, with fragments of stone on the surface. At twenty-five miles, in the middle of this plain, we camped, without wood, and in sight of a large range in the far distance to the west. Distance to-day, twenty-five miles.