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John McDouall Stuart - First Expedition

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

Friday, 30th July, Mulga Plain.

Friday, 30th July, Mulga Plain. Started at 7.35 on same course, 310 degrees. The scrub is so dense that I cannot see above one hundred yards ahead, and sometimes not that. During the night some swans and two ducks flew over, apparently from Lake Gairdner, and going in our direction. At ten miles, having met with some rain water, we halted, for the horses had been three nights without it. I have given them the rest of the day to drink their fill. This seems to be a continuation of the stony plain we crossed on our south-eastern line. The country appears open to the south, but no sign of any permanent water. Forster bakes the last of our flour this afternoon--the last of our provisions. Distance to-day, ten miles.

Saturday, 31st July, South Stony Plain.

Saturday, 31st July, South Stony Plain. Left at 8.30 on the same bearing, 310 degrees. At ten miles we ascended a low range running north and south. We did not see a drop of water all day. Our course was over a gradually rising plain, well grassed at intervals, with plenty of salt bush, and with stone on the surface, composed of quartz, ironstone, and the hard white flinty stone so frequently met with. The scrub has nearly ceased. The dip of the country is south. During the night we again heard a dog barking at one of the horses, and during the day we saw two kangaroos. At ten miles we crossed a valley, through which water has been flowing to the south-south-west. Camped without water. Distance to-day, fifteen miles.

Sunday, 1st August, Stony Plain Valley.

Sunday, 1st August, Stony Plain Valley. Left at 8.45 on the same bearing, 310 degrees. My reason for keeping this bearing is that there seems to have been very little rain to the south of us, and I am unwilling to get too far away from where it has fallen, in case I have to put to my former line for it. If I should meet with it to-day I shall turn south-west or west. This country is very dry, and absorbs all that falls. It is of a bright red soil, mixed with sand and, in some places, lime. At ten miles I am obliged to stop, in consequence of the grey mare being quite done up; the stones play the mischief with her. I have great doubts of her living through the journey. Distance to-day, ten miles.

Monday, 2nd August, Salt Bush--a Stony Plain.

Monday, 2nd August, Salt Bush--a Stony Plain. We had a little rain during the night. Started at 9 on a bearing of 315 degrees. At three miles changed our course to 230 degrees. The last three miles of this day's journey were through rather a thick scrub, but well grassed, with few stones. The former part was through a very well-grassed country, with a little salt bush and low scrub. Saw a number of kangaroos, but they were too wild to get near them. Distance to-day, twenty miles.