Monday, 30th June, Roper River.
- Written by John McDouall Stuart
- Category: John McDouall Stuart - Sixth Expedition
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Monday, 30th June, Roper River. Started at 8.10, course west, following up the river, which winds about very much from north-west to south, and at last to south-east. When coming close to where the grass was on fire, finding a good ford, I crossed the party to the north-east side. At fifteen miles came upon a large reedy swamp through which the river seemed to flow, and again at twenty miles came upon the river running into the swamp, and coming from the north-north-west. Although travelling twenty miles we have not made more than ten miles in a straight line; the general course is west. The country is of the same excellent description. We have passed the stony rises on the north side of the river, which are covered with grass to their tops. After crossing the river I ascended another of the same kind. To the south are a few hills scattered over the grassy plains, with lines of dark-green trees between them, showing that they are creeks flowing into the river whose junctions we have been crossing to-day; the same to the south-west, and at west 20" south the distance appears level, with a single peak just visible. To the north-west seemingly stony hills; to the north the same; to the east I could see nothing, for the smoke conceals from me the country; it is all on fire. The river is still running very rapidly, and as this is a different branch from those previously discovered, I have named it the River Chambers, after my late lamented friend, James Chambers, Esquire, whose zeal in the cause of Australian exploration is already well known. A short time before sundown a number of natives were seen approaching the camp. We were immediately prepared for them. I sent Mr. Kekwick forward to see what their intentions were--friendly or hostile. I immediately followed. On reaching them they appeared quite friendly. There were three men, four lubras, and a number of children. One, an old man, presented a very singular appearance--his legs being about four feet long, and his entire height seven feet, and so remarkably thin that he appeared to be a perfect shadow. Mr. Kekwick having a fish-hook stuck in his hat, which immediately caught the tall old fellow's eye, he made signs of its use, and that he would like to possess it. I told Mr. Kekwick to give it to him, which seemed to please him much. After examining it he handed it over to a young man, seemingly his son, who was a fat, stout fellow, and who was laughing nearly all the time. The other was a middle-aged man of the ordinary height. The women were small, and very ugly. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 14 degrees 47 minutes 24 seconds.