- Category: John McDouall Stuart - Sixth Expedition
- Written by John McDouall Stuart
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Thursday, 10th July, Kekwick's Large Group of Springs. Started at eight o'clock; crossed the springs without getting any of the horses bogged. Proceeded on a north-west course, but at a mile and a half again came upon springs and running water; the ground too boggy to cross it. Changed to north; at three miles and a half on the course changed to north-west. Ascended some very rough stony hills, and got on the top of sandy table land thick with splendid stringy-bark, pines, and other trees and shrubs, amongst which, for the first time, we have seen the fan palm, some of them growing upwards of fifteen feet high; the bark on the stem is marked similar to a pineapple's; the leaf very much resembles a lady's fan set on a long handle, and, a short time after it is cut, closes in the same manner. At half-past one crossed the table land--breadth thteen miles. The view was beautiful. Standing on the edge of a precipice, we could see underneath, lower down, a deep creek thickly wooded running on our course; then the picturesque precipitous gorge in the table land; then the gorge in the distance; to the north-west were ranges of hills. The grass on the table land is coarse, mixed with a little spinifex; about half of it had been burnt by the natives some time ago. We had to search for a place to descend, and had great difficulty in doing so, but at last accomplished it without accident. The valley near the creek, which is a running stream, is very thickly wooded with tall stringy-bark, gums, and other kinds of palm-trees, which are very beautiful, the stem growing upwards of fifty feet high, the leaves from eight to ten feet in length, with a number of long smaller ones growing from each side, resembling an immense feather; a great number of these shooting out from the top of the high stems, and falling gracefully over, has a very pretty, light, and elegant appearance. Followed the creek for about two miles down this gorge, and camped on an open piece of ground. The top course of the table land is a layer of magnetic ironstone, which attracted my compass upwards of 20 degrees; underneath is a layer of red sandstone, and below that is an immense mass of white sandstone, which is very soft, and crumbling away with the action of the atmosphere. In the valley is growing an immense crop of grass, upwards of four feet high; the cabbage palm is still in the creek. We have seen a number of new shrubs and flowers. The course of the table land is north-north-west and south-south-east. The cliffs, from the camp in the valley, seem to be from two hundred and fifty to three hundred feet high. Beyond all doubt we are now on the Adelaide river. Light winds, variable. Latitude, 13 degrees 44 minutes 14 seconds.