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John McDouall Stuart - Third Expedition

JOURNAL OF MR. STUART'S THIRD EXPEDITION (IN THE VICINITY OF LAKE TORRENS). NOVEMBER, 1859, TO JANUARY, 1860.

Sunday, 13th November, William Springs.

Sunday, 13th November, William Springs. I feel a little better to-day, but suffer very much from the eyes. I hope I shall be able to travel to-morrow, for it is misery to remain in camp in the hot weather. Latitude, 28 degrees 57 minutes 24 seconds. Variation, 4 degrees 47 minutes east.

Monday, 14th November, William Springs.

Monday, 14th November, William Springs. Started on a course of 317 degrees for the Hope Springs, and arrived at 5 p.m. I kept to the west in order to see what the country was in that direction, in the hope of finding some more springs. At twenty-one miles crossed the Douglas, coming from north-north-west; the country from it to the north-west and north looked quite white with quartz, and showed signs of being auriferous. From the Douglas to north-west the feed was not quite so plentiful, salt bush with grass, the salt bush predominating; but as we approached the Spring of Hope it improved, and became good as we neared the creek. Distance, thirty miles.

Tuesday, 15th November, Spring of Hope.

Tuesday, 15th November, Spring of Hope. The spring is still good, yielding a plentiful supply of water. Sent one of the men to the east and south-east to examine some white patches of country that I saw on our journey up here, while I, with one man and two days' provisions, started south-west to a high and prominent hill in the range. At 11 a.m. arrived at the top, from which I had a good view of the country all round. It is a table-topped hill, standing on high table land, which is intersected with numerous small watercourses, flowing towards the Douglas on the south and west sides of the mount, which I have named Mount Anna. It is compound of ironstone, quartz, granite, and a chalky substance, also an immense quantity of conglomerate quartz and ironstone, which has the appearance of having been run together in a smelting works. There are also numerous courses of slate of different descriptions and colours; the quartz, which exists in white patches, predominates, and gives the country the appearance of numerous springs. These patches have deceived me two or three times to-day. At twenty miles the sand hills begin again; the country being rather poor, with a number of isolated hills, and also some white chalky cliffs of twenty feet high and upwards. No water nor appearance of any to the west for a considerable distance. Changed to the north-west to look at some more white country. I am again disappointed; it turns out to be quartz with low chalky cliffs, and a large quantity of igneous stone. Country the same, with salt bush and a little grass in places. I can see no inducement for me to go further, so I shall return to the camp. Arrived after dark. My eyes are still very bad, and I suffer dreadfully from them. To-day has been hot, and the reflection from the white quartz and the heated stones was almost insufferable: what a relief it was when the sun went down! Distance, forty-five miles.

Wednesday, 16th November, Spring of Hope.

Wednesday, 16th November, Spring of Hope. Still very ill, and unable to go out myself. Sent Muller to examine the creek nearer Mount Margaret for water; if he finds any near the mount, I shall move there, as it will be nearer, for building the cone of stones on the top of the mount, than Hawker Springs. Shod our horses, and built a small cone of stones on a reef of rocks that runs along the top of a hill about half a mile west-north-west from the spring, to which it will act as a land mark. Muller has returned, and reports having found water in the other creek, about five miles north-north-west from this; the water is in the centre of the creek, in three or four holes, some of which are brackish, but one of them is very good. A number of natives were camped about it, but took to flight the moment they saw him; he tried to induce them to come near him, but they would not; they appeared to be very much frightened, and climbed up the cliffs to get out of his way. Plenty of feed between the two waters; through the hills there is an abundance. I find the water discovered to-day (which I have named The George Creek, after G. Davenport, Esquire), will be of no advantage to me when building the cone of stones; I shall therefore move to the Hawker Springs to-morrow.

Thursday, 17th November, Spring of Hope.

Thursday, 17th November, Spring of Hope. Arrived at the Hawker Springs at noon, and commenced the survey. Springs still good; some of them at this point will require to be opened. We have opened one, and the water is beautiful. Immense quantities of reeds and rushes. Built a cone of stones on the hill at the westernmost spring.