John McDouall Stuart - Third Expedition


Monday, 28th November, Parry Springs.

Monday, 28th November, Parry Springs. Building a cone of stones on the northernmost of the hills, fixing the south-east corner of run Number 2, and moving to the hot springs. Arrived at sundown. Saw a number of holes where the natives had been digging for water. Cleaned out one, and found water at two feet from the surface, above the water in the creek. It is very good. On examining this spring, I find there is a great deal more water coming from it than from the Emerald Springs. The hot springs are on the top of the sand hill, and the cold ones at the foot. There are large quantities of the wild grape growing here, both red and white. They are very good indeed, and, if cultivated, would, I think, become a very nice fruit.

Tuesday, 29th November, Primrose springs.

Tuesday, 29th November, Primrose springs. Surveying run. Sent Muller to the north to a distant range, and Strong to the north-east to look for springs. Towards evening both returned without being successful. They passed over plenty of good feeding country, but the range is high and stony, with very little grass, only salt bush. It is a continuation of Hanson range, all table land.

Wednesday, 30th November, Primrose springs.

Wednesday, 30th November, Primrose springs. Surveying, etc. North-east corner of run Number 2 is about two miles west of the Neale. I scratched a few inches deep from the surface in the gravel, and found very good water. The wild grape is in abundance here, and grows as large as the cultivated one. I have obtained some choice seeds.

Thursday, 1st December, Primrose springs.

Thursday, 1st December, Primrose springs. At daybreak started with Kekwick to find the lake on an easterly course, keeping to south of east, to avoid a soft lagoon. Travelled over a fair salt-bush and grass country, with stones on the surface. In places the grass is abundant, though dry. At seven miles the sand hills commenced; they are low, with broad valleys between, covered with stone. On the sand hills there was plenty of grass, and numerous native and emu tracks going towards the Neale, which is to the south of us. At fourteen miles struck a gum creek with salt water. Searched for springs, but could find none with fresh-water. Continued on a course east over sand hills and stony plain, and at twenty miles crossed the Neale. It is very broad, with numerous channels. In the main one there was plenty of water, but it was very brackish. We scratched a hole on the bank about two feet from the salt water, and found plenty of good water at six inches from the surface, of which our horses drank very readily. This seems to be the mode in which the natives obtain good water in a dry season like this. The emus and other birds also adopt the same plan. An immense quantity of water must come down this creek at times. The drift stuff was upwards of thirteen feet high in the gum-trees. A number of native tracks all about the creek, quite fresh, but we could not see any one. After giving our horses as much water as they would drink, we crossed the creek, which now runs north, and proceeded, still on our easterly course, over stony plains for four miles, then over sand hills, which continued to the lake, which we struck at thirty-five miles. The atmosphere is so thick, it is impossible to say what it is like to-night. Camped without water under a high sand hill, so that I may have a good view of the lake in the morning. I like not the appearance of it to-night; I am afraid we are going to lose it.