John McDouall Stuart - Second Expedition


Tuesday, 10th May, Mount Hamilton.

Tuesday, 10th May, Mount Hamilton. Started for the Beresford Springs. Arrived at Mount Hugh at 11 o'clock, seven miles distant from Mount Hamilton, and, as I anticipated, found a number of splendid springs, giving out a fine stream of water, not the least brackish. The hill from which this stream issues is one hundred feet above the level of the plain, the water coming from the very top. My horse got bogged on the top, and I had some difficulty in getting him out, but I did so at last without injuring him. Started from the mount at 12.30, and, after three miles and a half, arrived at Beresford Springs. The Beresford Springs are nothing in comparison to the others; there are only two that are running, but they are very good. The country travelled over to-day has been very well grassed, with salt bush; take it altogether I have not seen better runs in the colony, and in the driest summer the furthest distance from water will not be above five miles at the most, but the feed is so abundant that they would not require to go so far. On that account they will feed double and treble the number of stock that the runs down the country do. At two miles on this side of the Hugh Springs discovered another batch of springs with plenty of water running from them; there are about eight or nine of them very good; those springs have not been visited by Major Warburton. We examined all round, but could find no tracks. I have named them the Elizabeth Springs. There is enough water running to drive a flour-mill in two or three places. They are really remarkable springs--such a height above the level of the plain; I saw them from a hill on Chambers Creek (the Twins). From whence do they derive their supply of water, to cause them to rise to such a height? It must be from some high ranges to the north-west, or a large body of fresh water lying on elevated ground. This is another strange feature of the mysterious interior of Australia. I shall remain here until after 12 to-morrow, to get an observation of the sun to fix this hill. I shall return to Mount Hamilton, and proceed to examine the country west of North Lake Torrens, for one of the east runs, which will complete my survey of them, and I shall despatch thence a messenger to Oratunga.

Wednesday, 11th May, Elizabeth Springs.

Wednesday, 11th May, Elizabeth Springs. Latitude, 29 degrees 17 minutes 43 seconds. I omitted to mention yesterday that, two miles before we reached Beresford Hill, we crossed Pasley Ponds and saw one of the Major's camps. The water is brackish, but not bad. The white deposit round these springs, and also round the Elizabeth, is soda. In returning, I examined the Coward Springs; the water is good, and running. There is a plentiful supply. It was dark when I arrived at Mount Hamilton. Saw four natives to-day, but they gave us a wide berth; they do not like to come near us.

Thursday, 12th May, Mount Hamilton.

Thursday, 12th May, Mount Hamilton. Some of the horses require shoeing, and I wish to get another observation of the sun. I shall remain here to-day, and examine the country to the north-east. About seven miles in that direction is the salt creek of Major Warburton. The country is of a light sandy soil covered with grass.

Friday, May 13th, Mount Hamilton.

Friday, May 13th, Mount Hamilton. Started to the eastward, to complete the survey of the runs, and see if there are any more springs. To the south of east, about four miles, we discovered four springs not seen by the Major; there is a plentiful supply of water, and would be more if they were opened. One is choked up with reeds, but the other two are running. Saw some natives; they seemed frightened at first, but were induced to come close up: they were very much amused at our equipments. Two had seen or heard of whites before; they knew the name of horse, but no more; they call water courie, and some of their words very much resemble those of the natives in Port Lincoln. We could make nothing of them--they repeat every word of the question we ask them. They followed us over to the Margaret, and took us to some fresh-water springs in the creek, the water of which is very good. There is a quantity of reeds growing round them, also tea-tree. From this we followed the creek to the north, thence north-east towards the lake, but the water being too brackish, I returned to the springs, the natives walking with us all the time; they seemed very inoffensive. In following down the creek, another native joined us from the creek, carrying a net in which were some small fish; the net was a hoop one, well made.