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John McDouall Stuart - Second Expedition

JOURNAL OF MR. STUART'S SECOND EXPEDITION (IN THE VICINITY OF LAKE TORRENS). APRIL TO JULY, 1859.

Wednesday, 6th April.

Wednesday, 6th April. Started on a bearing of 330 degrees, and at six miles came upon a gum creek, with abundance of water, which I believe is permanent. For fifty yards on each side of the creek there is a great quantity of polyganum and other water-bushes. On the water there are a great many ducks, cranes, and water-hens. The water hole is upwards of three-quarters of a mile long; at the broadest place it is fifty yards in breadth. There are two trees marked "J.G. and W. Latitude, 30 degrees 4 minutes 1 second." At one mile struck Mr. Parry's tracks; had a view of the country on the bearing that I intended to steer; saw that it would lead me into a very rough country, therefore followed his tracks to where he had camped. Camped south of Mount Delusion, without water. I do not doubt that there is water further down the creek to the eastward.

Thursday, 7th April.

Thursday, 7th April. Went to the top of Mount Delusion and took bearings. Had some difficulty in finding St. Francis' Ponds. Towards sunset we found them, and, to our great disappointment, quite dry; all the water had disappeared, except a little in one of the creeks, which was salter than the sea, and of no use to us. There seems to have been no rain here this season; I have searched the country all round, but can see no sign of water. I must return to-morrow morning to the creek that I passed yesterday. The horses have now been two nights without water; they appear to feel it very much.

Friday, 8th April.

Friday, 8th April. Started back on a straight line, 6.40, for the gum creek, and arrived at 1.40 p.m., the horses being so much done up that I must give them two days' rest. I expect they will endure it better next time; they now know what it is to be without. In our course we crossed the middle of Mr. Parry's dry lake. It can be crossed at any time, for there are large courses of slate running through it in a north and south direction, level with the bed of the lake. The country around St. Francis' Ponds is as Mr. Parry describes it, with the exception of the water, which is gone. There is a great deal of Cooper's Creek grass growing in places. It is my intention to start with one man (as soon as the horses recover), and endeavour to find water nearer Mount North-west range. If I can find water east or west of St. Francis I shall then be able to make the Finniss Spring.

Sunday, 10th April.

Sunday, 10th April. I intended to have gone to the north to-day to search for water, but I am so unwell from the effects of the water of this creek that I am unable to do so. I have been very ill all yesterday and all night, but I hope I shall be right to-morrow.