On the 28th, I took the opportunity, whilst walking down to the beach with Mr. Scott, of explaining the circumstances in which I was placed, and the decision to which I had been forced. He was much affected at the intelligence, and would fain have remained to share with me the result of the expedition, whatever that might be; but I dared not consent to it.

The only man left, belonging to the party, was the one who had accompanied me towards the head of the Great Bight, and suffered so much from the heat on the 6th January. His experience on that occasion of the nature of the country, and the climate we were advancing into, had, in a great measure, damped his ardour for exploring; so that when told that the expedition, as far as he was concerned, had terminated, and that he would have to go back to Adelaide with Mr. Scott, he did not express any regret. I had ever found him a useful and obedient man, and with the exception of his losing courage under the heat, upon the occasion alluded to, he had been a hardy and industrious man, and capable of enduring much fatigue.

The native boys I intended to accompany me in my journey, as they would be better able to put up with the fatigues and privations we should have to go through, than Europeans; whilst their quickness of sight, habit of observation, and skill in tracking, might occasionally be of essential service to me. The native who had lately joined me from Adelaide, and whose country was around King George’s Sound, would, I hoped, be able to interpret to any tribes we might meet with, as it appeared to me that some of the words we had heard in use among the natives of this part of the coast were very similar to some I had heard among the natives of King George’s Sound. Three natives, however, were more than I required, and I would gladly have sent the youngest of them back to Adelaide, but he had been with me several years, and I did not like to send him away whilst he was willing to remain; besides, he was so young and so light in weight, that if we were able to get on at all, his presence could cause but little extra difficulty. I therefore decided upon taking him also.

There remained now only the overseer; a man who had been in my service for many years, and whose energy, activity, and many useful qualities, had made him an invaluable servant to me at all times; whilst his courage, prudence, good conduct, and fidelity, made me very desirous to have him with me in this last effort to cross to the westward. Having sent for him, I explained to him most fully the circumstances in which I was placed, the utter impossibility of taking on the whole party through so inhospitable a region as that before us, my own firm determination never to return unsuccessful, but either to accomplish the object I had in view, or perish in the attempt. I pointed out to him that there were still eight hundred and fifty miles of an unknown country yet to be traversed and explored; that, in all probability, this would consist principally, if not wholly, of an all but impracticable desert. I reminded him of the fatigues, difficulties, and losses we had already experienced in attempting to reconnoitre the country only as far as the head of the Great Bight; and stated to him my own conviction, that from the knowledge and experience we had already acquired of the nature of the country; the journey before us must of necessity be a long and harassing one — one of unceasing toil, privation, and anxiety, whilst, from the smallness of our party, the probable want of water, and other causes, it would be one, also, of more than ordinary risk and danger. I then left him to determine whether he would return to Adelaide, in the cutter, or remain and accompany me. His reply was, that although he had become tired of remaining so long away in the wilds, and should be glad when the expedition had terminated, yet he would willingly remain with me to the last; and would accompany me to the westward at every hazard.

Our future movements being now arranged, and the division of the party decided upon, it remained only for me to put my plans into execution. The prospect of the approaching separation, had cast a gloom over the whole party, and now that all was finally determined, I felt that the sooner it was over the better. I lost no time, therefore, in getting up all the bran and oats from the cutter, and in putting on board of her our drays, and such stores as we did not require, directing the master to hold himself in readiness to return to Adelaide immediately.