February 27. — Sending the overseer and two boys down with the horses to the well this morning, I and the other boy set to work, and dug out the cask with the flour, which we then weighed out, and subdivided into packages of fifty pounds each, for the convenience of carrying. The native I had seen about the camp, on our approach, yesterday, had returned, and slept near us at night; but upon inquiring from him this morning, where our two-gallon keg was, he took the very earliest opportunity of decamping, being probably afraid that we should charge him with the robbery, or punish him for it. The natives, generally, are a strange and singular race of people, and their customs and habits are often quite inexplicable to us. Sometimes, in barely passing through a country, we have them gathering from all quarters, and surrounding us, anxious and curious to observe our persons, or actions; at other times, we may remain in camp for weeks together without seeing a single native, though many may be in the neighbourhood; when they do come, too, they usually depart as suddenly as their visit had been unexpected. Among all who had come under my observation, hitherto, along this coast, I found that every male had undergone the singular ceremony I have described as prevailing in the Port Lincoln peninsula; each, too, had the cartilage of the nose perforated, but none had lost the front teeth, nor did I see any (with one exception) having scars raised on the back, breast, or arms, as is frequently the case with many tribes in Australia.

For the last few days, the weather had been tolerably cool, and we had not been much troubled with musquitoes; instead, however, we were persecuted severely by a very large greyish kind of horsefly, with a huge proboscis for sucking up the blood. These pests were in great numbers, and proved a sad annoyance, lighting upon us in every direction, and inflicting very irritating wounds even through clothes of considerable thickness.