March 26. — Upon moving on this morning we passed through the same wretched kind of country for eighteen miles, to an opening in the scrub where was a little grass, and at which we halted to rest. There was so much scrub, and the sandy ridges were so heavy and harassing to the horses, that I began to doubt almost if we should get them along at all. We were now seventy-two miles from the water, and had, in all probability, as much further to go before we came to any more, and I saw that unless something was done to lighten the loads of the pack-animals (trifling as were the burdens they carried) we never could hope to get them on. Leaving the natives to enjoy a sleep, the overseer and I opened and re-sorted all our baggage, throwing away every thing that we could at all dispense with; our great coats, jackets, and other articles of dress were thrown away; a single spare shirt and pair of boots and socks being all that were kept for each, besides our blankets and the things we stood in, and which consisted only of trowsers, shirt, and shoes. Most of our pack-saddles, all our horse-shoes, most of our kegs for holding water, all our buckets but one, our medicines, some of our fire-arms, a quantity of ammunition, and a variety of other things, were here abandoned. Among the many things that we were compelled to leave behind there was none that I regretted parting with more than a copy of Captain Sturt’s Expeditions, which had been sent to me by the author to Fowler’s Bay to amuse and cheer me on the solitary task I had engaged in; it was the last kind offering of friendship from a highly esteemed friend, and nothing but necessity would have induced me to part with it. Could the donor, however, have seen the miserable plight we were reduced to, he would have pitied and forgiven an act that circumstances alone compelled me to.

After all our arrangements were made, and every thing rejected that we could do without, I found that the loads of the horses were reduced in the aggregate about two hundred pounds; but this being divided among ten, relieved each only a little. Myself, the overseer, and the King George’s Sound native invariably walked the whole way, but the two younger natives were still permitted to ride alternately upon one of the strongest horses. As our allowance of flour was very small, and the fatigue and exertion we were all obliged to undergo very great, I ordered a sheep to be killed before we moved on again. We had been upon short allowance for some time, and were getting weak and hardly able to go through the toils that devolved upon us. Now, I knew that our safety depended upon that of our horses, and that their lives again were contingent upon the amount of fatigue we were ourselves able to endure, and the degree of exertion we were capable of making to relieve them in extremity. I did not therefore hesitate to make use of one of our three remaining sheep to strengthen us for coming trials, instead of retaining them until perhaps they might be of little use to us. The whole party had a hearty meal, and then, watching the horses until midnight, we moved on when the moon rose.

During the morning we had passed along an extensive dried-up salt swamp behind the coast ridge, which was soft for the horses in some places, but free from that high brush which fatigued them so much, and which now appeared to come close in to the sea, forming upon the high sandy ridges a dense scrub. The level bank of the higher ground, or continuation of the cliffs of the Bight, which had heretofore been distinctly visible at a distance of ten or twelve miles inland, could no longer be seen: it had either merged in the scrubby and sandy elevations around us, or was hid by them from our view.