July 21.—Taking with us the best part of what was left of the kangaroo, we crossed a stony ridge to the S. W., and at four miles struck a watercourse with a large pool of water in its bed, and well adapted for a halting place for the party on their route to the north: we had not seen this in our outward course, having kept further to the westward in the plains. From the water–hole, Mount Eyre bore W. 30 degrees S. distant five miles.
Upon leaving this pool I pushed on as rapidly as I could, being anxious to rejoin my party; and after a hard and fatiguing ride of forty miles, arrived at the depot under Mount Arden, late in the day, having been absent sixteen days. I had been anxiously expected, and was cordially welcomed by the whole party, who were getting sadly tired of inactivity, and especially by my young friend Mr. Scott, whose eager and ardent disposition rendered him quite uneasy under the confinement and restraint of a depot encampment; he would gladly have shared with me the difficulties and hazards of exploring the country in advance, but from the very embarrassing nature of the undertaking, I did not think it right to take more than a single native with me, as every addition to the number of a party, on such occasions, only tends to increase the difficulty and anxiety of the task.
Having rested a little, and made innumerable inquiries, I was very much gratified to find that the whole party were in good health, and that every thing had been conducted in a satisfactory manner during my absence. No one had been idle, and every thing that I could have wished, had been properly arranged. The stores had been safely brought up from the WATERWITCH, including a barometer kindly sent by the Governor, and a large packet of English letters, at any time a highly valued prize, and not the less so now that they were received 200 miles in the interior, amidst the labours and anxieties of an exploring expedition.
During my absence all the harness, hobbles, tents, tarpaulins, etc. had been fully repaired; and according to my instructions, a large deep hole had been dug in the slope of the hill, to bury a portion of the stores in, that if compelled by circumstances to return from the north, we might still have supplies to fall back upon. Mr. Scott had employed his time in collecting botanical and geological specimens, and had already made a very fair commencement for our collections in both these departments of science. He had also regularly kept the meteorological journal, registering the observations three times in each day.