August 4.—After giving five gallons of water each to my own and the native boy’s horse, I sent back the man with the pack–horse and the empty kegs to the depot. We then steered E. 5 degrees S. across some very extensive barren stony plains, occasionally broken into irregular surfaces with steep white banks (of a fine freestone), forming the termination of the higher levels, fronting the hollows. These hollows or flats were covered with salsolaceous plants and samphire, and appeared once to have been salt swamps.
At twenty miles we came to a small watercourse emanating from the eastern hills, which we had now reached, and soon after to a larger one which we traced up for five miles among the front hills, which were composed of limestone, but were then obliged to encamp without water. Whilst rambling about after turning out the horses, I met with a party of native women and children, but could gain no information from them. They would not permit me to come near them, and at last fairly ran away, leaving at their fire two young children who could not escape. I then went to their camp and examined the bags and property which had been left, and amongst other things found two kangaroo skins full of water, each containing from six to eight quarts; it was quite muddy, and had evidently been taken from a puddle in the plains, and carried to the present encampment in the bed of the watercourse. Having helped ourselves to some of the water, I tied a red pocket handkerchief round one of the children, as payment for it and returned to our own camp.