May 31. — The morning showery, and bitterly cold, so that, for the first two hours after starting, we suffered considerably, After travelling for seven miles and a half, through an undulating and bare country, we came to a salt-water river, with some patches of good land about it. Having crossed the river a little way up where it became narrower, we again proceeded for five miles farther, through the same character of country, and were then stopped by another salt stream, which gave us a great deal of trouble to effect a crossing. We had traced it up to where the channel was narrow, but the bed was very deep, and the water running strongly between banks of rich black soil. Our horses would not face this at first, and in forcing them over we were nearly losing two of them. After travelling only a quarter of a mile beyond this stream I was chagrined to find we had crossed it just above the junction of two branches, and that we had still one of them to get over; the second was even more difficult to pass than the first, and whilst I was on the far side, holding one of the horses by a rope, with Wylie behind driving him on, the animal made a sudden and violent leap, and coming full upon me, knocked me down and bruised me considerably. One of his fore legs struck me on the thigh, and I narrowly escaped having it broken, whilst a hind leg caught me on the shin, and cut me severely.

As soon as we were fairly over I halted for the night, to rest myself and give Wylie an opportunity of looking for food. The water in both branches of this river was only brackish where we crossed, and at that which we encamped upon but slightly so.

There were many grass-trees in the vicinity, and as several of these had been broken down and were dead they were full of the white grubs of which the natives are so fond. From these Wylie enjoyed a plentiful, and to him, luxurious supper. I could not bring myself to try them, preferring the root of the broad flag-reed, which, for the first time, we met with at this stream, and which is an excellent and nutritious article of food. This root being dug up, and roasted in hot ashes, yields a great quantity of a mealy farinaceous powder interspersed among the fibres; it is of an agreeable flavour, wholesome, and satisfying to the appetite. In all parts of Australia, even where other food abounds, the root of this reed is a favourite and staple article of diet among the aborigines. The proper season of the year for procuring it in full perfection, is after the floods have receded, and the leaves have died away and been burnt off. It is that species of reed of which the leaves are used by coopers for closing up crevices between the staves of their casks.