Friday, 6th April, Small Gum Creek in Range of Hills.
- Written by John McDouall Stuart
- Category: John McDouall Stuart - Fourth Expedition
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Friday, 6th April, Small Gum Creek in Range of Hills. Started on the same course, 330 degrees, to a remarkable hill, which has the appearance at this distance of a locomotive engine with its funnel. For three miles the country is very good, but after that high sand hills succeeded, covered with spinifex. At six miles we got to one of the largest gum creeks I have yet seen. It is much the same as the one we saw on the 4th, and the water in it is running. Great difficulty in crossing it, its bed being quicksand. We were nearly across, when I saw a black fellow among the bushes; I pulled up, and called to him. At first he seemed at a loss to know where the sound came from. As soon, however, as he saw the other horses coming up, he took to his heels, and was off like a shot, and we saw no more of him. As far as I can judge, the creek comes from the south-west, but the sand hills are so high, and the large black shea-oak so thick, that I cannot distinguish the creek very well. These trees look so much like gums in the distance; some of them are very large, as also are the gums in the creek. Numerous tracks of blacks all about. It is the upper part of the Finke, and at this point runs through high sand hills (red), covered with spinifex, which it is very difficult to get the horses through. We passed through a few patches of good grassy country. In the sand hills the oak is getting more plentiful. We were three-quarters of an hour in crossing the creek, and obtained an observation of the sun, 116 degrees 26 minutes 15 seconds. We then proceeded on the same course towards the remarkable pillar, through high, heavy sand hills, covered with spinifex, and, at twelve miles from last night's camp, arrived at it. It is a pillar of sandstone, standing on a hill upwards of one hundred feet high. From the base of the pillar to its top is about one hundred and fifty feet, quite perpendicular; and it is twenty feet wide by ten feet deep, with two small peaks on the top. I have named it Chambers Pillar, in honour of James Chambers, Esquire, who, with William Finke, Esquire, has been my great supporter in all my explorations. To the north and north-east of it are numerous remarkable hills, which have a very striking effect in the landscape; they resemble nothing so much as a number of old castles in ruins; they are standing in the midst of sand hills. Proceeded, still on the same course, through the sand rises, spinifex, and low sandstone hills, at the foot of which we saw some rain water, where I camped. To the south-west are some high hills, through which I think the Finke comes. I would follow it up, but the immense quantity of sand in its bed shows that it comes from a sandy country, which I wish to avoid if I can. Wind south-east. Heavy clouds; very like rain.