Tuesday, 22nd July, Fresh-water Marsh.
- Written by John McDouall Stuart
- Category: John McDouall Stuart - Sixth Expedition
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Tuesday, 22nd July, Fresh-water Marsh. As the marsh seems to run so much to the east, and not knowing how much further I shall have to go to get across the numerous creeks that appear to come into it, I shall remain here to-day and endeavour to find a road through it to the river, and follow up the banks if I can. I have a deal of work to do to the plan, and our bags require mending. After collecting the horses Thring tried to cross the marsh to the river, and succeeded in reaching its banks, finding firm ground all the way; the breadth of the river here being about a hundred yards, very deep, and running with some velocity, the water quite fresh. He having returned with this information, I sent him, King, and Frew, mounted on the strongest horses, to follow the banks of the river till noon, to see if there is any obstruction to prevent my travelling by its banks. In two hours they returned with the sad tidings that the banks were broken down by watercourses, deep, broad, and boggy; this is a great disappointment, for it will take me a day or two longer than I expected in reaching the sea-coast, in consequence of having to go a long way round to clear the marsh and creeks. The edge of the marsh was still of the same rich character, and covered with luxuriant grass. The rise we are camped on is also the same, with ironstone gravel on the surface; this seems to have been a favourite camping-place for a large number of natives. There is a great quantity of fish bones, mussel, and turtle shells, at a little distance from the camp, close to where there was some water. There are three poles fixed in the ground, forming an equilateral triangle, on the top of which was a framework of the same figure, over which were placed bars of wood: its height from the ground eight feet. This has apparently been used by them for smoke-drying a dead blackfellow. We have seen no natives since leaving the Roper, although their smoke is still round about us. On and about the marsh are large flocks of geese, ibis, and numerous other aquatic birds; they are so wild that they will not allow us to come within shot of them. Mr. Kekwick has been successful in shooting a goose; it has a peculiar-shaped head, having a large horny lump on the top resembling a topknot, and only a very small web at the root of his toes. The river opposite this, about a yard from the bank, is nine feet deep. Wind variable. Night cool.