John McDouall Stuart - Sixth Expedition


Wednesday, 14th May, Depot, Howell Ponds. As I don't feel well enough to-day, I shall remain here, and start to-morrow morning. This morning, while Thring was collecting the horses, he came on a place where the natives had been encamped a day or two before, and there saw the remains of the bones of one of them that had apparently been burnt; this is another new feature in their customs. Wind, south-east.
Thursday, 15th May, Depot, Howell Ponds. Started with the party across the plain to Frew's Water Hole, course 15 degrees east of north; found the plain burnt for ten miles. The fire has been so great that it has burned every blade of grass, and scorched all the trees to their very tops. I was very fortunate the other day in having escaped it; nothing could have lived in such a fire, and had we been caught in it we must have perished. Wind, south-east. Clouds all gone, Latitude, 16 degrees 54 minutes 7 seconds.
Friday, 16th May, Frew's Water Hole. Started at fourteen minutes past eight o'clock a.m., course 345 degrees, for King's Chain of Ponds. Arrived at about half-past three o'clock p.m. In coming through, one of the horses separated from the rest and bolted off into the dense forest, tearing everything down before him. We got him in again, but with a broken saddle, and the top off one of the bags, which we afterwards recovered. Arrived at the ponds without any further accident. Wind, north-east. Very hot, and a few clouds. Latitude, 16 degrees 38 minutes 53 seconds.
Saturday, 17th May, King's Chain of Ponds. Sent King and Thring to follow round the flat to see where the ponds go to. About noon they returned, and reported that the water loses itself in a flat, which is surrounded by thick forest and scrub. This certainly is a very pretty place, and a great pity it is not more extensive. It reminds me much of the park land found by Captain Sturt in 1845, where he had his second depot, named Fort Grey. Wind, south-east, with a few clouds.
Sunday, 18th May, King's Chain of Ponds. In the afternoon the sky became cloudy, and at sundown was quite overcast; the day exceedingly hot, and the wind nearly calm. The clouds came from the north-west, and the little wind there is from the south-east.