Thursday, 24th November, Fanny Springs.
- Written by John McDouall Stuart
- Category: John McDouall Stuart - Third Expedition
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Thursday, 24th November, Fanny Springs. Fixing the angles of runs. Found another batch of springs close to north-west boundary of large run, covering four or five acres of ground, with an immense quantity of reeds; they are not so active as the others. The ground round about is very soft, and the water is most excellent. After fixing the north-east corner, I proceeded to examine the country beyond the boundaries of the runs in search of springs. Having gone several miles north, I saw the appearance of a lagoon north-east, for which I started, but on my arrival found no springs round it. Still continued on the same course for a considerable distance further to a high sand hill, from which we could see the Neale winding through a broad valley. One part of the creek being much greener than the other, I went to examine it, and found the green appearance to be caused by fresh gum-trees, young saplings, rushes, and other fresh-water plants and bushes. The creek spreads over the plain in numerous channels, four miles wide, but the main channel has only gum-trees, with a chain of water holes, some salt, some brackish. By scratching on the bank where the rushes were growing we got some beautiful water in the gravel, a few inches below the surface. There was plenty of feed, and the wild currant, or rather grape, grew in great abundance, and was very superior to any I had tasted before. There were two kinds; one grew upon a dark-green bush, and had a tart and saltish taste, the other grew upon a bush of a much lighter colour, the fruit round and plump and much superior to the former; in taste it very much resembled some species of dark grape, only a little more acid. From this I went in a north-east direction to a mound I had seen on my former journey, and found it to be hot springs with a large stream of warm water flowing from them nearly as large as the Emerald Springs, and, as it seemed to me, warmer. It was a very hot day, and I had been riding fast. It was as much as I could bear to keep my hand in the spring for a few minutes, six inches below the surface. I put in a staff about four feet long, but could find no bottom--nothing but very soft mud; the staff came up quite hot. It is a very remarkable hill. From the west side it would be taken for a very high sand hill with scrub growing on it--in fact it is so. The springs are not seen until the top is reached. From them all the east side is covered with green reeds to the base of the hill. The hot springs are near the top, and cold ones on one side to the south; some at the bottom and some half-way up. There is a large lagoon to the east, which I will examine when I move the party up to this, for I have no time to-day. Returned towards the camp and fixed the north-west corner of the second run; I am obliged to drive pickets into the ground to show them. I would have built cones of stones, but could get none large enough to do it with. Arrived at the camp very late; fourteen hours on horseback.