June 29

June 29.—Upon moving from our camp this morning we commenced following under Flinders range. From Crystal brook, the hills rise gradually in elevation as they trend to the northward, still keeping their western slopes almost precipitous to the plains, out of which they appear to rise abruptly. Our course was much embarrassed by the gullies and gorges emanating from the hills, in some of which the crossing place was not very good, and in all the horses got much shaken, so that when we arrived at a large watercourse defined by gum trees, and in which was a round hole of water that had been on a former occasion called by me “The Deep Spring,” I halted the party for the night and found that the horses were a good deal fatigued. Fortunately there was excellent food for them, and plenty of water. The place at which we encamped was upon one of the numerous watercourses, proceeding from the gorges of Flinders range. It had a wide gravelly bed, divided into two or three separate channels, but without a drop of water below the base of the hills, excepting where we bivouacked, at this point, there was a considerable extent of rich black alluvial soil, and in the midst of it a mound of jet black earth, surrounded by a few reeds. In the centre of the mound was a circular deep hole containing water, and apparently a spring: the last time I was here, in 1839 it was full to overflowing, but now, though in the depth of winter, I was surprised and chagrined to see the water so much lower than I had known it before. It was covered up too so carefully with bushes and boughs, that it was evident the natives sometimes contemplated its being quite dried up, [Note 3: In October 1842, I again passed this way, in command of a party of Police sent overland to Port Lincoln, to search for Mr. C. C. Dutton: the spring was then dried up completely.] and had taken this means as the best they could adopt for shading and protecting the water. On the other hand the numerous well beaten tracks leading to this solitary pool appeared to indicate that there was no other water in the neighbourhood. We saw kangaroos, pigeons and birds of various descriptions, going to it in considerable number. At night too after dark we found that a party of natives were watching also for an opportunity to participate in so indispensable a necessary, which having secured, they departed, and we saw nothing more of them. I observed the latitude at this camp to be 33 degrees 7 minutes 14 seconds S. and the variation 8 degrees 53 minutes E.