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Pamamaroo Creek, 3 August 1861.

Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2085/5a, Item 9.
Dispatches sent by members of the Victorian Relief Expedition to the Exploration Committee.
Alfred Howitt's dispatch, [Pamamaroo Creek], 3 August 1861.


Received by the Exploration Committee in Melbourne on 22 August 1861.

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Pamamaroo Creek, Darling River,
August 3, 1861

Camp No. 1.

Sir - I have the honour to report the arrival of the contingent exploring party at this camp. I arrived at Menindie on Monday afternoon, July 29, and crossed the Darling on the following morning, reaching the Pamamaroo camp on Tuesday afternoon, where I found Mr Knowles in charge. Since that time the preparations necessary before leaving for Cooper's Creek have been pushed on as rapidly as possible, but I do not anticipate being able to start before the end of the coming week, as the equipment brought in by the two parties on their return require thorough repairing before being serviceable. Besides this, the weather is very unfavourable for curing meat, and even the smallest supply which I could take would require several days of fine weather. Of the thirteen camels now here, seven are considered fit for the journey, if only lightly loaded; the horses are, on the whole in good working order, and I shall be able to select a sufficient number, including those purchased at Swan Hill, and on the journey up.

Before leaving, I shall report more fully on these subjects and on the arrangements which I shall have made before leaving with respect to the remainder of the camels at this camp, and the stores and equipment now in stock.

A report has reached me that a camel has been seen on one of the northern stations in South Australia, and I have thought it best to obtain any information possessed by Mr Brahe for the committee, in case such a report should prove to be well founded.

Mr Brahe states that Mr Burke took from Cooper's Creek, six male riding camels - two large light coloured, and four large dark grey camels. The remaining one of the seven original riding camels in now at this camp, and is, I believe, called 'Macaroni.'

The camels lost by Mr Wills north of Cooper's Creek were two of Coppin's male camels, and one large grey male camel, with part of one ear cut off.

The following information I have obtained from Mr Knowles. The mailman, on coming down the river about a month ago, stated that a camel had been seen at Mr Jamieson's on the previous Tuesday (about the commencement of July), and that on his road down two men had told him that they had seen a camel eight miles above Weinteriga - about a week after the camel had been seen at Jamieson's.

On the same day on which the mailman reached this camp, and reported the above, Smith (one of the party out with Mr Wright) saw a light-coloured large male camel about nine miles up the river. He endeavoured to drive it home, but lost it in the dark. The following day Mr Knowles sent Smith and Belooch to where Smith had seen the camel. They were out three days without finding him, being unable to find the tracks on account of rain. They were then sent up the river, and found a camel's track of about it week old, and followed it up to the foot of Mount Murchison, where they lost it. They were away nine days.

Since then, Mr Knowles has heard that the camel had been seen at the back of Mount Murchison, at not less than forty-five miles from the river, and in the direction of Bulloo. This camel was said to be dark coloured, whereas Smith stated the one he saw to have been light coloured.

Mr Brahe informs me that if it is a light coloured camel, he believes it to be either one which knocked up on their road up to the depot on Cooper's Creek, and could not afterwards be found, or one of the camels lost by Mr Wills. Belooch believes the track to be that of Ballsing, a large heavy-pack camel, of a reddish colour, which was lost at Koorliatto Creek on the way down.

Although these various accounts appear to me most probably to refer to the same camel, yet as there is no certainty on the subject, I have sent out Smith and Belooch to search as much country as they are able before I leave.

The carrier-pigeons have arrived in excellent condition, with the exception that their tails are half rubbed off against the cage. The feathers are, however, growing well.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
A W Howitt,
Leader of Contingent Exploring Party.

To the Hon. John Macadam, M.D., Hon. Sec. of the Exploration Committee, Melbourne.


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