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Bilpa, 17 August 1861.

Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2085/5a, Item 12.
Dispatches sent by members of the Victorian Relief Expedition to the Exploration Committee.
Alfred Howitt's dispatch, [Bilpa], 17 August 1861.


Received by the Exploration Committee in Melbourne on 5 September 1861.

Blue Background

Camp 4, Bilpa,
August 17, 1861.


I avail myself of Mr Knowles' arrival with letters to send down a short report.

We left Pamomaroo camp on Wednesday afternoon and camped that night at the head of the lake. The following day we made Kokeriga. At this place the water seems to be decreasing. On the 15th August we made a very late stage, owing to our horses having taken fright at the camels soon after dusk, and only made this creek at about three-quarters of an hour after dark. The water here is now not more than three buckets, in a crevice of the sandstone rook.

The feed is everwhere excellent, and water is reported to be tolerably plentiful further north. The camels seem to work well, and at present make their stages more easily and rather quicker than we do, but I expect to be able to push on as soon as our horses are steadied down to their work.

I expect to camp this evening at Botriga.

A.W. Howitt.


This despatch was accompanied by one from Mr Knowles, dated Menindie Camp, August 20, stating that he started Belooch up the river in quest of camels that came in to Mount Murchison, on the 19th. Bhotan had expressed himself anxious to return to Melbourne, in the event of which Smith would be retained, unless the Exploration Committee ordered otherwise.

Monday, 16 September 1861, page 2.

Mr Reid, MLA., has handed the Argus the following extract from the diary of Mr W.S. Conn, who is now exploring, on Mr Reid's account, the country between the River Darling and Cooper's Creek. It is the latest information likely to be received from Mr Howitt's party for some time, and it must be satisfactory to the public that the condition and progress are so favorably reported on:

Belpa, 16th August, 1861.

Met Mr Howitt and party going in search of Burke - Dr Wheeler, Mr Walsh and two blacks - thirteen in the party altogether, with thirty-seven horses, seven camels, and five month's rations.

I gave him the names of all the north-west waters from Torrowotto [sic:Torowoto], and told him the position of Mount Babbage and Uncanna Water. He will find blacks there. I laid down the positions of Lakes Giles, Pine Tree, Reid, and Warragle.

He intends going to the north-west from Torrowotto [sic:Torowoto], and will leave his mark for me, and a note with a despatch, which I promised him to bring in on my return to Menindie.

I am pleased with his party and the way Mr Howitt goes to work.


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