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Poria Creek, 10 October 1861.

Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2085/5a, Item 14.
Dispatches sent by members of the Victorian Relief Expedition to the Exploration Committee.
Alfred Howitt's dispatch, [Poria Creek], 10 October 1861.


Taken from Poria Creek to Melbourne by William Brahe.
Received by the Exploration Committee in Melbourne on the 4 November 1861.

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Poria Creek,
Oct. 10, 1861.

I have the honour to report my arrival here with the Contingent Exploring Party, on my return journey, having on September 15, in lat. 27°44' and long. 140°40', found John King, the only survivor of Mr Burke's party, living with the Cooper's Creek natives. Mr Burke and Mr Wills had died some time previous to my arrival, from hunger and exhaustion, and Gray died before reaching Cooper's Creek on their return journey from the Gulf. King is in very weak, exhausted stated when found, but I am happy to say has recovered wonderfully since, and Mr Wheeler has just reported him to me as being out of his hands. The full particulars will be found in my diary, which, with King's narrative, is enclosed. I may state regarding my diary, that I have only transcribed that portion subsequent to our reaching this place on our outward journey, as up to that time we had followed the Expedition track, and nothing of interest had occurred.

It may suffice for me to state that from leaving Menindie we had travelled without meeting with any particular hindrances, finding splendid feed almost the whole way, and sufficient water for our use, with the exception of three nights, when our horses were without. The rain had been very partial, and in places we only found sufficient for our immediate use. Torowoto and Carriapundy swamps and the mud-plains were perfectly dry, and no water that could long be relied on, without subsequent rain, from Nuntherunga back to this place, a distance of about 180 miles. I had intended leaving the Expedition track at Carriapundy, but was deterred from doing so by the very dry appearance of the country; and, therefore, followed the track to this creek, which is permanent.

I am happy to be able to state that the party are and have been in perfect health, and that the horses are in excellent working order. The camels are, on the whole, in as good condition as when they left Menindie, and may be pronounced cured of the scab, which I cannot help attributing in a great measure to the bad management of the sepoys. So far I have met with no loss or accident of any kind, and the natives, wherever I have seen them, have been friendly. I expect to be down at Menindie in three weeks, and may probably spend two or three days at Torowoto to endeavour to find permanent water, as I know of none there that can be relied on.

I forward these despatches by Mr Brahe and Weston Phillips, with four of our best horses. I consider that they will have no particular difficulties in going down, excepting as regards water, which would not be lessened by a larger party, and I cannot well spare more men, from the number of camels and pack-horses to look after. Should there be horses at Menindie fit for the journey down, I have instructed Mr Brahe to proceed at once to town, taking with him the documents and field-books belonging to Mr Burke and Mr Wills, and relating to the journey to and from the Gulf. King I shall send down on my arrival at the Darling.

I beg to urge on the committee the necessity of sending me immediate instructions to Menindie respecting the further disposal of the party arid equipment.

I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant,

A W Howitt
Leader of the Contingent Exploring Party.

To the Hon. John Macadam MD.
Hon. Secretary of the Exploration Committee, Melbourne.


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