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January 1862

Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2085/6a, Item 2.
A W Howitt’s diary from 2 January 1862 [Jamieson’s Station on the Darling to the Cooper Depot and then to Blanchewater] 16 March 1862. Received by the EC 12 April 1862.

Tuesday, 15 April 1862, page 2S.

Exploration: Mr Howitt's Diary

The unfortunate expedition and of Burke and Wills has been the cause of our obtaining a large quantity of information relative to the interior of the Australian continent beyond that which was gained from the diary of Wills himself. And we are now in possession of the diary of Howitt, giving as a further knowledge of the country in the neighbourhood of Cooper's Creek.

Thus Exploring Expedition undertaken by Victoria, if it was unfortunate to some of the members who compose it, has at least had become lateral effects of widening the bounds of our knowledge of the geography of the vast interior, and of proving that the dangers to be encountered in its exploration, and I were sufficiently numerous, are not so formidable as we have hitherto supposed.



Monday, 27 January 1862 - Camp 2, Kopayko Tank.
31° 30' S, 143° 25' E.
Left Camp 1, on the Darling, about eleven o'clock. Travelled along the track to Mr Jamieson's station at Charlton. Day very hot. Camped at Kopayko Tank, at the head of a dry lake.

Tuesday, 28 January - Camp 3, Mountain Creek.
30° 52' 12", 143° 16' 30"
Had a late start, as the horses had to be watered out trough, made of oilskin; the tank being very low. The day very warm and threatening thunder. Kept the station track, although a considerable round, as the horses are very troublesome, and the short cut is over sand-hills covered with thick scrub. Camped at sundown in good feed, and about eight miles from Mount Babbage (of Mitchell). I may mention here that there appears to be a discrepancy between the Mount Babbage of Mitchell and that of Sturt. The latter explorer speaks of seeing the mount from a bare sand hill five or six miles east of Mount Lyell, and that it "loomed large" a little to the east of north. The only mountain visible from that point which could be Mount Babbage is Koningberri, and the description that it "loomed large," is very applicable. The Mount Babbage of Sir Thomas Mitchell would only be visible from the summit of Mount Lyell, and from the fact that Sturt was unaware of the existence of a branch of Nuntherungee Creek, which lay between him and Mount Lyell, I feel confident that he did not ascend the mount. I have, therefore, used the expression "the Mount Babbage of Mitchell". The other mountain is generally known as Koningberri.

Wednesday, 29 January - Camp 4, Pine Creek.
30° 40' 40", 143° 15'
Left camp about 8, and struck across level sandy country, covered with grass and bushes, but in places rather stony. A course NNE brought us in five miles to Charlton Station, on the Butto Creek. The country here is looking very fine after the rains, green grass everywhere. Followed up the creek for some distance, to the Pine Creek (a tributary), and camped in fine feed near a rocky waterhole. The Mount Babbage Range shows a bold outline about nine miles SW. Hot wind all day, with thunder clouds - cleared away at sundown.

Thursday, 30 January - Camp 5, Bullina Creek.
30° 32' 45", 143° 2'
Followed up the Butto, or Boalley Creek, this morning, through fine country, between low hills, and covered with grass and bushes. At its head crossed part of the Mount Babbage Range, by a low stony saddle, covered with mulgur. The summit of the range level, and varying in patches, loose, puffy ground and stones. The country from here falls gradually towards the NW., and is very open, but generally of an inferior character. Cadell's Range, running nearly E and W, forms a fine landmark, ending somewhat abruptly in the low country. Followed down the Bullilla Creek for some miles to where it runs out on loose earthy plains. On the east side is a large extent of clay pan country. We found water in many places in the channels. Cool breeze from the south. Several of the party suffering from a kind of ophthalmia.

Friday, 31 January - Camp 6, Nunno Waterhole.
30° 16' 45", 142° 42'
Left very late, as the horses had strayed for feed, and were only got by ten o'clock. Travelled over inferior country, lying west of the Cadell Range. In places very stony and scrubby. In most places the surface water had dried up, the ground being very porous. On reaching the fall of the country to Youngcanya the feed became very fine, plenty of grass and portulac everywhere; the sandhills before reaching the creek were very green. The country very much resembles that round Torowoto, and in spring must look like a garden. Camped at the first waterhole in the creek. The creek has a shallow, sandy bed, only occasionally contracted into waterholes, and thinly timbered with box. Macadam Range, probably some 700 feet to 800 feet in height, is about five miles distant north.

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