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April 1862

Conclusion of Frederick Walker's journal, 25 January-29 April 1862.
State Library of Victoria, MS 13071, Box 2088A/3c (Item 4), 32 pages.
Argus: 6 June 1862 & 11 November 1862.

Bauhinia Downs,
21st October 1862.


I do myself the honour to forward to you the conclusion of my journal, also the specimens of metal found at Camp 26, on one head of the Gilbert River, and the hair found in a black's dilly at Camp 5, on the Flinders River.

You will observe, with respect to the latter that a dark coloured plait, which might belong to a black, has been interlaced with that of the lighter colour, and which certainly belongs to no tribe ever seen by me during twenty-two years spent nearly all on the frontier: nor have any of my men (Aboriginal) ever heard or known of any of the Aboriginal having similar hair. I would recommend that this hair should not be examined by candle or gas light.

I have the honour to remain, sir,
Your obedient servant,
Frederick Walker,
Leader of Victorian Expedition to Albert River.

To John Macadam, Esq., MD.,
Hon Secretary to Exploration Committee.


Published in the Argus, 11 November 1862: 7.

Tuesday, 1 April 1862.
To-day we tracked Macalister down the river, and to our surprise saw the tracks returning up the river. After some delay we discovered that, having tied their horses to a tree, his party have gone to the top of an isolated peak. We did likewise, not without damage to our feet. From here I saw a mountain nearly south, which I at once came to the conclusion was Mount M'Connell. Macalister had evidently arrived at the same. We now turned north and camped at a small waterhole under the range. Rodney, luckily, got another young emu.


Wednesday 2, and Thursday 3 April 1862.
Winding up a different pass on one side of the range, and, down a ravine on the other. Another day will bring us to a stand-still; so much have the horses suffered.

Friday, 4 April 1862.
Yesterday evening, Moore, with Jemmy and Rodney, went out to reconnoitre, a mob of blacks being near, but from them they could get no information. They reported the country as opening out, and that fresh tracks were here seen as if some one or two horsemen had been back on Macalister's track to fetch a horse which had evidently been left here. To-day we got on pretty well over the sandy soil, and at the end of about seven miles E by S camped on a creek, into which the ravine of yesterday emptied its waters.


We had been two hours in camp when the cheers of a party on horseback made us aware that relief was approaching. It turned out to be Macalister, end he reported we were only four miles from Strathalbyn, the station of Messrs Woods and Robinson, on the Burdekin. I now got the news of the sad fate of Burke and Wills.

Saturday, 5 April 1862.
Reached the station. I here marked a tree:


(border round), and on the other:

5 April 1862

(border round). All the trees marked by me have part of the bark taken off.

Tuesday 29 April 1862.
Having gone for supplies to Port Denison, on my return to Strathalbyn I started Mr Houghton, Mr Curr, Patrick, Coreen Jemmy and Jingle to collect the horses, twenty-two in number, which had been abandoned. To enable them to do so I gave them the best six horses I had, and purchased six fresh horses, for I was aware that any delay in collecting those horses might be the cause of their being lost. Macalister and Moore I sent on with the despatches to Rockhampton, but to enable Moore to proceed I had to lend him my own horse. I followed slowly behind with the remainder of the party, and reached Rockhampton on the 5th June.


Mr Walker, instead of turning up at Cooper's Creek as was expected, has made his appearance among the northern settlements of Queensland. It appears that he has found it so difficult and tedious a business to pick up the track of Burke and Wills, that he has thought it more expedient, as his horses were getting knocked up, and his provisions exhausted, to turn aside to Queensland and report progress.

Instead of recruiting for the continuance of his expedition, however, he will now hear what has been the fate of the explorers of whom he was in search, and what was the route which they took. There is no longer any necessity for him on their account to continue out.

So far as his services as an agent of the Victorian Royal Society is concerned, they may be considered as having closed, unless it is thought expedient to keep him in the field a little longer, for the purpose of completing a map of the country between his own route and that of Burke.

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