Being at length about to enter the Terra incognita, I deemed it expedient to repack our stores, in order that the load might be made as light and compact as possible, and that we might pass with less difficulty over whatever description of ground we were destined to encounter. With this view, I directed the flour to be started from casks into bags, and made such arrangements as tended materially to lessen the bulk of our provisions and other necessary stores. Having questioned the natives with regard to the course of the Peel, I learnt that, instead of flowing northward, as hitherto supposed, it took a westerly direction, and was soon joined by the Muluerindie, a river coming from the north-east. The natives further assured me that there was a good ford below the junction of these streams at a place called Wallanburra; and I determined to proceed to this ford, as it was not advisable, with the Muluerindie beyond, to cross the river above the junction.
ANOTHER NATIVE GUIDE.
Being anxious to procure another guide, the overseer at Wallamoul brought me a native named Mr. Brown, who agreed to accompany our party on condition that he should receive blankets for himself and his gin, and a tomahawk, the latter being a small hatchet, which is so valuable a substitute for their stone hatchet that almost all natives within reach of the colony have them, even where the white man is known as yet only by name—or as the manufacturer of this most important of all implements to the Australian native.
EXPLORE THE PEEL.
Mr. Finch having joined us on the previous evening, without procuring the supply of flour that I had expected, I despatched him back this morning to the Hunter’s River district, with directions to procure as much flour, tea, and sugar as he could pack on six bullocks, and to follow along my line of marked trees with all possible speed. I furnished him with an official letter to Mr. Dixon, in which I instructed that surveyor to supply him with any article he could possibly spare from his own equipment, without impeding the service on which he was engaged.
And now our arrangements being as complete as we could hope to make them, under existing circumstances, we broke up our encampment at eight A.M., and proceeded in the interesting pursuit of the course of the Peel River.
Enter an unexplored region.
Situation of Mr. Oxley’s camp on the Peel.
Westward course of the river.
Acacia pendula first seen.
Other trees near the river.
Junction of the Peel and Muluerindie.
View from Perimbungay.
Ford of Wallanburra.
Plains of Mulluba.
View from Mount Ydire.
Hills seen agree with The Bushranger’s account.
The river Namoi.
Stockyard of The Bushranger.
View from Tangulda.