Narrative of the Overland Expedition of the Messrs. Jardine from Rockhampton to Cape York, Northern Queensland eBook

Francis Lascelles Jardine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 161 pages of information about Narrative of the Overland Expedition of the Messrs. Jardine from Rockhampton to Cape York, Northern Queensland.

[footnote] See his Journal.

CHAPTER V.

First Start in Search of Settlement—­Character of the Jardine—­
The Eliot—­Return to Main Camp—­Flooded State of River—­
Impromptu Raft—­Crossing Horses—­Uncertainty—­Second Start in
Search of Settlement—­View of the Ocean—­Reach South Shore of
Newcastle Bay—­Reach Mouth of True Escape—­Unable to Cross—­A
Dainty Meal—­Character of the Escape—­Return to Main Camp—­
Horses Knocked-up—­Another Horse Dead—­Flour Exhausted—­
Wretched Condition of Horses—­More Baggage Abandoned—­Prospects
—­The Whole Party Again Move Forward—­Another Horse Abandoned—­
Reach Head of Tide View of the Gulf—­Barne Island—­Return up the
Jardine—­Third Start in Search of Settlement—­Wild Grape—­
Crossing Saddles—­a Disappointment—­Head the Escape River—­Meet
Friendly Natives—­Natives Act as Pilots—­Native Bread—­Canoes
—­Corroboree—­Native Drums—­Arrival at Somerset—­Mr. Jardine’s
Marked-tree Line—­Meeting with their Father—­A Heroine.

‘January’ 30.—­This morning, Mr. F. Jardine with his Brother and the Blackboy, Eulah, started to find the Settlement, leaving the rest of the party encamped with the cattle, in charge of Mr. Scrutton.  They took with them a week’s ration of 25 lbs. of flour, and 12 lbs. meat (tea and sugar had long been things of the past), intending to follow the supposed river down to the head of the tide.  It was accordingly followed for about 21 miles, but to their astonishment, instead of trending N.N.E., its general course was found to be North-west 1/2 West.  This led them to the conclusion that it was a western water, and not as they had hitherto supposed, the Escape River.  Of this they were now convinced, but to make certain, agreed to continue travelling down it for two days more, and with this intent camped on a creek coming in from the southward.  The margin of the river is generally open and coarsely grassed, timbered with mahogany, bloodwood, and melaleuca, the points of scrubs and brushwood occasionally closing down to the stream.  Its width varies from one to two-hundred yards, with a sandy bed, entirely free from fallen timber.  Its banks are steep in many places, of white clay and coarse sandstone, and fringed with tall melaleuca, whose long drooping branches and leaves swept the rapid and deep stream.  A straight course was impracticable, for as soon as attempted, and the river was out of sight, the party got entangled in thick brushes and tea-tree swamps, without a blade of grass.  They were obliged, therefore, to follow the course of the river in all its windings.  The only birds seen were scrub turkeys, and Torres Strait pigeons.  The weather at starting was fine, but about 11 o’clock the rain commenced, and continued steadily the whole of the day.  At night, on camping, a “bandicoot gunyah” was erected, and covered with the broad pliable paper bark of the melaleuca, which made a snug shelter for the night from the still pouring rain.  Course generally N.W by W. Distance following the river, 21 miles.

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Narrative of the Overland Expedition of the Messrs. Jardine from Rockhampton to Cape York, Northern Queensland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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