On the 14th of May, 1864, the overland party which was to take cattle to the new settlement at Cape York, was started by Mr. Frank Jardine, from Rockhampton, under the charge of his brother Alexander. It comprised ten persons, with thirty-one horses. The instructions were to travel by easy stages to Port Denison, and there wait the arrival of the Leader. In the following month, Mr. Jardine, senior, taking with him his third son John, sailed for Brisbane, and shortly after from thence to Somerset, Cape York, in the Eagle, barque, chartered by the Government, for transport of material, etc., arriving there at the end of June.
Mr. Frank Jardine, taking with him the surveyor attached to the expedition, Mr. A. J. Richardson, arrived at Bowen by sea, about the middle of July, when the party was again moved forward, he himself starting off to make the purchase of the cattle. Five more horses were purchased on account of the Government in Bowen, for Mr. Richardson, making a total of forty-two. The prevalence of pleuro-pneumonia made it a matter of some difficulty for Mr. F. Jardine to get suitable stock for his purpose, and caused considerable delay. Arrangements having at length been made with Mr. William Stenhouse, of the River Clarke, the party was divided at the Reedy Lake Station, on the Burdekin, Mr. A. Jardine moving forward with the pack horses and equipment, leaving the Leader with Messrs. Scrutton and Cowderoy, and three black boys to muster and fetch on the cattle. The advance party started on the 17th August, and arrived at Carpentaria Downs, the station of J. G. Macdonald, Esq., on the 30th. This was at that time the furthest station to the North West, and was intended to be made the final starting point of the expedition, by the permission of Mr. Macdonald, from whom the party received much kindness. On their way they were joined by Mr. Henry Bode, a gentleman who was in search of country to occupy with stock. After remaining in camp at Carpentaria Downs for a few days, Mr. A. Jardine decided on utilizing the interval, which must elapse before his brother could re-join him with the cattle, by exploring the country ahead, so as to faciliate the march of the stock on the final start. Accordingly, leaving the camp in charge of Mr. Richardson, with Mr. Binney, and two black boys, he started on the 3rd of September, taking with him the most trusty of his black boys, “old Eulah,” and one pack-horse, and accompanied by Mr. Bode, who took advantage of the opportunity to have a look at the country. As Mr. Bode had his own black boy with him, the party comprised four, with two pack-horses, carrying provision for three weeks. About the same time Mr. Macdonald started with a party of three to find a road for his stock to the Gulf, where he was about to form a station; the account of which trip has been published bythat gentleman.