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 195 pages of information about Narrative of the Overland Expedition of the Messrs. Jardine from Rockhampton to Cape York, Northern Queensland.
wide, which, with a current running upwards of five knots an hour, makes it an exhausting swim even for a strong horse.  The next morning three more horses were crossed.  The five expedition horses which these re-placed were in a miserable condition.  Three of them had given in on the preceding day, two miles from the township, and had to be left behind for the time.  With the fresh horses the Brothers were enabled to take a look about them, and select a site for the formation of a cattle station.  A convenient spot was chosen at Vallack Point, about three miles from Somerset, to which it now only remained for them to fetch up their companions and the cattle.  Two days were spent in recruiting the horses, the explorers themselves, probably, enjoying the “dolce far niente” and change of diet.  The black guides were not forgotten, and received their reward of biscuit and tobacco.  The manner in which they use this latter is curious, and worthy of notice.  Not satisfied with the ordinary “cutty” of the whites, they inhale it in volumes through a bamboo cane.  The effect is a profound stupefaction, which appears to be their acme of enjoyment.  On the morning of the 5th, taking with them their younger brother, John Jardine, and their two guides, Harricome and Monuwah, and the five fresh horses, in addition to their own, the Brothers started to return to the cattle party, who were anxiously awaiting their return on the banks of the flooded Jardine.  The black pilots were made to understand where the camp was, and promised to take them by a good road.  The first stage was to the Saltwater Creek, on which they had camped with the tribe, which they reached in about 17 miles, passing on the way, three fine lakes, Wetura, Baronto, and “Chappagynyah,” at two, four, and eight miles from Somerset.  The road was a fair one for the cattle, keeping along the line marked by Mr. Jardine the preceding year as before mentioned, and only presented a few light belts of scrub to go through.  They were likewise enabled to choose a better crossing of the Saltwater Creek, where the swamps join and form a defined channel.  The last two miles were very boggy, even the fresh and well-conditioned horses getting stuck occasionally.

‘March’ 6.—­The camp was reached in the evening of to-day, at the end of about 22 miles, but the black pilots were of very little use, as shortly after starting they fairly got out of their latitude, and were obliged to resign the lead to the Brothers, who hit the river a little before dark, nearly opposite the camp.  They found it about the same height as when first crossed, but it had been considerably higher during their absence.  It being too late to cross, the party camped on their own side, and Messrs. Harricome and Monuwah swam over to see the new strangers and get a supply of beef.  They returned with nearly a shoulder of a good sized steer, which entirely disappeared before morning, the whole night being devoted to feeding.  The quantity of meat that a hungry native can consume is something astounding, but in this case beat anything that any of the whole party had ever seen.  The natural result was a semi-torpor and a perfectly visible distention.

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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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