Friday, 10th May, 1861. - Mr. Burke and King employed in jerking the camel's flesh, whilst I went out to look for the nardoo seed for making bread: in this I was unsuccessful, not being able to find a single tree of it in the neighbourhood of the camp. I, however, tried boiling the large kind of bean which the blacks call padlu; they boil easily, and when shelled are very sweet, much resembling in taste the French chestnut; they are to be found in large quantities nearly everywhere.
Saturday, 11th May, 1861. - To-day Mr. Burke and King started down the creek to the blacks' camp, determined to ascertain all particulars about the nardoo. I have now my turn at the meat jerking, and must devise some means for trapping the birds and rats, which is a pleasant prospect after our dashing trip to Carpentaria, having to hang about Cooper's Creek, living like the blacks.
Sunday, 12th May, 1861. - Mr. Burke and King returned this morning, having been unsuccessful in their search for the blacks, who it seems have moved over to the other branch of the creek.
Decided on moving out on the main creek tomorrow, and then trying to find the natives of the creek.
Monday, 13th May, 1861. - Shifted some of the things, and brought them back again, Mr. Burke thinking it better for one to remain here with them for a few days, so as to eat the remains of the fresh meat, whilst the others went in search of the blacks and nardoo.
Tuesday, 14th May, 1861. - Mr. Burke and King gone up the creek to look for blacks with four days' provisions. Self employed in preparing for a final start on their return.
This evening Mr. Burke and King returned, having been some considerable distance up the creek and found no blacks. It is now settled that we plant the things, and all start together the day after to-morrow.
The weather continues very fine; the nights calm, clear and cold, and the days clear, with a breeze generally from south, but to-day from east, for a change; this makes the first part of the day rather cold. When clouds appear they invariably move from west to east.
Wednesday, 15th, 1861. - Planting the things and preparing to leave the creek for Mount Hopeless.
Thursday, 16th, 1861. - Having completed our planting, etc., started up the creek for the second blacks' camp, a distance of about eight miles: finding our loads rather too heavy we made a small plant here of such articles as could best be spared. - [Here follow a few meteorological notes.]
Nardoo, Friday, 17th May, 1861. - Started this morning on a blacks' path, leaving the creek on our left, our intention being to keep a south-easterly direction until we should cut some likely looking creek, and then to follow it down. On approaching the foot of the first sandhill, King caught sight in the flat of some nardoo seeds, and we soon found that the flat was covered with them. This discovery caused somewhat of a revolution in our feelings, for we considered that with the knowledge of this plant we were in a position to support ourselves, even if we were destined to remain on the creek and wait for assistance from town. Crossing some sand ridges, running north and south, we struck into a creek which runs out of Cooper's Creek, and followed it down; at about five miles we came to a large waterhole, beyond which the watercourse runs out on extensive flats and earthy plains.
Calm night; sky cleared towards morning, and it became very cold. A slight easterly breeze sprung up at sunrise but soon died away again. The sky again became overcast and remained so throughout the day. There was occasionally a light breeze from south, but during the greater portion of the day it was quite calm. Fine halo around the sun in the afternoon.
Saturday, 18th May, 1861. - [No entry except the following meteorological entry on an opposite page, which may probably refer to this date.] Calm night; sky sometimes clear and sometimes partially overcast with veil clouds.
Sunday, 19th May, 1861. - [No entry beyond this citation of date.]
Monday, 20th May, 1861. - [No entry beyond this citation of date.]
Tuesday, 21st May. - Creek. - [No entry beyond this citation of date.]
Wednesday, 22nd May, 1861. - Cooper's Creek. - [No entry beyond this citation of date.]
Thursday, 23rd May, 1861. - [No entry beyond this citation of date.]
Friday, 24th May, 1861. - Started with King to celebrate the Queen's birthday by fetching from Nardoo Creek what is now to us the staff of life; returned at a little after two P.M. with a fair supply, but find the collecting of the seed a slower and more troublesome process than could be desired. Whilst picking the seed, about eleven A.M., both of us heard distinctly the noise of an explosion, as if of a gun, at some considerable distance. We supposed it to have been a shot fired by Mr. Burke, but on returning to the camp found that he had not fired, nor had heard the noise. The sky was partially overcast with high cumulostratus clouds, and a light breeze blew from the east, but nothing to indicate a thunderstorm in any direction.
Saturday, 25th May, 1861. - [No entry beyond this.]
Sunday, 26th May. - [No entry beyond this.]