Monday, 3rd June, 1861. - Started at seven o'clock, and keeping on the south bank of the creek was rather encouraged at about three miles by the sound of numerous crows ahead; presently fancied I could see smoke, and was shortly afterwards set at my ease by hearing a cooey from Pitchery, who stood on the opposite bank, and directed me round the lower end of the waterhole, continually repeating his assurance of abundance of fish and bread. Having with some considerable difficulty managed to ascend the sandy path that led to the camp, I was conducted by the chief to a fire where a large pile of fish were just being cooked in the most approved style. These I imagined to be for the general consumption of the half-dozen natives gathered around, but it turned out that they had already had their breakfast. I was expected to dispose of this lot - a task which, to my own astonishment, I soon accomplished, keeping two or three blacks pretty steadily at work extracting the bones for me. The fish being disposed of, next came a supply of nardoo cake and water until I was so full as to be unable to eat any more; when Pitchery, allowing me a short time to recover myself, fetched a large bowl of the raw nardoo flour mixed to a thin paste, a most insinuating article, and one that they appear to esteem a great delicacy. I was then invited to stop the night there, but this I declined, and proceeded on my way home.
Tuesday, 4th June, 1861. - Started for the blacks' camp intending to test the practicability of living with them, and to see what I could learn as to their ways and manners.
Wednesday, 5th June, 1861. - Remained with the blacks. Light rain during the greater part of the night, and more or less throughout the day in showers. Wind blowing in squalls from south.
Thursday, 6th June, 1861. - Returned to our own camp: found that Mr. Burke and King had been well supplied with fish by the blacks. Made preparation for shifting our camp nearer theirs on the morrow.
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During my son's absence, which lasted for eleven days, in which he travelled altogether above seventy miles, King mentions in his narrative that Mr. Burke, whilst frying some fish set fire to the mia-mia (a shelter made by the blacks with bushes of trees, so thickly laid that it serves to exclude the sun and a great deal of rain); thus destroying every remnant of clothing. King told me that nothing was saved but a gun, although his narrative says a pistol also; but Mr. Burke's pistol was burnt.
The incidents of the journal from the 27th of May to the 5th of June, show how well my son had established himself in the good graces of the natives. Had it been his fortune to have survived, we should probably have had an interesting account of these simple aborigines and their doings.
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Friday, 7th June, 1861. - Started in the afternoon for the blacks' camp with such things as we could take; found ourselves all very weak in spite of the abundant supply of fish that we have lately had. I, myself, could scarcely get along, although carrying the lightest swag, only about thirty pounds. Found that the blacks had decamped, so determined on proceeding to-morrow up to the next camp, near the nardoo field.
Saturday, 8th June, 1861. - With the greatest fatigue and difficulty we reached the nardoo camp. No blacks, greatly to our disappointment; took possession of their best mia-mia and rested for the remainder of the day.
Sunday, 9th June, 1861. - King and I proceeded to collect nardoo, leaving Mr. Burke at home.
Monday, 10th June, 1861. - Mr. Burke and King collecting nardoo; self at home too weak to go out; was fortunate enough to shoot a crow. - [Here follow some meteorological notes which appear to relate to another period.]
Tuesday, 11th June, 1861. - King out for nardoo; Mr. Burke up the creek to look for the blacks.
Wednesday, 12th June, 1861. - King out collecting nardoo; Mr. Burke and I at home pounding and cleaning. I still feel myself, if anything, weaker in the legs, although the nardoo appears to be more thoroughly digested.
Thursday, 13th June, 1861. - Last night the sky was pretty clear, and the air rather cold, but nearly calm, a few cirrostratus hung about the north-east horizon during the first part of the night. Mr. Burke and King out for nardoo; self weaker than ever; scarcely able to go to the waterhole for water. Towards afternoon, cirrocumulus and cirrostratus began to appear moving northward. Scarcely any wind all day.
Friday, 14th June, 1861. - Night alternately clear and cloudy; cirrocumulus and cumulostratus moving northwards; no wind; beautifully mild for the time of year; in the morning some heavy clouds on the horizon. King out for nardoo; brought in a good supply. Mr. Burke and I at home, pounding and cleaning seed. I feel weaker than ever, and both Mr. B. and King are beginning to feel very unsteady in the legs.
Saturday, 15th June, 1861. - Night clear, calm, and cold; morning very fine, with a light breath of air from north-east. King out for nardoo; brought in a fine supply. Mr. Burke and I pounding and cleaning; he finds himself getting very weak, and I am not a bit stronger.
I have determined on beginning to chew tobacco and eat less nardoo, in hopes that it may induce some change in the system. I have never yet recovered from the constipation, the effect of which continues to be exceedingly painful.
Sunday, 16th June, 1861. - Wind shifted to north; clouds moving from west to east; thunder audible two or three times to the southward: sky becoming densely overcast, with an occasional shower about nine A.M.
We finished up the remains of the camel Rajah yesterday, for dinner; King was fortunate enough to shoot a crow this morning.