From Menindie on the Darling to Torowoto. Mr. Burke's Despatch, and Mr. Wills's Report from Torowoto. Mr. Wright's unaccountable delay at Menindie. The Expedition proceeds onwards to Cooper's Creek. Exploring Trips in that Neighbourhood. Loss of Three Camels. Mr. Wills's Letter to his Sister, December 6th and 15th. Incorrectness of McDonough's Statements.
THE incapables being happily disposed of, Mr. Burke and his party left Menindie on the 19th of October. The committee having decided on Cooper's Creek as the basis of his operations, he pushed on in that direction, and reached Torowoto on the 29th of the same month. From the latter encampment he forwarded the following despatch, including my son's surveying report.
Torowoto, October 29, 1860.
I have the honour to report, that I left Menindie on the 19th instant with the following party: -
Messrs. Burke, Wills, Brahe, Patten, McDonough, King, Gray, Dost Mahomet, fifteen horses and sixteen camels, and Mr. Wright, who had kindly volunteered to show me a practical route towards Cooper's Creek, for a distance of a hundred miles from the Darling; and he has more than fulfilled his promise, for we have now travelled for upwards of 200 miles, generally through a fine sheep-grazing country; and we have not had any difficulty about water, as we found creeks, or waterholes, many of them having every appearance of permanent water, at distances never exceeding twenty miles. Mr. Wills's report, herewith forwarded, gives all the necessary details. Although travelling at the rate of twenty miles a day, the horses and camels have all improved in condition, and the country improves as we go on. Yesterday, from Wanominta to Paldrumata Creek, we travelled over a splendid grazing country, and to-day, we are encamped on a creek or swamp, the banks of which are very well grassed, and good feed all the way from our last camp (44), except for two miles, where the ground was barren and swampy. Of course it is impossible for me to say what effect an unusually dry summer would produce throughout this country, or whether we are now travelling in an unusually favourable season or not. I describe things as I find them.
Mr. Wright returns from here to Menindie. I informed him that I should consider him third officer of the expedition, subject to the approval of the committee, from the day of our departure from Menindie, and I hope that they will confirm the appointment. In the mean time I have instructed him to follow me up with the remainder of the camels to Cooper's Creek, to take steps to procure a supply of jerked meat, and I have written to the doctor to inform him that I have accepted his resignation, as, although I was anxious to await the decision of the committee, the circumstances will not admit of delay, and he has positively refused to leave the settled districts. I am willing to admit that he did his best until his fears for the safety of the party overcame him; but these fears, I think, clearly show how unfit he is for his post. If Mr. Wright is allowed to follow out the instructions I have given him, I am confident that the result will be satisfactory; and if the committee think proper to make inquiries with regard to him they will find that he is well qualified for the post, and that he bears the very highest character. I shall proceed on from here to Cooper's Creek. I may, or may not, be able to send back from there until we are followed up. Perhaps it would not be prudent to divide the party; the natives here have told Mr. Wright that we shall meet with opposition on our way there. Perhaps I might find it advisable to leave a depot at Cooper's Creek, and to go on with a small party to examine the country beyond it.
Under any circumstances it is desirable that we should soon be followed up. I consider myself very fortunate in having Mr. Wills as my second in command. He is a capital officer, zealous and untiring in the performance of his duties, and I trust that he will remain my second as long as I am in charge of the expedition.
The men all conduct themselves admirably, and they are all most anxious to go on; but the committee may rely upon it that I shall go on steadily and carefully, and that I shall endeavour not to lose a chance or to run any unnecessary risk.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
R. O'HARA BURKE, Leader.,
P.S. - The two blacks and four horses go back with Mr. Wright.
The following is a list of the camps from Menindie to this place: -
October 19. Totoynya, a waterhole on the plains. . .Camp 35.
October 20. Kokriega, well in the Scope Ranges. . .Camp 36.
October 21. Bilpa Creek, do. . .Camp 37.
October 22. Botoja Clay-pans. . .Camp 38.
October 23. Langawirra Gully; Mount Doubeny Range. . .Camp 39.
October 24. Bengora Creek, Mount Doubeny Range. . .Camp 40.
October 25. Naudtherungee Creek. . .Camp 41.
October 26. Teltawongee Creek. . .Camp 42.
October 27. Wonominta Creek. . .Camp 43.
October 28. A clay-pan on the plains. . .Camp 44.
October 29. Torowoto Swamp...Camp 45.
Latitude, 30 degrees 1 minute 30 seconds south;
longitude, 142 degrees 27 minutes east.
. . .
October 30, 1860. Forwarded.
R. O'HARA BURKE, Leader.
Dr. Macadam, Secretary, Exploring Expedition.
. . .
FROM MR. WILLS, SECOND IN COMMAND, ASTRONOMER AND SURVEYOR OF THEPARTY.