Friday, 4th November, 1859. Started from Chambers Creek for the Emerald Spring. At ten miles crossed nine fresh horse-tracks going eastward; I supposed them to be those of His Excellency the Governor-inChief. I have not as yet seen his outward track. Arrived at the spring before sundown.
Saturday, 5th November, Emerald Spring. Started at 7.30 on a course of 340 degrees. At seven miles and a half changed to 38 degrees, for three miles to a high sand hill, from which I could see two salt lagoons, one to the south and the other to the north; examined them, but could find no springs. Next bearing, 18 degrees, to clear the lagoon, two miles and a half sandy, with salt bush and grass. Changed to our first bearing, 340 degrees, for six miles, and then to 350 degrees, for five miles, when we reached the top of a high hill, from which we could see the lake lying to the north of us about three miles distant. Changed to 315 degrees for three miles and a half to get a good view of the lake. This is a large bay; from north-east to north-west there is nothing visible but the dark, deep blue line of the horizon. To the north-north-east there is an island very much resembling Boston Island (Port Lincoln) in shape; to the east of it there is a point of land coming from the mainland. To the north-north-west are, apparently, two small islands. A short distance to the east of the horn of the bay there seems to be much white sand or salt for two or three miles from the beach towards the blue water (on this side of which there is a white line as if it were surf): this again appears at the shores of the island, and also at the horn of the bay. From the south shore to the island the distance is great; I should say about twenty-five miles, but it is very difficult to judge correctly. At three miles and a half camped at sundown, without water.
Sunday, 6th November, Lake Eyre. Got up before daybreak to get the first glimpse of the lake, to see if there is any land on the horizon, and, with a powerful telescope, can see none. It has the same appearance as I described last night. I watched it for some time after sunrise, and it still continued the same. After breakfast went to examine the shore: course north, two miles and a half; found it to be caked with salt, with ironstone and lime gravel. When flooded, at about fifty yards from the hard beach, the water will be about three feet deep. I tried to ride to the water, but found it too soft, so I dismounted and tried it on foot. At about a quarter of a mile I came upon a number of small fish, all dried and caked in salt; they seem to have been left on the receding of the waters, or driven on shore by a heavy storm; they were scattered over a surface of twelve yards in breadth all along the shore; very few, especially of the larger ones, were perfect. I succeeded in obtaining three as nearly perfect as possible; one measured eight inches by three, one six inches by two and a half, and another five inches by two. They resemble the bream. I should think this a sufficient proof of the depth of the water. I then proceeded towards the water, but the ground became soft, and the clay was so very tenacious and my feet so heavy, that it was with difficulty I could move them, and so I was obliged to return. The salt is about three inches thick, and underneath it is clay. I would have tried it in some other places, but as my horses were without water (and as I intend to visit this place again), I think it more prudent to search for water for them, and, if I cannot find any, to return to the camp. Started on a south course to examine the country for springs. At six miles found we were running parallel to sand ridges, and no chance of water. Changed to 160 degrees, crossed a number of sand ridges, but no water, except a little rain water that we found in a hole. Proceeded to the camp, and arrived there about sundown.
Monday, 7th November, Emerald Springs. Finding that the weevil is at work with my dried beef, I must remain today and put it to rights. Prepared a package with the fish, etc., to be left for Mr. Barker when he comes here, to be sent to town. There are fish in this spring about three inches long. We have also found a cold-water spring among the warm ones.
Tuesday, 8th November, Emerald Springs. Not being satisfied about one of the lagoons I saw yesterday, I have sent Kekwick and Muller to see if there are any springs, while I and the others proceed to the Beresford Springs; they are to overtake me. Arrived at the springs at 3 p.m. We could find no fresh water on our way, but plenty of salt and brackish in the creek which we first struck at six miles from the Emerald Springs. Sundown: the two men have not come up; they must have found something to detain them; they had only to do about eight miles more than I had. I expect they will arrive during the night.
Wednesday, 9th November, Beresford Springs. No signs of the two men; they must have stopped at some water during the night. It is very tiresome to be delayed in this way: what can they be about? At 12 noon they arrived; they had passed my tracks and gone on to Mount Hugh instead of coming on here. I will give their horses an hour’s rest and go on to the Strangway Springs. The Paisley Ponds are dry, but there is salt and brackish water three miles lower down the creek. Started at 2 p.m., and at 5 p.m. arrived at the springs, which are about ten miles from the Beresford. They are upon a high hill about one hundred feet above the level of the plains; there are a great number of them, and abundance of water, but very much impregnated with salt and soda. My eyes are very bad.
Thursday, 10th November, Strangway Springs. Suffering very much from bad eyes and the effects of the water of these springs; cannot help it, but must go and examine the country to north-west and west. Sent Muller to the east in search of springs, with instructions to strike my former tracks and examine all the country between. Started at 7 a.m. with one man, on a course of 315 degrees, and at one mile crossed a salt creek with water; at three miles the sand hills commenced, crossing our course at right angles. At 2 p.m. struck a large lagoon (salt) about two miles broad and five miles long, running north-east and south-west, narrowing at the ends; distance, fourteen miles; tried to cross it but found it too boggy; rounded it on the south-west point, where we discovered a spring; no surface water, but soft, and the same all round for about two acres square, covered with grass reeds of a very dark colour and very thick, showing the presence of water underneath. Proceeded round the lagoon to a high hill, which seemed to have reeds upon the top of it; after a good deal of bogging and crossing the bends of the lagoon, we arrived at the hill, and found it to be very remarkable. Its colour is dark-green from the reeds and rushes and water-grass which cover it. It is upwards of one hundred feet high, the lower part red sand; but a little higher up is a course of limestone. On the top is a black soil, sand and clay, through and over which the water trickles, and then filters through the sand into the lagoon. Where the water is, on the top, it is upwards of one hundred feet long. Immense numbers of tracks of emus and wild dogs, also some native tracks, all fresh. On the north-west side there is one solitary gum-tree, and about half a mile in the same direction is another bed of reeds, and a spring with water in it. All the banks round the lagoon are of a spongy nature. I am very glad I have found this; it will be another day’s stage with water nearer to the Spring of Hope. We can now make that in one day, if we can get an early start. By the discovery of springs on this trip, the road can now be travelled to the furthest water that I saw on my last trip from Adelaide, and not be a night without water for the horses. The country to the south and south-east of the last springs (which I have named the William Springs, after the youngest son of John Chambers, Esquire), is sand hills and valleys, rich in grass and other food for cattle. Thence I proceeded to hill bearing 10 degrees south of north, distant three miles, from the top of which I could see no rising ground to the westward, nothing but sand hills. Changed my course to south, to a white place under some stony hills; at ten miles reached it, and found it to be a salt creek, but no springs. The last ten miles were through hills not so high as those I crossed on my way out, but more broken, with plenty of feed. It is my intention to push for the Strangway Springs tonight, so as to get an early start in the morning. Arrived at 10 p.m., found that one of the horses had not been seen all day; something always does go wrong when I am away; I shall have to make a search for him in the morning. My eyes very bad from the effects of the glare of the sun on the sand hills, and the heat reflected from them, and that everlasting torment, the flies.
Friday, 11th November, Strangway Springs. My eyes so bad I cannot see; unable to go myself in search of the missing horse; despatched two of the men at daybreak to circuit the spring, and cut her tracks if she has left them. They have returned, but can see no tracks leaving the spring; she must be concealed among the reeds; sent three men to examine them. They found her at 1 p.m. Started at 2 p.m., and arrived at William Springs at sundown. Distance, fourteen miles. By keeping a little more to the east, the sand hills can nearly be avoided, and a good road over stony country, with good feed, can be had to this spring.
Saturday, 12th November, William Springs. Very unwell, unable to move today; I am almost blind and suffering greatly from the effects of the water at Strangway Springs. As I wished to examine round this spring, I remained here today; and, as I could not go myself, sent two of the men in different directions. At sundown they returned, and reported that there are no springs for ten miles distant from east-south-east to north. To the east about three miles there is another lagoon resembling this one, but not so large, and no springs; plenty of grass about a mile from the lagoon. Saw two natives at a distance, but could not get near them.
Sunday, 13th November, William Springs. I feel a little better today, but suffer very much from the eyes. I hope I shall be able to travel tomorrow, for it is misery to remain in camp in the hot weather. Latitude, 28 degrees 57 minutes 24 seconds. Variation, 4 degrees 47 minutes east.
Monday, 14th November, William Springs. Started on a course of 317 degrees for the Hope Springs, and arrived at 5 p.m. I kept to the west in order to see what the country was in that direction, in the hope of finding some more springs. At twenty-one miles crossed the Douglas, coming from north-north-west; the country from it to the north-west and north looked quite white with quartz, and showed signs of being auriferous. From the Douglas to north-west the feed was not quite so plentiful, salt bush with grass, the salt bush predominating; but as we approached the Spring of Hope it improved, and became good as we neared the creek. Distance, thirty miles.
Tuesday, 15th November, Spring of Hope. The spring is still good, yielding a plentiful supply of water. Sent one of the men to the east and south-east to examine some white patches of country that I saw on our journey up here, while I, with one man and two days’ provisions, started south-west to a high and prominent hill in the range. At 11 a.m. arrived at the top, from which I had a good view of the country all round. It is a table-topped hill, standing on high table land, which is intersected with numerous small watercourses, flowing towards the Douglas on the south and west sides of the mount, which I have named Mount Anna. It is compound of ironstone, quartz, granite, and a chalky substance, also an immense quantity of conglomerate quartz and ironstone, which has the appearance of having been run together in a smelting works. There are also numerous courses of slate of different descriptions and colours; the quartz, which exists in white patches, predominates, and gives the country the appearance of numerous springs. These patches have deceived me two or three times today. At twenty miles the sand hills begin again; the country being rather poor, with a number of isolated hills, and also some white chalky cliffs of twenty feet high and upwards. No water nor appearance of any to the west for a considerable distance. Changed to the north-west to look at some more white country. I am again disappointed; it turns out to be quartz with low chalky cliffs, and a large quantity of igneous stone. Country the same, with salt bush and a little grass in places. I can see no inducement for me to go further, so I shall return to the camp. Arrived after dark. My eyes are still very bad, and I suffer dreadfully from them. To-day has been hot, and the reflection from the white quartz and the heated stones was almost insufferable: what a relief it was when the sun went down! Distance, forty-five miles.
Wednesday, 16th November, Spring of Hope. Still very ill, and unable to go out myself. Sent Muller to examine the creek nearer Mount Margaret for water; if he finds any near the mount, I shall move there, as it will be nearer, for building the cone of stones on the top of the mount, than Hawker Springs. Shod our horses, and built a small cone of stones on a reef of rocks that runs along the top of a hill about half a mile west-north-west from the spring, to which it will act as a land mark. Muller has returned, and reports having found water in the other creek, about five miles north-north-west from this; the water is in the centre of the creek, in three or four holes, some of which are brackish, but one of them is very good. A number of natives were camped about it, but took to flight the moment they saw him; he tried to induce them to come near him, but they would not; they appeared to be very much frightened, and climbed up the cliffs to get out of his way. Plenty of feed between the two waters; through the hills there is an abundance. I find the water discovered today (which I have named The George Creek, after G. Davenport, Esquire), will be of no advantage to me when building the cone of stones; I shall therefore move to the Hawker Springs tomorrow.
Thursday, 17th November, Spring of Hope. Arrived at the Hawker Springs at noon, and commenced the survey. Springs still good; some of them at this point will require to be opened. We have opened one, and the water is beautiful. Immense quantities of reeds and rushes. Built a cone of stones on the hill at the westernmost spring.
Friday, 18th November, Hawker Springs. Building a cone of stones on the top of Mount Margaret, and making other preparations for the survey. To-day very hot, wind south-east; a great deal of lightning to the south. Obtained bearings of the following points from the hill at Hawker Springs — namely, Mount Margaret, Mount Younghusband, hill at Parry Springs, Mount Charles, and Mount Stevenson.
Saturday, 19th November, Hawker Springs. Sent the party on to Fanny Springs, where I intend to lay down my base-line. Went with Kekwick to the top of Mount Margaret. This hill is composed of grey and red granite, quartz, and ironstone; on the lower hill is a blue and brown stratum. I then proceeded to examine the creeks running to the east; in following one of them down we came upon another spring of water, running and very good. The creek is bounded on both sides for about a mile by nearly perpendicular cliffs, which appeared to get much lower and broken to the west. It is situated about one mile north of Mount Margaret, and runs into the Hawker Springs valley. Could see no more higher up. Followed the creek down to the opening. Proceeded about half a mile, entered another gorge, and rode up it about three-quarters of a mile; came upon another spring, running also, water excellent. Numerous native camps in the creek. Country the same as in the other creek; cliffs slate and not so high, but more broken, with watercourses between them, through which cattle could find their way to the tops of the hills, where there appears to be plenty of grass; there is also an abundance at the mouth of the gorge and on the plains. This creek also runs into the valley of the Hawker Springs. Distance from Mount Margaret, two miles and a half, 8 degrees east of north. As it was getting towards sunset I found I must make for the camp, which was about twelve miles off. Arrived after dark. Springs still as good as when I first saw them. Very tired, having had a very long day of it.
Sunday, 20th November, Fanny Springs. Got up at daybreak, and went to the top of Mount Charles, on which I had ordered the men to build a cone of stones after their arrival here yesterday. On my return to the camp the men informed me that Smith had absconded during the night. He generally made a practice of sleeping some little distance from the others, when I did not see him lie down; I had checked him for it several times. It did not appear that he had gone to sleep, but waited an opportunity to steal away, taking with him the mare which he used to ride, and harness, etc., also some provisions. As I had started very early to walk to Mount Charles, his absence was not observed until some time after I had left, and being detained some hours on the top of the hill, in consequence of the atmosphere being so thick that I could not obtain my observations, it was 7 a.m. before I heard of his departure. That moment I sent Kekwick for my own horse (he being the swiftest), and ordered him to saddle, mount, pursue, overtake, and bring Smith back; but during the time he was preparing, I had time to think the matter over, and decided upon not following him, as it would only knock up my horse and detain me three or four days. Smith must have started about midnight, for I was up taking observations from 12.30 a.m. until daybreak, and neither saw nor heard any one during that time. I could ill afford to lose the time in pursuing him, situated as I was in the midst of my survey, and he being a lazy, insolent, good-for-nothing man, and, worse than all, an incorrigible liar, I could place no dependence upon him. We are better without him; he has been a very great annoyance and trouble to me from the beginning throughout the journey. What could have caused him to take such a step I am at a loss to imagine; he has had no cause to complain of bad treatment or anything of that sort; he never mentioned such a thing to the other men, nor was he heard to complain of anything. Such conduct on an expedition like ours deserves the severest punishment: there is no knowing what fatal consequences may follow such a cowardly action. Had he not stolen the mare, I should have cared little about his running away, but I am short of riding horses and have a great deal for them to do during the time I am surveying and examining the country. The vagabond went off just as the heavy work was beginning, and it was principally for that work that I engaged him. He put on a pair of new boots, leaving those he had been wearing, evidently intending to push the mare as far as she would go, expecting he would be pursued, and then leave her and walk the rest. I expect, when he reaches the settled districts, he will tell some abominable lie about the matter. If such conduct is not severely dealt with, no confidence can be placed in any man engaged in future expeditions.
Monday, 21st November, Fanny Springs. Kekwick and I commenced chaining the base-line from the top of Mount Charles, bearing 131 degrees. Distance chained, four miles thirty chains. I ordered H. Strong to come to me with two horses, which he did about 1.30 p.m.; we had finished the line, and were waiting for him. I had seen some country that looked very much like springs, to the north-east, a mile or so from the line; went to examine it, and found some splendid springs — one in particular is a very large fountain, about twenty yards in diameter, quite circular and apparently very deep, from which there is running a large stream of water of the very finest description; it is one of the largest reservoirs I have yet seen, three times the size of the one at the Hamilton Springs, with abundance of water for any amount of cattle; the water is running a mile below it.
Tuesday, 22nd November, Fanny Springs. Engaged chaining the base-line to north-west. Saw some more springs a mile or two to the east; too tired to examine them today. It is dreadfully hot. Returned to the camp at sundown.
Wednesday, 23rd November, Fanny Springs. Finished the remaining part of base-line. The line is ten miles and forty chains long, crossing the top of Mount Charles.
Thursday, 24th November, Fanny Springs. Fixing the angles of runs. Found another batch of springs close to north-west boundary of large run, covering four or five acres of ground, with an immense quantity of reeds; they are not so active as the others. The ground round about is very soft, and the water is most excellent. After fixing the north-east corner, I proceeded to examine the country beyond the boundaries of the runs in search of springs. Having gone several miles north, I saw the appearance of a lagoon north-east, for which I started, but on my arrival found no springs round it. Still continued on the same course for a considerable distance further to a high sand hill, from which we could see the Neale winding through a broad valley. One part of the creek being much greener than the other, I went to examine it, and found the green appearance to be caused by fresh gum-trees, young saplings, rushes, and other fresh-water plants and bushes. The creek spreads over the plain in numerous channels, four miles wide, but the main channel has only gum-trees, with a chain of water holes, some salt, some brackish. By scratching on the bank where the rushes were growing we got some beautiful water in the gravel, a few inches below the surface. There was plenty of feed, and the wild currant, or rather grape, grew in great abundance, and was very superior to any I had tasted before. There were two kinds; one grew upon a dark-green bush, and had a tart and saltish taste, the other grew upon a bush of a much lighter colour, the fruit round and plump and much superior to the former; in taste it very much resembled some species of dark grape, only a little more acid. From this I went in a north-east direction to a mound I had seen on my former journey, and found it to be hot springs with a large stream of warm water flowing from them nearly as large as the Emerald Springs, and, as it seemed to me, warmer. It was a very hot day, and I had been riding fast. It was as much as I could bear to keep my hand in the spring for a few minutes, six inches below the surface. I put in a staff about four feet long, but could find no bottom — nothing but very soft mud; the staff came up quite hot. It is a very remarkable hill. From the west side it would be taken for a very high sand hill with scrub growing on it — in fact it is so. The springs are not seen until the top is reached. From them all the east side is covered with green reeds to the base of the hill. The hot springs are near the top, and cold ones on one side to the south; some at the bottom and some half-way up. There is a large lagoon to the east, which I will examine when I move the party up to this, for I have no time today. Returned towards the camp and fixed the north-west corner of the second run; I am obliged to drive pickets into the ground to show them. I would have built cones of stones, but could get none large enough to do it with. Arrived at the camp very late; fourteen hours on horseback.
Friday, 25th November, Fanny Springs. Started shortly after sunrise to mark the other two corners of the two runs. On approaching the south-west angle of the second run (Parry Spring run), I discovered three other springs close to the boundary of the first run. Two of them are outside, and one inside, or rather on the boundary. The latter is a large spring, having seven streams of water coming from it, one large, the others smaller. The other two have abundance of water, covered with reeds. Proceeded and marked the other corners, but, having no stones, was obliged to put down pickets. Returned to camp, keeping outside the south boundary in search of springs, but found none. Crossed over table land, salt bush and grass, with stones on the surface. Arrived at the camp a little before sundown.
Saturday, 26th November, Fanny Springs. Started for Parry Springs. In the evening commenced putting up a cone of stones on the northernmost hill. The day was excessively hot. One great thing here is that the nights are very cool, so that we are obliged to have a good fire on all night. We have had one or two warm nights since I have been out this time. I suppose the reason must be that a large body of water exists in the lake not far distant from us, the wind coming from north-east. From north-west to south-south-east the winds are generally cool. It is so cold in the morning that the men are wearing their top-coats; the day does not get hot until the sun is a considerable height.
Sunday, 27th November, Parry Springs. Cold wind this morning from the east. In the afternoon the sky became overcast, the clouds coming from the south-east.
Monday, 28th November, Parry Springs. Building a cone of stones on the northernmost of the hills, fixing the south-east corner of run Number 2, and moving to the hot springs. Arrived at sundown. Saw a number of holes where the natives had been digging for water. Cleaned out one, and found water at two feet from the surface, above the water in the creek. It is very good. On examining this spring, I find there is a great deal more water coming from it than from the Emerald Springs. The hot springs are on the top of the sand hill, and the cold ones at the foot. There are large quantities of the wild grape growing here, both red and white. They are very good indeed, and, if cultivated, would, I think, become a very nice fruit.
Tuesday, 29th November, Primrose springs. Surveying run. Sent Muller to the north to a distant range, and Strong to the north-east to look for springs. Towards evening both returned without being successful. They passed over plenty of good feeding country, but the range is high and stony, with very little grass, only salt bush. It is a continuation of Hanson range, all table land.
Wednesday, 30th November, Primrose springs. Surveying, etc. North-east corner of run Number 2 is about two miles west of the Neale. I scratched a few inches deep from the surface in the gravel, and found very good water. The wild grape is in abundance here, and grows as large as the cultivated one. I have obtained some choice seeds.
Thursday, 1st December, Primrose springs. At daybreak started with Kekwick to find the lake on an easterly course, keeping to south of east, to avoid a soft lagoon. Travelled over a fair salt-bush and grass country, with stones on the surface. In places the grass is abundant, though dry. At seven miles the sand hills commenced; they are low, with broad valleys between, covered with stone. On the sand hills there was plenty of grass, and numerous native and emu tracks going towards the Neale, which is to the south of us. At fourteen miles struck a gum creek with salt water. Searched for springs, but could find none with fresh-water. Continued on a course east over sand hills and stony plain, and at twenty miles crossed the Neale. It is very broad, with numerous channels. In the main one there was plenty of water, but it was very brackish. We scratched a hole on the bank about two feet from the salt water, and found plenty of good water at six inches from the surface, of which our horses drank very readily. This seems to be the mode in which the natives obtain good water in a dry season like this. The emus and other birds also adopt the same plan. An immense quantity of water must come down this creek at times. The drift stuff was upwards of thirteen feet high in the gum-trees. A number of native tracks all about the creek, quite fresh, but we could not see any one. After giving our horses as much water as they would drink, we crossed the creek, which now runs north, and proceeded, still on our easterly course, over stony plains for four miles, then over sand hills, which continued to the lake, which we struck at thirty-five miles. The atmosphere is so thick, it is impossible to say what it is like to-night. Camped without water under a high sand hill, so that I may have a good view of the lake in the morning. I like not the appearance of it to-night; I am afraid we are going to lose it.
Friday, 2nd December, Lake Torrens. Got up at the first peep of day and ascended the sand hill. I fear my conjecture of last night is too true. I can see a small dark line of low land all round the horizon. The line of blue water is very small. So ends Lake Torrens! Started on a course of 30 degrees west of north to where the Neale empties itself into the lake. At seven miles struck it; found plenty of water, but very salt, with pelicans and other water-birds upon it. Traversed the creek to the south-west in search of water for the horses. At five miles came upon a number of water-bushes growing on the banks of a large brackish water hole. Scraped a hole about two feet from the bad water, and got good water six inches from the surface for ourselves and horses. Gave them an hour’s rest and started on a west course for the camp, where we arrived at 9.30 p.m. The country was similar to that on our outward route; feed more abundant. At sundown we crossed the broad channel of a creek, with moisture in the centre. Having neither time nor light to examine it to-night, I must do so tomorrow, as I think there must be springs to supply the moisture.
Saturday, 3rd December, Primrose Springs. Sent Kekwick to examine the creek we crossed last night. I cannot go myself, for my eyes are so very bad I can scarcely see anything. This is the first time I have had such a long continuance of this complaint. I am trying every remedy I can imagine, but each seems to have very little or no effect. At sundown Kekwick returned, and reported having found the springs which supply the creek, but they are salter than the sea, or the strongest brine that ever was made. He brought in a fine sample of crystal of salt, which he got from under the water, attached to the branch of a bush which had blown into it. The creek is the upper part of the first gum creek crossed yesterday, and flows into the Neale, which accounts for the water being so salt at the mouth of it. No fresh-water springs to be seen round about.
Sunday, 4th December, Primrose Springs. Examining the Neale for fresh-water springs. The water holes are abundant, but all more or less brackish; plenty of rushes on the banks, where fresh water can be had by scratching a little below the surface. I have not the least doubt but there will be plenty of fresh water on the surface for a long time after the creek comes down and sweeps all the soda and salt into the lake. It is the rapid evaporation that causes it to be so brackish, and I should think the consumption by stock would make a great improvement in it; there would not be so much of it exposed to the sun, and the evaporation would be much less. After considering the matter of having seen the northern boundary of Lake Torrens, I am inclined to think I have been in error. What I have taken for the lake may have been a large lagoon, which receives the waters of the Neale before going into the large lake: I must examine it again. After my surveys are completed, I shall move my party down the creek to where we found the good water, and from there see what it really is. I cannot bring my mind to think it is the northern boundary of the lake.
Monday, 5th December, Primrose Springs. Moved the party down to the South Parry Springs. My eyes are still very bad.
Tuesday, 6th December, South Parry Springs. Shortly after daybreak started for Louden Springs, taking different courses, in search of more springs, but can find none. Examined the George Creek, where the small run is to be laid off; found some good water by scratching in the creek, where there are plenty of rushes. A little before sundown we arrived at the springs. I did not observe before that the higher springs on the top of the hill are warm, but not nearly so hot as the others; the lower ones are cold. Some other party has been here; we have seen their fresh tracks and the place where they have camped; they seem to have been wandering about a good deal before they found these springs.
Wednesday, 7th December, Louden Springs. Went to the top of Mount Stevenson, built a cone of stones, and obtained bearings to fix it. No appearance of any springs to the east of this, nor of the lake.
Thursday, 8th December, Louden Springs. Surveying and building trigonometrical station on a light-coloured hill to the south of this. My eyes very bad; can scarcely see; can do nothing.
Friday, 9th December, Louden Springs. Nearly blind; dreadful pain; can do nothing today; no sleep last night.
Saturday, 10th December, Louden Springs. All yesterday the wind was hot and strong from west and north-west; heavy clouds from south and south-west. In the evening the wind changed to south. This morning still the same; heavy clouds from same direction. My eyes are a little better, so that I shall be able to do something. The sky being overcast I shall put up some of the corners of this run.
Sunday, 11th December, Louden Springs. Still cloudy, but no rain.
Monday, 12th December, Louden Springs. Still very cloudy; wind south; heavy clouds to north-west; no rain. Finishing the east boundary of Number 3 run. Can find no more springs in or about this run. At sundown still very cloudy, but no rain.
Tuesday, 13th December, Louden Springs. Started at 7.15 a.m. to find the lake on an east course. The horses being a long distance off, it was late before they came up. At nine miles crossed the gum creek running north, spread out in a broad valley into numerous courses rich in food for cattle. At twelve miles sand hills commenced, and continued to the shores of the lake, with broad stony plains between, and plenty of grass. At twenty miles crossed the Douglas, running north through sand hills in a broad valley divided into numerous courses, with dwarf gum-trees, mallee, tea-tree, and numerous other bushes; the bed sandy, and no water. At thirty-five miles struck the lake where the Douglas joins it. The country travelled over today has been stony plain (undulating), and low sand hills, with abundance of feed, but no water. There is some water at the mouth of the Douglas, but it is salter than the sea. The water in the lake seems to be a long distance off, but the mirage is so very strong that I can form no opinion of it to-night. This seems also a bay I have got into. There is a point of land to the south bearing 25 degrees east of south, and the other bearing 25 degrees east of north. Searched about for water, but could find none. Camped in the creek without any. The country at this part is very low, and nearly on a level with the lake. The only sand hill I shall be able to get a view from is not above thirty feet high. At sundown I got on the top of the sand hill, but could see nothing distinctly; must wait until morning. This creek seems to be very little frequented by natives; can see very few tracks and no worleys.
Wednesday, 14th December, Lake Torrens. At the first dawn of day I got to the top of the hill, and remained there some time after sunrise. To the south-east there is the appearance of a point of land, which I suppose to be the island which I saw when I first struck the lake. There is the appearance of water between. A little more to the eastward I can see nothing but horizon. To the east there is again the appearance of very low distant land — a mere dark line when seen through a powerful telescope. To the north of that there is nothing visible but the horizon, with a blue and white streak between. To the north-north-east beyond the point, a little low land is to be seen running out from the point, with water in the far distance. Rode down to the beach to see what that was composed of; found it to be sand, mud and gravel; firm ground next the shore. Tried a little distance with the horses, but found it too soft to proceed with them. I then dismounted, and tried it on foot, but could only get about two miles; it became so soft, that I was sinking to the ankles, and the clay was so very tenacious that it completely tired me before I got back to the horses. The quantity of salt was not so great here as at the first place I examined. What I thought was a point of land bearing north-north-east turns out to be an island, which I can see from here. The point of the bay is north from where I took the bearings. Between the island and the point I can see nothing but horizon; too low to see any water. Traced the creek up for seven miles in search of water or springs, but could see none, nor any indications. Had breakfast, and started on a course of 20 degrees north of west in search of water or springs. Crossed the Davenport and ascended a low range, but still could not see any indications of water; the country similar to that passed over yesterday. Changed my bearing towards the camp, and arrived there a little before sundown. The horses were very thirsty, and drank an awful quantity of water, but being hot it will do them no harm. It is remarkable that to east of the hot springs I can find no others. This is the third time I have tried it, and been unsuccessful. I am almost afraid that the next time I try the lake I shall not find the north boundary of it. Where can all this water drain to? It is a mystery.
Thursday, 15th December, Louden Springs. Surveyed run Number 4, and sent Kekwick to correct observations from Mount Stevenson.
Friday, 16th December, Louden Springs. Finished Number 4 run. To-day we have discovered a large fresh-water hole in a creek joining the George and coming from the south-west. The water seems to be permanent; it is half a mile long and seems to be deep. On the banks a number of natives have been encamped; round about their fires were large quantities of the shells of the fresh-water mussel, the fish from which they had been eating: I should think this a very good proof of the water being permanent. After finishing the survey I followed the creek up for a number of miles in search of more water, but could find none. It spread into a number of courses over a large plain, on which there was splendid feed.
Saturday, 17th December, Louden Springs. Started for the springs under Mount Margaret to finish the western boundary of Number 1 run. Arrived towards sundown. Found the creek occupied by natives, who, as soon as they caught sight of us, bolted to the hill and got upon the top of a high cliff, and there remained for some time, having a good view of us. I did everything in my power to induce them to come down to us, but they would not, and beckoned us to be off back the road we came. At night they had fires round us, but at some distance off.
Sunday, 18th December, Mount Margaret. About 9 a.m. the natives made their appearance on the hill, and made signs for us to be off; they were eight in number. I found that we had camped close to a large quantity of acacia seed that they had been preparing when we arrived, but had no time to carry it away before we were on them. One old fellow was very talkative. I went towards them to try and make friends with them, but they all took to the hills. By signs I induced the old fellow to stop, and in a short time got him to come a little nearer. When I came to the steep bank of the creek he made signs for me to come no further. I showed him I had no arms with me, and wished him to come up. I could understand him so far that he wished us to go away, that they might get their seed. I thought it as well not to aggravate them, but to show them that we came as friends; and as I had completed all I had to do here, I moved the camp towards the Freeling Springs, at which they seemed very glad, and made signs for us to come back at sundown. They seemed to be a larger race than those down below; the men are tall and muscular, the females are low in stature and thin. I examined the Mount Margaret range in going along; there are a number of gum creeks coming from the north side which flow into the Neale. We searched them up and down, but could find no water. The number of channels that join them in the range is so great that it would take weeks to examine them minutely for water. We camped in one of them without water, although the country promises well for it.
Monday, 19th December, Gum Creek. Started on a north-west course to examine the country between this and the Mount Younghusband range. We could see no springs until we reached the Blyth, in which there is water, but a little brackish; it will do well for cattle. Rode through the middle of the range, and came upon some horse-tracks, not very old; saw where the party had camped, and a cairn of stones they had erected on the top of one of the hills. Followed their tracks some distance down the gully; they seemed to be going to the Burrow Springs; they appear, however, to have gone back again. Left the tracks, and proceeded to the Freeling Springs. Arrived there in the afternoon. No one has been here since I was, as far as I can see. The country we have passed over yesterday and today has been really splendid for feed. The springs continue the same, running in a strong stream and of the finest quality.
Tuesday, 20th December, Freeling Springs. Sent Kekwick and one of the men to examine the goldfield, and to select a place for sinking tomorrow morning. My eyes were so bad that I was unable to go. They returned in the afternoon, bringing with them samples from the quartz reefs, in which there was the appearance of gold. Kekwick said he had not seen such good quartz since he left the diggings in Victoria. There was every indication of gold, and I determined to give the place a good trial before leaving it.
Wednesday, 21st December, Freeling Springs. Commenced digging, but found the rocks too near. Surface indications were very slight here, but I found another place which seemed to promise better, so began sinking there, and at four feet came upon some large boulders, round which was very good-looking stuff for washing; took some of it to camp and washed it. No gold, but good indications; a quantity of black sand and emery, also other good signs. I shall continue the hole, and see what is in the bottom. Thunderstorm this afternoon; south-west hot wind.
Thursday, 22nd December, Freeling Springs. Occupied in sinking, but made little progress in consequence of the stones being so large, and the want of proper tools, crowbar, etc. Washed some more stuff from round about the boulders; the produce same as yesterday; no gold.
Friday, December 23rd, Freeling Springs. Found that we could do nothing with the stones with the tools we have. Examined the country round about, and found another place, which will be commenced tomorrow. Examined a quartz reef which had every indication of gold. I regretted that I had not another man, so that I might be able to examine the country for some distance round. It is necessary to have two men at the camp, which cannot be moved to where we are sinking, as there is no water within two miles. It would not be safe to leave the camp with one man only, and two digging, which is all our strength. Heavy thunderstorm from the south-west, but very little rain. The wind blew my tent in two. At sundown it passed over and cleared up, which I regretted to see, as I expected heavy rains at this season, to enable me to make for the north or north-west.
Saturday, 24th December, Freeling Springs. Sank upwards of six feet through gravel, shingle, stones, and quartz. Wind south-west. Heavy clouds; wind hot.
Sunday, 25th December, Freeling Springs. Wind south; heavy clouds, but no rain; towards evening changed to south-east. Cool.
Monday, 26th December, Freeling Springs. Got to the bottom of the hole; washed the stuff, but no gold. Commenced another hole by the side of the quartz reef, which looks well. In the morning the wind was from the north; at 10 a.m. it suddenly changed to south, and blew a perfect hurricane during the whole day, with heavy clouds; but no rain has fallen.
Tuesday, 27th December, Freeling Springs. The storm continued during the night, until about 3 o’clock this morning, when a few drops of rain fell, but not enough to be of any service to me. Bottomed the hole by the side of the quartz reef: no gold, and I think we shall not be able to sink any more; our tools are getting worn out. For the rest of the day examined the quartz reef, in which there is every appearance of gold; I shall stop the search for it and proceed to the north-east tomorrow, for I think some rain has fallen in that direction, which will enable me to examine the country and see if the lake still continues.
Wednesday, 28th December, Freeling Springs. At 7 a.m. started with Kekwick on a north-east course. At seven miles crossed the Neale, spread over a large grassy plain four miles broad, and ascended a low ridge of table-topped hills, stony, with salt-bush and grassed. Crossed another creek, at twenty miles, with myall and stunted gums running over a plain in numerous courses. Plenty of grass but no water. After crossing it, ascended a high peak, which I supposed to be the top of the Hanson range, but found another long table-topped hill, higher, about three miles distant. Ascended that, but could see nothing but more table-topped ranges in the distance. This hill is thirty-five miles from Freeling Springs. Searched for water, and after some time found a little water in one of the creeks, where we camped, it being after sundown. The country from the last creek is not so good, and very stony, so much so that it has lamed my horse, and nearly worn his shoes through at the tips. The horses have drunk all the water, and left none for the morning.
Thursday, 29th December, Hanson Range. Started at 6 a.m. on the same course for another part of the range. At six miles crossed a grassy creek of several channels, with myall and gum, but no water, running to north-east, nearly along our line. At seventeen miles struck the same creek again where it is joined with several others coming from the west-north-west and north. They are spread over a large broad plain covered with grass. Searched for water, but could not find any. Crossed the plains and creeks to a white hill on a north course, and at three miles reached the top; it was a low chalky cliff on the banks of the creek. Changed our course to the first hill I had taken. At seven miles and a half reached the top, which I found very stony. To the north can be seen the points of three other table-topped hills; to the north-east is a large stony plain about ten miles broad, beyond which are high sand hills, and beyond them again, in the far distance, is the luminous appearance of water. Not being on the highest part of the range I proceeded two miles to the south-east to get a better view. From here we could see the creek, winding in a south-east direction, until it reached the lake, which seemed to be about twenty-five miles off. We could not distinctly see it, the mirage and sand hills obscuring our view. My horse having lost both his fore shoes and there being no prospect of water further on, I was reluctantly obliged to return to the camp. We had seen a little rain water on the plain, about seven miles back, at which we decided to camp to-night. Arrived there a little before sundown. My horse very lame, scarcely able to walk along the stones. I am disappointed that there is not more rain water; there seems only to have been a slight shower.
Friday, 30th December, Hanson Range. The horses having strayed some distance, we did not get a start till half-past seven on a course of 323 degrees, to a white hill, to see whether there are any springs on the other side; at one mile and a half reached it, but no springs. Changed our course to a very prominent hill (which I have named Mount Arthur) bearing 275 degrees, and after crossing two small myall creeks and a stony plain with salt bush and grass, at ten miles we struck a large myall and gum creek, coming from the north-west, with some very deep channels. We went some miles up it, but could find no water, the courses for the water being too sandy and gravelly to retain it. At twenty-four miles from the last hill arrived at the summit of Mount Arthur. Changed course to 195 degrees. At ten miles struck another myall and gum creek of the same description as the others, coming from the range; no water. Camped. My horse is nearly done up; I am almost afraid he will not be able to reach the camp tomorrow.
Saturday, 31st December, Hanson Range. Started shortly after daybreak for the camp. At fifteen miles struck another myall and gum creek running into the Neale, and at twenty miles came upon the Neale, which is here three miles broad. Here we saw some recent native tracks and places where fires had been. Arrived at the camp at sundown; horses quite done up. I am sorry that I have been unable to make the lake on this journey; I could have done it, but should most likely have had to leave my horse; he never could have done it. I should then have been obliged to walk the distance back, with all the water dried up. Had I seen the least indication of water on ahead, I should have gone.
Sunday, 1st January, 1860, Freeling Springs. In the afternoon it became cloudy. Wind north. No rain.
Monday, 2nd January, Freeling Springs. Having observed a hill on Saturday that seemed to me a spring, where the Neale comes through the range, I sent Kekwick to examine it, my eyes being too bad. Sent Muller to examine some more quartz reefs in which I think gold exists. Towards sundown he returned with two good specimens, in which I am almost sure there is gold. The reef is twelve feet wide. Shortly after, Kekwick returned and reported springs and two large water holes, and numerous smaller ones, with abundance of permanent water, although slightly brackish. I shall move up and fix their position as soon as I am satisfied with the search for gold.
Tuesday, 3rd January, Freeling Springs. Sent Kekwick and Muller to get some more specimens of quartz. They returned with some in which there were very good indications of gold. It was useless for us to try any more, our tools being of no use. The reefs would require to be blasted. I am afraid there will be no surfacing here. I have done all that lies in my power to get at the gold; but without proper tools we can do nothing, so I shall be obliged to give it up, and start tomorrow for the Neale, to where I sent Kekwick yesterday.
Wednesday, 4th January, Freeling Springs. Started at 8 a.m., and arrived in about thirteen miles. The large water hole is upwards of a mile long, with fully forty yards of water: in width, from bank to bank, it is seventy yards, and upwards of fifteen feet deep; there are large mussel shells on the banks, and plenty of good feed. All round to the south there are low sand hills covered with grass. To the east, in some places, it is stony, with salt-bush, and many broad well-grassed valleys coming from the Mount Kingston range. About a quarter of a mile to the west of the large hole there is a course of springs coming from the Kingston Hills and sand hills, and emptying themselves into the creek. The water is delicious, and plentiful, and, if opened, these springs will yield an ample supply for all purposes. To the west are hills, with the creek coming through them, with water all the way up to where I crossed it in my return last trip. To the north are stony undulating rises, with salt-bush and grass.
Thursday, 5th January, The Neale. Examining the country round to the north and round Mount Harvey. It is poor and stony. On the eastern and northern sides it becomes bad at three miles from the creek. The country in the other directions is good, and will make a first-rate run. This, in connexion with the Mildred and McEllister Springs, will feed any number of cattle.
Friday, January 6th, The Neale. As my rations are now drawing to a close (for we started with provisions only for three months, and have been out now for three months and more), I must sound a retreat to get another supply at Chambers Creek. It was my intention to have sent two men down for them, but I am sorry to say that I have lost confidence in all except Kekwick. I cannot trust them to be sent far, nor dare I leave them with our equipment and horses while Kekwick and I go for the provisions. Situated as I am with them, I must take all the horses down; and if I can get men to replace them at Chambers Creek, I will send them about their business. They have been a constant source of annoyance to me from the very beginning of my journey. The man that I had out with me on my last journey has been the worst of the two. They seem to have made up their minds to do as little as possible, and that in the most slovenly and lazy manner imaginable. They appear to take no interest in the success of the expedition. I have talked to them until I am completely wearied out; indeed, I am surprised that I have endured it so long. Many a one would have discharged them, and sent them back walking to Adelaide; in fact, I had almost made up my mind to do so from here, and to run the chance of getting others at Mr. Barker’s. Although they have behaved so badly, and so richly deserve to be punished (for they have taken advantage of me when I could get no others to supply their places), I could not find in my heart to do it. Kekwick is everything I could wish a man to be. He is active, pushing, and persevering. At any time, and at any moment, he is always ready, and takes a pleasure in doing all that lies in his power to forward the expedition. Would that the two others were like him! I should then have no trouble at all. Started at 7 a.m. on my return on a south-east course, and camped at a small spring on the east side of Mount Younghusband. Distance, twenty miles.
Saturday, 7th January, Mount Younghusband. Started at 7 a.m. for the Milne Springs, where I shall remain for a day or two to get all the horses fresh shod, and leave what things I do not require, intending to get them on my return. Arrived there at 11 o’clock. Found the water much the same as it was when I first saw it.
Sunday, 8th January, Milne Springs. Severe attack of lumbago. Sun hot; but cool breeze from south-east.
Monday, 9th January, Milne Springs. Unable to ride, so I was obliged to send Kekwick and one of the men to the westward. This was a great disappointment to me, as I should like to have seen the country myself to have connected it with my farthest north-west point on my first journey. The other man was shoeing the horses. Sun hot. Cool breeze from south-east. Very cold night and morning.
Tuesday, 10th January, Milne Springs. Latitude, 28 degrees 15 minutes 45 seconds. Shoeing horses. Flies a great trouble; can do nothing for them. If they are allowed to remain a moment on the eye, it swells up immediately, and is very painful. Kekwick and the other man returned at 9 o’clock p.m. They report having found two springs, one about nine miles west, and the other about thirty miles, in a large spring country, which they had not time to examine well. Although I am so unwell, I must start tomorrow and see what it is. Judging from their description, there must be something good; and I cannot leave without seeing it, although my provisions are nearly done.
Wednesday, 11th January, Milne Springs. Shortly after sunrise started with Kekwick on a west course for the larger spring country, leaving the near one until our return. At eleven miles and a half crossed the Blyth, coming from the south. At twenty-eight miles reached the spring country. Changed to 150 degrees, and at two miles camped at the spring. The springy place has the appearance of a large salt lagoon, three miles broad and upwards of eight miles long. At the south end of it is a creek with brackish water, and on its banks are the springs, the water from which is very good; they are not running.
Thursday, 12th January, West Springs. There are a number of natives at these springs. We have seen their smoke, and both old and recent tracks. Started on a south course. At four miles and a half came upon a creek, with reeds and brackish water, running a little to the west of north. Traced it down for upwards of a mile and a half. Saw that it ran into the swamp west of where we struck it. Could see no springs upon its banks. Returned to the place where we first struck it, and proceeded a mile on a course of 120 degrees to three large patches of very green reeds, which turned out to be eight feet high. Could find no surface water except what was brackish. The country was moist all round. Thence on the same bearing for two miles. Sent Kekwick to examine some places that looked like springs. They were in the middle of a large salt lagoon, having a crust of limestone, under which the water was, and if broken open, in many places where there was no sign of water, a beautiful supply could be obtained. Changed to 245 degrees, and, at about fifteen miles, changed to 90 degrees, through sand hills. We have seen many places where water can be obtained at a few inches below the surface. Camped at the spring. Feel very ill; can scarcely sit on my horse.
Friday, 13th January, West Springs. Being anxious to see the nature of the country between this and the Mount Margaret range, I started at 6.30 on a course of 110 degrees over occasional sand hills and stony places, with splendid feed. At ten miles and a half reached a stony rise, and changed my course to 76 degrees, for five miles, to a black hill composed of ironstone. Changed to 105 degrees, for one mile, to examine a white place coming down from the range, which had the appearance of springs, but found it to be composed of white quartz. Changed again to 50 degrees to a rough hill, which had also the appearance of springs. At two miles crossed the bed of the Blyth, which takes its rise in the range. No water in it, but loose sand and gravel. At seven miles reached the rough hill, after crossing three small tributaries; was disappointed in not finding water. Ascended the hill, from which we had a good view of the surrounding country, but see no indications of water. I must now make for the second spring found by my men three days ago. Course north, over stony hills and table land, in which I crossed my former tracks going to the Freeling Springs. Arrived at the spring at 7.30 p.m. All of us, men and horses, very tired.
Saturday, 14th January, Springs South of Mount Younghusband. Examined the spring, and found it to be a very good one; it is situated near the banks of the Blyth, on the same spongy ground that I discovered last time, and which was marked off as a run. Searched about, and found two more good springs. There was plenty of water in the creek, but the dry season had made it brackish. Discovered a spring in one of the creeks that runs east from Mount Margaret. The natives had cleared it out, and the water, which was very good, was about two feet from the surface. In the other two creeks we also found springs which only required opening. I then made for the camp, where I found everything all right.
Sunday, 15th January, Milne Springs. Preparing for a start tomorrow for Chambers Creek, by way of Louden Springs; I must endeavour to find some more springs, for I am not quite satisfied yet about that country. Very much annoyed by the misconduct of the two men I left behind at the camp; they have had the impertinence to open my plan-case, and have so damaged my principal plan with their hot moist hands, that I know not what to do with it. This is not the first time they have done it.
Monday, 16th January, Milne Springs. Started at 7.10 a.m. on a bearing of 138 degrees 30 minutes. At about twenty-two miles struck four other springs, beyond the Messrs. Levi’s boundary; from one of them there is a strong stream of water flowing. They are almost completely hidden, and one cannot see them until almost on the top of them. I have taken bearings to fix them, and have named them Kekwick Springs. Five o’clock p.m. Arrived at Louden Springs. Distance, thirty-one miles.
Tuesday, 17th January, Louden Springs. Started shortly after daybreak, on a course of 110 degrees, over as fine a grass country as I have yet travelled over. At sixteen miles crossed the Douglas, running through sand hills covered with grass, but no water, nor any signs of springs. Proceeded in the same direction for eight miles, when we were stopped by a lagoon. Changed my course to south-south-west to a hill that had the appearance of water, but found beyond it another large dry lagoon, on the banks of which we saw the tracks of a single horse crossing the end of the lagoon, and steering for Lake Torrens; they seemed to be about two months old. Can they be the tracks of that infatuated man who left me on the 20th of November? In all probability he has lost my downward track and himself also. They are only about two miles to the east of mine. Camped without water on a sand hill.
Wednesday, 18th January, Sand Hill. Started shortly after daybreak on a south-south-east course, still in search of springs (crossing my outward track of last journey), at a place where I thought it most likely for them, but was unsuccessful. If I could have found one here, I should have gone direct to the Emerald Springs, but the horses would suffer very much if they were to be another night without water; the food is so dry, and the weather so hot, they cannot endure more than two days and one night without it. Changed my course to Strangway Spring. Arrived there at 2.30. Some of the horses very much done up. Camped, and gave them the rest of the day to recruit.
Thursday, 19th January, Strangway Springs. Started for the Beresford Springs. At nine miles and a half arrived there; and, at eight miles beyond, made the Hamilton Springs, where we camped for the night.
Friday, 20th January, Hamilton Springs. Started by way of the Emerald Springs, to see if Mr. Barker’s party is there, or if any person had been there and got the parcel, and forwarded it to Mr. Chambers. Arrived at the springs, and found that some one had got it. Mr. B.‘s party had gone. Went on to Chambers Creek, and found them there.
Saturday, 21st January, Chambers Creek. Here we found provisions awaiting us, as we expected; but the two men still exhibit a spirit of non-compliance, and refuse to proceed again to the north-west; they are bent upon leaving me and returning to Adelaide although they know that there are no men here to supply their places. They have demanded their wages and a discharge, which, under all the circumstances of the case, and considering how badly they have served me, I feel myself justified in withholding. I shall therefore be compelled to send Kekwick down as far as Mr. Chambers’ station with my despatches, etc., and to procure other assistance. This will be a great loss of time and expense, which the wages these men have forfeited by not fulfilling their agreements will ill repay. Here we heard of the man Smith, who, it seems, left the mare, whether dead or alive we know not at present. He was lost for four days without water (according to his own account), and, after various adventures, and picking up sundry trifles from different travelling parties, who relieved him out of compassion, reached the settled districts in a most forlorn condition. Mr. Barker had left his station some three weeks before we arrived.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00