On the way to Swan Hill

CHAPTER FIVE
Menindie to Cooper's Creek

WRIGHT LED them off along a route that was some- what to the east of Sturt's track of fifteen years before, and by making twenty miles a day they hoped to accomplish the 400-mile journey to Cooper's Creek in under a month. It was a pity they had left the scientists behind because they were now breaking fresh ground, and with every mile they were coming on plants, insects, birds and natural phenomena that had never been observed, or at any rate classified, before. For anyone whose eye was customarily filled with green in nature it was, perhaps, a desolate country, but now the spring had begun and wild flowers were starting to cover the red earth; wild hops of a brilliant magenta colour, the yellow and white marshmallow, Sturt's wild pea (which proved to be quite harmless to the camels), an everlasting daisy, its petals as dry as paper, the salt bush and the blue bush.

For mile after mile the plain stretched away in front of them and even a small object on the horizon--a low line of purple hills, a clump of gums round a waterhole--became a great goal to be reached because it was new, because it was something on which to fix the mind in so much uneventful space. By night the

-58-

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Cooper's Creek
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Illustrations vii
  • Chapter One - The Ghastly Blank 1
  • Chapter Two - Sturt 12
  • Chapter Three - The Expedition Assembles 26
  • Chapter Four - The Journey to Menindie 42
  • Chapter Five - Menindie to Cooper's Creek 58
  • Chapter Six - To the Gulf 69
  • Chapter Seven - The Rearguard 81
  • Chapter Eight - The Return from the Gulf 88
  • Chapter Nine - Back to Menindie 100
  • Chapter Ten - Towards Mount Hopeless 113
  • Chapter Eleven - The Rescue Parties Set Out 124
  • Chapter Twelve - Howitt's March 135
  • Chapter Thirteen - Back to Melbourne 149
  • Chapter Fourteen - The Royal Commission 159
  • Chapter Fifteen - The Public Penance 193
  • Note 211
  • Index 215
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