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PIONEERING ON THE WHEEL. RICHARDSON'S RIDE ROUND AUSTRALIA AN INTERESTING INTERVIEW. No. III. ("BY PEDAL.") HOSPITALITY AT POWELL'S CREEK. Powell's Creek (the overlander re- marked) is famed among overlanders, teamsters, and line repairers travelling up the line to Port Darwin, because of the warmth of the hospitality extended to all of them by the tele- graph master, Mr. Kell, and his wife. It was at this oasis in the desert that McDonald, who sped across Australia from north to south in less than one month, spent five years of his life. The other cyclists who have been through - Murif, Mather, and Coleman - all speak in glow- ing terms of the excellent treatment meted out to them at this, one of the most im- portant stations on the line. When day after day a man toils along under the broil- ing sun, and night after night hides him- self away in the solitary bush or dreary scrub, it is some comfort and encourage- ment to know that ahead a warm welcome is awaiting him. You have already learned of the manner in which we four cyclists met away in the centre of Northern Aus- tralia. Frank White was in a most ex- hausted condition, and was exceedingly anxious as to the condition of his brother and Mackay, whom he had left without food or water, 50 miles out on the baking plains. For two days we were in a state of unrest, but one evening at sundown the niggers who had been sent out with pack horses and provisions returned with the too wheelmen, who had nearly perished, but who, in their dogged persistency to cycle round the continent, refused to ride the horses, but came in on their wheels by easy stages. STARTING FOR QUEENSIAND. It was a happy time that we spent at Powell's Creek, and the four of us needed rest. During part of the time we occupied ourselves in overhauling the machines, and I made some water cans to serve me when traversing the stage to Queens- land, and when completed they carried three quarts. A day before I resumed my journey the others set off for Port Darwin, and we parted under agree- ment to meet again at Perth if we all got through safely. The temperature was at 115 degrees in the shade when I struck out for Queensland, and entered upon a ride which those who had just come across told me meant certain death. One of the dangers which I had to guard against up to this stage now disappeared, for the country was too dry and open for niggers at that time of the year. Mile after mile one travels over open plains as hard as flint, but which in the heavy rainy season become soft. During the winter season cattle are grassed there, and the ruts made by them in the pads across the plains make them unrideable. Hot northerly winds blew against me day after day, and the tropical sun beating down upon me un- mercifully, with the plains seemingly cracking in the heat, made travelling exceedingly trying and wearisome. BUSHED ON AN OPEN PLAIN. I lost over half a day in a peculiar man- ner on these plains. I had camped at a water hole for the night. Next morning I selected what I thought was the proper track from the many which led from the water hole, but found that it did not follow in the right direction. Many others I tried, but without success, and I had the somewhat unusual experience of being bushed on an open plain. Cattle when travelling in mobs in dry seasons can smell water when within two or three miles of a hole, and once they do smell water they stampede in all directions. This accounts for the labyrinth of tracks which I found myself in, and which caused me to have lunch there as well as breakfast. Even- tually l found the proper path, and rode well into dusk to make up time, for the sight of diminishing provisions causes one to become feverishly anxious to lose no time. OVERCOME BY HEAT. That week of cycling will never be for- gotten by me. From morning till night I toiled on over the arid plains and through the low lying scrub country. Sparing in the use of water which I carried and only drinking when forced to, I was constantly tantalised and tempted by the shimmering mirage which seemed to accompany me. One long day I seemingly rode or trudged along with a calm, clear lake away in front of me. I camped for lunch in the shade of a tree, the leaves of which could have been shot off with a saloon rifle in ten minutes, and try as I would that tempting lake became to me almost a reality. I must have been feverish and hot-headed that afternoon, for I rode as if mad until I reached a deserted station known as Era Downs. Here I camped for the night, and was so exhausted that for the next day I lay on the floor and spent a wretched time. The place was only a log humpy with the iron roof half blown off. The blasting hot winds which felt like a furnace swept across the plains and howled dismally through the cracks of the building, while the swinging sheets of roofing iron creaked incessantly. I altogether forget leaving that place, but I can   remember being quite terrorised during the night, because of my half-demented condition and the dirgelike moaning of the

wind. Through it all the one thought uppermost in my mind was that of con- serving the water in the cans which I had made, but the want of food must have driven me away from Era Downs and urged me onward. Discovering a Real lake   I had only ridden for about four hours on an excellent pad, when I noticed a sudden change in the country. The bare hot plans gave place to scrubby, stony lands, which fell away rapidly in places to breakaways and washaways. Before I could realise it, I came upon a settlement and beheld lubras and other natives about. Lying in a deep, scrubby hollow was a fine lagoon, oval in shape and containing a fair amount of water. In two minutes I found myself shaking hands with a police trooper and learned that I had come upon the famous Anthony's Lagoon police station. Mr. Giles, the trooper, made me most com- fortable, and I had a fine clean up. I took a shower in a primitive fashion by standing on a box while the natives threw buckets of water over me. I stopped at the station for a couple of days until thoroughly   well again. NEARING QUEENSLAND The next stage, as far as Brunette Downs, was another waterless one, but there were not such monotonous bare plains, and the journey occupied only two days. Here it was that I saw signs of a visitation of rats. The open, grassy downs country which is crossed between An- thony's Lagoon and Brunette Downs was alternated by red loamy rises and flats, with low timber and scrub. I camped at a "gilgi," or waterhole, on the first night out, and the next day reached the station. Thirty thousand head of cattle are carried on Brunette Downs, which is managed by Mr. Hutton; one of the best known and most popular men in Northern Australia and Western Queensland. A herd of goats which they run there provides good milk and a change from beef. Taking a Short Cut. Heavy rains fell while I spent a couple of days with Mr. Hutton, and the black soil country became utterly unrideable. As far as Alexandra Station I had an exceed- ingly rough time, the stage of 66 miles   being made against strong head winds and over bumpy plains. From Powell's Creek I had pursued the same track as that fol- lowed by the White Bros. and Mackay, but instead of keeping south-east along the track to Cameoweal, which is across the Queensland border, and then striking north to Burketown, I determined to cut across country and strike the Cameo- weal-Burketown-road, about 200 miles north of the former place. This I succeeded in doing, but though it saved me nearly 300 miles travelling I had a long weary stage of 108 miles across water- less waste. Once into the Herbert Vale station I had left the Northern Territory behind me, and was into the somewhat

mountainous country over the Queensland border. At Lilly Lagoon I struck the mail road from Commonweal to Burketown. Following it up for a couple of hundred miles and running parrallel with the Gregory river with its fine wide waters fringed with fig trees and pandamus palms I reached Burketown and clvilisation once more on October 23, nearly five months from the time of starting. CROSSING THROUGH QUEENSLAND. Of my journey through Northern Queens- land and across the fine pastoral and mining countries from Burketown till reaching the coast at Townsville, there would be much to tell, but these parts having been traversed by cyclists for some time I need say nothing save that all along I met with kindest treatment, either at the "out back" mining camps, with the teamsters, at the far back station home- steads, or in the towns. Crocodiles I saw in plenty all the way across the north of Australia, and they continued well on into Southern Queensland. I cannot say that I had any hairbreadth escapes, however. Alli- gators were seldom seen, except near the coast line, where the tidal waters affect the rivers or creeks. One morning, after a steady climb of 25 miles to the top of a big range running parallel with the coast, I, for the first time, got a glimpse of the Eastern coast, with Townsville lying on Cleveland Bay 30 miles away. The first view of the Eastern Ocean was a fine streak of blue on the horizon. It had taken me over three months to cross from East to West of the continent. Down the Eastern Coast Along the Eastern coast, through Rock- hampton, Gympie and Brisbane, then over the border into New South Wales, and   down to Sydney I enjoyed fine weather, fairly good roads, and magnificent scenery. Everywhere I met with a great reception, and enjoyed myself immensely. Bush fires were prevalent from Albury to   Melbourne, but I landed at the Victorian capital on Christmas Eve. Four days later I left for Adelaide, and on January 5 set out for West Australia. NEARING HOME Up to the time that I left Port Augusta and entered into the desert country lying   between there and our eastern goldfields I had spent a pleasant tour from Queens- land. Here again, however, I had to face   several hundred miles of heavy dreary   travelling. Knowing that the old road was somewhat sandy I tried a new track   and found that the going was much easier.   To Caloona Station on the eastern edge of   the Nullabar Plains and near the coast line   I kept to the old route. From there, how ever, I kept nearly 100 miles inland and crossed the plains where there was a fairly good pad, and much less sand than on the old road. From Eucla I kept to the old road as far as Eyre's Sand-Patch, and   then went along a totally new route for 140 miles to Pontons. Then I crossed the sandy deserts to Frazer's Range, and got to Norseman late in January. From Cool gardie to Perth I had a rather bad time of it, but I finished the circuit in a day less than eight months full of go and could do it again straight off if necessary. HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS Many people warn me that I shall feel the effects of the ride later on. How that can be I am at a loss to understand. The trials were no greater than hundreds of our prospectors have had to withstand, and many of them are undergoing similar trials to-day in the search for gold "out back." Our special wheelmen of the earlier days have had to bear similar hardships and have come through them all right. Hundreds of times have men, while out pioneering on the deserts been in similar fixes to those which I found myself in, and they have got out of them all right and no one was any the wiser nor were they any the worse for it. Only those who have done pioneering and prospecting work know what these men have suffered in the opening up of the country and know what a great factor they have been in the remarkably rapid progression of this colony. OFF TO THE WAR. As to my future movements I am not certain. If the Boers do not get a bullet into me, for I am going to the war with the Bushmen's Contingent, I may accept an offer which has been made to me by the Humber Company, one of whose trusty racing machines was for many solitary days my steed and companion in one, to perform another long journey in another country. The authorities will, I think, allow me to-take my machine to South Africa with me, and, if I can get a chance, you may be sure that I will not hesitate to give a practical illustration of what an Australian wheelman can do on the wheel in any sort of country. Let me say, in conclusion, that I cannot for a moment be persuaded that the wheelmen who are being sent to the seat of war from England-men who do not possess the slightest knowledge of hushmanship; who have never roughed it in "outback" country, and who carry mudguards and brakes, would be in it with an Australian, and particularly a West Australian overlanding cyclist who has had any experience of pioneering on the wheel