WESTRALIANA • FAUNA • FACTS • FLORA
III. John Francis Connelly's Explorations in W.a.
by JAMES CONNELLY
AFTER the timely shower that saved the lives
of the party J. F. Connelly made for South- ern Cross. He records in his diary: "Found old post with flat-sawn top, and old well silted up. On a mound nearby found a tin on which was scratched 'Isaac Blades, August 29, '93, bound to Coolgardie from Cue all alone. Mate got frightened and cleared back. Water very scarce on route I came.' I presume his mate was Tom Cagney (from the Murchison?) as I found an old envelope bearing date, May 22, 1893, addressed Coolgardie Goldfield, Southern
Cross, lying nearby."
At Southern Cross after a long, trying trip Connelly and the party rested, spelled and shod the horses and effected sundry repairs. Connelly observed in his diary: "We have now traversed spme 1,100 miles of country in â poor season, water and grass precarious and in- different, and from Mt. Ken- neth have crossed some 300 miles of trackless country with- out even seeing a water chan- nel or semblance of such, and our time has been occupied mainly in scooting from rock to rock in search of water."
Leaving Southern Cross the party struck out for Siberia via Lake Seabrook, trusting to the gnamma rock holes and native melias for their uncertain water
AT HALL'S CREEK: Gold sluicing with a "Long Tom" on
the bank of the river.
supplies. Near Siberia the party by mere chance fell in with Cudmore and a procession of pack horses bound for Cud- more's rich "Little Wonder" mine located in the vicinity of Mt. Ida. The combined forces pushed on together.
CUDMORE mentioned to
Connelly that the natives in the area were hostile to whites and that another man had been killed, making the second within a few weeks, but that the natives responsible had been silenced for ever by a few leaden pellets of the diggers. Also, he said, the Barlee blacks had speared two horses and that
16 of them had succumbed
shortly afterwards through over-gorging themselves. Hav- ing heard that there was a party on gold out from Siberia, Con- nelly decided to scour the
country and concluded that the rumour was false as nothing but a sandy waste could be seen
and no water at all.
Leaving the "Little Wonder" and proceeding towards Mount
George and Mt. Leonora, Con- nelly and party later came upon Messrs. Lawler and Doyle's party camped on a rich
patch of gold and Connelly was
shown several dishes full to the
brim with the precious metal. Here the party split up and each engaged in prospecting on
his own. Just then big groups of bronzed miners came pour- ing in, mostly from Mt. Mar- garet district almost simultane- ously with another bigger rush that subsequently set in to Lake
The water position still being very precarious a month of so later, Connelly struck out alone to Mt. Magnet—-a lonely journey since he met no-one on the long dry stage to Nesbit's well with its few, very few, buckets of polluted water; and from Mt. Magnet he pushed on to Perth, via Yalgoo, Mingenew and Berkshire Valley, a wide circuit of upwards of 2,000 miles accomplished with the one set of horses.
(To Be Continued.)