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14 WESTRALIANA 4 FAUNA 4 FACTS 4 FLORA |

Part IV. The last phase of J* F. Connelly's explorations in W.Ä.

SOUTHERN FIELDS

FROM April to November in 1895, Connelly

and twp brothers,v Walter and Alf, pros- pected from Katanning to Phillips River, on through the Bremer Ranges to Peak Charles and across to Mt. Ragged (a wild mulga rush). They travelled thence to Dundas and the Norse- man on behalf of a Perth syndicate (Hassel, Barrett and Co.). Here again they met with drought conditions and hardships, suffering the loss of four horses out of eight owing to poison

bush. N

Connelly's expedition suffered severely on this trip and the brothers found themselves forced to undertake a tramp of 135 miles dry stage from Norse- man to Coolgardie. Several persons perished of thirst both before and after the Connellys and Edwards (of the "Ed- wards" Norseman reef) suc- cessfully accomplished the task. In Giles's Track

QF the "Ernest Giles's Expedi-

tion" which at this time was battling its way through the same area traversed by Con- nelly; Connelly in his diary

HISTORIC TREE: The tree on which J. F. Connelly. Jun., carved: 1890. N.S.W., J. F. Connelly, Perth. An acre reserve protected the tree which commemorated the discovery of

gold on the Nannine line of reef.

says: "We came across several of Giles's camps and he appears to have had a hard time of it. At one spot 35 miles S.S.E. of the Bremer, we saw the charred remains of provisions, tools camel packs, tarpaulins, etc., at sundry bonfires evidently lit for that purpose; and the pots dishes, cups, plates, etc are seen to be deliberately pick punched with neither more noi less than three holes each, and scattered broadcast. These per-i

forations we conclude corre- spond with the number of camels the aggrieved prospector has lost-for we saw the re- mains of such deceased at places many miles apart-also the water casks and odds and ends at other abandoned camps.

"The camels probably died through eating poison bush with which this country is infested; for we have to record the death of two good horses and very nearly the loss of two others from the dreaded weed (these two later died). We have been battling our way through densely wooded thickets in our endeavour to get through tn

[here (the Bremer Ranges)

which few others have so far succeeded in doing. Giles, the explorer, is camped somewhere

j near to Mt. Holland (I learn)

and he has been 12 days cutting and breaking his way ¡through thickets. He is a ¡born bushman, but I am afraid he has not the knowledge of practical mineralogy."

Leaving Coolgardie Connelly and party struck out towards Kurnalpi, and when nearing

Gardoonia some 40 miles south of that place, came across the remains of a prospector who had been brutally murdered by having his head bashed in. This they reported to the police at Frazer's Range Police Station, and continued on to Kalgoorlie, or Hannan's as it was called then, and returned to Perth.

He signed an agreement with Mr. A. F. Calvert, of London (who was then on a visit to W.A.) to take command of an expedition to explore the Nor'- west of W.A. and out east ol Cue. But even Connelly's rast iron constitution was unable to stand the severe treatment to which he had subjected his body over the past five years of pioneering through the rough, inhospitable, drought-stricken land. He contracted a severe attack of typhoid fever and was compelled to abandon the

venture.

Wells Expedition

y NABLE to obtain Connelly's

services, Mr. Calvert pro- ceeded later to Adelaide, and the "Wells" expedition was the outcome, terminating with sad results in the death from thirst of two members of the expedi- tion (Jones and Wells) some- where on the great W.A. Ant- rim plateau desert.

One may well ask what urg- ings of the spirit prompted these early-day pioneers to pit their health and strength in an almost lifelong contest with the elemental forces of nature? Few achieved fortune, and still fewer achieved fame. Con- nelly was fortunate in achiev- ing a fair measure of both, but this, was scarcely explained to his continual longing to sec what was on the other side of the hill. In this respect Con- nelly's brothers were hardly more stable than he, for they I too chased the weight through-

out the length and breadth of I Australia and New Zealand

¡Ned, Tom and Charlie even ex- pending the chase to New

Guinea and the . Solomon Islands, but they at least curbed their wandering inclina- tions after marrying.

Regaining his health, Connelly and his brother Walter signed an agreement for three years' engagement with the City Ex- ploration Company of London to make practical mining ob- servations on the mineral fields of W.A. After serving 18 months they both resigned-J F. Connelly, to proceed to N.S.W. and Tasmania to act for

the "Leach Exploration and Finance Company" and Walter to mine in the Thames Valley. New Zealand, with Mr. Paddv Bonfield, late mining adviser for the "City Exploration Co

of London."

After an absence of two years he returned to W.A. and pros- pected on the Murchison and opened up the "Soudan" gold reef out from Nannine.

(To be concluded.)

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