THE GOLD SEARCH EXPEDITION.
The following, which is Mr. Babbage s final report, has been handed to us for publication:— Sir— In my last report. No. 11, I gave an account of my proceedings no to the time of. nsv return t& Mount
letter I related the series of untoward circumstances which prevented my accomplishing all I could have wished, how I had been deserted by the native who was my sole attendant, and with difficulty extricated myself from a party of strange blacks who attempted to get my provisions, and subsequently lost my horses for two days and had to track them on foot through an unexplored country for 20 miles before I succeeded in finding them. I have now the honour to furnish the particulars of my homeward-bound journey, and to report my arrival in Adelaide, on the 2nd December, after an absence of nearly four months. From Macfarlane's station at Mount Serle I went across the country to Perntmna, Bakers head station, where I learned tho murder of the hutkeeptr at tho Angipoena out-station, end found a corporal aid trooper of the Mounted Police, who had arrived the day before^ and were about to start in search 6f the blacks supposed to have been concerned In this murder. Finding that there was no other magistrate within 156 miles of that place, I thought it desirable, whilst waiting for the arri val of my letters, to institute an enquiry upon the spot into the particulars of the murder. Accordingly on the 5th November, the day afler my arrival at Pernunna, I went over to Angipeena, accompanied both by the po- licemen and by those persons who had seen the body after the murder, in order to take down their evidence respecting it on tho spot,, and to scour the country in search of some blacks supposed to be hidden in the neighbouring ranges. The following day I returned to Pernunna and from Pernunna proceeded first to Gid's station and then on to Chambers's head station at Mount Samuel. From Mount Samuel I went by the Patachitna Creek and the Horse Gully to Aroona, and from thence along the usual track to Wilpeena. From Wilpeena I went across the country to War- kowie, crossing with some difficulty Chace's and the Druid's Ranges on horseback, over preoipitous ridges of quartz rock. I next examined the very interesting piece of country between Warkowie and Warrawilka, and then crossed the plain of the Wonoka Creek to Kanyaka. Here I was detained several days by indis- position. As soon as I was sufficiently recovered I left
Kanyaka and went on by Coonatta, Pekina, and Narinary to Kenowie, where, however, I was again de- tained one day by a violent storm. I then went on to the Burra, and spent a day in examining the mine. Not being provided with an order from the Directors I was not allowed to go below ground, but Captain Roach obligingly requested one of his assistants to furnisn me with all the information in his power. From the Burra I followed the road to Clare, aud thence struok across a very dense scrub to the southern end of the Hummock Range, where I had to camp out all night without water. From the Hummock Range I pushed down south, and, again camped out without water in the scrub about five miles north of the Gilbert. The following day I arrived at Port Gawler, where I stopped to get some information from Mr. John Browne respecting the country east of the Lake, which he visited when out with Captain Sturt, and came on the next day to Ade- laide. On returning south from Mount Serle to Mount Stuart, limestones and ferruginous slates and shales are found alternating with quartzose sandstones near Decep- tion and Slidingrock Creeks. Between Mount Stuart and Mount Samuel the ranges have a backbone of quartz rock, whilst in some of the gullies green shales are met with, strongly indicative of the presence of copper. One of Mr. Chambers's stock keepers informed me that he had found a bed of malachite about 18 inches in thickness, which he had traced for half a mile from the side of Flinders Range into the western plain ; the exact locality, however, was not dis- closed. The low hills between Chamber's station and Mount Samuel consist chiefly of semi-crystalline blue and coloured limestones, alternating with iron slates. From Mouut Samuel to Heyward's Bluff, Flinders Range appears to consist mainly of a silicious sandstone, having a general westerly dip. In the recesses of this range, near Aroona, is found the red ochre so much coveted by the natives as a pigment for their persons. From Aroona to Wilpeena I followed nearly my old track, and have already described in my previous reports the nature of the country between these places. Chace's and Druid's Ranges consists of silicious sand stone, with a central rib of quartz rock, highly inclined, at angles varying from 60° to 80°, towards the south. These two ranges run nearly parallel to each other, at a distance of from two to three miles apart, and in the plain between them hard blue limestone, having the same southerly dip, presents itself; whilst upon their southern side, near Warkowie station, purplish coloured slightly micaceous slates, also dipping south, are to be met with. About six miles south-west of Warkowie is a group of detached peaked hills, arranged in a circular form around a nearly level plain, covered with a dense mallee scrub, of about three miles in diameter. Several deep creeks take their rise in this plain, and run out westerly from be- tween these hills to join the Wonoka Creek. These creeks, as indeed is the case with the whole bed of the Wonoka Creek, contain amongst their drift numerous partially rounded fragments of igneous rocks, chiefly basaltic hornblende, and one of these hills, which I ascended, consisted wholly of similar rocks. From the circular disposition of these hills and the nature of their com- ponent rocks, I imagine them to be the remains of the crater of a submarine volcano, which must have been subjected to long-continued erosion by water since the period of its activity. I did not see any signs of lava having been ejected from it, although possibly a more minute examination of the neighbourhood might lead to its discovery.
The country between Kanyaka and Pekina consists chiefly of limestone, calcareous shales, and slates. To the north of the Mochra Tower, a singular rocky emi- nence on the top of a range, the general dip is easterly and southerly, at angles varying from 20° to 35°, but to the south of Mochra Tower the inclination changes, and he strata dip to the south, and west at about the same inclination. A few miles north of Pekina I found some loose fragments of felspathic porphyry similar to one I had picked up in a creek on the western side of Flinders Range, opposite the Charlton Mine. I also found at this place a very hard silicious conglomerate. A few miles south of Pekina, near the "Hogshead,' is a very large development of haematite (oxide of iron), entire hills appearing capped with this ore. In the same neighbourhood blue and green carbonates of copper are also found ; in fact, it would appear to be rich in mine ral wealth, and to be deserving of a careful examination hereafter. The rocks in Rocky Gully consist of coarse grained silicious sandstone and slate, the latter near a spring, which breaks out on the west side of the gully, containing boulders of several varieties of granite, amongst which was one identical in composition with a small rounded boulder of granite which I had picked out of an ancient gravel, bed near the Old Spot, at the Little Para, on my first journey. Abont Narinary are found argillaceous and arenaceous slates, having the same N.N.W. strike which prevails in all the country between Adelaide and the Broughton Biver. At Redruth, north of the Burra, blue silicious slates crop out, dipping 60° to the W.S.W. As far as I could leam the mine appears to be situated in a great hollow amongst limestone rocks. Some of the lodes penetrate the limestone, but are thought to become less rich in ore the farther they enter the bed rock, and have not as yet been followed to any depth in it. In crossing the Camel's Hump Bange I encountered beds of thin slates and hard silicious sandstone dipping to the west. The southern end of the Hummock Range consists of hard silicious sandstone, as well as of softer red and yellow sandstones. On a low hill in the scrub, between the WakeSeld and the Gilbert, I met with a compact limestone, succeeded by a very dark silicious sandstone highly coloured with iron. Between the Gil- bert and the immediate neighbourhood of Adelaide I crossed alluvial plains presenting to the passing traveller but few opportunities of observing the strata. Having thus endeavoured in my several reports to give the best account of the geological features of the country that my limited means of observation would allow of, I beg leave now to lay before you a resume of the conclusions at which I have arrived respecting the probability of finding either gold or coal in any quantity In the country I have lately visited. The nature of the surface soil of a country necessarily depends upon its geological formation, and most mate- rially influences the character of its vegetation. If, then, the trees growing in this colony be compared with those of Victoria and New South Wales, the ironbark will be found to be wholly wanting here; and even the stringy bark, which is common to all three, is not, as far as I am aware, found in this colony anywhere to the north of Mount Remarkable. Nor ought this difference in the character of the trees at all to surprise us, seeing that in the cold countries igneous rocks of volcanic origin cover tracks of country 30, 40, and even 50 miles in ex tent; whereas here the few igneous rocks to be found, with some slight exceptions, form at the most narrow dykes of three or four feet only in breadth by a few miles in length. All the geologists who have investigated the subject consider that there is an intimate connection between the production of gold and the development of igneous rocks; nor can I myself believe that gold will be found in any abundance where igneous rocks are practically wanting. Nevertheless, as for the reasons given in my previous report upon my first exploration, I pointed out the North and South Rhines and the Barossa Range as localities worthy of further examination, so I should wish in the present one to direct especial attention to the neighbourhood of Warrawilka as a likely field for prospectors in search of gold. I should also wish to direct attention to the neighbourhood of Truro and Mount Remarkable as places to be examined. Mount Brown, Mount Arden, and the country around Mount Serle have been all partially examined by the party sent out under the charge of Mr. Bonney, without, however, any result, as not even a single speck of gold was found in any one of these localities. In my report No. 10 I mentioned my discovery of a tract of granitic country, and the fact of my finding a few pieces of rocks of volcanic origin in the bed of one of the creeks flowing through it. This is the only piece of country which I nave seen in my recent tour where the nature of the rocks may be said to be geologically favour able to the production of gold ; but as Mr. Bonney's party did not get farther north than Mount Serle before it was recalled by the Commission, there was no oppor- tunity of actually testing this country by digging. I cannot, therefore, do more than recommend it to the notice of future gold-seekers, although the paucity of water would probably render it useless as a gold-field. I am inclined to the belief, from what I have seen, that there is no coal in the north. I did not succeed in finding more than one trace— and that a doubtful one— of organic remains in any of the rocks there; and although I believe that the ferruginous slates, sand stones, and limestones, so largely developed in the north country, are more recent than the clayslate formation of the Mount Lofty Range, I consider, from my not having found any organic remains, that they are probably still of a considerably earlier epoch than that of any of the known coal-fields. In my letter from White Park I stated my wish to examine the Hummock Range and the shores of Spencer's Gulf in search of coal. Time did not permit of my carrying out this part of my project, and I only succeeded in paying a hurried visit to the southern end of the Hummock Range on my return journey. I am still of opinion that the Hummock Range and Yorke's Peninsula are the most likely places in tho North in which to find coal ; and I should recom- mend that if, on further examination, the indications should appear to be favourable, borings should be made in the most likely places, in order to solve the question by a practical test. Before concluding this report it may not be amiss to point out generally the line of country which has been explored, together with the time occupied in its exami nation, as regard must be had to the opportunities afforded me of examining the country in judging of the value of my opinion respecting the probabilities of find ing either gold or coal. In my first journey, which occupied 15 days, I was accompanied by a man on horseback, well acquainted with the country, and during that time cursorily exa- mined the country from Gawler Town to Tanunda, Angaston, the North and South Rhines, Reedy Creek, Tungkillo, Mount Torrens, and back to Adelaide. The dray, with the three men constituting the northern expedition, left Adelaide on the 16th and arrived at Mount Remarkable on the 29th August, occupying 11 days in the journey. As the whole time was employed in travelling, with the exception of one or two days to rest the horses, there was no opportuity for the men to do more than occasionally wash a few tins of earth at any likely place which they came to. The route taken by the dray was the northern road, via Gawler Town, Ayliffe's, Clare, and the Gulnare Plains, to Mount Re- markable. During these 14 days I, myself, traversed tho country from Gawler Town, by Greenock Creek, Truro, Mount Rufus, Waterloo, Saddleworth, Watervale, Clare, Anama, Crystal Brook, and Flinders Range to Mount Remarkable. As I was alone on horseback my means of collecting specimens were limited, and any prospecting or washing for gold was of course out of the question. Mr Bonney. to whom, in accordance with an express stipulation of the Government, the leadership of the party had been confided, having joined us at the Mount on the 30th August. the whole party travelled on together to the Ocanigan? Pound under Pattewarts? via
Mount Brown, the Mud Hut near Mount Arden, Kan- yaka, Wonoka, Wilpeena, Young Una, and the Willigan Creek to Ouanigan, which was reached on the 20th Sep tember. During this time two days were specially de- rttted to the gold search-one ia djgginfc at Mount 8tdwn1andthe other in exploring the neighbourhood jf Ranyika-'and two or three days were spent between Mount Eemarkable, Bawnsloy's Bluff, and Pattawarta, o enable Mr. Bonney to check the surveys of the runs ib deposited in the Crown Land Office. During this period I was myself occupied in making excursions to btamine the country to tho right and left of our line of route. From Pattawarta Mr. Bonney and I rode on to Mount Serle by the main gap and Pernunna, and finally parted on the 25th September, Mr. Bonney returning to town, and I continuing my journey northwards. Whilst Mr. Bonney and I were going on to Mount Serle, the dray with the men were sent to Mount Samuel, Chambers's head station, to await Mr. Bonney's return, as the road northwards was so hilly that Mr. Bonney judged it was less to attempt to send the dray on any furlher. On arriving at Mount Samuel, Sir. Bonney, at my request, sent Miller, one of the men who had had the greatest experience in gold-digging, to Mount Serle to examine the country, and to dig and wash for gold in the neigh- bourhood until my own return from the north. Mean- while, the other two men remained in charge of the camp and dray at Mount Samuel, with instructions to prospect for gold in any likely-looking localities, and Mr. Bonney himself returned to Adelaide. Whilst Miller and the other men were thus occupied in digging and prospecting for gold, I started from Mac farlane's station, near Mount Serle, for the far north, in company with two blacks, and discovered Blanche- watcr and the granitic country about Mount Hopeful, as I have named the hill with a peak mentioned in my former report, together with the passage across Lake Torrens. This expedition occupied me 12 days. On my return, I went down to Mount Samuel, and finding that not a single speck of gold had been found by any of the party, I dispatched the men with the dray to town, as agreed upon with Mr. Bonney. They left Mount Samuel on the 13th October, remained by my directions three days to dig and search for gold at Mount Arden, and finally arrived in town on the 2nd December. After the departure of the dray I returned to Mount Serle, and made an attempt again to penetrate into the north, accompanied this time by a single black. Owing to the black having deserted me, and left me to the tender mercies of some of his countryrmen, who had cast a longing eye upon my provisions, the loss of my horses,
and the other circumstances more particularly detaiied in my letter of the 1st November, I was enabled this time to advance more than 60 niiles north-east from Mount Serle, and returned by the Frome to Macfarlane's station. Whilst awaiting further directions from the Commission, I investigated the circumstances connected with the murder of one of Mr. Baker's hutkeepers,and exa- mined the country about Angipeena. I had made my arrtangements, for a third time attempting to penetrate into the interior, to visit the reported freshwater lake said by the blacks to lie from 50 to 80 miles about S.N.W. of Blanchewater, and to verify the practicability of the passage across Lake Torrens, by crossing from my Mount Hopeful to Manouwalko, the first permanent water on the eastern side of the lake, when I received a letter, dated the 13th October, from your Secretary, an- nouncing the intention of the Commission to recall me from the scene of my labours. My route on my return to Adelaide being detailed in the preceding part of this report, I need not farther allude to it here. It maybe observed, in reference to this summary of our proceedings, that owing to the soft state of much of the ground to be traversed, and the hilly nature of a portion of it, the progress of the dray and the expedition under the charge of Mr. Bonney was but slow, and left but little time for the more practical operations of dig- ging and prospecting. In fact, as far as my own labours were concerned, the expedition with the dray was only a clog upon upon my movements. It added materially to the expenses of the expedition without bringing a corresponding practical advantage. I beg to conclude this report with a few general ob- servations respecting tne northern part of our colony, which may tend in some degree to satisfy the curiosity which the late discovery of Blanchewater has naturally excited. It must be evident to every person travelling north wards that a change in the appearance of the country takes place from ten to twenty miles north of a line drawn through Mount Remarkable and Kenowie. The white cockatoos, with the yellow crests, so abundant about the Mount, the native turkey, as it is popularly termed, and the small variously-coloured parrots and paroquets disappear altogether. The common wattle, with its fragrant yellow blossom, whose presence adds so much to the beauty of the Mount Lofty Ranges, is found no more ; whilst the gum-trees, with few excep tions,-such as the Pound at Wilpeena, are confined to the sides of creeks, instead of being dotted ovor the surface of the ground in park-like profusion. The hills also become much more rugged, and the ranges ex- change the rounded outlines of the south for sharp peaks and lofty precipices. This change in the features of the country coincides generally with a change in the geological formation; the clay slates being succeeded by a great development of sandstone and quartz rock alternating with ferruginous and cal- careous slates and limestones. It is, however, on record that one white cockatoo, apparently exhausted by a long flight, was shot at Ouanigan, and others have been seen on several different occasions high overhead abeve the valley of the Frome, winging their way to the far north. I found, myself, numbers of these cockatoos about Blanchewater, and the blacks assure me that they abound about the freshwater lake still further north than that place. I also saw a solitary wild turkey near Blanche- water. The northern plains appear to be much better adapted for pastoral than for agricultural pursuits, as so many of them, although possessing good loamy soil, are strewed with a great, profusion of angular stones of quartzose sandstone, of about the size of road-metal. The
soil, containing at some places a great quantity of very small fragments of white quartz, and at others of black oxide of iron. About ten miles South of Blanche- water there is a sprinkling of grass and salt bush, in creasing in quantity towards the southern ranges, but about the water and to the north of it I saw scarcely a blade of grass, excepting where the rainwater lodges in the hollows, at which places .tho feed is pretty good. In the bed of MacDonnell Creek, north of Blanchewater, there is a great quantity of rushes, which afford good feed for the wild cattle, whose tracks I saw. Below Blancbe- water and St. Mary's Pools, MacDonnell Creek runs in a rotten plain of sandy loam, with little or no feed at present, excepting in the rainwater hollows ; and a few miles further north the creek splits into three branches, which again unite into one channel, about four miles off. The chief vegetation consists of a low, scrubby bush, with, I believe, a yellow blossom (query, Hakia?), and an abundance of small flowers of various colours. I saw one or two isolated gum-trees, and a few bushes of the miall acacia. All the branches of MaoDonnell Creek are fringed upon both sides with gum-trees, and their beds contain a fine gravel and sand. I did not see any sal- solaceous plants, or other signs indicating tho proximity af Lake Torrens. On going from Blanchewater across the plain towards Mount Hopeful, a granite hill, with a detached peak, about 10 miles south of Eyre's Mount Hopeless, I met with two salt creeks, with brine springs and salsolaceous plants growing near them ; but at both places I found a redeeming feature in the shape of small springs of fresh water— in one case in the bed of the salt creek itself, and in the other within a few yards of it. Eyre, who must have crossed these creeks a little to the north of my track, mentions the finding of brine springs near Mount Hopeless, and condemns the country in consequence. He appears to have been confirmed in this unfavourable opinion by finding that he was near the latitude in which Mitchell met with salt springs in the bed of the Darling, showing how un- wise it is to allow any previously-formed idea to prevent a traveller from thorougly exploring the country on both sides of his line of route. Had Eyre done so, he would probably have found Blanchewater to the north of his track, and some one, at least, of the eight or nine pieces of permanent water which I found in the ranges to the south of it. I have mentioned the fresh water lake, stated by the blacks to lie four ' sleeps,' which may mean any dis- tance from about 60 to 80 miles, N.N.W., or thereabouts, of Blanchewater. They told me, in answer to my en- quiries, that it is not upon MacDonnell Creek, and I think from the direction which they pointed out that it vory probably may be upon the River Frome, which lies to the west of MaoDonnell Creek. I feel persuaded that Blanchewater and this as yet unknown lake are by no means isolated cases, but that a careful examination of the larger creeks running into the plain of Lake Torrens will reveal other depots of fresh water, which may eventually enable our flocks and herds to occupy the whole of those plains which we have too hastily set down as portions of a dry and arid desert. The fact of the migration of birds towards tho north, so long ago noticed by both Sturt and Eyre, is conclusive that a well-watered country must exist in that direction. Since the time of Eyre's exploration in 1841 it has been assumed that this watered country, if it exists, must be to the north of the lake, but I am not without hopes that Blanchewater may prove to bo on outlying portion of it. The fact, as stated by the blacks, that there are four stages north of Blanchewatcr, extending over some 60 or 80 miles, at each of which water is to be found, would certainly seem to indicate the journey to be through anything but a desert country. I made many enquiries of the blacks respecting Lake Torrens, and was repeatedly assured that there was salt water all round— that is to the west, north, and east of Mount Serle— and that there was only one place where men and horses could cross it, that place being, as I mentioned in my report No. 10, rather more than a day's journey to the east of Mount Hopeful. Since the date of that report I have had an opportunity of comparing notes with Mr. John Browne, who, in company with Mr. Poole, when out with Captain Sturt, struck the eastern margin of the great salt lake in nearly the same latitude as Mount Hopeful. Mr. Browne told me that when there he saw numerous tracks of the natives leading to and from the lake, thus confirming the account that the blacks gave me of tho firmness of the bottom at this place, and the possibility of crossing the lake there. I stated in my last report my belief that the granite country of Mount Hopeful was connected with the Barrier or Stanley Range, by a bar of granite crossing below the lake, and the probability of this being the case is, to my mind, much increased by the disposition of tho granite in the south-eastern portion of this colony. On examining the map it will be seen that if a line were drawn from Mount Gambier in the south-east to Mount Remarkable in the north, it would pass through granite in the following places :— Lacepede Bay, Tilley's Flat, Bonney's Wells, the upper crossing-place above Wellington, and the low granite hills in the Murray Scrub, east of Tungkillo, whilst it would also pass through tho crater of the ex- tinct sub-aerial volcano, which I found near Angaston, as well as Mount Schanck, another extinct volcano in the south-east. The direction of such a line would be as nearly as possible magnetic N.N.W., which I have found to bo the direction ef the quartz and basaltic dykes of the North Rhine and Kaiser Stuhl, and which agrees with the usual strike of tho strata throughout tho clay slate formation north of Adelaide. This line, along which granite has been protruded upwards at intervals, becomes the more interesting when it is considered that at one end are the extinct volcanos of Mount Schanck and Mount Gambier, whilst at tho other end are the Angaston volcano and Mount Remarkable, the base of which I pointed out in my report of the 30th August as having been the seat of volcanic ejec- tions. The length of this singularly-defined line of igneous action is very nearly 400 miles. If a parallel line wctc drawn through the granite country of Mount Hopeful, it would pass near if not immediately through the Stanley Range, which Sturt describes as consisting of granite and basaltic rocks (and where I think gold ought to be found from this description), and would cut the supposed crossing of Lako Torrens. Reasoning from analogy, it would be a fair inferenco to draw from this disposition of the country that Mount Hopeful and the Stanley Range are likewise connected together. Should my anticipations respecting the crossing of Lake Torrena be confirmed by subsequent exploration, it will prove a great advantage to the northern settlers, as it would throw open a road for their cattle to the well watered and fertile shores of Cooper's Creek, aa well as supplying an accessible road to the country about the Barrier Range, where we know, from Sturt's description, that there is a tract well adapted for pastoral purposes. It is true that access might bo obtained at present to this latter country across the desert plain forming the upper or south-eastern extremity of the Torrens Basin; but this would involve driving tho cattle for very long distances without water, whereas by Mount Hopeful the stages wonld be comparatively short, as the watering places I discovered are not far apart. I find very great discrepancy between tho maps of Eyre and Sturt of the country about Lake Torrens. Sturt makes Mount Hopeless 43 miles south-west of the position assigned to it by Eyre, whilst Eyre himself lays it down upon his map as 100 miles from Mount Serle whilst in his book he says that it is nearly 90 miles. From my own observations I find Eyre is more correct than Sturt in the position assigned to Mount Hope- less; but I question whether it is quite so far from Moont Serle as he makes it. According to both Eyre's observations and my own, the two points at which Sturt struck the eastern shores of the lake must really be about thirty miles more to the east than he makes them on bis map ; but as I had no instrument with me excepting a prismatic compass, I was not able to fix my farthest points positively within some five or six miles, and the determination of their precise position
must be left to be accomplished by some future ex- plorer, who, more fortunate' than myself, may have the opportunity afforded him of completely removing that veil which at .present conceals from us the mysterious features of the Torrens Basin. ' ' . I have annexed to this report a map of the country which I havo explored north of Mount Serle, upon which I have marked the track of my various journeys. I have given upon this map the native names of most of the watering-places I visited. I have, &c., B. HERSCHEL BABBAGE. J. B. Neales, Esq., Chairman of the Gold Search Commission.