29 March

March 29.

Our next point was Mount Cunningham (Beery birree of the natives) and we
travelled towards it along the margin of Field’s Plains as the angles of
the river allowed.


This was our straightest course, but we had to keep along the riverbank
for another reason. The plains were full of deep cracks and holes so that
the cart wheels more than once sunk into them, and thus detained us for
nearly an hour. A sagacious black advised us to keep near the riverbank,
and we found the ground better. We encamped at half-past two o’clock,
after a journey of ten miles; and I immediately set out, accompanied by a
native and a man carrying my theodolite, both on horseback, for the
highest or northern point of Mount Cunningham (a). The distance was full
five miles; yet we could not proceed direct on horseback, the scorched
plains being full of deep, wide cracks; and we were therefore compelled
to take a circuitous route nearer the river.


There our guide called up three savage-looking natives with spears, whom
he described to be the natives of the hill, and they accompanied us to
the top. With some difficulty we led our horses near the crest, our new
friends always keeping the vantage ground of us, apparently from
apprehension. At length I planted my theodolite on the highest part of
the summit which commanded a fine view of the western horizon; and from
the mouths of my sable guides I obtained the native names, in all their
purity, of the various hills in sight. The most distant, named Bolloon,
were said to be near the great lake Cudjallagong–no doubt Regent’s Lake
of Oxley–and a peak they called Tolga I took to be Hurd’s Peak of the
same traveller.


Still I saw nothing on the horizon in the direction of his Mount Granard,
and in no other any hill of magnitude, except in the quarter whence I
came, where I still discerned my old friends Marga and Nangar, with
Nyororong and Berabidjal, high hills more to the southward.
Mount Cunningham consists of ferruginous sandstone. The sun had reached
the horizon before I left the summit, which I did not until I had
obtained an angle on every visible point. We arrived at the camp soon
after seven o’clock. Latitude by an observation of Cor Leonis 33 degrees
15 minutes 27 seconds South.