22 March

Journal, March 22.

We continued our journey along the left bank of the creek, but with
considerable difficulty and delay occasioned by the projection of the
rocky escarpment of the above-mentioned extremities of Mount Marga; so
that we had to break away masses of rock and move the carts one by one,
all hands assisting. We at length gained a pleasant tract of land on
which the grass was green and luxuriant in consequence of some partial
rain; and on this place I encamped with the intention of next day
ascending Marga. In the creek we found ponds, deep and clear like canals;
their borders being reedy and their margins green. In these ponds the
natives speared several fishes which had however a muddy flavour. Among
them was one, apparently the eel-fish, caught during my first expedition
in the Namoi and upper Darling.* This circumstance was rather in favour
of the supposition that the streams unite; but still the fish seemed
somewhat different.

(*Footnote. Plotosus tandanus see Volume 1.)

SNAKES.

On this day’s journey we saw several large snakes; one, large and black,

was shot while swimming in a pond in the creek; the others were of that

kind named, from the beautifully variegated skin, the carpet snake. The

natives considered the latter very fierce and dangerous, saying it never

ran away but always faced or pursued them. It had in fact the flat broad

head and narrow neck which in general characterise the most venomous

snakes, also large fangs hooked inwards, which the natives particularly

pointed out. It had also, near the tail, two articulations with something

like a toe and joint on each, such as I had not observed before in any

other kind of snake. A smaller one of the same kind attacked one of the

party, and also a native, but the former shook it from his clothes, it

then fixed its teeth in the skin of the native who detached it with

difficulty; but as no blood came from the bite he seemed to care little

about it. The native name of this place was Cuenbla.