Page:The new British province of South Australia.djvu/48

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SOUTH AUSTRALIA.

concile the discrepancies which occur between his and their statements.

From the head of the port he went to Sleaford Mere, for the purpose of ascertaining whether its waters were fit for the ship's supply. The way to it he represents as being over low land covered with loose pieces of calcareous rock; the soil was moist in some places, and though generally barren, was thinly overspread with grass and shrubs, interspersed with a few clumps of small trees. After walking two miles he reached the lake, but unfortunately he found the water brackish and not drinkable. The shore was a whitish, hardened clay, covered at this time with a thin crust, of which salt was a component part. On his return he found a moist place within a hundred yards of the head of the port, and caused there a hole to be dug. A stratum of whitish clay was penetrated about three feet below the surface; after which water drained in, which was perfectly sweet, though discoloured.

Captain Flinders further says that the above description may be taken as applicable to the country in general; "it is rocky and barren, but has a sufficient covering of grass, bushes, and small trees, not to look desolate." Many strangling bark huts were seen upon the shores of Port Lincoln, and the paths near the tents erected by the navigators had been long and deeply trodden, but no natives were met with. There were kangaroos on the main land, but none were caught. Captain Flinders thus winds up his account of Port Lincoln.

Vol. I. p. 148.—"Port Lincoln is certainly a fine harbour; and it is much to be regretted that it possesses no constant run of fresh water, unless it should be in Spalding Cove, which we did not examine. Our pits at the head of the port will, however, supply ships at all times; and though discoloured by whitish clay, the water has no pernicious quality, nor is it ill-tasted. This, and wood, which was easily procured, were all that we