HOLIDAY TRIP THROUGH YORKE'S PENINSULA.
"All Work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Believing thoroughly in the truth of this aphorism, I applied, and was fortunate to obtain a fortnight's leave of absence from the office, and all its cares and troubles and anxieties, The next question was, where shall I go?....
The races were Over at Melbourne, the Sydney Exhibition was not yet open, and financial and other reasons forbade an excursion further eastward, although I had received glowing accounts of New Zealand, Tasmania, &c. So upon mature consideration I resolved once more to spend my holiday on Yorke's Peninsula, but extending my ramble so far as to take in the mining districts at the other end; and, as the water famine was then at its height, I guessed that I would see something I had never seen before.
Behold me then on a Saturday morning, a few weeks ago, at Port Adelaide, ready to embark on the good steamer Ceres for Stansbury. As I ami but an indifferent sailor—to put it mildly—I made anxious enquiries of my good friend Germ em as to what sort of weather he expected outside. He answered that he expected that it would blow a bit. I should have mentioned that my "better half" had preceded me by a fortnight, and she had sent a " loving message" by the Captain that she hoped it would blow agale when I crossed, as I had so little pity for her and others when they attempted a faint description of their experiences when at Bea. When we got clear of the river it did blow a bit, but as it was favorable we made a quick run, and so our agony was short if bitter.
On arrival, as usual on "steamer days," the whole unemployed population turned out to witness our arrival. The reception party consisted of a few ladies, the Harbor-master in full dress, the Overseer of Government Works, the Post- and Telegraph-master, a few visitors from the hotels, and a sprinkling of other natives of the soil, both black and white, and male and female. Thanks to the exertions of "Our Own" of one of the
Adelaide dailies, it is quite hopeless for me to attempt anything new about this township. Suffice it to say that it contains the orthodox number of chapels, pubs., stores, blacksmiths1 shops, a bank, a public school, a post and telegraph -office, Government and other buildings, and a couple of Justices.
Since my previous visit a very neat little wooden structure in connection with the Anglican Church has been erected, in which service is veiy creditably conducted by the local banker. I must also notice another innovation, and which is worthy of imitation by residents in the more thinly-populated districts of the colony. The people have found out from experience that some sort of amusement is essential to living. In most instances there are no facilities for spending an evening in a social manner with a few friends. 'The male portion of the community may, perhaps, be able to pass an hour or two in the local public-house at billiards or cards. Several objections may be uiged against this practice, in addition to the true one that it leaves " the girls " not only out in the cold, but dull and lonely at home. To meet these and other objections, a few of the residents form themselves into a committee, and issue invitations to as many of their friends as the room willj accommodate, intimating that a "dance" will take place on a certain sight, and that the pleasure of your company will oblige. The " at home" is generally held in the large room of one of the hotels, and judged by the attendance, the idea seems likely to prove popular. About midnight coffee and tea are served round, but if any other refreshments are desired, the expense is borne by the party concerned. I was present at two of these evening parties -one at Yorketown, and the other at Stansbury—and they proved veiy enjoyable affairs. It is no uncommon tiling to see at these visitors from fifteen to twenty miles distant; but these country people think nothing of travelling twenty or thirty miles for a little amusement, and as their horses are generally of the slow and sure breed, the occupants can with safety go to sleep, and allow the horse to find the way home himself.
When at Stansbuiy I got an invite to a private party, less than two miles out of the township. The arrangement was that the ladies were to go up in the afternoon, and myself and another gentleman after tea. We got there safe enough, after a little difficulty in keeping the right track. Our host and hostess were very find, and we spent a very pleasant conple of hours—some in chatting, while some played at euchre, and all, I believe, tasted our host's U.Y.C. About ten we made a start on our return. There were eight of us in all, and as it was a level road and a short journey we all managed somehow to crush into the trap. Our host led the horse part of the way, and gave strict injunctions that if we kept the track we were then on we were all right. We went on some distance, when we came to a branch overhanging the path. To avoid that we went off the track, and we never got on again. We went on and on and on, till we began to think we were a long time in reaching Stansbuiy; and, at last, it dawned upon us that we were lost in the bush. What was to be done ? The gentleman who was driving and a young lady, who said they knew every inch of the road, took the lamp and went on a hunt for the track. As the gentleman was rather hard of "hearing we reminded the young lady to keep a sharp look out on him, as if she lost sight of him we might lose him also, as no amount of co-o-o-eying would make him hear. They searched and searched and could find no track, and we told them to try again. We saw the light through the scrub going from point to point, and then all of a sudden it disappeared. It seems the candle had come to an end and 60 went out. In course of time they found the gate of exit, but they could not guide us to it as they had no light; and the young lady could not leave the gentleman there as he could not hear our calls, and she did not care about remaining there alone. So they concluded if they took special care in walking back, they would be able to pilot us to the wished-for place. But, alas, there is many a slip between the cup and the lip. We could not make the track, and we went on and on once more. At last we came npon an old quarry, and fortunately there was still a house alongside. One of us knocked at the door, and although the man was in bed, hs kindly got up and put us on the way; and, strange to say, we were in Stansbuiy in five minutes. This was about one o'clock next morning, and on taking an observation afterwards we found we had been describing a circle, something like Major Warburton when out exploring. Of course we got tremendously chaffed about the babes being lost in the bush, and some were so unkind as to say that we had something more than tnillf from our host.
After eight days' residence at Stansbury I went on to Minlaton or Gum Flat. It is a long dreary road, for ten miles through dense scrub, and very little to relieve the eye. After considerable agitation on the part of the residents the local Head Board were induced to clear, mak , and metal a road between the two tow.iships; but, in consequence of it not being properly blinded and rolled, the whole of the traffic is still on the road through the scrub ; indeed, some of the settlers prefer going round by Minlaeowie to using either of the other roads. There has een but little change in this township during the past year. Two indifferent harvests hare put .a stop to all enterprise, and storekeepers and farmers are content to keep as they are for another year. Still it is not altogether without signs o£ progress. One of the banks has -opened a branch, two or three comfortable-looking bush houses have been erected, and the township has been placed in telegraph communication with Adelaide ; and it was expected that they would have direct mail communication with Adelaide, via Stansbury, instead of roundabout by Wallaroo.
The Moonta Road.
At this point I joined the mail coach for Moonta, having Mr. Opie for whip. I left Minlaton about eleven in the forenoon, and reached Moonta soon after seven in the evening. The coach starts from Yorketown one day, passing through Minlaton, Maitland, and ending at Moonta, and reverses this procedure the following day, leaving at four o'clock in the morning; and continues this see-saw travelling from year to year. A few miles out of Minlaton horses are changed for the first time since leaving Yorketown. It is also the local post-office. So after a plain but substantial meal, and picking up and leaving a few mail bags, we proceed on our journey.
As the water famine was then at its worst, the appearance of the country may easily be imagined. All along the road there was nothing to be seen but either bush fires or the remains of such, and the only vehicles were drays either going for or returning with water—some of them having to go from Maitland to Minlaton, a distance of thirty miles, and then to stand for hours waiting their turn. On nearing Maitland the scenery visibly improves, the broad expanse at Yorke Valley being about the finest I have yet seen in the colony. One incident along the road is worth mentioning, and that is the use the settlers make of the driver. At short distances a man would be seen on the road, and as the coach came up he handed something to the driver, and this turned out to be a letter which it was intended should be posted at Maitland. I dare say he collected in this way over a score of letters. It was rather a difficult job to catch with one hand without stopping the horses both, two pennies and a letter, and in one instance one of the pennies was dropped, but I suppose it would be made all right next time. ~ All along the road, studded here and there, are the houses of the farmers. Of course they would compare but unfavorably with some of the houses around Adelaide; but then when people go out into the bush they make up their minds to rough it a bit, and some of them have done it; and to pay for their land is a prior consideration than a fine outside to their house. Still there are one or two houses of some pretensions in an architectural point of view. The only one of any public importance is that inhabited by Mr. Robert Colterell, formerly one of the members for East Adelaide, who has evidently left the stormy sea of politics for the quiet retirement of a lord of the soil—an occupation more in accordance with his natural abilities.
is regarded by the inhabitants of Southern Yorke's Peninsula as the finest township in the district. It is certainly favoured by nature in several respects, and by the Government in others. It boasts of several fine buildings, both public and private, a,nd if blessed with two or three good harvests will cerfca,inly make its mark in the affairs of the colony. I know some people are inclined to sneer at the local correspondent of the Adelaide dailies ; but this is another township that, I believe, owes a great deal to " Our Own" stationed there. There is nothing like keeping the wants of a place constantly before the eyes of the powers that be, and Maitland does this and has reaped the benefit. Our stay here was but brief. Half-an-hour sufficed to change horses, and once more we were on the road for
This township was reached soon after seven o'clock, and as the streets are not lit with gas, nor yet with the brilliant kerosine, I did not travel very far from the Royal that night. Next morning I was up betimes, and having made a hearty breakfast, sallied forth to have a look at the place. Never having been in this part of the world previously, I was astonished at the size and appearance of the town. Of course there were everywhere complaints of the scarcity of water, and fears for the coming harvest; but, on the other hand, there were those who could and did take • a hopeful view of the state of affairs. One farmer assured me that he did not want any rain for his farm for a fortnight, as it would only set the crop growing, and then it would be all burned up with the hot sun that was sure to follow; while another assured me that the best crop he has ever had on the Peninsula was not put in till the first week in July. Moonta boasts of two Model Schools, and I was assured by residents that one building would hold all the children, but that the influence of the Mine Directors with the late Education Board was so great that they were induced to build a Model School in the mine township, although the other building is only about a quarter of a mile distant. I intended to have written a line or two about the absence of a public-house in the mine township, but considering the correspondence that has been going on in the Register concerning this question I forbear.
The Mute Workshops.
Previous to leaving Adelaide I had applied at the Moonta Mines Office for an order to see the mine, but was told it was quite unnecessary, that I had only to say who I was and Captain Hancock would very gladly forward my wishes. I was subjected to a considerable amount of chaff by my friends in Adelaide when I told them of my intention, and many confident statements were made as to my not having the courage to do anything of the sort. But I was determined to disappoint them. So on this Tuesday morning I sallied forth on this adventure.
The mines are situated about half-a-mile from the township of Moonta, and the office of Captain Hancock is about midway. I reached the office soon after nine o'clock, and was told the Captain was down at the beach, but that he would be back soon. I then resolved to go on to the mine and enquire for one of the workmen I knew, in the hope that he would show me some of the curiosities till it was time to return to see the Captain. When I reached the mine I was annoyed to see a notice stuck up that admission was strictly prohibited except on business. As I have frequently done in similar cases, I pretended not to see the notice, but walked straight on, aud after a few enquiries I found my friend. But while I was walking another thought struck me—perhaps the workmen are not allowed to talk with visitors. However, all my fears were groundless, as I had fortunately arrived at a time when the workman are allowed fifteen minutes for breakfast, and during that time he asked and obtained permission to show me all over the surface. To me, who had but a very slight acquaintance with the mechanical arts, and none at all with the appliances connected with a large mining venture, it was a treat of no ordinary description. He took me through the carpenters', the fitting, the blacksmiths', and the casting shops ; and some of the things I saw and the processes I witnessed were most wonderful. I was shown a steam hammer that can strike 30 cwt. at a blow ; and such is the command attained over it that at one blow it can reduce a nut to powder, while at another blow it will merely crack the shell. Another piece of mechanism is for boring eyes iu the miners' picks. With one blow of this immense punching machine a piece the requisite size and shape is forced out, and the pick ready for the handle without any other preparation. Another machine is for boring holes. A piece of metal, about two inches thick, was inserted, and a piece came out just like the cork of a wine bottle. I was astonished the man did not pick up the bit that came out, and on my saying this he picked it up and passed it, as I thought, rather hurriedly to me. I dropped it like a hot potatoe. It was not red hot, but it was too hot to be agreeable. I was told that for working these machines boys are preferred to men, as it has been proved that their touch is finer, and they obtain a greater proficiency in regulating the steam by which all these machines are worked.
[To be continued.]
A HOLIDAY TRIP THROUGH YORKE'S PENINSULA.
Having seen all tliese curiosities I returned to the Mine Office, and found the Captain had returned. On saying -who I was, and that I was down on a holiday ramble, and that I "was desirous of learning something about the world-famous Moonta Mines, he at once entered into my plans and by means of numerous charts and diagrams explained, in an easy and conversational way, the wonderful underground operations carried on by the Company. He showed how far operations had been carried on in the various shafts, and by means of different colors on the chart the gronnd that yielded the best and the inferior qualities of ore, and how it had been found out that it was of no use going any further in that direction, as the indications were not favorable. In short, the whole underground workings and prospects were as carefully defined on these charts, and would be as intelligible to a mining captain as a chart of the ipcks and shoals to be met with on a voyage from England to Australia would be to a navy captain. So that whenever the state of the copper market admits, it is known at once what ground to commence on, and what will yield the best results. After some further conversation, and on my mentioning my desire to see his jigging-machine and to go down one of the shafts, he sent for Mr. S. Quintall, one of the surveyors, to be my guide. I then thanked him—as I now repeat publicly—for his great kindness in affording me such a large amount of interesting information on a subject entirely new to me.
On leaving the office my guide whispered to a boy to tell some one to get two underground suits ready, and that we would be back in a few minutes. We then made for the mines once more, and on the way I got a little information out of him. I did not take any notes, so that it is possible my memory may be at fault occasionally. The different shafts are situated in something like a circle, and are of different depths—the deepest being about the fifth of a mile. The jigging-machine is an invention of Captain Hancock, and has been a most profitable invention. Formerly there were turned out thousands of tons of what is called poor ore—that is, ore containing so little copper that it was not worth the expense of smelting. This occurs in all mines. Captain Hancock brought his mind to bear on the subject, and he has invented and patented a machine, which deals with this poor ore in such a way that thousands of tons of pure copper have been obtained from stuff which was formerly regarded as waste.
To an outsider it seems an enormous stone crusher, as the ore is put in in pieces something like road-metal, and it comes out in pieces only a little larger than rice. The ore goes through various processes before it is reduced to this size ; but by means of ingenious contrivances the stuff never gets clear of the machine until the reduction is completed. Water is largely used in the process. Indeed I was surprised at the many times—all over the mine—the same water is made to pass and repass through various machines before it is allowed to find its way to the sea. I was also told that previous to the introduction of this machine they were able to treat about three tons of this poor ore a day, but this machine has raised the quantity to thirty tons. I need scarcely add that other mines possess similar machines. I was further told that underground there are twenty-two miles of tramways, and that if all the drives were put end to end they would reach one hundred and fifty miles.
Down the Hughes Shatt.
By this time we had. inspected the jiggingmachine, the 60*horse power engine by which it is worked, and had a bird's-ej e view of Moonta from the look-out on the roof. On returning to the office my guide took me into one of the side rooms, and told me I had better undress. I was not altogether unprepared for this, as I had been told m Adelaide that undeiground visitors had to undress and dress for the journey, but I was surprised at the . extent of the operation. In short, I had to strip to the skin, and was furnished with a flannel shirt and trousers, canvass jacket, socks, and a pair of boots rather short. Then, as a headdress, we were furnished with a white linen cap—I suppose similar to those used at executions—and over all a gutta-percha helmet. My guide here disappeared for a minute, and returned with a large piece of clay, which he was moulding in his hand. ' This he divided into two, and stuck one of the pieces into the front of my helmet, and gave me a candle which was to be fastened in the day by-and-by. Fancy us in this grotesque costume having to parade for about a quarter of a mile through the township and the mine, and as it was the dinner-hour we met all the workmen going homewards. Two things consoled me—first, that no one would know me; and second, that most of those we met would be somewhat accustomed to such sights. At any rate I would not have ventured up Bundle-street in such a garb for a good round sum.
In due time we reached Hughes' Shaft, which my guide assured me was the best ventilated of any in the mine. On reaching the mouth we were told we would have to wait for a few minutes, as there was something on the way up, and there is only one line of rails in the shaft. In a short time the line was clear, and what is called a manskip was got ready for our reception. This is an iron box, in size about seven feet high, and by about two by two otherwise. There is an opening of about three feet in tbe front through which you pass, and then an iron bar comes down and so prevents you falling out. A chain connected with the engine is fastened to a hook at the top, and away you go down. We had arranged previous to starting a code of signals, so as to facilitate our examining the drives on the return journey. Previous to starting I had made anxious enquiries as to what would prevent our going to the bottom if the chain, or the hook, or some connecting rod with the engine might get out of gear. I was assured that at the sides of the man-skip there were placed several springs, and if anything went wrong they would come out, and so prevent the skip from going any further. I was also told that the necessity for these springs had never arisen, and that very few in the mine had any faith in their efficacy in case of an ac ci lent. With this consoling piece of news we departed. Now we found the benefit of our lighted candles, as it was dark as midnight. We travelled in a straight line for a considerable distance, and then we went in a slanting direction. After the lapse of some time, during which my feelings may be imagined, we came to a stop. On getting settled a little I discerned two or three men and lights. Wie managed to crawl out of our den, and I laid fast hold of my guide, for everything around looked very suspicious. On closer examination I discovered that the men we had disturbed in their work were to my innocent mind busily engaged in sinking what to me appeared to be a well, and that I was rather close to the mouth of it. The windlass was there and all the other apparatus. I was soon woke up by the intelligence that they were about firing a charge, and that we had better look out. My guide told mo not to be at all frightened, as there was no danger; but recollecting that near this very spot, only a few months previous, three men had been killed at the firing of & charge, I was not much the better of his advice. We were advised to go along one of the drives, and it would be all over in a minute. The words were scarcely spoken than the report was heard, and I then thought it was all over with me; and was beginning to hid good-bye to Adelaide and all friends when the smoke cleared away, and I heard the welcome voice of my guide. The report was as loud as one of the large cannons fired at the review on the Queen's Birthday, and as the noise reverberated through the different drives it was something grand—if it had only been at a distance. We found that our candles had gone out with the concussion, but the miners had concealed their candles in buckets and so kept them alight. After a s'r.ort delay we started along one of the drives. In some places we could walk upright, but in others we had to stoop and get along the best way we could. A plank was laid for walking on, and if you could keep on that you were comparatively safe ; and I never ventured off in case I might disappear down some hole and never be seen more. Our journey reminded me of several illustrations I had seen in the Illustrated London News, of the mudlarks in the London underground drains. The drives are about four feet wide, and in most places dry from above; but in others water was falling, and occasionally a stone, and this proved the necessity for our gutta-percha helmet. We found that the best way to carry the candle was in one hand, and shade the glare of it from our eyes with the other, as by this plan you could observe better the road you were travelling. My guide entertained me during the journey with a description of the various classes of ore displayed by the cuttings, but- not being much of a geologist it was nearly all wasted on me. He unfortunately dropped Ms candle during the trip, but as I had taken jealous care of my one, thai was soon rectified ; as it would have been a terrible job to have been lost in the dark down one of those dismal holes. After traversing this drive for I know not how long, I asked if it was just the same thing over and over again. He said just the same. So I proposed we should return. This was agreed to, and on a certain signal we were hoisted about half way up and landed, explored another drive, and viewed the place where the three poor fellows met an untimely end. The ventilation is most complete in this shaft. There is no perceptible sulphurous or other strong smell, and you can breathe as freely as on the surface. We then returned, and having once more got into our cage we soon regained the surface, and I was heartily glad, to see the light and the heat of the sun once more. We retraced our steps to. the office, where we found every convenience for getting rid of the grease and other impurities of an underground journey, and also experienced the benefit of having a change of clothes. At this point I parted with my guide, to whom I now publicly tender my hearty thanks for his kindness to me during my journey underground.
The Water Famine at Kadina.
Having heard all along the journey how badly the people at Kadina were off for water, and having also some business there, I availed myself of an offer to take me to Kadina in the afternoon. We left about six o'clock, and reached there about eight o'clock. I dare say we would have made the journey in less time, but most of my companions had an idea as to which was the track, and so the driver was perplexed in having first to take one track and then to take another—it was a case of too many cooks, and the result was that we were half-an-hour longer on the journey than necessary. In the evening I met a number of friends, and of course the conversation turned on the water famine. One of the company related an incident that had occurred the previous evening, and as he confessed that he had been one of the participators, he should know the truth. He stated that a certain woman had two tanks of water, which she would neither sell nor give away. A party of men went to her house, and asked her to sell as much as they wanted. This she refused, and they told her that if she persisted they would take it by force. She was positive. They then took her and shut her up in the house, and took as much as they wanted. Next day she thought better of it, especially as they told her they would be back again the next evening; and she sold the balance to a farmer who was passing with a mob of cattle in search of water, and the poor beasts drank it on the spot. I was assured by a well-known resident at Kadina that he would not take a cow in full milk for nothing, as he would have no water for her; and he further assured me that he had seen teamsters going from door to door begging that a little water might be sold them for their cattle.
Of course all these stories whetted my appetite for something sensational to wire to Adelaide. After breakfast I waited on my friend Mr. D. Brown, who introduced me to Mr. J. Gartrell, the then newly-elected Mayor. On learning my desire he said come with me to the railway station and you will see for yourself. We proceeded to the station, and was told that the water train would be in in about half-an-honr; meantime I had a look round. I observed more than twenty drays waiting for the water, and some of these had come five, ten, and fifteen miles. Soon after the train arrived ; and I never saw a more glaring instance of circumlocution in my life, and if it was not in connection with a question of human life it would excite a hearty laugh. It seems that this water that comes to Kadina is caught at Moonta in a Government dam. It is pumped from there into iron tanks placed on the railway trucks. These are taken along the line to Kadina. On arrival there a piece of canvass hose is attached to a hole in the tank, and the water is then run into an underground tank, and from there it is pumped into the barrel or other vessel on the dray sent for it. Eleven fourhundred gallon tanks came in the train, and this was a day's supply for Kadina and the district round about. On the Sunday previous there was no water, as the authorities did not approve of Sunday labor for their horses ; as if horses were mom valuable than human beings. We had in Adelaide a slight teste of what it is to be short of water, but it was nothing to what was experienced at this end of the Peninsula; and I hope that it may be a long time before the inhabitants of any portion of the colony have to pass through such a season as the last was on Yorke's Peninsula.
Having seen two out of the three mining townships, I thought it was a pity not to see the third, as it was most likely I should never be in this portion of the colony again. So at twelve o'clock I took the train for Port Wallaroo. It seemed lobe a very quiet easy-going township, and not presenting anything very remarkable to a stranger. After dinner I went over to the Model School, and after introducing myself spent a pleasant and enjoyable hour in witnessing the children going through their manual and intellectual exercises, under the able tuition of Mr. and Mrs. Plummer—the sister and brother-in-law of an esteemed friend of mine in Sydney. At five I took the tram for Moonta, where I spent the night, and next morning began
The Return Journey.
The coach leaves at four o'clock in the morning, and as I am not accustomed to get about at such an early hour, I saw Mr. Opie the night before, and arranged with him to call me at half-past three. When I got outside I found the coach waiting, and was at first surprised that the box seat was not occupied; but the intense cold soon supplied the answer. Soon after starting I found there were two or three passengers inside, and we had not gone far when we picked up a Sister of Mercy. Our friends were overheard complaining about the cold, and the chance of getting forty winks; but they soon settled down and, I suppose, went off to sleep. I had no idea of who or what they were, and as the driver had to look after the horses in the dark, and the temperature was very low, I did not trouble him with many questions.
An Adventure by the Way.
We were going at a steady pace, and had got about six miles from Moonta when I felt a bumping at my side of the coach, and as this was repeated several times I called the attention of the driver to it. He said he had felt it also, and he pulled up and handed me the ribbons. On dismounting and coming to the wheel under me, I asked him if the tire was all right. He said the tire was gone and taken two of the felloes with it, and that the bumping was caused by the wheel when it came round to where the felloes should be. On asking him what he would do, he said he would have to return for another coach. This was a nice state of affairs. Six miles from Moonta, a bitter cold morning, and the certainty of having to wait for two hours while he returned with another coach. By this time, owing to the stoppage of the coach and our talking, our friends inside got awake, and it was a long time before they could realise the position. By-and-bye one of them, a gentleman, came tumbling out to enquire what was the matter; and in the course of a few minutes they all got woke up, and then two other gentlemen came out. I then found out that we had the celebrated Duvalli Troupe as passengers, consisting of two ladies and three gentlemen; and these five, with the Sister of Mercy, comprised our inside passengers, and the writer was the outsider. The driver proceeded to take out the leaders, and he fastened one of them to a tree, and proceeded to get the other one ready to go back on to Moonta. The elder of the troupe suggested that it was scarcely safe on account of the ladies inside to leave the wheelers attached to the coach, and offered to take them out. Mr. Opie readily assented, and said if they were taken out and led up to the edge of the scrub they would stand for a fortnight. He then left, and his advice was at once followed with regard to the wheelers. He promised to be back in a little over an hour, but we had our doubts on the point, thinking it would be nearer two hours.
The next question that arose was how shall we pass the time. We were all strangers to the locality, and we must keep moving or we would get frozen. Talk of Greenland's icy mountains, I never felt so cold in South Australia. Two of the theatricals found out some way or other that there was a half-way house some six miles on the road, and they concluded that as we were compelled to keep walking till the return of Mr. Opie it was just as well to walk straight on as keep sentry over the coach, and on they went. The halfway house turned out to be one of the public water-tanks erected by the Government, and it was empty. I learned that the troupe had been performing at Kadina the night previous ; that they had started as soon as the performance was over, reaching Moonta just in time to join the coach which had just broken down. The departure of these reduced the male passengers to two, and for an hour and more we kept a dreary watch over the disabled coach and the sleeping beauties. At last my companion got tired of watching and started backwards, thinking he would get a ride back in the other coach. Now I had to do my dismal walking alone. This continued for some time, when one of the horses took it into his head that it would move a few paces into the scrub. I took but little notice of this, as I thought that the poor brute would be none the worse of a bit of some thing to eat. By-and-bye the other wheeler followed suit, and I took no notice, as I thought they would not go far, and would be easily brought back when Mr. Opie returned. I listened and heard their footsteps in the scrub, and concluded it was all right. After a short time the thought flashed upon me, suppose these horses get lost, and when Mr. Opie comes back he will attribute alltheblame to me for allowing them to stray. Full of this thought I proceeded in search of them. At first I thought I heard them. I went further. I again heard them in another direction and followed that, and after going on in this way I concluded that I had lost all trace of them and thought of returning.
This was easier said than done. I had so turned about in following them that I did not know where I was. I tried and tried to strike the road and failed, and then thoughts of being lost in the scrub came troubling me. Thoughts of home and dear ones then came crowding in, and for a few minutes I had all the experiences of one lost in the bush. Even now while I write this dreadful feeling haunts me. I thought also that no search would be made for me, as when Mr. Opie returned they would tell him that some of the gentlemen had waited on, and he would at once conclude that I was with them, and would depart and leave me behind. Still I pushed on, and at length to my great joy came on the road at a considerable distance from where I had entered the scrub ; and on looking down the road I saw the gentleman who had walked backward returning, and leading the two runaway horses. He said he found them down the road about a mile, and they were making straight for the stable. Mr. Opie would have caught them further down, but still it was a lesson to me not to let horses stand alongside the scrub unless they were fastened in case they got away, and some of the passengers got lost when going in pursuit of them. Soon after Mr. Opie returned with another coach, and after we had got all the luggage and passengers transferred we proceeded at a rattling pace on our journey, having one or two hearty laughs at our adventures in the scrub. We reached Maitland about two hours late, where we parted with our theatrical passengers, as also the Sister. Minlaton was reached about two o'clock, where I parted from Mr. Opie, to whom I was indebted for much interesting information as we travelled along; and who, I believe, is deservedly held in high respect by all who have occasion to travel on that line of road.
I returned to Stansbury on the Saturday, and crossed per the Ceres on Monday, April 28. That was the day of the fearful gale, and we got the full benefit of it, and of course had our share of accidents. First the main-boom over the poop snapped through as if had been a lucifer match, to the great danger of the passengers in the neighborhood, and as the sea was running very high it was not an easy job to get them out of danger. Then the boat got adrift, and there was considerable fear that it would be lost; and last, but not least, something went wrong with the sail on the mainmast, but that too was righted without any special damage, although it looked for some little time rather dangerous. Port Adelaide was reached soon after, and so ended my holiday ramble through Yorke's Peninsula.