So just where did John Mcdouall Stuart camp on the night of Tuesday, 22nd June, 1858, the spot he called Permanent Water Creek?
Well, I reckon I was there yesterday. There are several dry waterholes in the vicinity of a big bend in Crozier Creek, in a general area that fits with the description in Stuart’s journal, the topography of the area and my understanding of his route and campsite.
Tuesday, 22nd June, Andamoka. Started on a bearing of 342 degrees. At seven miles and a half, crossed a low stony range running east-north-east and west-south-west, which turned out to be table land, with sand hills crossing our line, bearing to a high range east of us 93 degrees 30 minutes. About eight miles in the same direction there is the appearance of a long salt lake. At nine miles and a half, on a sand hill, I obtained the following bearings: Mount North-west, 60 degrees 30 minutes; Mount Deception, 95 degrees. At eleven miles and a half passed a large reedy swamp on our left, dry. At seventeen miles sand hills ceased. At eighteen miles and a half the sand hills again commenced, and we changed our course to north for three miles. Camped for the night at a creek of permanent water, very good. The last four miles of to-day’s journey have been over very stony rises with salt bush and a little grass.
Wednesday, 23rd June, Permanent Water Creek. The horses had strayed so far that we did not get a start until 10 a.m. Bearing to-day, 318 degrees. At two miles crossed a tea-tree creek, in which there is water, coming from the stony rises, and running to the north of east. At six miles the sand hills again commence. To this place we have come over a stony plain, covered on the surface with fragments of limestone, quartz, and ironstone, with salt bush and grass. In a watery season it must be well covered with grass; the old grass is lying between the salt bushes. We have a view of part of the lake (Torrens) bearing north-east about fifteen or twenty miles from us; to the west again the stony rises, apparently more open. At ten miles, in the sand hills, we have again a view of Flinders range. The bearings are: Mount North-west, 78 degrees 35 minutes; Mount Deception, 107 degrees. At fourteen and a half miles we found a clay-pan of water, with beautiful green feed for the horses. As we don’t know when we shall find more water, and as Forster has a damper to bake, I decide to camp for the rest of the day. Our route has lain over heavy sand hills for the last eight miles.
Trig Bluff is about three quarters of a round hill, the south side continuing several kilometres and joining other high country to the south, way back near the head of Crozier Creek.
Waterhole in Crozier Creek, one of several likely spots for John McDouall Stuart’s camp.
So Stuart would have picked up Crozier Creek near it’s head and followed it down on one side or the other, maybe crossed it, till he found water and camped.
From there, it fits to go north west and cross Teatree Creek about 1km north of Trig Bluff. Stuart would have gone that way to miss the high country of Trig Bluff.
Following up the west side of Crozier Creek, I came on a reasonable track which led to a point where there is a sign about start of the mining area, so I turned back, sooner than get shot at.
Might give it another go, either on the track or cross country on the east side of the creek.
Although there are areas around that apear to be pretty much as they were in Stuart’s day, vast areas of country appear to have suffered bad erosion in the days of overstocking, rabbit plauges and drought. Accordingly it’s not hard to imagine that Crozier Creek and Teatree Creek may have been fine creeks in a good year, 150 years ago, before silting up of the waterholes and swamps occured.