The highest peak, which presents a buttressed face to the north, and overlooks our peaceful bay, is crowned with a forest of bloodwoods, upon which the jungle steadily encroaches. The swaying fronds of aspiring palms, adorned in due season with masses of straw-coloured inflorescence, to be succeeded by loose bunches of red, bead-like berries, shoot out from the pall of leafage.
The days were closing in now, the nights were cold, so we were away before sunrise, and, leaving the rolling sand, came again into mulga thickets, with here and there a grassy flat, timbered with bloodwoods the tail end of a creek no doubt rising in the sandstone cliffs we had seen ahead of us.
The drongo shrike is another permanent resident; glossy black, with a metallic shimmer on the shoulders, long-tailed, sharp of bill and masterful. He has a scolding tongue, and if a hawk hovers over the bloodwoods he tells without hesitation of the evil presence.
Thence the sound passes on through the wattles and bloodwoods to the narrow tea-tree swamp lined with dwarf bamboos and dies in echoes in the distance.
Leaving the rock-hole, we steered for Mount Romilly, first following down the little creek from the gorge until it ran out into the sand in a clump of bloodwoods. Then crossing a plain where some grass grew as well as spinifex, we came again into sand-ridges, then another plain, then a large, dry clay-pan West of Mount Stewart, then more ridges up to the foot of Mount Romilly.
I noticed a considerable change in the country to the East, over which there spread a forest of desert oak, and near the sandhills thickets of ti-tree. The well seems to be at the head of an ill-defined watercourse, which, lower down, runs between an avenue of bloodwoods.
It is of course necessary to name these hills for future reference, and this range got its name from somebody's remark that it was hardly full grown. From the knob the hills run in a crescent, a line joining the two horns being North-East. In the bend of the crescent I could see some very green-looking bloodwoods and made sure we should find a creek.
From the summit a noticeable flat-topped hill, Mount Cox, named after Ernest Cox, also of Coolgardie, bears 76 degrees about fifteen miles distant, at the end of a fair-sized range running S.S.W. Between this range and that from which I was observing, I noticed several belts of bloodwoods, which might be creeks, but probably are only flats similar to that crossed by us.
No such luck! for we followed the channel until it no longer was one, that is to say its banks became further apart, and lower, until its wash was spread out in all directions over a flat whose limits were defined by bloodwoods and grass. Here we found an old blacks' camp and spent some time examining its neighbourhood.
The bold white trunks of giant tea-trees glowed; the creamy blooms of bloodwoods were as flecks of snow; the tips of the fronds of coco-nut palms flickered vividly as burnished steel; the white-painted house assumed speckless purity. All light colours were heightened; ruddy browns and sombre greens seemed to have been smartened up by touches of fresh paint and varnish.