These consisted of an uninterrupted run of about 30 miles of devil-devil country. It was a succession of small gutters and mounds, which, to a sick man in a cart without springs, was intolerable. We arrived at Burketown about November, 1866, and the public house was the only place in which I could get accommodation. There I suffered all the nightly noises incidental to a bush shanty.
On the north coast, Burketown, under the care of William Landsbrough, was growing up, and in the north of Arnheim's Land, M'Kinlay was looking for a suitable site to establish a port for the South Australian Government. Somerset was formed on the mainland of Cape York Peninsula, and the formation of this led to the expedition of the Jardine brothers.
* Gulf of Carpentaria. One day, so the clergyman related, a man named Potter was travelling from Burketown to Port Denison, and camped beside a small water-hole to rest until the morning. After unsaddling and hobbling out the horse he had been riding, and unloading the pack-horse, he threw his packbags at the foot of a Leichhardt tree, lit a fire, and began to boil a billy of tea.
Before leaving I purchased a microscope which was for sale, and presented it to the doctor of the expedition with sincere thanks for saving my life. During the time I was in Burketown, Mr. Sharkey, Lands Commissioner, came over from Sweers Island, and offered to submit my name for the Commission of Peace, and said Mr. Landsborough, the Police Magistrate, would swear me in. I declined the honour.
At the Gulf of Carpentaria the township of Burketown was springing into existence, under the care of William Landsborough, the explorer; and in the north of Arnhern's Land, M'Kinlay was looking for a suitable site to establish a port for South Australia.
As he picked himself up and shook the dust from his clothes he glared back at the horse, saying "You blurry liar!" Out on a station in the Burketown district an athletic black boy was employed. Trained by some friends, Charley developed such fleetness of foot that it was decided to enter him in sports which took place at Normanton and Croydon.
Carruthers, seeing the helpless state I was in, and the condition of affairs generally, engaged Mr. Reg. Uhr to take charge on my behalf, whilst he took me down to Burketown, distant 155 miles, in a cart, with two horses. The road was almost deserted, and the blacks were very bad.
This I found later to have loosened my teeth, and 15 grains of quinine daily seriously affected my hearing. The local chemist was then sent for. He felt my pulse, looked at my tongue, and prescribed a box of Holloway's pills. I paid him his fee of one guinea, but almost needless to say which advice I followed. I remained in Burketown about a fortnight, slowly recovering.
Burketown at this time was an almost new settlement, with a population of about 50 whites, but the number of graves of those who died within its short life from fever was more than twice as many, and increasing daily.
My uncle visited Clifton late in 1867, and decided to have the sheep boiled down at the works owned by Mr. Harry Edkins, on the Albert River. During his stay at Burketown he became the guest of Mr. Surveyor Sharkey on Sweers Island, and met Miss Huey, sister of Mrs. Edkins, late of Mount Cornish Station, who became the second Mrs. Corfield.