Wednesday 14 September 1836

[, who arrived in South Australia on board the wrote. | Read source notes.]

Wednesday 14th September.

This morning, the weather being beautiful, Field and I started after breakfast with our guns and penetrated nearly three miles into the interior which considering the height of the hills we found a very long and fatiguing walk. We met with no sport but the views from the top of the hills were beautiful. The soil in the valleys is excellent but that on the hills is shallow and mixed with rock and stones of many kinds, viz: lime-stone, coarse slate and an inferior kind of marble. We found some fine Cypress and Cedar trees, likewise daisies similar to those found in English meadows. Flinders mentions a peculiar feature of the country which we found very striking in today’s excursion. I allude to the combustion which a great part of the trees have undergone and which I can only attribute to the passage of the Electric fluid and not, as some have said, to the burning of the bush by the natives. My reasons for coming to this conclusion are first, that the same phenomenon exists in Kangaroo Is. Where there are no natives: and secondly, that the trees thus found are for the most part isolated, there being no traces of combustion around them – indeed I have in many instances found a large tree reduced almost to charcoal surrounded by and close to a cluster of others in a state of vigorous health. There are many speculations on this subject which will be, I doubt not, soon set at rest. If lightning had been the cause we shall most probably see its most recent effects in the summer and our intercourse with the natives will satisfy us as to its being their handywork or not. We dined at the tents and then came off.

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