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Taking it to the edge: Land: Ernest Giles - third and later expeditions

Third and Fourth expedition 

''…but the explorer does not make the country, he must take it as he finds it. His duty is to penetrate it,…' '
Giles, Ernest Australia twice traversed … London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1889 page 246

Giles' next expedition was a survey of pastoral land near Fowler's Bay and equipped with horses and camels he went to Ooldea and Wynbring, Aboriginal waterholes, before making his way to Sir Thomas Elder's camel stud at Beltana. Here he was fitted out with 15 baggage and seven riding camels. His party consisted of William Tietkens, Jesse Young, Alex Ross, Peter Nicholls, Jimmy an Aboriginal guide and Saleh an Afghan camel driver. At Port Augusta supplies were collected and another Aboriginal boy, Tommy, and the expedition set out on 25 May 1875. This time Giles intended to travel along a more southerly route, midway between the Bight and his previous expeditions. Travelling up the western side of Lake Torrens, he travelled north of Lake Gairdner, to Mount Finke, Wynbring and Ooldea. From Ooldea he headed north and discovered native wells at Ooldabinna. From here Tietkens and Young scouted to the north and Giles to the west. With no prospects to the north the whole party re-united and pushed west. Some rain had fallen and an Aboriginal dam Giles had found was now overflowing. Just over the Western Australian border, it was named Boundary Dam. They camped here for a week. They then headed out again, Giles confident that this time, with camels, he would reach Perth. It was 325 miles to the next water. Queen Victoria Springs was found by Tommy, who tracked an emu, otherwise it might have been passed in the scrub. There now remained nearly 400 miles to Perth. The next water was at Ularring reached on 13 October. Here again they rested but were attacked by Aborigines, and left on 18 October. Six days later they reached Mount Churchman and were on the edge of the pastoral lands east of Perth. The rest of the journey was in easy stages and they reached Perth 24 November. The journey would not have been possible without camels. Giles had found some valuable water supplies in the desert, but these were too isolated to be of any value to pastoralists.

Fifth expedition 

Giles was determined to return to South Australia overland and to return by a different route, and to link up with his earlier expedition with Gibson and Tietkens.  Jesse Young and William Tietkens however returned by sea.  Giles left Geraldton on 18 February 1876, having travelled up from Perth.  From Geraldton the party travelled north-east to the Gascoyne River and then north to the Ashburton River.  Giles followed this to its source and was still 450 miles to the west of known water in the Rawlinson Range.  He was by now almost blind with ophthalmia and a range of hills was named accordingly - Ophthalmia Range.  Only the camels got them through, but even some of these died after eating poisonous feed.  Eventually Giles sighted the western side of the Alfred and Marie Range, and water was found, enough to enable them to reach the familiar territory of the Rawlinson Range.  Finally on 9 August they reached the Overland Telegraph Line at Mount O'Halloran (the Neales River) and then followed it down to Beltana and home.  Giles had accomplished a double crossing, and added substantially to the knowledge of central Australia.  His work also conclusively proved the value of camels in exploring Australia's deserts.

Australian exploring expedition in the scrub
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Conflict of interest with another expedition
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Gibson continues on alone
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Giles and Tietkens set out to look for Gibson
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Giles reaches safety after parting from Gibson
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Giles staggers on with a water keg
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Queen Victoria Springs discovered
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Search for Gibson continues
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The burden of leadership
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The explorers had a bath
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The last day Giles saw Gibson
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The search is called off
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