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Taking it to the edge: Land: Peter Egerton Warburton

''the foot was much esteemed as a delicacy, though a great deal of time was requisite to cook it to perfection.''
Warburton, Peter Egerton, Journey across the western interior of Australia London: Sampson Low, 1875 page 217

Sir Thomas Elder had a strong interest in the exploration of Australia's remaining unexplored places. He hoped that new pastoral lands or mineral resources would be found and allow him to recoup his expenses in financing explorers. In 1873 Peter Egerton Warburton was financed by Sir Thomas Elder and set out to make a crossing from the Overland Telegraph Line to Perth.  He was equipped with 17 camels and accompanied by two Afghan cameleers, Richard Warburton (the leader's son), JW Lewis and Dennis White as cook and Charley, an Aboriginal man. 

They left Alice Springs 15 April 1873. Pursuing a route to the north of the MacDonnell Ranges he discovered less water than anticipated and turned north (away from the direction of Perth).  The explorer were continually forced north in the search for water. At the Treuer Range they were forced southwards to Eva Springs, and then westwards again towards the Great Sandy Desert.  More spinifex and sand and finally a chance encounter that led them to the native wells which Warburton named after the Battle of Waterloo.  The party stayed here sometime, with the men and camels recuperating, and then proceeded north-north-west and located Mary Springs, where the water was permanent and easily accessed.  Warburton was nearing the region that Augustus Gregory had reached in 1856 - Sturt Creek but encountered dust storms that drove the expedition west again.  Bishop's Glen was discovered; with plentiful water and shady trees it was a brief reprieve before again pushing onto the west.  Heat and lack of water were their greatest problems, as well as their dwindling provisions.  The camels were dying, and Warburton famously provided a recipe for cooking a camel. By early November Warburton was forced to make a dash for the Oakover River.  Joanna Spring was found and the expedition had only five camels left.  John Lewis was sent ahead, both to search for water and seek help.

On Christmas Day 1873 the expedition ate its last camel, weak and helpless in the rain that came too late to save them.  Lewis arrived with a relief party several days later.  Warburton's expedition was of no positive value to either South Australia or Western Australia, revealing only the extent of the desert lands in the area between the Telegraph Line and the Oakover River.  Warburton's plotting of his route, done with a faulty timepiece, was to have dire consequences for a later expedition.

A camel foot needs to be boiled for 36 hours
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Charley is praised for his efforts
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Charley locates water
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How to cook a camel
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Night travelling over poor country
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Warburton barters for fresh meat
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