Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Desert Column Forum Pix
Desert Column Forum Pix

Uploaded pix which appear on the Desert Column Forum.

eXTReMe Tracker
A TROPER LOST IN THE BUSH.
A TROPER LOST IN THE BUSH. 
 

Mercury and Weekly Courier, Friday, 18 January 1901, p. 2

A TROPER LOST IN THE BUSH.

During- the march from Johoonda via Pouri Pouri to Reitfontein, it was discovered that Trooper Quinlan was missing. As it subsequently transpired he had departed before daylight to have a shot at some buck, and had got "bushed." Lieutenant French and a trooper, with a spare horse, went in search of him. They met with no success, and a stronger search party was out under an experienced bushman (Sergeant Blair). Still the missing man was undiscovered. In the evening, men of the squadron held a meeting and determined to find Quinlan before proceeding further with the march. They interviewed Captain Tivey on the subject. He saw the necessity for pushing on to Tuli, for supplies were getting short, especially horse feed. However, an equipped party was again, sent out comprising a black tracker, Trooper Phillips (formerly a police tracker in Queensland), and a thorough bushman (Sergeant Major Esler). Subsequently the B.S.A. Police were communicated with, and made up a search party of six English Johnnies and two niggers. The Australian bushmen were now put on their metal - their prestige was at stake.

Lieutenant Macdonald, after the squadron had reached Shashi river, had charge of the advance guard and sent Lance-corporal Lowe and Trooper Pike to scout -ahead. These men, while passing through a jungle, had an exciting encounter with a lioness; they beat her off, and galloped for their lives. During the night the beast prowled around the camp, roaring and growling. A few days later Lieutenant French arrived with the news that Quinlan had been found, after three days in the bush. It seems that Quinlan dropped off his waggon, and went 300 yards into the bush to "pot" a buck. He shot the animal, and, reckoning he could overtake the waggons later on by making a short cut to a bend in the road, he lay down with the buck for his pillow and went to sleep, and slept till 2 o'clock in the afternoon. He then had to bring his bushcraft into requisition, but he was at fault and struck out in a wrong direction. He ascertained this and camped for the night. He had no water with him. Lieutenant French had faith in Quinlan's bushcrafr, and reckoned the latter would take his bearings from the sun, and ultimately get on the right track. The search parties found lion tracks among the sand patches and believed Quinlan to have been devoured; but Lieutenant French was confident the lost bushman would be guided by the sun, and set off due west, where, sure enough, he picked up Quinlan's tracks in a sandy creek. In following the trail Trooper Phillips was invaluable. Stopping at one place, Phillips said "He is getting weak, and is using his rifle as a support." Further on the rifle was found in a creek with a message written on it. The Australians then made the kopjes echo and re-echo with the well known coo-ee. They ultimately received a faint coo-ee in reply. Quinlan was found under a tree with a swollen tongue protruding from his mouth. In a hoarse, husky voice he asked for water. His tongue was put back into its place and he was given a drink.

His body was parched and dried up The place where he was found was about 14 miles due west from the road. He had gone without food or water for 60 hours. He said he wad followed by vultures who hovered around him whenever he sat down under a tree. Quinlan has the reputation of being a good bushman, a rough rider and athlete, and a first class shot.