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John Gilbert diary entry

17 February 1845 - 19 February 1845

Page 30. Volume 2

[in left margin]


Fourth Bullock killed

cannot be less than 16 miles328 and probably more, which will be a long stage for our Bullocks, but as we have to kill a Bullock they will have several days rest before commencing so hard a days work. on arriving at Camp, we heard that the Natives had been seen during our absence, once by Charlie when alone looking for the horses he came upon their camp, he was it appears received in a very friendly manner by them, they made him several presents, the most remarkable was a fine Calabash, similar to those so commonly met with among the Malays, whether there is a species of Gourd growing on the Coast is not impro=bable, but the first impression on my mind was that they must of originally been introduced by the Malays when visiting the Coast, or they may have been picked up from the Wrecks on the Coast, the only thing which renders it probable they are an indiginous production is the number they appeared to have, Charlie says they had a great many, and much finer than those he obtained, Calvert α Charlie afterwards rode out to their Camp, but the sight of them on horse back or the appearance of a white Man, so alarmed them, that they in the most hurried manner picked up their different things, and immediately decamped, yelling α screaming and beating the tree’s. In the evening we killed our fourth Bullock329.

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Tuesday 18.

The whole day engaged in cutting up and drying our meat, we are this time again trying a further experiment of drying our Bones α fat. previous to this we have always rendered the fat down, but in many instances, we have found fat attached to pieces of the dry lean to the last of the stock, and which to the last has been perfectly preserved, we think therefore that there is a chance of drying the fat if like the lean it is cut in thin slices and exposed to the sun, this being the fattest Bullock we have yet killed will give us an opportunity of fairly testing our new experiment.

[in left margin]

Wed 19

Our Meat α fat promising well; every one busily engaged greasing Saddles, Boots, Straps α c[om] α c[om]. To day we had another of those unpleasant outbursts which have so frequently occurred from the Drs extraordinary mode of treating Natives, Charlie who went out after breakfast to look for the Horses, was away till after=noon, the Dr was annoyed, and at Charlie's return instead of quietly asking his reason for being so long absent, immediately commenced threatening him, Charlie who came in tired and in an ill humour, was not therefore in a mood to take it quietly, and he made some reply which I did not hear, the Dr then I understand (for being in my tent I only heard a little of it) rushed up to him shaking his fist in Charlie's face and threatening to knock him down, and thus provoked Charlie into a passion when he struck the Dr two or three heavy blows in the face the Dr trying to hit Charlie who how=ever was too active for him, they were of course immediately separated, and the Dr immediately Banished Charlie from our Society α Camp who appeared to care very little about it, and there was a war of words passed between them. Charlie saying [in] conclusion that "he had been so often abused by the Dr, and now he was determined to stand it no longer that he would not leave the Camp and that he would follow us but without taking any of our food as he could procure plenty to eat” At night the Dr quietly requested Charlie to leave our Camp and go to his own fire which he very quietly did at once, and Brown when all his work was done very

Note 328

It is about 18 kilometres (11 miles) in a straight line between Partridge Pigeon Camp and Bawley’s Last.

Note 329

Hence one of the names for the campsite was “Bawley’s Last”. This was the bullock provided by Gilbert. Leichhardt recorded (1847: 157) that it “turned out a fine heavy beast, and gave us a large supply of fat meat and suet”. Murphy recorded that it gave at least 200 lbs of meat and 40 lbs of fat (Sprod 2006: 39). For this bullock they experimented with keeping the fat, slicing and drying it, and found it actually improved with age.