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John Gilbert diary entry

21 February 1845 - 22 February 1845

Page 32. Volume 2

[in left margin]

688

16 miles

12 N.W.

arrange by packing the two black-fellows Horses. Roper soon after we left the Camp remembered he had left something behind for which he returned, and to his surprise saw Brown there, who it appears was already sick of his new bush-life, and wished Mr Roper to tell the Dr he should again join us at the next Camp. Fortunately the day was rather cool and our Bullocks travelled the whole 16 miles very well; soon after arriving at the Water-hole in the bed of the river330, Charlie came up to us and enquired for Brown, taking a fire-stick he very quietly left us and made his fire about 200 yards beyond us, he appeared before us as a regular Bush-Native having thrown off all his cloth[e]s, being naked, with the exception of a sort of Girdle which he wore round his loins, made of strips of Opossom α Kangaroo Rat skins, and which hung half way down to his knees; Brown however did not make his appearance.

[in left margin]

Sat 22.

Reconciliation Camp

Lat. 22=11=0331

Early in the morning Brown made his appearance having last night missed our tracks, he went too far up the river, he looked fagged α hungry, and expressed his desire of returning to his duties, and promised the Dr every thing he desired of him, it seems he α Charlie have both fared very indifferently since they left us, and this alone is sufficient to induce them to give up the precarious mode of subsisting for the more sure and satisfactory daily supply. The Dr α I went out to explore the River and search for water, steering N.W. we did not come fairly upon the river for several miles, after crossing the Creek near which we camped without water last week, we followed up nearer the rivers bank, when at about 8 miles we started a flock of Cockatoos from the river, thinking there might be water, we examined the bed and found a string of small Natives wells, where Pigeons α other birds were collected in great numbers, soon after this we crossed the river and examined a small Creek running in from the South but having no water, from this we cut off a considerable angle of the river, when about a mile farther we saw a large creek coming in from the opposite side332 we again recrossed the river, and following up the creek for about half a mile, we fortunately found a fine pool of water, that is to say a fine pool to us as compared with what we have so often been obliged to be content with, here we rested for two hours, and again following up the river in a mile α a half came upon a chain of small water holes at the edge of the scrub333, this the Dr thought a very good stage and far better place to reconnoiter from, than the sandy well at the present Camp, we therefore returned to Camp, steering about South-East to the Camp, and thus avoiding all the bends of the river, we made out the distance to be 9½ to 10 miles. Soon after our return Charlie very humbly begged of the Dr to allow him to return to us, the Dr did not yield to him untill he had held a consultation with us, and the result was that he was forgiven, and allowed to rejoin us, however much I have before differed with the Dr in his mode of treating the Natives, I cannot overlook or feel inclined to excuse Charlie in the slightest degree for the gross language he made use of to the Dr and the heavy α serious blows he inflicted upon him, I therefore as well as others of the party wished the Dr to take him back conditionally the principal of which, and that which we concluded would be the severest punishment was the giving up of his Tomahawk, and to our surprise he did so in the readiest manner.

Note 330

This camp, Partridge Pigeon Camp, was probably at the junction of North Creek and the Isaac River, fixed by McLaren at GR 417 479 on the Grosvenor Downs 1: 100,000 sheet 8553. John Murphy wrote that this waterhole was in the bed of the river, and that they had camped upon the left bank (Sprod 2006: 40). After the two Aborigines returned to the expedition party the campsite was also given the name “Reconciliation Camp”.

Note 331

McLaren gives this campsite as at Latitude 22o 20’ 23’’ and Longitude 148o 28’ 15’’.

Note 332

New Chum Creek? The junction between this creek and the Isaac is at GR 316 538. At this point the road and railway running north-east from Peak Downs Mine now crosses the Isaac River.

Note 333

This became their campsite of 22nd February, “Fusanus Camp”. McLaren put this at GR 290 554 on the Grosvenor Downs sheet, just south-east of the modern site of Poitrel station.