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John Gilbert diary entry

25 February 1845 - 26 February 1845

Page 35. Volume 2

[in left margin]

Thunder-storm Camp344

westward, all of which we cut off more or less345, but the Scrub which to day was more frequent, than any part of the river we have before seen often obliged us to descend the banks and travel along the soft heavy sand of the bed. in pass=ing one patch of scrub, Charlie saw a number of Natives who were anxiously watch=ing our progress, no doubt with very great astonishment. so partial was yesterdays Thunder shower, that we saw no appearance of it untill within a very short dis=tance of the Creek on which we camped, and in which we found many deep water holes, which on the Dr's first seeing yesterday were perfectly dry. In the evening we were again threatened with a Thunder shower, and made our preparations accordingly, but the whole night passed over with the sky very heavily clouded, and only a few drops of rain, several times since we have been on the Isaacs I have remarked the Artamus superciliosus in large flocks, other species of this Genus are also very common viz sordidus - minor - europyqialis [sic] - α cinereus, the Platycercus paliceps α Euphema pulchellus are very common346.

[in left margin]

Wed 26



The Dr α I with Charlie out reconnoitering, we searched every creek α hollow for a dis=tance of five miles up the river, without finding water notwithstanding the late heavy rain. many deep holes were seen, which had apparantly been filled, but from the dryness of the ground, and light sandy nature of the soil it had all drained through, in the river we found a number of Natives wells, with water, within a foot of the surface, here the Dr thought I had better return and conduct the party, and on our arrival to dig a large hole for the accomodation of the Horses α Cattle, but at my sug=gestion we pushed on two miles farther in hopes of finding a creek better sup=plied one of which we ultimately found but containing so little water, that it would scarsely [sic] be sufficient for the Horses. I then returned, but from the heavy nature of the ground the whole route back I did not arrive at Camp till it was far too late for us to get to the water holes before dark, and we therefore deferred it till the morning; soon after my return about forty Natives came to an adjoining scrub α cooed to us, we went out to meet them, but of course could not at all

Note 344

Thunder-storm camp was fixed by McLaren at GR 043 767 on the Harrybrandt 1: 100,000 map 8554. They were not far north of the present site of Picardy station.

Note 345

The track from Peak Downs Highway to Morambah station crosses the Isaac River just south of the station, at GR 134 653, and this is possibly where the Leichhardt Expedition “again recrossed the river”, although it is 4 rather than 8 miles from their first crossing point. There are no other modern crossings marked on the map until Wotonga, which is only a couple of miles south of their campsite of 25th February. However, as Murphy wrote, they often had to descend to the bed of the river to avoid the scrub, so could have re-crossed from west to east at almost any point. Check with the Route Group.

Note 346

No specimens of woodswallow or parrot, or indeed other specimens from this period on the Isaac River have been found so far, apart from the Baillon’s Crake.

Note 347

“08” is written sideways in the margin under the date, does this refer to the day’s miles ridden upstream before turning back down river to the south-east? Gilbert has also scribbled something in the margin here, just over the vertical ink line. It looks like “ocasion”. Was he experimenting with his spelling?