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John Gilbert diary entry

28 February 1845

Page 38. Volume 2

[in left margin]


in fact we have been for some days past travelling in almost a parrellel [sic] line with this range but from the general flatness of the country have not before seen it. every where along the river banks are evidences of a large quantity of water having run down into all the hollows from the late thunder storms, but in scarcely an instance, was any left on the surface, to offer a sufficient supply for our use for one night. when fairly through the gorge357 by which the river finds its way through the Sandstone range we came upon a beautifully undulating grassy country with Iron bark α Box forest and very open and covered with most luxuriant grass, here the Isaacs divided into two branches, the one to the North appearing as the principal or largest, the other running up in an Eastern course358, thinking the smaller would most probably give us water I followed it up about half a mile, and found a small pool of rain water, but as it was not adequate to our wants, I searched a hollow running into the river from a fine open plain, and found two water holes in every respect suited for us359, we now turned our horses heads to=wards the Camp as the Dr was anxious I should return if possible, before we had gone back half the distance it became fairly dark, and I expected to be late in camp as I should certainly have kept the river for my guide particularly as the night was very dark, but Charlie said he could make his cuts as well in the dark as at daylight, and he did so, without moon or stars to guide him he not only cut off the principal angles of the river, but even recognized different spots, and parts of the river accurately as I could well recognize myself when close, but he would tell me when I was approaching any remarkable spot, for instance in making a cut across the angle the Black-fellows were camped at, he observed half a mile off that we must be approaching that part of the river, and in a few minutes accordingly we saw their fires, we thought it best not to approach too

Note 357

Now named Lower Gorge on the Harrybrandt 1: 100,000 map 8554. Upper Gorge may be where Anna Creek runs down from Lake Elphinstone between the Kerlong and Scarborough Ranges to the north-east? However, it is not marked on any map.

Note 358

This division is at GR 177 104 on the Harrybrandt 1: 100,000 map 8554. The principal watercourse (i.e. the Isaac River) does indeed run from the north, the other being Anna Creek. This area is now flooded as part of Burton reservoir.

Note 359

This spot was the campsite for 1st – 3rd of March, which was named “Lumbago Camp” in honour of Leichhardt’s supposed affliction (which was possibly kidney stones). McLaren puts this at GR 184 108 on the Harrybrandt 1: 100,000 map 8554. On Google Earth cen be seen a small inlet on the south side of Anna Creek in the area McLaren has selected. This might equate to Gilbert’s “hollow”, but of course the water is much higher now.