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John Gilbert diary entry

28 February 1845 - 3 March 1845

Page 39. Volume 2

[in left margin]



near them as we should certainly alarm them very much to no purpose. we made the Camp soon after 8 to the surprise of all. the night was cloudy throughout and the Dr was unable to make his Latitude. taking the assumed Latitude to be 21=42=0 he made out our position to be Longitude 148=56=0360 thus mak=ing us 36 miles to the Eastward of Crinum Camp361.

[in left margin]

Sat March 1

13 miles

N.E. by N.

To day we moved on to the spot Charlie α I marked out yesterday, in making his short cuts Charlie accomplished the distance in about 13 miles, while by following the bends of the river it would be at least 18 to 20. during the whole stage we had to travel through continual showers of heavy rain, and when arriving at Camp were all wet α miserable, however as we were soon enabled to make up a good fire, and get a cup of hot Tea, we were soon ourselves again although every one complained of the cold during the night, from having to sleep on the wet ground and generally in wet clothes. Our course for the day a little N of N.E.

[in left margin]

Sun 2

Stationary, raining mostly all day in light showers, Roper α Brown went up the main branch of the river, and chose a camp for tomorrow, I took a walk around but saw nothing at all new or interesting in Ornithology. I found several new species of Helix, and obtained fine specimens362 α Seeds of a very fine species of Hibiscus363.

[in left margin]

Mon 3.

Lumbago Camp


We were prevented from moving to day from the illness of the Dr, who has an attack of Lumbago, and in fact a severe cold, which has rendered him almost unable to turn himself in his blanket, he got up once, and could not support himself so parrolised [sic] was every part of his body, this is rather a serious cause of delay for we cannot even calculate how soon he may be able to proceed, and we are unfortunately in a spot of country where no game can be procured. In a ramble to day I shot for the first time Monarcha carinata α a species of Gerygone either the same or a nearly allied species to Gerygone culicivorus of the Swan364.

Note 360

Note that the 56 has been changed to a 52 in the left margin of Gilbert’s diary.

Note 361

In fact they were about 12 miles east and about 85-90 miles north of the position of Crinum Camp (the camp under Mount Demipique, south-east of the Peak Range).

Note 362

The Natural History Museum’s Registers record that John Gould donated a large number of shells collected by Gilbert on the Leichhardt Expedition, including several with the locality “eastern branch of the Isaacs River”, which must refer to Anna Creek. The specimens listed with this locality are: BMNH 1846.10.7.91-92, “Helix” and 1846.10.7.1-6, “Unio”. None of these have been found yet, but the shells from Leichhardt Expedition are hoped to be the subject of future investigation.

Note 363

John Murphy laid claim to collecting these Hibiscus seeds, which he wrote had yellow blossom. He also found “another with a large pink blossom and seeds of the convovulus growing in the bed of the Isaacs” (Sprod 2006: 42. Dan Sprod thought (see his footnote 78 on page 119) the Hibiscus with yellow blossom might be Hibiscus panduriformes, a widespread Asian species which has a yellow flower with a purple centre.

Note 364

The “Monarcha carinata”, a Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis, must be one (or more) of ANSP 1083 (female) & 1084 (immature male), both “Port Essington” [must be Port Essington Expedition] & BMNH 1881.5.1.1321 (adult, “N.S.W.”). All three need to be checked. The “Gerygone” is an immature Western Gerygone Gerygone fusca mungi, which was labelled by Gilbert as a “young Gerygone albiventris” and collected at Lumbago Camp on 3rd March 1845. It is now in the Natural History Museum collections at Tring (BMNH 1881.5.1.297). Another Port Essington Expedition specimen at Tring (BMNH 1881.5.1.291, adult) may have been collected in the same locality. Of interest concerning this species is the name Psilopus culicivorus, published by Gould in 1841 based on specimens (probably collected by Gilbert) from Swan River. This is now considered to be a synonym of Gerygone fusca, which Gould had previously described in 1838 from an older specimen, probably also from the Swan River area. This was once in the 13th Earl of Derby’s collections at Knowsley Hall in Lancashire, but does not seem to be in National Museums Liverpool, where Lord Derby’s collection is now. Perhaps Gould overlooked the fact that he had already described the Western Gerygone, as he did not have ready access to Lord Derby’s collection.