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John Gilbert diary entry

4 March 1845 - 5 March 1845

Page 41. Volume 2

and little water course bore the appearance of a great torrent of water having rushed down apparantly within a few days, but from the general looseness and sandy nature of the bed, it appeared to have been all absorbed almost immediately, It was near four o'clock when we left the Camp and as it was now approaching sunset I was anxious if possible to find water to camp at, just at this juncture we started an Emu with 12 young ones, we immediately gave chase, and after a good hard run I managed to ride one of the young ones down. but in the chase I lost my rug, we had therefore to follow up our tracks to find it, in doing which we found ourselves very near the gorge, and therefore camped at the last water we had seen two small holes in the rocks containing each about 2 gallons of water, we were thus not more than four miles from camp370, and my greatest fear was that our horses being so near and rather fresh would endeavour to head back, my fears were not groundless, for although hobbled, after feeding for a short time they commenced galloping off towards the gorge, but fortunately it being so rocky they could not proceed far and we were enabled to stop them, we tyed them up for the night, and thus made sure of them, the Emu we roasted and ate part for our suppers.

[in left margin]

Wed 5th.


At daylight we made our breakfast, and following up the principal branch of the Isaacs, in five miles we found numerous small waterholes and came fairly to the head of it, forming two small water courses371 so narrow that one could easily step over them in any part. these are just beneath a ridge which appears to run about east α west from dif=ferent parts of the same range through which it runs, all round are fine open Iron bark grassy ridges from which are little gullies and these all running down to one hollow forms the origin of the Isaacs, where a hundred miles lower it as=sumes so large a size. crossing the ridge to the N W of the sourse [sic] I soon observed the fall of the land to the Northard [sic] and in half a mile from the first372 of the Isaacs I came upon the sourse of another water course, a round hole of water from

Note 370

Gilbert and Charlie therefore camped for the nights of 4th & 5th March somewhere on the eastern edge of the gorge through the Denham Ranges, about four miles from Smooth-Tailed Wallaby Camp. Would there be any chance of finding their campsite with its “two small holes in the rocks”? Perhaps it was near Plum Duff? Were they camped on Four Mile Creek (which runs into the Isaac River at GR 231 244) and is that why it is so named? Check with the Route Group..

Note 371

These two watercourses may be the ones marked on the 1: 100,000 Hillalong map 8555 which join at GR 240 295. They both appear to run south from a ridge running approximately east and west, with a maximum height marked on the map of 478m. The more westerly of these two small watercourses originates at GR 231 310, in a gap between the east-west ridge and another to the south west. Less than a kilometre north-west from this point (at GR 223 317) one of the headwaters of a new watercourse has its origin. It is more likely, looking at Leichhardt’s sketch map, that Gilbert’s two watercourses were the two that meet at GR 217 298. One of these runs south from GR 207 310, from a gap between two contours of 415m and 425m. Less than a kilometre to the north, through this gap, is the origin of a watercourse running north, at GR 202 318. At one of these two springs, Gilbert recorded “a round hole of water from which [it] ran to the Northward”. These creeks are the headwaters of Suttor Creek, which was named by Leichhardt on 7th March after William Henry Suttor Snr. (1805-1877), who had generously contributed four bullocks to the expedition. The Suttor River, into which Suttor’s Creek flows, was also named after him. William Suttor managed Brucedale Station on the Bathurst Plains and represented the county of Bathurst at the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for most of the years between 1856 and 1872. The Suttor family are remembered for their good relationships with Aborigines.

Note 372

Presumably Gilbert meant the first watercourse of the Isaac River.