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John Gilbert diary entry

5 March 1845

Page 43. Volume 2

[in bottom left margin]


camp by night, I directed Charlie to make his cut back, from a view of the range near our Camp, my farthest progress on the river would be in about a N.W. course, the dis=tance we had ridden to make it was probably not less than thirty miles, but Charlie by his short cut proved it to be not much more than twenty, and probably not even so much, just before we arrived at the Gorge we started an Emu376 with a number of large young ones, we immediately gave chase, but from their taking to stony gullies α ridges, I could not follow them in consequence of my horse being tender-footed. Charlie however with all the wildness α eagerness for the chase which characterise[s] the Australian Native and in fact all keen lovers of the chase, regardless of his horse or his own neck, kept up a full gallop over the most frightful places and ultimately ran down one of the young ones just as I came up to him, during his gallop however he had lost his saddle Bags α Gun, but well knowing he could follow back on the tracks and pick them up at any time, did not stop for them, but kept on with the one object in view un=till he had accomplished it, we therefore had to return on the tracks nearly two miles, it was now just sunset and we saw we had no chance of getting through the gorge before it was quite dark, I therefore at once made up my mind to camp out, α we returned to the water holes in the rocks where we camped last night377, Our horses having had a good days work α being very hungry were not at all disposed to move far from us and we allowed them to graze the whole night, a brace of Ducks shot during the day made us a good supper, during the whole day as yesterday the atmosphere has been very heavy charged with moisture but the rain in general has fallen in light α frequent showers. the whole country we passed through in the rivers course is open and well grassed with occasional spurs and patches of scrub, near one of the latter we saw two Native women carrying children, but as they went quietly on I believe they did not observe us, every where we saw marks of the Iron Tomahawk.

Note 376

Leichhardt’s sketch map for this part of the expedition faintly shows what looks like the words “Emu started” on the north side of the gorge, between the Isaac River and the watercourse which runs more of less parallel and south-west of it (this is not named on my map). Mount Ewan is in the middle of this area. Murphy recorded in his diary that Gilbert and Charlie had come across “4 droves” of Emu and had managed to capture two “rather young ones” (Sprod 2006: 43).

Note 377

Again, this is was by two small holes in the rocks, somewhere on the eastern edge of the gorge through the Denham Ranges, about four miles from Smooth-Tailed Wallaby Camp.