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John Gilbert diary entry

6 March 1845 - 7 March 1845

Page 44. Volume 2

[in left margin]


Thurs 6th

Smooth tailed Wallaby Camp

To day we should have pushed on a stage but just as we were on the point of starting the Dr was again seized with a spasmodic attack, and as the rain came on heavily at the time I advised him not to attempt to move to day, in fact I am certain he could not have sat in his saddle, especially over such rough and climbing work as we must have in passing through the range; we therefore repacked up our things beneath the covers as quickly as possible and prepared ourselves for a regular rainy day, and which continued for the most part till sunset, although there were no very heavy showers, they were during the day very frequent, I advised the Dr to apply hot bags of sand to the parts subject to pain, this he tryed with success, and in a few hours was very considerably relieved, in the afternoon he was enabled to sit up and write his Journal, and in fact looked α spoke with an evident improvement, we are therefore in hopes he will be so far improved by tomorrow as to allow of his pro=ceeding with much more chance of ease to himself, and probability of ultimately reaching the stage which to have attempted to day would I think have been very doubtful. On finding we were not to move on to day Murphy α Charlie rode out to the Gorge to endeavour to shoot Wallabys; Mr Roper α Brown when they first came here to explore described a species of Wallaby they saw in the Rocks having long smooth tails, from which circumstance the Dr named this Smooth-tailed Wallaby Camp, but as we have not been able to procure a specimen this title seems at least premature; for they may have been easily mistaken in seeing only momentary glimpses of the Animal when moving among the Rocks, I saw several of the Brush-tailed Wallaby but none at all answering to their description378. While in the Gorge however Murphy α Charlie came upon an Emu with a number of young ones, and were successful in running down one of the latter, but they could not procure any Wallabies. Milvus isurus379 for the first time seen, a few Cabbage Palms grow near the Gorge on each side of the range.

[in left margin]

Friday 7th

N by W 10 miles

First Camp on the Suttors Creek380

The Dr so far improved that to day we moved on a stage of my reconnoitre; Charlie leading the way made a very short cut of about ten miles when we camped at a large water hole our medium course about N by W. the whole day very cloudy with occasional light showers, the new water course on which we have thus for the first time camped the Dr has named the Suttor in honor of a Gentleman of Bathurst to whom the expedition is very

Note 378

See footnote for 4th March 1845 concerning the identity of these rock-kangaroos.

Note 379

Square-tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura, the first Gilbert had seen on the expedition. This kite is actually found throughout Queensland and much of the rest of Australia.

Note 380

First Camp on Suttors Creek, which McLaren could not pinpoint but thought was in the region of GR 206 353 on the 1: 100,000 Hillalong map 8555. This does seem to tally with Leichhardt’s sketch map, if the expedition came through the gap centred at GR 205 315, between contours. This campsite would be about 2km south-west of present-day Mount Hillalong station, but on a separate headwater. Suttor Creek is actually marked as a headwater about a kilometre north of Mount Hillalong on the Hillalong map. There is a “Bore or well; Spring; Tank or small dam” symbol marked on the Hillalong map where McLaren has placed the “First Camp on Suttor Creek”, which might equate to Gilbert’s “large water hole”.