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John Gilbert diary entry

20 March 1845 - 22 March 1845

Page 56. Volume 2

[in left margin]


Thurs 20th

Bandicoot Camp.418

W by N

11 miles


Continued following down the Suttor, as yesterday forming many channels over a flat, but the banks and Scrub changed a little, slight ridges on each side having a Quartz gravel, the scrub not so dense, and in most parts so open that it might more appropriately be termed a Brigalo Forest. the scaly barked Brigalo prevailed a good deal, this is a new tree, it however was first observed on the Comet, it is not so fine a tree as the regular Rosewood, and it has a smaller leaf and a paler green in colour, it is the same form falcate. We made about 11 miles419 and gen=erally speaking a good supply of water, more particularly the last 3 miles, where there had been a good deal of rain, our course about W by N420. this was the farthest point of the Drs reconnoiter here he had lunched on a Bandicoot α 2 young ones.

[in left margin]

Friday 21st

10 miles


Good Friday Camp.421


To day we moved on without a previous reconnoiter, over a flat as yesterday, the first 6 miles as well watered as the last 3 of yesterday, occasionally the country opened on either side a little and formed fine Box flats, from this the next four miles was over a dry country, with occasionally a long pool of water in the principal water course, most of these pools had the appearance of lasting water and many of them had the banks thickly clothed with Polygonium. in one we saw the beautiful blue Lotus422, more abundant than before observed. the bed and general character of the flat with its many channels and Lagoon like pools, reminds us very much of the Dawson, This being Good Friday, we enjoyed an extra share of Fat Cake, which with four Ducks killed on our way, made us a much more satisfactory midday meal than we have for a long time been accus=tomed to and as an additional treat we had our Tea with sugar, which has now become a great luxury. Roper explored the river downward a few miles and reports plenty of water.

[in left margin]

Sat 22nd

Talcchiste Camp423.


N. by W.

8 miles

Continuing our course down the river, we made 8 miles, the low flat country through which it runs the same general character as yesterday, but in many parts the open Box flats receding farther back from the river. the detached pools however were much more frequent and of greater length, all however having their banks thickly clothed with Polygonium. a new formation of Rock, was observed to day for the first time in the expedition, viz., Talcchiste having veins of Quartz, this is a rock which I believe is frequent in the more settled parts, to the southward, and about the same distance from the coast. I and Charlie rode down the river for a few miles to ascer=tain if it still kept the same character, which it did, and as we proceeded downwards, I was glad to observe there was more grass, which for the last three Camps has been rather indifferent. our Cattle α Horses hitherto have been so accustomed to the richest description of grass that

Note 418

Leichhardt’s “Bandikut Camp”, which McLaren estimated to be at GR 128 173 on the Gunjulla 1: 100,000 map 8354. This camp was named after the bandicoot and her two young ones which Leichhardt and Charlie had caught and eaten for lunch. Murphy also recorded that he had shot “4 crows and a boobook owl” on 20th March. The owl is not in the collections of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exter, but check BMNH 1872.05.29.01 (Queensland, per the dealer Gerrard) & BMNH 406c (Australia). Both are immature?

Note 419

Underlined later in blue pen, probably by Thomas Mitchell?

Note 420

Also underlined in blue pen, probably as above.

Note 421

McLaren could not estimate the exact grid reference of Good Friday Camp as the Bulliwallah 1: 1000 sheet 8254 he had was only a proof. With reference to Leichhardt’s sketch map and the Buchanan 1: 250,000 sheet SF55-06 it must have been at about GR 95 21. McLaren thought they had travelled on the north-east branch of the Suttor, which is much divided in this area. This would put Good Friday Camp somewhere near Bulgrum Waterhole, and the crossing of the Suttor by the minor road which runs north-east from near the junction of the Gregory and Bowen Developmental Roads.

Note 422

According to Fensham et al 2006: 474, these blue Lotus were probably Nymphaea gigantea.

Note 423

McLaren did not give any grid references for campsites between 21st and 26th March – the Scartwater 1: 100,000 map 8255 has not yet been published. He also found it impossible to pinpoint these campsites as the Suttor River had so many channels and flooded frequently. However, he thought Talcchiste (= Talc-schist), the campsite of 22nd March, must have been close to, or on, Murdering Lagoon (at approx. GR 88 38). Murdering Creek appears to have been named by Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh, who ran The Hermitage (Vine Creek) a few miles to the north, in the 1860s. One of his shepherds, Charley Sadlier, and another man called Dan were killed there by Aborigines in 1864. Dan appeared to have been killed from behind while drinking out of the lagoon, and was then partially burned. He was buried under “The Knoll” (probably “The Knob Hut Hill”, south west of Murdering Lagoon?). From “After many – being the reminiscences of Cuthbert Fetherstonhaulgh”, 1917.