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John Gilbert diary entry

24 March 1845 - 25 March 1845

Page 58. Volume 2

[in left margin]


Monday 24th

N. by W.

10 miles

+ 5?432

Sienite Camp433

Proceeded on 10 miles down the Suttor, during the whole distance there is an abundant supply of water, not only in the main bed of the river but in all the little channels and chains of Ponds running parrellel, the country differed a good deal, being undulating open but stony ridges, many of the latter being of Granitic formation, and frequently crop out in the banks of the river, it is the kind known as Sienite a very beautiful stone434. at first our course for 7 miles continued nearly due West435, the last three miles it winded about very much from N.W. to N.E. the medium course would probably be about N.W. by W. No Casuarina appears on the river, but seems to be displaced by the large leafed Melaleuca which is now very frequent and of large size, its paper bark giving us each night a fine soft bush bed. During the last [Month] I have been very much afflicted with Boils in different parts of the body, in fact I have not during this time been a day free from them, and during the last two days have scarcely been able to either walk or ride, from one which I have on my knee. this is a general affliction with me, which I never before had to endure. what is the cause is difficult to determine, I sometimes think it is caused from the preponderance of Animal food, but then if this was the case, why should not others of my companions be similarly attacked, who live in precisely the same way and eat precisely the same amount of food. During last night the sky became clouded, and so continued during the whole night and to day. no Latitude therefore could be determined. Brown in his return yesterday with Roper for the White horse lost his knife, and he with Charlie left the Camp early this morning to endeavour to find it. During to days march we saw many Native ovens, or baking places, a round hole in the ground with stones, similar to the New Zealanders, this is a habit in the Australian Native, which I have never before met with. At night we were visited by a Thunder Storm, which was followed by tolerably heavy rain, and which continued for the most part during the night. Charlie α Brown returned without having gained their object, they state that they not only saw Natives very numerous, but that they were regularly following our tracks, and they have in all probability picked up the knife, a great prize to them.

[in left margin]

Tues 25th

W N W?

10 miles

To day we proceeded on without a previous reconnoiter, for the first 7 miles the course was nearly N.W. at this distance a large sandy Creek436 came in from the West, and the river for the next two miles went considerably to the N α E, the last mile However again brought us back to about N by W. our medium course therefore is probably about N N W. distance for the day 10 miles. some fine country was passed over during this days stage, the banks becoming often

Note 432

The number “+ 5?” in blue pencil number probably added by Mitchell or Chisholm?

Note 433

Again, McLaren could not pinpoint Sienite Camp as he had no published map and the Suttor has so many channels, but he placed it south of Clewitts Bluff, near the junction of the Suttor with Emu Creek (approx GR 86 64 on the Buchanan 1: 250,000 map SF55-06). This seems too far north, it is about 22km (over 13 miles) in a straight line from the previous campsite (if on Yandan Creek). It would be much further if following the bends in the Suttor. However, Gilbert wrote on the 24th March that the first 7 miles of travel were due west, which puts Easter Sunday Camp further north (see my previous footnote). In which case the distances for the 24th March would be about right.

Note 434

Murphy wrote that “Several stony ridges jut out upon the river consisting of immense blocks of the most beautiful description of granite” (Sprod 2006: 46).

Note 435

Also underlined in blue, by Mitchell or Chisholm?

Note 436

McLaren thought this must be Dingo Creek. Like Gilbert, Murphy recorded that this was sandy, and that the remains of several palms which seemed to have been eaten by Aborigines were at the junction of the two watercourses (Sprod 2006: 47).