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John Gilbert diary entry

25 March 1845

Page 59. Volume 2

[in left margin]

Limestone Camp437

Lat 21=3=0

926

high with fine open forest of Blood wood α the new large leafed white Gum, in our way we had frequently to cross ridges very stony in many parts, and when on these elevated parts, for several miles around other ridges could be seen all very open forest and grassy. the water now becomes so general, that scarsely [sic] a hundred yards of the river is without water while all the lateral lagoons α channels, are nearly equally well supplied. At the Junction of the large western creek, Palms were observed, and here it would seem it forms an article of food with the Natives, for in all the larger ones the stems only were remaining. The Dr α Charlie went out reconnoitering438 that is to say they have gone out Duck Shooting, on the last occasion he went out on a similar excursion. the Dr himself cannot handle a Gun, in fact has no idea of shooting, and being rather near-sighted never feels any interest in trying, like all persons who do not know the use of a Gun, he has always been dissatisfied with our endeavours, and has on the last two oc=casions taken Charlie out with him for the sole purpose of shooting Ducks, such a favorable country for this kind of game, we have not before been in, and he could not therefore have chosen a more opportune time and country, Charlie who is at all times a very uncertain shot, has however been very successful on the two last occasions the first time having killed 8 and to day 7, and the Dr prides himself not a little on what he terms his success in catering, the small pools which abound all along the Suttor, have generally very rank vegetation around their edges, or are almost buried in Polygonum, this enables a Black fellow to creep up very close to his game, and in firing at short distances they are certainly more successful, their peculiar mode too of creeping up to objects gives them a decided advantage over us, this is a descrip=tion of game too which I never attempt to procure, as they generally for want of a dog, require the sportsman to swim in for them, and I cannot swim, therefore it would be useless me attempting it, and as the Dr did not treat Mr Roper at all well respecting his Gun and general perseverance in obtaining game, Roper gave up his Gun to the Dr, which is now used by Charlie, two Guns of the [changed from "their"] original stock have unfortunately been broken so badly they are rendered useless, While the Dr was out this afternoon he saw Natives very numerous, in fact as we proceed downwards they seem to increase in numbers, a sure sign of an abundant sup=ply of water and good country. A new tree was observed to day with a bright green leaf and bears a fruit similar to the Guava, on examining specimens at camp, we find many of the ridges we have passed to day are composed of Limestone439.

Note 437

Leichhardt showed this campsite further north on his printed map than on his sketch map. McLaren placed it where Leichhardt’s very blotted sketch map appears to show it, midway between the junctions of what must be Dingo Creek and the “east creek seen by Charley” (Charley Creek). This campsite would then have been at approx. GR 86 77 on the Buchanan 1: 250,000 map SF55-06. However, from what Gilbert wrote – that the Suttor over the last three miles before they camped first bent to the north-east, then turned round again to the north-west - it seems possible that it is Leichhardt’s printed map which is correct, and in fact they camped to the north of Charley Creek, near where the Suttor bends north-west at its junction with St Annes Creek, at about GR 88 78. This is now the southern end of Lake Dalrymple.

Note 438

Leichhardt (1847: 192) wrote that he had ascended a “flat-topped hill, with steep slopes at each end” on the right hand side [east] of the river, towards the end of the stage on the 25th March. Was this “The Tor”? If not, what was it? (ask Route Group)

Note 439

According to Fensham et al 2006: 475 the tree with a bright green leaf and fruit resembling the guava was the Cocky Apple (or Billygoat Plum) Planchonia careya.