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John Gilbert diary entry

27 March 1845 - 28 March 1845

Page 61. Volume 2

[in left margin]

Thurs 27th

9 miles

N by E

Junction Camp445

20=47=30

Proceeding down the Suttor, at two miles the bed of the river became quite of a sandy character and continued so two miles farther when all the different channels met and formed one regular bed in which was a fine broad pool of water nearly half a mile in length, at the lower end of which a river equal in magnitude came in from S.W.446 from this the whole bed became divided by high banks or islands into many channels, and all of a sandy character, with the many species of Leguminous and other Plants so characteristic of the Isaacs and Suttors Creek, we now travelled on through a regular Sandstone country, with fine open forest, but very rotten ground, the first four miles was through a very broken country, all the hills α ridges stony, our course till we reached the large tributary, was N, with occasional Easting α Westing but from this for the next five miles, the river turned off a good deal to the east=ward, and our medium course for the 9 miles will be about N. by E. now we are again in a sandstone country the Casuarina reappears as soon as we approached the sandy bed of the river, with the exception of the large pool mentioned very little water was seen, and we camped at a small pool of water in a rocky part of the bed which had evidently been supplied by the last rains, the Dr intended killing the fifth Bullock here, but just as we were looking for a camping place, Charlie was seen riding after a young Emu, our dog being now recovered from the effects of his long stage on the Isaacs, was laid on, and succeeded in catching it, this will therefore save the life of the Bullock one day longer at least.

[in left margin]

Friday 28th

8 miles

N.N.E.

Snow balls last447

952

Eight miles down the Suttor was accomplished to day, and we camped in the bed of a river at a rocky place, well adopted for drying our meat quickly, during the first four miles we travelled over the most beautiful description of country, the grass most luxuriant, and the country very open, and lightly timbered with stunted trees, principally of the Blood=wood kind. all the hills and ridges around were stony but well covered with grass and well adopted for sheep. the river too well supplied with water, the last four miles was over a very broken country, and numerous creeks came in from the westward α Southward, before us is a large Domed Mountain448 - standing out in an isolated manner from a low ridge, close under the foot of this, the river runs on its West side, and within a mile of it is our present camp, during the last four miles there was not only an abundant supply of water, but very large broad α long pools, and the whole bed of the river very much increased in breadth; in many places nearly a quarter of a mile from bank to bank, its bed rocky α sandy. the most interesting

Note 445

“Junction Camp” has been underlined in blue pen. McLaren (who could not actually get to the site because it was inundated with water) put this campsite at GR 895 008 on the 1: 100,000 Harvest Home map 8256, although this point is only about four miles from the junction with the Cape, not five miles as recorded by Gilbert. Leichhardt recorded that they camped in the bed of the river and by a granite out-crop.

Note 446

“A river equal in magnitude came in from S.W.” is underlined in blue pen. This was named the Cape River by Leichhardt “after Mr Cape, the obliging commander of the Shamrock steamer”. “Wills waterhole” is marked on the Harvest Home map just south of the junction.

Note 447

Leichhardt did not name this camp, but Gilbert and Murphy did: Snowball was obviously only reprieved for one day. McLaren placed this campsite at GR 968 137 on the Harvest Home 1: 100,000 map 8256, although the site must remain uncertain as it was later flooded after the construction of the Burdekin Dam.

Note 448

The mountain was named Mount McConnel by Leichhardt after Fred McConnel, Esq, who had contributed to the expedition. Murphy (see Sprod 2006: 48) recorded that Mr McConnel was a gentleman “residing on the Brisbane [River]”. Leichhardt wrote that their camp was two miles from this mountain, in contrast to Gilbert’s “within a mile”. However, on 2nd April Gilbert reported it to be “close to us or about 2½ miles” and said it was named after “Mr McConnell”, with two not one “l”s. Which should it be, McConnel or McConell?