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John Gilbert diary entry

28 March 1845 - 31 March 1845

Page 62. Volume 2

[in left margin]


Lat 20=41=30

circumstance of to days stage was, at a Natives camp, portions of the seed vessel of the Pandanus were observed, this was so striking to the Dr α Myself the only persons in the party who has seen the plant, that at first our impression was that we must be very near the Coast, but on well considering the stages we have daily made during the last month, we concluded that it was scarcely possi=ble that we can be so near as when the last Longitude was determined. the Seeds therefore must have been brought thus far in land, by some of the Natives who449 may have been visiting the coast tribes, or vice versa. the rock on which we camped is a very fine grained and nearly black Conglomerate Sandstone, at first sight it appears very like Basalt, but it wants the Column form of the latter, this lying in inclined strata. The last of our fourth Bullock was consumed to day, a great portion of which was fat, thus satisfactorily proving to us that our ex=periment of drying both fat α lean was successful, its keeping good to the last, nearly six weeks, however we are not likely to have such another, during the remainder of the expedition. A specimen of Bettongia rufescens was killed to day by our only remaining dog. and yesterday the Onichogalea fraenatus was observed, - these two species450 have continued with us more or less during the whole expedition. In the evening we killed our fifth Bullock.

[in left margin]

Sat 29th

Cutting up α drying the Bullock. Instead of sticks we have this time tried our drying process on the rock, and it promises to dry even better than formerly. In the evening we heard the Natives screaming Charlie immediately rode out to the Horses and found them very much alarmed α galloping about. The Natives however retired to their Camp in the immediate vicinity, Charlie thinks them the same as we last saw and parleyed with.

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Sunday 30th

Greasing Saddles, Straps, Boots αc. the system of drying on the rock does not answer so well as our former mode on sticks. however our meat with constant attention has been well preserved. the day was cloudy throughout and thus prevented the Dr obtaining sights for his Longitude.

[in left margin]

Monday 31st.

The day beautifully clear and the Dr was enabled to take lunar observations the result of which places us more west than any of us had anticipa[ted] being 146=0=0. however the Dr intends remaining here tomorrow to take a further set of sights and if the two approximate at all near it will be very satisfactory451.

Note 449

The whole section from “Natives Camp” to “this far inland, by some of the Natives” has been later underlined in blue, and an indicatory arrowhead drawn in underneath.

Note 450

Rufous Bettong Aepyprymnus rufescens and Bridled Nailtail Wallaby Onychogalea fraenata. The Bettong is still quite common in Queensland, but the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby is now listed as endangered and is restricted to a small area near Dingo in central Queensland. Its decline is linked to the effects of the pastoral industry, probably because of a combination of competition for food and disturbance.

Note 451

The two readings were 146o 1’ and 145o 58’ (Leichhardt 1847: 199).