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John Gilbert diary entry

1 April 1845 - 2 April 1845

Page 63. Volume 2

[in left margin]

Tues April 1

Lon 145=58=6

Lunar observations to day were so near those of yesterday that to days sights make us 145-58-0. thus there is now a chance of our being on a Northern stream, still we are not yet past Halifax Bay, which might probably after all receive the Suttor. Calvert, John α Brown, were sent back to the ridges to collect Margerum452, a small Herb, which grows very abundantly on sandy soil on ridges or elevated flats, although we first met with it very soon after setting out on the expedition and have at all times when in favorable spots seen it most abundant, it is only very lately that we have discovered its excellent qualities, independent of its delicious fragrance, it bears a very beautiful flower, and is an excellent Stomachic, since we have no longer any Spices left, it forms an excellent addition, and substitute to our soup, it is also a favourite in Tea, in fact alone it forms a very agreable beverage. while out they came upon a grove of Pandanus and a new Proteaceus Plant. the former seemed so remarkable in being so far inland, that the Dr rode off to visit it, thinking it might prove a different species, however it turned out to be the same as that on the coast, but is not so fine a Plant. Charlie in searching for the Horses went out to the North α East 7 or 8 miles, and reports a large river coming down from the N W. α receiving the Suttor453. however it is difficult to un=derstand all Charlie says, and we must wait till we ourselves see it before we determine. the Mountain close to us or about 2½ miles is named after Mr. McConnell.

[in left margin]

Wed 2nd.


To day we broke up our long Camp, as the river banks are very much broken into ravines α gullies, by Charlies advice we went to the east of Mount McConnell, but we did not gain very much by this route for we not only made a much longer distance, but had to cross a constant succession of sharp stony ridges, we kept close under the foot of the Mountain, and was enabled to procure specimens of its formation, which is principally Sionite454, however it has a kind of Domite which appears to have been exposed to a later igneous action. after getting fairly from the Mountain we were enabled to steer a some=what direct course a little W of N, over a tolerably open country of very small Dwarf Timber, and we soon came upon the

Note 452

Marjoram. Rod Fensham gives this as Wild Marjoram, Ocimum tenuiflorum (Fensham et al 2006: 470). Leichhardt mentioned this plant in late January 1845; Charlie had found many bees’ nests full of sweet and aromatic honey which they thought must be the result of feeding on Marjoram flowers.

Note 453

This was the river Leichhardt named after Mrs Burdekin of Sydney, who had supported the expedition.

Note 454

The first time the word sienite occurs in Gilbert’s diary (page 53) it is spelt with an 'e', but after that 'o' is used.