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John Gilbert diary entry

3 April 1845

Page 65. Volume 2

[in left margin]

Thurs 3


To day we commenced ascending the Burdikin, but made only a short stage of about 8 miles of very difficult and annoying travelling, from our Camp commences a number of bare rocky Peaks461, running parrallel [sic] with the river on each side and from which runs innumerable deep cuts, to avoid or cross these, was very laborious and tedious progress, all=most the whole of the sides of these Peaks α ridges are very stony, thinking we could in a great measure avoid this, we descended to the bed of the river, but here we were as much delayed by water as rocks, till at length the water became in general more frequent, and of greater depth, and wishing to save our packs as much as possible, we again climed [sic] the banks, but had not proceeded a mile when we were again fairly stopped by a Peak, which rose up from the bank of the river462, having all round its sides deep precipitous ravines to cross which was impossible, the Dr rather than turn back immediately plunged into the stream, the water being remarkably clear and seeing the gravelly bottom so dis=tinctly he was deceived in the depth of water, but we had got so far in, we had no alternative but push across, and Bullocks α Horses had to fairly swim about 8 or 10 yards. Some of our Bullocks swam light others very deep, and many of our packs were regularly soaked, but fortunately every thing of any consequence escaped, they having been top loads. it is the first time I ever was on a horse swimming463, and I must confess I felt rather uneasy before plunging in, not knowing if my horse could be depended on, however the result proved to me I have nothing to fear, as my horse not only swam very well, but very light, and I only received a little wetting in the legs, crossing to the left bank, we endeavoured to follow close on the river, but again met with rocky cuts, going a little back from the river, we found better travelling by heading the gullies, but all very stony, at length we camped464 after one of the most remarkable and various days travelling we have yet had. the river the whole distance preserved about an average breadth of little more than a quarter of a mile, but the bed very rocky, and in one place, a beautiful cascade465 was passed, the rock principally Granite and Porphyry. during the days route I and Murphy ascended a remarkable Peak466 on the right bank from which we

Note 461

The Burdekin cuts through this range, which includes “The Twins” on the river’s eastern side, at about GR 977 285. “The Twins” can still be seen, but the bed of the Burdekin is now covered by Lake Dalrymple.

Note 462

This must have been the subsidiary peak shown on the 1973 Harvest Home 1: 100,000 map at the south-western end of “The Twins”. The Charters Towers 1: 250,000 map SF55-02 (1994) shows that this peak is now right at the edge of Lake Dalrymple.

Note 463

Gilbert’s underlining

Note 464

2nd Camp at the Burdekin, estimated by McLaren to be at GR 970 327 on the Harvest Home map, where Sandy Creek ran into the Burdekin from the east. This junction must now be under water.

Note 465

Gilbert’s underlining.

Note 466

They had probably climbed the more southerly “Twin”, at GR 985 295, which is marked on the Harvest Home map as being 278m high. The more northerly one is marked as being 245m high. Check all this with the Route Group; which mountain did they really climb? Murphy (Sprod 2006: 49) reported that from this “small mount” they had a fine view of Mt McConnel and the surrounding country to the ESE and NNE, “nothing but immense ranges … to complicated for me to sketch”.