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John Gilbert diary entry

6 April 1845 - 8 April 1845

Page 68. Volume 2

[in left margin]

991

Oak-tree Camp474.

excepting only that it wants the narrow leaved Iron-bark α Peppermint tree's; as before observed several large creeks came in on the right bank475. in crossing many of the ridges we occasionally were enabled to see a long distance before us; to the Northward, are ranges and Mountains apparantly without end, during our days route, we had a fine chain of Mountains on the opposite side of the river running nearly N α South parrallel with the stream476. Nothing new has yet been observed in the Bird way, the only point of interest was a Bower Birds mound of shells α seeds, with its Bower, the latter was more massive in its structure, than I have before observed of the Chlamydera maculata477, if it is this species? the common Aquatic Birds common to the inland parts are on the Burdikin particularly abun=dant, the Spur winged Plover478 a species we have not seen for a considerable distance of our journey, is here again tolerably abundant. The night set in very cloudy, and rained at intervals throughout.

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Monday 7th

10 Miles

W N W.

The day commenced with a cloudy sky and light showers, which rendered our days travelling much more easy and comfortable, the whole days stage through a beautifully undulating country very lightly timbered, and with luxuriant grass; at 4 miles we crossed a creek, and at seven miles a second very large with high banks, both running in from the S.W. and about half a mile before coming to Camp479 a Creek as large as the Suttor was seen on the opposite side or left bank, coming down from the ranges to the Northward480. The whole day continued cloudy, with intervals of light showers; the river still preserves its original character, of broad bed and fine clear streams of water running rapidly down in several channels, and here α there large blocks of Sionite sticking up from the middle of the bed, the banks however are higher and less clothed with the Fig tree α Creepers than at first met with. Heavy rains with Thunder set in at sunset, and con=tinued for about 3 hours.

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Tues 8th

W.N.W.

9 miles

Fig tree Camp481

The first two miles the Burdikin ran off to the S.W. when it turned with a sudden elbow to the Northward α Westward, at the angle a large creek482 came in from the Southward, at 6 miles another large creek483 came in from the Southward, but ran for half a mile parrallel with the river about N.W. both creeks were densely clothed on each bank with rank vegetation, and much larger trees than we have before observed on this river. On the opposite side or left bank, a little above the junction of the last creek, a creek came in from the ridges to the Northward α Eastward, we camped at about 9 miles having the whole distance the same character of country as traversed yesterday, but keeping nearer the river we had more gullies and cuts to cross. The

Note 474

Oak-tree Camp was Leichhardt’s “5th Camp at the Burdekin at the 4 Large Casuarinas”. McLaren estimated this camp to have been at GR 767 613 on the Ravenswood 1: 100,000 map 8257.

Note 475

On the 6th April the expedition passed the point where Connolly, Elphinstone & Barabas Creeks run into the Burdekin from the Robey and Leichhardt Ranges to the east. These are all considerable watercourses, but must run into the Burdekin through what Gilbert would have described as the left bank. There are many smaller watercourses such as Camp Oven Creek and Brandison Creek which do run into the Burdekin River from the west (i.e. through the right bank) during the distance between the expedition camps of the 5th and 6th April 1845.

Note 476

To the northwards would have been the Leichhardt and Kirk Ranges; to the east, running parallel, Robey Range. Leichhardt (1847: 205) named another range on the north-east side of the river after Mr Porter, another benefactor of the expedition. McLaren thought this was simply the northern extension of Robey Range.

Note 477

Indeed this may have been a bower of Ptilonorhynchus maculatus, the Spotted Bowerbird, but they were approaching the southernmost areas of distribution of the Great Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus nuchalis, which builds bigger bowers.

Note 478

Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles.

Note 479

This camp was not named by Gilbert, but was Leichhardt’s “White Pegmatite Camp”, estimated by McLaren to be at GR 657 668 on the Ravenswood 1: 100,000 map 8257. This position is actually about a mile, rather than half a mile, west of the junction of the Kirk and Burdekin Rivers.

Note 480

This was the Kirk River, which runs into the Burdekin from the north at GR 663 704.

Note 481

Fig tree Camp (Leichhardt’s Big Fig-Tree Camp) was placed by McLaren at GR 547 723 on the Ravenswood 1: 100,000 map 8257.

Note 482

Station and Bend Creeks join about half a mile south-west of the Burdekin and run into it a little to the east of modern Cardigan station.

Note 483

Chippendale Creek, which runs parallel with the Burdekin for about half a kilometre southwards, and then joins it at GR 613 670. The creek Gilbert mentions as being a little above this junction, but running into the other side of the Burdekin, is unnamed on the Ravenswood map 8257.