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John Gilbert diary entry

8 April 1845 - 10 April 1845

Page 69. Volume 2

[in left margin]

20=9=0

whole day more or less cloudy but no rain the water in the river is now changed from the pure clear stream to a thick yellowish colour from the fresh running down after the last rains, which appears to have been more frequent as we advance up the stream. Due North from our Camp at a distance of about five miles commences a range of rug=ged Mountains, stretching apparantly onwards to the westward484. Large Fig tree, heavily laden with fruit.

[in left margin]

Wed 9th

W by N.

10 miles.

Porphyry Camp485.

20=8=30

At two ½ miles the Burdikin turned off to the South, and continued for about a mile, when it again with a sudden bend turned back again to the N.W. at five miles a large creek came in from the S.W. and at 9 miles a second with very deep cut banks having Casuarina on each side and a rocky bed, this also came in from about W.S.W. on the whole we made a very good course for the day about W by N 10 miles. the whole days route over a continuation of yesterdays fine country, the river is somewhat narrowed, and the banks on either side more sloping and not quite so high, the range which was opposite our last camp was fairly passed to day, it runs nearly N α South. from our present Camp its Northern end bears about N W by N. one part of it juts out very much to the Westward and is not more than a mile from the banks of the river. We have to day had a cloudless sky and the weather very fine but hot. Camp surrounded by little hillocks of Porphyry.

[in left margin]

Thurs 10th.

N by W

10 miles

Annabranch Camp486

20=0=30

1030

At 1 mile we crossed the stream of a considerable water course from the S α Westward487, it bore the marks of having recently had a considerable body of water rushing down it, at the time we crossed it was only a narrow stream of clear water on one side of the bed, its breadth was about 80 yards, and well clothed with Casuarina, but no Melaleuca, the banks from 40 to 50 feet in height and rather steep. fine land and open country on each side as we have on the Burdikin; at 5 miles we crossed a creek with a sandy bed, and Swamp Oak banks, coming in from the N α Westward488. Our course during the day rather devious, at first till we crossed the tributary river the Burdikin ran nearly West, from the river it suddenly turned round to the North, and even occasionally Easting for about five miles when it again came back to the North West and continued till we camped. the days distance about 10 miles α the medium course probably about N by W. during the day I remarked the Mycteria - and the two species of Ibis489 . our camp to day was on a bank overhanging a gully with two small water holes α about two hundred yards from the river. This however afterwards proved to be a small annabranch.

Note 484

Leichhardt (1847: 208) recorded this range of hills as being about three miles to the north of their camp, but was probably including in his three miles a hill which protrudes some way south-east from the main range. Gilbert mentioned this lower hill the next day: “one part … juts out very much to the Westward and is not more than a mile from the banks of the river”. Leichhardt called the hills “Thacker’s Range” after Mr Thacker of Sydney, another supporter of the expedition. Unfortunately this range appears to now be mis-spelled, at least on the Ravenswood map 8257, as “Tuckers Range”.

Note 485

Porphyry Camp was placed by McLaren at GR 438 748 on the Charters Towers 1: 100,000 map 8157, immediately west of Gilbert’s creek “with very deep cut banks having Casuarina on each side and a rocky bed”. This is now called Cornishman Creek; it runs down from the Cornishman range, which must be south-west of Gilbert’s “little hillocks of Porphyry”. According to McLaren this part of the Burdekin is now used as a swimming pool by the residents of Charters Towers.

Note 486

Annabranch Camp, which Leichhardt also called Creek Camp, was estimated by McLaren to be at GR 410 890 on the Dotswood 1: 100,000 map 8158. This site was on an anabranch to the eastern side of the Burdekin River, now about a kilometre north of the Macrossan Bridge, the road bridge carrying the Flinders Highway across the Burdekin River. The bridge carrying the Great Northern Railway is a little south of the road bridge.

Note 487

The Broughton River, which runs into the Burdekin at GR 412 750. About three miles north of here “Browns Waterhole” is shown on the Charters Towers map 8157 as being in the bed of the Burdekin, was this named after Harry Brown?

Note 488

McLaren thought this must be Oaky Creek, which runs into the Burdekin from the north at GR 313 903, although he incorrectly wrote that Gilbert recorded this as being three, not five, miles from Annabranch Camp.

Note 489

Underlining by Gilbert. These would have been Jabiru Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus australis, Sacred or Australian White Ibis Threskiornis molucca and Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis