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John Gilbert diary entry

12 April 1845 - 13 April 1845

Page 71. Volume 2

[in left margin]

Sat 12th.

10 miles

N.W. by N.

3 Rock Camp496.

For the first mile we had the most horrible travelling over stony ridges, when we crossed a large Creek coming in from the S α Westward having steep banks, and sandy bed the banks thickly clothed with Casuarina, a few Tea trees, and Flooded Gum. very soon after crossing this creek we again came upon stony ridges, but to our surprise of Whinstone formation, or Phonolite, this rock continued for about two miles in an uninterrupted ridge parrallel with the river and the Creek we crossed when we again came upon fine flats, and the Creek turned off to the Southward497. at 8 miles we again crossed another fine creek, with Casuarina banks, and sandy bed coming in from the S α Westward, soon after crossing this and travelling over a very fine country we came upon Limestone, and not half a mile distant from this again upon Granite, and camped upon a ridge of Whinstone on the right bank of the river, while singularly enough directly opposite on the left bank was Limestone498 in irregular strata forming almost cliffs; while in the bed of the river be=tween the two was Sionite. here the river was very much narrowed between the two rocky banks, but having a great depth of water, extending several hundred yards in length, much finer Timber was remarked during to days stage, but still nothing very large, consisting principally of the narrow leaved Iron bark - Box - new Gum αc - it is singular too how intimate is the connection of certain characters of vegetation with the Geological Formation of a country, during the whole time and distance of the Whinstone ridges, the Brigalo Scrub again made its appearance, and as soon as we again emerged upon Granitic soil it left us. The river to day turned about a good deal sometimes going for a mile to the Westward, then again turn=ing suddenly up to the Northward, then back again to the Westward, but I believe our medium course may be taken at about N.W. by W. Night Cloudy.

[in left margin]

Sunday 13th

9 miles

N W. by W.

1061

A further distance of nine miles up the Burdikin was accomplished to day, the first five miles between the river, and the last Creek499 we crossed yesterday, which for this distance ran parrallel with the river in about a N W course, and about half to a mile back. our route lay for the most part between the Creek, and a narrow strip of Whinstone which sometimes cross[es] us, and was horrible travelling for both Horses α Bullocks when at 5 miles we crossed it and travelled along the bank of the Burdikin

Note 496

Leichhardt’s “Camp of the 3 rocks”. McLaren placed this on Lolworth Creek at GR 155 020 on the Dotswood 1: 100,000 map 8158. However, the watercourses in the area of their campsite – Lolworth Creek, Hann Creek and the Burdekin River - are complicated by basalt dykes and other outcrops. McLaren was therefore not sure of the exact site of their camp of 12th April, although from Gilbert and Murphy’s accounts it seems more likely they had actually camped on the south bank of the Burdekin. Murphy (Sprod 2006: 50) recorded that they had camped “at a beautiful spot on the river bank. The Burdekin here presents to our view an immense reach of water which to the right of our camp forms a cascade and rushes furiously over the majestic piles of granite. To our left and opposite view the strata of Limestone formed like an ancient amphitheatre covered with various fossil impressions”.

Note 497

They had crossed Little Sandy Creek shortly after leaving New Gum Camp; this must have been the watercourse that “turned off to the Southward”.

Note 498

This limestone was full of fossils. Leichhardt must have taken samples, some which survived the expedition, as one of these (a coral) was described as a new species (Cyathophyllum Leichhardti) by the Reverend W.B Clarke of Paramatta, Sydney (Leichhardt 1847: 212). Murphy described the limestone strata as being “formed like an ancient amphitheatre” (Sprod 2006: 51).

Note 499

Lolworth Creek.