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John Gilbert diary entry

25 April 1845 - 28 April 1845

Page 81. Volume 2

Friday 25.

9 miles.



Red Steer's Last561.


9 miles in a due west course up the Burdikin was to days stage, here we remain to kill our sixth beast and to enable the Dr to get his Longitude, two large creeks were crossed in the days stage the first about 4 miles the next about 5 miles both coming from a range of sugar loaf hills562 running parrallel with the river about 2 to four miles distant. at about five miles, a range came upon the left bank of the river, nearly opposite our Camp on the same side of the river are several round topped hills of moderate elevation, the formation Porphyritic, in crossing the creeks α gullies great quantities of Talcchiste, and Talc slate was seen. excepting the first mile which was over very broken ground with stony hills our whole days stage was over fine flats α undulating country. In the evening we killed our sixth beast a steer, exactly four weeks from the last, and the whole 24 days continuous travelling, the longest time α distance without a delay we have hitherto made.

[in left margin]

Sat 26th.

Cutting up and drying our meat, and otherwise busily engaged in our necessary monthly repairs, which have accumulated considerably, in consequence of our late continuous travelling we had little time to do odd jobs and attend to other little matters which can only be done when stationary.

[in left margin]

Sunday 27th.

The whole of us as busily employed as yesterday, while the Dr took sights, but in working them out found the result to be so very wide of what he calculated on that he thinks there must be an error, consequently we shall have to remain here tomorrow, to enable him to take a fresh set of observations.

[in left margin]

Monday 28th.


The Dr equally unfortunate in his calculations, two distinct sets of sights to day came out with different results, the difference being no less than a degree α a half, the nearest to our supposed situation places us at 144, now we know we must be but a little over 142. We break up our Camp to=morrow, when the Dr intends taking sights before starting.

Note 561

“Red Steer’s Last” of Gilbert was “Little Bawley’s Last” of Leichhardt, but Little Bawley was dismembered between 15th-20th February according to Gilbert, whose bullock he had been. McLaren estimated this campsite to have been at GR 123 986 on the 1: 100,000 Valley of Lagoons map 7960.

Note 562

One of these two creeks, which by inference (from what Gilbert subsequently wrote) must have flowed into the Burdekin from the south, would have been Christmas Creek. Both creeks came from sugar loaf mountains, which must be peaks in the range they were beginning to pass through (Pelican Lake Range). A sugar loaf was the traditional way sugar was sold, as a tall cone with a rounded top.