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John Gilbert diary entry

29 April 1845 - 30 April 1845

Page 82. Volume 2

[in left margin]

1181

Tues 29th

W by N?

6 miles.

days route 8.

18=59=0

Morning Cloudy but partially cleared off by 9 o'clock, enabled the Dr to take sights after which we proceeded on with our travelling, we made about 9 miles, but not more than about 6 in a straight line in consequence of the Zigzag course of the river between so many hills, which crowded upon its banks on either side, at first for about 2 miles going west, then turning to the Northward for about 3 miles, the remaining distance it kept a westerly course563, sometimes even southerly, at ¼ of a mile we crossed a tolerably large Creek with deep banks, coming in from S.W. at 3 miles we crossed a second, and at 6 miles a third, the two latter however were small probably only taking their rise from the ridges a few miles back, our whole route to day was a constant succession of crossing gullies or creeks, the entire days stage being over a very broken country, from the hills α ridges being so near the river. The Burdikin is now becoming much more narrowed in its bed, averaging during the distance from 100 to 150 yards, with a middle bank, cutting it into two channels, the banks being every where so broken and clothed in such rank high grass, we were obliged to have recourse to the dry channel of the bed of the river for our Camp564. To day I observed the Cypselus Australis, and a species of Strepera565. The Drs sights of this morning place us at 144=4=0 of Longitude, if this is to be depended on the observations at Fritted Sandstone Camp must be considered as useless; it is certainly much more reasonable that the last observations are much nearer the true position. still we all felt the disappointment, imagining that we were within a fortnights travelling of the Gulf.

[in left margin]

Wed 30th.

7 miles?

Our days stage to day was a most horrible one, the Ridges and Mountains coming so close upon the banks, as to offer a barrier to our following the rivers banks, we had no help therefore but fairly to mount the ridges and travel along the tops which generally were pretty level, but all most horribly stony, our course therefore was more devious than almost any previous days stage, from the tops of these ridges we saw a great distance around us, and every where Mountains α Ranges and elevated ridges met our eye. on the hills is a light and open timbered forest principally Iron-bark,

Note 563

The Burdekin River changes course considerably as it passes through Pelican Lake Range.

Note 564

Neither Leichhardt nor Gilbert gave this camp a name. McLaren placed it at GR 055 016 on the 1: 100,000 Valley of Lagoons map 7960, about halfway through Pelican Lake Range, although he could not actually reach the spot.

Note 565

Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus and Pied Currawong Strepera graculina (the only species of Strepera which has populations in Queensland). A pencilled arrow is drawn over the part of the text that includes the words “Cypselus Australis”. No comments about this swift from the Leichhardt Expedition are included in Gould’s account in “The birds of Australia” (vol.2, text & plate 11) as this part (ix) was published in 1842. The arrow anyway was probably put there by Alec Chisholm.