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John Gilbert diary entry

6 May 1845 - 7 May 1845

Page 92. Volume 2

[in left margin]

1232

Bobtails Last Camp587

except in a case of emergency, but the Dr wished only for us to try the experi=ment, and we all promised to do so, the Horse was accordingly fairly skinned and quartered as we have been accustomed to do with the Bullocks, at night a trial was made of different parts, and it not only tasted very good, but was even better meat than one or two of our Bullocks have been, there were only two exceptions Murphy α Brown, they could not conquer the repugnance which they originally felt, I must confess, I felt very little inclination to make the attempt, but as I have invariably made a point of tasting every thing that is new in the edible way I did not wish to be singular in this case, and I therefore not only tasted of it but made a good supper; it was not perhaps, from any particular prejudice or repugnance to the eating of the meat in itself, because it is not usually killed for such a purpose but the Horse now, to us, in the expedition has become a companion, and we miss one of them almost as much as one of ourselves, besides this the horse is en=deared to us, in so many ways, he is tractable α obedient and soon becomes attached to his master α friend, while we are in so many ways so dependent on him, and each one of us becomes in his turn attached to the fine noble animal we are so often mounted upon, it was to get over the feeling produced by these thoughts which made our attempt the more backward. A bush life however is an excellent sauce for many things, and so it proved to us in eating Horse flesh, for we do not know how soon we may be driven to this as our only remaining resourse, and when we may have to regularly kill a Horse as we have been doing with our Bullocks, and this oc=casion will as it were initiate us. on finding the meat so good, it was determined on that we shall remain here as at a regular killing camp, cut up the meat α dry it for travelling, As supposed the Horse had broken the thigh bone, it was therefore past all recovery. The Dr has given to these Natives the name of Lotophagi or Lotus eaters.

[in left margin]

Wed 7th

Cutting up α drying the poor Horse. Contrary to our expectations the Natives did not follow us to this Camp. they very probably imagine we have gone back from whence we came.

Note 587

Bobtail’s Last Camp was estimated by McLaren to be at GR 931 286 on the 1: 100,000 Valley of Lagoons map 7960. Again, because of the rough terrain, he could not actually reach the spot but estimated it from the position shown on Leichhardt’s field sketch map.