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John Gilbert diary entry

13 May 1845 - 15 May 1845

Page 99. Volume 2

drawn upon them, they were well pleased indeed, for about three hours we kept up this constant chat among them, when Brown made them understand that we wished some honey α roots, when they all left us as we supposed for the purpose of procuring some. They returned in the evening but brought us nothing, and after half an hours talking we dismissed them for the night; No appearance of the Dr α Charlie.

[in left margin]

Wed. 14th.

Last Tobacco Smoked.

The Natives did not make their appearance so early as usual, although we heard them very soon after daylight, near midday about 10 of them came and gave us to understand, that the greater number had this morning started off to the coast, but that they intended to remain. they did not bring us any roots or honey as we expected, one young man brought two fish which he gave to Murphy, and I was surprised to find them the same species as I have formerly observed at Darling Downs, and which is there termed the Herring with the lengthened Dorsal Ray602. The Natives did not pay us a second visit although we heard them come to their Camp within ¾ of a mile of us. The con=tinued absence of the Dr begins to make us all feel very anxious, it is very fortunate for us that the Natives have proved so quietly disposed towards us, as such a lengthened stay in one spot might have been attended with some unfortunate consequence to us.

[in left margin]

Thurs 15.

The Dr α Charlie returned at midday, both very much fatigued, during the time they have been absent, they were at one time 48 hours without water, but afterwards found a better country for our whole train to proceed on. Roper after the Drs return crossed the river and walked to the Natives Camp among a number of lakes, where he saw the Natives busily employed in col=lecting Turee α c. they told him they intended bringing us some in the evening, Roper went out alone in the face of both the Drs α my own advice, the only two of the party who have had any experience among wild tribes of Natives, and therefore by any sensible α inexperienced one among us should certainly have some weight, but Roper is at all times fool-hardy in any α every thing he feels an inclination to do, and no advice seems to have any weight with him, he is in fact the only one of the party who has exposed himself to unnecessary

Note 602

Probably the Bony Bream or Australian River Gizzard Shad Nematolosa erebi, a member of the herring family Clupeidae (check with James Maclaine). The flesh although edible is obviously rather bony, but according to Gunther Schmida’s “Freshwater fishes” 2008: 21 (Steve Parish Wild Australia Guide) Bony Breams were harvested and canned for the troops during WWII. Gilbert had collected several of these fish in Bowman's Creek [= Tycannah Creek] in northern New South Wales in April 1844; some of these still survive as dried skins in the collections of the Natural History Museum in London.