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John Gilbert diary entry

20 May 1845 - 22 May 1845

Page 105. Volume 2

accompany him in such a horrid meal, the dog was not only miserably thin, but had a very bad odour, and the Dr although he ate nearly the whole of it himself, acknowledged that it was not very recommendable. In passing a clump of trees, after leaving the Lakes, I saw four Chlamydera's Bowers, all so close as to nearly touch each other, whether these have all been formed by one pair of Birds, or that these Bowers may belong to as many pairs of Birds, would be interesting to learn, of the great number which I have hitherto seen, I have not on any occasion met with two, that have been within a stone's throw of each other. around these Bowers, was an immense number of the bleached specimens of the large yellow Helix614.

[in left margin]

Wed 21st.

The Dr α Brown again started off to reconnoiter the course of the Creek. In a ramble with my Gun saw nothing new or particularly interesting.

[in left margin]

Thurs 22nd.

I rambled up the Creek to ascertain its course and I found it came down from the S.E. running through a fine open country, the Basalt keeping on its right bank, and often receding [sic] far back, I followed it up about 6 miles, it contained numbers of detached water holes615. just after my return the Dr came in on my tracks, when he left us yesterday he followed down the Creek about five miles, when finding it turned off to the N.E. he left it and struck out to the westward, and after a long ride over a mountainous country came upon a considerable water course, running to the Westward616, from which he started this morning, during his absence, the Dr saw a number of new Plants, all of which however we shall see probably tomorrow.

[in left margin]

Friday 23rd.

W N W.

16 Miles



To day we again made a good stage, of about 16 miles in a W.N.W course, at first we kept up Separation Creek for about 2 miles to avoid the rocky hills, this kept us in about a Northerly course, from this we kept up a small tributary creek in about a west course for 5 miles, here we left the open forest country, and entered a thick forest of Stringy bark α Box, occasionally crossing ridges having thickets of Acacia, in three miles we came upon the banks of the creek which the Dr explored, down this we continued for 6 miles and camped at its Junction with a considerable water course coming down from the N.E.617 this new Stream is bounded by stony ridges on each side, and we will probably have more of our rocky Mountain travelling. This was a most interesting day to the Botanist

Note 614

According to the “Handbook of Australia, New Zealand and Antarctic birds” 2006, vol.7: 941, bowers seen close together would have all been built by the same individual Great Bowerbird Chalmydera nuchalis. HANZAB quotes Humphries and North in remarking that “sometime 8-11 old bower structures persist adjacent to an active bower within a single site”. There is a large pencilled arrowhead over the part of Gilbert’s text where he described the bowers, presumably put there by Alec Chisholm (or John Gould?) because of interest in these observations. Check Queensland shell guides to see what “Large yellow Helix” could be. Check NHMN shell collection to see if they are in that collection.

Note 615

Gilbert appears to have followed Rudd Creek upstream for 6 miles, which would have taken him further south than “Rudd’s Pinnacle” and directly east of what is now Forty Mile Scrub National Park (need to obtain and check the St Ronan’s 1: 1000 map 7861).

Note 616

The Lynd River, which Leichhardt named after “R. Lynd, Esq., a gentleman to whom I am under the greatest obligation, for his unmeasured liberality and kindness enabled me to devote my time exclusively to the pursuits of science and exploration” (Leichhardt 1847: 264). Robert Lynd was barrack-master for the 63rd regiment of the British Army in Sydney and had become close to Leichhardt. Believing his friend lost, Lynd composed “Leichhardt’s Grave”, a long and heartfelt elegy to Leichhardt’s memory, in July 1845. According to Gilbert, Leichhardt did not name the river until the 9th June 1845, over two weeks after they had started travelling along it, as he thought it might be a tributary. Leichhardt obviously wanted to call a watercourse of importance after Robert Lynd.

Note 617

With reference to Leichhardt’s sketch map they appear to have travelled two miles north up Rudd Creek and then turned west onto Minnemore Creek, either travelling upstream to its source and then over the ridges to the headwaters of Lily Creek, or more likely, as Leichhardt’s sketch map is more definitely drawn for this route, taking the more southerly branch of Minnemore Creek, crossing the present route of the Kennedy Highway further south, and thus coming across the headwaters of the Lynd above the junction with Lily Creek. Lily Creek is shown as flowing into the Lynd River at GR 654 129 on the 1: 100,000 Bullock Creek map. According to McLaren they camped at the junction of the Lynd River and Nobbs Creek, at GR 623 147. This campsite was named “Queen’s Birthday Camp”, 24th May 1845 being Queen Victoria’s 26th birthday. The expedition members, all being present, celebrated with “fat cake” of flour and suet and allowed themselves sugar in their tea; they had been saving these ingredients for this very purpose (Leichhardt 1847: 265).