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John Gilbert diary entry

24 May 1845 - 25 May 1845

Page 107. Volume 2

several miles of country through the fire, it was long after dark, when we returned.

[in left margin]

Sun 25th.

10 Miles

W by S.



To day the whole party moved on my first stage of 10 miles620, Charlie to day made several short cuts and over a tolerably good travelling country by keeping a little back from the river; after our luncheon I with Charlie started off to finish our reconnoiter through the hills, after a great deal of time α trouble in searching every hollow α gully we at length accomplished our object, and again came into fine open forest land. on the whole the hills α ridges we passed over α through, constitute in extent, the wildest α most rocky spot of country we have hitherto seen in the expedition, and unless seen, no idea can be formed of the difficulty of finding an easy passage for tender footed Bullocks through such a mass of broken rocks; through the most rugged of all, runs the river, the whole bed of which is either immense blocks or pavements of the granitic rock tumbled over and standing up in places in the most extraordinary con=fusion, while all the hills around are composed of separate blocks of stones, standing one upon the other, in the most grotesque forms, as if piled up by man, many of this [sic] are very nicely balanced on small pedestals, and appear as if a very little strength or exertion would be sufficient to tumble down the whole mass, on all the hills the vege=tation is very scanty, showing to the eye for a considerable distance around, a mere assemblage of heaps of immense stones621. As might be expected, numerous new Plants were dis=covered, in such a situation, but will all my searching nothing new in the bird way was observed; after leaving the rocky pass, I kept down the river to look out for a camp and chose a spot about 2 miles down, the whole distance for the stage being about 7 miles622. in a direct course probably about 5 in nearly a S.W. course. Just after leaving the rocky pass and while going along one of the channels of the river, we were attracted by smoke as if proceeding from a Natives Camp, mounting the bank which intervened, we saw a Native with a little boy fishing, after looking at them a few minutes, without intending to alarm them we turned our horses heads, just at this moment he caught sight of Charlie and immediately called out to him in

Note 620

This campsite was placed by McLaren at GR 508 137 on the 1: 100,000 Bullock Creek map 7862, at what was later called “Brooker’s Waterhole”, although McLaren found it difficult to pinpoint the spot from Leichhardt’s rather inaccurate sketch map. Gilbert and Charlie had set the route for the 25th May on the previous day, after scouting the area to the north of the right bank. Charlie further refined their path on the day itself by keeping “a little back from the river”; on the Bullock Creek map (published in 1986) a rough track winds its way along here through the ranges. Neither Leichhardt nor Gilbert named the campsite.

Note 621

Leichhardt marked the western range of these higgledy piggeldy hills as “Gilberts Range of little rugged peaks” on his sketch map. This is now Ross Range.

Note 622

As with the previous day’s campsite, Glen McLaren found it difficult to pinpoint the campsite of 26th May. Using Gilbert’s assertion that he had chosen this campsite the previous day at a place [north of the river] “after leaving the rocky pass …. [a] spot about 2 miles down, the whole distance for the stage being about 7 miles”, McLaren thought the campsite would have been on the north bank of the Lynd at about GR 451 126 on the 1: 100,000 Bullock Creek map 7862, just west of a series of rapids and the several squeezes where ridges came into the bed of the river (GR 490 130 – GR 465 129). This does fit with the position of the campsite in relation to the curve of the river as shown in Leichhardt sketch map. We need a name for this campsite too. Perhaps it should be “Aborigine Fisherman’s Camp”. Does it already have a name locally?