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John Gilbert diary entry

27 May 1845 - 28 May 1845

Page 109. Volume 2

[in left margin]

Tues 27th.

10 miles


First Cacatua eos

The weather cleared up during the early part of the morning, and we were enabled to move on as usual, in 2 miles we came again upon rocky travelling where the ridge again came into the river Banks623, here we crossed the river bed, and again came upon Basalt, for about a mile we had very bad travelling when we again crossed the river, and continued on for about 5 miles over an open Forest but broken country, and occasionally a short distance over the Basalt. it was a curious country, on each side [of] the river the Basalt formed the banks, while at a distance of not more than half a mile were spurs of a range of Granitic hills running nearly N α S. constantly cropping out upon it, at 9 miles we had to push our way through a very narrow gorge through the range, and for a few yards where large Blocks of Granite lay strewed in the bed of the river it was very bad travelling, the whole passage however was short, not more perhaps than a quarter of a mile, the rocks rising like walls on each side for a considerable height, gave to the whole scene a quiet but wild romantic spot, on emerging from the pass, we came to the Natives Camp, from which the Dr started the natives yesterday, and strange to say they had not since returned, and the coolamen624 were still remaining with the prepared honey water as the Dr left them yesterday, having been exposed so long to a hot sun the beverage had become a little acid, but this did not prevent us enjoying a long draught, for which we left them in return Buttons α c as a sort of compensation, about a mile from this we camped in the bed of the river625, and in the evening killed our seventh Bullock; For the first time in the Expedition I today remarked the Cacatua eos626. Since leaving Separation Creek we have constantly observed the Common Cypress Pine and with it strange enough the Struthidea cinerea627.

[in left margin]

Wed 28th.

Lions last


Cutting up α drying our meat, the Bullock we have this time killed is one of our original workers, but for the last four months has been incapable of carrying his Pack, but notwithstanding his doing no work, we now find him the poorest beast we have killed so much so that we could not find sufficient fat from his whole body to fry the liver. In nearly all our former Killing Camps our greatest enemy has generally been Ants in vast numbers attacking our pieces of meat before dried, at the present

Note 623

The first point after the expedition’s campsite of 26th May where the ridges again abut the River Lynd is shown on the Bullock Creek map to be at GR 420 128. Near here must be where they crossed from the right (north) bank to the left, where the highest ridges are set further back but there were basalt outcrops on the banks. After about a mile they crossed back to the right bank, probably in the area where Leichhardt had noted a broad rocky gap in a range “tending” to east and west; was this at GR 398 158? Leichhardt had come across the Aboriginal camp the day before at the “north entrance” of this gap. They would then have travelled along the right bank (east side) past Mount Bridge and struggled through the “very narrow gorge” with granite blocks in the bed of the river. They camped a short distance north of the junction of the Lynd River and Bills Creek.

Note 624

Coolamon (the plural is Coolamons) are carrying vessels with curved sides. Leichhardt (1847: 269) referred to them as “koolimans … vessels of stringy bark”. According to Leichhardt the Aborigines also left “Dillis, fish spears, a roasted bandicoot, a species of potato, wax, a bundle of tea-tree bark with dry shaving, several flints fastened with human hair to the end of sticks, and which are used as knives to cut their skin and food; a spindle to make strings of opossum wool; and several other small utensils”. One of the expedition’s Aborigines searched the bags in the Aboriginal camp the next day and found a fine rock-crystal.

Note 625

McLaren has put the campsite of 27th - 30th May at GR 351 204, on the printed map’s edge between the Bullock Creek and Lyndbrook 1: 100,000 maps 7862 and 7762. He did not name the camp but both Gilbert and Leichhardt called this campsite “Lion’s Last”, after the bullock they killed. Leichhardt (1847: 272-273) recorded that Lion had been the bullock which carried their ammunition and this great weight raised large lumps on his ribs which had turned into ulcers. He was so thin even the fat in the bone marrow had disappeared. McLaren’s co-ordinates put the campsite in the bed of the river (as recorded by both Gilbert and Phillips), a short distance north of the junction of the Lynd River and Bills Creek and about a mile south-west of Mount Pudding Basin. These two last are more modern names; it is notable that Leichhardt named fewer and fewer geographical features during this period of difficult travelling.

Note 626

Galah Eolophus roseicapillus.

Note 627

Apostlebird Struthidea cinerea.