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John Gilbert diary entry

31 May 1845 - 1 June 1845

Page 112. Volume 2

[in left margin]


we found some water among the rocks, sufficient for our purpose, but not at all adapted for the purposes of our whole party637.

[in left margin]

Sun June 1

8 miles W.N.W.


To day I pushed down the river a further distance of 15 miles, and found as I proceeded downwards the water increased, and the general appearance of the river on the whole improving, at four miles a fine creek from the N.E. and at 4 miles beyond comes in a second from E. running under a range which here crosses the river, on the other side of the range comes in a second creek running down the Northern side of the range638, in many parts the river is very much split into branches, and the river in many parts, having no regular bank, runs over the loose stones, and it is difficult to define its breadth, but when the rock disappeared α the regular banks were formed, it is attaining a great breadth. in many parts to day it was not less than half a mile in width, with numerous channels, the banks between which very much inclined to be brushy, with numerous vines, and Creepers, and with the exception of its want of running stream, very much remind=ing us of the Burdikin, low ranges and spurs occur constantly near the river the whole of the distance, numerous new trees now appear, two of which in particular are very fine large leaved plants, and for shade α ornament are equal to any tree I have yet met with in Australia. To day I remarked large flocks of the Crested Parrot, and the Rose Cockatoo, the Artamus superciliosus too has reappeared639. Bustards are also numerous, one of which Charlie was fortunate enough in shooting, during the day I frequently observed the Grus, Platalea, Ibis, and various species of Cormorant, with the Black Duck, teal, α wood ducks640, all, a sure proof of our being in the vicinity of a well watered country; On returning to rejoin the Party, at a creek four miles lower down the river than the camp we left yesterday, we were surprised to see the tracks at least two miles sooner than we expected, it being now nearly sunset we were only enabled to track but a very short distance, we therefore had no help but settle ourselves for the night, fortunately we had the Bustard to fly to, and which although a small Female, we found gave us ample supper641.

Note 637

Gilbert and Charlie’s campsite on the 31st May 1845 must have been in the bed of the Lynd near its junction with Blackfellow Creek, and therefore near where the main expedition party camped on 1st June.

Note 638

These watercourses must have been Trolley Creek, running into the Lynd at GR 117 397, then Eight Mile Creek, which runs into the Lynd just south of where outcrops of ranges either side of the river form a gorge from the area of GR 08 42 to a point where the third creek, another “Blackfellow Creek”, comes in from the north-east at GR 070 439. There is an “island” in the Lynd River at the junction of the River Lynd, Eight Mile Creek and Fulford Creek according to the Lyndbrook map, which concurs with Gilbert’s observation that “in many parts the river is very much split into branches”. Gilbert and Charlie estimated that the second creek was eight miles from their campsite (does this mean they named this watercourse?) and the third (Blackfellow Creek) is about a mile further north judging from the map. If they really travelled 15 miles that day, they must have ridden on another 6 miles, which would have taken them into another gorge area of the River Lynd, near to where the main expedition camped on the night of 3rd June (Melaleuca Gum Camp, estimated by McLaren to be at GR 020 516 on the Lyndbrook map). Gilbert did not mention such mountainous terrain, however.

Note 639

Cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus, Galah Eulophus roseicapillus and White-browed Woodswallow Artamus superciliosus.

Note 640

Brolgas, spoonbills, ibises, cormorants and ducks are all birds which are associated with water.

Note 641

Gilbert and Charlie had therefore overshot the unnamed spot on the Lynd where the main expedition camped on the night of 1st June, which McLaren estimated to have been at the junction of the Lynd and Blackfellow Creek (the first one), at GR 154 372 on the 1: 100,000 Lyndbrook map 7762 (has this campsite subsequently been given a name?). Leichhardt (1847: 277) recorded that they had “encamped at some small pools of water”. Gilbert and Charlie must therefore have camped somewhere along the stretch of the Lynd between Blackfellow and Fossil Creeks.