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John Gilbert diary entry

28 October 1844 - 30 October 1844

Page 99. Volume 1

all had a full stomach of Animal food, but I must confess I did not enjoy it, having to eat it without Damper. During the day the Black fellows found us several hives of native Honey, a very great treat to bushmen.

Tuesday Oct 29. The whole party very busily engaged cutting up the meat of the beast killed last night, the fat was carefully taken off and all the bones well cleaned, the meat then cut into thin ribbons, then hung across sticks exposed to the sun, but the first days drying although it [did, omitted] not dry it hard, it was soon sufficiently so to prevent the fly's attacking it and at night was still perfectly sweet, the Dr seems very sanguine of succeeding, and entertaining the idea intends to give it one whole days drying in addition before moving on, it will then require drying each day as we camp, if it does not spoil in packing it up for carriage for even a few hours, a few days at all events will settle the point. in the evening I caught several fish the same species as before observed on my way up from the Namoi to the Downs, the Dr thinks it the same as described by Mitchell as genus (Cristus) The back is bluish, and the belly white - having on the back Bronze like spots. Propercu==lum with serrated edges - operculum somewhat pointed. cheeks covered with scales. irides yellow. Dorsal fin having twelve spinous α ten cartilaginous rays - Caudal 18 - Pectoral 14 - Ventral 1 spinous ? 5 cartilaginous - Anal 3 spinous 8 cartilaginous.61

Wed Oct 30. Drying and turning our strips of meat, the day being very hot, they all dried up very quickly, and gives us promise of our experiment proving successful, there was a long consultation with us to endeavour to learn the Drs opinion as to a portion of the party returning but we could gain nothing conclusive from him, in the evening we were surprised to hear a Cooey from the scrub about 200 yards from us and immediately discovered four na=tives, who began to talk to us, but as we could not understand each other the conversation was little edifying to either party, but from their actions it seemed they wished us to go back, - Charlie now and then could make out a sentence, and return an answer

Note 61

This description is almost exactly repeated in Gilbert's notes at the end of his leather-bound notebook. Underneath his mileage calculations on this page is a faint outline of a fish, probably this Cristus. The same type of fish was also caught in the Robinson. Research by James Maclaine of the Fish Section at the Natural History Museum suggests “Cristus” is “Gristes” of Thomas Mitchell, which is probably the Golden Perch Macquaria ambigua.