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John Gilbert diary entry

18 June 1845 - 19 June 1845

Page 123. Volume 2

Page 123701

[in left margin]

Wed 18.

Turning α drying our meat; busy most of the day skinning fish, Charlie today was much more successful with his line than yesterday, he caught very fine examples of the large scaled fish of the Mackenzie, and the same species of Silurus. During the day I observed the following Birds in the immediate vicinity of our Camp, Milvus isurus - Ichthyaeetus leucogaster - Haliaster Sphenurus - Artamus minor - Artamus cinereus - Artamus leucopygialus - Platycercus (New) - Trichogloss. Swainsonii? - Cacatua eos - Calyptorhynchus Banksii - Melopsittacus undulatus - Nymphicus Novae-Holl. - Seisura volitans - Rhipidura Motacilloides - Rhipidura albiscapa - Poephila (New) - Poephila cincta - Estrelda modesta - Ptilotis flava - Ptilotis unicolor - Tropidorhynchus corniculatus - Entomyza cyanotis? - Peristera histrionica - Black α White Phal=acrocorax α c -----702.

[in left margin]

Thurs 19th.

Today we resumed our march, leaving the Lagoon we steered in about a N.W. course for 8 miles and brought up for the day at a fine Lagoon about a quarter of a mile long but having very deep water703; the river was parrallel with us most of the route [making it] necessary for us to keep well back to avoid the deep gullies frequent on the immediate banks of the river, we travelled through grassy country, lightly timbered and very level. during the day [flocks] of Peristera, Nymphicus α Cacatua eos, were observed. The [weath]er as yet presents no change or indication of our approach [to the] Coast; the morning was very hot, the weather during the [last few] days has been rather inclined to change, towards night heavy [clouds ca]me up, with a strong breeze from the Southward α Eastward, [durin]g the day we have occasionally a slight wind from Northerly [but of] short duration. To day we again passed the remnant of [same construc]tions of the Natives as those passed on the 14th. Charlie [wen]t out early in the afternoon to shoot Ducks, did not [succeed but] they described having seen the tracks, and heard the bellowing [of an] animal which so surprised them, that they returned [in as] hurried a manner as possible, thinking no doubt

Note 701

This page, the last page in the loose-leafed volume of Gilbert’s diary, has had a large piece torn from the bottom left-hand side (the shape does not appear to match any of the paper fragments). Some of this piece was obviously missing when Gilbert used it, as only a few words are missing on each line but it has since frayed. Some of the entry for Thursday 19th June 1845 is therefore missing.The words in square brackets are best guesses at the words Gilbert used.

Note 702

Square-tailed Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Whistling Kite, Little Woodswallow, Black-faced Woodswallow, White-breasted Woodswallow, Golden-shouldered Parrot?, Rainbow Lorikeet, Galah, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Budgerigar, Cockatiel, Restless Flycatcher, Willie Wagtail, Grey Fantail, Masked Finch, Black-throated Finch, Plum-headed Finch, Yellow Honeyeater, White-gaped Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Flock Bronzewing, Pied (and/or Little Pied) Cormorant.

Note 703

McLaren thought Gilbert’s quarter-mile-long lagoon must have been erased by the Mitchell River swinging back against its left bank over the intervening 150 years. The Mitchell is indeed exceptionally wide at this point, and has a long stretch of permanent water. McLaren set the campsite at GR 205 896, a position which agrees with Leichhardt’s sketch map, apart from the missing lagoon. This campsite was not named by Leichhardt or Gilbert but the “Aligator” was a new animal for the expedition, so perhaps “The Camp of the Bellowing Animal” or “Crocodile Camp”?