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John Gilbert diary entry

25 June 1845

Page 4. Volume 2

Page 4727

[in left margin]


Wednesday 25th.

N. North-West.

10 miles.



Previous to starting the Dr. took Lunars for the purpose of making his Longitude. We made ten miles to day in about a N.W. course and if we have not yet seen the salt water, we certainly had a different style of country to travel over, at a mile from Camp we came upon a plain, across this we travelled a distance of about 3 miles then a mile of stunted forest trees, when we again came upon another plain, at least four miles across, when we came upon a thickly timbered country small trees how=ever consisting principally of Box, the land here as well as the plains we travelled over has the appearance of being in wet weather very much flooded. just before camping we came up=on quite a brush, with openings however sufficiently clear for us to travel through when we came upon the banks of what appeared a branch of the river, and at an old camping spot of the Natives we brought up for the day and pitched our tents728, while crossing the plains, although we could not729 see any thing of the country beyond the trees surrounding, yet every where around us were many columns of smoke rising above from Natives burning the bush. On the Plains, were numerous dead shells of a very large species of Paludina730. during the route we saw more Kangaroos than we have observed in a day for a very long time past. and we succeeded in catching a half grown buck, it is still the common M. major731. A specimen of Buteo melanosternon and Circus Jardinii were observed to day732. although we do not yet see the coast we to day had a strong evidence of our near vicinity, by the strong sea breeze which came up from the westward about 12 o'clock. The Milvus isurus733 more bold and numerous than hitherto seen. 3 wallabies killed all the same as Crinum Camp734.

Note 727

A large piece was torn out of the top right-hand side of this page before Gilbert wrote in ink over the top of his previous pencil notes.

Note 728

The “branch of the river” must have been the wide watercourse which runs from GR 323 454 to its lengthy junction with the Mitchell River, centred on GR 347 465. According to McLaren they camped on 25th June 1845 at GR 320 474 on Tribune Creek, which runs into this wide watercourse (unnamed on the Koolatah map). Phillips recorded that they “camped on the bank of a large creek (Sprod 2006: 73), which suggests the campsite might have been more to the west, where Tribune Creek becomes a long lagoon. However Leichhardt’s sketch map appears to show this lagoon more to the west of their camp.

Note 729

A pencilled arrowhead with its point on this word was probably Gould’s, indicating the bird records a little further on in Gilbert’s diary.

Note 730

Fresh water pond snails.

Note 731

Eastern Grey Kangaroo Macropus major. According to Leichhardt this had been caught by Spring, the remaining kangaroo dog (Leichhardt 1847: 303).

Note 732

Black-breasted Buzzard Hamirostra melanosternon and Spotted Harrier Circus assimilis.

Note 733

Square-tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura.

Note 734

See footnotes for 24th June 1845. Leichhardt added the words “White flanked Wallobis very [f]requent” to “25th June” on his sketch map and also mentioned that Brown and Charlie had shot here “white flanked wallabies” in his Journal (1847: 303). Agile Wallabies Macropus agilis indeed have a pale hip stripe. According to Phillips (Sprod 2006: 73) these wallabies [and the kangaroo] were dried for future use. The campsite of 25th June was unnamed, but Leichhardt’s notation next to the date on his sketch map, “White-flanked Wallobis [Camp]” may be appropriate.