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John Gilbert diary entry

23 June 1845 - 27 June 1845

Page 6. Volume 2

[in left margin]


The Drs second set of observations for Longitude was as unfavorable as the first, being within a few seconds of the first, which judging from the distance we appear to be from the coast, must be nearly a degree at least too far west, the Dr’s certainty therefore of depending on his obser=vations, must now give way to considerable doubt as to our actual situation on the map for since such a mistake seems to place us so much too far, the former calculations may be equally wrong and thus every place we mark down in the map may be incorrect. if his last observations at Lions last were correct, the course and distance we have since then steered, would place us about 10 miles from the coast, which would be about 30 miles for the error, which if not greater than this would be satisfactory enough when we con=sider the disadvantages made of taking sights with only one instrument. That we are now in the immediate vicinity of Coast seems clear to us all, from so many features. To day we again felt the benifit of the cooling sea breeze which came up rather strong from the Westward a little southerly, in fact the winds are now all from the Westward while formerly they were all easterly.

[in left margin]

Friday 27.

8 miles



Eight miles in a W.S.W. direction over precisely the same character of country as yesterday with this difference that we travelled the whole stage without seeing water till we camped at several small Lagoons in a water course running to the Westward738. the Dr. thinks we have now got upon another change739 of waters, and that the large river we travelled on till yesterday, is not the Nassau. from the latitude we are now in he thinks we are now likely to soon come upon the right bank of that river as laid down in the Maps. Peristera again met with in large flocks, Brown in three shots killed 22 Birds of these I found by dissection 15 were female740 Birds, during

Note 738

McLaren estimated the campsite of 27th June 1845 to be at GR 121 401, on a small lagoon on the headwaters of the Nassau River. He placed it there because this point is just north of three small lagoons and a creek (Tea Tree Creek), as shown by Leichhardt on his sketch map. This map also shows that Leichhardt wrote “Lagoons with Lotus” alongside the star indicating the campsite, which would make a good name for this campsite.

Note 739

Another pencilled arrowhead with its point on this word was probably Gould’s, and probably indicating Gilbert’s observations on large flocks of “Peristera” (Flock Bronzewings Phaps histrionica), a few lines further on in Gilbert’s diary.

Note 740

Leichhardt called these Flock Bronzewings “Harlequin Pigeons” (Leichhardt 1847: 305), an old named which refers to the striking black-and-white face mask and white bib on the adult male.