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John Gilbert diary entry

28 June 1845

Page 9. Volume 2

[in left margin]


Saturday 28th.

10 miles West.


Ten miles farther gives us no greater indication of the Coast than hitherto. we had again rather a change of country on crossing the Creek, we entered a finer forest than we have met with for some time past the timber consisting principally of Stringy Bark, Box α Bloodwood, and very fine grass, from this we entered a flat wet country again, at about four miles we crossed a considerable creek, or as the Doctor thinks the Nassau running to the Westward from this the remaining part of the stage was through a beautiful open country thickly studded with Lotus ponds at one of which we camped745. Natives fires in every direction and very near us, but none of the Natives seen, about746 a mile to our right appeared the dark line of a Scrub, most probably edging the Creek we crossed. Dendrocygna again abundant, Brown killed 6 at a shot. The Wood duck, Teal, α Black duck still abound, and the Kites as numerous as ever in fact we have marked several of them747, and see them again and again at succeeding Camps, so that there is no doubt

Note 745

Tea-tree Lagoon Camp was estimated by McLaren to be at GR 968 398 on the 1: 100,000 Rutland Plains map 7266, on a creek which eventually runs into the Nassau River. According to Leichhardt (1847: 307) they camped on a lagoon with a shallow pool of water, which was surrounded by a narrow belt of small tea trees with stiff broad lanceolate leaves. Gilbert and Murphy had put their tent up amongst these little trees, with the entrance “from the camp”. Phillips tent was “as usual, far from the others, and at the opposite side of the water”. Roper and Calvert’s tent was within the belt of trees, facing the packs; Leichhardt (as usual) slept on the ground under the stars.

Note 746

Another pencilled arrow [of Gould’s] points to here, but probably is a marker for the listings of various ducks by Gilbert in his next few sentences (Plumed Whistling-ducks, possibly Wandering Whistling-ducks, Australian Wood Ducks and Pacific Black Ducks).

Note 747

Did Gilbert mean they had caught them and marked them in some way, perhaps with tying string round the legs? If so, this must be one of the earliest examples of such scientific experiments. Or did he just mean they had noticed certain characteristics such as age of plumage?