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John Gilbert diary entry

3 November 1844 - 4 November 1844

Page 104. Volume 1

as the Creek on which they found Caleb α Murphy on the 19th Oct. Hodgson came in very exhausted, the only food they were enabled to procure being one Lizard and an Opossum, In the afternoon the Dr persuaded Hodgson to return with Caleb, and which he very readily assented to, as they leave early tomorrow we were all very busily employed during the af=ternoon in writing to our several friends. Calvert α Brown also returned with the

Bullocks. but in the night during the second watch, they all galloped off and before a horse could be saddled had completely eluded our search. the cause of their suddenly rushing

off seems quite inexplicable.

Monday Nov 4. This morning soon after daylight Hodgson α Caleb left us on their

return to the Downs, all things considered it is certainly very much better for the

expedition we are relieved of these two more especially the latter. we shall now have

an abundant supply of provisions for from 6 to 7 months. Mr H α the Dr could not very well agree both being possessed of odd tempers. and Caleb in many respects was less suited for an expedition, than any other of the party, and having so often displeased the Dr and otherwise given us all so much dissatisfaction, he began himself to think of returning (even alone).72 Our party now consists of 8 persons, all excepting one pretty well broken in for enduring hardships and pushing on, the exception is Master Murphy, whose youth (16 years) I fear will hardly contend against the great length of the journey before us, the Dr however is of a different opinion, and of course must take the responsibility upon himself alone. I advised Murphy to return, but as the Dr thought he could stand the fatigue

Note 72

Pemberton Hodgson himself referred to his time on the expedition, and his departure from it, in his book Reminiscences of Australia (1846); this and Hodgson's open letter in the Sydney Morning Herald (12th December 1844) appear to indicate that Hodgson and Leichhardt had parted on good terms. Gilbert and Phillips's diaries indicate otherwise. Phillips (Sprod 2006: 61) reported that " ... two of our party (Hodgson and Caleb) took their departure from us on their return back, being heartily tired of the short allowance of food .... and thoroughly frightened at the hardships and dangers they now saw ... Their early departure ... greatly increased our comfort and unanimity". Leichhardt in his Journal stated only that Hodgson's reason for leaving was because he ".. had perhaps suffered most by additional fatigues". The journey from the Darling Downs that the expedition had taken five weeks to travel took Hodgson and Caleb just two days to retrace. It is almost certain that Hodgson took the eggs which Gilbert had collected with him, although probably not the skins, it is the only way of explaining their extraordinary survival. Only a few eggs from the Leichhardt Expedition postdate Hodgson’s return to the Darling Downs.