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John Gilbert diary entry

5 November 1844 - 6 November 1844

Page 106. Volume 1

Tuesday Nov 5. Horses again taken back to the old Camp, which detained us till after 10 o'clock, when we set out on our course in about a mile we crossed a creek, where we crossed it was running at right angles with our course but soon after we again came on the banks of it and followed it down about 6 miles, when the Dr from not feeling well, halted for the day, the whole of the seven miles travelled over to day, was of the same description as first seen yesterday, viz. Thinly Timbered grassy, undulating country. the creek al=though not presenting a running stream has in its bed many large pools, which evidently are either permanent water holes or have water the greater por=tion of the year, the banks being lined with reeds and in many part[s] rocky holes, the formation Sand Stone, at the Pool we camped upon there are three very large spotted or Flooded Gums, with the banks of the creek tolerably high and particularly clear on the left Bank, the three remarkable Gums being on the right bank. We call this spot Three tree Water Hole; each of the trees having the Expedition sign LL. cut in the bark74 ½ mile N.N.W. 4 - N.W. 3½ W. The Dr has named the water course the Dawson75. We succeeded in catching a mess of Fish. the only species caught however being Cristus, a western water species which again throws aside the idea of the Dawson being a Northern stream76. To day I saw for the first time since leaving the Downs the species of Elanus killed on Oakey Creek77. the for=est trees consist principally of Apple tree Box Flooded Gum Silver leaved Iron bark α c but none of the Cypress or Oak at least only a few scattered trees.

Wed Nov 6. To days route over a continuation of the undulating country, as we advanced

following down the Dawson the country became more open, and in several parts small plains the soil α ridges becoming more firm, resembling in vegetation and iron stone α Sand stone gravel resembling greatly the Darling Downs district, while the Doctor was following down the river I α Roper [went. page torn - word erased] on in a N W course for between 3 α 4 [mil]es [page torn] over a continuation of plains

Note 74

This camp was on Roche Creek, of which White Creek is a tributary, on Guluguba sheet 8945: GR 155 152. No sign now remains of the three marked Flooded Gums - the area has been extensively cleared. Gilbert omits mention of a Aboriginal tomb the party saw on November 5th; Leichhardt (1847) described it as a simple conical heap of sand raised over a body left in a squatting position.

Note 75

The Dawson River, named after "R. Dawson Esq., of Black Creek, Hunter's River" (Leichhardt 1847), is now officially the name of the watercourse that runs through Taroom, further north. Roche Creek runs into it via Juandah Creek at about grid reference 797 580, on Taroom sheet 8846. According to Chisholm (1973), Robert Dawson was a Yorkshireman who came to New South Wales in 1825 as the first manager of the Australian Agricultural Company.

Note 76

See previous footnote about a Cristus caught on October 29th 1844.

Note 77

Elanus axillaris, the Black-shouldered Kite.