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John Gilbert diary entry

9 November 1844 - 10 November 1844

Page 109. Volume 1

creeks α water courses, chains of Lagoons α Swamps which kept us winding about in almost every direction, at length we again came upon the Daw=son84, and was pleased to see one change of cha=racter viz. much wider α higher banks, but having the swamp Casuarina, at the confluence of several large creeks α chains of Lagoons there is a very thick brush of sapling Gums, being in hopes of finding clear banks in following down the main stream, we continued on for a mile but found it did not change character we therefore halted for the day on a little clear opening surrounded by the Sapling brush, although we had been travelling four hours, yet from the winding we made in avoiding so much water, we find that we have only five miles to add to our course, although the actual distance for the day can be little short of 11 miles. soon after our arrival at camp I had a very painful attack of Dysentery owing I suppose to the change of diet the last two days. the Dr. has been suffering the last four days from Diarrhoea; which has pulled him down very much; generally speaking the whole party have continued very well in health. the Dr recommending me to eat no meat, I soon found the benifit [sic] of following his advice. The Dr reconnoitering brought us the disagreable intelli=gence of a large patch of Brigalo scrub lying in our way for tomorrows route, but Charlie who started off in a dif=ferent direction but came upon the point at which the Dr returned, he came back through a tolerably clear country which again cheered us. ["Pelican Camp" deleted]85.

Sund Nov 10 Following Charlie's guidance we struck off in a N.E. direction for 4½ miles to save a long bend in the Dawson, this distance was over small open plains surrounded by little patches of Brigalo scrub or Acacia brush, turning off a little more northerly we came upon a large Creek which we followed down for about a mile α a half, which brought us again on the Dawson, which now took a more Westerly course for about 2 miles, when we were again obliged to turn off from the banks to the Eastward along the high banks of what ap=peared at first as a large tributary, but after following it about a mile sometimes going East then turning sud=denly off to the South east then again as suddenly back to the N.W. we found to be only a back water of the main stream which again brought us on the Dawson86. The country in the immediate vicinity of the river similar to yesterday, at a little distant [sic] the thinly timbered hills while on many parts of the flats α banks the thickets of saplings or Acacia α Vitex brushes. the Dr in working out the days march makes us 9 miles on

Note 84

In actuality, they were now on Juandah Creek, hence the change of conformation.

Note 85

The campsite was in fact, according to Leichhardt's Field Book, called the "Camp of the fields of everlastings". Gilbert's comment about the campsite being about a "mile" north of an area of large creeks and lagoons enables it to be quite accurately located (Taroom sheet 8846: GR 797 344).

Note 86

The course of the Juandah from GR 37 northwards is much complicated by anabranches ("I never saw such a rum river, in my life" as Leichhardt (1847) quotes the aborigine “Charley”). After the expedition's morning's short-cut to the north-east, they must have rejoined the Juandah at about GR 834 387.