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John Gilbert diary entry

5 October 1844 - 8 October 1844

Page 83. Volume 1

other, our middle course was West a little northerly. Days Dist. 10 miles17.

Oct 6. Sunday / A day of rest, excepting to the Black fellows, who allowed the bullocks to escape them last night at sun down, they had therefore to go in search this morning nor did they return till the middle of the day, they had got back on our yesterday's track as far as the former camp. In the afternoon I the Dr α Mr H strolled into the Scrub. I saw nothing new, the black fellow Charlie brought me in the eggs α fine examples of Podiceps gularis18 of Gould, I found the nest of Turnix varius.19 Lat: 26.56

Oct 7. Bullocks α horses loaded by nine o'clock, we commenced the day in following down the creek, at rather more than 2½ Miles we came upon the Condamine, down which we kept on the right bank for 7 miles, when we camped for the night at 2 in the afternoon, after rather a fatiguing days journey, caused by our hav=ing to cross so many gullies, and just before coming to Camp we had a rather tedious task to get our Bullocks and horses through a narrow belt of thick Brigalo scrub which came upon the bank of the Condamine where it presented a nearly perpendicular cliff, in their endeavours to force their way through the trees sundry Flour bags were broken, but fortunately very little of their contents escaped. At first the Condamine ran 1¾ miles N.W. and then 2¾ N. then 1½ N.W. the banks almost the whole distance from 30 to 50 feet in height, generally speaking, the bank and flats, were well covered with luxuriant grass, here α there the conglomerate form of sandstone was seen on the surface and in several places the banks of the river presented perpen=dicular cliffs of the same formation. the river presented a slow sluggish stream, with numerous marks on the banks and trees of the flood having reached a height of from 30 to 40 feet above its present level. on the banks are growing the Casuarina α Flooded Gum (Eucalyptus robustus) just before the Creek joined the Condamine, the banks became as high as the latter, and in one part a little back from the left bank and on a very high part was a large lagoon of water. our mediam [sic] course for the day was about N.W. Distance about 8 miles20. Oct 8. Following down the Condamine the banks still high and very much broken; the scrubfrequently coming down close to the bank, but we were enabled to avoid it and in one instance almost a worse dilemma befell us, two of our Bullocks be=came Bogged so deep we were obliged to take off their loads this delayed us a considerable time, here we saw the advantages of Pack Bullocks over drays, in this part the portion of the river bank was so narrow only one bullocks [sic] at a

Note 17

This campsite was still on Cooranga Creek, about 3km east of its confluence with the Condamine River and about 9 kilometres west and slightly north of the campsite of 4th October: Chinchilla sheet 9044: GR 842 206.

Note 18

An egg of the Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae which bears this collecting date survives in the Natural History’s Museum’s Substation in Tring, Hertfordshire (BMNH 1962.1.45). Gilbert has written on the egg “Podiceps gularis Oct 6. 1844”. An Australasian Grebe egg which is in the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology (WFVZ 178857, “Australia”) could have been collected here too, but equally might be from a clutch which Gilbert collected at Port Essington in 1841. Gilbert also collected a specimen of the Leaden Flycatcher Myiagra r. rubecula on the 6th October (LIVCM D1977a, an adult male); the label records the locality only as "Queensland" but Gilbert’s original label clearly reads: "Oct 6. 1844. Male".

Note 19

Red-chested Button-quail Turnix varius. An egg of this species in the Natural History Museum (BMNH 1962.1.202) was collected by Gilbert on 6th October 1844. This egg (which was much broken, but repaired in 1961) was originally in the Gould Collection, then in the collection of Dr Frere, who gave it to the ornithologist Osbert Salvin with some other eggs. The Godman-Salvin Collection was eventually incorporated into the collections of the British Museum. This BMNH egg may be from the same clutch as one or more of the four Gould Collection eggs now in the Western Foundation for Vertebrate Zoology in Camarillo, California (WFVZ 178838; not all from the same clutch).

Note 20

Campsite on the Condamine, just north of the present Banana Bridge; Chinchilla sheet 9044: GR 772 277.