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John Gilbert diary entry

22 November 1844 - 23 November 1844

Page 118. Volume 1

seen, we descended the ridges into a valley after making about a N.N.W. course, and came upon a stream having Casuarina and Calathamnus on its banks with long pools of water. the Dr and I rode down the river and from its general bearing to the S α E concluded it to be the Robinson, which it resembled in every character excepting that

it has high flats α more grassy hills adjacent than that part we tra=velled over yesterday, in the afternoon we crossed the river at our Camp and kept a N W. course for about 6 miles over a beau=tiful undulating country the hills lightly timbered with Iron bark, all the country before us presenting the same open character with ridges and ranges of hills rising one above the other in the distance for at least 50 miles, particularly to the N.W. apparantly the higher ranges run East α West. the Robinson seems to come from the Westward at least

as far as we observed it, the pools of water becoming more frequent and of greater length α depth as we ascended. its course winding among the hills renders it very devious, ex=cepting some of the hills being light α sandy soil which ren=ders it very rotten ground, the country before us appears particularly well adapted for Sheep Stations. from the presence of such dense masses of Reeds many of the pools of water in the River bed in all probability stands throughout the year. While out I killed an Amadina modesta117. About a quarter of a mile from our camp we came up on the Native Bivouac from which the Dr took the nets in exchange for which we to day left a Brass handled Sword four fishing hooks and a silk Pocket Handkerchief, the first perhaps will most astonish and delight them the great question is if they will feel satisfied of the fairness of this compulsory exchange, the nets on examination are not fishing but Kangaroo nets, the meshes very large, to use them therefore for fishing we must make one from the two, the nets are made of the bark of the young Corajong (Stacculia). Days dist. 6 miles118.

Sat Nov 23. 25=25=0.

This was a day of successive mishaps, the first and greatest misfortune to me was the loss of a very good and old favorite pocket Compass, the next disaster was in three of our Bullocks, when we were on the point of departure throwing off their loads, breaking their saddles, and throwing about the ground a great portion of our dryed meat. to repair the

damages and reload we were detained 2 hours, at length we commenced our days marching, but had not gone more than three or four miles, when another similar scene occurred but attended with a more serious loss, about 20 lbs of flour, as it was now getting late in the afternoon it was necessary to look out for a halt=ing place, we had kept on in about a W.N.W. course for a distance of about five miles without having seen the Robinson for the last three, we therefore struck off a little South, when in about half a mile we came upon it very suddenly running beneath a rocky hill, the sides of which to the banks were by

Note 117

The Plum-headed Finch, the modern scientific name being Neochmia modesta. A female of this species from the Leichhardt Expedition is in John Murphy’s collection, now in the Royal Albert Museum, Exeter, U.K., but unfortunately has no details of date or location. Three specimens at NHM Tring (BMNH 1881.5.1.4471 & .4490, and one with no number) have been flagged as possible Leichhardt Expedition material, these three need checking. Leichhardt's Journal (1847) also mentions that they found an Australian Brush-turkey's nest (or rather mound) between 20th and 25th November.

Note 118

Their campsite on 22nd November was named Sterculia Camp. McLaren estimates it to have been at GR 431 857 on Glenhaughton sheet 8747. Leichhardt remarked (1847) that it was to this spot that Pemberton Hodgson reached when he later tried to find out what had happened to the expedition.