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John Gilbert diary entry

23 November 1844 - 25 November 1844

Page 119. Volume 1

far too steep for even our horses α Bullocks to attempt we therefore followed up the rivers course on the tops of the hills for half a mile farther and des=cended to a flat, densely covered with the Composita known in the Colony as the Burr, and camped at a rocky α deep water hole119, clear thinly timbered grassy hills as we had travelled over surrounding us on all sides. in every direction around us as we crossed the ridges we saw native fires, which would appear to indicate the tribes to be very numerous although we do not see any of them.

Sunday Nov 24. Our observations this morning shows us to have made two miles Southing 25-27-0: all busy in repairing yes=terdays damages. At the rocky water hole the Cristus was caught in numbers and I remarked them to be much dar=ker α redder than those before caught120. Our repairs took up so much time as to oblige us to remain stationary for the remainder of the day.121 Rocky Waterhole.

Monday 25th Nov. Followed up the Robinson in a=bout a N.W. course for 7 miles when we arrived at what ap=peared the source of the a river a deep gully, half a mile across

and surrounded with high precipitous rocky hills, with gullys running into it from every direction, the Palms numerous and a regular Bottle tree scrub, with the Fig and other trees

as seen in the scrubs about the coast range at Moreton Bay. on arriving here it was a question as to which side of these ridges was preferable for in every part the descent was too perpendicular to admit of the possibility of our getting down to a fine pool of clear water seen in the deeper part of the Gully. as there was no appearance of water in any other part within our reach to day, we turned off to the N.E. and following down a hollow between the hills came to a rocky water hole in about 2 miles. Days dist 10 miles but not more than about 7 direct from our last camp.122 To day I found the nest for the first time of

Poephila cincta containing four white Eggs all perfectly fresh. the nest rather small, domed, with a lengthened entrance, formed of dried grass, with no other material for a lining, and placed in a very con=spicuous fork of a Jacksonia, about 7 feet from the ground. I shot the bird from the nest123. In taking a round=about ride with Charlie in hopes of meeting with a Kangaroo, I rode over the same character of open lightly timbered country which has been remarked as characterising the Robinson, but the grass neither so rich or abundant as in the lower part of the river and the ground for the most part either stony or loose rotten sandy soil, I observed a strange jumble of trees in many spots, were the Cypress, Iron bark, Mahogony, White Gum α Box; Flooded Gum, Casuarina, Jacksonia, Xylomela, the rusty Gum of Dogwood Creek, α the little Acacia's α blue Composita, all growing together on a flat, or on the sides of the hills

Note 119

They camped at "Rocky Waterhole Camp", at approximately GR 327 856 on Glenhaughton sheet 8747, just north of the junction of Robinson and Harden Creeks. McLaren estimates that they had crossed the Robinson three times that day, and skirted the lagoon at GR 397 871.

Note 120

Might these still be Golden Perch Macquaria ambigua?

Note 121

Some shells were collected by Gilbert on 24th November. The Accessions Register of the Natural History Museum, London for 7th October 1846 includes four Unio (nos 10-13) from "Robinson - Nov. 24th - Sandy bottom" and there were also four Physa specimens(1846.10.7.135-138) from "Rocky Bason Camp", which probably refers to Rocky Waterhole Camp.

Note 122

"Pigeon Camp" was probably on a small tributary of Harden Creek, at GR 325 915 (Glenhaughton sheet 8747). McLaren thinks that, because the Robinson drops into a chasm at about GR 31 89, the expedition was forced directly north and thus missed the junction of Rosey and Robinson Creeks. They had actually headed up Rosey Creek, eventually dropping down towards Harden Creek.

Note 123

A Black-throated Finch Poephila cincta collected [by Murphy] on 23rd December at Brown's Lagoons is in the collections at the Royal Albert Museum, Exeter, but Gilbert's specimen “shot from the nest” on 25th November has not yet been located. Three Gould Collection specimens now in Philadelphia (ANSP 14626, 14627 & 14629 – 2 males and a female) are all marked “Interior of Australia”, which often alludes to Leichhardt Expedition material, but no original labels from this collection survive. A specimen in the Natural History Museum (BMNH 1881.5.1.4487) is a possibility and needs checking. As for the four eggs Gilbert found in the nest, three Black-throated Finch eggs from “Australia” are in the Gould Collection in California (WFVZ 179487) but unfortunately there is no writing on any of the eggs.