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John Gilbert diary entry

8 October 1844 - 10 October 1844

Page 84. Volume 1

time could have passed, α for a dray it would have been quite impossible, the only way it could have proceeded, would be by cutting down the scrub, or finding an opening, both of which we escaped, at first our course for a mile α a quarter was N.W. then 1¾ S.W. - 1½ W. - 3 N.W. and 2¼ N 3W. and at night we camped near a Myall Brush. from what our Natives discovered, it appeared we were surrounded by Natives, but during the night they did not venture to make their appearance. during the day I saw for the first time a living specimen of Eurystomus, and for the first time on this coast the Merops ornatus, the little Nettapus Coromandelianus α the Rhynchaspis rhynchotis21 also inhabits these parts. Days Dist. about 10 miles22.

Oct 9. To days route took us over a different character of country, at first for 1½ miles through the Myall Brush when we left the Condamine and kept on for 5½ miles over an undulating and tolerably clear grassy country but having sandy rotten ground so bad that frequently without a break our bullocks α horses were sinking above their fetlocks at every step. towards the latter part of our days journey we were again stopped by the Scrub we then struck off in a S.W. direction for the purpose of making the Condamine to camp, but met with a chain of Lagoons where we stopped for the night. Our bullocks proceeded on during a very hot α fatiguing march without any accident, but in the evening again endeavoured to make back as they have invariably done every night yet, to night they had got back on our tracks several miles almost before they were missed, the days distance altogether about 13 miles, giving us on a N.W. course nearly or about 10 miles α a half. Days Dist. 13 Miles23.

Oct 10 At a mile α ¾ we crossed a creek [see footnote xv] running to the S.W. which we had to cross in a very bad place, and to avoid the Scrub on the right. where we crossed the creek had stony banks from this we followed up a chain of small ponds ranging along a valley edged in on both sides with thick scrub for about 3 miles, from this we travelled over a change of country sandy α stony in places for a further distance of nine miles, through an Iron bark forest and quite an undulating country and in places very thickly timbered, many new plants were collected to day. The Moreton Bay Cypress Pine was seen here α there and many of the shrubs α smaller trees seen on the coast side of the range, near Moreton Bay, we passed through a forest of smooth barked Gum trees

Note 21

Dollarbird Eurystomus pacificus, Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus, Cotton Pygmy-goose Nettapus coromandelicus albipennis and Australasian Shoveler Anas rhynchotis.

Note 22

Campsite on the Condamine River; Chinchilla sheet 9044: GR 707 293.

Note 23

This campsite was on a small tributary of Charley's Creek (Chinchilla sheet 9044: GR 583 377), which they approached and crossed the next morning. This creek was named after Charley Fisher by Leichhardt; apparently the first geographical feature to be named on the expedition. The party were south-west of the present site of Chinchilla, where there is a large plaque commemorating the expedition generally and Charley in particular.