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John Gilbert diary entry

7 December 1844

Page 129. Volume 1

of the European, for it has been usually remark=ed that when Savages and especially the Australian - first see's a horse or Bullock, it is with a mixture of surprise and fear, and with such feelings have never I believe attempted to spear but on the contrary more inclined to retreat; that there may be Natives among these distant tribes who have before been engaged in this sort of warfare against the Settlers flocks α herds is not at all improbable, for it is well known that Natives do frequently come in to the settled parts of Moreton Bay α Darling Downs from very considerable distances North α N.W. and are thus frequently engaged with the Natives of these districts in their systematic attacks upon the Settlers stock, if this is the case it only renders our situation the more trying, and will require us to be much more on the alert than we have hitherto been, the Dr was from the commencement strongly impressed with the idea that when beyond a hundred miles from Settled districts, nothing was to be feared from Natives, and this feeling ap=peared to be shared by the majority of his original party; but I have always strenuously urged the ne=cessity of at all times keeping a regular watch during the night, and always in other respects to feel ourselves on our guard and in preparation for any sudden meeting with them, although the watch has been so far regularly kept, yet some parties have had so little faith or confidence in it, as to fre=quently sleep the whole of their watch, thus leaving

us exposed to the attack of an enemy, who is wily in the extreme; and if inclined to attack at night are en=abled to creep up to trees surrounding in so quiet a manner that not even a watchful dog, would detect from any other symptom but by scenting them, the sudden appearance of the natives now, and the deter=minate manner in which they have first commenced hostilities against us, will doubtless have a good effect upon the Sceptics. The Dr α Charlie rode out in order to recon=noitre for a long days stage tomorrow, for to days adventure will require us to do this for several days in succession to get away from these black fellows haunts.

To day I met with one of those singular de=partures from the general habits of Birds only

occasionally met with, viz, the part of the tributary creek on which our camp is pitched

is a perpendicular cliff of sandy soil, in a hole in the face of it