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John Gilbert diary entry

8 December 1844 - 10 December 1844

Page 132. Volume 1

very prudently halted for the night, and retracing their steps back, returned on their going out tracks and thus sooner than we expected returned safely, but very hungry; Roper however would not admit that he was lost, but layed [sic] the fault to his horse. Murphy however plainly shows they were lost fairly.

Mon 9 Dec, From Ropers Strayed Camp we struck W.N.W. with the Scrub on our left, which frequently drove us off to the Northward, to avoid the many spurs. in five miles over the same Box flat as we came upon yesterday we came upon a large Creek running to the S E. having very high banks with Casuarina, and as in Zamia Creek, great quantities of Fat-hen a species of Atriplex, and again the Cabbage Palm. of both of these we took a large quantity for our evenings meal, the Fat-hen when young α well boiled very much resembles Spinach and the Palm we have discovered forms an excellent article of food when well boiled and thickened with a little flour. Crossing this Creek and keeping W.N.W. we suddenly came upon a great change of country, from the Box flat with its dry herbage we were now at once upon a rich grassy flat having Apple tree Silver leaved Iron-bark, and a new species of Mimosa very abundant, our course kept us near the left bank of the creek for two or three miles; no water was seen in its bed, we had scarcely left this creek when we came upon the right bank of another of equal magnitude, having the Cabbage Palm larger and more numerous than we have before seen; we followed up this Creek about a mile and having found a fine pool of remarkably clear water we Camped beside it beneath the shade of Palms and the Erythrina, the latter plant suggested to the Dr the name of the Creek α Camp164. All the water courses crossed yesterday and to day have Whinstone pebbles. and as they appear to all take their source from the Expedition range before us, we are in full hopes the Range will prove to be of Basaltic formation, and thus probably the dividing Range we have been so anxious to make. The whole day was very cloudy with a cool refreshing breeze from the N.W. in the after=noon a Thunder Storm came over us from the S.W. and with heavy showers of Rain α hail obliged us to shut our=selves up in very close quarters for three hours. The Dr in Reconnoitering discovered that we are within 4 miles of the Range, which he describes as of Basaltic formation as the beds of the streams led us to expect. as this range which is of very great elevation and running N.E. and S.W. lays directly across our course, we shall have to cross it, and the great point is to find a pass, it will again be necessary to remain at this Camp, untill such a passage can be found. Days dist α course 9 miles N.W. Westerly.

Tues 10 Dec. Lat: 24=43=0.

Stationary at our Camp while the Dr α Charlie is reconnoitering. Roper α Brown out shooting for provisions, for we are now again driven to seek for our meat, the last of our Bullock α the several Kan=garoo's eaten this morning for breakfast. besides this we have again reduced our daily consumption of flour

Note 164

Erythrina Camp was probably at GR 118 623 on Bauhinia sheet 8748, on Erythrina Creek. Erythrina Creek and Mimosa Creek, which they also crossed and named after the predominant foliage, both flow into the watercourse Leichhardt named Expedition Creek. The party remained at Erythrina Camp for four days, whilst Leichhardt scouted for a way over the range ahead of them.