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John Gilbert diary entry

11 December 1844 - 13 December 1844

Page 134. Volume 1

in the day, that he could not have reached the Camp. from the Drs. description we are likely to have a very hard days travelling from this. The country in our course appears still mountainous as far as the Dr. could see, while to the NE it is one unbroken extent of perfectly level land to the horizon.

Thurs 12 Dec: We intended to resume our march to=day, but Charlie who went out early in the morning to bring the Horses and Bullocks in did not return till after 12. the Dr. and myself accompanied by Brown rode to the Range to search for a better pass than the Dr. had before done, we suc=ceed[ed] by going to the Westward, and heading all the many Gullies of the head of Erythrina Creek, found a spur which led us to the top of the Expedition range from which we had a magnificent view to the Westward and Northward. to the W, Ranges still higher than that we were standing on appeared towering in the distance above the much nearer elevations - to the N.W. appeared a level track of country as far as the distant horizon which appeared as regular as the ocean. again to the North, Mountains appeared. many of the spurs are covered with rich grass and open timber forest of Iron Bark. but the majority have rather a thick brush of various Shrubs almost all of which are the same as those seen by us from the first commencement of the expedition, having gone so far and having left our Camp late it was Sunset before we had gone half our distance back, and we were fairly benighted before we had cleared the worst of the Gullies, however Brown after two or three times taking the wrong spurs, eventually found the way clear of them, and we arrived at our Camp about 9 o'clock.

Friday 13. To day we crossed the Range in six hours very painful travelling to both Horses α Bullocks, not so much from the constant up hill travelling as the stony α rocky

nature of all the spurs we had to ascend, or climb round; some idea may be formed of the arduous nature of this mountain=ous travelling when it is understood that the range where we cro=ssed it is fully two thousand feet above its base. from the level land we commenced from, the descent was not so bad as ex=pected, for the country on the western side is not so low, by at least half as on the eastern side, on the spurs and the range the most conspicuous object perhaps is the great number of the gigantic Zamia, which in many we saw reached the height of 12 to 15 feet, with stems 2 feet in diameter, most of the spurs appeared to have sandstone as well as the Whinstone but the main range is in every particular of a Basaltic character, on descending the range we came into a Fat-hen flat with the bladey grass, here we found it necessary to camp for the first time without water, the Cattle α horses fortunately did not suffer so much from thirst, the whole day being cloudy and cool, with refreshing breezes from the Northward, and still more fortunately a Thunder storm came on as we were putting up our tents, and the rain continuing for the most part during the night, gave them sufficient moisture with the grass, to prevent them rambling dur=ing the night in search of water. Our two Black fellows