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John Gilbert diary entry

16 December 1844 - 18 December 1844

Page 139. Volume 1

Dr. which it appears offers a good situation for killing our Bullock α preparing our meat, no one now as for=merly seems at all disposed to wait for Christmas. To day we tried an experiment with the little yellow fruit known in the Colony as the Native Lemon, we had intended to make a pudding but instead of this we boiled it for about an hour when it greatly resembled Gooseberry-fool, but from its great ac=idity it required a large proportion of Sugar to make it eatable, it is however a very agreable fruit, tasting very much like the Gooseberry, but having in addition the flavour of the Lemonpeel; it is however too great a tax upon sugar for Bushmen to make a mess of, other=wise it would have formed a very agreable change in our diet. The day very fine, but hot. Scrub Camp. Lat 24-39-0.

Tues 17 Dec. The day commenced with a party of water carriers taking every available thing to bring in a supply α Charlie sent to bring the Bullocks α Horses. One of our Bullocks was absent, he had singled himself out from among the others after they were brought early in the morning, and singularly enough no trace of him could be seen, Charlie α Brown were sent in pursuit, we waited for their return till near three o'clock, and as we were anxious to get to the Lagoons the Dr. saw yesterday, we packed our Bullocks α horses and left our Camp by half past 3 we had to push our way through rather more than 2 miles of Scrub, which in places was so thick, that many of our Bags as usual were torn, on leaving the Scrub we came upon the banks of a creek running to the N.W. with a narrow belt of open timbered forest on each bank which however soon widened into a fine flat, with an abundant supply of grass following up the banks of the Creek and frequently crossing to cut off angles, we made a very winding course, sometimes round as much as SE for about 7 miles when we again crossed the Creek α in half a mile came upon the fine Reedy Lagoon where we camped, the last two hours we had to march through a Thunder Storm with heavy rain. This Camp176 is certainly well adapted for our purpose of killing the Bullock α prepa=ring the meat. the days dist. about 9 miles, and our course about SSW from our last camp 8 miles, the Creek is the same as that in the Scrub α from which we had to fetch our water. Charlie α Brown returned to us before we camped without Lion the missing Bullock.

Wed 18 Dec. To day every one busy, having killed our Bullock in the morning, and succeeded in cutting up all the meat for drying177, Thunder storms again in the evening but fortunately for the full preservation of our meat we escaped the rain, a great proportion of the Bullock was already dried as far as to prevent any chance of its spoiling another hot day tomorrow will most

Note 176

Camp at Brown's Lagoon, which McLaren estimates to have been at GR 745 631 on Warrinilla sheet 8648, and probably the waterbody now called Pink Lily Lagoon. Here they stayed for a total of seven nights (17th-21st, 23rd-25th December).

Note 177

According to Leichhardt (1847), they also made up for several days of having little or no food: "We enjoyed ourselves very much on this occasion, and feasted luxuriously on fried liver at breakfast, on stuffed heart for luncheon, and on a fine steak and the kidneys for supper".