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John Gilbert diary entry

18 December 1844 - 19 December 1844

Page 140. Volume 1

probably make all secure. we are again annoyed by the myriads of ravenous black Ants, which have been about us and the meat in such numbers that the meat in places was fairly blackened by them in masses, it is almost incredible the quan=tity of meat they devour in a short time if al=lowed to have undisturbed possession, and when they are brushed off they immediately attack you in every part, particularly in running up the legs, and as their bite is rather sharp it is no easy matter for one to stand his ground when numbers are thus teasing at the same instant, in perhaps every part of the Body.

Thurs Dec 19. Brown's Lagoon is the name of our present Camp Lat 14-45. Our drying process going on well but in the afternoon we had our usual Thunder Storm, but from the Eastward at first, which afterwards came round from the South and Westward. a heavy shower obliged us to cover up our meat in haste, but as the cont=inuance of the shower was but short we were soon en=abled to spread it out again, a very hot day dried the meat so much that it is now safe from the attacks of Ants, on the former occasion we were particular in cutting the pieces very small α thin, which we af=terwards found was not necessary, in the present instance we have cut the meat in larger slices and fully an inch thick and it promises to dry equally as well as the thin pieces formerly did. Calvert α Charlie went off in search of Lion our strayed Bullock, taking with them a supply of provisions for four days, for it was expected it would require nearly this time to find him as we all imagined he would have wander=ed very far, and to lose a Bullock without an effort would be a very serious loss to us. To our surprise they returned in about 6 hours having found the Bullock near Scrub Camp. Thus providence has evidently an especial care for us, although several of our party are not impressed with this truth, what for instance can more strongly impress the mind of a thinking man of this truth than the many instances we have had of this during the last 10 or 12 days, on our arrival on this side [of] the range we were obliged to camp without water and while we were inclined perhaps to repine rain

descended from heaven and supplied our wants. again we became disheartened at the idea of being buried in a dense scrubby country with little water when through a portion of our party being lost an