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John Gilbert diary entry

31 December 1844

Page 149. Volume 1

the only opening being the flat between us and the Creek. I observed to day for the first time the Malurus Lambertii which seems to have taken the place of the M. cyaneus200, which I have not observed for several days past. another species has to day made its appearance which I little expect=ed to see viz. the Melopsittacus201. the Nymphicus also and the Bustard, and numbers of Emu’s were again seen on the open plains202.

The suspicion I had of the Drs Jealousy and Selfishness; to day came out, and displayed itself in its full colours. in travelling along Brown cal=led my attention to some remarkable seed vessels on a new Leguminous plant, the Drs ears were open although at a little distance behind for he came riding up very quickly and leaped off his horse and plucked the whole before I had dismounted, of course he did not offer me any, a short dis=tance beyond this Mr Roper killed a small Lizard which as he himself did not care about saving he gave me, this was observed by Mr. Calvert his [Leichhardt’s] to[a]dy and who of course gave the Dr all the necessary information, and the Dr afterwards claimed it as having been found by one of his own party, I was chagrined at this, and we came to quite an open rupture, and the Dr said he thought it time we un=derstood each other, when he very coolly gave me to understand that he claimed the first of every thing collected, with the single ex=ception of Birds which because he does not understand any thing about he gives to me, after making such a claim as this I of course produced the only quadrupeds which had been collected, these had not only been pro=cured by myself unaided by himself or any of his party but had been preserved by me these he seized upon and packed away, after this I considered I ought not to be surpris=ed at any conduct which may emanate from him, this at once virtually prevents me for the future collecting any thing but Birds and hitherto I have found nothing in this department at all remunerating. Shells generally can be collected in such numbers that I shall not perhaps have any difficulty in making a collection. but Quadrupeds I may consider I am fairly shut out

from obtaining203.

Note 200

As they travelled northwards the Variegated Fairy-wren Malurus lamberti appeared to be replacing the mainland subspecies of the Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus cyanochlamys in distribution, which agrees with modern distribution maps.

Note 201

Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus.

Note 202

No specimens have been found so far with this date and locality. Gilbert may have been too worried about Leichhardt’s attitude to the ownership of specimens to collect any material, even birds.

Note 203

The results of this attitude of Leichhardt’s and his appropriation of Gilbert’s existing mammal specimens was that Gilbert decided henceforth to concentrate on collecting birds and shells.