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John Gilbert diary entry

21 January 1845 - 23 January 1845

Page 11. Volume 2

=tended his reconnoitre beyond the time first arranged, and we all imagine that he has either found something very interesting or very bad to induce him to remain away so long. there is a chance of yes=terday's heavy rain having swelled the creeks α water courses to such an extent as to prevent his recrossing them and thus oblige him to go a long way round.

[in left margin]

Wed 22.

The Dr not having returned during the morning the cause of his absence is now becoming rather alarming to us, we have come to the determination of giving him this day, and should he not return, I and Charlie will set out tomorrow in pursuit. Almost immediately after the foregoing was written we heard Cooey's, and thinking they came from the Dr α Brown we answered and went out to meet them, but instead of our missing friends we were surprised at seeing 8 or 10 Natives coming towards us we retired back to our Camp in expectation of their following us, but in this we were disappointed, for they immediately made off. however early in the afternoon the Dr made his appearance and thus put an end to our fears and anxiety on his account, he α Brown came in very much fatigued α hungry, they had only taken 2 days provisions with them and were thus the last 3 days dependent on what they could procure which it seems was scanty enough two small Pigeons and a Lizard being all they had for the last two days. the reason of the Drs delay it seems was in consequence of the heavy Rains the day before yesterday having obliterated their outward tracks, and they were thus lost for a time till they could fairly make out an isolated hill within a few miles of our present camp, they having travelled through Scrub and a flat country could not obtain a view of any land mark to guide them. the Dr brings us intelligence of a fine country being before us. Poor Brown it seems was quite disconsolate, he fairly consid=ered himself lost and so in fact they really were for a time till the Dr retraced his steps, and again steered his direct course. I suggested to the Dr the unpleasantness of having a native with him on whom he could not depend could not be so agreable [sic] to him as in having the company of one of us, and he seemed to think the change in this respect would be more agreable, and will in the next reconnoitre try it.

[left hand margin]:

Thurs 23

N.W.

6 [miles made]

Plain Camp

23=11=31

596 [total miles progressed]

The Dr feeling a little of his last few days fatigue we only made the short stage of 6 miles, the first two following the creek we had occasionally to pass through Scrub, and over Boggy places. the last three miles was over a beautiful grassy country, lightly timbered with Box - Iron Bark - and a broad leaved Melaleuca, and un=dulating with open plains. just before coming to Camp249 we crossed a sandstone ridge from which we had the first clear view of the low range to the S.E. or Mackenzie range. beyond this on either side nothing very elevated could be seen. we camped in a Brushy spot with small plains surrounding, on a small Creek run=ning into that of our last Camp. every where as we travelled on there was a good supply of rain water, while pre=viously to the last Thunder Storm the whole route to 12 miles beyond this scarcely a drop of water was met with by the Dr α Brown, they in fact had to camp without water the first night they were out. being again in a favorable country for Kangaroo α Emu, we had an opportunity of trying our only remaining dog, but without success, I again chased an Emu for nearly two miles, when the creature escaped from me as usual by rushing into a thick scrub through which I had not a chance of following. half a mile more on open ground and I should in all probability of captured it.

Note 249

Leichhardt’s “The Camp at the Plains” of 23rd January 1845 was estimated by McLaren to be at GR 662 342, on what is now Kynebil Creek, a tributary of Cooroora Creek.