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John Gilbert diary entry

24 January 1845 - 25 January 1845

Page 12. Volume 2

[in left margin]:


Friday 24.


11 miles [made]

Honey Camp

Leaving Plain Camp we followed a N.W. course for the first 4 miles over a beautiful undulating grassy country, from this we again entered Scrub, through 3 miles of which we had to push our way fairly through, it was more dense than we have found an equal distance for some time past. after emerging from the Scrub we again came upon undulating open forest land, and Plains, all richly clothed in grass, over four miles of which we continued when we camped at a cluster of water-holes in a water-course running to the Westward250. about 3 miles before coming to camp from an open ridge we had [a] fine view of a lofty range to the N.W. of us the middle part of which rose up in a number of sharply pointed peaks the highest and most remarkable resembling in outline a Malt Kiln251. to the right and left of the Peaks the range declines gradually in a long mountain, the distance probably about 20 miles. the country the last two days has been particularly favorable to the little Honey-Bee and Charlie has been very successful in procuring us all a treat of Honey but that which he obtained this afternoon was the finest for its aroma of any we have hitherto eaten. the procuring [of] this Honey was not only attended with a good deal of labour in cutting out, but was attended with a disagreeable circumstance viz the Dr α Brown quarrelling over the Honey, and the Dr seems to have taken this opportunity of punishing Brown for his general change of conduct of late, when we first started on the expedition and during the first two months Brown was a favorite with us all from his general quiet demeanour, he was always cheerful, obliging, industrious, α clean in his habits, and always willing to oblige any of us, and at all times particularly respectful, but of late he has so changed, that all of us have remarked him being particularly negligent, in attending to his cooking department very dirty α slovenly, and from his cheerful and obliging disposition, has become very impertinent, very sullen α morose, and would scarcely do any thing required of him, this the Dr as well as others of us have constantly remarked, but has had no good opportunity of fairly taken [taking] notice of till now, and we do not think the time or occasion was well chosen by the Dr, in the first place the Honey Bee can only be found by the Black fellows, and I think we should allow them to use their own discretion in making use of it, in the second place it is very doubtful if the Black fellows after having all the labour of cutting out the Honey, have it taken away from them by force as was done to day by the Dr will not effectually check them in their endeavours to find more for us, that we have a right to a certain extent to share in what they procure is only reasonable as they have in every case been treated precisely as ourselves, the same allowance of provisions being served out to them from the first, and any thing procured by us, even if only a single Pigeon it is put in the general mess and equally divided, it seems that during the quarrel they were both violent and threatening to each other, and the Dr to punish Brown insisted upon his acknowleging [sic] his fault, before he should again be considered as one of our mess. this of course Browns pride could not submit to, and he had to turn in supperless.

[in left margin]

Sat. 25.

N.W. 7 miles [made, probably corrected from 8]

All of us endeavoured to persuade Brown to speak to the Dr in time to join us in our Breakfast but in vain, and as last [“last” repeated] night his portion of Meat, Damper α Tea divided among seven instead of eight, the Dr still farther to punish him would not allow him to ride his Horse, and he had in consequence to walk over the days route, and a very heavy fatiguing day he must have had of it, the whole distance being over rotten sandy ground and the day very hot. however he did apologise to the Dr when we came to camp and thus resumed his general duties as our Cook, and things again went on as usual. Our stage to day was only 8 miles the extent

Note 250

McLaren put Honey Camp at GR 588 510, in an area now inhabited by open cut coal mines. They had reached the foothills of the impressive range of mountains which Leichhardt later named Peak Range.

Note 251

In other words, a peak with a steep pyramidal shape and a flat top. Often malt kilns have two such roofs, and possibly Gilbert was referring to the twin peaks (804 and 854 metres high respectively) which were later named after expedition member John Roper and Helenus Scott of Glendon Station by Leichhardt. Scotts Peak is the highest in the Peak Range (N.B. that peak actually seems to be the one called “Roper’s Peak” by Gilbert and Murphy in their diary sketches; Leichhardt thought it was the other way round).