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John Gilbert diary entry

29 January 1845 - 30 January 1845

Page 17. Volume 2

in fact it in many parts presents a close similarity to the Darling Downs district, having precisely the same vegetation α grass and character of soil. On returning back to the water hole we passed a Natives Camping place, two of the most conspicuous of the Box-trees were barked α notched, as if some extraordinary occurrence had here taken place, but this alone would not have attracted my attention but for a figure which was well cut into the body of the tree and which would seem to give evidence of the fact of a white man having been here it was this266 now whether this is intended as the Crown mark or the Anchor without the Shank is equally probable, and I think must have been the work of a white man, or of a Native who has been accustomed to see it among white people, I think it can hardly be supposed a Native in the wilds of Australia could hit upon such a figure by accident, and if it was a cus=tomary mark among them, we should in all probability have seen more of it among the hundreds of marked trees we have passed, such a coincidence therefore as an untutored savage making this well known figure among Europeans without any previous knowledge of it can hardly be possible and if so it is the more extraordinary. It was however cut with a stone Tomahawk.

[in left margin]:

Thurs 30

"7’ to W. of hill" [written by Mitchell?].

Wishing to try every chance of finding a route to the Westward even if following down this Creek thus far to the South I struck off due west across the Plains, intending to ride such a distance as would enable me to come again upon the creek, or see so much of the Country as would enable me to judge of the probability of any water course running in the desired course. continuing across the Plains and open forest at about 6 miles I came upon a little conical hill having regular Basaltic Columns on its summit and a Bottle tree growing along side, around this curious little hill was a Belt of thick Brigalo Scrub in the form of a Horse-shoe the hill being exactly in the centre267. from the hill I had a fine view of Peak Range running from about N.E. to N.15 W. the highest of the double peak bore N 15 E. [underlined by Mitchell?] and the large domed top mountain which appeared from Peak range Camp as an isolated Peak, N. another exactly resembling the outlines of a house top bore N.5 W268. From the Column topped hill we pushed our way through the Scrub about a mile in extent and came upon a Plain about 5 miles across as the land was much more elevated beyond to the west we crossed over this plain but was [sic] still prevented from looking out to the W. α S.W. by the still rising character of the land before us, I pushed on therefore over smaller plains and through lightly timbered forest for 2 or 3 miles farther269 when we were enabled at length to obtain a tolerably extensive view of a great extent of country the whole extent of the Peak range from its most eastern point to at least fifty miles beyond us to the Westward could now be seen in continuation and certainly presented one of the most singular and picturesque scenes I have ever witnessed. to the Southward α Westward I caught but a very indistinct view of the range as first seen from Peak range Camp, and which from what I saw of it to day when at least 30 miles nearer was at that time rendered so conspicuous from the effects of refraction, as I looked at it from this spot it appeared at least from 30 to 40 miles distant, all the intervening country being Plains running one into the other like that we have come over and which the Dr met with, this Southerly range seems to almost meet the Westerly and may very probably at their confluence give rise to a very considerable stream. to the East α South there is very little to break the mono=

Note 266

Here Gilbert drew the shape of an anchor.

Note 267

See footnote on previous page.

Note 268

The large domed top mountain was later named Gilbert’s Dome; the one resembling the outline of a house, Calvert’s Peak?

Note 269

Underlined by Mitchell, as was a geographical feature a few lines earlier?