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John Gilbert diary entry

17 October 1844 - 18 October 1844

Page 89. Volume 1

down by the fire and went fast asleep29. Mr Roper and I strolled to the Scrub, but met with no success in the way of game. I shot a species of Acanthiza and a Honey-sucker I have not before seen, but I believe that it is identical with Goulds Ptilotis chrysops30. it is an exceedingly active little bird sings very loudly, and very much in the style of the Glyciphila ocularis. Bill olive brown inside of nostrils yellow irides dark brown. legs α feet dark greenish grey. it is very abundant and like most of the honey eaters very pugnacious. the Acanthiza is either nana or reguloides. of [or?] neither of these it is a new one. the eyes were greenish white, bill α legs dark brown. inhabits the brush on the edge of the thick scrub. At the same time of our leaving the camp, Master Murphy accompanied by Caleb, left also but in another direction, intending as the Dr supposed of going about a mile to the North-east creek - where the former had been several times before, and thus no fears were entertained by any of us as to their finding their way back, but when night came on and they did not make their appearance we all began to feel anxious, at night Roper, I α Charlie (for during our absence he had successfully pleaded forgiveness of the Dr and thus resumed his usual department) went out to endeavour to shoot Opossums, going in the direction we supposed the absentees to have taken, and when we were out about a mile from the Camp heard very faintly the report of a gun, which I answered; by dis=charging mine, in hopes of soon hearing another from them, we did not however hear any more from them. we remained out two hours, without so much as seeing an Opossum, when we returned and discharged all our Guns. Obs. Lat 26o-49'

Friday Oct 18. Our absent friends not returned Charlie went off the first thing in search of the horses for the purpose of going upon their tracks. Mr Roper α I rode back to the Creek we crossed on the 10th31, at the crossing place we tyed up our horses, and walked up the banks for about two miles, and were not a little sur=prised to find as we ascended the stream, that it became larger with banks and general features resembling the Condamine, having reedy banks, and here and there Melaleuca growing on its banks. the course up=wards was on the whole about N.E. but occasi=onally some of the reaches ran up much more North down from our crossing place for a mile it is very devious with the same high banks in places, but not such broad sheets of water as above. Our crossing place

Note 29

Leichhardt's journal also records this quarrel with Charley: "Charley had been insolent several times, when I sent him out after the cattle, and, this morning, he even threatened to shoot Mr. Gilbert. I immediately dismissed him from our service, and took from him all the things which he held on condition of

stopping with us". The quarrel, the first of many, was soon resolved: Leichhardt recorded on October 18th that "Towards evening Charley came and begged my pardon. I told him that he had particularly offended Mr. Gilbert, and that I could not think of allowing him to stay, if Mr. Gilbert had the slightest objection to it: he therefore, addressed himself to Mr. Gilbert, and, with his consent, Charley entered again into our service".

Note 30

This must be the Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops now in the Liverpool Museum (D1036s, female). According to Gilbert's original label, which is still attached, he collected this specimen on October 15th 1844, but they were still at the same locality, Kent’s Lagoon. The “Glyciphila ocularis” mentioned by Gilbert as having a similar song is the Brown Honeyeater Lichmera indistincta. There is no trace at present of the "Acanthiza" that Gilbert shot, but from his comment about the eyes being "greenish white" it is more likely to have been the Buff-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza reguloides than his alternative, the Yellow Thornbill Acanthiza nana (HANZAB 2002, vol.6: 482 & plate 14; Pizzey 1997: 372). A possibility is a Gould specimen of A. reguloides which is in the NHM (BMNH 1881.5.1.272), listed as being from “New South Wales”. New South Wales included what is now southern Queensland in those days, but this may be a specimen collected by Gould’s brother-in-law, Charles Coxen.

Note 31

Probably the watercourse that Leichhardt named "Hodgson's Creek".