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John Gilbert diary entry

8 February 1845 - 9 February 1845

Page 22. Volume 2

[in left margin]:


Sat 8th

6 miles N.W.

Phillips Mtn. Camp

To day we moved on about 7 miles at first our course winding about a good deal to get over some elevated ridges which lay in our way some of these were moreover very rocky α steep but our Bullocks are now so well broken in they will face any thing, many of the ridges were covered with a brush of small Shrubs and a stunted species of Zanthorrhoa with very thin tough tops. The trees and Shrubs generally precisely the same as those observed on the Robinson ridges about 3 miles α a half of these ridges were travelled over when we came upon more level land with open forest of Box α Iron-bark, and but slightly undulating which continued for the remaining 3 ½ miles when we camped upon a small pool of rain water in a little creek running down from a gully half a mile north of us289 it runs into a tolerably large Casuarina creek about 2 miles south of us, this creek running to the Eastward, Mount Phillips bears exactly south of us about six miles. During the afternoon the clouds gathered up heavily from the S.W. and we were all in full hopes of a nights rain but although they still thickened dur=ing the whole night and frequent Thunder α Lightning the whole night passed without a shower; The Dr α Brown α Charlie set off in the afternoon to explore to the N.W. Brown did not return during the night.

[in left margin]:

Sunday 9th

The day set in with the sky over cast and a few drops of rain occasionally but no regular shower, during the whole morning we were anxiously waiting the return [“arrival” crossed out] of one of the Black fellows to conduct us on, about 12 the Dr returned alone having camped last night without water, and had no Breakfast this morning he came in rather hungry. it appears the Dr this morning was anxious to ascend some high ridges to get a view of the country around, and when going up from the valley, Charlie went up one of the gullies to look out for water, Brown following the Dr, when the Dr was on the top of the ridge he was surprised he saw neither of the Natives and repeatedly cooed, without any answer being returned the Dr then retraced his steps thinking they had either found water or had remained behind to cut out honey, he however saw nothing of them, and continued in his search for water for our next camp about 8 miles distant, when he returned to us to our surprise without them, during the whole day α night they did not make their appear=ance, and all was conjecture as to their probable motives α movements, that they should have come thus far without attempting to return if they ever felt an inclination to do so seems almost impossible, and if they have an idea of returning there is no doubt that Charlie with his extraordinary knowledge of locality would be enabled to do so in nearly a direct line and in a comparatively short time, and as for food the chances are they would on the whole fare much better than they have done of late with us on our reduced allowances, but unfortunately they have two horses, certainly as much value and therefore as great a loss as their services; if they have really left us, we shall have at times infinite trouble in keeping our horses and Cattle, independently of our party being reduced two more and thus considerable weakened, for reconnoitering two must always be absent, and thus four only will be left at Camp, only sufficient to guard our Baggage against any attack of Natives, one of these four is a lad only and a second very little more and nearly as inex=perienced in Bush-work. no one of the four could therefore leave the Camp at any time with safety, and in reconnoitering still greater delays must ensue from not having a third party to return for the purpose of conducting the whole party the first stage, if the Black-fellows therefore have really given us the slip the ultimate arrival at our destination may I think be considered as farther prolonged. At night we had rather a heavy shower of rain with frequent Thunder α Lightning.

Note 289

Phillips Mountain Camp was estimated by McLaren to be at GR 208 145 on the Grosvenor Downs 1: 100,000 map 8553, on a headwater running down south-eastwards into Phillips Creek. They stayed there for two nights while waiting in vain for Charlie and Brown to return.