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John Gilbert diary entry

16 February 1845

Page 28. Volume 2

[in left margin]

688

Mount Coxen

cleared off and we could make out distant objects much more clearly, the Dr in taking bearings found we had made much more northing than he had anticipated. Mount Phillips bore S 30 W, and appeared at a distance of 25 to 30 miles, Ropers Peaks bore nearly due South316, in the distance over a tolerably level country to the W N W a conspicuous Mountain317 was seen which is probably not less than 50 miles from this Mountain, which the Dr has named after Mr Coxen; To the N E very high and remarkable ranges, which are probably not more than 30 miles distant318; to the N.W. a long table range319, the top of which presents one entire unbroken level, all the country intervening level, with large Plains, to the Southward α Eastward as far as the eye could penetrate, not the slightest rise could be detected, to break the regular horizon which stretches across towards the Coast to the Eastward, the Isaacs Valley could be traced up to a great extent of flat country, apparantly going to the westward of the Ranges seen to the North α East320. if we can but find water therefore we shall be enabled not only to keep a tolerably good course but an easy country for travelling. there are many patches of Scrub running in parrallel lines with the river which could easily be seen and detected from the bright green of the Gum tree Flats. after descending the Mountain we traced up α down many Creeks running from the range but without finding a single drop of water, one Creek had fine deep pools all dry with large Melaleuca growing on the banks; in tracing so many Creeks in search of water we found our=selves very considerably to the Eastward of the Mountain, instead therefore of retracing our steps to get back towards the River and proceed Northward, we ascended the Ridges which run from the Mountains, all of these had beautiful grass and very lightly timbered, many of them covered with quite a thicket of Xanthorrhoea, resembling the York Black Boy of the Swan, it is by far the finest species, and the plant much more numerous around Mount Coxen than we have hitherto met with. from our first setting out, and crossing so many ridges, we kept mounting higher till at length we got upon a terrace which runs from the Mount Coxen to another Mountain to the North about 4 miles321. we found ourselves very much higher than we had at all anticipated from what we observed from the top of the Mountain, the weather now had become clear and we obtained an uninterrupted view to the Southward α Westward but to get down from this terrace was no trifle, not only from the steepness of its rocky sides, but just on the brow was an almost impenetrable scrub, we were under the necessity of ascending a portion of the Mountain, and by leading our horses to tumble down its side over loose rolling stones, when at the bottom we found ourselves within a few minutes ride of the place we started from, going to the water we gave our horses a drink, and from the sample of country we had just ridden over, thought it better to lay in a stock for ourselves, by taking a hearty drink each, in leaving our camping place a second time we went off at once north, and passed through a broad belt of Scrub, examining closely every hollow or other appearances for water, but without success, on emerging from the Scrub, we found ourselves near the river, here Brown was fortunate enough to shoot a Kangaroo, and as all our stock of dried meat was yesterday exhausted, the Dr thought it best to send Brown back to our Party on the Lagoon, previous to doing so however we made a fire and

Note 316

Actually Roper and Scott’s Peaks would have been considerably south-west.

Note 317

Was this Red Mountain at GR 31 65. Need some photographs from the top of Coxen’s Peak.

Note 318

The Denham Ranges? Need some photographs from the top of Coxen’s Peak.

Note 319

The southern end of the Kerlong and Scarborough Ranges. Need some photographs from the top of Coxen’s Peak.

Note 320

Gilbert must have meant “to the North & West”.

Note 321

Now known as Mount Coxendean. They must have ridden up the gently sloping east side between Iffley Mountain and Mount Coxendean until reaching one of the terraces leading north to the table-top summit of the latter. Here the descent westwards would have been very steep.