About this research project

The timeline, diary, map, specimens collection and associated information presented here is derived from the long-term research of Dr Clemency Fisher, Senior Curator of Vertebrate Zoology and supported for the last two years by the Leverhulme Trust through their Research Fellowships scheme. 

Leverhulme Trust logo


Gilbert’s timeline of significant events from his birth to his death has been constructed from information in many different manuscripts, such as ships’ logs and his letters, but primarily from the dates on original labels on his specimens.


Gilbert’s diary from the Leichhardt Expedition is published here for the first time in its entirety and with notes and comments. The critical edition has numerous explanations about the birds which Gilbert saw and collected on the expedition, and other comments on natural history, on the route, on the expedition members, their equipment and relationships.

Map of the Leichhardt Expedition route

The Leichhardt Expedition route map has been plotted on Google maps. This is based on campsite locations provided by bush historian Glen McLaren, who retraced the Leichhardt Expedition route in the 1990s and has been drawn with the assistance of “The Route Group”, a group of Australians living along the route of the expedition, or connected with it. There is increasing interest in the route and the adventures that befell the members of the First Leichhardt Expedition, especially by the eco-tourism market.


The huge database of specimens, mainly John Gilbert’s, which has been constructed during the Leverhulme Trust Fellowship period has been extremely useful in identifying patterns and associations between museum specimens, even those which are the most infuriatingly label-less and badly-treated. In this way much of their data has been restored, and their importance re-established.