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John Gilbert diary entry

12 November 1844 - 13 November 1844

Page 111. Volume 1

thick bushes of sapling Gums, or threading our way between Lagoons which now seemed to crowd upon us in every direction, till at length we came upon what the Dr considered the Dawson, which if it is the case has changed character most considerably, instead of the high banks, and grassy hills, it now presents low clayey banks running through a perfect marshy country, the course of the stream where we again came upon it is nearly E α W. the Dr now determined to halt untill we can reconnoitre. our middle course for the day N.15 W.4 miles but the days whole distance about 8 miles we made a circular bend to the Eastward. The Dr α I rode out to the Westward and having mounted a clear hill we saw to the N.W. high land, going a little more to the eastward we were enabled to get a clearer view,92 and saw a long range of high mountainous land to the W N W. a separate range the highest land, then the high long range stretching to a little south of east beyond this we could not see for trees on the side of the hill, we thought we could trace the Dawson valley down to the foot of the range, and we then followed down the river for about 3 miles and again mounting a clear grassy hill, one of the most beautifully picturesque α extensive scenes met our anxious gaze. the immediate vicinity of the hill was more like Park scenery, clear undulating grassy hills with here α there small clumps of Brigalo, while the sides of many of the hills were dotted with single scrubs as if planted out by hand, beyond this to the Westward and round as far as we could see to E.S.E. was a carpet of evergreens for 6 or 7 miles, and then the high ranges rising up and form=ing a beautiful back ground to the most pleasing nat=ural picture we have seen. returning from this we edged a larger patch of Brigalo scrub in which were numbers of very fine Bottletrees. after this we examined the Dawsons bed more particularly, and the result proved that all the chains of Lagoons α many apparant water courses we had met with during the last few days, all connected and formed the broad bed of the Dawson, it is easi=ly accounted for, the land generally is very low, and during the great rush of waters, the natural bed of the river is overflowed to such an extent, that the stream during a time of flood must in many parts be at least from 3 to 5 miles in breadth. many of the smaller water courses and chains of Lagoons we passed are very considerably above the level of the water in the deeper bed.

Days Dist. 6 miles93.

Wed 13 Nov. 25-42.

Continued on 9 miles down the

Note 92

Gilbert wrote “when” here but crossed it out.

Note 93

This camp was about 3km south of the junction of the Juandah with the bigger watercourse that now bears the name of the Dawson, at GR 815 561 (Taroom sheet 8846). One of the reasons McLaren located Pelican Camp at this point was due to Gilbert's remarks about climbing a hill with a view of the area, the hill being to the north of their campsite. From local configuration this places the spot rather further to the south of Sawpit Creek than might otherwise be suspected. The hill in question is on the outskirts of Taroom, once called “Bonner’s Knob” but now more generally known as “Gilbert’s Lookout”. A memorial to Gilbert now stands there, topped by a direction finder and flanked by information boards. These were erected by the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland (Upper Dawson branch), Taroom Lions Club and Taroom Shire Council in time for a ecumenical church service to mark the end of the Leichhardt Rally of September 2004. Since then, several trees have been planted to provide shade, and a bench is planned. From this spot it is indeed “one of the beautifully picturesque & extensive scenes”.