1838 - 1839: Voyage to Australia and collecting in Tasmania

16 May 1838 

John Gould, Mrs Gould, their eldest son, their nephew Henry, two servants and John Gilbert sailed from London for Australia in the barque Parsee (349 tons) (Sauer 1982: 99). Gould intended that the two collectors would start in Tasmania, then move to Victoria or New South Wales. Only then would he send Gilbert, on his own, to north Australia or the Swan River Colony (letter to Sir William Jardine, April 1838. University Library, Cambridge). 

23 May 1838

Two Wilson's Storm-Petrels Oceanites oceanicus were collected by Gilbert and Gould in the Bay of Biscay, Atlantic Ocean (BMNH 1881.05.01.5976 and .5977).             

7 June 1838

Gould and Gilbert caught a Procellaria sp. off Cape Finisterre, Spain (BMNH AR). In a letter to the Zoological Society of London (June 1838, Mitchell Library, Sydney) Gould wrote "June 7th. Off Cape Finnistore ... Killed another Petrel (Thal. Wilsoni)" (this specimen has not been found).

8 June 1838

Two Little Shearwaters Puffinus assimilis baroli  caught off Madeira (BMNH 1881.5.1.6014 & .6016).

11 June 1838

Landed at Santa Cruz, Island of Tenerife, Gould (& presumably Gilbert) travelled in interior for 2 days. (See Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London for 8th October 1839, with a letter from Gould dated 10th May 1839). 

27 July 1838

Gould and Gilbert collected two Soft-plumaged Petrels Pterodroma m. mollis in the South Atlantic Ocean at Lat. 29o 45’ S, Long. 15o 3’W. (BMNH 1888.5.18.11[9] and BMNH 1841.6.1307).

30 July 1838

Gould and Gilbert collected a Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma m. macroptera in the south Atlantic Ocean at Lat. 31o 45’S, Long. 5o 43’W (BMNH 1888.5.18.130).

July 1838

Gould and Gilbert collected a Procellaria at Latitude 39.45S and Longitude 15.3W (BMNH AR). Sauer's chronology of John Gould (1982: 102) gives further details of sightings of birds in July 1838.

6 August 1838

Gould and Gilbert collected an Antarctic Prion Pachyptila desolata and a Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma m. macroptera at Latitude 35.19S and Longitude 10.32E (BMNH 1841.6.1308 & 1888.5.18.129). As with the July Procellaria, the position given by Gould in his Handbook appears to be different to that recorded in the BMNH register.

19 September 1838 

Gould, Gilbert and party arrived at Hobart, Tasmania on the Parsee. They lived at first on Davey Street but spent much time staying at Government House with Sir John and Lady Franklin (Chisholm 1940: 162; Sauer 1982: 102 (gives 18th September)).

26 September 1838

Gilbert collected a Brown Thornbill Acanthiza pusilla at Hobart (MCZ 88943)

28 September – 1 October 1838

Gould and Gilbert collected bird specimens from the Sassafras Valley and Mount Wellington, near Hobart (Yellow-throated Honeyeaters BMNH 1843.4.4.39, Hancock Museum BO 95.91 and ANSP 695008).

4 October 1838

Gilbert collected a Common Ringtail Possum Pseudocheirus peregrinus convolutor near Mount Dromedary (BMNH 1841.6.1190).

6 October 1838

Strong-billed Honeyeater Melithreptus validirostris was collected at Brown's River, Tasmania (LIV D937s) and a New Holland Honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae canescens near Hobart Town (BMNH 1843.4.4.14).

12 October 1838

Green Rosella Platycercus caledonicus collected near Mount Wellington (BMNH 1841.6.1395). 

13 October 1838

Black Currawong Strepera f. fuliginosa collected near Brown's River (LIV D2623s).

15 October 1838

Green Rosella Platycercus caledonicus and a Flame Robin Petroica phoenicea collected near Mount Wellington (BMNH 1841.6.1396 & 1843.4.4.35).

16 October 1838

Striated Fieldwren Calamanthus f. fuliginosus collected at Sandy Bay, near Hobart Town (BMNH 1843.4.4.36).

19 October 1838

Calyptorhynchus funereus xanthanotus collected at Sassefurs Valley, near Hobart Town (LIV D779) and a Brown (Swamp) Quail Coturnix y. ypsilophora  on Muddy Plains, near Hobart Town (BMNH 1841.6.1367).

23 October 1838

Southern Brown Bandicoot  Isoodon obesulus collected at Kangaroo Point, near Hobart Town (BMNH 1841.06.00.1173).

29 October 1838

Brown Falcon Falco berigora tasmanica collected on the Clarence Plains, near Hobart Town (TMI 3606).

2 November 1838

Chestnut Teal Anas castanea collected on the River Derwent, above Hobart Town (BMNH 1841.6.1316).

6 November 1838

Pacific Gull Larus p. pacificus (BMNH 1841.6.[1291]) and Blue-winged Parrot Neophema chrysostoma (LIV D780b) collected at Sandy Bay, near Hobart

7 November 1838

Common Brushtail Possum Trichosurus vulpecula fuliginosus collected on South Arm {Peninsula], near Hobart Town (BMNH [1841.06.00.1203]).

14 November 1838

Spotted Quail-thrush Cinclosoma punctatum collected west of Hobart (BMNH 1842.10.13.13). Eastern Quoll Dasyurus viverrinus collected at Richmond, near Hobart Town (BMNH 1841.06.00.1218).

17 November 1838

Beautiful Firetail Stanganopleura bella eggs collected in Tasmania (BMNH 1962.1.424), and an Australian Shoveler Anas r. rhynchotis and a Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus collected at Pitwater, near Hobart Town (BMNH 1841.6.1315 & TMI 3574).

24 November 1838

Green Rosella Platycercus caledonicus collected at New Norfolk (LIV 1999.20.370).

4 December 1838

Striated Fieldwren Calamanthus fuliginosus and a Grey Currawong Strepera versicolor arguta collected at New Norfolk (LIV D5468s, BMNH 1841.6.1394). A Southern Brown Bandicoot Isoodon obesulus affinis and a Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax fleayi collected at Bushy Park, near New Norfolk (BMNH 1841.6.1174 & 1841.6.1269).

6 December 1838

Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris dubius collected at Brown’s River (BMNH 1842.12.21.12])

8 December 1838

Painted Button-quail Turnix v. varius collected near Hobart Town (BMNH 1841.6.1375).

Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis collected on Green Island, D’Entrecasteaux Channel (BMNH 1841.6.1334).

On this date Gould (and probably Gilbert) left for the south coast of Tasmania on the Government Schooner, with Lady Franklin. The party was windbound at Recherche Bay for a fortnight, during which time they visited the Green and Actaeon Islands in D'Entrecasteaux's Channel. There is not one mention of Gilbert being with them, although Lady Franklin's diary (Sauer 1982: 105, who refers to Mackaness 1947) refers more than once to other members of the party, such as Ronald Gunn.

12 December 1838

Neophema c. chrysogaster collected by Gilbert or Gould at Actaeon Island : "Mr Gould went off in the morning to the Acteon [sic] Islands ... he procured there 2 species of parrots he had not yet taken..." (Lady Franklin's diary).  A Water Rat Hydromys chrysogaster and a Pacific Gull Larus p. pacificus collected on the Actaeon Islands (BMNH 1841.6.1237 & 1841.6.1319).

15 December 1838

Biziura lobata collected at Recherche Bay. Gilbert's writing on label (LIV BMS).

20 December 1838

Neophema c. chrysogaster collected by Gilbert at Actaeon Island (LIV D3363d).

21 December 1838

Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii cristatus collected Southport (Recherche Bay), Tasmania (LIV D3363d) and a Chestnut Teal Anas castanea collected on the D’Entrecasteaux River, Recherche Bay (BMNH 1841.6.1314).

22 December 1838

Australasian Shoveler Anas r. rhynchotis collected up river from Southport (Hancock BO109.58).

1 January 1838

Blue-winged Parrot Neophema chrysostoma collected at Spring Hill [in the interior of Tasmania] (LIV D780).

2 January 1839

At Spring Hill in the interior of Tasmania, on way to Launceston overland. Gilbert was definitely with Gould at this time, if in fact they ever separated (Sauer 1982: 106; Whittell 1954: 90 who states that, according to the British Museum’s “Catalogue of the birds …“ 1877, there is a specimen of Strepera arguta obtained at this locality on this date. This is a Grey Currawong Strepera versicolor arguta, collected “at Spring Hill in the interior”, BMNH 1841.6.1390). 

5 January 1839

At Launceston, north coast of Tasmania (Sauer 1982: 107; Bill of sale for shot, powder & caps in the Mitchell Library).

8 January 1839

At George Town. Gould and Gilbert were about to embark for Isabella Island (arrived 12th); Flinders Island (arrived 13th) and then Kings Island, but the two men never got there due to the unfortunate accidental death of another crew member (Sauer 1982: 107; letter from Gould to his wife dated this day from George Town).  Two Dusky Woodswallows Artamus c. cyanopterus collected at Georgetown, Tasmania (LIV D1620f and BMNH 1841.6.1473]). 

11 January 1839

Silver Gull Chroicephalus novaehollandiae and a Little Penguin Eudyptula minor collected on Chalky Island, Bass Straits (BMNH 1841.6.1303 & 1841.6.1293).

12 January 1839

Isabella Island. Gould obtained a pair of Cape Barren Geese, according to Gould’s “Handbook” vol.2: 350). These have not been located, but a Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres from Isabella Island with this date has (BMNH 1881.5.1.5856)

13 January 1839

Flinders Island (Gould obtained eggs of the Black Swan on Jan 13th 1839, see Gould’s “Handbook” vol.2: 348).

15 January 1839

Short-tailed Shearwater (Mutton Bird) Ardenna tenuirostris and an Australian Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris collected on Green Island, off Flinders Island (BMNH 1841.6.1305 & 1841.6.1339)

16, 17 January 1839

Two Thinornis  rubricollis collected on Flinders Island, Bass Straits (LIV D5172s & BMNH 1841.6.1352).

20 January 1839

Gould and Gilbert returned to George Town from Flinders Island (letter from Gould to his wife in Hobart, Mitchell Library Sydney, MS A172).

21 January 1839

Gould wrote a letter to Kerr Alexander & Co. of Launceston requesting credit of £65 "As I have resolved to send my Man Mr John Gilbert on to Swan River in prosecution of the objects of my visit to the Colony", so that Gilbert could draw his expenses money when he reached Western Australia (Whittell 1954: Pl.20).

Gould also gave Gilbert £15 for immediate expenses to set up his field equipment; the detailed accounts Gilbert kept included 9 shillings for "Paper Pens Ink & Books &c" and 10 shillings for "Burnt Alum 2 Lbs" on the 22nd January (Chisholm 1940: 165). 

22 January 1839

Gilbert wrote a letter (from Launceston) to G. Robinson Esq. of Flinder's Island concerning a request from Gould for a Musk Duck specimen (Mitchell Library Sydney).

29 January 1839 

John Gould, from "Hobarton" to John Gilbert at Launceston, Instructions for Gilbert's Western Australian trip (Canberra National Library). 

30 January 1839 

Gilbert (Launceston) to Gould (Hobart) (Mitchell Library Sydney CY 461: 666). He had repacked the Tasmanian collection and was sending it, with a list of the contents, on the Madras.