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Title: An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 2
Author: Collins, David, 1754-1810
Language: English
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Many might be saved who now suffer an ignominious and an early death;
and many might be so much purified in the furnace of punishment and
adversity, as to become the ornaments of that society of which they had
formerly been the bane. The vices of mankind must frequently require the
severity of justice; but a wise State will direct that severity to the
greatest moral and political good. ANON.





* * * * *


His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the War Department,
One of the Commissioners for the Affairs of India, etc.


Feeling myself highly flattered by your permission to inscribe the
following pages to your Lordship, I now humbly presume to offer them to
your perusal.

The colonists of New South Wales will feel with me, who must ever take an
interest in the welfare of the settlement, a high degree of satisfaction
at finding the conduct of their affairs placed under the direction of a
nobleman who has dignified the amiable virtues of private life by the
acquisition of those more splendid talents which characterise a
consummate statesman; thus at once rendering himself the object of
veneration and of gratitude to his country.

Your Lordship's services in the several high and important situations
which you have filled, are too generally known, and too well remembered,
to make me apprehensive lest my humble tribute of applause should be
mistaken for other than the genuine feelings of one proud of this
opportunity to unite his voice with that of a grateful nation.

The settlement whose annalist I have been has had much to struggle with.
Its distance from the protecting wing of the parent government, and the
unprecedented war which that government, has so long had to conduct, have
very much repressed its energies, and detracted from its natural vigour.
But, although the distance must ever remain an obstacle, yet now, that
your Lordship can uninterruptedly afford a portion of your valuable time
and great abilities to the consideration of its interests, it will, I
trust, be found to correct its bad habits, and to maintain, with a degree
of respectability, its place among the colonial dominions of our much
beloved and most gracious Sovereign.

That your Lordship may long be permitted to dispense blessings to New
South Wales and other distant countries, and to assist, instruct, and
adorn your own, is the ardent and anxious wish of him who has the honour
to be, with every sentiment of respect,

Your Lordship's
Most obedient, very humble,
and devoted servant,

Beaumont Street,
June 26, 1802

* * * * *


London, 17th June 1802

The very flattering reception which my former _Account of the English
Colony in New South Wales_ experienced from a candid and liberal
public, has induced me to continue my labours in the character of its
historian; having been favoured with materials for this purpose, on the
authenticity of which I can safely stake my credit.

Should the reader feel wearied with the detail of crimes and their
consequences, the fault lies not with me. I have only to regret that a
soil of so much promise has not produced better fruit. Such as there was,
I have diligently gathered; and have endeavoured to render it as
palatable as the nature of it would allow me. When we reflect that the
exotics with which this new plantation is supplied are chiefly the refuse
of our domestic nurseries; and duly consider that, however beneficial the
act of transplantation may finally be found, it must for a time retard
the growth, and will generally protract the fruit for a season, however
fertile the original stock, we ought, perhaps, considerably to moderate
our expectations. By patient culture, skillfully directed, in a climate so
propitious, and a soil so favourable, much may yet be effected: after
experience shall have once thoroughly ascertained all the dangers and
difficulties necessary to be surmounted, before most judicious
cultivators can completely avail themselves of the many local advantages
of which the situation is undoubtedly susceptible.

To relieve the mind as much as possible from the contemplation of
enormities, and the disgustingly wretched picture which vice must ever
exhibit, I have not only interspersed a few notices of rare and curious
objects in Natural History peculiar to the Australian regions; but have
also inserted the two voyages which were made in the little sloop
Norfolk, by Captain Flinders and Mr. Bass, in the order of time in which
they occurred, instead of placing them in an Appendix.

The Natives too have contributed to assist me in this part of my
undertaking; and some additional light is thrown upon their peculiar
manners and customs in the course of the work. It were to be wished, that
they never had been seen in any other state than that which the subjoined
view of them presents, in the happy and peaceable exercise of their
freedom and amusements.

* * * * *



A log prison begun
Various impositions practised at the store
Regulations and proceedings of the governor
A man found dead
A woman murdered
Discontents among the Irish, followed by an order
Character of the settlers at the river
Houses numbered at Sydney
Bennillong claims protection from the governor
Weather in October
Two victuallers arrive from England
Constables elected
The _Francis_ returns from Norfolk Island
Civil appointment
A criminal court held
One man hung in chains
Effect of this upon the natives
Public works
Convicts secreted on board the _Sylph_
A general muster
A native child murdered


The governor visits Richmond-Hill
His transactions there
A stack of wheat burnt
Sawyers punished
Price of labour regulated
General character of the settlers
The clergyman's attention to the children
Criminal court assembled
Lawrence Davoran
The governor goes to Botany Bay
George's river
Public works
Lightning and its effects


The wind-mill tried
A civil court assembled
Difficulty respecting the convicts from Ireland
The natives
Some buildings begun
Weather March
Number of men not victualled by the Commissary, who had been convicts
An extraordinary theft
Court of criminal judicature twice held
One man suffers death
Price of labour fixed
The natives attack the settlers
Public works


Report revived of a white woman being with the natives
A shoal seen
Some civil regulations
Natives troublesome
The governor goes on an excursion
Particulars thereof
A valuable tree discovered
The natives burn a house
The Supply arrives from the Cape
A ship wrecked to the southward
Three of her people brought in by a fishing boat
Two accidents
The _Britannia_ arrives from England
Vessels and assistance sent to the wreck
Public works
Cordage wanted
The _Mercury_ sails
The Ganges arrives from Ireland
Some runaways taken and brought to trial
The _Reliance_ arrives from the Cape
A strange desertion
Public works
New gaol finished


The _Francis_ returns from the wreck of the _Sydney Cove_
The _Eliza_ long-boat missing
Gale of wind
Cattle from the Cape landed
Station altered
Public works
An officer dies
Accident on board the _Schooner_
The ships sail for China
Coal discovered
Courts Of justice assembled
The _Supply_ condemned
The _Cumberland_ seized and carried off to sea
Is pursued, but not retaken
More coal found; and a new river
The people left by Capt. Bampton at New Zealand arrive at Norfolk Is.
Several runaway convicts landed there by the _Britannia_
The _Deptford_ arrives from Madras
Excursion to the Cow-Pastures
Walk from Mount Taurus to the sea coast
Public works


Another boat seized and carried off
Order in consequence
The criminal court thrice assembled
Three men stand in the pillory
Perjury explained to the convicts
Natives very troublesome; seize a boat
Various works in hand
An attempt to seize another boat frustrated
Prospect of a fine harvest
Wilson gives himself up
Is made use of
Two mares stolen
The clergyman's servant attempts to rob him
Information sent to India respecting the boats
An amphibious animal discovered


Bennillong and Cole-be
Various particulars respecting the natives
Ye-ra-nibe killed
A settler's house burnt through malice
Schools at Sydney
Two settlers drink for a wager
The body of a soldier found
Criminal court
The _Francis_ sails for the wreck
Houses burnt
Public labour
Account of live stock and ground in cultivation


Attempt of some Irish convicts to desert in search of a new settlement
Some punished
Steps taken to prevent future desertion
A settler's boat stolen
The _Francis_ returns from the southward
Conjectures as to a strait
A convict providentially saved
Public works


The _Francis_ again sails for the wreck
Bennillong and his wife
Report respecting the wild cattle
An anonymous writing found
Account of a journey to the westward
Description of a new bird
A general muster
Mr Bass returns from an excursion in an open boat to the southward
Particulars of it
Three Irishmen picked up
Public works
Weather in February


Strange idea respecting him
Civil court meets; nature of the business brought before it
Advice of the governor to the settlers
The _Francis_ returns from Preservation Island
A trusty person sent to look for a salt hill said to be to the westward
The wild cattle seen
A new animal, the Wombat, found; described
Some Irish runaways give themselves up
A seizure made of timber for government
The criminal court meets
Three men executed
Accidents among the stock
Discoveries prosecuted
Settlers and their complaints
An old woman accused of dreaming
Works in hand


Some Irishmen providentially saved from perishing
The _Nautilus_ arrives from Otaheite
Order respecting the sawyers
The _Barwell_ arrives with convicts
A judge-advocate sent out
The _Reliance_ and _Schooner_ sail for Norfolk Island
Information sent thither
Works and weather in May
Ground fixed on for the missionaries
The Hunter arrives from Bengal
The commander of the _Sydney Cove_ dies
A decked boat arrives from Norfolk Island
Maize harvest completed


Three southern whalers arrive, and an American from the Isle of France
A transport with female convicts arrives from England
_Reliance_ arrives from Norfolk Island
John Raynor executed
Profligacy of the female part of the settlement
Civil regulations
The Sabbath neglected
Attendance enforced
Two whalers arrive
Public works
A native girl killed
An extraordinary custom among them
The _Barwell_ sails for China, and the _Hunter_ for New Zealand
The bones of two horses found
Whalers sail
Public works
Fears for the approaching harvest


The _Semiramis_ arrives from Rhode Island
The church at Sydney burnt
Some vessels sail; the _Norfolk_ for Van Dieman's Land;
The _Francis_ for Norfolk Island
Another fire in the town
A ship arrives from the Cape with cattle
Works in hand
The governor's steward destroys himself
An order respecting the women
A battery erected
State of the harvest
The _Francis_ returns; and the _Nautilus_
The _Eliza_ from Sea
Three deaths
One good character recorded
Public works
Great heat
Returns of stock, and land in cultivation


Certificates granted to convicts
Reasons for so doing
Unruly behaviour of the Irish
Agricultural concerns look ill
The _Norfolk_ sloop returns from Van Dieman's Land
Twofold Bay described
The natives there
Kent's Group
Furneaux's Islands
Preservation Island
Curious petrifaction there
Cape Barren Island
The wombat described


The _Norfolk_ proceeds on her voyage
The Swan Isles; why so named
Waterhouse Isle
Discover Port Dalrymple
Account of the country within it
Natural productions
Sagacity and numbers of the black swan
Inhabitants; inferior to those of the continent
Range of the thermometer
Pass Table Cape
Circular head
Three Hummock Island
Albatross Island
Hunter's Isles
Proceed to the southward and westward


The _Norfolk_ passes the strait
Observations thereon
Proceeds to the southward
Passes the S. W. Cape; and S. Cape
Remarks on the latter
De Witt's Isles
Storm Bay Passage
Tasman's Head
Fluted Cape
Frederick Henry Bay
Enter the Derwent river, first seen in the ship _Duke_, of Bengal
Observations on the Derwent
Some natives seen
Particulars of one
Venomous snake
One destroys itself
Comparison between New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land
Arrive at Port Jackson
Advantages of the strait


Information from Norfolk Island
A burglary committed
The criminal court assembled
A man tried for killing a native
Two men executed
The public gaol burnt
Stills ordered to be seized
Settlers, their profligacy
A man found dead
Great drought
A flood at the river
Two whalers arrive
Conduct of the labouring convicts
A seaman killed
A woman murdered by her husband
A Spanish prize arrives
Norfolk Island
Resources in New South Wales
Public works


The _Buffalo_ arrives from England, and brings cattle from the Cape
A marine settler killed
A criminal court held
Taylor executed
Lowe punished
A highway robbery
Provisions in store
Ration altered
June, two whalers come in from sea
Ideas of a whale-fishery
Tempestuous weather
The _Albion_ whaler arrives from England
Her passage
July, a missionary murdered
The murderers tried and executed
Orders published
State of the farms
The _Hillsborough_ arrives from England
Mortality on board
Public works


The governor visits the settlers upon George's river
The _Norfolk_ sloop returns from an excursion to the northward
Account of her proceedings
Enters Shoal Bay
Particulars respecting it
Description of a palm-nut tree
Enters Glass-House Bay
Lieutenant Flinders meets some natives
Has an interview with them
Point Skirmish
Proceeds to a river in Glass-House Bay


Further proceedings in Glass-House Bay
Red Cliff point
Nets of the natives
Moreton Bay found to be an island
The sloop prepared for an attack of the natives
The Event
Account of an island
Enter Pumice-Stone river
See some natives
The leak in the sloop stopped
Interviews with natives
Mr. Flinders visits the Glass-House peaks
Account of the country
Return down the river
Other interviews with natives
Their manner of fishing
Other particulars of, and some conjectures respecting them
Quit Pumice-Stone river, and Glass House Bay


The _Norfolk_ proceeds to Hervey's Bay
Some account of it
Curlew Island
She returns to Port Jackson
Observations on the currents and tides along the coast
A criminal court assembled
Order respecting the issuing of government notes
Public works
A ship arrives from America
The _Buffalo_ sails for the Cape
The governor crosses the Nepean
A calf killed
Convicts found on board the _Hillsborough_ and _Hunter_
The master of the _Hunter_ tried
A young ox stolen
Ration reduced
Price of Grain fixed


The _Reliance_ sails for Norfolk Island
The _Walker_ arrives with Lieutenant-Colonel Paterson from England
Dispatches received
Orders respecting bread
Storm of wind
The _Britannia_ whaler sails for England
Settlers dissatisfied
A Spanish prize arrives
The _Martha_ from Cape Barren Island
A criminal court held
Wheat continued at the former Price
Gaol burnt at Parramatta
Harvest begun
Live stock


The _Swallow_ Packet arrives on her way to China
Articles sold
The _Minerva_ arrives from Ireland with convicts
The _Fhynne_ from Bengal
Three settlers tried for murdering two natives
Assessment fixed to complete the gaol
Military rations
A soldier shoots himself
A whaler from America, with a Spanish vessel, her prize
The _Hunter_ from Calcutta
The _Friendship_ with Irish convicts arrives
Inutility of some of these prisoners
Clothing issued
Tax on spirits to complete the gaol
A new magazine begun
The _Reliance_ sails for England
A mountain eagle shot
The _Martha_ arrives from Bass Strait
Settlers sell their sheep
Flood occasioned by bad weather
Criminal court held
The _Speedy_ arrives from England with Lieutenant-Governor King
The _Buffalo_ from the Cape


Reports of seditious meetings among the Irish convicts
The _Friendship_ sails for Bengal
Letter from Lord Mornington respecting persons resident at Bengal,
 formerly in this colony
Correspondence relative to Indian convicts, and persons at Calcutta
 wishing to become settlers in New South Wales
Criminal court held
Two men hanged for sheep-stealing
The _Hunter_ sails with Major Foveaux for Norfolk Island
The _Buffalo_ ordered for sea
Public gaol
Three men executed
General muster
Cattle purchased
The _Martha_ driven on shore
Survey of public stores
Spirits landed and seized
Death of Wilson
Rumours of Insurrection
Volunteer corps
Coal found
The _John Jay_ arrives
The governor quits the settlement
Live stock, etc
The _Buffalo_ sails for England
Touches at Norfolk Island


* * * * *


Chart of the three harbours of Botany Bay, Port Jackson and Broken Bay,
showing the ground cultivated by the colonists, marking the late
additions made thereto, and the country from the Cow Pasture plains in a
direct line to the sea coast.
A scene by moonlight
Ornythorhynchus paradoxus
Maenura superba
A night scene in the neighbourhood of Sydney
The Mountain Eagle
Natives under a rock in bad weather
The Emu of New South Wales
Plan and elevation of the Church at Parramatta

* * * * *



A log prison begun
Various impositions practised at the store
Regulations and proceedings of the governor
A man found dead
A woman murdered
Discontents among the Irish, followed by an order
Character of the settlers at the river
Houses numbered at Sydney
Bennillong claims protection from the governor
Weather in October
Two victuallers arrive from England
Constables elected
The _Francis_ returns from Norfolk Island
Civil appointment
A criminal court held
One man hung in chains
Effect of this upon the natives
Public works
Convicts secreted on board the _Sylph_
A general muster
A native child murdered

September.] In the former account of the English Colony of New
South Wales, which was brought up to the 29th September, 1796, it will be
seen, that on that day His Majesty's ship the _Reliance_ and the
_Britannia_ hired transport, sailed, with the _Francis_
colonial schooner, for Norfolk island; whence, being there joined by the
_Supply_, the _Reliance_ was to sail to the Cape of Good Hope,
to return with cattle for the colony, and the _Britannia_ was to
proceed to England.

The frequent commission of the most atrocious crimes, together with the
dissipated, turbulent, and abandoned disposition of the convicts, which
had more than ever at this time been manifest, determining the governor
to enforce the most rigid discipline, he resolved on constructing a
strong and capacious Log Prison at each of the towns of Sydney and
Parramatta. It being absolutely necessary that these should be erected as
expeditiously as possible, the safety of the inhabitants and security of
their property, rendering any delay extremely dangerous, and the public
gangs being very weak, he called upon every officer, settler, and
housekeeper within the above-mentioned districts, to furnish a certain
number of logs for this purpose, which were to be delivered at Sydney, or
Parramatta, as might be most convenient to each person's residence; and
he had, in a very short time, the satisfaction of seeing the materials
which were required brought in much faster than the carpenters could put
them together.

Among other crimes committed by these people, must be mentioned a variety
of impositions which were practised to deceive the commissary in the
issue of provisions. To detect these, an order was given about the end of
the month, which directed that every person belonging to each different
mess should attend personally at the store on the next serving-day. The
convicts had always been divided into messes, containing a certain number
of persons; one of whom out of each mess was to attend at the store, and
receive provisions for the whole number belonging to it.

On the day appointed, it appeared that many were victualled both at
Sydney and Parramatta, and several other impositions were detected and

In a settlement which was still in a great measure dependant upon the
mother country for food, it might have been supposed that these people
would have endeavoured by their own industry to have increased, rather
than by robbery and fraud to have lessened, the means of their support:
but far too many of them were most incorrigibly flagitious. The most
notorious of these were formed into a gaol gang, which was composed of
such a set of hardened and worthless characters, that, although Saturday
was always given up to the convicts for their own private avocations, as
well as to enable them to appear clean and decent on Sunday at church,
this gang was ordered, as an additional punishment, to work on the
Saturday morning in repairing the roads and bridges near the town.

At the close of this month the stone tower of the Wind Mill, and the
stone foundation of the Log Prison, were much advanced.

October.] The governor, still turning his thoughts toward rectifying the
abuses which had imperceptibly crept into the colony, arranged in the
beginning of the following month (October) the muster lists which had
lately been taken; and, many more impositions being detected, he ordered
the delinquents to labour, after inflicting on them such punishments as
their respective offences seemed to demand; by which means he was enabled
considerably to increase the number of labouring people in the public
gangs. On his going up to Parramatta, whither he was attended by Captain
Johnston as his aid-de-camp, and Mr. Balmain (the surgeon) as a
magistrate, he recovered at least one hundred men for government work.

Exclusive of the advantage which attended the recruiting of the public
gangs in this way, another point was established by this examination, the
discovering of several who had been victualled from the stores beyond the
period (eighteen months) which had been fixed and considered by
government as a sufficient time to enable an industrious man to provide
for himself.

Directing his attention also toward the morality of the settlement, a
point which he could not venture to promise himself that he should ever
attain, he issued some necessary orders for enforcing attendance on
divine service, and had the satisfaction of seeing the Sabbath better
observed than it had been for some time past. But there were some who
were refractory. A fellow named Carroll, an Irishman, abused and ill
treated a constable who was on his duty, ordering the people to church;
saying, that he would neither obey the clergyman nor the governor; for
which, the next day, he was properly punished.

On the morning of the 16th, the people of a boat which had been sent to
the north shore for wood found a man's hat, and a large hammer lying by
it. One side of the hat had apparently been beaten in with the hammer,
which was bloody; and much blood was also found in the hat, as well as
about the spot where it was discovered. It was immediately conjectured,
that a man who had been working there with some carpenter's tools had
been murdered; and upon its being made known to the governor, he sent
several persons to search for the body, which was found thrown over the
cliff, and near the water side. On its being examined by the surgeons,
the skull was found beaten in, which must have been effected with the
hammer, and occasioned his death. Some suspicion falling upon two people,
they were secured, and an examination was the next day taken before the
magistrates; but nothing transpired that could fix the offence upon them.

This shocking circumstance was followed shortly after by another equally
atrocious: a murder which was committed by a man on the person of a woman
with whom he cohabited. It appeared that they had both been intoxicated,
and had quarrelled on the night preceding and in the morning of the murder.

This made the fifth circumstance of the kind which had occurred within
the last twelve months; and so excessively abandoned were the people,
that it was scarcely possible to obtain sufficient proof to convict the
offenders. Strong presumptive proof, indeed, was frequently adduced; but
the kind of evidence necessary to establish the offence was almost
constantly withheld.

About this time, some dissatisfaction appearing among the Irish convicts
who were ordered to labour, and some threats having been made use of by
them, the governor thought it necessary to inform the inhabitants of the
colony in general, that, after having pointed out a number of people who
had, by false pretences, and various impositions, obtained certificates
of discharge from the commissary's books, he did not expect so soon to
have occasion to enter again upon the same subject. He then, taking
notice of those who had not hesitated to hold a language which implied a
determination to resist all authority, declared, that if any officer,
civil or military, any settler, or other person within the colony,
should, after Monday, the 7th of November, retain in his or their service
any one or more of the persons described in a former order, such persons
should be considered as encouraging a set of lawless and seditious
people, to the total subversion of all order and government, and to the
weakening of His Majesty's authority in the settlement. He next informed
the people whose conduct had occasioned this order, that if they were of
opinion, that to threaten would be the best means of obtaining what they
desired, they might repent that opinion when too late. That there would
not be any difficulty found in furnishing them with a situation in the
colony, or in some of its dependencies, where they would not be able to
disturb the peace of their neighbours; and that if they were troublesome
here, they should certainly be placed in that situation very soon. He
concluded this order by informing all the inhabitants of the colony,
whether in a civil or a military capacity, that he expected, as they
valued His Majesty's authority, or the peace and civil government of the
settlement, that they would exert every effort to preserve good order;
and, to that end, that they should aid and assist the civil power when
and wherever it might be necessary, and report all such persons as they
might know to be in any way acting in opposition to this order.

It was hoped by the governor, that this order would convince the people
particularly styled defenders, that, if they continued to be troublesome,
they would not very readily escape from the punishment to which their
turbulent and restless conduct might entitle them.

From the accession of numbers to the public gangs, the different works in
hand at Sydney and Parramatta went rapidly on. At the former of these
places the erection of a granary, 72 feet in length and 22 in breadth,
was begun on the west side of the main street, there not being a building
for the reception of grain yet prepared in that township.

Boats were sent round to the Hawkesbury, for various articles wanted at
Sydney. From that part of the settlement, the timber most useful for boat
and other buildings was occasionally received; shingles also of a good
sort were brought round; and frequently the boats returned loaded with
grain. It has been shown, in the account of this colony already
published, that the farms upon the fertile banks of that river were
superior, in point of soil, to any near the principal settlement; and
that, had they been in the hands of good and industrious characters, they
would have produced abundant crops, and enriched their owners. But every
day's experience evinced, that the people thus fortunately situated were,
unluckily, some of the most profligate wretches in the colony; and their
distance from the immediate seat of government added much to the
inconvenience. Such of these farms as were situated on the low grounds
were often overflowed after very heavy falls of rain; but this
circumstance was in no way injurious to the farmer, unless it happened
when the grain was ripening.

Among other local arrangements which took place, and were extremely
useful, must be reckoned the numbering of the houses of the towns of
Sydney and Parramatta, and dividing them into portions; with a principal
inhabitant at the head of each division, who was charged with the peace
and good order of the district in which he lived.

The frame of the Log Prison at Sydney was got up in the course of this
month, to the great annoyance of the worthless, who seemed to anticipate
the lodging in it which they merited.

At Parramatta and Toongabbie a very few old stacks of wheat belonging to
government were opened for the purpose of being thrashed out, when they
were found to have been much injured by vermin.

In the course of this month, Bennillong, who had returned to all the
habits of savage life, claimed the protection of the governor from the
menaces of several of his countrymen, who, he with much agitation
informed him, had assembled in a considerable body near the Brickfields*,
to lie in wait for him; and where, if possible, they intended to kill
him; he having, as they suspected, killed a man near Botany Bay. This he
positively denied having done, and the governor dispatched him to the
place, guarded by some of the military, where he explained to his
countrymen that he had not killed the man in question, or any man; and
that the soldiers were sent with him, to convince them that the governor
would not suffer him, his old friend and fellow voyager (it must be
remembered that Bennillong returned from England with the governor in His
Majesty's ship _Reliance_), to be ill treated by them on any false
pretence; and that he was determined to drive every native away from
Sydney who should attempt it. This threat had a good effect. Many of them
were much alarmed when they saw in what manner and by whom Bennillong was
attended; and to be driven from a place whence they derived so many
comforts, and so much shelter in bad weather, would have been severely
felt by most of them.

[* Adjacent to the town of Sydney.]

In the first part of the month the weather was not very good; about the
middle some showers fell very seasonably for the harvest; and towards the
latter part the regular land and sea breezes had set in, which kept the
weather cool and pleasant.

November.] The month of November opened with the arrival of the _Prince
of Wales_, victualler, from England. She had been close in with Botany
Bay the preceding day; but, there being little wind, the master had been
obliged to stretch out from the land during the night; and the next
morning, a pilot getting on board, she was brought in. She had sailed in
company with the _Sylph_, which also had provisions for the
settlement on board, but which did not arrive until the 17th. They
brought the information, that a Dutch fleet, consisting of ten sail of
ships of war, bound to the East Indies had been captured off the Cape of
Good Hope, by His Majesty's fleet, under Admiral Sir Geo. Keith
Elphinstone (now Lord Keith), which had followed them from England.

The useful regulation of numbering the different houses in the town of
Sydney, particularly those in the occupation of the convicts, was
followed up by another equally serviceable, which directed the
inhabitants of each of the four divisions of the town (for into that
number it was portioned off) to meet, and from among themselves elect
three of the most decent and respectable characters, who were to be
approved by the governor, and were to serve for the ensuing year as
watchmen, for the purpose of enforcing a proper attention to the good
order and tranquillity of their respective divisions. Many of the
soldiers being allowed to occupy houses for their families in the
vicinity of the barracks, the commanding officer was desired to appoint
his own watchmen for the military division of the town, and to order them
to report to him.

A few days previous to the arrival of the _Sylph_, the Colonial
schooner returned from Norfolk Island, and brought letters from the
_Reliance_, _Supply_, and _Britannia_, which ships left that
island on the 25th of the last month, and the day following her
arrival (the 14th) Richard Atkins, esq was directed to officiate as
judge-advocate of the colony, in the absence of the gentleman who had
filled that situation since the first establishment of the settlement,
and who had now proceeded to England in the _Britannia_.

This judicial appointment having taken place, a criminal court was held
on the 23rd, and continued sitting, by adjournment, until the 29th, when
sentence of death was passed upon eight prisoners who were capitally
convicted; one, of the wilful murder of the man whose body had been found
on the north shore the 16th of last month, and seven of robbing the
public store-houses at Sydney, and the settlement at the Hawkesbury. Two
others were found guilty of manslaughter.

Of these miserable people five were executed pursuant to the sentence of
the court. At Sydney*, Francis Morgan, for wilful murder, with Martin
McEwen (a soldier) and John Lawler (a convict), for robbing the public
stores. Matthew McNally and Thomas Doyle, convicts, suffered at
Parramatta, on the following day, for the same offence.

[* On the 30th of November, and the others on the 9th and 10th of

Having thus satisfied the public justice of the country, the governor
extended the hand of mercy to the three others who had been capitally
convicted of the same crime, viz John McDouall (another soldier), Thomas
Inville, and Michael Doland (convicts), by granting them a conditional

It was much to be lamented, that these people were not to be deterred by
any example from the practice of robbing the public stores, which had of
late been more frequent than heretofore, and for which there could not be
admitted the shadow of an excuse; as the whole of the inhabitants of
every description were at this very time on a full and liberal allowance
of provisions and clothing, neither of which were in any scarcity in the
settlement. But the cause was to be found in the too great indulgence in
the use of spirituous liquors which had been obtained among them for a
considerable time past. The different capital crimes which had lately
been brought before the court of criminal judicature, together with the
various petty offences that daily came under the cognisance of the
magistrates, did not proceed from an insufficiency either of food or
clothing; but from an inordinate desire of possessing, by any means
whatsoever, those articles with which they might be able to procure
spirits, 'that source--as the governor expressed himself in an order
which he published directly after these executions--that source of the
misfortunes of all those whom the laws of their country, and the justice
that was due to others, had launched into eternity, surrounded with the
crimes of an ill-spent life.'

The court having ordered that Francis Morgan should be hung in chains
upon the small island which is situated in the middle of the harbour, and
named by the natives Mat-te-wan-ye, a gibbet was accordingly erected, and
he was hung there, exhibiting an object of much greater terror to the
natives, than to the white people, many of whom were more inclined to
make a jest of it; but to the natives his appearance was so
frightful--his clothes shaking in the wind, and the creaking of his
irons, added to their superstitious ideas of ghosts (for these children
of ignorance imagined that, like a ghost, this man might have the power
of taking hold of them by the throat), all rendering him such an alarming
object to them--that they never trusted themselves near him, nor the spot
on which he hung; which, until this time, had ever been with them a
favourite place of resort.

The _Prince of Wales_, having been cleared of her cargo, sailed on
the 23rd for China. Previous to her departure, the master having
complained of the conduct of his ship's company, the governor appointed a
day for their appearing before him; when the differences which subsisted
between them were inquired into by his excellency, and settled to the
satisfaction of all parties.

The public works in which the people at Sydney had been employed during
this month, consisted in receiving the cargoes of the two victuallers,
and in clearing out the tanks or reservoirs for water, which had become a
necessary work, as they never had been emptied or cleansed since they
were first cut and filled in the year 1792.*

[* The principal tank contained about 7996 gallons of water.
Vide Vol I, Chapter XVII. "The works during this month . . ."]

December.] On the 6th of December the _Sylph_, having been
discharged from government employ, proceeded on her voyage to China. On
searching her, two male convicts were found concealed, who were brought
on shore, and punished for their attempt to escape from the place of
their transportation.

The ill success with which these attempts were attended might have been
expected to deter others from risking the certain punishment which
followed their being detected; but, as some were known to have eluded the
strictest search, every one who could find a friend among the seamen to
conceal him, hoped that he might prove the fortunate one who should
escape. Although they every day saw that no obstacle was thrown in the
way of the convict who had got through the period of his transportation
with credit and a good character, but that he was suffered to depart with
the master of any ship who would receive him, and a certificate given to
him of his being a free man; yet, thoughtless, and dissatisfied with
their present situation, be it what it might, they preferred encountering
the hazard of being discovered and punished, or, even if they reached
another country, the discredit with which they must appear, if it should
be known that they were convicts from 'Botany Bay,' to waiting with
patience until they could be dismissed from the colony with the
reputation of having deserved the state of freedom at which they had

 On the 16th of the month, a general muster of all descriptions of
persons took place over every part of the colony at the same hour; for
it had been found, that in mustering one district at a time, a deception
had been successfully practised by some, of running from one place to
another, and answering to their names at each, thereby drawing
provisions from both stores, having previously imposed themselves on the
store-keepers as belonging to their district. This could not, indeed,
have long continued, if the store-keepers had been properly attentive to
the directions which they received; but it was almost impossible to
guard against the artful and well-contrived deceptions which these
people were constantly playing off, to impose upon propriety,
regulation, and good order.

It being at this time much wished to get four or five hundred acres of
the ground belonging to government in a state to be sown the next season
with wheat, the governor went up to Parramatta, to settle some necessary
concerns there, and to endeavour, if possible, to get strength sufficient
for that purpose. While here, he had the satisfaction of knowing that the
stock of large cattle belonging to government were in excellent
condition, having been sent to Toongabbie, where they had met with better
food and more care than elsewhere. The preservation of these animals was
an object of the greatest importance, as, independent of the large sums
of money with which they had been purchased, their utility as a stock
both for present labour, and future consumption, was incalculable.

Several of the settlers having last year had occasion, from the failure
of the preceding crop, to borrow seed for sowing their ground again with
wheat, an order was issued on the 21st, reminding those settlers who had
received this assistance from government, that it was expected they
would, out of their first crops, pay this debt, and take up the receipts
which they had given. That if any evasion should be attempted, or any
delay made in the payment, such steps as the law pointed out would be
taken against them, and the defaulters marked as undeserving of the aid
of government on any future occasion; and, what was calculated to meet a
trick which some of them had played, they were finally informed, that if
any among them, in contemplation of getting rid of the debt, had sold
their farms since receiving the grain from government, the land would
still be considered as the debtor, and the purchaser responsible for the

The savage inhabitants of the country, instead of losing any part of
their native ferocity of manners by an intercourse with the Europeans
among whom they dwelt, seemed rather to delight in exhibiting themselves
as monsters of the greatest cruelty, devoid of reason, and guided solely
by the impulse of the worst passions.

Toward the latter end of the month, the governor received information,
that a little native girl, between six and seven years of age, who for
some time had lived at the governor's house, had been most inhumanly
murdered by two of her savage countrymen. The father and mother of this
child belonged to a party of natives who had committed so many
depredations upon the settlers at the Hawkesbury, attended with such acts
of cruelty as to render them extremely formidable: insomuch that it
became necessary to send an armed party in pursuit of them. They were
soon found, and, being fired upon, the father and mother of this little
female were among those who fell. She was with them at the time, and
readily accompanied our people to the settlement, where she was received;
and, being a well disposed child, soon became a great favourite with her
protectors. This, and her being a native of the country near Broken Bay,
excited the jealousy of some of the natives who lived at and about
Sydney, which manifested itself in their putting her to death in the most
cruel manner. The body was found in the woods near the governor's house,
speared in several places, and with both the arms cut off; whence it was
brought in and buried.

No other conjecture could be formed of this atrocious act than what has
been already mentioned. As she belonged to a tribe of natives that was
hostile to the Sydney people, they could not admit of her partaking in
those pleasures and comforts which they derived from their residence
among the colonists, and therefore inhumanly put her out of the way. The
governor was very much incensed at this proceeding; and, could he have
found the offenders, would have most severely punished them; but they had
immediately withdrawn into the woods.

Among the public works in hand during this month must be mentioned, the
laying of the last stone of the wind-mill tower at Sydney on the 21st; and
on the following day the workmen began to get up the wood work of the top.

On the 24th there was a general issue of clothing, and the 26th was
observed as Christmas Day.

The weather in the first and middle parts of the month had been very bad,
heavy rains (which much retarded the getting in of the harvest)
prevailing, with thunder and lightning, and winds strong at east. The
latter part being moderate, the Colonial schooner took the opportunity to
go round to the Hawkesbury for a cargo of wheat.


The governor visits Richmond-Hill
His transactions there
A stack of wheat burnt
Sawyers punished
Price of labour regulated
General character of the settlers
The clergyman's attention to the children
Criminal court assembled
Lawrence Davoran
The governor goes to Botany Bay
George's river
Public works
Lightning and its effects

January.] The governor, always anxious to promote the good of the
settlement by every means in his power, having determined to visit at this
season that part of it which was situated on the banks of the Hawkesbury,
set off at the latter end of the last month, with a party of officers, by
land to Broken Bay, where they got on board the Colonial schooner, and
continued in her for two days, sailing up that pleasant river; but,
finding her progress too slow, they quitted her for some boats which had
accompanied them; and, by the first of this month, had reached as high up
as some farms which had lately been evacuated in consequence of the
depredations that the owners of them had been exposed to from numerous
parties of natives. The ground hereabout was carefully examined, to see if
it would admit such a number of settlers as might be sufficient for the
purpose of mutual protection; but it was found inadequate to that end,
the limits of it on the banks of the river, where the soil was excellent,
being much too narrow.

On the first of the month the governor had reached the principal
settlement, having occasionally landed to examine into the state of the
different farms, as well as to settle disputes relative to property, and
differences between the settlers and their hired servants.

Having had previous notice, a general muster of these people now took
place; which being compared with one taken some time since, many
impositions were detected and rectified. After the muster, they were
reminded that several of them were considerably indebted to government
for the seed from which their present abundant crops had been produced,
and directed forthwith to return into the store a quantity equal to that
which they had borrowed for the purpose. This it was absolutely necessary
to point out and insist upon, as there were but few among them who would
have been found with principle enough to have returned it of themselves.

While they were here, the governor and his party went up the river, and
ascended Richmond-hill, on the summit of which a large smoke was made at
noon, at which time a similar smoke was made on Prospect-hill, that was
very distinctly seen, and its bearings taken, to ascertain the relative
situation of the two hills. This bearing, which was S 35 degrees 00
minutes E by compass, gave, with the latitude observed on each, the
distance between the two hills about eighteen miles in a direct line.

By this bearing, should there be occasion hereafter, a road through the
woods, from the head of the Hawkesbury, might be cut in the shortest and
most direct way to Parramatta.

At the head of this river, and upon the banks of that named the Nepean,
there was known to be a tract of excellent land, as rich as any on the
banks of the Hawkesbury which was then under cultivation, and where, at
some future period, a settlement might be advantageously established.

The governor, on his return from this excursion, had the mortification of
seeing a stack, containing about eight hundred bushels of wheat, burnt to
the ground. This happened at Toongabbie, near which place the country was
every where in flames, and where, unfortunately, much wheat belonging to
government was stacked. The fire broke out about eight o'clock in the
evening; the wind was high, the night extremely dark, and the flames had
mounted to the very tops of the lofty woods which surrounded a field
called the ninety acres, in which were several stacks of wheat. The
appearance was alarming, and the noise occasioned by the high wind, and
the crackling of the flames among the trees, contributed to render the
scene truly awful.

It became necessary to make every effort to save this field and its
contents. The gaol-gang, who worked in irons, were called out, and told,
that if the wheat was saved by their exertion, their chains should be
knocked off. By providing every man with a large bush, to beat off the
fire as it approached the grain over the stubble, keeping up this
attention during the night, and the wind becoming moderate towards
morning, the fire was fortunately kept off, and the promise to the
gaol-gang was not forfeited.*

[* In the month of December 1792, two days after the wheat
had been reaped and got off the ground at Toongabbie, the whole of the
stubble was burnt, the country being then, as at this time, every where
on fire. See Vol I. Ch. XIX, viz: 'At Parramatta and Toongabbie also the
heat was extreme; the country there too was every where in flames. Mr.
Arndell was a great sufferer by it. The fire had spread to his farm; but
by the efforts of his own people and the neighbouring settlers it was got
under, and its progress supposed to be effectually checked, when an
unlucky spark from a tree, which had been on fire to the topmost branch,
flying upon the thatch of the hut where his people lived, it blazed out;
the hut with all the out-buildings, and thirty bushels of wheat just got
into a stack, were in a few minutes destroyed. The erecting of the hut
and out-houses had cost £15 a short time before.']

Although at this season of the year there were days when, from the
extreme heat of the atmosphere, the leaves of many culinary plants
growing in the gardens have been reduced to a powder, yet there was some
ground for supposing that this accident did not arise from either the
heat of the weather, or the fire in the woods. The grain that was burnt
was the property of government, and the destruction of eight hundred
bushels of wheat made room for that quantity to be received into the
stores from the settlers who had wheat to sell to the commissary; there
were, moreover, at this time, some ill-designing people in the country,
who were known not to have much regard for the concerns of the public. An
enquiry was set on foot to discover, if possible, the perpetrators of
this mischief, but nothing could be made of it.

Several people who had been hired to saw timber on the public account
having been detected in giving a false statement, and receiving payment
for what they had not cut, were examined before two justices of the
peace; when, the fraud being proved, they were sentenced to make up the
deficiency, and to work for government, without being paid, for six
months. One, the man who measured the work, and who of course had a
confidence reposed in him, received the additional punishment of 200
lashes, which he amply merited.

Some representations having been made to the governor from the settlers
in different parts of the colony, purporting that the wages demanded by
the free labouring people, whom they had occasion to hire, was so
exorbitant as to run away with the greatest part of the profit of their
farms, it was recommended to them to appoint quarterly meetings among
themselves, to be held in each district, for the purpose of settling the
rate of wages to labourers in every different kind of work; that, to this
end, a written agreement should be entered into and subscribed by each
settler, a breach of which should be punished by a penalty, to be fixed
by the general opinion, and made recoverable in a court of civil
judicature. It was recommended to them to apply this forfeiture to the
common benefit; and they were to transmit to the head-quarters a copy of
their agreement with the rate of wages which they should from time to
time establish, for the governor's information; holding their first
meeting as early as possible.

It must appear from this, that every necessary and useful regulation was
suggested that could promote the convenience and advantage of these
people, who being in possession of land that yielded the most ample
returns, nothing but the greatest worthlessness on their part could have
prevented their getting forward, and becoming men of property. That too
many of them were of this description will appear evident, from its being
notorious that their crops were no sooner gathered, than they were
instantly disposed of for spirits, which they purchased at the rate of
three, nay, even four pounds per gallon, and of a spirit often lowered
one fourth or more of its strength with water. It was also equally
notorious, that some of them, when too idle and dissipated to hoe and
properly prepare their ground for seed, have carelessly thrown the grain
over the old stubble, and afterwards chipped it in, as they termed it,
going lightly over the ground with a hoe, and barely covering the seed.
Yet, with no greater assistance than this, the lands thus slovenly
prepared have been known to yield abundant crops.

On the 11th arrived the _Mercury_, an American brig, from Manilla,
bound to the NW coast of America. Being extremely weak and leaky, the
master put in here to refit, which he requested he might be allowed to
do. He brought no other news than the detention of several English ships
at Manilla, which seemed strongly to indicate the approach of hostilities
between the two nations, the effect, no doubt, of French fraternity with
the Spaniards.

The infant part of the settlement having at this period become very
numerous, with a view to save them, if possible, from that ruin in which
the infamous examples of their abandoned parents were but too likely to
plunge them, the clergyman, the Reverend Mr. Johnson, began to examine
them publicly every Sunday in their catechism, and other points of
religious duty, at the conclusion of the afternoon service. Some building
that might serve as a school whereto children at a certain age might be
removed from their parents, and receive education, was now become
absolutely necessary; but many other works equally necessary were still
in hand; and the labourers employed to erect them were comparatively so
inefficient, that it was impossible to think of any other work until they
were completed, though both the clergymen offered their services to
superintend the erection of a building for this purpose.

Such was the weakness of the public gangs, that it often became necessary
to require the assistance of the officers and other persons who were
allowed servants from government. In this way, by calling on each officer
and settler to send in a certain number of men for three days in the
week, the public roads between the different districts were put into good
order. This, besides very much facilitating the carriage of goods by
land, conduced very essentially to the detecting of thieves and vagrants,
who in general were found to be very quick in their motions.

Among other crimes which had been committed in this colony, that of
forgery was by no means neglected. To this, the currency of the
settlement, consisting almost entirely of paper, had opened a door. On
the 20th one man was found guilty of uttering a bill, knowing it to be
forged, and condemned to suffer death. The prisoner, whose name was
Lawrence Davoran, had been sent from Ireland, with other convicts from
that kingdom, where he had practised as an attorney, and had, it was
said (unfortunately for them, if true) respectable connections by
marriage. He was very far from being a good character. The governor,
however, after ordering the execution to take place on a certain day,
spared his life, on condition of his being transported to Norfolk Island
during the remainder of his wretched existence.

After celebrating the day on which her majesty's birth was observed with
every demonstration of attachment and respect in his power, the governor
set off on an excursion to Botany Bay, in order to explore George's river
as far up as was practicable, and to examine the soil upon its banks,
which he found to be of good quality, and considerable extent. This
river, which was observed to run in a westerly direction about
twenty-five miles up from Botany Bay, was, in many parts of its branches,
exceedingly picturesque; and navigable, for small craft, for at least
twenty miles up. Some of its creeks or branches reached within a small
distance of Prospect Hill. Between this river and Parramatta, the
governor, on his return, travelled through a thick bushy wood, covering
an excellent soil.

Erecting the granary, completing the wind-mill, and repairing the public
roads, formed the principal works in hand during this month, in which the
weather had been most uncomfortably hot, accompanied with some severe
thunder storms; in one of which both the flagstaff at the South Head, and
that at the entrance of the Cove, on Point Maskelyne, were shivered to
pieces by the lightning. The vast blazes of fire which were seen in every
direction, and which were freshened by every blast of wind, added much to
the suffocating heat that prevailed.


The wind-mill tried
A civil court assembled
Difficulty respecting the convicts from Ireland
The natives
Some buildings begun
Weather March
Number of men not victualled by the Commissary, who had been convicts
An extraordinary theft
Court of criminal judicature twice held
One man suffers death
Price of labour fixed
The natives attack the settlers
Public works

February.] The wind-mill being nearly finished at the commencement of
this month, it was tried with only two of its sails; when it ground,
with one pair of stones, a bushel of wheat in ten minutes, and,
considering the immense weight of the wood-work, its motion was found
to be easy and convenient.

It might not have been expected, that occasions for convening the court
of civil judicature could frequently have occurred in an infant
settlement such as this; or that, when assembled, it could have had
business to occupy it above a day; yet one of these courts assembled on
the first, and continued sitting by adjournments until the fourteenth,
for the decision of many civil concerns. Among these was the recovery of
debts, several of which had been contracted very improperly, and which
were likely to involve many in ruin.

It appeared, that, to obtain spirituous liquors, these people, the
settlers, had incurred debts to so great an amount, as to preclude the
most distant hope of liquidating them, except by selling their farms.
Thus all their former industry must be sacrificed to discharge debts
which were contracted for the temporary gratification of being steeped in
beastly intoxication for a certain length of time. All the cautions which
had occasionally been inserted in the public orders against this
dangerous practice, had not proved of any advantage to those whose
benefit they were intended to promote; and it was observed with concern,
that several scenes of shameful imposition, which had been practised by
the retail dealers in this article, were brought to light by this

Several convicts, who had served their respective terms of
transportation, having applied to be discharged from the victualling
books of the colony, and allowed to provide for themselves, it was
determined, that once during a given time certificates of their having so
served their several sentences should be granted to them, together with
the permission which they solicited. There was not any difficulty in
ascertaining the term of the convicts sent from England, as correct lists
of their several sentences from the Secretary of State's office
accompanied them: but it was not so with those who had been sent from
Ireland, and who were more likely to be dissatisfied with any
disappointment on this rather nice subject, than any other, people in
the settlement. This was an evil of some magnitude; and a representation
of it had been made to the government of that kingdom, but as yet no
answer had been received.

The season for cropping the ground being near at hand, the settlers were
informed, that such of them as had lent their men to repair the roads
would have them returned for the time that would be required to sow the
grain; after that was performed, they were expected again to come
forward, and finish what they had so well begun.

The natives excited some little degree of curiosity about this time, a
large party from Broken Bay having assembled in the lower part of the
harbour, whither those belonging to Sydney immediately repaired, for the
purpose, it was reported, of meeting them in fight; but it turned out to
be nothing more than the usual ceremony which a native of Broken Bay
underwent, of having several spears thrown at him, for having, it was
said, killed a person belonging to this part of the country. He went off
unhurt, after sustaining the appearance of much rage and violence from
the friends of the deceased.

A gang having been for some time employed in making bricks, the
foundation of a building for two assistant surgeons was marked in this
month. This was one of the necessary works already mentioned, as the
miserable quarters which those gentlemen occupied were originally
constructed only of split cabbage trees, and were at this time quite

Some heavy rain fell during the first and latter parts of the month,
which it was hoped would extinguish the still glowing embers of the vast
fires which had surrounded the place, and which, being scattered over the
country every dry and windy day; occasioned new and dreadful

There were not any arrivals during the month, except that of the Colonial
schooner from the Hawkesbury, with a cargo of Indian corn, and some wheat
that had been damaged by the weevil, an enemy which had been imported
among the rice from India.

March.] It appeared by the books in which were entered the certificates
granted to the convicts who had again become free people, that there were
at this time not less than 600 men off the store and working for
themselves in the colony; forming a vast deduction of labouring people
from the public strength, and adding a great many chances against the
safety of private and public property, as well as personal security.

An extraordinary theft was committed about the middle of the month, which
very forcibly marked the inherent depravity of some of these miscreants.
While the miller was absent for a short time, part of the sails belonging
to the mill were stolen. Now this machine was at work for the benefit of
those very incorrigible vagabonds who had thus, for a time, prevented its
being of use to any one, and who, being too lazy to grind for themselves,
had formerly been obliged to pay one third of their whole allowance of
wheat, to have the remainder ground for them by hand mills, an expense
that was saved to them by bringing their corn to the public mill.

Twice during this month it became necessary to assemble the court of
criminal judicature: at one of which, a man named Mobbs was capitally
convicted of robbing the public stores, upon the evidence of an
accomplice, who was admitted on the part of the crown. They had stolen at
different times an incredible quantity of clothing, provisions, and
various other articles, and ought to have been much sooner detected.
Mobbs suffered death, and exhibited himself at the gallows as a wicked
and hardened offender.

For offenders not deserving of capital punishment, Norfolk Island had
been for some time a place of banishment; and the convicts in general
felt this second transportation more severely than the first:
notwithstanding which, they continued to commit offences that they knew
must end in that punishment. Four prisoners, one of them a soldier, were
at this time sentenced to seven years exile to that island, for different
offences; and when viewed in this light, as a place of confinement for
some of her worst members, Norfolk Island might be considered as an
useful appendage to the principal settlement.

In pursuance of the order which was issued in January last, recommending
the settlers to appoint meetings, at which they should fix the rate of
wages that it might be proper to pay for the different kinds of labour
which their farms should require, the settlers had met, and submitted to
the governor the several resolutions that they had entered into; by which
he was enabled to fix a rate that he conceived to be fair and equitable
between the farmer and the labourer.

The following prices of labour were now established, viz
                                                           £  s  d
Falling forest timber, per acre                            0  9  0
Do. in brush ground,      do                               0 10  6
Burning off open ground,  do                               1  5  0
Do. brush ground,         do                               1 10  0
Breaking up new ground,   do                               1  4  0
Chipping fresh ground,    do                               0 12  3
Chipping in wheat,        do                               0  7  0
Breaking up stubble or corn ground, 1 1/4d. per rod, or do 0 16  8
Planting Indian Corn,     do                               0  7  0
Hilling,       do         do                               0  7  0
Reaping wheat,            do                              10 10  0
Threshing do per bushel,  do                               0  0  9
Pulling and husking Indian corn, per bushel                0  0  6
Splitting paling of seven feet long, per hundred           0  3  0
Do of five feet long  do                                   0  1  6
Sawing plank,         do                                   0  7  0
Ditching per rod, three feet wide and three feet deep      0  0 10
Carriage of wheat, per bushel, per mile                    0  0  2
Do Indian corn, neat                                       0  0  3
Yearly wages for labour, with board                       10  0  0
Wages per week, with provisions, consisting of
   4 lib. of salt pork or 6 lib. of fresh,
   and 21 lib. of wheat, with vegetables                   0  6  0
A day's wages, with board                                  0  1  0
Do without board                                           0  2  6
A government man allowed to officers or settlers
   in their own time                                       0  0 10
Price of an axe                                            0  2  0
New steeling do                                            0  0  6
A new hoe                                                  0  1  9
A sickle                                                   0  1  6
Hire of a boat to carry grain, per day                     0  5  0

The settlers were reminded, that, in order to prevent any kind of dispute
between the master and servant, when they should have occasion to hire a
man for any length of time, they would find it most convenient to engage
him for a quarter, half year, or year, and to make their agreement in
writing; on which should any dispute arise, an appeal to the magistrates
would settle it.

A person, who absconding from his work had been ordered to labour a
certain time in irons, having wrought upon the feelings of one of the
magistrates to permit his working without them, and having given strong
assurance of future diligence, was no sooner freed from his incumbrances
than he took to the woods again. The frequent and unrestrained passing
and repassing of idle and disorderly people from one part of the colony
to another, and the mischievous correspondence which was kept up by such
means, was productive of great evil. To check this as much as possible,
all persons, the officers excepted, who were travelling from one district
of the settlement to another, were required to furnish themselves with a
passport, which, on a proper application, they would obtain without any
difficulty. This was to be shown to and inspected by the constables in
each district; and if found without it they were to be imprisoned during
a month for the first offence, and otherwise punished if it was repeated.
But the best local arrangements were set at defiance by those hardened
vagabonds, who seemed daily to increase in number and in infamy.

While the governor was endeavouring to guard against the injuries that
might be done by these people, the settlers found themselves obliged to
assemble for the purpose of repelling the attacks made upon them by the
natives. The people at the northern farms had been repeatedly plundered
of their provisions and clothing by a large body of savages, who had also
recently killed a man and a woman. Exasperated at such cruel and wanton
conduct, they armed themselves, and, after pursuing them a whole night,
at sun-rise in the morning came up with a party of more than a hundred,
who fled immediately on discovering that their pursuers were armed,
leaving behind them a quantity of Indian corn, some musket balls, and
other things of which the soldiers had been plundered. They continued to
follow, and traced them as far as the outskirts of Parramatta. Being
fatigued with their march, they entered the town, and in about an hour
after were followed by a large body of natives, headed by Pe-mul-wy, a
riotous and troublesome savage. These were known by the settlers to be
the same who had so frequently annoyed them; and they intended, if
possible, to seize upon Pe-mul-wy; who, in a great rage, threatened to
spear the first man that dared to approach him, and actually did throw a
spear at one of the soldiers. The conflict was now begun; a musket was
immediately levelled at the principal, which severely wounded him. Many
spears were then thrown, and one man was hit in the arm; upon which the
superior effect of our fire-arms was immediately shown them, and five
were instantly killed.

However unpleasant it was to the governor, that the lives of so many of
these people should have been taken, no other course could possibly be
pursued; for it was their custom, when they found themselves more
numerous and better armed than the white people, to demand with insolence
whatever they wanted; and, if refused, to have recourse to murder. This
check, it was hoped, would have a good effect; and Pe-mul-wy, who had
received seven buck shot in his head and different parts of his body, was
taken extremely ill to the hospital. This man was first known in the
settlement by the murder of* John McIntire in the year 1790; since which
he had been a most active enemy to the settlers, plundering them of their
property, and endangering their personal safety.

[* Vide Vol I Ch. XI viz: 'On the 10th, John McIntire, a convict
who was employed by the governor to shoot for him, was dangerously
wounded by a native named Pe-mul-wy, while in quest of game in
the woods at some considerable distance from the settlement. When
brought in he declared, and at a time when he thought himself dying, that
he did not give any offence to the man who wounded him; that he had even
quitted his arms, to induce him to look upon him as a friend, when the
savage threw his spear at about the distance of ten yards with a skill
that was fatally unerring. When the spear was extracted, which was not
until suppuration took place, it was found to have entered his body under
the left arm, to the depth of seven inches and a half. It was armed for
five or six inches from the point with ragged pieces of shells fastened
in gum. His recovery was immediately pronounced by Mr. White to be very

The people belonging to the crown were employed during this month in the
following several works: At Toongabbie, upwards of 100 men were occupied
in agriculture--a wind-mill was to be erected at Parramatta, where
stone-masons and carpenters were preparing the materials. At Sydney, a
gang was employed in making bricks, where also were completing a large
granary and a strong log-prison. All the public brick buildings were
likewise undergoing a repair, being crumbling into ruins; such as the
barracks for the military, storehouses, officers' dwellings and others.
Some people were also repairing the boats belonging to government; and
bricks were bringing in for the barracks of the assistant surgeons (this
part of the public labour was performed by a team of oxen). A new
flag-staff was prepared and erected at the South Head during this month,
the weather of which had for the greater part been very wet.


Report revived of a white woman being with the natives
A shoal seen
Some civil regulations
Natives troublesome
The governor goes on an excursion
Particulars thereof
A valuable tree discovered
The natives burn a house
The _Supply_ arrives from the Cape
A ship wrecked to the southward
Three of her people brought in by a fishing boat
Two accidents
The _Britannia_ arrives from England
Vessels and assistance sent to the wreck
Public works
Cordage wanted
The _Mercury_ sails
The _Ganges_ arrives from Ireland
Some runaways taken and brought to trial
The _Reliance_ arrives from the Cape
A strange desertion
Public works
New gaol finished

April.] Some reports being again circulated, respecting the situation of
Mary Morgan, the woman said to be detained among the natives to the
northward of Broken Bay, a boat, with some people who had volunteered the
service, was sent to the north part of that harbour where it was said she
had been lately seen with some of her black friends. The people were
directed, if possible, to bring her away, unless she preferred the life
that she now led; upon which more than three years' experience of it
would certainly enable her to decide. They were absent about 10 days,
and returned without success, not even having heard any thing of her.*
They went into the north arm of Broken Bay, and travelled to the northward
as far as Cape Three Points; between which and the north head of Broken
Bay, is a lagoon within the sea beach, of about twenty miles in length,
and running parallel with the sea coast.

[* Nor indeed could they very well; for at the time when this
search was making after her in New South Wales she was leading a life in
London, which she most certainly preferred to the society of either the
black or white people in that country. She was taken from the settlement
by Locke, the master of the _Resolution_, in the year 1794.

Vide Vol I Ch. XXVII Page 332, viz: 'On the morning of the 9th the ships
_Resolution_ and _Salamander_ left the cove, purposing to sail
on their fishing voyage; soon after which, it being discovered that three
convicts, Mary Morgan and John Randall and his wife, were missing, a boat
was sent down the harbour to search the _Resolution_, on board of
which ship it was said they were concealed. No person being found, the
boat returned for further orders, leaving a sergeant and four men on
board; but before she could return, Mr. Locke the master, after forcing
the party out of his ship, got under way and stood out to sea. Mr. Irish,
the master of the _Salamander_, did not accompany him; but came up
to the town, to testify to the lieutenant-governor his uneasiness at its
being supposed that he could be capable of taking any person improperly
from the colony.' and

Vol. I Ch. XXXII Page 406, viz:'The natives appeared less troublesome
lately than they had been for some time past. The people of a
fishing-boat, which had been cast on shore in some bad weather near Port
Stephens, met with some of these people, who without much entreaty, or
any hope of reward, readily put them into a path from thence to Broken
Bay, and conducted them the greatest part of the way. During their little
journey, these friendly people made them understand, that they had seen a
white woman among some natives to the northward. On their reporting this
at Sydney, this unfortunate female was conjectured to be Mary Morgan, a
prisoner, who it was now said had failed in her attempt to get on board
the _Resolution_ store-ship, which sailed from hence in 1794. There
was indeed a woman, one Ann Smith, who ran away a few days after our
sitting down in this place, and whose fate was not exactly ascertained;
if she could have survived the hardships and wretchedness of such a life
as must have been hers during so many years residence among the natives
of New Holland, how much information must it have been in her power to
afford! But humanity shuddered at the idea of purchasing it at so dear a

A decked long boat, having been sent from Sydney to Norfolk island, in
her passage thither fell in with a considerable shoal bearing from ENE to
WNW distant from the vessel one mile. It extended to the northward as far
as the eye could discern from the masthead, the rocks in many places
appearing above the water. The south end of the shoal is in the latitude
of 29 degrees 52 minutes south, and the longitude of 160 degrees 13
minutes east, bearing from Lord Howe Island, which they had seen the day
before, north 27 degrees 40 minutes east, distant 39 leagues. This was
supposed to be the same shoal that had been formerly seen by Lieutenant
Shortland* in the _Alexander_, and by the master of the _Golden
Grove_ transport in the year 1786.

[* Vide Vol I Ch. VII, viz: 'Lieutenant Shortland, in his
letter, noticed some discoveries which he had made; particularly one of
an extensive and dangerous shoal, which obtained the name of Middleton
Shoal, and was reckoned to be in the latitude of 29 degrees 20 minutes
South, and in the longitude of 158 degrees 40 minutes East. He had also
discovered an island, which he placed in the latitude of 28 degrees 10
minutes South, and in the longitude of 159 degrees 50 minutes East, and
named Sir Charles Middleton Island: his other discoveries, not being so
immediately in the vicinity of this territory, were not likely to be of
any advantage to the settlement; but it was of some importance to it to
learn that an extensive reef was so near, and to find its situation
ascertained to be in the track of ships bound from hence to the
northward; for if Sir Charles Middleton Island should hereafter be found
to possess a safe and convenient harbour, it might prove an interesting
discovery for this colony.']

In the beginning of this month, the settlers at the Hawkesbury sent round
some grain, in part payment of the debts which were due from them to
government for the seed which had been lent them last year to crop their

In consequence of complaints which were laid before the governor,
relative to some exorbitant demands made by the public bakers upon those
who had occasion to employ them, and of the impositions practised as well
in the quality as in the quantity of the bread returned in lieu of the
flour or grain delivered to them, the judge-advocate and two other
magistrates were directed to hold a meeting for the purpose of enquiring
into the business, as well as for examining and regulating the weights
and measures which were at present in use in the colony. An order was at
the same time issued, recommending to the settlers of every district,
that, as much pains had been taken to establish, agreeably to their
wishes, the rate of wages to be paid for all kinds of labour, they should
now attend strictly to this regulation, and no longer suffer themselves
to be imposed upon. There were strong reasons for suspecting that,
notwithstanding the bond which they had entered into, rigidly to adhere
to the regulations which had been established for their benefit, some
among them were so very deficient of even honest principles as to attempt
by various means to evade the regulation, to the great injury of other
more industrious and more deserving men. In order the more readily to
detect a practice so shameful and iniquitous, the governor judged it
requisite to hold out a reward to those who would come forward and give
such information as should be sufficient to prove the offence, by
offering one-third of the sum forfeited to the informer. The settlers were
also called upon to give information of any labouring man who, on
offering himself for hire, should refuse to accept the regulated wages.
As such person must be incapable of living in this country without work,
he was immediately to be apprehended as a vagrant, who, having no visible
means of providing honestly for his support, must have recourse to

The natives at the Hawkesbury were at this time very troublesome, burning
a dwelling-house and a stack of wheat belonging to a settler there, after
having plundered him of all his other possessions.

On the 21st, as much wheat as the public granaries at Sydney, Parramatta,
and the Hawkesbury could contain, having been received, they were closed
until the month of August next.

Towards the latter end of the month, the governor, accompanied by some
gentlemen of the settlement, set off from Parramatta, on an excursion, in
which he meant to obtain some knowledge of the ground between Duck river
and George's river, with respect both to its quality and quantity. This
tract was walked over, and much excellent land was found well provided
with fresh water in chains of large deep ponds. On this ground some of
the marine soldiers, who had enlisted for three years in the New South
Wales corps, having completed their service, were desirous of being

This party, on their arrival at the banks of George's river, whither a
boat had been previously sent with some provisions and a tent, found that
at low water it was as fresh as that in the Hawkesbury, where the
settlement stood.

Having proceeded down the river, they stopped at a point near Botany Bay,
where they met with several parties of natives, among whom was Pe-mul-wy,
who, having perfectly recovered from his wounds, had escaped from the
hospital with an iron about his leg. He saw and spoke with one of the
gentlemen of the party; enquiring of him whether the governor was angry,
and seemed pleased at being told that he was not: notwithstanding which,
there could be but little doubt that his savage brutal disposition would
manifest itself whenever excited by the appearance of an unarmed man.

Some time in this month a tree was for the first time observed growing on
the banks of the Hawkesbury, the bark of which, when soaked in water, and
beaten, was found to be as good as hemp for cordage, spinning easily, and
being remarkably strong. The tree grew from 50 to 70 feet high; its
diameter was from the smallest size to a foot, and it appeared to be of
quick growth. This was rather a fortunate discovery; for every kind of
cordage belonging to the settlement was almost wholly expended.

The court of criminal judicature was assembled once in this month, and
three persons who had served their period of transportation were a second
time transported; one for 14 years, for receiving stolen goods knowing
them to be such; and two others for seven years. These two last were
vagabonds who had taken up their abode in the woods, where they lived at
the expense of the industrious, by committing every kind of depredation
on their property.

The public works continued the same as at the end of the last month. The
foundation of the building for the reception of the assistant surgeons
was laid, and the lower floor of the large granary at Sydney was nearly

Much rain fell during this month. On the morning of the 27th, a heavy
squall of wind came on, which, for want of proper care and attention on
the part of those employed at the wind-mill, set it going in such a
violent manner, that while flying round with great velocity, one of the
running stones was broken to pieces; one of which so severely wounded
Davis the millwright in the head, that his life was despaired of. A gang
of carpenters was immediately ordered to repair the damage it had
sustained, and in a few days it was again at work.

May.] Notwithstanding the example which had lately been made of the
natives, they were exceedingly troublesome to the settlers in Lane Cove,
burning a house and killing some hogs belonging to one of them. This was
certainly committing a wanton injury; for neither the burnt house, nor
the slaughtered animals, which they left on the spot, could be of any
benefit to them. At Kissing Point, another district, they dangerously
wounded a settler and his wife, first burning every article belonging to
them. The settlers in Lane Cove were so much and so perpetually alarmed
by these people, that they collected their whole force, and, a few
soldiers being sent to their assistance, went out in the night; and,
being directed by their fires to the place where they lay, they
discovered a large body of natives, collected, no doubt, for the purpose
of attacking and plundering the settlers. Being unwilling to take any of
their lives, a volley of musketry was fired over their heads, which so
alarmed and terrified them, that they instantly fled, leaving behind them
their spears, etc. and about 20 bushels of Indian corn which they had

It was distressing to observe, that every endeavour to civilise these
people proved fruitless. Although they lived among the inhabitants of the
different settlements, were kindly treated, fed, and often clothed, yet
they were never found to possess the smallest degree of gratitude for
such favours. Even Bennillong was as destitute of this quality as the
most ignorant of his countrymen. It is an extraordinary fact, that even
their children, who had been bred up among the white people, and who,
from being accustomed to follow their manner of living, might have been
supposed to ill relish the life of their parents, when grown up, have
quitted their comfortable abodes, females as well as males, and taken to
the same savage mode of living, where the supply of food was often
precarious, their comforts not to be called such, and their lives
perpetually in danger. As a proof of the little personal safety which
they enjoyed, a young woman, the wife of a man named Ye-ra-ni-be, both of
whom had been brought up in the settlement from their childhood, was
cruelly murdered at the brick-fields by her husband, assisted by another
native, Cole-be, who first beat her dreadfully about the head (the common
mode of chastising their women), and then put an end to her existence by
driving a spear through her heart.

When spoken to or censured for robbing the maize-grounds, these people,
to be revenged, were accustomed to assemble in large bodies, burn the
houses of the settlers if they stood in lonely situations, and frequently
attempted to take their lives; yet they were seldom refused a little corn
when they would ask for it. It was imagined that they were stimulated to
this destructive conduct by some run-away convicts who were known to be
among them at the time of their committing these depredations. In order
to get possession of these pests, a proclamation was issued, calling on
them by name to surrender themselves within 14 days, declaring them
outlaws if they refused, and requiring the inhabitants, as they valued
the peace and good order of the settlement, and their own security, to
assist in apprehending and bringing them to justice. The governor also
signified his determination, if any of the natives could be detected in
the act of robbing the settlers, to hang one of them in chains upon a
tree near the spot as a terror to the others. Could it have been
foreseen, that this was their natural temper, it would have been wiser to
have kept them at a distance, and in fear, which might have been effected
without so much of the severity which their conduct had sometimes
compelled him to exercise towards them. But the kindness which had been
shown them, and the familiar intercourse with the white people in which
they had been indulged, tended only to make them acquainted with those
concerns in which they were the most vulnerable, and brought on all the
evils which they suffered from them.

In the evening of the 16th, his Majesty's ship _Supply_ arrived from
the Cape of Good Hope; from which place she sailed about the middle of
last month, with a quantity of young cattle on board for the settlement.
She had met with much bad weather on her passage, and, being exceedingly
infirm, her pumps had been kept constantly at work. She landed 31 cows,
five mares, and 27 ewe sheep, all of them in good health, though much
weakened from the nature of their voyage: eight cows, two bulls, and 13
sheep had died.

During the night of this day, a boat which had been fishing at a small
distance to the southward of Botany Bay, brought up to the settlement
three persons, late belonging to a ship called the _Sydney Cove_,
which had sailed from Bengal with a cargo for this port upon
speculation. The governor was informed by Mr. Clarke, the supercargo
(one of the three who had arrived in the fishing boat), that the ship had
sprung a dangerous leak before she had rounded the South Cape, which, as
soon as they had got to the eastward of the southern part of the coast,
increased to so great a degree as to render it absolutely necessary to
haul in for the land. The wind being from the SE they were enabled to
accomplish this, and reached it exactly in time to land the ship, when
she was just dropping from under them, having actually sunk down to the
fore channels, when they ran her upon the ground, which they did on an
island in lat. 40 degrees 37 minutes south. They met with this misfortune
in the middle of last February; soon after which a certain number of them
resolved to attempt the reaching Port Jackson in the ship's long boat,
leaving the commander and about thirty people to stay by the wreck. The
boat being prepared, 17 people embarked in her, and sailed; but meeting
with much bad weather they were again wrecked, being driven on shore on
the coast near Point Hicks. Here they all landed, and endeavoured to
travel northward, but dropped off one by one and lost each other daily,
until the number was reduced to five, the three who had arrived (the
supercargo, a sailor, and a Lascar), the first mate of the ship, who had
undertaken the navigation of the long boat, and the carpenter. These two,
from excessive fatigue, had been unable to proceed any further, and had
stopped the day before their companions in this miserable journey had
been taken up by the fishing boat.

To look for these unfortunate people, a whale boat was dispatched the
following day, properly provided with such comforts as were necessary for
persons in their weak and wretched condition. The man who had met with
the supercargo was sent in the whale boat, and they proceeded to the spot
which Mr. Clarke had described as that where they had lost sight of their
companions; but, after a long search, they could only find some trifling
articles, which were known to have been in their possession; and, these
being bloody, it was conjectured that they had been killed in this very
helpless condition by the natives, whom, in the course of their long
march, they had found frequently very kind, and at other times extremely
savage. To add to the probability of this having been their end, Mr.
Clarke mentioned the morose, unfeeling disposition of the carpenter, who
often, when some friendly natives had presented him with a few fish,
growled that they had not given him all, and insisted, that because they
were black fellows, it would be right to take it by force. By some
illiberal and intemperate act of this nature, there was too much reason
to believe he had brought on himself, and his ill-fated companion, the
mate (a man cast in a gentler mould), a painful and premature death.

Mr. Clarke and the two other people who arrived with him were very much
exhausted, and could not probably have borne up much longer against the
toil that attends travelling in such a country as the unsettled part of
New Holland every where presents. All possible attention, however, being
paid to their situation, they quickly recovered their strength and

In the account already published of this colony, several instances were
given of the danger and difficulty that attended travelling through the
woods, in which many people have either wandered till they died, or have
been assassinated by the natives. Every caution that humanity could
suggest had been given; yet even at this day an instance occurred that
proved to how little purpose. A soldier who had taken his passage in a
boat to go to the Hawkesbury prevailed on the crew to land him on the
south shore of Broken Bay, intending to proceed to the settlement by
land, but which he was never able to accomplish. Several parties of
soldiers were sent to look after their comrade, but all returned without
finding him. His end must have been truly deplorable; and not less so was
that of the sergeant-major's daughter, a fine girl of about 10 years of
age, who was burnt to death by a stubble field having taken fire while
she was in the midst of it. The flames were so rapid, that she was
totally unable to escape from them, and perished in this most
extraordinary and terrible manner.

In the evening of the 27th, the ship _Britannia_ anchored between
the heads from Ireland, having on board 150 male and 50 female convicts
from that kingdom, with an officer and 25 recruits for the New South
Wales corps. She got up to the settlement the following day, and the
prisoners were all landed on the 30th. A part of them were immediately
sent up to Parramatta.

On the same day the Colonial schooner, and a long-boat named the
_Eliza_, sailed to the southward, to bring away the remainder of the
ship's company belonging to the unfortunate _Sydney Cove_.

Among other works in which the people were employed in this month, was
the necessary one of erecting paling round the new gaol, now nearly
completed, and round the fresh water, the original enclosure of which had
gone to decay, by which means the stream was so exceedingly polluted, as
to endanger the health of the inhabitants. Some necessary regulations
were published to counteract this evil, and indeed they had long been
loudly called for.

The want of cordage has been already mentioned. The settlement was
likewise so much distressed for canvas, that, the largest and best boat
being in the Hawkesbury, it became necessary to dismantle another boat,
in order to furnish sails to bring her round, those belonging to her
having been split in some bad weather which she met with in her passage
thither. The people were directed at the same time to procure some of the
bark of the tree lately discovered, to be manufactured into cordage; for
which purpose it was reckoned superior to any of the flax that had been
brought from Norfolk island.

The _Mercury_ sailed about the middle of the month; and, as some
return for the liberty of refitting his ship, and remaining four months
in the Cove, the master took away a female convict without the governor's

Very little rain fell during this month.

June.] On the 2nd of June, the ship _Ganges_ arrived from Ireland,
with convicts from that kingdom, and a detachment of recruits for the New
South Wales corps. This ship had touched at the Cape of Good Hope, and
was commanded by Mr. Patrickson, who had visited the settlement in the
year 1792, in the _Philadelphia_, a small American brig. The
convicts in this ship were observed to be in much better health than
those on board of the _Britannia_. These people, indeed, complained
so much of having been treated with great severity during the passage,
that the governor thought it right to institute an enquiry into their
complaints. It appeared, that they had been deserving of punishment, but
that it had been administered with too much severity, in the opinion even
of the surgeon who was present. As these punishments had been inflicted
by the direction of the master, without consulting any of the officers on
board as to the measure of them, he was highly censured, as was the
surgeon, who could stand by and see them inflicted without remonstrating
with the master, which he declined because he had not been consulted by

   'Quis talia fando, temperet a lachrymis?'

His Majesty's birthday, falling this year on a Sunday, was observed on
the 5th, with all the honour that could be paid to it. The regiment was
drawn out on the parade, and at noon fired three volleys. At one o'clock
a royal salute was fired from the battery and the ships in the Cove; and
all the officers, civil and military, with those belonging to the ships,
spent the day at the government-house.

Shortly after this the governor visited the settlement at Parramatta, for
the purpose of examining that part of the country which he designed to
cultivate on the public account; and to observe how the convicts who had
lately arrived, the major part of whom had been sent thither, were
provided for. The cattle which had been landed from the _Supply_ had
been also sent thither, and were, with the government stock that was at
Toongabbie, thriving exceedingly.

The ground that it was proposed to clear on the public account was not
more than two miles and a half from Parramatta, and most advantageously
situated in point of fresh water, having a chain of large and excellent
ponds in its vicinity. The deputy surveyor having accompanied the
governor, the spot was marked out for erecting the necessary buildings;
and the whole was named Portland Place, in honour of his Grace the Duke
of Portland.

In consequence of the proclamation which was issued in the last month,
one of the run-away convicts delivered himself up to a constable, and
another was taken and lodged in confinement: they appeared to be half
starved; yet their sufferings were not sufficient to prevent similar
desertions from work in others, nor a repetition of the offence in
themselves; such was the strong aversion which these worthless characters
had to any thing that bore the name of work. More labour would have been
performed in this country by 100 people from any part of England or
Scotland, than had at any time been derived from 300 of these people,
with all the attention that could be paid to them. Had 200 families of
decent labouring farmers been sent out as settlers a few years since, and
had a few convicts to assist them been placed wholly under their
direction and authority, the cultivation would have been much farther
advanced; and, in point of provisions, those families would have been
living in luxury. More grain than could be consumed would have been
grown, instead of crops which in some years were barely sufficient to
last until the following harvest.

These people were brought to trial for a theft which they were stated to
have committed, but of which there was not any positive proof, and they
were acquitted. There was not any doubt of their having associated with
and instructed the natives how to commit, with the least hazard to
themselves, the various depredations which the settlers had sustained
from them; yet there was no proof of this, at least no proof whereby they
might have been capitally punished, nothing short of which would ever be
sufficient to prevent this dangerous intercourse.

After exciting some apprehensions for her safety, his Majesty's ship the
_Reliance _anchored in the Cove on the 26th, from the Cape of Good
Hope, having had a very stormy passage, with 26 cows, 3 bulls, and about
60 sheep on board, on government account. She had been extremely leaky
all the voyage; and it must be remembered, that the other colonial ship,
the _Supply_, arrived in a very infirm state.*

[* At her departure from the Cape, it was generally conjectured
that she would never reach the settlement; but her commander,
Lieutenant William Kent, considered and felt the design of his voyage to
be of so much importance to the colony, that he determined to run every
risk; and fortunately, though with great difficulty, he succeeded.]

A most unexpected and unaccountable desertion took place in the night
after the arrival of the _Reliance_. Two boys belonging to that ship
carried away a small two-oared boat, in which they intended to proceed to
the southward, and there join the natives. Being pursued, they were
brought back, and gave the above account of their scheme; to effect
which, they had provided themselves with a boat-cloak to sleep in, a pair
of pistols, a small quantity of gun-powder, and 50 cakes of portable
soup. That any one who had been accustomed to the habits of civilised
life should find charms in that led by the savages of this country, was
unaccountable; for, admitting that idleness was the inducement, yet
whoever associated with them must accompany them wherever they went, and
they were generally on the move either by day or night. They were seldom
provided with more food than was sufficient for the day; and in their
treacherous visitations at night, for the purposes of revenge, the
European might be easily mistaken for, or confounded with, the savage.
But thus it was, to the great evil of the community to which these
unthinking wretches belonged.

The inhabitants of the town of Sydney having been assessed to supply
thatch for the roof of the new gaol, and completed their respective
proportions, the building was enclosed during this month with a strong
and high fence. A building such as this had certainly been long wanted.
It was 80 feet in length; the sides and ends were constructed of strong
logs, a double row of which formed each partition. The whole was divided
into 22 cells, the divisions of which were logs. The floor and the roof
were of the same solid materials, over which was a coat 8 inches deep of
stiff clay, and the roof besides was thatched. Every accommodation for
prisoners was to be found in separate buildings in the prison yard, in
which also was a distinct brick building for debtors, fenced off from the
_felon side_ (to use an Old Bailey distinction) by a strong and high

This, enclosing a spot of ground which had been marked out on the west
side of the Cove for a ship-yard, landing provisions from the transports,
and completing the granary, formed the principal labour in which the
public gangs were employed this month at Sydney.

The weather was remarkably dry.


The _Francis_ returns from the wreck of the _Sydney Cove_
The _Eliza_ long-boat missing
Gale of wind
Cattle from the Cape landed
Station altered
Public works
An officer dies
Accident on board the _Schooner_
The ships sail for China
Coal discovered
Courts Of justice assembled
The _Supply_ condemned
The _Cumberland_ seized and carried off to sea
Is pursued, but not retaken
More coal found; and a new river
The people left by Capt. Bampton at New Zealand arrive at Norfolk Is.
Several runaway convicts landed there by the _Britannia_
The _Deptford_ arrives from Madras
Excursion to the Cow-Pastures
Walk from Mount Taurus to the sea coast
Public works

July.] In the beginning of July, the _Francis_ returned from the wreck of
the _Sydney Cove_, bringing the remainder of her crew, except six,
whom Captain Hamilton, her commander (and the only European belonging to
her, then alive,) had left in charge of the part of her cargo which had
been saved. The _Eliza_ long-boat, which sailed from the island with
them, had on board a few Lascars and some property; but having had to
encounter a very heavy gale of wind, and not arriving with the schooner,
many doubts were entertained of her safety. She was under the direction
of Mr. Armstrong, the master of the _Supply_.

On the 17th, twelve days after the return of the _Francis_, it came
on to blow exceedingly hard at SE and SSE by which many large trees and
several chimneys were blown down. The gale was attended with a deluge of
rain, and was so heavy, that some of the ships, even in that secure cove,
brought their anchors home. In addition to other damage done at this
time, two of the vanes of the wind-mill were torn off by the violence of
the wind. This gale considerably increased the apprehensions of every.
one concerned for the safety of the long-boat.

The cattle which arrived in the _Reliance_ were landed, and,
considering that they had experienced much bad weather on the passage,
looked extremely well. The two Colonial ships had been employed eight
months on this voyage to and from the Cape, and had added 51 cows, 3
bulls, a few horses, and about 90 sheep, to the stock of domestic cattle
in the colony.

This species of provisions was multiplying largely; but the salt meat was
decreasing so fast, that it became necessary to issue only half the usual
ration of pork.

The convicts were employed in enclosing the new ship yard, shingling the
barracks for the assistant surgeons, clearing ground at Portland-place,
where seventy men were at work, and completing the repair of the public
roads, in which necessary labour, the settlers again assisted, having
finished the cropping of their grounds for the ensuing season.

The dry weather had been followed by several days' rain, by which the
appearance of the wheat-grounds was very much improved.

Ensign Birch, of the New South Wales corps, died on the 5th, and was
buried with military honours. He arrived in the _Britannia_.

August.] The Colonial schooner, having been dispatched with some stores
which were wanted at Norfolk Island, left the Cove on the 7th; but the
wind failing, she anchored in the lower part of the harbour. While lying
here, some of her people became drunk, and insisted on taking the boat
ashore. This being resisted, one of the crew fired a pistol at a soldier
who was on board, which, it being dark at the time, missed him, but the
ball went through the leg of a seaman belonging to the _Supply_, who
had been lent to the schooner. He was brought up to the hospital, and the
man who fired the pistol was conducted to prison, to answer for his

The _Britannia_ and the _Ganges_ sailed on their respective
voyages. The commander of the latter was permitted to take on board
several convicts who had become free, and some of the marine soldiers who
had been discharged from the New South Wales corps, having completed
their second engagement in that regiment. They had talked of becoming
settlers, and remaining some years longer in the country; but the
restless love of change prevailed, and they quitted the colony by this

Mr. Clark, the supercargo of the ship _Sydney Cove_, having
mentioned that, two days before he had been met by the people in the
fishing boat, he had fallen in with a great quantity of coal, with which
he and his companions made a large fire, and had slept by it during the
night, a whale-boat was sent off to the southward, with Mr. Bass, the
surgeon of the _Reliance_, to discover where an article so valuable
was to be met with. He proceeded about seven leagues to the southward of
Point Solander, where he found, in the face of a steep cliff, washed by
the sea a stratum of coal, in breadth about six feet, and extending eight
or nine miles to the southward. Upon the summit of the high land, and
lying on the surface, he observed many patches of coal, from some of
which it must have been that Mr. Clarke was so conveniently supplied with
fuel. He also found in the skeletons of the mate and carpenter of the
_Sydney Cove_, an unequivocal proof of their having unfortunately
perished, as was conjectured.

By the specimens of the coal which were brought in by Mr. Bass, the
quality appeared to be good; but, from its almost inaccessible situation,
no great advantage could ever be expected from it; and indeed, were it
even less difficult to be procured, unless some small harbour should be
near it, it could not be of much utility to the settlement.

No circumstance deserving of attention had occurred for some time among
the natives. On the 27th of this month, however, one of their young men
stood the trial practised by his countrymen, for having, as it was said,
killed some person in a quarrel. He stood manfully up against all their
spears, and defended himself with great skill and address. Having had two
shields split in his hand, by the spear passing quite through them, his
friends, who were numerous, attacked his opponents, whom they disarmed,
and broke their shields, with many of their spears.

It had been intended to have thrown some spears at Bennillong at this
time, from its having been reported that a woman, when she was dying, had
declared she dreamed that Bennillong had killed her. Her friends,
therefore, resolved to call him to an account, taking the business up on
the supposition that the woman must have had some cause of complaint
against him, or she would not have dreamed of his doing her an injury. To
this accusation Bennillong pleaded not guilty, declaring that he was an
entire stranger to the woman, and had never in his life offended her; but
there were some who said that he actually wounded this very woman, and
had been the cause of her death.

To those gentlemen who were acquainted with the temper and disposition of
this savage, there appeared much reason to credit the assertions of his
countrymen; for he was now observed to have become so fond of drinking,
that, whenever invited by any of the officers to their houses, he was
eager to be intoxicated, and in that state was so savage and violent as
to be capable of any mischief. On such occasions he amused himself with
annoying the women and insulting the men, who, from fear of offending his
white friends, spared those notices of his conduct which he so often
merited, and which sooner or later he would certainly meet with.

The court of criminal judicature was assembled once during this month,
when three prisoners, one of whom was a seaman belonging to the
_Britannia_, were transported to Norfolk Island for seven years.

The civil court was also assembled, and went through much troublesome and
litigious business, the effect of the spirit of trade which every where

The _Reliance_ having been cleared of her stores, and being now
quite light, was yet found to make as much water as before; and it
appeared, upon opening the ceiling, that the leak was in the guardboard
streak, abreast of the main-mast, the water rushing in there with great

A survey had been held upon her consort, the _Supply_, after which
she was pronounced wholly unfit for further sea service.

The brickmakers, bricklayers, carpenters, and blacksmiths, were all fully
and variously employed at this time. For the latter, a large and
convenient shop, capable of working six or seven forges, was erecting at
Sydney. The different works which were in hand went on with a greater
spirit and more expedition than could have been expected, when the great
want of artificers and labouring people was considered. Some, though but
a few, mechanics had arrived in the last ships.

September.] This month began with a very vexatious circumstance. A boat
named the _Cumberland_, the largest and best in the colony belonging
to government, was, on her passage to the Hawkesbury, whither she was
carrying a few stores, taken possession of by a part of the boat's crew;
being at the same time boarded by a small boat from the shore, the people
in which seized her and put off to sea, first landing the coxswain and
three others, who were unwilling to accompany them, in Pitt Water in
Broken Bay. Those men proceeded overland to Port Jackson, where they gave
the first information of this daring and piratical transaction. Two
boats, well manned and armed, were immediately dispatched after them,
under the command of Lieutenant Shortland of the _Reliance_.

One of these boats returned in a few days, without having seen any thing
of them; but Lieutenant Shortland proceeded with the other, a whale boat,
as far as Port Stephens, where he thought it probable they might have
taken shelter; but on the 19th, having been absent thirteen days, he
returned without discovering the smallest trace of them or the boat. His
pursuit, however, had not been without its advantage; for on his return
he entered a river which he named Hunter river, about ten leagues to the
southward of Port Stephens into which he carried three fathoms water, in
the shoalest part of its entrance, finding deep water and good anchorage
within. The entrance of this river was but narrow, and covered by a high
rocky island, lying right off it, so as to leave a good passage round the
north end of the island, between that and the shore. A reef connects the
south part of the island with the south shore of the entrance of the
river. In this harbour was found a very considerable quantity of coal of
a very good sort, and lying so near the water side as to be conveniently
shipped; which gave it, in this particular, a manifest advantage over
that discovered to the southward. Some specimens of this coal were
brought up in the boat.

About this time a small decked long boat arrived from Norfolk island, and
brought an account that the master of the American snow _Mercury_
had landed there the remainder of the people who had been left by Captain
Bampton in Dusky Bay. When the _Endeavour_ was wrecked there about
20 months before*, the governor, not having any vessel at Port Jackson
fit for such a purpose, had expressed a wish to the master of the snow,
to this effect, when he was about leaving New South Wales. The master
made no objection, only stipulating that he might be permitted to take
from the wreck such stores as he might be in want of, but to this the
governor could not give his sanction, leaving him only to make what terms
he could with any of the people belonging to her whom he might find
alive. This service he performed under many difficulties, and brought off
all that now remained of these unfortunate people, amounting to 35 in
number, and landed them at Norfolk Island.

[* Vide Vol I Ch. XXX Page 384, viz: 'By letters received from
Mr. Bampton, who sailed from his place in the _Endeavour_ in
the month of September last, we now heard, that on his reaching Dusky Bay
in New Zealand his ship unfortunately proved so leaky, that with the
advice and consent of his officers and people she was run on shore and
scuttled.' and

Vol I Ch. XXX Page 388, viz: 'On the 17th the vessel built by the
shipwright Hatherleigh at Dusky Bay arrived, with some of the people left
behind by Mr. Bampton. They were so distressed for provisions, that the
person who had the direction of the vessel could not bring away the
whole; and it was singularly fortunate that he arrived as he did, for
with all the economy that could be used, his small stock of provisions
was consumed to the last mouthful the day before he made the land.']

By this conveyance the governor was also informed, that the
_Britannia_ had touched at the Island, and landed several convicts
who had secreted themselves on board her while she lay in this harbour.
Disappointed as these people generally were in their attempts to escape
from the settlement in this manner, yet it had become so certain a
system, that all the vigilance which could be exerted both on shore and
afloat was insufficient to prevent them. As the masters were seldom
refused permission to ship such as were free, it was their business to
receive no more on board than they could feed; and during the run between
Sydney and Norfolk island, the supernumeraries were generally discovered
and brought up from below. Indeed, considering the description of people
who formed the major or part of these deserters, it was not safe to have
many of them on board, being a lawless, abandoned, daring set of
wretches, to whom the commission of every crime was more familiar than
the practice of any one virtue.

On the 20th of the month, the _Deptford_, a small brig, arrived from
Madras, with a cargo of goods upon speculation for the Sydney market. The
spirit of trade which had for some time obtained in the colony afforded
an opening for adventurers to bring their goods to this settlement. The
voyage from India was short and direct; and, from the nature of their
investments, they were always certain of finding a ready sale, and an
ample return upon the original invoice. But this intercourse was found to
be pregnant with great evil to the colony; for, preferring spirits to any
other article that could be introduced from India, the owners never
failed to make the rum of that country an essential part of every cargo
which they sent upon speculation. And, though every necessary measure was
adopted to prevent all that arrived from being landed, yet, such was the
avidity with which it was sought after, that, if not permitted, it was
generally got on shore clandestinely, and very few ships carried back any
of what they had brought down. To this source might be traced all the
crimes which disgraced, and all the diseases that injured the colony.

Toward the latter end of the month a party set off on an excursion to the
cow pasture plains. On reaching mount Taurus, a distinct herd of the wild
cattle, 67 in number, was seen. It was conjectured, that this valuable
collection of cattle had so considerably increased, as to find a
convenience in dividing into different herds, thereby preventing those
quarrels which might frequently happen among their males. This was
confirmed by their falling-in with, in another place, a herd, in which
there could not have been fewer than 170 of these animals. A couple of
days were pleasantly occupied in examining this part of the country,
which exhibited the beautiful appearance of a luxuriant and well-watered
pasturage. The latitude of mount Taurus was found to be 34 degrees 16
minutes S and the river Nepean was discovered to take its course close
round the south side of this hill. Two gentlemen who were of this party
having, at their setting out, proposed to walk from mount Taurus in as
direct a line as the country would admit, to the seacoast, a whale boat
was ordered to wait for them about five leagues to the southward of
Botany Bay. They expected to have reached the coast in one day, but they
did not reckon on having full 25 miles of a rugged and mountainous road
to cross. Making their course a little to the southward of east, they
fell in with the boat very conveniently, and Mr. Bass, one of the
gentlemen, described their route to have laid, the greatest part of the
way, over nothing but high and steep ridges of hills, the land becoming
more rocky and barren as they drew near the sea coast. In each of the
valleys formed by these hills they found a run of fresh water, in some
places of considerable depth and rapidity. The direction of these streams
or runs being to the northward, they were supposed to fall into a harbour
which lay about five or six miles to the southward of Port Solander, and
had obtained the name of Port Hacking, the pilot of that name having had
the honour of the discovery.*

[* See the chart prefixed to this volume, where the route from Mount Taurus
is laid down.]

A church clock having been brought to the settlement in the _Reliance_
when that ship arrived from England, and no building fit for its
reception having been since erected, preparations were now making
for constructing a tower fit for the purpose; to which might be added a
church, whenever at a future day the increase of labourers might enable
the governor to direct such an edifice to be built.

One mill not being sufficient to grind the flour required by the
inhabitants at Sydney, the stone masons were employed in breaking out and
preparing stone for another at that place.

The blacksmith's shop, begun in the last month, was nearly completed at
the end of this.

The weather was observed to be growing warm. Toward the middle of the
month strong southerly winds, with rainy and unsettled weather,
prevailed, particularly at the change of the moon.


Another boat seized and carried off
Order in consequence
The criminal court thrice assembled
Three men stand in the pillory
Perjury explained to the convicts
Natives very troublesome; seize a boat
Various works in hand
An attempt to seize another boat frustrated
Prospect of a fine harvest
Wilson gives himself up
Is made use of
Two mares stolen
The clergyman's servant attempts to rob him
Information sent to India respecting the boats
An amphibious animal discovered

October.] The month of October opened with a repetition of the vexatious
circumstances that marked the opening of the preceding month. In the
night of the 2nd, a boat was taken from Parramatta by some people who got
unobserved out of the harbour. The three men who were put on shore from
the _Cumberland_ at the time she was seized upon, from an
unwillingness to accompany them, being in this party, it was supposed
they were connected in some way with those who were in that boat, and
whom they might know where to find. An armed boat from the _Supply_
was immediately dispatched after them; but in three days returned, as
unsuccessful as Lieutenant Shortland had unfortunately been in his

From this circumstance there was reason to suppose that they had stood
off from the land; in which case, as the weather since their departure
had been unusually bad, the wind blowing a gale from the southward, with
much rain, and their boat being a very bad one, it was probable they had

In these two boats 15 convicts had made their escape from the settlement;
six of whom had been transported for life; six others were from Ireland,
of whose term of transportation no account had been sent out; and of the
remainder, one had to serve until the 23rd of May 1799, another until the
2nd of April 1801, and the third until the 15th of April 1804.

Whatever might be the fate of these people, the evil was of great extent;
since all that could be known of them to their fellow prisoners was, that
they had successfully effected their escape. Had Bryan and his party, who
went off with one of the King's boats in the year 1791, instead of
meeting with the compassion and lenity which were expressed in England
for their sufferings, been sent back and tried in New South Wales, for
taking away the boat, and other thefts which they had committed, it was
probable that others might have been deterred from following their

On this occasion an order was published, stating that, as, for the
private convenience of various individuals, permission had been granted
for the building of boats under certain dimensions, yet those boats had
been frequently found so improperly secured in the night, and left by
their respective owners in situations so favourable to the views of those
ignorant beings who were perpetually looking out for means to escape from
the settlement, the governor therefore found it expedient positively to
prohibit the building of a boat of any kind without having previously
obtained his express permission; and to declare, that if any of the boats
then in use in the settlement should thenceforward be found improperly
secured at night, or left with oars, rudder, masts, or sails on board,
they would be laid on shore and burnt.

Such was the increase of crimes, that thrice in this month was the court
of criminal judicature assembled. The offences that came under their
cognisance were those of murder, perjury, forgery, and theft.

Two men were tried for having killed a native youth, well known in the
settlement*; but it appearing to the court that he had been accidentally
shot, they were acquitted. The natives certainly behaved ill, and often
provoked the death which they met with; but there was not any necessity
for wantonly destroying them, a circumstance which it was feared had but
too often occurred. On the acquittal of these prisoners, they were
assured by the governor, that he was determined to make an example of the
first person who should be convicted of having wantonly taken the life of
a native.

[* By the name of Tom Rowley (after one of the officers of the regiment).
He had accompanied Mr. Raven, in the _Britannia_, to Bengal, in the
year 1795.]

Another prisoner, John Morris, was tried for the murder of Charles
Martin, by violently kicking and beating him, so that he died the
following day. He was found guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced to be
burned in the hand and imprisoned for 12 months.

One man was found guilty of uttering a bill knowing it to be forged, and
adjudged to suffer death; and two others, for theft, were ordered to be
transported to Norfolk Island, one for the term of his life, and another
for seven years.

It appearing on one of these trials, that three of the witnesses had
manifestly and wilfully committed the crime of perjury, they were brought
to trial; and, being found guilty, were sentenced to stand in the
pillory; to which, as an additional punishment, their ears were to be
nailed. Their sentence was put in execution before the public provision
store, when the mob, either to display their aversion to the crime, or,
what might be more probable, to catch at any thing that wore the form of
amusement, pelted them with rotten eggs and dirt.

These people were three of the worst characters in the colony, Luke
Normington, John Colley, and William Osborne. It amounted nearly to a
mockery and profanation of religion to administer an oath to such
hardened and unprincipled wretches; yet their testimony could not be
refused when called for by a prisoner who was standing under the weight
of a capital charge; but of the credibility of such testimony it was
always in the breast of the court to judge.

On this occasion the governor deemed it advisable to explain, in public
orders, the nature of this dreadful offence, an offence so certainly
ruinous both to their temporal and eternal welfare. He pointed out to
them, that, as every man who stood convicted of this dangerous breach of
the law was thereby rendered infamous ever after, no one who had a
character to lose (alas! how few were there who would feel themselves
affected by this observation) would associate with such criminals, lest
he should endanger his own reputation, and be considered as a voluntary
approver and partaker in the infamy.

It may be some relief to turn from the contemplation of such iniquity,
though it should be only to the transactions of savages, differing from
these wretches but in complexion.

On the 20th of this month the settlement were spectators of a severe
contest which took place between two parties of natives; one of which was
desirous of revenging the death of a friend, who had been killed by some
native of a part of the country from which a young man had just then
accidentally come amongst them. He was therefore immediately devoted to
their vengeance. Finding their determination, he most gallantly stood up,
and, being attacked by numbers, defended himself with the greatest
bravery and address, until, being wounded in several places, he fell. As
he lay upon the ground, several of his opponents treacherously rushed in
upon him, and stabbed him repeatedly with a pointed stick, which they
call a Doo-ul. In this situation he endeavoured to cover himself with his
shield, on which, having risen from the ground, and being again attacked,
he received their spears for some time with great dexterity, until some
one, less brave and more treacherous than the rest, took a station
unobserved on one side, and launched a spear, which went into his back
and there remained. Seeing this, they were proceeding a second time to
rush in upon him, when he had just strength enough left to make his
escape into an adjoining house, where he received shelter, and from the
severity of his wounds immediately fainted.

The spear was withdrawn, and his wounds dressed, by one of the surgeons
who happened to be present; and in a few days he was able to walk about
again. His brother, who had accompanied him to the field of battle, stood
up in his defence, and was wounded in the leg and thigh.

The principal sufferer in this affair was known in the settlement by the
name of William and Ann (corrupted by their pronunciation to
Wil-lam-an-nan) which he had adopted from a ship of the same name that
arrived here in the year 1791.

Several of their women attended upon this occasion, and, as is common
with them, howled and cried alternately during the most of the time; but
when they were enraged, which often happened, they danced, and beat their
sides with their arms; a certain proof of their passions being wrought up
to the highest pitch.

Shortly after this, these people again exhibited themselves to the notice
of the settlement, but in a very different point of view. On the 31st, an
open boat arrived from the Hawkesbury, with a cargo of Indian corn,
having been boarded in her passage down by a party of natives in canoes.
Assuming an appearance of friendship, they were suffered to come into the
boat, when, watching an opportunity, they threw off the mask, and made an
attempt to seize the small arms. This occasioned a struggle, in which the
boat's crew prevailed, but not before some of these unexpected pirates
had paid for their rashness with their lives.

It was now discovered, that a boat belonging to a settler, which had been
for some time missing, and was supposed to have been driven out to sea
and lost with her crew and cargo of Indian corn, had actually been taken
by the natives in the river, after murdering the men who were in her. The
boat, on searching, was afterwards found in the possession of some of
these people.

This was so novel a circumstance that it could scarcely be credited; but
it was no less true; and there was but little doubt, that the white
people who were living amongst them had been the unseen instigators of
this mischief.

During this month a strong and durable bridge, capable of sustaining any
weight which it might have occasion to bear, was erected over Duck river,
for the convenience of land carriage between the towns of Sydney and

The military hospital which stood on the west side of the Cove was taken
to pieces; and, a stone foundation (it had been hitherto fixed on blocks
of wood) having been laid farther from the road side, it was removed
during this month, and put together again in its new situation.

The wheat every where wore the most promising appearance, and the weather
had been very favourable for bringing it to maturity.

Decreasing daily as did the number of working men in the employ of
government, yet the governor could not refuse granting certificates to
such convicts as had served their respective times of transportation; and
no less than 125 men were at this time certified by him to be free. Most
of these people had no other view in obtaining this certificate, than the
enabling them when an opportunity offered to quit the settlement, or
following their own pursuits until that time should arrive.

November.] There being a scarcity of wheat in the public stores, owing to
some local disappointments, the governor was obliged to make a reduction
in the weekly allowance of that article, until the present crops should
be gathered.

The facility with which the seizure of the _Cumberland_ had been
accomplished, and the subsequent escape of two parties of convicts.
induced 14 others to form a plan for taking away a boat, and making a
similar attempt at liberty. Having made a depot of all the stores which
they meant to carry with them, at a place convenient for the purpose, the
night was fixed for their departure; and they were on the point of
embarking, when, to their great surprise, they found themselves
surrounded by a party of magistrates and constables armed, who took them
and their property into custody. They had not proceeded with all the
caution necessary for such an enterprise, and a hint was given in time to
defeat the execution of their project.

The following day these unthinking people, instead of being at large on
the ocean, in possession of their fancied freedom, found themselves
severely punished, and sent up to Parramatta there to be set to hard

On the subject of these mad and hazardous schemes, the governor first
addressed the convicts in person, and afterwards published in order,
wherein he pointed out the risk that must ever attend such ill-judged
enterprises; into which, he was of opinion, a few weak and ignorant
people had been led by the deep and wicked designs of some who pretended
to a greater share of wisdom, and who would not hesitate to sacrifice any
that might be thought of less consequence to the general design, or less
capable of rendering themselves useful when embarked, by forcing them on
shore, if near the land, among a savage people where death must be
inevitable; or by throwing them overboard, if at sea, to lighten their
miserable vessel, and prevent, if possible, her drowning the whole.

The Irish convicts who arrived in the last ship manifesting daily a
propensity to desert from their work, a party of soldiers, under the
command of a sergeant, was sent up to Toongabbie, where they were to
remain during the harvest, which commenced in this month at that place
and at Constitution Hill.

On the 24th, an order was published, in which the people employed in
agriculture were reminded of the many accidents that happened last year
by fire; strongly recommending more attention to the security of their
present crops when taken off the ground, at the same time directing them
to seize and secure as early as possible all such vagrants as they might
meet with, who, being at large at this season, might do them much injury.

Nine hundred bushels of the last year's crop were brought round from the
Hawkesbury in the _Francis_, and deposited in the public store.
Nothing could promise better than the appearance of the wheat of this
season; but it had ripened suddenly, owing to some heavy rains having
been followed by very hot weather. In the want of sufficient strength the
military were hired to assist in reaping, it being absolutely necessary
that no time should be lost in securing the produce of this year.

Toward the latter end of the month, James Wilson, who had for some time
taken up his abode in the woods, and was one of those named in the
proclamation of the 13th of May last, surrendered himself to the
governor's clemency. He had been herding with the savages in different
parts of the country, and was obliged to submit to have his shoulders and
breast scarified after their manner; which he described to have been very
painful in the operation. He made his appearance with no other covering
than an apron formed of a Kangaroo's skin, which he had sufficient sense
of decency remaining to think was proper.

The governor, well knowing, from his former habits, that if he punished
and sent him to hard labour, he would quickly rejoin his late companions,
thought it more advisable to endeavour to make him useful even in the
mode of living which he seemed to prefer; he therefore pardoned him, and
proposed his attempting, with the assistance of his friends, to take some
of the convicts who were at large in the woods; two of whom had, just
before Wilson's appearance, stolen two mares, the property of private
individuals, but which were allowed to be kept during the night in a
stable belonging to government.

Wilson, among other articles of information, mentioned, that he had been
upwards of 100 miles in every direction round the settlement. In the
course of his travelling he had noticed several animals, which, from his
description, had not been seen in any of the districts; and to the
northwest of the head of the Hawkesbury, he came upon a very extensive
tract of open and well-watered country, where he had seen a bird of the
pheasant species, and a quadruped, which he said was larger than a dog,
having its hind parts thin, and bearing no proportion to the shoulders,
which were strong and large.

It is not improbable, that Wilson invented these circumstances in the
hope of obtaining some attention, and thereby averting the punishment
which he expected, and well knew that he had long deserved.

If it be painful to the writer of these sheets to find little else than
crimes and their consequences to record, how much more painful must it
have been to have lived where they were daily committed. Particularly so
must it have proved to the gentleman who was in the chief direction of
the settlement, who found himself either obliged to punish with severity,
or to be fearful even of administering justice in mercy, lest that mercy
should prove detrimental in the end, by encouraging others to offend in
the hope of impunity.

There can scarcely be recorded a stronger instance of human depravity,
than what the following circumstance, which happened in this month,
exhibits. A convict, who had formerly been a school-companion with the
Rev. Mr. Johnson, had been taken by that gentleman into his service,
where he reposed in him the utmost confidence, and treated him with the
kindest indulgence. He had not been long in his house before Mr. Johnson
was informed that his servant, having taken an impression of the key of
his storeroom in clay, had procured one that would fit the lock. He
scarcely credited the information; but, being urged to furnish him with
an opportunity, he consented that a constable should be concealed in the
house, on a Sunday, when all the family, this servant excepted, would be
attending divine service. The arrangement succeeded but too well.
Concluding that all was safe, he applied his key, and, entering the room,
was proceeding without any remorse to plunder it of such articles as he
wanted; when the constable, seeing his prey within his toils, started
from his concealment, and seized him in the act of taking the property.

Thus was this wretched being without 'one compunctious visiting of
nature,' detected in the act of injuring the man, who, in the better day
of his prosperity, had been the companion of his youth, and who had
stretched out his hand to shelter him in the present hour of his

The _Deptford_ brig sailing this month for the coast of Coromandel,
the governor took the opportunity of transmitting to Admiral Rainier, or
the commander in chief of his Majesty's ships in the East Indies, a list
of the deserted convicts, and a description of the two boats which had
lately been taken from the colony. As it was, probably, the intention of
those people to steer along the coast of New South Wales to the
northward, until they should reach some of the Dutch settlements among
the Molucca islands, there was a possibility of their being picked up by
some of the King's cruisers; in the event of which, the governor forcibly
urged their being forwarded, by any opportunity which might offer, to his
government, there to be made an example that should, if possible, deter
others from making the like attempts.

The widow of Ensign Brock's, who died in July last, availed herself of
this opportunity to get, with her family, partly on her way to England.

Although the settlement had now been established within a month of ten
years, yet little had been added to the stock of natural history which
had been acquired in the first year or two of its infancy. The Kangaroo,
the Dog, the Opossum, the Flying Squirrel, the Kangaroo Rat, a spotted
Rat, the common Rat, and the large Fox-bat (if entitled to a place in
this society), made up the whole catalogue of animals that were known at
this time, with the exception which must now be made of an amphibious
animal, of the mole species, one of which had been lately found on the
banks of a lake near the Hawkesbury. In size it was considerably larger
than the land mole. The eyes were very small. The fore legs, which were
shorter than the hind, were observed, at the feet, to be provided with
four claws, and a membrane, or web, that spread considerably beyond them,
while the feet of the hind legs were furnished, not only with this
membrane or web, but with four long and sharp claws, that projected as
much beyond the web, as the web projected beyond the claws of the fore
feet. The tail of this animal was thick, short, and very fat; but the
most extraordinary circumstance observed in its structure was, its
having, instead of the mouth of an animal, the upper and lower mandibles
of a duck. By these it was enabled to supply itself with food, like that
bird, in muddy places, or on the banks of the lakes, in which its webbed
feet enabled it to swim; while on shore its long and sharp claws were
employed in burrowing; nature thus providing for it in its double or
amphibious character. These little animals had been frequently noticed
rising to the surface of the water, and blowing like the turtle.

The subjoined engraving is from a drawing made on the spot by Governor

Among the few circumstances that occurred out of the common course of
events, must be mentioned that of a man belonging to the hospital, who,
in endeavouring to get hold of a boat which was close to the shore,
over-reached himself and fell into deep water, where he was drowned. The
body being immediately found, the means recommended by the Humane Society
in such cases were made use of, but without the desired effect.

The barracks for the assistant surgeons, and the tower of the intended
church, were nearly completed during this month, and the paling round the
new store-house was begun. The _Reliance_, whose leaks had been
discovered, was strengthened with riders, several people being employed
to bring in timber for that purpose. These formed some of the public
works at Sydney. At Parramatta, Toongabbie, and the other interior
settlements, all were actively employed in securing the abundant crops
which every where promised to reward the industry of the settler and the

The annual election of constables took place in this month. These
municipal regulations were attended at least with the advantage of
introducing something like a system of regularity into the settlement,
than which nothing was more likely to check the relaxation which had
lately prevailed in it.

The weather in November was, for the first and middle parts, very
unsettled, blowing hard at times with much rain. On one day, there fell a
shower of hail, the stones of which were each as big as a lark's egg. The
latter part of the month was fair, and favourable for reaping the grain.


Bennillong and Cole-be
Various particulars respecting the natives
Ye-ra-nibe killed
A settler's house burnt through malice
Schools at Sydney
Two settlers drink for a wager
The body of a soldier found
Criminal court
The _Francis_ sails for the wreck
Houses burnt
Public labour
Account of live stock and ground in cultivation

December.] A circumstance occurred about the beginning of this month,
that excited much interest in the town of Sydney, and great commotion
among the natives. Two of these people, both of them well known in the
settlement, (Cole-be, the friend of Bennillong, and one of the
Ye-ra-ni-bes) meeting in the town, while their bosoms were yet swelling on
occasion of some former difference, attacked each other. Cole-be had
always been remarked for his activity, but Ye-ra-ni-be had more youth
than his adversary, and was reckoned a perfect match for him. On closing
on each other, with their clubs, until which time Cole-be had not gained
any advantage over Ye-ra-ni-be, the handle of Ye-ra-ni-be's shield drew
out, and it consequently fell from his grasp: while stooping to take it
up, the other struck him on the head with a club, which staggered him,
and followed his blow while he was in that defenceless situation.

Cole-be knew that this would ensure him the appellation of jeerun, or
coward, and that the friends of Ye-ra-ni-be would as certainly take up
his cause. As the consequences might be very serious if he should die of
the blow, he thought it prudent to abscond for a while, and Yera-ni-be
was taken care of by some of his white friends. This happened on the
10th, and on the 16th he died. In this interval he was constantly
attended by some of his male and female associates, particularly by his
two friends, Collins (for Gnung-a Gnung-a still went by the late
judge-advocate's name) and Mo-roo-bra. On one of the nights when a most
dismal song of lamentation had been sung over him, in which the women
were the principal performers, his male friends, after listening for some
time with great apparent attention, suddenly started up, and, seizing
their weapons, went off in a most savage rage, determined on revenge.
Knowing pretty well where to meet with Cole-be, they beat him very
severely, but would not kill him, reserving that gratification of their
revenge until the fate of their companion should be decided. On the
following night, Collins and Mo-roo-bra attacked a relation of Cole-be's,
Boo-ra-wan-ye, whom they beat about the head with such cruelty that his
recovery was doubtful. As their vengeance extends to all the family and
relations of a culprit, what a misfortune it must be to be connected with
a man of a choleric disposition!

Ye-ra-ni-be was buried the day after his decease by the side of the
public road, below the military barracks. He was placed by his friends
upon a large piece of bark, and laid into a grave, which was formed by
them after our manner (only not so deep), they seeming in this instance
to be desirous of imitating our custom. Bennillong assisted at the
ceremony, placing the head of the corpse, by which he struck a beautiful
war-ra-taw, and covering the body with the blanket on which he died.
Being supplied with some spades, the earth was thrown in by the
by-standers, during which, and indeed throughout the whole of the
ceremony, the women howled and cried excessively; but this was the effect
of the violent gusts of passion into which the men every moment threw
themselves. At this time many spears were thrown, and some blows were
inflicted with clubs; but no serious mischief ensued. On the death of
Cole-be, all seemed determined; for the man whose life he had in so
cowardly a manner taken away was much beloved by his countrymen.

With this design, a number of natives assembled a few days afterwards
before the barracks, breathing revenge; at which time a young man, a
relation to the object of their vengeance, received so many wounds, that
he was nearly killed; and a lad, who was also related to him
(Nan-bar-ray, the same who formerly lived with Mr. White, the principal
surgeon), was to have been sacrificed; but he was saved for the present
by the appearance of a soldier, who had been sent to the place with him
for his protection; and it was thought that when the present tumult
against his uncle (for Cole-be was the brother of this boy's father) had
subsided, nothing more would be thought of him.

Cole-be, finding that he must either submit to the trial usual on such
occasions, or live in the continual apprehension of being taken off by a
midnight murder and a single hand, determined to come forward, and suffer
the business to be decided one way or the other. Having signified his
resolution, a day was appointed, and he repaired armed to the place of
rendezvous. The rage and violence shown by the friends of the deceased
were indescribable; and Cole-be would certainly have expiated his offence
with his life, but for the interference of several of the military,
before whose barrack the affair took place. Although active, and
extremely _au fait_ in the use of the shield, he was overpowered, and,
falling beneath their spears, would certainly have been killed on the
spot, but several soldiers rushed in, and prevented their putting him to
death where he lay; he himself, from the many severe wounds which he had
received, being wholly incapable of making any resistance. His friends,
the soldiers, lifted him from the ground, and between them bore him into
the barracks.

Bennillong, the particular friend and companion of Cole-be, was present
at this meeting; but, it was supposed, without intending to take any part
in it either way. The atrocity of his friend's conduct had been such that
he could not openly espouse his quarrel; perhaps he had no stomach to the
fight; and certainly, if he could avoid it, he would not, by appearing
against him, add to the number of his enemies. He was armed, however, and
unencumbered with clothing of any kind, and remained a silent spectator
of the tumultuous scene, until the moment when the soldiers rushed in to
save the life of Cole-be. His conduct here became inexplicable. On a
sudden, he chose to be in a rage at something or other, and threw a spear
among the soldiers, which dreadfully took effect on one of them, entering
at his back and coming out at the belly, close to the navel. For this he
would instantly have been killed on the spot, had not Mr. Smith, the
provost-marshal, interfered and brought him away, boiling with the most
savage rage; for he had received a blow on the head with the butt-end of
a musket.

It became necessary to confine him during the night, as well to prevent
the mischief with which he threatened the white people, as to save him
from the anger of the military, and on the following morning he quitted
the town.

This man, instead of making himself useful, or showing the least
gratitude for the attentions which he received from every one, had become
a most insolent and troublesome savage. As it was impossible sometimes to
avoid censuring him for his conduct, he had been known to walk about
armed, and heard to declare it was for the express purpose of spearing
the governor whenever he saw him. This last outrage of his had rendered
him more hateful than any of his countrymen; and, as the natives who had
so constantly resided and received so many comforts in the settlement
were now afraid to appear in the town, believing that, like themselves,
we should punish all for the misconduct of one, it might rather be
expected that Bennillong could not be far from meeting that punishment
which he certainly provoked and merited.

During the time that Ye-ra-ni-be was alive, the attendance of the natives
who were then in the town was called to the performance of the ceremony
named Yoo-lahng Era-ba-diang, the particulars of which have been
described in the preceding* part of this account. The place of meeting at
this time was in the middle harbour; and the various exhibitions which
took place were not observed to differ from those of the preceding years.
The season of the year was the same, but not precisely the month, which
confirmed the conjecture of their not being influenced by any particular
motive in the choice of the month of February for the celebration of this
curious and peculiar ceremony.

[* Vide Appendix to Vol I.]

Bennillong, who assisted at it, returned without his wife, the lady
having been without much difficulty persuaded by her mother, whom she
accidentally met at the Yoo-lahng, to leave her husband, and return with
her to the place of her residence. Bennillong, notwithstanding the
European polish which he could at times assume, was by no means a
favourite with, or held in much estimation by the females of his own
complexion. If any unfortunate girl was seen to be in his train for any
time, she was well known to be actuated less by inclination than by the
fear of his exercising that right which the stronger always claimed the
privilege of possessing over the weaker sex.

The business of the settlement now reclaims our notice.

Some time in this month the house of John Mitcham, a settler in the
district of Concord, was attacked by three villains, and set on fire,
together with a stack of wheat, which he had just completed and secured
against the weather. This unfortunate man was indebted about £33 which
the contents of his wheat-stack would have paid off, but now, besides
being very much beaten, he had the world to begin again, with a load of
debt which this untoward accident would much increase. The man himself
knew not to what cause to attribute it; and he was as ignorant who were
his enemies; for two of them had blackened their faces, and to the third
he was a stranger.

On its being represented to the governor, he gave information of the
mischief in the public orders; and at the same time called upon every man
who valued the safety of his person, and the security of his property, to
use the utmost vigilance in discovering and bringing to justice these
daring offenders, that the law might have an opportunity of showing its
ability to defend the property of every inhabitant of the colony, by the
punishment of those who dared to attack it. He also observed, as a
further inducement, that the inhabitants could not fail to see the danger
of suffering evils of this kind to pass unnoticed; as the most ignorant
must know, that every reduction in the quantity of wheat must be attended
with a reduction in the weekly ration; a circumstance by which every man,
whether on or off the public store, was affected. The Order concluded
with an offer of conditional freedom, and permission to become a settler,
to any person, who, being a convict, would come forward and give such
information as might serve to convict the offenders before a court of
criminal judicature.

Dogs had increased to such an extent as to occasion their becoming the
object of a public order, restricting the number kept by each person to
no more than were absolutely necessary for the protection of his house
and premises. Much mischief had been done by them among the hogs, sheep,
goats, and fowls of individuals.

There were at this time in the town of Sydney three schools for the
education of children; and this being the period of their breaking-up for
the Christmas holidays, the governor was gratified with the sight of 102
clean and decently dressed children, who came with their several masters
and mistresses, and in form paid their respects to his excellency, who
examined the progress of the elder scholars in writing, specimens of
which he kept for the purpose of comparing with those which they should
present to him on the following Christmas.

One moment's reflection on the vices that prevailed in the colony will be
sufficient to excite a wish, that some institution could have been
devised for separating the greater part of these (at present, innocent)
members of the community from their vicious parents, where they could
have been educated at the public expense, their propensities to evil
corrected, and that turn given to their attainments which should secure
them a stock of useful knowledge. An arrangement of this nature was every
day becoming more necessary; for there were not less than 300 young
people at this time in the town of Sydney, none of whom, with the
exception of a very few, had been born in England.

On the eve of Christmas Day two young men, settlers on some land midway
between Sydney and Parramatta, having been boasting of their respective
abilities in drinking, regardless of the solemnity of the time,
challenged each other to a trial of their skill; on which they were so
deliberately bent, that, to prevent their being interrupted, they retired
to the skirts of a neighbouring wood, with a quantity of raw spirits
which they had provided for the purpose. Their abilities, however, were
not equal to their boasting; for one of them died upon the spot, and the
life of the other was fast ebbing when he was taken up. Had another hour
elapsed, he too must have perished, like his wretched companion. They had
not been able to finish all the pernicious spirit which they had
prepared, some of it remaining by them in a case bottle when they were

On the morning of Christmas Day, the governor was informed that two
seamen belonging to the _Reliance_ had discovered the body of a
soldier (who had been for two days missing from the look-out post on the
South Head, where he was on duty), lying in a mangled state, the head and
hands being cut off. Some words having passed between him and a soldier,
who had been also heard to threaten him, he was suspected of having
committed the murder, and on the 30th was put on his trial for the same.
Nothing, however, appeared before the court that could substantiate the
charge of murder against him; neither was it clearly ascertained that
violent hands had been laid on the deceased. As it had been foreseen that
direct proof would be wanting, it was deemed expedient to obtain what
might be, though not positive, yet of a nature to be nearly as
satisfactory. With this view, the suspected person was directed to handle
and bury the body, which he did without any apparent emotion; nor did the
body bleed at his touch, or exhibit any sign that superstition or
ignorance could turn into an accusation against him; he observing at the
same time, that, as he had never had any quarrel with the deceased, he
could have no objection to perform this last friendly office for him.

At this court a settler was fined the sum of 40 shillings, and ordered to
labour for six weeks, being convicted of disobeying the public orders of
the colony.

The commander of the wrecked ship, _Sydney Cove_, having solicited
the governor to spare him the Colonial schooner for the purpose of
visiting the wreck of his ship, and the six men whom he had left upon the
island in charge of what had been landed; though he could very ill part
with the services of the vessel at this time, yet, in consideration of
the melancholy situation of the people, and the chance that there might
be of saving something for the benefit of the underwriters, he consented;
and about the latter end of the month the _Francis_ sailed with
Captain Hamilton to the southward.

The weather was now becoming exceedingly hot; and as, at this season of
the year, the heat of the sun was so intense that every substance became
a combustible, and a single spark, if exposed to the air, in a moment
became a flame, much evil was to be dreaded from fire. On the east side
of the town of Sydney, a fire, the effect of intoxication or
carelessness, broke out among the convicts' houses, when three of them
were quickly destroyed; and three miles from the town another house was
burnt by some run-away wretches, who, being displeased with the owner,
took this diabolical method of showing it.

The public labour of the month at Sydney comprised the covering of the
new store-house; finishing the church tower; constructing another
wind-mill, of which the beams of the second floor were laid; completing
the barracks of the assistant surgeons, with necessary offices; digging
the foundation of a house for the master boat-builder; and taking down
one of the old marine barracks, on the site of which the governor
proposed to erect a granary.

At Parramatta and Toongabbie the wheat was nearly all got in and secured.
At the latter of these places, a capital barn had been erected for its
reception, 90 feet in length, with a complete floor, on which eight or
nine pairs of thrashers could be employed without any inconvenience.

In order to mark the annual* increase, it may be proper to insert in this
place an account of the live-stock and land in cultivation at the close
of the year, belonging to government, the civil and military officers,
the settlers, and others.

[* Vide Vol I Ch. XXXII p 411, viz: 'ACCOUNT OF LIVE STOCK IN


Horses             26
Mares              58
Horned Cattle
   Bulls and Oxen 132
   Cows           195
Hogs             4247
   Male           743
   Female        1714
   Male           781
   Female        1495


Acres in Wheat   3361½
Acres for Maize  1527
Acres in Barley    26½

In addition to these, a considerable quantity of garden-ground was in
potatoes, callevances, and vines.


Attempt of some Irish convicts to desert in search of a new settlement
Some punished
Steps taken to prevent future desertion
A settler's boat stolen
The _Francis_ returns from the southward
Conjectures as to a strait
A convict providentially saved
Public works

January.] The Irish prisoners who had arrived in the last ships from
that country had about this period become so turbulent and refractory,
and so dissatisfied with their situation, that, without the most rigid
and severe treatment, it was impossible to derive from them any labour
whatever. In addition to their natural vicious propensities, they conceived
an opinion that there was a colony of white people, which had been
discovered in this country, situated to the SW of the settlement, from
which it was distant between three and four hundred miles, and in which
they were assured of finding all the comforts of life, without the
necessity of labouring for them.

It was discovered, that, in consequence of this extraordinary rumour, a
plan had been formed, by means of a correspondence carried on between
these people, from one district to another, of escaping from the colony;
which was to be put in execution so soon as they had completed a
sufficient stock of provisions. The place of general rendezvous was fixed
upon, and they were furnished with a paper of written instructions for
their guidance to this fancied paradise, or to China; in addition to
which, they had been supplied with the figure of a compass drawn upon

Having received early information of the intentions of this party, the
governor wrote to a magistrate at Parramatta, desiring that he would go
to Toongabbie, where the principal part of the malcontents were employed,
and point out to them the danger to which so ill-advised a step would
expose them; but, as to attempt to reason with ignorance and obstinacy
was only to waste time, he was to acquaint them, that the governor would
allow any four of them whom they should select from their number, and who
they might think capable of travelling over steep and rocky mountains,
through thick and extensive woods, and fording deep and rapid streams, to
proceed as far as they should find themselves able with such provisions
as they could carry. That further, for the preservation of the lives of
those four men, he would order three other people, who were accustomed to
the woods of this country, and well acquainted with the savages of the
mountains, to accompany and lead them in the direction pointed out in
their written instructions,

On conversing with these infatuated people, it appeared, that the history
of the supposed settlement had its rise from some strange and
unintelligible account which one of these men, who had left his work, and
resided for some time with the natives, had collected from the mountain

A very few days demonstrated the effect of the governor's address to
these ignorant people. He received information, that considerable numbers
of them were assembling for the purpose of proceeding in quest of the new
settlement. He, therefore, directed a party of armed constables, to
waylay and secure as many as they were able; which was effected, and
sixteen were taken and put into confinement. On speaking to them the
following day, they appeared to be totally ignorant whither they were
going; but, observing in them as much obstinacy as ignorance, the
governor justly conceived that he could not use an argument more likely
to convince them of their misconduct, than by ordering a severe corporal
punishment to be inflicted at Sydney on those who appeared to be the
principals in this business; which was accordingly put in execution;
seven of them receiving each two hundred lashes; the remainder, after
being punished at Parramatta, were sent to hard labour and strictly
looked after.

On enquiry it appeared, that this party was composed of several who were
present when the magistrate addressed them by order of the governor; and
that others had assembled from different farms, which were situated at a
considerable distance from each other. The trouble taken to collect and
mislead these people proved to him that it was the work of some wicked
incendiary, who designed by this means to embarrass the public concerns
of the colony, and thereby throw obstacles in the way of his government.

Being, on further consideration of the necessity of checking this spirit
of emigration, determined to convince them, by their own experience, of
the danger and difficulties which attended it, the governor caused four
of the strongest and hardiest among them to be chosen by themselves, and
properly prepared for a journey of discovery. They were to be accompanied
by three men, upon whom the governor knew he could depend, and who were
to lead them back, when fatigued and exhausted with their journey, over
the very worst and most dangerous part of the country. This plan was no
sooner settled, than the governor received information on which he could
rely, that a party of these miscreants had concerted with the four
deputies to meet them at a certain place, where they were to murder the
persons intended to be their guides, possess themselves of their arms and
provisions, and then pursue their own route. This diabolical scheme was
counter-acted by the addition of four soldiers to the guides; and on the
14th they set off from Parramatta.

On the 24th the soldiers returned with three of the deputies, who, having
gained the foot of the first mountains, were so completely sick of their
journey, and of the prospect before them, that they requested to return
with the soldiers, whose mission here terminated, being ordered to leave
them at this place in the direction of the guides; one man only expressed
a resolution to persevere, and penetrate further into the country, and
was left with them for that purpose.

The history of these people might well be supposed to end here; but their
restless dispositions were not calculated to remain long in peace.

It will be seen, on recurring to the transactions of the month of October
last, that a boat belonging to a settler had been carried off in the
night, by some people who were supposed to have taken her out to sea,
where, from the weakness of the boat, they must soon have perished: but
they were now heard of again. Owen Cavanagh, a free man, had a boat which
he employed in transporting grain from the Hawkesbury to Sydney. On the
10th of this month, he informed the governor, that, a short time before,
his boat had been boarded in the night, off Mullett Island, by the very
people who had stolen the one from the settler, and carried her off, with
another containing fifty bushels of grain which some other person was
bringing to Sydney. One man, who had, against his wish, been concerned in
the first seizure, now left them, and returned with Cavanagh; and from
him the following account of their proceedings was obtained. Having
effected the capture, they proceeded to the southward, with the intention
of reaching the wreck of the ship _Sydney Cove_. For their guide,
they had a pocket compass, of which scarcely one man of the fourteen who
composed the party knew the use. In this boat they were twice thrown on
shore, and at last reached an island, where, had they not fortunately
found many birds and seals, they must inevitably have perished. From the
inconceivable hardships they underwent, they would to a man have gladly
returned, could they have hoped that their punishment would have been any
thing short of death. Finding it impossible for such a number of
discontented beings to continue of one mind, or to be able to furnish
food in their miserable situation for so many, they judged it necessary,
from a motive of self-preservation, that one half should deceive the
other half; and while these were asleep, those who were prepared took
away the boat, leaving their seven wretched and unsuspecting companions
upon the desolate island, the situation of which this man could not
describe so as to enable the governor at any time to find it. Their
number now being reduced to seven, and thinking themselves in danger near
this port, they had been lurking for some time about Broken Bay, with a
view of capturing a better boat loaded with grain from the Hawkesbury;
which they effected, first by taking the boat of Owen Cavanagh, the
support of whose wife and children it had long been. After securing him,
they took possession of a smaller boat, containing upwards of fifty
bushels of wheat; and, finding Cavanagh's the largest and best of the
two, they ran out about three or four leagues from the land, when they
shifted their prisoners into the smaller boat, and stood off to the
Northward; where it was very probable they would lose their boat, she
being of such a size, that if they should get her on shore by any
accident, they would not be able to launch her again, and must finally

Here we find extreme ignorance, accompanied by great cunning, producing
cruelty; for nothing less can be said of their abandoning the miserable
uninformed companions of their crime. Self-preservation was their plea;
but was there not a method left within their reach, which might have
preserved the whole? Might they not have returned to Sydney, and thrown
themselves upon that mercy which they had so often seen exercised in the
settlement. Could it be imagined, that at this day there was existing in
a polished civilised kingdom a race of beings (for they do not deserve
the appellation of men) so extremely ignorant, and so little humanised as
these were, compared with whom the naked savages of the mountains were an
enlightened people?

Occasional desertions of one or two people at a time had occurred since
the establishment of the settlement; but the first convicts who arrived
from Ireland in the _Queen_ in the year 1791 went off in numerous
bodies, few of whom ever returned. They too were prepossessed with the
possibility of penetrating through the woods to China, and imparted the
same idea to all of their countrymen who came after them, engaging them
in the same act of folly and madness. It was not then to be wondered at,
that Wilson, who lately came in from the woods, should, among other
articles of information, mention his finding more than fifty skeletons,
which the natives assured him had been white men, who had lost their way
and perished. This account was corroborated by different European
articles which were scattered about, such as knives, old shoes, and other
things which were known not to belong to the natives.

On the 20th the _Francis_ returned with Captain Hamilton from the
southward. Previous to his departure for the wreck of his ship, he had
informed the governor that she had on board nearly 7000 gallons of
spirits, and solicited permission to bring back a part with him in the
schooner. The governor, ever averse to the introduction of spirituous
liquors, would certainly have resisted the application; but, it being
generally known in the colony that a considerable quantity of this
article had been saved from the wreck, and that the island abounded with
kangaroos and birds, he conceived these circumstances not only to have
conduced to those desertions and captures of boats which had been
effected, but as likely to prove farther temptations to similar
practices. He therefore determined to purchase the rum of Captain
Hamilton; and, as there was none in store for the public service, to take
it on account of government. An agreement was accordingly entered into by
the commissary, and 3500 gallons were brought round in the _Francis_.

Captain Hamilton stated, that of all the other articles which had been
taken on shore from the wreck, a small quantity of coarse cloth alone had
been saved, the remainder having been destroyed by gales of wind and bad
weather. The wreck of the ship was entirely washed away. Of the six
Lascars who had been left with the property, one had died; the other five
were in health, and had lived tolerably well, killing upon a neighbouring
island as many kangaroos and birds as they could use. These poor fellows
had erected a smoke-house, and had salted and smoke-dried as much meat as
would serve them during the ensuing winter.

These people, though provided only with one small boat, had made some
excursions; and it appeared by their accounts, that this part of the
coast of New South Wales was formed entirely by a group of islands,
extending as far as they had seen to the westward of them, and
interspersed with many shoals. Hence, and indeed from observations which
he had made when on that part of the coast himself, the governor thought
it highly probable that there were many passages or straits quite through
to the ocean westward, making Van Diemen's land, the southernmost part of
New Holland, an island.

Captain Hamilton had left a cow with his people, but she had died; a mare
that he had been more fortunate with was brought away in the _Francis_.

Notwithstanding the severe trial which Cole-be had been put to for the
death of Ye-ra-ni-be, the friends of that young man had not thought it
sufficient to atone for his loss. One of them, Mo-roo-bra, in company
with some other natives, meeting with Cole-be, made an attack upon him,
with a determination to put an end to the business and his life together.
Cole-be, not yet recovered of the wounds that he had received in the last
affair, was unable to make much resistance; and, after receiving several
blows on the head, was supposed to have been dispatched; but Mo-roo-bra,
as they were quitting him, seeing him revive, and attempting to rise,
returned to finish this savage business; which so exasperated another
native, that he snatched up a spear, and in a rage threw it with all his
force at Mo-roo-bra. The spear entered his right side, just over the hip
bone, and went inclining downwards quite through the body, penetrating
the bladder in its passage. Of this wound he died in about an hour. On
the same evening this generous fellow was attacked by the friends of the
deceased in the usual way; and, as might be expected, defended himself
with great gallantry. He was, however, speared twice through the thigh,
once through the leg, and received a bad wound in the right hand. The
spear entered at the side of the hand, rather on the back part of it,
came out in the palm, entered again under the ball of the thumb, and came
out on the back of the hand, near the tendon of the forefinger. The very
little inflammation that attended these painful wounds was remarkable.

Both the officiating magistrates at Sydney being at this time much
indisposed, so great an inconvenience was felt, that the governor found
it necessary, through the want of other magistrates, to take upon himself
the execution of some part of their troublesome office. It must be
observed, that the governor for the time being is a justice of the peace,
by virtue of his Majesty's letters patent.

Towards the latter end of the month, he went up to Parramatta, attended
by his aid-de-camp, to examine the progress of the works carrying on

While on this service, an Irish convict, who had escaped from his work,
and had been for some time missing, was brought in. He had wandered about
for several days in search of a road which he expected to have found, and
which was to have conducted him to China, or the new colony; but, his
strength failing with his provisions, he grew faint, and, despairing of
meeting with any relief, he had just sense enough to reverse the written
instructions which had been calculated solely to carry him out, directing
him to keep the sun on a particular part of his body, varying according
to the time of the day. By this method he travelled eastward, and in a
direction that led him nearly to the head of George's river, where a few
people were settled; and, having one morning heard the report of a gun at
a distance, he endeavoured to walk towards it, but was unable to make
himself heard by hallooing, when night overtook him. Being faint and
wearied, he took a little flour, which he still had in his pocket, and
sprinkling it on some fresh water, drank it, and laid himself down to
rest. In the morning, being somewhat refreshed, he again exerted himself
to get forward in the direction whence the report of the gun had revived
him, and soon after heard a man's voice, upon which he hallooed again,
and to his infinite joy was answered. The man, who was one of the
settlers, took him to his house, recruited his spirits, and brought him
into the town. On being questioned how he found his way back, he said,
'that a paper compass which had been given him was of no utility; he
therefore kept his face toward the place where the sun came from; but if
the hord (sic) had not been on his side, he should have been lost, for he
had been two whole days without any food, except a little flour and

Among the public works that were carrying on during this month must be
reckoned the laying another floor in the granary at Parramatta; repairing
the military barracks, store-houses, and every brick building belonging
to government, which were so far decayed as to be scarcely able to
support their own weight. These repairs, which they had long been in want
of, and which if sooner attended to would have preserved them from the
ruin they were fast approaching, with the various other buildings that
were so essentially requisite, completely stood in the way of making any
exertions in clearing and cultivating land, and considerably added to the
expenses of the colony. At Sydney the tower of the second wind-mill was
begun; and on the 31st, the building being completed for its reception,
the public clock was set up, and, for the first time, announced the hour
to the inhabitants at Sydney. The shipwrights were employed in
constructing a flat-bottomed vessel for the carriage of planks, posts,

Some heavy rain fell in this month, which for the time retarded all
out-door work; but it came very opportunely for the maize, the growth of
which had been rather obstructed by the dry weather which preceded.


The _Francis_ again sails for the wreck
Bennillong and his wife
Report respecting the wild cattle
An anonymous writing found
Account of a journey to the westward
Description of a new bird
A general muster
Mr Bass returns from an excursion in an open boat to the southward
Particulars of it
Three Irishmen picked up
Public works
Weather in February

February.] On the 1st of this month the _Francis_ was again dispatched
to the wreck of the _Sydney Cove_.

When Bennillong accompanied Governor Phillip to England in the year 1792,
he left a young wife to deplore his absence. The manners of savages, in
this instance, were found somewhat to resemble those of civilised life.
The lady surrendered to the importunities of a youthful lover, who, to
say the truth, had in some material points the advantage over Bennillong;
and of him she became so enamoured, that neither the entreaties, the
menaces, nor the presents* of her husband at his return, could induce her
to leave him. From that time, she was considered by every one, Bennillong
excepted, as the wife of Ca-ru-ay. He, finding himself neglected by other
females whose smiles he courted (after the fashion of his country
indeed), sometimes sought to balance the mortification by the forced
embraces of his wife; but, her screams generally bringing her lover or a
friend to her assistance, he was not often successful. In one of these
attempts, at this time, he came off with a severe wound in the head, the
lady and her lover laughing at the rage which it occasioned.

[* Vide Vol I Ch. XXIX p 367, viz: 'His inquiries were directed,
immediately on his arrival, after his wife Go-roo-bar-roo-bool-lo;
and her he found with Caruey. On producing a very fashionable
rose-coloured petticoat and jacket made of a coarse stuff,
accompanied with a gypsy bonnet of the same colour, she deserted her
lover, and followed her former husband. In a few days however, to the
surprise of every one, we saw the lady walking unencumbered with clothing
of any kind, and Bennillong was missing. Caruey was sought for, and we
heard that he had been severely beaten by Bennillong at Rose Bay, who
retained so much of our customs, that he made use of his fists instead of
the weapons of his country, to the great annoyance of Caruey, who would
have preferred meeting his rival fairly in the field armed with the spear
and the club. Caruey being much the younger man, the lady, every inch a
woman, followed her inclination, and Bennillong was compelled to yield
her without any further opposition. He seemed to have been satisfied with
the beating he had given Caruey, and hinted, that resting for the present
without a wife, he should look about him, and at some future period make
a better choice.']

The man who killed Mo-roo-bra had undergone a second attack from his
friends; and, though yet suffering from the wounds which he received in
the first affair, made a most excellent defence.

The governor having been informed, by some of the natives who dwelt in
the neighbourhood of the cow pasture plains, that several of the wild
cattle had been killed, and imagining this mischief to have been done by
some of the Irish convicts (who were nearly as wild themselves as the
cattle), a party of the military, with Hacking, a man well acquainted
with that part of the country, was sent out with orders to surprise, and
if possible to secure them. After being absent some days, they returned
and reported, that, having searched the country round, no traces were
seen of the cattle in any of the places where they had been accustomed to
range, nor did they meet with any white people; but the natives persisted
in asserting their having seen some of them among them, and added that
some of the calves had been run down by them. This was not impossible;
and the idea was somewhat strengthened, by their finding some short
spears pointed with the leg bone of the kangaroo, which were supposed to
be designed for stabbing the calves when caught. Although it was the
opinion of these people, that the cattle had quitted the part of the
country in which they had been so long known to graze, there was yet much
reason to believe that this was not the case; for, on visiting them, they
were not always to be found in one spot.

It will be sufficient to state the following circumstance, to show the
unpleasant and distressing situation of the principal officer of the
settlement, by the construction that was put on his endeavours to rectify
every abuse that the inhabitants might labour under.

An infamous and seditious anonymous paper was dropped in the streets, in
which the governor and every officer in the colony were most scurrilously
abused and libelled, and accused of practising extortions in the way of
trade. This would not have been misplaced, had the abuse been confined
to the description of persons who really deserved it, and truth had been
attended to, which would have afforded them ample materials. But,
although it must have been evident to every one who had sense to see it,
that the governor, from the hour of his arrival, had used his utmost
endeavours to put an end to the practice of so much imposition; yet this
libeller inferred, from his not succeeding, that he was become one in the
number of retail traders who disgraced the settlement.

A reward was immediately offered for the discovery of the offender; but,
as might have been expected, without success.

The three persons who had been sent out with the Irishmen, that were so
desirous of discovering a country wherein they might live more at their
ease, returned on the 9th, so much exhausted with fatigue that two of
them were scarcely able to move when they arrived. Wilson, who was the
third, having been longer in the habit of travelling through the woods,
kept up their spirits, and thereby enabled them to reach Prospect Hill
about sunset; where, from long abstinence, having had nothing to support
them for several days, except two or three small birds, the refreshment
which they procured had nearly overcome them. Such were the difficulties
attending excursions in the interior of this country. With Wilson, who
knew much of the country, and was well qualified to conduct the party,
the governor sent a lad, a free servant of his, who was capable of giving
an account of the occurrences of the journey; and from him the following
particulars were collected:

From Mount Hunter (which was the highest land then known in that part of
the country, and distant from the township of Parramatta from about 30 to
34 miles in a SW direction) they took their departure on the 24th of last
month, travelling in a SSW course for 18 miles, 12 of which laid through
a fine open country. There they fell in with the river Nepean, which was
found winding to the southward and westward, close behind the cow pasture
plains. The banks of the river being at this place exceedingly steep and
rocky, they had some difficulty in getting across. On the other side the
ground wore a barren, unpromising appearance; and during the day they saw
only a few kangaroos of a particular kind, having long, black, and brushy
tails; with a few birds, which from the length of the tail feathers, they
denominated pheasants.

On the 25th they continued in their course, SSW for six miles, through a
country in general open, and apparently of a good black soil. In the
course of the day they saw many kangaroos and several emus; and fell in
with a party of natives, one of whom engaged to accompany them, on
condition of their halting for that night where they then were.
Consenting to this, they had leisure to examine a hill in that
neighbourhood, the face of which appeared white, and proved to be an
immense cliff of salt, a specimen of which they brought in.

On the 26th, they determined to incline more to the westward, and
travelled 16 miles in a direction WSW over a rocky country, covered with
brush wood, and a prickly kind of vine. They did not meet with any
natives; and that animals existed there, they only saw by their faeces.

They continued on the 27th travelling in the same direction about 16
miles; the first six of which were like those of the preceding day. From
thence they got into an open but mountainous country, where they crossed
a small river, and discovered a quantity of coal and limestone. Here
every mile they went the scene improved. The rocky and barren ground was
exchanged for a flat country and beautiful meadows, furnishing pasture
for the kangaroos and emus, several of which they saw. The timber was
observed to run small, and to be thinly scattered about, there being
scarcely ten trees upon an acre of ground. The quality of them was known
in the settlement, where a similar timber was called the Black Wattle.

On the 28th their course was still WSW and their distance increased 20
miles in that direction. The land and the timber on it were much the same
as they had seen the preceding day. In one part they ascended a hill,
from which they obtained a view of the country for some distance round.
To the northward it seemed to be open, and thinly clad with timber: to
the north-westward they saw some high mountains, and an appearance of
much good land in that direction: to the westward they observed a deep
break in the land; this they conjectured to be formed by a river, which,
if one, laid in a SE and NW direction. To the southward the land seemed
high, but still open. In the course of this day's journey they met with a
party of the natives, who appeared much terrified, and instantly ran away
from them. One of the party, however, pursued and came up with a woman
and child, whom he detained, from an opinion that the men might be
thereby induced to return; but, although she remained with them the whole
of the night, which she passed in tears and lamentations, not knowing
what fate might await her, the men did not appear. They, therefore, made
her a present of a small hatchet, and in the morning sent her back to her
friends. Wilson, understanding something of the language of these
mountain natives, hoped to have gained some information of the country
from this woman; but she could not comprehend him.

These natives were all clothed with garments of skins of different
animals, which reached from their shoulders down to their heels.

On the 29th, they again travelled 24 miles in the same direction. During
the first four miles the country was not good, the ground being rocky and
covered with low shrubs, and here and there intersected with creeks,
which appeared all to run toward some river, probably to that which from
the top of the hill they supposed to be one. At the head of those creeks
they saw several falls of water, one of which fell at the least 40 feet,
and two others not less than 20 feet each. They now walked to the
northward for 12 miles, thinking to get round the heads of the creeks;
but unfortunately they fell in with more. They then determined to keep
their former course of WSW, but found the country rocky and barren. Here
they observed a tree which they had not before noticed, about the size of
an apple-tree; the leaves of which were of a lighter blue than the powder
blue used in washing, and the bark resembling that of the mahogany tree.
They also passed the dung of an animal to appearance as large as that of
a horse.

The party were now much exhausted, having had nothing to eat for two
days, except one rat, about the size of a kitten. Wilson was able to go
forward; but his companions were very unwell, and began to wish
themselves back.

On the 30th, they continued for 16 miles in the same direction of WSW. In
the course of the day they fell in with the head of a river, very nearly
as large as the Hawkesbury, appearing to run from SE to NW. Its banks
were so rocky and steep that they would have found infinite difficulty in
descending them; to which they were strongly invited by the appearance of
a level open country on the other side; and Wilson proposed making a
canoe to cross over with; but both the others were so faint and tired,
having had nothing to eat, in addition to the rat, but two small birds
each, that they were afraid to venture. Their shoes being worn out, and
their feet cut and bruised by walking so long, they proposed returning.

This being agreed to, on the 1st of this month they steered back in a
direction SE by E in which having walked about nine miles, they fell in
with many spacious meadows thinly chequered with trees, extending for at
least some hundred acres. The hills which they met with were as slightly
covered with timber; and what there was, was light. The ground was of a
good quality, except on the tops of the hills, where it was stony. Here,
for want of food, they were much exhausted, and observed many birds which
they had not before seen, but could not approach near enough to shoot.

On the 2nd, their course was ENE through a delightful country, full of
capacious meadows, extending for some thousands of acres, with only a
single tree here and there. Some of these meadows were watered by ponds
of great length, but they did not perceive any wild fowl on them. From
thence, to the SW the country looked well. In the latter part of the day,
having passed the first ridge of mountains, they fell in with a vast
number of kangaroos, one of which they had the good fortune to kill, and
were much refreshed by it.

On the morning of the 3rd, they thought they heard the report of two guns
in the SE which they answered; but they were not returned. They were now
in that part of the country which Wilson was acquainted with; but it was
an unfruitful spot, and badly calculated for travellers in their
situation, producing nothing but a few roots and grub worms. They must
even here have perished, had it not been for the great exertions made by
Wilson, who kept up their spirits by assurances of being near Prospect
Hill; which place, after much toil and difficulty, they at length
reached, when despairing of living to see it.

This is the sum of the information given by these people. With respect to
the direction in which they travelled, that might not be very correct,
nor can much reliance be placed on their judgment of the distances which
they went in each day. Of the face of the country their account may be
more just. Of its inability to support the traveller, their appearance
was a most convincing argument: and this narrative of their journey has
been detailed so much at length, not only because these people had
penetrated farther than any European had ever been before; but to show
the labour, danger, and difficulties, which attended the exploring the
interior of this extensive country.

On arranging their courses and distances on paper, they appeared to have
travelled in a direction SW three-fourths W about 140 miles from
Parramatta. They brought in with them one of the birds which they had
named pheasants, but which on examination appeared to be a variety of the
Bird of Paradise.

The size of this curious and handsome bird was that of a common hen; the
colour a reddish black, the bill long, the legs black and very strong.
The tail, about two feet in length, was formed of several feathers, two
of which were the principal, having the interior sides scalloped
alternately of a deeper or lighter reddish brown inclining to orange,
shading gently into a white or silver colour next the stem, crossing each
other, and at the very extremity terminating in a broad black round
finishing. The difference of colour in the scallops did not proceed from
any precise change in the colour itself, but from the texture of the
feather, which was alternately thicker and thinner. The fibres of the
outer side of the stem were narrow and of a lead colour. Two other
feathers of equal length, and of a blueish or lead colour, lay within
those; very narrow, and having fibres only on one side of the stem. Many
other feathers of the same length lay within those again, which were of a
pale greyish colour, and of the most delicate texture, resembling more
the skeleton of a feather than a perfect one. The annexed engraving,
from the pencil of a capital artist, will give a better idea of this
beautiful bird than can be formed from any description.

A general muster took place on the 14th in every district of the colony,
at which every labouring man, whether free or convict, was obliged to
appear. On the following morning the settlers were called over, previous
to which, the governor, who was present, informed them, that he had heard
of much discontent prevailing among them in consequence of certain heavy
grievances which they said they laboured under. For these, as he was
unacquainted with the nature of them, he was unable to suggest any
remedy; he therefore desired that they might be represented to him in
writing; and, to spare them as much trouble as possible, he would direct
two gentlemen on whom he had much dependance to visit the different
districts, and collect from the respective settlers such of their
distresses and grievances as they were desirous of making known. Before
they were dismissed, he gave them much good advice; and assured them,
that he had already, from his own ideas, offered a plan to the secretary
of state for their benefit, which he hoped would in due time be attended

After these, the women and children were mustered, and were found to
compose a very considerable part of the settlement.

With the ripening of the maize fields, the depredations of the natives
returned. On the 19th the governor received a dispatch from Parramatta,
containing an account, that a man had been murdered by them near
Toongabbie, and three others severely wounded; and a few days after two
others were killed in the same manner. It became, from these
circumstances, absolutely necessary to send out numerous well-armed
parties, and attack them wherever they should be met with; for lenity or
forbearance had only been followed by repeated acts of cruelty.

Toward the latter end of the month, Mr. Bass, the surgeon of the
_Reliance_, returned from an excursion in an open boat to the
southward, after an absence of twelve weeks. This gentleman, who had
little to occupy him while his ship was refitting, disliking an idle
life, possessing with a good constitution a mind and body strong and
vigorous, and being endowed with great good sense, ingenuity, and
observation, requested the governor to allow him a boat, and permit him
to man her with volunteers from the King's ships; proposing to go along
the coast, and make such observations as might be in his power. The
governor readily consenting, he set out, as well provided as the size of
his boat would allow; and in her, against much adverse wind and bad
weather, he persevered, as far to the southward as the latitude 40
degrees 00 minutes, visiting every opening in the coast; but only in one
place, to the southward and westward of Point Hicks, finding a harbour
capable of admitting ships. There was every appearance of an extensive
strait, or rather an open sea, between the latitudes of 39 degrees and 40
degrees south, and that Van Diemen's land consisted (as had been
conjectured) of a group of islands lying off the southern coast of the

It appeared from Mr. Bass's account, that there was but very little good
ground to the southward. His occasional excursions into the interior,
situated as he found himself with an open boat, in which he could carry
but a small stock of provisions, could not be very extensive; he,
however, went far enough to discover that there was but little good land
near the sea; but, had it even been superior to those parts which were
known, the want of harbours, even for small vessels, would lessen its
value much. He regretted that he had not been possessed of a better
vessel, which would have enabled him to circumnavigate Van Diemen's land.

In the _Francis_, which was at this time on her passage to the
island where the _Sydney Cove_ was wrecked, the governor had sent
Lieutenant Flinders of the _Reliance_, a young gentleman well
qualified for the purpose, who was instructed to make what observations
he was able relative to the anchorage and situation of those islands.

Mr. Bass, on his return, picked up, on an island near the coast, the
seven men who, it may be remembered, were a part of those who ran off
with a settler's boat, and had been left in this place by their
companions. Being utterly incapable of taking them into his boat, he put
them upon the main land, furnished them with a part of his provisions for
their support, and a gun with some ammunition for their protection. Two
who were ill he took into his boat, and left the other five to begin
their march to the northward, at the distance of upwards of 400 miles
from Port Jackson. They were nearly naked, almost starved, and must
inevitably have perished on the island, had not Mr. Bass discovered a
smoke that they had made to attract his attention; which he, being at no
great distance, took for a smoke made by some natives, and went near to
converse with them.

During this month the beams of the third floor of the new wind-mill were
laid, and bricks were brought in for the new granary. At Parramatta the
people were employed in preparing for the erection of a granary for
Indian corn; which, when finished, would enable the governor to commute a
substantial building now employed for a store-house for that grain, into
a granary for wheat. Much of this latter article was brought round from
the Hawkesbury in this month.

Toward the latter end of the month there was an unusually heavy fall of
rain about ten o'clock at night.


Strange idea respecting him
Civil court meets; nature of the business brought before it
Advice of the governor to the settlers
The _Francis_ returns from Preservation Island
A trusty person sent to look for a salt hill said to be to the westward
The wild cattle seen
A new animal, the Wombat, found; described
Some Irish runaways give themselves up
A seizure made of timber for government
The criminal court meets
Three men executed
Accidents among the stock
Discoveries prosecuted
Settlers and their complaints
An old woman accused of dreaming
Works in hand

March.] A strange idea was found to prevail among the natives respecting
the savage Pe-mul-wy, which was very likely to prove fatal to him in the
end. Both he and they entertained an opinion, that, from his having been
frequently wounded, he could not be killed by our fire-arms. Through this
fancied security, he was said to be at the head of every party that
attacked the maize grounds; and it certainly became expedient to convince
them both that he was not endowed with any such extraordinary exemption.

On the 5th, the court of civil judicature was held at Parramatta. Several
writs were issued, and prosecutions for debt entered; and on the 7th the
court adjourned until the 19th. On that day it met, and continued sitting
until the 24th, when all the business before them was concluded. This
consisted chiefly of litigation about debts contracted between the retail
dealers and the settlers. As a proof to what a height this business had
reached, it need only be mentioned, that an appeal was made to the
governor in one prosecution for a debt of £868 16s 10d; which appeal was
however withdrawn, the defendant consenting to pay the debt.

The governor, having received from the settlers in each district, through
the medium of the two gentlemen whom he sent amongst them for that
purpose (the Rev. Mr. Marsden, and Mr. Arndell), a clear and correct
statement of their grievances and distresses, informed them, that it was
with real concern he beheld the effects of the meeting of each civil
court, which, for the public accommodation, he from time to time had
occasion to assemble. The vast load of debt with which they so frequently
felt themselves burdened, through the imposition and extortion of the
multitude of petty dealers by whom the colony was so much troubled, with
the difficulties under which the industrious man laboured for want of
some other mode of providing the necessaries which he required, were
grievances of which he was determined to get the better; and, as far as
his situation would authorise him, he would adopt every means in his
power to afford them relief. To this end he found it absolutely necessary
to suppress many of those licensed public houses which, when first
permitted, were designed as a convenience to the labouring people; but
which he now saw were the principal cause whence many had candidly
confessed their ruin to have sprung.

He wished it were possible to dissuade them from heaping such heavy debts
upon themselves by the enjoyment of articles which they could do without,
or by throwing away their money in purchasing, at every public auction,
rags and trifles for which such exorbitant sums were exacted. He urged
them, with a paternal anxiety, to consider, that their folly involved
their whole families in ruin and misfortune, and conjured them to wait
with patience the result of some representations which he had made to
government, as well in their behalf, as in behalf of the settlers upon
Norfolk Island; by which he hoped that ere long they would have an
opportunity of purchasing every European article that they might want at
such a reasonable and moderate price as they, by their industry, would be
very well able to afford from the produce of their labour.

The island upon which Captain Hamilton had run his ship, and thereby
prevented her sinking with them at sea, was thenceforward to be
distinguished by the name of Preservation Island. From thence the
Colonial schooner had arrived with what remained of the property. As soon
as she was unloaded, the property was put up to sale for the benefit of
the underwriters; when the little effect of the governor's recommendation
of patience was seen, by the most enormous prices being paid for every
article. The money that should have been expended in the cultivation and
improvement of their farms was thus lavishly thrown away; and it
happened, fortunately enough for the underwriters that the wheat of this
last season had been received into the public granary, and immediately
paid for. Twenty-two shillings were paid at this sale for one common cup
and saucer.

Wishing to obtain some further information respecting the salt-hill seen
by Wilson and his companions in their late excursion, the governor had
sent Henry Hacking thither. At his return he produced some specimens of
various veins of salt which he fell in with in different places, of 10
and 12 feet in depth. He reported, that he found the country every where
intersected with narrow, but deep and rapid branches of fresh water
rivers, over some of which he was obliged to swim; others he was able to

Having been directed to seek for the wild cattle while in their
neighbourhood, he reported, that about five or six miles from the place
where we usually found them, he suddenly fell in with the most numerous
herd that he had yet seen; in which he counted 170 very distinctly, and
afterwards saw a few stragglers. It was some satisfaction to know that
they were perfectly safe.

By the _Francis_, the governor received one of the animals on which
the people had chiefly lived during their abode on Preservation Island.
It was brought to him alive, but thin and faint for want of food, which,
owing to its state of confinement on board the vessel, it would never
take. It, however, appeared to recover on shore; and, although during the
short time it lived, it was not observed to eat during the day, yet there
was reason to think it was not so abstemious in the night. It was offered
flesh; but this it would not touch, although it was supposed to visit the
nests of the puffin which burrowed on the island.

This animal had been found to the southward and south-westward, by Wilson
and his companions, who shot one, and, in their want of provisions, might
be said to feast upon it. They observed, that it resembled pork in
flavour, though not in colour, being red and coarse. It was very fat, as
were the kangaroos which they found in the interior; differing in that
point very widely from any kangaroos which had been before seen; not a
particle of fat having ever been found on one of them.

The mountain natives named this new animal Wombat, and said it was good
eating; but it was wholly unknown to those who were admitted into the

The men who, in the beginning of January last, had boarded and carried
off the boat belonging to Owen Cavanagh, were heard of again. About the
latter end of this month, a report was brought in, that a piratical boat
was infesting the harbour of Broken Bay, and the Hawkesbury. The day
following, the governor received a letter signed by these men, in which
they professed to repent of their former conduct, and implored
forgiveness. They said, they had been wrecked about 400 miles to the
northward, when they with difficulty got on shore, saving as much of the
remains of Cavanagh's boat as enabled them to build a smaller, in which
they had returned, and surrendered themselves to justice; pretending to
have had their eyes opened to the danger with which attempts at desertion
from the colony must ever be attended, and promising to convince the
minds of their ignorant countrymen that every such attempt must be
followed by inevitable ruin. The language of this letter was far above
the capacity of any of the party; and the part of their story which
related to their building a boat capable of carrying the whole number so
great a distance wore very little appearance of probability. The truth
was, they had by some means reached as far as Broken Bay, where they had
been lurking about for some days; meaning, no doubt, to seize the first
boat loaded with grain which they might be able to secure, and then put
off again for as long a time as their provisions would last. They
certainly proposed to live by piracy; but not being able with their small
boat to come up with any of the boats which they pursued, and being no
longer able to exist without provisions, added to the danger they were
always in of being pursued and at length taken, they preferred giving
themselves up. They were armed with five muskets; and certainly had the
will as well as the ability to do a great deal of mischief. They were
placed in confinement, and charges preferred against them for piracy.

This was absolutely necessary; as the suffering such offences to pass
with impunity would have been productive of the greatest evil. Crimes
would have been multiplied on crimes, which the officers who composed the
court of criminal judicature would certainly have deemed unnecessary. The
utmost vigilance was constantly requisite to guard against robberies both
on the land and water. It was impossible, in such a community as this, to
have a police too strict, or to be sufficiently aware at all times of
such a nest of villains. Many examples had been made; but, after a few
days had elapsed, they were forgotten; and every act of lenity or
indulgence was found to be ruinous to the welfare and comfort of the
whole. It was to be hoped, however, that the introduction of more of the
better, and fewer of the worst sort of characters, would in due time give
the balance a favourable turn.

In each grant of land to individuals from the crown, there was a clause,
expressly reserving for the use of government such of the timber which
might be growing thereon as should be deemed fit for naval purposes. The
wanton destruction of this timber occasioned the publication of an order
in the month of December 1795, prohibiting the cutting it down. The
practice, however, continuing from time to time (for of what avail were
orders among such a disorderly set of people), the _Sydney_ schooner
was sent round to the Hawkesbury, to make a seizure of a quantity of
timber that had been cut down by individuals for private sale. This
seizure was of some consequence just at this time; as the governor was
building a brig to replace the _Supply_ (from 125 to 150 tons burden),
which had been condemned by survey as totally unfit for the future
service of the settlement, and a large boat, a new Cumberland, in
the room of that which had been taken away by the crew. The colony was at
this time in such want of naval stores of every kind, that the ruin of
all the floating craft, so lately in good condition, was nearly effected.
The bottoms of the boats were destroyed by the worms, for want of pitch,
tar, paint, and oil; and in order to enable the Colonial schooner to
proceed to Norfolk Island (for which place she was preparing to sail, in
company with the _Reliance_), it had been necessary to reduce part
of the _Supply's_ sails, and convert them to her use.

Arrivals from England, with provisions as well as stores, were now rather
anxiously expected, as 16 months had elapsed since the last were
received. Public works of all kinds went on slowly; the servants of
government being but few in proportion to the labour to be performed by
them, and all kinds of implements bad in quality, and scarce. A few slops
were served to the male convicts in the beginning of this month, they
being nearly naked, and the store unable to supply them with covering.

The tower of the new wind-mill was, under all these disadvantages,
completed, and the machinery put in hand. This tower was of large
dimensions, being 30 feet in height, and erected on a rock which was
considerably higher than the surrounding ground. The wheel was four feet
in thickness, and the diameter within was 20 feet.

There was very little intermission of rain, thunder, and lightning,
during the whole of the month.

April.] This month opened with a necessary act of justice. Five men were
capitally convicted, before the court of criminal judicature, of seizing
two boats, the property of individuals, with an intent of escaping from
the colony. One man was capitally convicted of a robbery; three were
transported to Norfolk Island for 14 years; one for 7; one was adjudged
corporal punishment, and one acquitted.

Two of the five that were condemned for seizing the boats suffered death
at Sydney, after a week's preparation for that awful moment. Their
companions were respited at the place of execution. They were all
extremely penitent, confessed the justice of their sentence, and
acknowledged how much mischief they had done, and how much more they
meditated, had they not been overtaken by justice.

One man, for robbery, was executed at Parramatta, George Mitton, who
certainly was a very fit subject for an example. He had been twice
pardoned when under sentence of death; once in Ireland; and once in this
country, by the present governor, for an offence similar to that for
which he now suffered.

These melancholy instances, had they been properly attended to, must have
shown to the convicts not only the difficulty which accompanied every
attempt to escape privately from the colony, and the danger to which
those who made the trial exposed themselves, but the certainty of meeting
that punishment which the various crimes that they committed on such
occasions so highly merited. The governor, in an order which he now
published, was desirous of calling back to the recollection of these
misguided people, who had been, either through ignorance, or through the
profligacy of their dispositions, so readily prevailed upon to engage in
such dangerous enterprises, that they would find an attention to the
advice which he had so often given them the most effectual means of
ensuring their real happiness. They would also recollect, that an
information was given him on the 19th of January last, in which he
appeared to have foreseen, and had pointed out to those piratical gangs
who wished to make their escape from hence, what would be the fate of
those who were of least use to the general plan of such gangs, that they
would probably, if in danger at sea in their boat, be thrown overboard to
lighten her, or be landed on some part of the coast, where, beyond a
doubt, they would perish. How far this prediction had been verified,
those who were concerned in taking off the settlers' boat, and who might
now be in the settlement, could best tell. It was well known, that they
had treacherously left seven men upon a desolate island far to the
southward, where they must have perished for want, had they not been
discovered in a most miraculous manner. He wished those facts to be
impressed upon the minds of the whole colony; they would then probably
discover in what their real interest consisted, and on what their true
happiness depended. To be honest and industrious had been often hewn to
be the most certain means of procuring those blessings.

Mitton, before he was executed, confessed in a moment of penitence, that
many robberies had been concerted, and were to have been committed by him
and some others. He mentioned, as their chief instigator upon these
occasions, a woman of the name of Robley (the wife of a blacksmith at
Sydney), who received all the property which they might collect in this
way. Dreading this discovery, she found it convenient to offer to accuse
others, or she would inevitably have been convicted herself.

It was reported by a native woman from the Hawkesbury, that she had seen
the two mares which were stolen some time since from Parramatta, and that
they were in the neighbourhood of that river. She also mentioned, that
one of the men who went off with them had been killed by the natives, and
that the other had perished with hunger.

The proprietors of this valuable article of stock were rather unfortunate
in the care of it, notwithstanding the high price which it bore. The
acting commissary lost a very fine mare, through the stupidity of an
Irish servant, who put a short halter round her neck, with a running
knot, by which she was strangled in the night; and information had been
received of the death of two foals belonging to government. This accident
proceeded from want of proper care in those who were appointed to look
after them; but unfortunately, though they were often changed, the change
was never found to be for the better.

When Hacking was sent to the salt-hill in the preceding month, he was
accompanied by Wilson and another man, who were directed to penetrate as
far into the interior of the country as the provisions which they were
able to carry would permit them. They returned after an absence of three
weeks, and reported that they had been about 140 miles in a direction SW
by S from Prospect Hill. In the course of their journey they travelled
over a vast variety of country, and fell in with more salt-hills. They
also met with many narrow rivers or creeks (with which the country
appeared to be much intersected), and found some very extensive tracts of
open luxuriant ground, as well as much unpromising land. They ascended
several hills of great height, from which their prospect was extensive,
and whence they discovered mountains rising upon mountains to the
westward; all of which appeared exceedingly high. They did not, however,
meet a single native in all their journey (a proof that the human race
was but thinly scattered over the interior part of this extensive
country); but they brought with them another of those beautiful birds
before described.

Wishing to ascertain the truth of every report that tended to improve our
knowledge of the internal advantages which this country possessed, the
governor sent a small party, with some natives, to determine whether
there was any salt in the neighbourhood of Broken Bay. Captain Waterhouse
(of the _Reliance_), who undertook the search, found the place that
had been described, and also discovered some salt; but it had been
produced by the spray of the sea near which it laid, and which, breaking
over some rocky parts of the shore in bad weather, and draining down
behind, had occasioned the accumulation of a large quantity of that
article among the sand, and upon the adjacent rocks.

The settlers, although certainly undeserving of the attention which they
met with from the governor, were constantly laying their complaints
before him. He now received a petition from them, in which they
represented the great distress that they laboured under, as well from the
high wages which they gave to hired servants for working their ground, as
from the immense price which they paid for every article necessary to
carry on that business. On this account, they requested that the price of
maize might be continued at the same rate as in the last year.

The governor, sensible of their distresses, and ever ready to listen to
any reasonable application which those distresses might induce them to
make, gave directions to the commissary to receive it at the price which
they petitioned for. But, as it was no less his duty to diminish the
heavy expenses of the colony, than it was his wish to render the
situation of the industrious farmer easy and comfortable, they were
informed, that they must very shortly look forward to a reduction in the
price of grain of every kind.

They laboured, however, under another evil, which was the effect of an
unbounded rage for traffic that pervaded nearly the whole settlement. The
delivery of grain into the public storehouses, when open for that
purpose, was so completely monopolised, that the settlers had but few
opportunities of getting the full value for their crops. A few words will
place this iniquitous combination in its proper light. The settler found
himself thrust out from the granary, by a man whose greater opulence
created greater influence. He was then driven by his necessities to
dispose of his grain for less than half its value. To whom did he dispose
of it! to the very man whose greater opulence enabled him to purchase it,
and whose greater influence could get it received into the public store!

Orders had been repeatedly issued on this very subject, the store-keepers
being most pointedly directed to give the preference to the man whose
grain was the produce of his own labour; and if any favour were shown, to
let it be to the poor but industrious settler who might be encumbered
with a large family. But these necessary and humane directions had been
too often frustrated by circumstances which were carefully kept from the
knowledge of the governor; it was, however, proved to him, that on
occasion of the store at the Hawkesbury being opened for the reception of
1500 bushels of wheat, the whole was engrossed by two or three of these
opulent traders, to the exclusion and injury of others, and the petty
farmers in general. The store-keeper was not dismissed, because a better
might not have been found; but the governor directed, that half the
quantity of wheat thus partially and improperly put in should be taken
away, and room made for the accommodation of the settlers.

A report prevailed at this time among the labouring people, particularly
the Irish, who were always foremost in every mischief and discontent,
that an old woman had prophesied the arrival of several French frigates,
or larger ships of war, who were, after destroying the settlement, to
liberate and take off the whole of the convicts. The rapidity with which
this ridiculous tale was circulated is incredible. The effect was such as
might have been expected. One refractory fellow, while working in a
numerous gang at Toongabbie, threw down his hoe, advanced before the
rest, and gave three cheers for liberty. This for a while seemed well
received; but, a magistrate fortunately being at hand, the business was
put an end to, by securing the advocate for liberty, tying him up in the
field, and giving him a severe flogging.

A few days after he had been informed of this circumstance, the governor
visited the working gangs at Toongabbie. On his return to Parramatta, he
met the prophetess upon the road, a very old Scotch woman, who, as soon
as she discovered the governor, held up her hands, and begged that he
would listen to her for a few minutes, while she would endeavour to
contradict the malicious reports which had been propagated in her name.
She said, that she had heard that he was offended with her; which he
assured her depended upon the truth of the information which he had
received. This, she was anxious to convince him, was totally false, and
had proceeded from a bad man, who, as she made a little beer, and sold it
to the labouring people, had called for some one day at her hut, and
entered into conversation with her about the expected arrival of ships
with stores from England. This induced the old woman to recount a dream
which she had had the night before, and from which she was led to hope
that ships would soon arrive. Out of this conversation and dream, a story
had been fabricated, purporting that this harmless old creature had
prophesied many extraordinary things; so that she had the credit of all
the absurd and extravagant additions which some designing and wicked
villains had made to the original story.

The governor told her that he saw through the whole business, and desired
that she would no longer be uneasy about the impression which the first
account had made upon him. With this condescension she appeared to be
highly gratified; for she had been under much distress and vexation
before she met with this accidental opportunity of showing him from
whence this mischievous story had originated.

The timber for the new wind-mill was brought in during this month; and the
floor of the government house having given way, the carpenters were
employed to repair it.

Arrivals from England were now hourly expected, as strong gales had blown
for some time from the southward.


Some Irishmen providentially saved from perishing
The _Nautilus_ arrives from Otaheite
Order respecting the sawyers
The _Barwell_ arrives with convicts
A judge-advocate sent out
The _Reliance_ and _Schooner_ sail for Norfolk Island
Information sent thither
Works and weather in May
Ground fixed on for the missionaries
The Hunter arrives from Bengal
The commander of the _Sydney Cove_ dies
A decked boat arrives from Norfolk Island
Maize harvest completed

May.] In the afternoon of the 2nd of this month, certain Irishmen, who
had been for some time employed in searching for a road to China (that
delirium still remaining unsubdued among them), were brought in by one of
the settlers upon George's river. They had been wandering through the
woods, until they were near perishing for want of food, and were
discovered in a most unlooked-for manner. Some people in going from
Botany Bay up George's river had lost their way, the weather being
exceedingly hazy, by following a branch of that river which had never
been looked into. By this mistake, they fell in with these people, whose
ignorance of the country had led them down upon a point of land which was
placed between two waters, where they had been for nine days, unable to
find their way back, and must soon have perished, had it not been for the
accidental mistake of the people in the boat. The account which they gave
of their travels and distresses was not worth giving a place to here,
being nothing more than what might be conjectured.

It was hoped, however, that their appearance, for they were weak and
languid when brought in, together with their story, would teach their
countrymen a little more wisdom.

While such vagabonds as these were roaming about the country, the safety
of the stock was much endangered. A fine bull calf belonging to an
officer was about this time taken from the herd; and, though considerable
rewards were offered for the discovery of the offender, nothing
transpired that could lead to it. This was a serious evil; for the care
and attention of years might in one night's time be destroyed, by the
villainy of a few of these lawless people. It was, however, visible that
the improvement which had taken place in the civil police within the last
two years had considerably checked the commission of robberies of every

In the evening of the 14th, a small brig, the _Nautilus_, arrived
from the island of Otaheite, in very great distress. This little vessel
had been unfortunate in losing her passage to the NW coast of America,
and had been at Kamschatka, the Sandwich Islands, and Otaheite. Being
exceedingly infirm and worn out, the master found it impossible to effect
the repairs which his vessel wanted at either of those places, and had
touched at Otaheite for such refreshment as the crew required,
determining to endeavour in their very leaky condition to reach this
port, where they hoped to receive such assistance as might enable them to
get to India.

On their arrival at Otaheite, they found that the missionaries, who had
been sent thither from England for the purpose of propagating the
Christian religion, were not on so comfortable a footing with the natives
as could have been wished, being in a manner shut up within their little
fortress. The natives had made use of threats, and had signified an
intention of taking off their women (several of the missionaries having
been accompanied by their wives and families). The arrival at Otaheite of
this little vessel in some degree relieved them from the anxiety under
which they had for some time laboured, and they determined to quit the
island in her, if it should be practicable. Her commander, Mr. Bishop,
showed them every attention which the shattered state of the brig would
admit; embarked men, women, and children, to the number of 19; and,
though with infinite difficulty, brought them in safety to this port, the
vessel being so extremely leaky, that it required the labour of the whole
company to keep her above water. She was not able to bring them all away,
six or seven remaining upon the island, whose fate was certainly very
precarious. Those who had arrived were treated by the colonists with
every attention, and every possible relief administered to their

The deceptions and impositions which were daily in practice among the
labouring part of the colony, to the great injury of the concerns of
government, rendered it highly expedient that the governor, who had those
concerns to attend to, should be assisted by trusty and active persons in
every situation where public works might be carrying on. Having made some
discoveries of this nature in the department of the sawyers, he issued a
public order, specifying the hours which should be employed in every
branch of public labour. This had by no means been the first attempt to
check the impositions of these people; but it was found, that the private
concerns of those who should superintend the various public works
occupied so much of their time, that their duty was either wholly
neglected or carelessly performed. This created such a relaxation of
discipline, that a repetition of orders and regulations were from time to
time published, to keep the labouring people constantly in mind that they
were the servants of the crown, and remind those who were appointed to
look after them, that they had neglected that duty which should ever have
been their first and principal consideration.

The expected signal for a vessel was at length made at the South Head on
the morning of the 18th; and in the afternoon the ship _Barwell_
arrived from England, with male convicts, some stores, and provisions. It
must be supposed, that while the mother country was engaged in such a war
as then subsisted, she would not spare from the service of the state any
other than the most worthless characters, who, instead of assisting in
the public defence against the common enemy, were employed in
perpetrating private injuries. The weakness of the public gangs, however,
was such, that this allotment of villainy was considered as an
acquisition to the general strength, and it was hoped that they might be
employed to advantage.

The _Barwell_, touching at the Cape of Good Hope, brought an account
of the loss of the _Lady Shore_ transport in her passage to this
settlement, having on board about 60 convicts, three only of whom were
males, and a large assortment of all kinds of stores which had been so
long and so much wanted. There was also a complete company of recruits
for the New South Wales Corps on board, to whom was owing the loss of the
ship; for, after murdering the commander, Mr. Wilcox, and his first mate,
they took possession of the ship, and carried her into Rio de la Plata,
where she was delivered up to the Spaniards. This ship, besides the
public stores, had a great deal of private property on board, and was a
serious loss to the colony.

It will be seen, by referring to the former account of this settlement,
that an accident happened to his Majesty's ship the _Guardian_,
whereby much public and private property was prevented from reaching the
settlement. This made only the second misfortune that had happened to
ships coming from England in the course of 11 years; and, when it is
considered, that the major part of them were filled with people who would
have run any hazard rather than reach the place of their destination, it
may be matter of surprise and satisfaction that so few had occurred.

In the _Barwell_ arrived another judge-advocate*, in the room of
Captain Collins, who had resigned that situation. It was also signified,
that two ships, the _Buffalo_ and the _Porpoise_, were fitting
for the service of the colony in the room of the _Reliance_ and the

[* Mr. Richard Dore.]

Instructions had also been received from his Majesty's ministers by the
governor, upon some points on which he had requested orders, particularly
relative to the number of labouring people who had for such a length of
time been allowed to the civil and military officers at the public
expense. By these instructions, the number was now limited to two; and
such others as they might be disposed to employ were to be maintained and
clothed by their employers; or, if fed and clothed at the public expense,
to be paid for to government at a certain rate, which payment might be
made in the produce of the farms that they were employed to cultivate.

The distance at which the settlement was placed from the mother country
was such, that the victories of one year were succeeded by those of
another before the fame of them reached the colony. By this ship accounts
were first received of the complete victory gained by the superior
abilities of Earl St. Vincent over the Spanish fleet, and of the
brilliant conquest of the Dutch fleet obtained by Lord Duncan.

Among the convicts who were received by the _Barwell_ were some
useful mechanics; a real acquisition, as the governor would thereby be
enabled to discharge some free people, whom he had been obliged to hire
for various necessary and unavoidable purposes.

On the 29th, the _Reliance_ and _Francis_ schooner sailed for
Norfolk Island, carrying with them such a proportion of the stores
received by the _Barwell_ as could be spared. On board of the
_Reliance_ were sent 100 casks of salt provisions, and 1200 bushels
of wheat, an article to which the soil and temperature of the island was
not favourable.

As the governor had received several petitions and complaints from the
settlers there, he caused the following order to be printed and sent
thither for their information:

From the nature of the difficulties of which the settlers upon Norfolk
island have complained, difficulties which have not until very lately
been known to have an existence, the governor is led to suspect, that the
same rage for traffic, and an intemperate indulgence in some of those
destructive gratifications which have so effectually ruined many of the
most forward and promising settlers in New South Wales, have reached
Norfolk Island.

His Excellency, from an earnest desire to promote the prosperity of the
island, and the true happiness of its inhabitants, has, since his arrival
in this country, availed himself of every opportunity of forwarding for
their accommodation a share of such little comforts, as accidental ships
may have brought hither. But he is sorry to observe, that, instead of
those attentions being felt as an advantage, they appear only to operate
as an incitement to more extensive dealings; a circumstance which he
foresees must end in the ruin of many of the settlers, for whose welfare
he is extremely anxious. He therefore urges them not to be led away from
their real interest, by speculative ideas, or a desire of indulging in
dangerous gratifications, squandering the whole produce of their hard
labour in trifles, or in scenes of dissipation which must eventually end
in their complete ruin. He desires that they will persevere with patience
in the management of their farms, and the rearing of stock; and assures
them, that he has taken such steps as he hopes will incline the
government to consider the inconveniences which are sustained in this
distant part of the world, and induce them to adopt such measures as will
procure the colonists, before long, every European article that they may
have occasion for at a very moderate expense; and by that means put an
effectual stop to the impositions under which the industrious settlers
have too long laboured.

Toward the latter end of the month, the settlers at the northern farms
were much annoyed by the natives, who came down in a body, and burnt
several of their houses. This was the more unfortunate, as those farms
appeared to have had some industry bestowed upon them; and it had not
been thrown away; for the land was of a superior quality, and the
surrounding country exceedingly picturesque and well-adapted for

The bricklayers were not idle during this month at the new granary at
Sydney, and were also employed in erecting a house for the master
boat-builder. The timber carriages drawn by oxen were employed in
bringing in the beams and joists for the new granary; and a gang was sent
up the harbour to cut crooked timber for the boat-builder. The maize
granary at Parramatta was also in a state of forwardness.

On the 14th there was a squall of wind from the southward, attended with
a shower of hall stones of an uncommon size, many of them measuring six
inches in circumference, and appearing to be an accumulation of smaller
hall stones, which had adhered together by the intensity of the cold in
the higher region of the air, until they became of the above size. Much
rain fell in this month.

June.] His Majesty's birthday was observed on the 4th, with all the
respect and attention which were so peculiarly its due.

On the 6th, the governor went up to Parramatta, in order to travel into
the northern district in search of a proper place for settling as farmers
such of the missionaries, lately arrived from Otaheite, as were disposed
to continue in the settlement. He also proposed to fix there some free
settlers* who had been lately sent out by the government, if he should
find a sufficiency of good ground. On a minute examination of the
country, he had every reason to pronounce it superior to any that had
been yet seen, and in quantity equal to the establishment of several
families. The land was not only good and well watered, but every where
easily cleared, and at the convenient distance of five or six miles from
Parramatta. Being satisfied with the eligibility of the situation, he
recommended it to the missionaries; but some of them appeared so
undetermined, that there was reason to believe some officious person had
been giving them advice which might not terminate to their advantage. A
few, however, resolved to settle there, and received such a proportion of
tools, grain, and assistance, as could be spared them.

[* Of this description of people four had arrived, with their
families, in the _Barwell_.]

The house of Campbell and Clarke at Calcutta, not discouraged by the fate
of their unfortunate ship, the _Sydney Cove_ (of which they were the
proprietors), fitted out another, a snow, which, in compliment to the
governor, they named the _Hunter_, and sent her down with an
assortment of India goods, and a few cows and horses. She arrived on the
10th of this month; when the governor, to crush as much as possible the
spirit of monopoly which had so long subsisted, gave public notice that a
ship had arrived from Bengal with a cargo of goods for sale; and, in
order that every inhabitant might have an opportunity of purchasing
whatever his circumstances might afford, he gave directions, that no part
of the cargo should be disposed of, until the settlers in the different
districts had stated to him what sums of money they could severally
raise. A day was fixed for them to give in this account; and it was
recommended to them to choose some person capable of managing their
concerns, and in whose hands they could deposit their money, which, it
was to be understood, must be in government notes then in their
possession, and not those which they could purchase upon the strength of
their crops.

It was also ordered, that no boat or person whatsoever should attempt to
board any ship arriving in the harbour, until she should be properly
secured in the Cove, and the master had been with the governor and
received the port orders. The pilot-boat, or such other as might be sent
with an officer to bring up the public dispatches, were not included in
this regulation, which certainly, with the preceding, seemed calculated
more for general than private advantage.

Captain Hamilton, the commander of the _Sydney Cove_, survived the
arrival of the _Hunter_ but a few days. He never recovered from the
distresses and hardships which he suffered on the loss of his ship, and
died exceedingly regretted by all who had the pleasure of his

Many complaints having been made, that the people who were employed in
bringing grain upon freight from the Hawkesbury to Sydney were in the
habit of practising a variety of impositions upon the farmers, and among
others by the use of false measures, the governor, desirous to put an
early stop to such a species of robbery, directed the magistrates of
Sydney and Parramatta to issue their orders for all measures to be
forthwith brought to the public store at Sydney, there to be proved and
marked; and to signify, that any measure which might be used without such
mark would subject the owner to a prosecution.

How perpetually was invention at work on the one hand to impose, and on
the other to provide a remedy against the evil! No one, from the picture
of his arduous situation which these and the preceding pages have held
up, will envy the office of the governor, or of those officers who
supported his authority, or think that they cheaply earned the salaries
that they were allowed.

The necessity of a vessel to keep up a more frequent intercourse with
Norfolk Island, having been much felt by the want of various stores for
the use of the inhabitants, occasioned Captain Townson, the commanding
officer, to construct a small decked boat, sloop rigged, in which he sent
his letters to this port, where she arrived on the 15th; but through the
want of a harbour at that island, a want that must ever be felt, they
were obliged to launch her from the shore, and proceed immediately to
sea, whether she was sufficiently tight or not. The consequence was, that
she proved very leaky; but with two pumps, which they fortunately had
fitted on board her, they were able to keep the water under.*

[* A man upon the island had sufficient ingenuity to make a
quadrant for navigating this vessel.]

The maize harvest on the part of government was all got in during this
month; but some of the new buildings were rather retarded by the rain
which fell toward the latter end of it.


Three southern whalers arrive, and an American from the Isle of France
A transport with female convicts arrives from England
_Reliance_ arrives from Norfolk Island
John Raynor executed
Profligacy of the female part of the settlement
Civil regulations
The Sabbath neglected
Attendance enforced
Two whalers arrive
Public works
A native girl killed
An extraordinary custom among them
The _Barwell_ sails for China, and the _Hunter_ for New Zealand
The bones of two horses found
Whalers sail
Public works
Fears for the approaching harvest

July.] The month opened with the arrival of the _Cornwall_, Southern
whaler, the master of which brought an account, that some Spanish
cruisers having appeared off Cape Horn, the whalers of the southern
fishery were directed to pass into these seas during the war. This ship
was directly followed by two others, the _Eliza_ from the Cape of
Good Hope, and the _Sally_.

This circumstance was likely to be attended with some advantages to the
settlement. The whale fishing on the coast would be effectually tried,
and the position of shoals, or the existence of harbours or rivers, be

Having in a few days refitted their ships, the three whalers sailed upon
their fishing voyages.

Previous to their departure, the _Argo_, a small American schooner,
arrived, last from the Isle of France, having on board a cargo of salt
provisions, some French brandy, and other articles, upon speculation; all
of which was brought to a good market. From the circumstance of this
ship's coming from the Mauritius, the governor entertained some jealousy;
and, as it was not impossible or improbable but that, under neutral
colours, a spy might be concealed, he judged it necessary to put the
battery on Point Maskelyne into a more secure and respectable state, and
to construct two redoubts in proper and convenient situations.

The ready sale which the speculators who called here constantly found for
their cargoes, together with the ruinous traffic which was carried on by
means of the monopolies that existed in opposition to every order and
endeavour to prevent them, would, beyond a doubt, without the
establishment of a public store on the part of government, keep the
settlers and others in a continual state of beggary, and extremely retard
the progressive improvement of the colony.

On the 18th arrived the _Britannia_ whaler from England, with 94
female convicts, who were forthwith landed, and some of them were sent to
Parramatta and Toongabbie. The cattle that were brought in the
_Hunter_, and which were sold by auction at this time, were not
greater objects of contest than were these females, the number of women
in the settlements bearing no proportion to the men.

The _Reliance_ and _Francis_ schooner, which had been sent to
Norfolk Island at the latter end of May, returned the 25th and 27th of
this month, having been absent on that service about 60 days, 27 of which
were taken up by the _Reliance_ on her passage back, she meeting
with blowing weather and much sea the whole way.

By her, the officer commanding on the island wrote, that a most improper
association had been entered into by the settlers and others which they
termed the Fraternal Society of Norfolk Island; and which, among others,
had for its object the uniting for the purpose of distressing the
government, by withholding the produce of their farms from the store; in
consequence of some misconduct on the part of the store-keepers, who
suffered the same monopoly to take place there, as was complained of in
New South Wales. They wrote at the same time to the governor, positively
denying their giving any name to their meeting but heavily complaining;
that, after much expense and trouble in rearing swine, the store-keepers
would not receive it.

The governor highly censured this manner of assembling, and, in a printed
notice which he sent thither, pointed out to the inhabitants, that if
they felt themselves labouring under any grievance real or supposed, they
were to submit their complaints respectfully to the officer in the
direction of the settlement, by one or two persons chosen for that
purpose, and not by a numerous body of people. Every other mode of
procuring redress was highly illegal, and could only tend to expose those
who might be concerned to a very considerable degree of danger.

It was necessary to assemble the court of criminal judicature once in
this month for the trial of an incorrigible offender, John Raynor. who
was convicted of house-breaking, and whose fate had been often merited
and long predicted. He left a letter, previous to his execution, in which
he enumerated the many offences that he had committed, and denied several
with which he had been charged.

Great complaints were now made of the profligacy of the women; who,
probably from having met with more indulgence on account of their sex
than their general conduct entitled them to, were grown so idle and
insolent, that they were unwilling to do any thing but nurse their
children; an excuse from labour which very few were without. Were their
value to be estimated by the fine children with which they had increased
and multiplied the numbers in the settlement, they certainly would have
been found to deserve every care and attention as useful members of
society; but their vices were too conspicuous and prominent to admit of
much palliation.

The heavy rains which had fallen in part of this and the preceding month
having very much damaged the public road between Sydney and Parramatta,
two gangs were employed in repairing them. The weather was much colder
than common at this season, and in the interior part of the country there
was a sharp frost during the night.

August.] An order having been given in the beginning of the month for
assembling the court of civil judicature, a recommendation to the
inhabitants was added, that when any bargain, contract, or agreement, was
made, between any party or parties, on any subject whatsoever, the same
should be reduced to writing, specifying in direct and clear terms what
the nature of such bargain or contract might be, and causing the same to
be properly witnessed, and subscribed by the parties concerned. This
measure was calculated to prevent disputes, litigation, and
misunderstandings, among the inhabitants, as well as to do away the great
inconvenience which the members of the court experienced every time they
were convened, from the loose and careless manner in which business was
brought before them.

On the 1st day of this month the regulation directed by government,
relative to the number of public servants which the officers were allowed
to retain, was put in force.

The abandoned and dissipated disposition of most of those who were or had
been convicts, so much to be regretted and so often mentioned, was
particularly manifest in a shameful abuse of the Sabbath, and a profane
ridicule with which every thing sacred was treated. A conduct so
derogatory to every Christian principle had from time to time been
severely reprobated; but it had now arrived at a height that called for
the exertion of every advocate for morality to subdue. Observing, that,
instead of employing the Sunday in the performance of those duties for
which that day was set apart, it was passed in the indulgence of every
abominable act of dissipation, the overseers of the different gangs were
strictly ordered to see their men mustered every Sunday morning, and to
attend with them at church. The superintendants and constables were to
see this order complied with, and that the women (who, to their disgrace,
were far worse than the men) were strictly looked after and made to
attend divine service regularly. And, as example might do something, the
officers were not only to send a certain number of their servants, but
they were also called upon, civil and military, to assist in the
execution of this order; to the meaning of which, the magistrates were
required in a particular degree to pay their attention, in compelling a
due obedience thereto, by preventing the opening of the licensed public
houses during the hours of divine service as well as any irregularity on
the day appropriated to the performance thereof.

In the evening of the 20th, the _Pomona_ and _Diana_, whalers
belonging to the southern fishery, anchored in the Cove. They brought an
account of much disturbance and disaffection in Ireland. Too much of the
same evil spirit seemed to prevail here among the late importations from
that kingdom.

Wishing to have that part of the coast examined in which a strait was
supposed to exist (between the latitude of 39 degrees 00 minutes S and
the land hitherto deemed the southern Promontory of New Holland, and
called Van Diemen's land), the governor resolved on sending Lieutenant
Flinders and Mr. Bass of the _Reliance_ on that service, in the
_Norfolk_, the small decked boat which had lately arrived from
Norfolk Island, and began fitting her properly for the voyage.

The battery on Point Maskelyne was nearly completed in this month. A few
carpenters were employed in laying a floor in Government House, and other
repairs; but several of the public works were nearly at a stand, many of
the sawyers being in the hospital. The powder magazine having been found
upon examination to be in a very insecure and dangerous state, the powder
was taken out and sent on board the _Supply_. This removal was the
more necessary, as an attempt had been made to open the door of the
magazine in the night. The weather was bad; and it was supposed that the
sentinel, whose box was thrown down and broken, had endeavoured to
shelter himself in the magazine.

The agricultural hands were employed in breaking up ground for maize in
the vicinity of Parramatta, and others were endeavouring to prepare
materials for a water-mill there.

The natives about this time excited a great deal of interest.

A young woman (nearly related to Bennillong), who had resided from her
infancy in the settlement, was most inhumanly murdered; and a native of
the Botany Bay district had driven a spear through the body of the lad
Nanbarrey. The name of the good-tempered girl (for such she was) was
War-re-weer; but, to distinguish her from others of the same name, an
addition was given to her in the settlement from a personal defect that
she had. Being blind of one eye, she was called, War-re-weer Wo-gul Mi,
the latter words signifying one eye. The circumstance of this girl's
being killed, and Nanbarrey wounded, occasioned much violence on the part
of their friends and relations, of which number were Cole-be and
Bennillong; the former of whom, falling in with the man who had wounded
the boy, revenged his treatment of him so fully that he died of his
wounds the following morning. Bennillong, in consequence of this, was
attacked, when alone, by two men; when he defended himself with much
address, and would have defied and foiled them both, had they kept fairly
and openly in his front; but one of them, with the treachery common to
those savage people, contrived to skulk behind, and throw a spear into
his side, the weapon penetrating seven inches into the cavity of his
body, and, from its direction, being supposed to have wounded the
intestines. He was taken on board the _Reliance_, where at first the
wound was attended with some unfavourable symptoms, nothing remaining
upon his stomach.

Gaining every day some further knowledge of the inhuman habits and
customs of these people, their being so thinly scattered through the
country ceased to be a matter of surprise. It was almost daily seen, that
from some trifling cause or other they were continually living in a state
of warfare; to this must be added their brutal treatment of their women,
who are themselves equally destructive to the measure of population, by
the horrid and cruel custom of endeavouring to cause a miscarriage, which
their female acquaintance effect by pressing the body in such a way, as
to destroy the infant in the womb; which violence not infrequently
occasions the death of the unnatural mother also. To this they have
recourse, to avoid the trouble of carrying the infant about when born,
which, when it is very young, or at the breast, is the duty of the woman.
The operation for this destructive purpose is termed Mee-bra. The burying
an infant (when at the breast) with the mother*, if she should die, is
another shocking cause of the thinness of population among them. The fact
that such an operation as the Mee-bra was practised by these wretched
people was communicated by one of the natives to the principal surgeon of
the settlement.

[* See Vol. I Appendix XI, viz: 'When the body was placed in the grave,
the bye-standers were amazed to see the father himself place the
living child in it with the mother. Having laid the child down,
he threw upon it a large stone, and the grave was instantly filled
in by the other natives. The whole business was so momentary, that
our people had not time or presence of mind sufficient to prevent it; and
on speaking about it to Cole-be, be, so far from thinking it inhuman,
justified the extraordinary act by assuring us that as no woman could be
found to nurse the child it must die a much worse death than that to
which he had put it. As a similar circumstance occurred a short time
after, we have every reason to suppose the custom always prevails among
them; and this may in some degree account for the thinness of population
which has been observed among the natives of the country.']

The death of the young man who was slain by Cole-be was to be revenged,
and a body of the southern or Tag-a-ry natives gave battle to those of
Sydney for that purpose several days after. The contest was carried on
with much desperation on both sides; three natives were killed, and
several others wounded, among whom was Bennillong, who, having perfectly
recovered of his late dangerous wound, appeared and fought on this
occasion as the friend of Cole-be.

The weather in the last month was remarked to be uncommonly cold. In the
latter part of this it was excessively sultry, and the wind high, which
set many parts of the country on fire, and destroyed some property. The
surveyor-general's house, and every article in it, was consumed by one of
these conflagrations.

September.] The _Barwell_ being ready for sea, she dropped down the
harbour on the 12th, and sailed the 17th of this month for China. Captain
Cameron, her commander, was allowed to receive on board about 50 persons
who had completed their period of transportation, and politely offered to
touch at Norfolk Island, for the purpose of landing any people whom the
governor might have occasion to send thither. In this ship Mr. Robert
Campbell, who arrived here in the _Hunter_ from Bengal, took his passage
to China. By this gentleman the governor addressed a letter to the
governor-general of India, informing his lordship, that having
transmitted to the Secretary of State copies of the letters upon the
subject of raising recruits in this country for the army in India, which
had been received in the year 1796*, by the officers who were sent from
Calcutta in the _Britannia_, it was the opinion of his Majesty's
ministers, that the inconveniences attending such a measure would more
than counter-balance the advantages of it, and that permission for that
purpose could not therefore be granted.

[* See Vol I Ch. XXXI, viz 'On board of this ship arrived two officers
of the Bengal army, Lieutenant Campbell and Mr. Phillips, a surgeon
of the military establishment for the purpose of raising two hundred
recruits from among those people who had served their respective
terms of transportation. They were to be regularly enlisted and
attested, and were to receive bounty-money; and a provisional
engagement was made with Mr. Raven, to convey them to India, if no other
service should offer for his ship.']

Indeed, had it been adopted, the army in India could not have been much
benefited; since, if the recruiting officers were nice as to the point of
character, small would be the number of their recruits, and, if not
overnice in this particular, small would be the portion of morality that
they would introduce.

In order to encourage as far as possible the rearing of swine in the
colony, as well as of every other kind of live stock, a circumstance that
must not only prove a great benefit to the public, but be also highly to
the advantage of those who devoted a part of their time to this useful
purpose, and which, from the advanced state of the private farms, might
now be done with far less trouble and expense than formerly, the settlers
and others were informed, that when any individual should have prepared a
number of such animals fit for the public store, they might make the same
known to the commissary, who, in order to prevent any unnecessary expense
to the feeder, would give immediate notice of the day and place when and
where he would receive them. He was also at liberty to enter into an
agreement or contract for a certain length of time, and on such
conditions as should be agreed, with any person who would engage to
furnish the public store either at Sydney, Parramatta, or the Hawkesbury,
with any certain quantity at stated periods.

The commander of the _Hunter_ snow, Mr. Fern, having found, like
most of those who had preceded him, that a voyage to New South Wales was
not a bad speculation, resolved on deriving some profit from his return.
It was understood at his departure, which was on the 20th, that he was
bound for New Zealand, for the purpose of cutting spars to load with back
to Bengal.*

[* Mr. Robert Campbell, who returned some time after to Port
Jackson, mentioned, that Captain Fern proceeded to the river Thames in
New Zealand, where his people cut down a quantity of very fine spars,
sufficient to load his vessel; but, being rather short of hands, he could
not have shipped them, had not the natives with much alacrity and good
humour assisted his people in getting them to the water's side. See Vol I
Ch. XXVIII, viz: 'In the course of that time they cut down upwards
of two hundred very fine trees, from sixty to one hundred and forty feet
in length, fit for any use that the East India Company's ships might
require. The longest of these trees measured three feet and a half in
the butt, and differed from the Norfolk Island pines in having the
turpentine in the centre of the tree instead of between the bark and
the wood. . . .']

Two men, who had been exploring the country to the northwest of Richmond
Hill and of the river Hawkesbury, fell in with the bones of two mares
which had been stolen some time since from Parramatta. It was very
probable, that the people who stole them had, after some time and
experience, found that travelling was not quite so practicable in this
country as they had imagined, and that, not being able to procure a
supply of food, they had been compelled by hunger to the necessity of
destroying their cattle, and living upon them as long as they could
possibly cat of them; after which they, no doubt, followed such route as
their judgment was capable of pointing out; but, unfortunately for them,
they could not have known which way they went. The bones of the mares,
the heads of which the men brought in to prevent any doubt of their
story, were found at not more than a good day's journey from the
Hawkesbury, which river they had no doubt crossed at one of its branches
higher up, where there are many fordable places.

Some of the whalers that were in the harbour, proceeding on their
fishery, the town was freed from the nuisance of their seamen, who could
not resist the two temptations, spirits and women, so peculiarly
calculated every where to lead them astray. The masters of the ships made
many complaints that they could not keep their people on board.

At Sydney the walls of the granary were completed, and part of the roof
got up. The battery also was finished.

The weather during the month had been so very sultry and dry, that there
was every appearance of being completely disappointed in the sanguine
expectations which had been entertained of a most abundant wheat harvest.
The pasture and garden grounds also were suffering exceedingly through
want of rain.


The _Semiramis_ arrives from Rhode Island
The church at Sydney burnt
Some vessels sail; the _Norfolk_ for Van Dieman's Land;
The _Francis_ for Norfolk Island
Another fire in the town
A ship arrives from the Cape with cattle
Works in hand
The governor's steward destroys himself
An order respecting the women
A battery erected
State of the harvest
The _Francis_ returns; and the _Nautilus_
The _Eliza_ from Sea
Three deaths
One good character recorded
Public works
Great heat
Returns of stock, and land in cultivation

October.] Another adventurer entered the port on the 1st of this month,
viz the _Semiramis_ from Rhode Island, bound to China. She made her
passage in three months and nine days. The master reported, that when he
left the States, they were thought to be on the eve of a rupture with

Between seven and eight o'clock in the evening of this day, the church on
the east side of the cove was discovered to be on fire. Every assistance,
as far as numbers could be useful, was given, but ineffectually; for the
building being covered with thatch, which was at this time exceedingly
dry and combustible, it was completely consumed in an hour.

This was a great loss, for during the working days of the week the
building was used as a school, in which from 150 to 200 children were
educated, under the immediate inspection of Mr. Johnson, the clergyman.
As it stood entirely alone, and no person was suffered to remain in it
after the school hours, there was not any doubt that this atrocious act
was the effect of design, and the consequence of the late order which had
been given out and had been rigidly executed, enforcing attendance on
divine service; and in the view of rendering, by the destruction of the
building, the Sabbath a day of as little decency and sobriety as any
other in the week. The perpetrators of this mischief were, however,
disappointed in their expectation; for the governor, justly deeming this
to have been the motive, and highly irritated at such a shameful act,
resolved, if no convenient place could immediately be found for the
performance of public worship, that, instead of Sunday being employed as
each should propose to himself, the whole of the labouring gangs should
be employed on that day in erecting another building for the purpose; it
happened, however, that a large storehouse was just at that time
finished; and, not being immediately wanted, it was fitted up as a
church; and thus not a single Sunday was lost by this wicked design.

For the discovery of the offender a reward of £30 was offered, together
with absolute emancipation to the informer if a convict, and a
recommendation to the master of any ship to take him or her from the
colony. But it was seen with concern, that rewards and punishments alike
failed in their effect.

This circumstance must impress upon the mind of every one who may read
this account, to what a dreadful state of profligacy the colony had
arrived, which, alarming as it was, must have been still worse, had it
not been for the civil police which fortunately had been established; for
a more wicked, abandoned, and irreligious set of people had never been
brought together before in any part of the colony. The hope of their
amendment seemed every day to lessen. The spirit of trade (not that
liberal spirit which characterises the British trader, but a mean,
selfish, avaricious passion, that hesitated not at any means to be
gratified) proved the source of every evil under which the settlers

Notwithstanding this picture of their vices, the colony was at this time,
generally speaking, in perfect health. For want of slop clothing and
bedding, indeed, they were much distressed; but on this or any other
account they were little deserving of any commiseration.

Since the last failure of those ill-considered attempts of the Irish to
escape from the colony, no further schemes of that nature had been
planned; but, as a matter of common justice to them, it was much wished
that regular accounts of the dates of their conviction, and their several
terms of transportation, might be sent out. They had been informed, that
a promise to this effect had been made by government.

On the 7th, the two Americans, the _Semiramis_, and _Argo_ schooner,
sailed for China. At the same time the _Nautilus_ brig, and
_Norfolk_ long-boat, sailed for Van Diemen's land. The _Nautilus_,
which had been in extreme distress for every kind of repair, was
completely put in order here; and, as the two young men who
had the care and direction of the speculation on which she was fitted out
from India, had been very unfortunate through the infirmities of their
vessel, and other causes, they were determined to try, during this
season, what the seal-fishing among the islands to the southward might

On the day following, the _Francis_ sailed for Norfolk Island, with
a few women and some stores for that settlement. As it was intended, that
on her return she should examine the shoal said to have been discovered
to the northward of Lord Howe Island, and make, if possible, and
ascertain the situation of, the island discovered in 1788 by Lieutenant
Shortland in the _Alexander_ transport, and named by him Sir Charles
Middleton island, Lieutenant John Shortland, of the _Reliance_, a
son of the above officer, was sent in the _Francis_, and was charged
with the sole direction of the vessel upon that service.

In the _Norfolk_ were Lieutenant Flinders and Mr. Bass, who were
instructed to examine the existence of the strait supposed to divide Van
Diemen's land from the continent.

The rage for trade already spoken of, which prevailed so universally in
the colony, occasioned such a continued scene of contention and
litigation among the people, that much public inconvenience was
experienced in the liberties which were taken of imprisoning the public
servants of the crown for debts contracted with many of the petty
dealers; notwithstanding an order which was given out in the year 1788,
by the late Governor Phillip, in which the colony was informed, that the
convicts (by whom were meant the public servants of the crown) had no
property of their own, their clothing, their time, and their labour,
being the property of government, and not at their own disposal. This
order having worn out of their recollection, it became necessary to renew
it, to prevent that loss of labour on the public works which imprisoning
their persons so improperly must occasion. Notice was therefore given,
that the public servants of the crown were not to be detained from their
duty by imprisoning their persons in this way; and if any person should
be desirous of accommodating them with credit, it must be wholly and
absolutely upon the strength of their own good faith in the integrity of
such people, and not under the idea that they could arrest and imprison
them according to the forms of law; and it was to be generally
understood, that government would by no means dispense with the labour of
its servants for the partial accommodation of any private dealings

On the evening of the 11th, another fire happened in the town of Sydney,
which, but for a great deal of care and activity, might have burnt all
the houses on the east side. A row of buildings which had been lately
erected for the nurses and other persons employed about the hospital, was
set on fire, and totally consumed. The flames very nearly reached the
boat-yard, in which were many concerns of value.

On the 20th, an American ship, the _Ann and Hope_, anchored in
Botany Bay, unfavourable winds having prevented her getting up so far as
Port Jackson. As the master only wanted a little wood and water, three
days were sufficient to procure them; and at the end of that period he
sailed for China. He certainly was either pressed for time, or had
nothing on board that he could part with, as the ships of his country had
always found it worth their while to refresh at Port Jackson.

Toward the latter end of the month the governor visited the settlers at
the Hawkesbury; and while he was there made some useful regulations among
the sawyers, who had fixed their own portion of public labour. He gave
notice, that a session should be held quarterly for settling all civil
concerns; and made some other local arrangements, which, if attended to,
would have conduced essentially to the welfare of the settlers, whose
farms he found promising plenty, but whose houses and persons wore the
appearance of poverty and beggary, they converting all the produce of
their farms to the unworthy purpose of purchasing a pernicious spirit
that must ever keep them poor.

In the evening of the 27th, the ship _Marquis Cornwallis_ arrived
from the Cape of Good Hope, with a cargo of cattle on government account,
consisting of 158 cows and 20 bulls, exclusive of a few on private
account. When they were landed, a few appeared weakly; but, in general,
they were in as good health as any that had been before landed, after a
voyage of such extent; and would certainly prove a vast acquisition to
the colony; part of the cows being a mixed breed between the Cape and
English cattle, and the whole appearing to be under the age of two years
and a half.

With the _Marquis Cornwallis_ arrived the _Indispensable_, a
southern whaler, commanded by Mr. Wilkinson, who had twice before visited
the settlement; but he sailed again immediately.

In this month the foundation of a stone building intended for a church
was laid at Sydney. It was to be 150 feet in length, and 52 in breadth.
Preparations were making for a similar building at Parramatta, which was
to be of smaller dimensions than this at Sydney.

The weather proved much too dry and sultry for the harvest. Some rain
fell toward the latter end of the month; but it was greatly feared that
it came too late to be of much benefit to the wheat or maize.

November.] Twice had the criminal court of judicature lately met for the
trial of various offenders; one of whom, being clearly convicted of
wilful perjury, stood in the pillory pursuant to his sentence.

Instead of living peaceably and pleasantly at the governor's house, as he
certainly might always have done, Bennillong preferred the rude and
dangerous society of his own countrymen, visiting the settlement only
when induced by the recollection of the comforts which he could no where
else obtain. Word was now brought in, of his having been again severely
wounded in a contest with some of the natives. This man had lately
received and recovered of several wounds, any one of which would have
been sufficient to have destroyed a European. But these people in general
owed their existence more to their good habit of body (living free from
the use of spirituous liquors and the luxuries of the table) than to any
other cause. Unless this be admitted, it will be difficult to account for
their surviving the desperate wounds which they have been often known to

An instance of the fatal effects of misguided conduct, and a too late
sense of criminality, occurred in the tragical end of Nathaniel Franklyn,
the governor's steward. This man, whom he brought from England, had the
whole care and management of the governor's domestic concerns entrusted
to him. He had been repeatedly cautioned by his master against the many
artful and designing acquaintances which he had formed in the town, and
was pointedly desired to be aware of not suffering himself to be
influenced by their opinions. It was proved that he had not had fortitude
enough to withstand their solicitations, but had consented to rob the
governor to a very considerable amount, abusing the confidence he had
placed in him, and making use of his name in a most iniquitous manner.
Of the infamy of his conduct he was at last sensible, and, retiring into
the shrubbery in the garden of the governor's house, shot himself through
the head.

The wretched state of the settlement appeared but too plainly from this
melancholy circumstance.

The complaints which were daily made of the refractory and disobedient
conduct of the convict women rendered it absolutely necessary that some
steps should be instantly taken to make them more clearly understand the
nature of their situation in this country, and the duties that they were
liable to perform. The governor, therefore, judged it proper to desire
that every officer or other housekeeper in the settlement, who might have
female servants in their families, would immediately forward to the
judge-advocate's office the names of such as they employed. He also
forbade them to protect from public labour any but those whom they were
permitted to retain; and when at any time they were desirous of
discharging from their employment any servant of this description, they
were to send an intimation thereof, together with a character of the
person, to the same office. As they had never been limited in the number
of women servants which they considered requisite to their domestic
concerns, it was hoped that they would afford every assistance in their
power, which might lead to the detection of imposition, and serve to
correct any abuse of such indulgence.

To the list of public buildings, which, young as was the settlement, time
had overthrown, was now added the government-house at Parramatta; the
roof of which falling-in in some bad weather, the building was surveyed,
and found so weak and decayed as not to admit of repairs. It was
therefore determined to take this entirely down, and erect a new one; for
which purpose a gang of brickmakers was shortly after sent up there.

At this place and at Toongabbie additional stock-yards were preparing for
the cattle lately arrived; and materials were collecting for building a
church and water-mill at Parramatta.

At Sydney the ship's company of the _Supply_ were actively and
usefully employed in constructing a half-moon battery on the east point
of the cove, where stood the house built by Governor Phillip for
Bennillong, in those days when it was thought an object of some moment to
soothe and conciliate the friendship of that savage.

There was but little variation in the weather, except that on the 25th
there was a violent burst of thunder, attended with partial whirlwinds,
by which several buildings were much damaged.

December.] At the departure of the ship _Marquis Cornwallis_ for
Bengal, which was on the 3rd of this month, several convicts were taken
from the settlement without permission. This evil could alone be checked
by severe prosecutions and penalties.

The harvest which was begun in the last, was completed in this month. In
the abundance that was expected, every one was disappointed; for, owing
to a most tedious and unfortunate drought during ten months, the wheat
did not turn out more than one-third of what, from the quantity of ground
sown with that grain, there was a reasonable expectation of its
producing, had the season been moderately favourable. This was the more
seriously felt, as at one time a hope was entertained of reaping grain
sufficient to supply the colony with bread for two years.

The conclusion of the harvest was productive of a slight disturbance
among the Irish convicts at Toongabbie. Having, each man and woman who
had been employed, received a small quantity of spirits and water, which
had been ordered them, it produced at first cheerfulness and play, but
terminated in riot and ill-humour; a circumstance not uncommon with that
class of people. They were, however, easily separated and sent to their
respective huts.

On the 19th, the _Francis_ schooner arrived from Norfolk Island,
where all were in good health. Lieutenant Shortland, who had received
directions to search for Sir Charles Middleton Island and shoal, on his
return produced his journal and a chart of the various traverses which he
had made in quest of the island, and compared them with those made
formerly by Lieutenant (now Captain) Ball in his Majesty's armed brig
_Supply_, who had been sent by Governor Phillip expressly on the
same pursuit. The extensive range taken by those two officers in the
search, and their not having met with even any indications of land near
that situation, left little reason to believe in the existence of the
island. That of the shoal was not so doubtful; and, although Mr.
Shortland did not fall in with it, yet, as a shoal had been seen by two
or three different persons near the spot in which that reef was laid
down, there was much reason to believe that a dangerous bank or shoal did
somewhere thereabout exist; but its exact situation in point of latitude
and longitude had not yet been correctly fixed, nor was its extent
supposed to be so great as was at first believed.

On the evening of the 25th, which had been duly observed as Christmas
Day, the _Nautilus_ arrived from the southward. She had been at
Preservation Island, where, and among the neighbouring islands, she had
been tolerably successful in seal-catching. The master left 14 of his
people on the island of Cape Barren, to provide as many skins and as much
oil as they could against his return. Those with which he now arrived
were in a few days sold by auction.

The two whalers, the _Indispensable_ and _Britannia_, which had
been fishing on the coast, returned on the 29th for a few days to repair
some defects and refresh their crews. They had cruised chiefly from the
latitude of 32 degrees 00 minutes to 35 degrees 00 minutes, and not
farther from the coast than from 20 to 30 leagues, and thought themselves
rather successful for the time (only two months), the one having got 54,
and the other 60 tons of spermaceti oil.

The _Eliza_ (more wisely) put into Botany Bay, to wood and water.
She, although much longer at seal had not been so successful, having got
only 45 tons of oil. The master of this ship stated, that he saw off the
NE part of New Caledonia a ship on shore upon a reef, the lower masts of
which were above water, and one of the tops was on the mast. The weather
was thick and hazy, and blew too fresh to allow him to send to examine
her; but a piece of a boat, which he took to be part of a whale boat,
floating near him, he judged the wreck to be that of a whaler. He also
fell in with a very dangerous and extensive shoal, lying NNW about 40
leagues from Sandy Cape, upon the coast of New South Wales. It was so
large, that, finding himself entered upon it, and unable to get back, it
took him from nine in the morning until six in the evening, going at the
rate of six knots (or miles) an hour, before he ran through it.

Thus already did the settlement and the public at large derive some
advantage from the fishing on the coast, by the discovery of this shoal.

There happened three deaths in this month which were out of the common
way: a woman at the Hawkesbury died of the bite of a snake; another woman
was drowned in attempting to land at Norfolk island; and on the 19th
died, very suddenly, Mr. Stephenson, the store-keeper at Sydney. As his
death was not exactly in the common way, so neither had been the latter
part of his life; indeed, all that part of it which he had passed in this
country; for, by an upright conduct, and a faithful discharge of the
duties of the office with which he had been entrusted, he secured to
himself the approbation of his superiors while living, and their good
name at his death.

Stephenson had been emancipated for his orderly behaviour, and to enable
him to execute the office of store-keeper.

The annual election of constables recurring about this time, the
magistrates were desired to be very particular in their selection of the
persons returned to them for that purpose; as there was reason to fear,
from the frequent escapes of prisoners from the different gaols, that the
constables had been tampered with, so shamefully to neglect their duty.

The wheat harvest being over, and the country, as happened generally at
this season of the year, every where on fire, those who were engaged in
farming were reminded of the necessity of their exerting themselves by
every practicable means to secure their crops, when stacked, against
accident by fire. As yet, none had been heard of. In the early part of
the month Farenheit's thermometer at the Hawkesbury stood at 107 degrees
in the shade.

Many people were at this time much afflicted with inflammations of the
eyes*, attended with extreme pain, and supposed by the medical gentlemen
to be occasioned by the excessive dry and sultry weather which had
prevailed for a considerable time. Dysenteric complaints were also very
common, which were attributed to the water, most of the runs and springs
having been nearly dried up. The tanks which were cut in the rocks below
the stream by order of Governor Phillip had proved of infinite utility.

[* In the month of April 1794 and 1796, several adults and
children were troubled with an inflammation of the eyes, which was then
attributed to the variable and unsettled weather that had for some time
prevailed. It must be remarked, that the present appearance of this
complaint was in the summer, the former in the winter season.]

The seamen belonging to the _Supply_ completed their half-moon
battery in this month, and part of that ship's guns were mounted in it.

In addition to other public works, some people were employed in
white-washing the houses in the town of Sydney, and repairing such of the
buildings as required it; an attention highly necessary at least once in
every year, for the preservation of works, the re-construction of which,
when suffered to fall to decay, was attended with a great expense.

The live stock and the ground in cultivation had been considerably
increased in this year, as will be seen by comparing the following
account of each with the return of the preceding year.


Horses               44
Mares                73
Horned Cattle
   Bulls and Oxen   163
   Cows             258
Hogs               2867
   Male            1459
   Female          2443
   Male             787
   Female          1880


Acres in Wheat     4659
Acres in Maize     1453
Acres in Barley      57½

It will appear from this account, which is brought down to the month of
August, and taken up from that month in the preceding year, that the
goats had not increased so much as the sheep. Many had of course been
slaughtered; but they were found to be afflicted with diseases which
carried them off in numbers, while the sheep were seen to thrive better.


Certificates granted to convicts
Reasons for so doing
Unruly behaviour of the Irish
Agricultural concerns look ill
The _Norfolk_ sloop returns from Van Dieman's Land
Twofold Bay described
The natives there
Kent's Group
Furneaux's Islands
Preservation Island
Curious petrifaction there
Cape Barren Island
The wombat described

January.] On the second of this month, certificates were granted to
such convicts as had completed their several terms of transportation.

That none might have it in their power to make a plea of any injustice
being exercised upon them with respect to that critical point their
servitude, it had been made a rule, three or four times in the year, to
issue discharge certificates to such as were found, on consulting the
proper documents, to be entitled to them; and, if desirous of being at
their own disposal, to strike them off from the victualling books. Many
convicts having been sent out, who had not more than two years to serve
after their arrival, proved, by claiming their discharge, a considerable
drawback on field-labour, as well in Norfolk Island as in New South
Wales. But this was not the only evil. In this way there were let loose
upon the public a number of idle and worthless characters, who, not
having any means of getting out of the country, became a dangerous and
troublesome pest. They refused all kind of labour, but continued to form
connections with the equally worthless part of the other inhabitants,
who, from their domestic situations, had an opportunity of affording the
best information where robberies and burglaries could be most readily
committed. They also consumed a vast proportion of the provision which
was raised in the colony. Still, as the law had spent its force against
them, there was no denying them the restoration of their rights as free
people. The convicts in general had suffered much through want of
clothing and bedding. Indeed, during the late harvest, several gangs were
seen labouring in the fields, as free of clothing of any kind as the
savages of the country. This had made them insolent; and anonymous
letters were dropped, in which were threatenings of what would be done at
the proper season.

At this time, when the certificates were granted, a numerous body of the
Irish convicts, many of whom had but lately arrived, insisted that 'their
times were out,' and could not be persuaded that they were mistaken by
any remonstrance or argument. They grew noisy and insolent, and even made
use of threats; upon which a few of the most forward and daring were
secured, and instantly punished; after which they were ordered to go
peaceably back to their work. They had also taken up the idea that
Ireland had shaken off its connection with England, and that they were no
longer to be considered as convicts under the British government. This
was a most pernicious idea to be entertained by such a lawless set of
people, and required the strong arm of government to eradicate it.

Agricultural concerns at this time wore a most unpromising appearance.
The wheat proved little better than straw or chaff, and the maize was
burnt up in the ground for want of rain. From the establishment of the
settlement, so much continued drought and suffocating heat had not been
experienced. The country was now in flames; the wind northerly and
parching; and some showers of rain, which fell on the 7th, were of no
advantage, being immediately taken up again by the excessive heat of the

On the 12th, the _Norfolk_ sloop arrived, with Lieutenant Flinders
and Mr. Bass, from the examination of Van Diemen's land.

As the result of this little voyage was the complete knowledge of the
existence of a strait separating Van Diemen's land from the continent of
New Holland, it may not be improper to enter with some degree of
minuteness into the particulars of it; and the writer of these pages
feels much gratification in being enabled to do this, from the accurate
and pleasing journal of Mr. Bass, with the perusal and use of which he
has been favoured.

The _Norfolk_ sailed, as has been already stated, upon this voyage
of discovery about the 7th of October last, with Lieutenant Flinders and
Mr. Bass; and on the 11th, when nearly off Cape Howe, being met by a
fresh gale at SW they bore up, and anchored in Twofold Bay. This bay had
been visited by Mr. Bass when he was on the coast in the whale boat; but
he had not at that time so good an opportunity of examining it as he
desired, and now had. He found Twofold Bay situated at the southern end
of a short chain of hummocky hills, one part of which is much more
conspicuous than the rest, and lies immediately behind the bay. The land
on the west side, being a part of this chain of hills, is high and rocky.
The shore is divided into steep cliff heads, with small intermediate
beaches; the one formed by the most prominent of the ridges, the others
by the sand thrown up at the foot of their valleys. Behind the beaches
are ponds of brackish water.

The abruptness and sudden rise of the hills for the most part permit the
vegetable earth to be washed down into the vallies as fast as it is
formed. Some of the more gradual slopes retain a sufficiency of it to
produce a thick coat of tolerably succulent grass; but the soil partakes
too much of the stony quality of the higher parts to be capable of

The dark luxuriant foliage of the valleys points out the advantages which
they had received from the impoverished hills. Their soil is rich and
deep, but their extent is narrow and limited. Some three or four hundred
acres of excellent soil might be found upon the edges of the ponds, and
by the sides of the occasional drains that supply them with the fresh
part of their water.

Both hill and valley produce large timber and brush-wood of various
heights; upon the hills, the brush grows in small clumps; while in the
valleys it not only covers the whole surface, but is also bound together
by creeping vines, of every size between small twine and a seven inch

In the SW corner of the bay, is a lagoon, or small inlet, that
communicates with the sea, through the beach at the back of which it
lies. The chain of hills here runs back to some little distance from the
water, and leaves a few square miles of rather good ground, through which
the inlet was found to take its course in a winding direction to the SW
for six or eight miles, where it ends in small swamps and marshes. Large
boats might enter this place at a third flood, and proceed to the farther
part of it. Upon its banks from five to seven hundred acres of a light
sandy soil might be picked out, in patches of from fifty to a hundred
acres each; but on the side next the mountain it soon became stony, and
on that next the lagoon it was wet and salt.

The country along the back of the bay lies in rounded stony hills
scarcely fit for pasturage, but covered with timber, and patches of short

On the south side was another shallow inlet, larger than that on the SW
running in by the end of a beach, and winding along to the SSW with
little or no cultivable or low ground upon its borders. The returning
tide did not allow time enough to proceed to the head of it.

On the eastern side, the hills being neither steep nor prominent, some
extensive slopes of tolerably good, though sandy soil, have been formed.
Several which extended to the water, being well covered with grass and
thinly set with timber, had a pleasing appearance from the bay, and
resembled some of the most beautiful parts of Mount Edgecumbe, near
Plymouth. Speaking generally of the land round the bay, it might be said
to be much more barren that productive; that there are several patches of
tolerably good, and some few of excellent soil; but by far the greater
part is incapable of cultivation, and fit only for pasturage.

The most common timber is a sort of gum tree, the bark of which along the
trunk is that of the iron bark of Port Jackson; and its leaf, that of the
blue gum tree; but its branches toward the head are of a yellow colour,
smooth, and resembling the barked limbs of trees. The wood is longer
grained, and more tough, splitting easier and more true than any other
species of the gum tree.

The natives are, in person, similar to those living about Port Jackson,
but their language was perfectly unintelligible. They used canoes, of
which they seemed very careful; for on his rowing round the point of Snug
Cove, when Mr. Bass was on his first visit to this bay in the whale boat,
a party of them paddled hastily on shore, taking their canoes upon their
heads, and running off with them into the woods. They, however, did not
appear so shy of their visitors now as they had formerly been; and there
was reason to believe that a friendly intercourse might have been easily
established with them.

Not meeting with any grass trees, and the few spears that were seen being
made of solid wood, it may be conjectured that the light grass reed
spear used by the natives of Port Jackson is unknown among these people,
as well as the use of the throwing-stick.

But very few marks of the kangaroo were seen. Both quadrupeds and birds
appeared to be less numerous here than in other places. The dogs found a
porcupine ant-eaters, but they could make no impression on him; he
escaped from them by burrowing in the loose sand, not head foremost, but
sinking himself directly downwards, and presenting his prickly back
opposed to his adversaries.

There were a few ducks, teal, herons, cranes, and a bird named from its
bill the Red-bill, upon the lagoons, with some small flights of curlew
and plover of a beautiful feather.

The rocks consist of hardened clay, in which are mixed great numbers of
small stones, variously tinged, some with red, others with yellow. Small
portions of calcareous spar lie scattered about the surface of the rocky
ground; strata of which are deposited irregularly in fissures formed in
the body of the rocks themselves.

Leaving Twofold Bay upon a favourable shift of wind, the sloop proceeded
to the southward, and on the 17th made a small cluster of islands, in
latitude 38 degrees 16 minutes, which now bears the name of Kent's Group
(a compliment to the commander of his Majesty's ship _Supply_).
These are six or seven in number, and of various sizes. Their height is
very considerable, and as irregular in figure as can well be imagined in
land whose hummocks are no one of them more lofty than another. This
small group appears to be formed of granite, which is imperfectly
concealed by long straggling dwarfish brush, and some few still more
diminutive trees, and seems cursed with a sterility that might safely bid
defiance to Chinese industry itself. Nature is either working very slowly
with those islands, or has altogether ceased to work upon them, since a
more wild deserted place is not easily to be met with. Even the birds
seemed not to frequent them in their usual numbers. There was, in short,
nothing that could tempt our explorers to land.

Having passed Kent's Group standing to the southward, the next morning
Furneaux's Islands were in sight, and on the following day they anchored
at Preservation Island, which is one of them. These islands, from what
was seen of them during this run along their shore, and what had been
seen of them before by Mr. Bass, appear to consist of two kinds,
perfectly dissimilar in figure, and most probably of very unequal ages,
but alike in the materials of which they are formed. Both kinds are of
granite; but the one is low, and rather level, with a soil of sand
covered with low brush and tufted grass: the other is remarkably high,
bold, and rocky, and cut into a variety of singular peaks and knobs. Some
little vegetable soil lies upon these, and the vegetation is large; trees
even of a tolerable size are produced in some places. There are attached
to some parts of these high islands slips of low sandy land, of a similar
height with the lower islands, and probably coeval with them.

Preservation Island, which takes its respectable name from having
preserved the crew of the ship _Sydney Cove_, arranges itself in the
humble class of islands, and is of a very moderate height. A surface of
sand, varying in depth, and mixed in different scanty proportions with
vegetable soil, scarcely hides from view the base, which is of granite.
In several places vast blocks of this stone lie scattered about, as free
from vegetation and the injuries of weather as if they had fallen but
yesterday: and, what is remarkable, most of them, probably all, are
evidently detached from the stone upon which they rest, so entirely that
they might be dragged from the places where they lie, if it were thought
worth while to apply a power sufficient to produce so useless an effect.
It should seem then that these loose blocks have fallen from some place
higher than that upon which they were found; but that is impossible, for
they are higher than any other part of the island. And the supposition
that the injuries of the air and the rain caused the removal of that part
of the granite which might originally have been of a corresponding height
with these remaining blocks, seems hardly admissible in the present
instance. Perhaps subterraneous or volcanic fire may have caused this
curious appearance.

The great bulk of these blocks renders them so conspicuous, that the
attention is first struck with them upon approaching the island. But,
besides granite, there is on the north side, where the island is
particularly low and narrow, a slip of calcareous earth, of a few hundred
yards in length, which discovers itself near the broken surface of the
water. It is not for the most part pure, for broken pieces of the granite
are mixed with it in various proportions. Some parts are a mere mass of
these broken pieces cemented together by the calcareous matter; whilst
others are an almost perfect chalk, and are capable of being burnt into
excellent lime. Broken sea shells and other exuviae of marine animals are
apparent throughout the whole mass.

Upon the beach at the foot of this chalky rock, was found a very
considerable quantity of the black metallic particles which appear
in the granite as black shining specks, and are in all probability
grains of tin.

To find this small bed of the remains of shell animals, of which chalk is
formed wherever found, in such an unexpected situation, excited some
surprise; and Mr. Bass endeavoured to investigate the cause of this
deposit, by examining the form of the neighbouring parts of the island.

The result of his inquiries and conjectures amounted to this: that as
traces of the sea, and of the effects of running waters, were plainly
discernible in many parts of the island, and more particularly in the
vicinity of this deposit of chalk and granite, it seemed highly probable
that it had been formed by two streams of the tide, which, when the
island was yet beneath the surface of the sea, having swept round a large
lump of rocks, then met and formed an eddy, where every substance would
fall to the bottom. The lump of rocks is now a rocky knoll, which runs
tapering from the opposite side of the island toward the chalk. On each
side of it is a gap, through which the two streams appear to have passed.

The vegetation on the island seems brown and starved. It consists of a
few stunted trees; several patches of brush, close set and almost
impenetrable; large tufts of sour and wiry grass, and abundance of low
saltish plants, chiefly of the creeping kind.

A small spot upon the east end of the island presented a phenomenon which
seemed not easily explicable by any known laws of that class of natural
history to which it alone was referable.

Amidst a patch of naked sand, upon one of the highest parts of the
island, at not less than 100 feet above the level of the sea, within the
limits of a few hundred yards square, were lying scattered about a number
of short broken branches of old dead trees, of from one to three inches
in diameter, and seemingly of a kind similar to the large brush wood.
Amid these broken branches were seen sticking up several white stony
stumps, of sizes ranging between the above diameters, and in height from
a foot to a foot and a half. Their peculiar form, together with a number
of prongs of their own quality, projecting in different directions from
around their base, and entering the ground in the manner of roots,
presented themselves to the mind of an observer, with a striking
resemblance to the stumps and roots of small trees. These were extremely
brittle, the slightest blow with a stick, or with each other, being
sufficient to break them short off; and when taken into the hand, many of
them broke to pieces with their own weight.

On being broken transversely, it was immediately seen that the internal
part was divided into interior or central, exterior or cortical. The
exterior part, which in different specimens occupied various proportions
of the whole, resembled a fine white and soft grit-stone; but acids being
applied, showed it to be combined with a considerable portion of
calcareous matter. The interior or central part was always circular, but
seldom found of the same diameter, or of the same composition, on any two
stumps. In some the calcareous and sandy matter had taken such entire
possession, that every fragment of the wood was completely obliterated;
but yet a faint central ring remained. In others was a centre of chalk,
beautifully white, that crumbled between the fingers to the finest
powder; some consisted of chalk and brown earth, in various quantities,
and some others had detained a few frail portions of their woody fibres,
the spaces between which were filled up with chalky earth.

It appeared, that when the people of the _Sydney Cove_ first came
upon the island, the pieces of dead branches that at this time were lying
round the stumps, then formed, with them, the stem and branches of dead
trees complete. But by the time Mr. Bass visited the place, the hands of
curiosity, and the frolics of an unruly horse that was saved from the
wreck, had reduced them to the state already described.

Mr. Bass had been told from good authority, that when the trees were in a
complete state, the diameter of the dead wood of the stem that rose
immediately from the stoney part was equal to the diameter of that part;
and also that a living leaf was seen upon the uppermost branches of one
of them. But he could never learn whether the stony part of the stem was
of an equal height in all the trees.

To ascertain to what depth the petrification had extended, Mr. Bass
scratched away the sand from the foot of many of the stumps, and in no
instance found it to have proceeded more than three or four inches
beneath the surface of the sand, as it then lay; for at that depth the
brown and crumbling remains of the root came into view. There were,
indeed, parts of the roots which had undergone an alteration similar to
that which had taken place in the stems: but these tended to establish
the limits of the petrifying power; for they had felt it only either at
their first outset from the bottom of the stems, or when, being
obstructed in their progress, they had of necessity arched upwards toward
the surface.

In attempting to account for the cause that had operated to produce this
change in the structure of the lower parts of the stems of these trees,
Mr. Bass feels the utmost diffidence. He found that all his conjectures
which were best supported by existing facts, led him to place them among
petrifications; although no strict analogy could be seen between them and
the subjects usually met with of this kind.

Admitting them, however, as petrifications, it is certain that there must
once have existed a pond in which the petrifying water was contained; but
the ground in their neighbourhood retained no positive traces of any such
receptacle. There were, indeed, near them, some few lumps or banks
consisting of sand, and a little vegetable earth which was held together
by dead roots of small trees, and elevated above the rest of the ground,
to the height of five, six, or eight feet; but the relative position of
these with each other was so confused and irregular, that nothing but the
necessity of a once existing reservoir could ever lead any one to
conjecture that these might have been parts of its bank. Mr. Bass,
however, rather concluded that this must have been the case, and that the
remainder of the bank had been torn away, and the pond itself annihilated
by some violent effort of an unknown power.

Notwithstanding the narrow limits of the island, abundance of small
kangaroos were found to inhabit its brushy parts; but so many had been
destroyed by the people of the _Sydney Cove_, that they had now
become scarce.

The sooty petrel had appropriated a certain grassy part of the island to
herself, and retained her position with a degree of obstinacy not easily
to be overcome. For although it so happened, that the storehouse for the
wrecked cargo was erected upon the spot, and the people for more than a
year drew the favourite part of their food from these birds, and were
besides continually walking over their habitations, yet at the end of
that time the returning flights in the evening were as numerous as they
had been observed to be upon their first arrival.

When Mr. Hamilton, the commander of the _Sydney Cove_, quitted the
house, he left two hens sitting upon their eggs, some breeding pigeons,
and a bag of rice; but no traces were now to be discovered either of the
birds or their food. It is probable, that so long as this little colony
continued within doors, it did well; but that, when forced by its
necessities to go abroad in quest of food, it fell a quiet sacrifice to
the rapacity of the hawks.

Several snakes with venomous fangs were found here; but, no person having
been bitten by them, the degree of their power was unknown.

The water of the island was thought to have been injurious to the health
of the people of the _Sydney Cove_. It was supposed to contain
arsenic, which was highly probable from an experiment that was made with
the metallic particles, which were taken to be tin. A large fume of what
bore many marks of arsenic arose from the crucible during the time of
smelting it. Water was very scarce while these people were upon the
island; but, owing to some unusual falls of rain, several little runs and
swamps were found by Mr. Bass; and a low piece of ground where they had
deposited their dead was now a pond of an excellent quality.

Although he had seen but few of the low islands of Furneaux, yet Mr. Bass
had not any doubt but that this account of Preservation Island would in
general answer for the description of any of them.

He next proceeds to describe what little he saw of Cape Barren Island,
which he understood, from the people of the _Nautilus_ snow, who had
been there sealing, was an exact specimen of those of the higher kind, so
far as they had observed of them.

Cape Barren Island, which takes its name from the cape so called by
Captain Furneaux, is a small island when compared with that lying to
the northward of it. From what was seen of it in the sloop, it could only
be conjectured that these two were separate islands; but Mr. Bishop had
passed in the _Nautilus_ through the channel that divides them.

Mr. Bass did not land upon the large island, and it is only of the
southern end of Cape Barren Island that he could speak from his own
particular observation.

This island is one of those of the higher kind that consist of both high
and low land. The high part is composed of granite, in many places almost
bare, in others poorly clothed with moderate sized gum trees, which draw
their support through some small quantity of vegetable earth lodged by
the broken blocks and fragments of the stone, and some straggling
brush-wood shooting up round the trees, and completing the appearance of
a continued vegetation.

The base of the low part is granite; its surface chiefly sand; its
produce, variety of brush, with some few small gum trees, and a species
of fir, that grows tall and straight to the height of 20 or 25 feet.
There are within the body of the brush several clear spots, where the
ground is partly rocky or sandy, partly wet and spongy. These are
somewhat enlivened by beautiful flowering heath, and low shrubs, but have
upon the whole a dark sombrous aspect, too much resembling the barren
heaths of Hampshire.

A grass tree grows here, similar in every respect to that about Port
Jackson, except that no reed, neither living nor dead, could be found to
belong to it. It is certain, however, that there must be a reed, or a
flowering part of some kind. In the brushes, where the sandy soil is
somewhat ameliorated by the decay of vegetation, a few tufts of
indifferent grass might be seen; but the greater part of it was the
coarse wiry sort that grows in hassocks.

It is singular, that a place wherein food seemed to be so scarce should
yet be so thickly inhabited by the small brush kangaroo, and a new
quadruped, which was also a grass-eater.

This animal, being a new one, appears to deserve a particular
description. The Wombat (or, as it is called by the natives of Port
Jackson, the Womback) is a squat, thick, short-legged, and rather
inactive quadruped, with great appearance of stumpy strength, and
somewhat bigger than a large turnspit dog. Its figure and movements, if
they do not exactly resemble those of the bear, at least strongly remind
one of that animal.

Its length, from the tip of the tail to the tip of the nose, is thirty-one
inches, of which its body takes up twenty-three and five-tenths. The head
is seven inches, and the tail five-tenths. Its circumference behind the
forelegs, twenty-seven inches; across the thickest part of the belly,
thirty-one inches. Its weight by hand is somewhat between twenty-five and
thirty pounds. The hair is coarse, and about one inch or one inch and
five tenths in length, thinly set upon the belly, thicker on the back and
head, and thickest upon the loins and rump; the colour of it a light
sandy brown, of varying shades, but darkest along the back.

The head is large and flattish, and, when looking the animal full in the
face, seems, excluding the ears, to form nearly an equilateral triangle,
any side of which is about seven inches and five tenths in length, but
the upper side, or that which constitutes the breadth of the head, is
rather the shortest. The hair upon the face lies in regular order, as if
it were combed, with its ends pointed upwards in a kind of radii, from
the nose their centre.

The ears are sharp and erect, of two inches and three-tenths in length,
stand well asunder, and are in nowise disproportionate. The eyes are
small, and rather sunken than prominent, but quick and lively. They are
placed about two inches and five tenths asunder, a little below the
centre of the imaginary triangle towards the nose. The nice co-adaptation
of their ciliary processes, which are covered with a fine hair, seems to
afford the animal an extraordinary power of excluding whatever might be

The nose is large or spreading, the nostrils large, long, and capable of
being closed. They stand angularly with each other, and a channel is
continued from them towards the upper lip, which is divided like the
hare's. The whiskers are rather thick and strong, and are in length from
two to three inches and five tenths.

The opening of its mouth is small; it contains five long grass-cutting
teeth in the front of each jaw, like those of the kangaroo; within them
is a vacancy for an inch or more, then appear two small canine teeth of
equal height with, and so much similar to, eight molars situated behind,
as scarcely to be distinguishable from them. The whole number in both
jaws amount to twenty-four.

The neck is thick and short, and greatly restrains the motions of the
head, which, according to the common expression, looks as if it was stuck
upon the shoulders.

From the neck the back arches a little as far as the loins, whence
it goes off at a flat slope to the hindmost parts, where not any tail
is visible. A tail, however, may be found by carefully passing the
finger over the flat slope in a line with the backbone. After separating
the hairs, it is seen of some five tenths of an inch in length, and
from three to one tenth of an inch in diameter, naked, except for a few
short fine hairs near its end. This curious tall seemed to hold a much
bolder proportion in the young than in the full-grown animal.

The fore legs are very strong and muscular: their length, to the sole of
the paw, is five inches five tenths, and the distance between them is
five inches and five tenths. The paws are fleshy, round, and large, being
one inch and nine tenths in diameter. Their claws are five in number,
attached to as many short digitations. The three middle claws are strong,
and about eight or nine tenths of an inch in length; the thumb and little
finger claws are also strong, but shorter than the others, being only
from six to seven tenths of an inch. The fleshy root of the thumb claw is
smaller and more flexible than the others. The sole of the paw is hard,
and the upper part is covered with the common hair, down to the roots of
the claws which it overhangs. The hind legs are less strong and muscular
than the fore; their length, to the sole, is five inches and five tenths;
the distance between, seven inches and five tenths. The hind paw is
longer than the fore, but not less fleshy; its length is two inches and
seven tenths, its breadth two inches and six tenths. The claws are four
in number: the three inner ones are less strong, but about two tenths of
an inch longer than the longest of the fore claws; and there is a fleshy
spur in the place of a thumb claw. The whole paw has a curve, which
throws its fore part rather inward.

In size the two sexes are nearly the same, but the female is perhaps
rather the heaviest.

In the opinion of Mr. Bass, this Wombat seemed to be very economically
made; but he thought it unnecessary to give an account of its internal
structure in his journal.

This animal has not any claim to swiftness of foot, as most men could run
it down. Its pace is hobbling or shuffling, something like the awkward
gait of a bear. In disposition it is mild and gentle, as becomes a
grass-eater; but it bites hard, and is furious when provoked. Mr. Bass
never heard its voice but at that time; it was a low cry, between a
hissing and a whizzing, which could not be heard at a distance of more
than thirty or forty yards. He chased one, and with his hands under his
belly suddenly lifted him off the ground without hurting him, and laid
him upon his back along his arm, like a child. It made no noise, nor any
effort to escape, not even a struggle. Its countenance was placid and
undisturbed, and it seemed as contented as if it had been nursed by Mr.
Bass* from its infancy. He carried the beast upwards of a mile, and often
shifted him from arm to arm, sometimes laying him upon his shoulder, all
of which he took in good part; until, being obliged to secure his legs
while he went into the brush to cut a specimen of a new wood, the
creature's anger arose with the pinching of the twine; he whizzed with
all his might, kicked and scratched most furiously, and snapped off a
piece from the elbow of Mr. Bass's Jacket with his grass-cutting teeth.
Their friendship was here at an end, and the creature remained implacable
all the way to the boat, ceasing to kick only when he was exhausted.

[* The kangaroo, and some other animals in New South Wales, were
remarkable for being domesticated as soon as taken.]

This circumstance seemed to indicate, that with kind treatment the Wombat
might soon be rendered extremely docile, and probably affectionate; but
let his tutor beware of giving him provocation, at least if he should be
full grown.

Besides Furneaux's Islands, the Wombat inhabits, as has been seen, the
mountains to the westward of Port Jackson. In both these places its
habitation is under ground, being admirably formed for burrowing, but to
what depth it descends does not seem to be ascertained. According to the
account given of it by the natives, the wombat of the mountains is never
seen during the day, but lives retired in his hole, feeding only in the
night; but that of the islands is seen to feed in all parts of the day.
His food is not yet well known; but it seems probable that he varies it,
according to the situation in which he may be placed. The stomachs of
such as Mr. Bass examined were distended with the coarse wiry grass, and
he, as well as others, had seen the animal scratching among the dry ricks
of sea-weed thrown up upon the shores, but could never discover what it
was in search of. Now the inhabitant of the mountains can have no
recourse to the sea-shore for his food, nor can he find there any wiry
grass of the islands, but must live upon the food that circumstances
present to him.

The annexed representation of this new and curious addition to the
animals of New South Wales was taken from a living subject, which was a
female, and had the characteristic mark which classed it with the opossum
tribe, the pouch or bag for its young.

Cape Barren Island, besides the kangaroo and wombat, is inhabited by the
porcupine ant-eater; a rat with webbed feet; paroquets, and small birds
unknown at Port Jackson, some few of which were of beautiful plumage.
Black snakes with the venomous fangs were numerous upon the edges of the
brush. The rocks toward the sea were covered with fur-seals of great
beauty. This species of seal seemed to approach nearest to that named by
naturalists the Falkland Island Seal.

'In point of animated life nature seems (says Mr. Bass) to have acted so
oddly with this and the neighbouring islands, that if their rich stores
were thoroughly ransacked, I doubt not but the departments of natural
history would be enlarged by more new and valuable specimens than they
ever before acquired from any land of many times their extent.'


The _Norfolk_ proceeds on her voyage
The Swan Isles; why so named
Waterhouse Isle
Discover Port Dalrymple
Account of the country within it
Natural productions
Sagacity and numbers of the black swan
Inhabitants; inferior to those of the continent
Range of the thermometer
Pass Table Cape
Circular head
Three Hummock Island
Albatross Island
Hunter's Isles
Proceed to the southward and westward

Leaving Furneaux's Islands, the _Norfolk_ proceeded toward the North
coast of Van Diemen's land; and on the 1st of November she anchored for a
tide at the largest of the Swan isles, two small islands so named by
Lieutenant Flinders, when he was here in the _Francis_, because a
European who belonged to the _Sydney Cove_ had assured him that he
had met with vast numbers of breeding swans upon them.

The isle at which the sloop anchored bore a great resemblance to
Preservation Island, being low, sandy, and barren, but differed from it
in the composition of its rocks, or that substance which formed the basis
of its support. This had not any affinity to granite, nor did Mr. Bass
remember to have seen any of a similar kind upon any part of New South
Wales. It was of various colours, but generally either a light brown, or
a sort of grey. It seemed to be lamellated, but the lamellae were placed
vertically, sometimes radiated with a diameter of four or five feet, and
sometimes they were placed parallel. Upon breaking the stone, the
fracture was vitreous, or like that of glass, and it scintillated on
steel being applied. Rust of iron was visible in several parts, the
stone breaking easily in those parts into plates correspondent to the
length and direction of the rust; but where that was not, it broke with
great difficulty. On the first view, the stone looked like a clay; but as
it produced fire with steel, there must have been a large portion of
flint in it. It appeared to contain iron in rather a large quantity, and
probably some other metallic substances.

Notwithstanding the information given by the European, not a single swan
was found upon the island; but several geese were breeding there, and the
sooty petrel possessed the grassy parts; the swans of the sailor, in this
instance, therefore, turned out to be geese. This bird had been seen
before upon Preservation Island, and was either a Brent or a Barnacle
goose, or between the two. It had a long and slender neck, with a small
short head, and a rounded crown; a short, thick arched bill, partly
covered with a pea-green membrane which soon shrivelled up, and came
away in the dried specimens. Its plumage was, for the most part, of a
dove colour, set with black spots. It had a deep, hoarse, clanging, and,
though a short, yet an inflected voice. In size it was rather less than
our tame geese, and lived upon grass. The flesh was excellent.

Early in the morning of the first of November they left the Swan Isles,
steering to the westward along shore. At nine o'clock the north coast of
Van Diemen's land lay extended from about SE by E to West, the nearest
part of it being distant two and a half or three miles. Its general
trending seemed to be about ESE and WNW with a small island lying off the
western extreme. The shores were chiefly beaches, the front land was of a
moderate height, the back was mountainous. One ridge of mountains that
bore south was very high and rugged, and from the white patches in it was
concluded to be rocky and barren.

If any judgment could be hazarded of the quality of the country, at the
distance the sloop was at, it might be supposed, from the beauty of the
lower head-land, to be somewhat above mediocrity. Extensive tracts of
open ground that come down towards the sea in gradual green slopes were
varied by clumps of wood and large single trees.

A column of smoke that arose some few miles inland, was the only sign of
its being inhabited.

At noon the latitude was 40 degrees 44 minutes 08 seconds, the peak of
Cape Barren Island then in sight. At this time they were two miles to
the westward of the small island, which was low and rocky, lying about
two miles and a half off a sharp, sandy point, with which it was nearly
connected by some lumps of rock that almost closed up the passage.
A long curved line of ripple extended to the northward.

The aspect of the low land here became less pleasing, the mountains
approaching nearer to the sea, and the country appearing to be more
wooded. The coast seemed inclined to a more southerly direction, and the
western extremity, which bore SW by W, appeared broken, like Islands.
At five in the afternoon they anchored two miles and a half to the
westward of the small island, it being calm, and the tide of ebb setting
the vessel to the Northward.

They weighed at nine the next morning with an easterly wind, and steered
in towards a small break that presented itself in the bottom of an
extensive but not deep bay, or rather bight, lying between the two
extremes then in view. The break was not sufficiently distinct to have
justified in itself alone a reasonable supposition of an inlet, but that
it was corroborated by the direction of the ebb tide, which, while the
sloop was at anchor, was observed to come from the SSW or directly out of
the bight, running at the rate of two miles and a half per hour. By noon,
it being ascertained that there was not any inlet, they bore away to the
Westward along the land.

Their distance from the shore did not exceed a mile and a half. The back
country consisted of high hummocky mountains, whose parallel edges were
lying elevated one above another to a considerable distance inland. The
land in front was woody and bushy, of a moderate height, but sandy.

At three in the afternoon they ran through between a sandy point, with
shoal water off it, and two islands. One of these, named Waterhouse Isle,
is between two and three miles in length, rather high, but level, and
covered with large wood. The other is small, low, rocky, and almost bare.
The coast now trended to the SSW the land sloping up gradually from the
sea to a moderate height, with more open than wooded ground, and but
little brush; but the soil appeared sandy, and the grass but thinly
grown. The hummocky mountains still retained their general figure in the
more interior parts.

As they proceeded, the shore no longer preserved any regular line of
direction, but fell back into sandy bights. Hauling off for the night, a
little to the westward of a small rocky and barren island, lying about
four miles from the land, at six o'clock the following morning they came
in with it again, near where they had left it the preceding evening, and
began their course along the shore, which trended to the SSW in an
irregular manner, with a sandy country at its back.

At eleven o'clock they passed within a mile of a high grassy cape, which
is the seaward extremity of a ridge, that, rising up by a gentle ascent,
retreats and joins some chains of lofty mountains. A small rocky island
lay two miles from it to the WSW. At noon the latitude was 40 degrees 55
minutes 25 seconds, and the longitude 147 degrees 16 minutes 30 seconds.

Early in the afternoon a gap in the land situated at the back of a deep
narrow bight, which had for some time attracted attention, began to
assume the appearance of an inlet, which they bore away to examine; and,
after running three miles, they found they had shut in the line of the
coast on each side, and were impelled forward by a strong inset of tide.
Continuing their course for the gap, some back points within the entrance
soon became distinguishable, and the rapidity of the flood tide was
observed to increase with the increasing contiguity of the shores. When
the sloop was on the point of entering the harbour, which appeared to be
fairly open before her, the water shoaled suddenly, and she struck the
ground and lay fast; but fortunately the strong flood in a few minutes
dragged her over into deep water, and shot her into the entrance with
uncommon velocity.

Having advanced within the entrance, the harbour began to expand itself
in a kind of large basin. Its shores were broken into points and
projections, between some of which the great strength of the flood tide
led them to expect it would branch off into arms. The land lying
immediately upon its borders was low, but not flat; well wooded; and
those points near which the sloop passed were clothed with a very unusual
degree of verdure. The sun being down, the vessel was anchored for the
night, and the next day they proceeded with their researches.

They were employed during sixteen days in the examination of this place;
and the result of the observations which were made by Mr. Bass in
different parts of it, and the neighbouring country, are thrown by that
gentleman into one general account.

This harbour, or inlet, which was named by the governor Port Dalrymple,
in compliment to Alexander Dalrymple, esq takes its course from the SE
between two chains of rounded mountains, stretching inland from the sea
with an almost imperceptible increase of elevation; and, after gradually
approximating each other, seemed to unite, at the distance of between
thirty and forty miles, in a body of rugged mountains more lofty than
themselves. These two chains in their relative positions formed an acute
angle, being at their greatest distance asunder, as measured along the
sea coast, only sixteen miles.

Being limited in point of time (twelve weeks having been deemed by the
governor sufficient for the execution of this service), the apprehension
of losing a wind favourable for the prosecution of the principal object
of the voyage, that of sailing through the strait, deterred them from
attempting to reach the head of the river; but it was hardly to be
doubted, that its principal source proceeded from some part near the
point of union of the two chains of mountains. Allowing this supposition,
a great part of its stream must be perfectly fresh; for at the place
where they ended their examination, which was not more than half the
whole supposed distance or length of the river, it had become half fresh
half salt, although its breadth was from half a mile to a mile and a
half, and its depth eight or nine fathoms.

The country which Mr. Bass had an opportunity of observing, was a certain
portion of that lying within the angle formed by the two chains of
mountains, and more especially of the parts which lay contiguous to the
water, rather than of those situated in the vicinity of the chains.

The quality of the ground, taking it in the aggregate, was much superior
to that of the borders of any of the salt water inlets of New South
Wales, Western Port excepted (seen by Mr Bass on his first excursion in
the whale boat). The vegetable mould was, however, found to be of no
great depth, and was sometimes, perhaps advantageously, mixed with small
quantities of sand.

The best of the soil was found upon the sides of sloping hills, and in
the broad valleys between them. Some parts that were low and level had a
wet and peat-like surface, bounded by small tracts of flowering shrubs
and odoriferous plants, that perfumed the air with the fragrance of their
oils.* These retained in general the appearance of those in New South
Wales, while they were in reality very different. The rich and vivid
colouring of the more northern flowers, and that soft and exquisite
gradation of their tints, for which they are so singularly distinguished
hold with those here, but in a less eminent degree. The two countries
present a perfect similarity in this, that the more barren spots are the
most gaily adorned. The curious florist, and scientific botanist, would
find ample subject of exultation in their different researches in Port

[* In this particular they differ from the flowering shrubs of
New South Wales; none or very few of which were ever found, beautiful
as they were in other respects, to possess the smallest particle of

Except in these places, the grass grows not in tufts, but covers the land
equally with a short nutritious herbage, better adapted, possibly, to the
bite of small than of large cattle. The food for the latter grows in the
bottoms of the valleys and upon the damp flats. A large proportion of the
soil promised a fair return to the labours of the cultivator, and a
lesser ensures an ample reward; but the greater part would perhaps be
more advantageously employed, if left for pasturage, than if thrown into
cultivation; it would be poor as the one, but rich as the other.

Water was found in runs more than in ponds, and, though not abundant, was
far from being scarce.

The west side of the river furnishes the largest quantity of the best
ground, because the mountains on that side are at a greater distance than
those on the east. The country lying near the west arm is chiefly rather
flat, and might be converted to many useful purposes, both in agriculture
and in pasturage, for which last it is probably well calculated. If it
should ever be proposed to make a settlement here, this part seems to
merit very particular attention.

The best land seems to be that fine hilly country which lies at the back
of an island named Middle-island; but access to it is not easy on account
of a large shoal extending along its front, which is dry at low water, as
far out as the island itself. The shape of the land is very pleasingly
variegated with hill and valley; the soil is in general a rich black
mould, shallow, and even sometimes a little stony upon the hills, but in
the valleys is of abundant depth and richness. A close coat of grass of a
uniform thickness over-spreads it every where. It appears to be watered
only by swampy ponds, which in many places are at some distance from each
other; but it is hardly to be doubted, that wells sunk in the valleys
would furnish water sufficient for all domestic purposes.

In sailing up the river, the points and shores present an appearance of
fertility that astonishes an eye used to those of the rocky harbours of
New South Wales. They are mostly grassed as well as wooded close down to
the water side, the wood, perhaps, thin; the grass every where thick,
every where a dark luxuriant vegetation, that, either from the thinness
of the wood, or the gradual rounding of the hills and points, is visible
to a very considerable extent of ground.

The tides run so uncommonly rapid, that if the port were colonised, and
the principal town built, as it no doubt would be, near the entrance, the
produce of the villages and farms scattered along its banks might be
brought to market with the greatest ease, expedition, and certainty.

The heavy timber is chiefly gum tree of various species; of which two are
different from any that have been yet seen in this country. Nothing new
was observed in the quality of the wood; but, from the few trees that
were felled, it was thought to be more sound at heart than they are
usually met with. The she oaks were more inclined to spread than grow
tall. The smaller trees and shrubs resemble, with some variety, those of
the continent.* The tree producing the yellow gum is of a very diminutive
size; but, unlike that of Cape Barren island, it bears a reed
correspondent to itself. These were going into flower, and their length
was only from nine inches to two feet.**

[* Mr. Pennant allows its claim to this distinction. Vide Pennant's
'Outlines of the Globe.']

[** This dwarf gum tree is of much use to the natives of New
South Wales, as may be seen by the following distribution of its
properties. The gum from the body of the tree, which they term
Goolgad-ye, is used for repairing their canoes. Of the reed they make a
fiz-gig, which they call Moo-ting. Of the grass or rushes which grow at
the top of the tree, they make torches, named Boo-do. A gum which they
extract from these rushes, and which is named Wangye, they use in
fastening the joints of their spears; and from the centre of the tree
they procure a loathsome worm, which they call Boo-roo-gal, and deem a
great luxury. The tree itself is named Ye-gal.]

The few rocky shores of the river presented nothing remarkable, being
generally either of a rough iron-stone, or a soft grid-stone.

The grey kangaroo of a very large size, abounded in the open forest; the
brushes were tenanted by the smaller black kind, or, as it is named by
the natives of Port Jackson, the Wal-li-bah.

The plumage of the parrots forms a gloomy contrast with the rich lustre
of those near the settlement, their colours being rather grave than gay.
The melancholy cry of the bell-bird (dil boong, after which Bennillong
named his infant child) seems to be unknown here. Many aquatic birds,
both web-footed and waders, frequent the arms and coves of the river; but
the black swans alone are remarkable in point of number. Mr. Bass once
made a rough calculation of three hundred swimming within the space of a
quarter of a mile square; and heard the 'dying song' of some scores; that
song, so celebrated by the poets of former times, exactly resembled the
creaking of a rusty sign on a windy day! Not more than two thirds of any
of the flocks which they fell in with could fly, the rest could do no
more than flap along upon the surface of the water, being either
moulting, or not yet come to their full feather and growth, which they
require two years to attain. They swam and flapped alternately, and went
along surprisingly fast. It was some times a long chase, but the boat
generally tired them out. When in danger, and speed makes no part of
their escape, they immerse their bodies so far, that the water makes a
passage between their neck and back, and in this position they would
frequently turn aside a heavy load of shot. They seemed to be endowed
with much sagacity; in chase they soon learned the weakest point of their
pursuers, and, instead of swimming directly from them, as they did at
first, always endeavoured in the most artful manner to gain the wind,
which could only be prevented by anticipating their movements, and by a
dexterous management of the boat.

The swan is said to feed upon fish, frogs, and water-slugs; but in the
gizzards of many that at different times and in different places were
examined by Mr. Bass, nothing ever appeared but small water plants,
mostly a kind of broad leaved grass, and some little sand. To their
affection for their young he had seen some lamentable sacrifices; but of
their fierceness, at least when opposed to man, or their great strength,
he had seen no instance.

Among other reptiles were found the snake with venomous fangs, and some
large brown guanoes.

This country is inhabited by men; and, if any judgment could be formed
from the number of huts which they met, in about the same proportion as
in New South Wales. Their extreme shyness prevented any communication.
They never even got sight of them but once, and then at a great distance.
They had made fires abreast of where the sloop was at anchor; but as soon
as the boat approached the shore they ran off into the woods. Their
huts, of which seven or eight were frequently found together like a
little encampment, were constructed of bark torn in long stripes from
some neighbouring tree, after being divided transversely at the bottom,
in such breadths as they judge their strength would be able to disengage
from its adherence to the wood, and the connecting bark on each side. It
is then broken into convenient lengths, and placed, slopingwise, against
the elbowing part of some dead branch that has fallen off from the
distorted limbs of the gum tree; and a little grass is sometimes thrown
over the top. But, after all their labour, they have not ingenuity
sufficient to place the slips of bark in such a manner as to preclude the
free admission of the rain. It is somewhat strange, that in the latitude
of 41 degrees, want should not have sharpened their ideas to the
invention of some more convenient habitation, especially since they have
been left by nature without the confined dwelling of a hollow tree, or
the more agreeable accommodation of a hole under the rock.

The single utensil that was observed lying near their huts was a kind of
basket made of long wiry grass, that grows along the shores of the river.
The two ends of a large bunch of this grass are tied to the two ends of a
smaller bunch; the large one is then spread out to form the basket, while
the smaller answers the purpose of a handle. Their apparent use is, to
bring shell fish from the mud banks where they are to be collected. The
large heaps of mussel shells that were found near each hut proclaimed the
mud banks to be a principal source of food. The most scrupulous
examination of their fire places discovered nothing, except a few bones
of the opossum, a squirrel, and here and there those of a small kangaroo.
No remains of fish were even seen.

The mode of taking the opossum seemed to be similar to that practised in
New South Wales*, except that it is probable they use a rope in ascending
the tree; for once, at the foot of a notched tree, about eight feet of a
two inch rope made of grass was found with a knot in it, near which it
appeared to have broken.

[* Vide Vol I Appendix II.]

A canoe was never met with, and concurring circumstances showed
that this convenience was unknown here; nor was any tree ever observed
to be barked in the manner requisite for this purpose; though birds
bred upon little islands to which access might be had in the smallest
canoe. Those made of solid timber seemed to be wholly out of the
question. The roughness of the notches left by the stone hatchet upon
the bark of the trees bore no very favourable testimony to its
excellence. They were rather the marks of a rough than of a sharp-edged
tool, and seemed more beaten than cut, which was not the case with the
marks left by the mo-go, or stone hatchet, of New South Wales.

Hence, from the little that has been seen of the condition of our own
species in this place, it appears to be much inferior in some essential
points of convenience to that of the despised inhabitants of the
continent. How miserable a being would the latter be, his canoe taken
from him, his stone hatchet blunted, his hut pervious to the smallest
shower of rain, and few or no excavations in the rocks to fly to! But
happiness, like every thing else, exists only by comparison with the
stage above and the stage below our own. The circumstances which
occasioned this difference between the people of two countries so near to
each other, and so much alike in their natural productions, must remain
hidden from our observation, until perhaps some permanent European
settlement shall be made in Van Diemen's land.

The range of the thermometer, taken in various parts of the port, was at
night from 49 degrees to 52 degrees, and at noon from 58 degrees to 64

On the 20th of November they left Port Dalrymple with a light breeze at
NE and proceeded very slowly to the westward. At daylight the following
morning, the wind shifted to the W by N which drove them back to
Furneaux's islands, where, the gale continuing at west, they were kept
until the 3rd of December, when they were enabled to proceed to the
westward. The land here trended to the WNW as far as was visible through
the haze, which allowed them only to distinguish that it was high and
uneven. At noon the latitude was 40 degrees 58 minutes, and the longitude
146 degrees 44 minutes. Their progress was slow, and unavoidably at too
great a distance from the shore to form any just idea of the country; but
what was seen of it appeared high and mountainous, the mountains forming
into hummocks and low peaks, to which a few large shapeless knobs added a
great singularity of appearance. On the haze clearing away, and the shore
being distinctly seen, it appeared rocky, but wooded nearly down to the
water's edge. Here and there were seen spaces of open ground, some of
which sloped toward the sea, and had a few large trees growing
irregularly upon them. A remarkable peaked mountain, some few miles
inland, might have been thought, from its shape and height, to have been
once a volcano. A very singular lump of high level, or table land, lay at
a few miles to the westward in the coast line; and at some distance
beyond it, a point appeared with three knobs of land lying off it,
resembling islands. This land was named Table Cape.

To the extreme eastern point of this land, a fine easterly breeze had
brought them at daylight of the 6th; when they found that what they had
on the preceding evening taken to be islands were three lumps or ridges
of the point itself, lessening in bulk as they advanced toward its
seaward extremity. The very uncommon figure of this point may perhaps be
best conceived by comparing it to a spear with several barbs. It was
extremely barren and rocky. Beyond the point, the coast trended more
northerly, but fell back into an extensive bay, with a sandy beach in its
rear. The western point of this bay was formed by a high, steep, and
round bluff, named Circular Head, that might easily be taken for an
island, but was a peninsula. The land behind was of moderate height, and
rose gradually from the sea. It was clothed in a poor coat of either
grass or short brush; among which were seen some dwarf gum trees, that
appeared to be in a sickly and dying state, apparently for want of
sufficient soil to expand in.

Towards noon, soon after passing Circular Head, the outermost land in
sight stretched so far to the northward, that the course to clear it was
NNW. It formed like two hummocks, and in steering for it they were
compelled to leave a large bight unexamined. The coast at its back was
too distant to form any judgment of it, except in the general outline.
Its westernmost part seemed broken and intersected, like islands and
gaps; but, as the wind blew fresh and directly into it, they passed on.

Nothing new presented itself on the following day, but some small flights
of sooty petrels.

On the 8th, being threatened with a gale, they came to anchor under the
land, off a small beach on its NE part, where the SW wind could not
molest the vessel. Here Mr. Bass landed to examine the country, but found
it impenetrable. The tall sturdy brush wood grew so close that their dogs
could hardly make their way through it. Large patches appeared to have
been burnt many months ago, but the small brush and creeping vines only
were destroyed; the closeness of the blackened saplings were still
irresistible. A few starved gum trees erected their sickly heads above
the brush, and the whole wore an aspect of poverty which the sandy soil
confirmed. And yet this place was inhabited by men, as was shown by the
old fire places strewed round with shells of the sea ear. The rocks were
composed of quartz, probably a species of granite, but much unlike that
which formed Furneaux's Islands.

Leaving this place on the 9th, they steered for the outermost land in
sight, which bore to the southward of west, and was distant three or four
leagues. After rounding the seaward end of the land under which they had
anchored, its shores fell back, and at last discovered to them that it
was an island of from fifteen to twenty miles in circuit, and situated
between four and five from the main. It was with the greatest
astonishment that they recollected the fire places and sea shells which
they had the preceding evening seen upon the island. That the inhabitants
of this part of Van Diemen's land should possess canoes capable of
crossing over four or five miles of open sea, while those of Port
Dalrymple were without any, seemed highly improbable. The island itself
was certainly unequal to the maintenance of any settled inhabitants, and
yet there were unequivocal vestiges of men upon it. Long and frequent
reflection upon facts in themselves so contradictory had never produced
any rational solution of the difficulty. This island took the descriptive
name of Three Hummock Island.

For several hours during the early part of the morning, a vast stream of
sooty petrels issued from the deep bight which had been left unexplored,
and passed the vessel on their way to the westward. There must have been
some millions of birds. Thence they were well assured there was at least
one island in that bight, if not more than one, as they had imagined.

Having passed within a mile of a pointed part of the main, which in
height and starved vegetation very much resembled Three Hummock island,
towards noon they came up with some land, which proved to be a small
island, high and very steep; and a long swell, which had just before made
its first appearance, broke violently upon it, making a furious surf on
all sides. Its summit was whitened over with birds. With some difficulty
a landing was effected at the foot of a chasm filled up with loose
stones; and, after a slight rencontre with some seals that stood above,
they reached the top. The birds they found were albatrosses innumerable.
The spread of their wings was from seven to nine feet. Their colour was
more white than black, and the appearance of their visitors did not
occasion much disturbance among them, even when they approached close to
them. This was the season of their breeding. The females sat upon nests
not more than a foot and a half apart, built of muddy earth, bound with
coarse grass, raised about four inches from the ground, and formed into a
concavity of nearly that depth, with a diameter of five or six inches.
One young bird only was in each nest: it was of the size of a small
pullet, but at that time covered with a beautifully white down. The
shapeless lump at some distance resembled a ball of cotton. Some nests
held an addled egg of a dingy white colour, and equal in size to that of
a goose. The nests were so near each other, and the birds so conscious of
the great strength of their sharp bills, that in going through them the
voyagers were obliged to make use of their seal clubs, to procure
themselves a passage. Even the young ones spouted plentiful mouthfuls of
a not inodorous oil upon them.

The island, which obtained the name of Albatross Island, was a mere mass
of stone, without any other vegetation than a few tufts of coarse grass.
Besides albatrosses, it afforded shelter to a few scores of hair seals,
and the large gull. The latitude was 40 degrees 24 minutes, the longitude
145 degrees 02 minutes.

Several other islands were seen to the southward, and the coast of the
main seemed trending in the same direction. A deep bight lay at the back
of these islands, with points and openings visible in its most distant
part. There was reason to believe, that the sea here had a communication
through into the unexplored bight to the eastward of Three Hummock
Island; in which case the pointed part of the main, whose vegetation bore
so great a resemblance to that of Three Hummock island, would also be an
island. They passed sufficiently near to determine that they were high,
steep, and difficult of access. Their tops and sloping parts were grown
over with either coarse grass or short brush; but not any trees appeared.
The largest might be seven or eight miles in circuit, the smaller were
mere masses of rock of various sizes; and the whole cluster, in number
about twelve, including Three Hummock Island, obtained the name of
Hunter's Isles.

A fresh gale at ENE and a heavy swell from the SW drove the vessel fast
to the southward and westward; and on the 11th, the gale having
moderated, they stretched in for the land, a large extent of which was
indistinctly visible through a light haze that hung about the horizon. At
noon the latitude was 41 degrees 13 minutes, and the longitude 148
degrees 58 minutes. With a fresh breeze at NNE they bore away along the
shore, which trends to the SE by E and was distant three or four miles.

From a shore of beach, with short rocky points at intervals, the land
rose gradually to a considerable height, the aspect of which was barren
and brushy, and the soil sandy. Several short reefs of rocks lay in front
of the beaches, and broke the long swell into a surf of a tremendous

Dreading a gale of wind from the west, which was threatening, and might
have proved fatal to their little vessel, they hauled out to the SSW; but
the weather remained moderate.

On the following morning the wind flew round to the northward, and they
continued their route along the shore. Early in the forenoon they passed
a singularly formed point, with a number of lumps of rock lying some two
or three miles off it to the SW. It resembled an artificial pier, or
mole, with warehouses upon it, and a lighthouse on the end next the
water. Large masses of detached oblong rocks gave the appearance of
warehouses, and a remarkably long one standing upon its end, that of the

Their latitude at noon was 42 degrees 02 minutes and the longitude 145
degrees 16 minutes; the coast still trended to the SSE and the land began
to change that uniformly regular figure which it had hitherto preserved.
It was becoming mountainous and uneven, but was still barren.


The _Norfolk_ passes the strait
Observations thereon
Proceeds to the southward
Passes the S. W. Cape; and S. Cape
Remarks on the latter
De Witt's Isles
Storm Bay Passage
Tasman's Head
Fluted Cape
Frederick Henry Bay
Enter the Derwent river, first seen in the ship _Duke_, of Bengal
Observations on the Derwent
Some natives seen
Particulars of one
Venomous snake
One destroys itself
Comparison between New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land
Arrive at Port Jackson
Advantages of the strait

Mr. Bass and his fellow voyager, Lieutenant Flinders, did not hesitate
now to think that they had passed through the strait, and from the
Pacific had entered the southern Indian ocean; for what within the extent
of a vast sea could give birth to the monstrous swell that was rolling in
before their eyes? and the coast was evidently trending towards the SW

Mr. Bass says (with all the feeling and spirit of an explorer), that 'he
already began to taste the enjoyment resulting from the completion of
this discovery, which had been commenced in the whale-boat, under a
complication of anxieties, hazard, and fatigue, known only to those who
conducted her;' modestly sharing the praises, to which he alone was
entitled, with those who accompanied him.

It was worthy of remark (Mr. Bass says), that the northern shore of the
strait from Wilson's Promontory (seen in the whale-boat) to Western Port
resembled the bluff bold shore of an open sea, with a swell rolling in,
and a large surf breaking upon it; while the southern shore, or what is
the coast of Van Diemen's land, appeared like the inner shore of a
cluster of islands, whose outer parts break off the great weight of the
sea. The cause of this is immediately obvious, on recollecting that the
swell of the Indian ocean enters the strait from the southward of west.
The greater part of the southern shore lies in a bight, whose western
extreme is Hunter's Isles, and the NW Cape of Van Diemen's land. Now as
the swell comes from the southward, as well as the westward, it must,
after striking upon the northwest part of the southern shore, evidently
run on in a direction somewhat diagonal with the two sides of the strait,
until it expands itself upon the northern shore, where both swell and
surf are found. But to the southward of this diagonal line the swell must
quickly take off, and totally disappear, long before it can reach the
shore to make a surf. Hence arises the difference.

That the swell of the Indian ocean comes, by far the greater part of the
way, from the southward of west, can hardly be doubted, since it is well
known that the prevailing winds are from that quarter.

Early in the afternoon (of the 11th) a piece of land stood out from the
line of the coast like an island, but it was soon found to be joined to
the main by a sandy beach. The shore beyond it looked rugged and craggy,
and the land equalled the most sterile and stoney that had been seen. At
night the vessel stood off to the westward from abreast of a pyramidal
rock lying close to the main. At daylight the following morning, they
came in again with the land at the same place, and ran along the shore
with a fresh breeze at NW, the coast trending in a waving line to the SSE.

Towards noon the coast began to rise into chains of lofty mountains,
which ran along in nearly the same line as the coast. The latitude was 43
degrees 07 minutes, the longitude 145 degrees 42 minutes. A large smoke
that got up astern of the vessel was the first sign of inhabitants that
had been seen upon this west coast, the appearance of which was miserably

On the morning of the 13th they found that they had been carried in the
night to leeward of a break in the land, which had been seen the
preceding evening, and had the appearance of being the entrance to a
harbour. The north point of this imaginary inlet was named Point
St. Vincent. The coast here trended to the eastward, the land of which
was mountainous and steep to the sea. Some islands were in sight ahead,
lying near the land.

At 8 in the evening they passed the SW cape of Van Diemen's land,
hitherto known as that of New Holland. It is a narrow piece of land,
projecting from the higher land at no great distance, with two flattish
hummocks, that gave it some little resemblance to the Ram Head near
Plymouth. Having passed the Cape, they hauled up, and went between the
islands, which are De Witt's Isles, and the main. At sunset they were
about a mile and a half from the South Cape.

The south west and south Capes lie nearly east and west of each other,
and are distant about fifteen leagues. The intermediate coast forms the
southern boundary of Van Diemen's land; but if taken upon the more
extensive scale of the whole southern hemisphere, it appears, as the
south point of New Holland, to be of equal respectability with the
extremity of Terra del Fuego, and of the Cape of Good Hope, the south
points of the continents of America and Africa.

 The relative situations of these three points, when viewed upon
a chart drawn on the plane of the equator, or upon an artificial globe,
are particularly striking. They will be found to lie at nearly equal
distances from each other in the circumference, and each extending
itself so directly towards the south, that, if continued on in the
same line, they would certainly meet somewhere near the pole. The effect
that is produced upon the whole globe, by this peculiar disposition of
three of its most prominent points, seems indeterminable.

Like that of Terra del Fuego, the extremity of Van Diemen's land presents
a rugged and determined front to the icy regions of the south pole; and,
like it, seems once to have extended further south than it does at
present. To a very unusual elevation is added an irregularity of form,
that justly entitles it to rank among the foremost of the grand and
wildly magnificent scenes of nature. It abounds with peaks and ridges,
gaps and fissures, that not only disdain the smallest uniformity of
figure, but are ever changing shape, as the point of view shifts. Beneath
this strange confusion, the western part of this waving coast-line
observes a regularity equally remarkable as the wild disorder which
prevails above. Lofty ridges of mountain, bounded by tremendous cliffs,
project from two to four miles into the sea, at nearly equal distances
from each other, with a breadth varying from two miles to two and a half.
The bights or bays lying between them are backed by sandy beaches. These
vast buttresses appear to be the southern extremities of the mountains of
Van Diemen's land; which, it can hardly be doubted, have once projected
into the sea far beyond their present abrupt termination, and have been
united with the now detached land, De Witt's Isles.

If a corresponding height of similar strata was observable on the islands
and on the main, it would amount to a proof that they were originally
connected; but this proof was wanting. The same kind of strata appeared
in both; but, as far as could be determined in passing hastily by, the
necessary correspondence seemed to be deficient. They did not land upon
either the islands or the main; but two kinds of rock, one with strata
and the other without, were plainly discernible. That without strata
formed by far the largest part; it appeared whitish and shining, was
certainly a quartz, and probably a granite. The layers of the rock with
strata were of various dark colours, and perfectly distinct.

It was evident, that land so much exposed to the violence of extensive
oceans must have undergone some very material changes, by the incessant
attrition of their vast waves. Two of the isles, either from this or a
more sudden cause, have so far deviated from their centre, that their
parallel strata form angles of between sixteens and eighteen degrees in
one instance, and in another between twenty-five and thirty degrees, with
the horizontal line. But it is difficult to explain, by the action of
water, how a large block of the white stone without strata is caused to
overhang an almost perpendicular corner of one of the islands, which
beneath that block consists of the dark coloured stone lying in strata.

De Witt's Isles, (so named, probably, by Tasman) twelve in number, are of
various sizes. The two largest are from three to four miles in circuit.
Their sides are steep, but their height is inferior to that of the main.
The largest is the lowest. The smaller isles are little more than large
lumps of rock, of which that named by Captain Cook the mew stone is the
southernmost. Their aspect, like that of the main, bespeaks extreme
sterility; but, superior to the greater part of it, they produce a
continued covering of brush; and upon the sloping sides of some of their
gullies are a few stinted, half dead gum trees.

They could not account for the vestiges of fires that appeared upon the
two inner large islands; the innermost in particular, which lay at some
distance from the nearest point of the main, was burnt in patches upon
different parts of it. It must have been effected either by lightning, or
by the hand of man; but it was so much unlike the usual effects of the
former, that, with all its difficulties, they chose to attribute it to
the latter cause.

A great smoke that arose at the back of one of the bights showed the main
to be inhabited; but they could not suppose the people of this place to
be furnished with canoes, when those of Adventure Bay, in their
neighbourhood, were unprovided with them. Nothing, therefore, was left to
their choice, but to allow that they might transport themselves over,
either upon logs of wood, or by swimming across: and, as the most
probable reward of such an exertion would be the capture of birds, whilst
breeding, or the seizure of their eggs, the utility of spreading fires in
facilitating such operations is obvious.

The south cape may be easily distinguished from any other projection in
its vicinity. Besides being the southernmost, it is a promontory making
like a foreland, and sloping very gradually as it runs towards the sea,
where it ends in a perpendicular cliff.

About sunset the fresh NW wind died away suddenly; and a strong squall
from the westward, with thunder, lightning, and heavy rain, soon carried
them round the south cape, and, by dark, brought them off what was
formerly called Storm Bay, where they hauled to the wind with the sloop's
head up the bay, intending, in the morning, to proceed by this Storm Bay
passage into the Derwent river.

The night was squally, and by day light the next morning (the 14th), it
was found that the vessel had drifted across the mouth of Storm Bay, or
more properly Storm Bay Passage. Tasman's Head, its eastern point, bore
NE distant three miles. Being too far to leeward to fetch up the passage,
and the gale continuing, they bore away round Tasman's Head, and hauled
up along shore for Adventure Bay.

Nothing remarkable was observed about Tasman's Head, except two
small islands lying off it, at the distance of half or three quarters
of a mile; and close to them were the two conical basaltic rocks
named by Captain Furneaux the Friars. The vegetation upon the inner
most of the two small islands had been burnt in a manner similar to that
on the De Witt's isles. If it were possible to account for those fires in
any other way than by the agency of man, it would be more satisfactory,
than to suppose that people, always believed to be without canoes, had
crossed over from a rather steep and rocky head, to an island equally
rocky, but more steep.

Having passed Fluted Cape, a fine piece of basalt, and Penguin island,
they fetched up under Cape Frederick Henry, the north point of Adventure
Bay; but, as the wind blew strong directly off it, and the sloop was
light and leewardly, they bore away round the Cape Frederick Henry,
hauling upon the north side of it into the bay of that name, purposing to
go into the Derwent river, discovered a few years since by Mr. Hayes,
master of the ship _Duke_, of Bengal: but, finding that they were
likely to lose ground by tacking, they stood into Henshaw's bay (so named
by Hayes), and were greatly surprised to find that, instead of its being
a mere shallow bight, as laid down in Mr. Hayes's chart, it extended many
miles to the northward. The whole now bears the name of Frederick Henry
Bay; that given by Hayes is lost. In this very extensive bay they
remained a week, traversing and measuring various parts of its shores.

The surrounding country was found to be miserable, presenting but very
little that was fit even for pasturage, and none good enough for
cultivation, except near a shallow lagoon on the west side, on the border
of which were seven or eight hundred acres of low ground, of a black
mould, rather sandy, which might be cultivated with great advantage.
Contiguous to the best part, was a large fresh water swamp, overgrown
with reeds and bulrushes.

In the evening of the 21st they entered the mouth of the Derwent.

In passing between two islands, the heads of the seaweed, which, from its
size, is named the Gigantic, were showing themselves above the surface in
six or eight fathoms water: a diminutive plant when compared with those
of the kind seen in higher latitudes, but of vast magnitude in comparison
with the generality of seaweeds.

On their various movements in the Derwent, Mr. Bass is silent, confining
his narrative to a general account of what he learned and saw of the
neighbouring country.

If the Derwent river have any claim to respectability, it is indebted for
it more to the paucity of inlets into Van Diemen's land, than to any
intrinsic merits of its own. After a sleepy course of not more than
twenty-five or twenty-seven miles to the NW it falls into Frederick Henry
Bay. Its breadth there is two miles and a quarter, and its depth ten
fathoms. A few hundred yards above its mouth, it is joined, on the west
side, by the Storm Bay Passage, and this union makes an island of that
slip of land which is Adventure Bay. This island, the Derwent river, and
the Storm Bay Passage, were the discovery of Mr. Hayes, of which he made
a chart; wherein it was found, by the minute examination of the whole
scene which it now underwent, that the smallest runs had been magnified
into rivers, and coves into bays and ports. Such glaring errors could not
be suffered to exist; but the name, where it was possible, was retained,
though the geographical term was necessarily altered.

This dull lifeless stream, the Derwent, is so little affected by the
tides, that its navigation is extremely tedious with a foul wind. It
takes its way through a country that on the east and north sides it
hilly, on the west and north mountainous. The hills to the eastward arise
immediately from the banks; but the mountains to the westward have
retired to the distance of a few miles from the water, and have left in
their front hilly land similar to that on the east side. All the hills
are very thinly set with light timber, chiefly short she oaks; but are
admirably covered with thick nutritious grass, in general free from brush
or patches of shrubs. The soil in which it grows is a black vegetable
mould, deep only in the valleys, frequently very shallow, with
occasionally a small mixture of sand or small stones. Many large tracts
of land appear cultivable both for maize and wheat, but which, as pasture
land, would be excellent.

The hills descend with such gentle slopes, that the valleys between them
are extensive and flat. Several contain an indeterminate depth of rich
soil, capable of supporting the most exhausting vegetation, and are
tolerably well watered by chains of small ponds, or occasional drains,
which empty themselves into the river by a cove or creek.

One mountain to the west, lying about three miles from the water, and so
remarkably conspicuous as to be seen from every part of the Derwent and
its vicinity, Mr. Bass ascended; and he was much surprised to find it
abounding with fine tall gum-tree timber uncommonly straight.

The shore on the east side of the river, proceeding up, is covered with a
good but shallow soil, and lightly wooded; cultivable for the greater
part with any kind of grain, and the whole fit for pasturage, though,
perhaps, not sufficiently watered for large cattle which require much

On the west side the country rises too suddenly into stony hills to be in
general so good as in most other places. It would, however, afford
tolerable pasturage; and a few patches of eighty or one hundred acres
each were excellent arable land.

The shore here, as in many other parts of the river, exhibited signs of
internal or subterraneous disturbance. The strata of cliffs were broken
and disjoined, lying sloping in different directions. Near a small point
several pieces of petrified wood, and lumps of stone of every kind and
every size, were enveloped, or rather stuck into the matter of the rock,
which, although in colour much like a yellow tinged clay, yet had the
usual rough porous surface peculiar to substances that have been in a
state of fusion. It was here, as in other places, hard, but did not
scintillate with steel, and was divided, by lines of a still harder
iron-tinged stone, into squares and parallelograms of various sizes. From
one of these intersecting lines, Mr. Bass took a small lump of this
ferruginous stone, that seemed to have bubbled up, and to have hardened
in the form of an ill-shaped bunch of small grapes. Some of the
neighbouring cliffs, for several yards, were formed into basaltic

In walking across one of the steep heads between two small bays, he met
with a large deep hole in the ground, that appeared to have been
occasioned by the falling-in of the earth which had formerly occupied its
space. Its extent was about twenty-two yards by seventeen; its depth
perhaps sixty feet. The sides were not excavated, but rather smooth and
perpendicular. They were rocks of the same yellow tinge as those of the
shore. A little surf that washed up within it showed a communication with
the river, by a narrow subterraneous passage of some ten or sixteen feet
in height, and, according to the distance of the hole from the edge of
the cliff, about thirty-five yards in length. Appearances seemed to
agree, that the period at which this earth fell in could not be very

Continuing on the west side from Point William to Shoal Point (places
named by Mr. Hayes), the land is too stony upon the hills for
cultivation, but is proper for pasturage. The valleys are, as usual,
adapted to grain.

The land round Prince of Wales's Cove is rather level, and frequently
clayey: the worst of it produces excellent food for cattle, even up to
the foot of the high mountain lying at its back. Being a stiff close
soil, it is perhaps adapted to the growth of grape vines, rather than of
grain. About three hundred acres of open ground, called by Mr. Hayes King
George's Plains (could this have been in derision?) seem well calculated
for this purpose, and for this only.

The land at the head of Risdon creek, on the east side, seems preferable
to any other on the banks of the Derwent. The creek runs winding between
two steep hills, and ends in a chain of ponds that extends into a fertile
valley of great beauty. For half a mile above the head of the creek, the
valley is contracted and narrow; but the soil is extremely rich, and the
fields are well covered with grass. Beyond this it suddenly expands, and
becomes broad and flat at the bottom, whence arise long grassy slopes,
that by a gentle but increasing ascent continue to mount the hills on
each side, until they are hidden from the view by the woods of large
timber which overhang their summits. With this handsome disposition of
the ground, the valley extends several miles to the SE in the figure of a
small segment of a circle. The tops of its hills, though stony, produce
abundance of tall timber, which, as it descends the slopes, diminishes in
size, and thins off to a few scattered she oaks and gum trees,
interspersed with small coppices of the beautiful flowering fern.

The soil along the bottom, and to some distance up the slopes, is a rich
vegetable mould, apparently hardened by a small mixture of clay, which
grows a large quantity of thick, juicy grass, and some few patches of
close underwood.

Herdman's Cove, (so named by Lieutenant Flinders from the surrounding
country) above Risdon Creek, has a large tract of good pasture land lying
at its head. The country, which is unusually thin of timber, is finely
rounded into grassy hills of various moderate ascent. The soil consists
of more brown earth than black vegetable mould; upon the sides and tops
of the hills, it is frequently stony; but in some of the valleys rich and
fine, and capable of profitable cultivation. A chain of ponds
intersecting the hills afforded an almost continual stream of fresh water
into the head of the Cove.

As it was not supposed that the sloop could proceed above Herdsman's
Cove, Mr. Bass and his companion went up the river in her boat, imagining
that one tide would enable them to reach its source; but in this they
were mistaken, falling, as they believed, several miles short of it.
Where the returning tide met them, the water had become perfectly fresh;
the stream was two hundred and thirty yards in breadth, and in depth
three fathoms. It was wedged in between high grassy hills that descended
to the river upon a quick slope, and had a grand appearance. But the only
cultivable land that they saw was some few breaks in the hills, and some
narrow slips that were found at their foot close to the water's side.

In their way up, a human voice saluted them from the hills; on which they
landed, carrying with them one of several swans which they had just shot.
Having nearly reached the summit, two females, with a short covering
hanging loose from their shoulders, suddenly appeared at some little
distance before them, snatched up each a small basket, and scampered off.
A man then presented himself, and suffered them to approach him without
any signs of fear or distrust. He received the swan joyfully, seeming to
esteem it a treasure.

His language was unintelligible to them, as was theirs to him, although
they addressed him in several of the dialects of New South Wales, and
some few of the most common words of the South Sea islands. With some
difficulty they made him comprehend their wish to see his place of
residence. He pointed over the hills, and proceeded onwards; but his pace
was slow and wandering, and he often stopped under pretence of having
lost the track; which led them to suspect that his only aim was to amuse
and tire them out. Judging, then, that in persisting to follow him they
must lose the remaining part of the flood tide, which was much more
valuable to them than the sight of his hut could be, they parted from him
in great friendship.

The most probable reason of his unwillingness to be their guide seemed,
his not having a male companion near him; and his fearing that if he took
them to his women, their charms might induce them to run off with them--a
jealousy very common with the natives of the continent.

He was a short, slight made man of a middle age, with a countenance more
expressive of benignity and intelligence than of that ferocity or
stupidity which generally characterised the other natives; and his
features were less flattened, or negro-like, than theirs. His face was
blackened, and the top of his head was plastered with red earth. His
hair was either naturally short and close, or had been rendered so
by burning, and, although short and stiffly curled, they did not think
it woolly.* He was armed with two ill made spears of solid wood.

[* Mr. Raven, on his return to England in the _Buffalo_, putting into
Adventure Bay, close by where this man was seen, cut off some undoubted
wool from the head of a native that he fell in with there. This
circumstance was unknown to Mr. Bass.]

No part of their dress attracted his attention, except the red silk
handkerchief round their necks. Their fire arms were to him objects
neither of curiosity nor fear.

This was the first man they had spoken with in Van Diemen's land, and his
frank and open deportment led them not only to form a favourable opinion
of the disposition of its inhabitants, but to conjecture that if the
country was peopled in the usual numbers, he would not have been the only
one whom they would have met. A circumstance which corroborated this
supposition was, that in the excursions made by Mr. Bass into the
country, having seldom any other society than his two dogs, he could have
been no great object of dread to a people ignorant of the effects of fire
arms, and would certainly have been hailed by any one who might have seen

They fell in with many huts along the different shores of the river, of
the same bad construction as those of Port Dalrymple, but with fewer
heaps of mussel shells lying near them. The natives of this place,
probably, draw the principal part of their food from the woods; the bones
of small animals, such as opossums, squirrels, kangaroo rats, and
bandicoots, were numerous round their deserted fire-places; and the two
spears which they saw in the hands of the man were similar to those used
for hunting in other parts. Many trees also were observed to be notched.

No canoes were ever seen, nor any tree so barked as to answer that
purpose. And yet all the islands in Frederick Henry Bay had evidently
been visited.

Besides the small quadrupeds already mentioned, they observed the grey
and red kangaroo, but not in any numbers, and once they heard the tread
of an emu.

The feathered tribes were apparently similar to those of Port Dalrymple.
Here again they daily ate their swan, the flocks of which even exceeded
those that they had before met with.

The most formidable among the reptiles was the black snake with venomous
fangs, and so much in colour resembling a burnt stick, that a close
inspection only could detect the difference. Mr. Bass once, with his eyes
cautiously directed towards the ground, stepped over one which was lying
asleep among some black sticks, and would have passed on without
observing it, had not its rustling and loud hiss attracted his attention
the moment afterwards.

He determined on taking him alive, in order to try the effect of his bite
upon a hawk which was at that time in the sloop. In the contest, he
turned round and bit himself severely; in a few minutes after which he
was mastered. His exertions, however, were still vigorous, and Mr. Bass
expected, as he began to recover himself, that they would increase; but
in less than ten minutes he died. Having never before known a snake of
this size to be killed by a few very slight blows with a stick so rotten
as scarcely to bear the weight of its own blow, he was at a loss to
conceive how death had so suddenly succeeded so much vigour in an animal
so tenacious of life. Was it possible that his own bite could have been
the cause? When, three hours afterwards, the skin was stripped off, the
flesh for some distance round the marks of his teeth, was found inflamed
and discoloured.

The account of the Derwent river being now closed, and the whole of what
was learned of Van Diemen's land related, it may not be improper, says
Mr. Bass, to point out the manner in which this country and New South
Wales appear to differ in their most essential quality, that of their

In adjusting their comparative fertility, the contrasted disposition of
their soils is much more prominent than any inequality in their quantity.
They are poor countries; but, as far as the eye of discovery has yet
penetrated into either, the cultivable soil of the latter is found lying
in a few distinct patches of limited extent, and of varying quality;
while the soil of the former, being more equally spread, those spots of
abundant richness, or large wilds of unimproveable sterility, are much
less frequently seen.

Although Van Diemen's land seems to possess few or none of those vast
depths of soil with which the happiest spots of New South Wales are
blessed; yet it seldom sickens the heart of its traveller with those
extensive tracts which at once disarm industry, and leave the warmest
imagination without one beguiling project.

In point of productive soil Mr. Bass gives the preponderance to Van
Diemen's land.

In one particular, which to the inhabitants of a civilized country is of
the utmost importance, both countries are but too much alike: each is
amply stored with water for the common purposes of life; but deficient in
those large intersections of it which, in other more fortunate countries,
so much facilitate the operations of man, and lead commerce to the door
of even the most inland farmer.

Two rivers only, Port Dalrymple and the Derwent, are known to descend
from Van Diemen's land; and by Point St Vincent possibly there may be a
third. But two rivers, or even three, bear but a scanty proportion to the
bulk of the island.

On the 3rd of January they left the Derwent, and proceeded to the
northward, coasting the east side of Frederick Henry Bay, which was for
the most part high and steep to the sea. The figure of the shore, between
what is now called Cape Basaltes and Cape Pillar, exhibited one of those
great works of nature which seldom fall to excite surprise: it was all
basaltic. The cape is a vast high wedge, which projects into the sea,
surmounted by lofty single columns.

After passing Cape Pillar, some islands came in sight to the northward;
but they did not fetch them, owing to the wind hanging in that quarter.
On the following day, they reached within five or six miles of one of
them, which in its general appearance bore some resemblance to Furneaux's
Islands. This group must be either Maria's or Schouten's islands, or
both; but it was not determined to which they belonged.

On the 7th, having until that day had but indistinct views of the land,
they saw Cape Barren Island. They did not pass through the channel, or
passage, which divides Furneaux's islands, but discovered why Captain
Furneaux named the place the Bay of Shoals.

Early on the morning of the 8th they were among the islands lying off the
Patriarchs. They were three in number; the largest of which was high,
rocky, and barren, with a basis of granite, which, like that of
Preservation Island, laid scattered about in large detached blocks.
Mr. Bass landed upon the outermost, and found it well inhabited. The
various tribes had divided it into districts. One part was white with
gannets, breeding in nests of earth and dried grass. Petrels and penguins
had their underground habitations in those parts of the island which had
the most grass. The rocks of the shore, and blocks of granite, were
occupied by the pied offensive shag and common gull; geese, red-bills and
quails, lived in common, and the rest was appropriated to the seals, who
seemed to be the lords of the domain. Mr. Bass remarked with surprise,
that though the principal herd scampered off like sheep, as is usual on
the first approach, yet the males, who possessed a rock to themselves,
where they sat surrounded by their numerous wives and progeny, on his
drawing near them, hobbled up with a menacing roar, and fairly commenced
the attack, while the wives seemed to rest their security upon the
superior courage and address of their lord; for, instead of retreating
into the water in the utmost consternation, they only raised themselves
upon their fore fins, as if ready for a march, keeping their eye upon
him, and watching the movements of his enemy.

The seal is reckoned a stupid animal; but Mr. Bass noticed many signs of
uncommon sagacity in them; and was of opinion that, by much patience and
perseverance, a seal might be trained to fish for man; in which there is
nothing, at first sight, more preposterous than the attempt to make a
hawk his fowler.

The seal appeared to branch off into various species. He did not
recollect to have seen them precisely alike upon any two islands in the
strait. Most of them were of that kind called by the sealers hair seals;
but they differed in the shape of the body, or of the head, the situation
of the fore fins, the colour, and very commonly in the voice, as if each
island spoke a peculiar language.

Having collected as much stock as was necessary, they stood to the
northward, and on the 12th reached Port Jackson.

On delivering the account of this voyage to the governor, he named the
principal discovery, which was the event of it, Bass Strait, as a tribute
due to the correctness of judgment which led Mr. Bass, in his first visit
in the whale boat, to suppose that the south-westerly winds which rolled
in upon the shores of Western Port, could proceed only from their being
exposed to the Southern Indian Ocean.

The most prominent advantage which seemed likely to accrue to the
settlement from this discovery was, the expediting of the passage from
the Cape of Good Hope to Port Jackson; for, although a line drawn from
the Cape to 44 degrees of south latitude, and to the longitude of the
south Cape of Van Diemen's land, would not sensibly differ from one drawn
to the latitude of 40 degrees, to the same longitude; yet it must be
allowed, that a ship will be four degrees nearer to Port Jackson in the
latter situation, than it would be in the former. But there is, perhaps,
a greater advantage to be gained by making a passage through the strait,
than the mere saving of four degrees of latitude along the coast. The
major part of the ships that have arrived at Port Jackson have met with
NE winds on opening the sea round the South Cape and Cape Pillar, and
have been so much retarded by them, that a fourteen days' passage to the
port is reckoned to be a fair one, although the difference of latitude is
but ten degrees, and the most prevailing winds at the latter place are
from SE to S in summer, and from WSW to S in winter. If by going through
Bass Strait these NE winds can be avoided, which in many cases would
probably be the case, there is no doubt but a week or more would be
gained by it; and the expense, with the wear and tear of a ship for one
week, are objects to most owners, more especially when freighted with
convicts by the run.

This strait likewise presents another advantage. From the prevalence of
the NE and easterly winds off the South Cape, many suppose that a passage
may be made from thence to the westward, either to the Cape of Good Hope,
or to India; but the fear of the great unknown bight between the South
Cape and the SW Cape of Lewen's land, lying in about 35 degrees south and
113 degrees east, has hitherto prevented the trial being made. Now the
strait removes a part of this danger, by presenting a certain place of
retreat, should a gale oppose itself to the ship in the first part of the
essay; and should the wind come at SW she need not fear making a good
stretch to the WNW, which course, if made good, is within a few degrees
of going clear of all. There is besides King George the Third's Sound,
discovered by Captain Vancouver, situate in the latitude of 35 degrees 03
minutes south, and longitude 118 degrees 12 minutes east; and it is to be
hoped, that a few years will disclose many others upon the coast, as well
as the confirmation or futility of the conjecture*, that a still larger
than Bass Strait dismembers New Holland.

[* To verify or confute this conjecture, Lieutenant, now Captain
Flinders (from whose journal these observations on the advantages
of the strait are taken), has lately sailed in his Majesty's ship
_Investigator_. He is accompanied by several professional men of
great abilities, selected by that liberal and distinguished patron of
merit Sir Joseph Banks, from whose exertions, joined with those of the
commander, navigation and natural history have much information and
gratification to expect. The _Investigator_ is to be attended by the
_Lady Nelson_, a small vessel of fifty tons burden, built under the
inspection and according to the plan of that truly respectable and
valuable man, and scientific officer, Commissioner Schank, whose
abilities are too well known to require any eulogium from this pen.]

The vessel that has the credit of having first circumnavigated Van
Diemen's land was built at Norfolk Island, of the fir of that country,
which was found to answer extremely well. Being only five-and-twenty tons
in burden, her comforts and accommodation must have been very
inconsiderable, but great when compared with those which could have been
found in a whale boat. Yet in a whale boat did Mr. Bass, as has been
already shown, run down the eastern coast of New South Wales from Port
Jackson to the entrance of the strait. Captain Flinders has not the
gratification of associating this gentleman with him in his present
expedition, he having sailed on another voyage and a different pursuit.


Information from Norfolk Island
A burglary committed
The criminal court assembled
A man tried for killing a native
Two men executed
The public gaol burnt
Stills ordered to be seized
Settlers, their profligacy
A man found dead
Great drought
A flood at the river
Two whalers arrive
Conduct of the labouring convicts
A seaman killed
A woman murdered by her husband
A Spanish prize arrives
Norfolk Island
Resources in New South Wales
Public works

We must now return to the other concerns of the settlement, from which we
have been so long absent.

Some pleas of debt having been decided by the civil magistrates, to
relieve them from that duty, and enable them to attend to that only of
the justice of the peace, an order was issued, declaring that such pleas
belonged to the court of civil jurisdiction solely, as was clearly
expressed in the letters patent for establishing that court; but they
were at the same time requested to use their utmost endeavours, as far as
their influence as magistrates could be effectual, in recommending the
settling of trifling debts by arbitration, and thereby prevent much
vexatious litigation.

Agricultural concerns wore as unpromising an appearance in this as in the
last month. The governor, in a visit which he made to Parramatta, found
that the pasture over the whole country had been entirely burnt up; in
consequence of which the grazing cattle were in great distress; and, from
the lamentable continuance of the drought, the maize was every where
likely to fail: a misfortune that would ruin the stock of hogs, and
reduce the settlement considerably in the article of bread.

That he might ascertain what quantity of grain he had to depend on, all
those who cultivated ground were directed to give in by a certain time a
return of the wheat and other grain in their possession.

By the _Diana_ whaler, which arrived from Norfolk Island, information
was received, that the wheat harvest had been more productive there than
usual; but the maize was likely to fall short from a similar want of rain.

Wheat at this time bore a high price in Norfolk Island, the settlers who
had raised refusing to sell it, on account of the high rate of wages, at
less than fifteen shillings per bushel.

On the night of the 24th, the acting commissary's house was broken into,
and robbed of articles to a considerable amount. The thieves appeared to
have got in at the office window, and loosened the bricks of a partition
wall; by which opening they got into the store-room, and, forcing the
locks off the chests and trunks, carried away every thing that they could

One evil among others which attended the frequent arrival of ships in the
port was, the ready market which these plunderers found for disposing of
their stolen goods; the seamen not hesitating to become the purchasers on
leaving the place.

The criminal court of judicature was assembled at the close of the month;
when one man, a sergeant of the New South Wales corps, was condemned for
forgery, but recommended to the governor's mercy by the court; another
was condemned for a burglary, and a third sentenced to receive a severe
corporal punishment, for having shot a native (man) at Botany Bay. Could
the evidence of some of these people have been taken, it was supposed
that he would have been capitally convicted, in which case he would
certainly have suffered, the governor being determined to put that
article of his Majesty's instructions in force, which, in placing these
people under the protection of the British Government, enjoined the
punishing any injury done to their persons or property, according to the
degree and nature of the offence.

When this man was brought out to be punished, several of the natives were
assembled for the purpose; and he received in their presence as much of
his sentence as he could bear, they witnessing his sufferings with the
most perfect indifference.

The weather was exceedingly hot during the whole of January.

February.] Deplorable was the catalogue of events that presented itself
in this month: executions, robberies, and accidents.

On the 8th a prisoner, who had been condemned to die by the last court,
suffered the sentence of the law. The recollection of his untimely end,
and his admonitions from the fatal tree, could not have departed from the
minds of those who saw and heard him, when another court sent another
offender to the same tree and for the same crime. Samuel Wright had been
once before respited at the gallows. On the morning of his execution, the
wretched man attempted to cut his throat; but as he only very slightly
wounded himself, it may be supposed that he merely hoped, by delaying the
execution, to gain time to effect an escape.

Before this court, was brought part of a nest of thieves, who had lately
stolen property to the amount of several hundred pounds; but none of them
were capitally convicted, being sentenced either to be transported to
Norfolk Island, or corporally punished.

It might be supposed, that these executions and punishments would have
operated as a check to the commission of offences; but they appeared to
be wholly disregarded, and enormity had not yet attained its full height.

On the night of the 11th, between the hours of eleven and twelve, the
public gaol at Sydney, which cost so much labour and expense to erect,
was set on fire, and soon completely consumed. The building was thatched,
and there was not any doubt of its having been done through design. But,
if this was the fact, it will be read with horror, that at the time there
were confined within its walls twenty prisoners, most of whom were loaded
with irons, and who with difficulty were snatched from the flames.
Feeling for each other was never imputed to these miscreants; and yet if
several were engaged in the commission of a crime they have seldom been
known to betray their companions in iniquity.

To complete this catalogue of offences, a few days after, some Irish
convicts, with their faces blackened, attacked the house of an
industrious man (one of the missionaries), whom they severely wounded in
several places and plundered of all his property.

Were it not evident that certain punishment awaited the conviction of
offenders, it might be supposed that a relaxation of the civil authority
had begotten impunity; but far otherwise was the fact: the police was
vigilant, the magistrates active, and the governor ever anxious to
support them, and with incessant diligence endeavouring to establish good
order and morality in the settlement. But, such was the depravity of
these people, from the habitual practice of vice, that they were become
alike fearless of the punishments of this or of the world to come.

Notwithstanding the settlement had before it the serious prospect of
wanting grain, and the consequent destruction of much useful stock, it
was known that several people had erected stills, and provided materials
for the purpose of distilling spirituous liquors; a pernicious practice
which had long been forbidden by every officer who had had the direction
of the colony. Former orders on this subject were now repeated, and
persons of all descriptions were called upon to use every means in their
power, in aid of the civil magistrate, to seize and destroy such stills
and materials as they might find.

Presuming on the late inefficient harvest, the settlers requested again
to be supplied with seed wheat from the store, but were refused. It was
well known, that they sold for spirits, to the last bushel of their crop,
and left their families without bread. Then they pleaded poverty and
distress, and their utter inability to repay what they had borrowed. When
seed has been lent them, they have not infrequently been seen to sell it
at the door of the store whence they had received it!

On the last day of the month a man belonging to the military was found
dead, sitting upright against the outside of the barrack paling. It was
known, that he had been much intoxicated the preceding night; and it was
supposed that, being unable to reach his hut, he had sat himself down,
and, falling asleep, passed from this life without a struggle.

The great drought and excessive heat had affected the water. Such ponds
as still retained any were reduced so very low, that most of them were
become brackish, and scarcely drinkable. From this circumstance, it was
conjectured, that the earth contained a large portion of salt, for the
ponds even on the high grounds were not fresh. The woods between Sydney
and Parramatta were completely on fire, the trees being burnt to the
tops, and every blade of grass was destroyed.

To defeat as much as possible the intentions of those who were concerned
in setting fire to the gaol, a strong and permanent building of stone,
with very substantial walls, was begun in this month, and was well
calculated to defy every such attempt in future.

March.] The dry weather which had so long prevailed, to the great
detriment of the cultivated and pasture grounds, was succeeded by rain
for two or three days, which greatly refreshed the gardens that were
nearly wholly burnt up, and every where revived the perishing vegetation.
At the Hawkesbury, however, an accident occurred, which, although not so
ruinous to the colony at large as the drought, proved most destructive to
the settlers in that district. This river suddenly, and in the course of
a very few hours, swelled to the height of fifty feet above its common
level, and with such rapidity and power as to carry every thing before
it. The government store-house, which had been erected at the first
settling of this part of the country, was not out of the reach of this
inundation, and was swept away, with all the provisions that it
contained. Many of the inhabitants were taken off from the ridges of
their houses, by a few boats which they fortunately had among them, just
in time to save their lives; for most of the dwellings were inundated,
and the whole country appeared like an extensive lake. Many hogs, other
live stock, poultry, with much of the produce of the last unfortunate
harvest, and the domestic effects of the people, were hurried away by the
torrent. Fortunately only one life was lost.

This was a most serious calamity; and, no cause having appeared to
indicate an approaching overflow of the river, the settlers were not
prepared for such a disaster. It was said, that the natives foresaw it,
and advised the inhabitants; but this wanted confirmation. If true, the
trait was a favourable one. There could, however, be no doubt, that,
unperceived by our people, a heavy fall of rain had taken place in the
interior of the country, among the mountains, and which, from the parched
state of the land for such a length of time, had in no part been
absorbed, but ran down the sides of the hills, as from mountains of solid
rock, filling all the low grounds, and branches of the river, which,
being in form suddenly serpentine, could not give vent so fast as the
waters descended.

It was hoped and believed, that this uncommon inundation would, in the
end, prove highly beneficial to the grounds so overflowed, causing them
for a season or more to produce with such abundance as to recover the
loss which the sufferers had sustained. In a few days this extraordinary
collection of water had found its way to the sea, and, the river
regaining its usual level, the settlers set about new cropping their
grounds; for which purpose they made application for seed wheat, that
certainly could not be refused; their other application, for bedding and
clothing, it was not so easy to comply with, from the poverty of the
public stores in these articles.

This fertile spot had, in some seasons, produced from fifteen to twenty
thousand bushels of wheat, and might justly be termed the granary of New
South Wales.

To relieve the inhabitants in some degree from the contemplation of these
distresses, the _Rebecca_, a whaler, came into the Cove from the
Cape of Good Hope, bringing authentic accounts of Lord Nelson's memorable
and brilliant victory over the French fleet at the mouth of the Nile.
This decisive battle was announced to the settlement in a public order,
and by a discharge of all the artillery in the colony.

The master of the _Rebecca_, having brought out a few articles for
sale, chartered the _Nautilus_ to take them to Norfolk island,
thinking to find a better market for them there than at this place, where
the late unsuccessful harvest had neither filled the granary of the
public nor the pocket of the settler. She sailed with this cargo in the
course of a few days.

On the 9th, the _Britannia_ whaler came in from sea, to repair some
damages which she had sustained in bad weather. She had been rather
successful in her fishery, having procured twenty-five tons of spermaceti
oil since her departure; and the master reported, that, had the weather
been more moderate, he should have been enabled to have more than half
filled his ship.

The criminal court was only once assembled during this month; when one
man was condemned to death for a burglary, and another* transported for
fourteen years to Norfolk Island.

[* This man, Isaac Nichols, an overseer, had been accused of
receiving stolen goods; but from some circumstances which occurred on the
trial, the sentence was respited until his Majesty's pleasure could be

The civil court was also assembled for the decision of private causes, in
which it was engaged during a week.

Among other public works in hand were, the raising the walls of the new
gaol, laying the upper floor of the wind-mill, and erecting the churches
at Sydney and Parramatta. Most of these buildings did not advance so
rapidly as the necessity for them required, owing to the weakness of the
public gangs; and indeed scarcely had there ever been a thorough day's
labour, such as is performed by a labouring man in England, obtained from
them. They never felt themselves interested in the effect of their work,
knowing that the ration from the store, whatever it might be, would be
issued to them, whether they earned it or not; unlike the labouring man
whose subsistence, and that of his family, depends upon his exertions.
For the individual who would pay them for their services with spirits,
they would labour while they had strength to lift the hoe or the axe; but
when government required the production of that strength, it was not
forthcoming; and it was more to be wondered, that under such
disadvantages so much, rather than that so little, had been done. The
convicts whose services belonged to the crown were for the most part a
wretched, worthless, dissipated set, who never thought beyond the present
moment; and they were for ever employed in rendering that moment as easy
to themselves as their invention could enable them.

Of the settlers and their disposition much has been already said. The
assistance and encouragement which from time to time were given them,
they were not found to deserve. The greater part had originally been
convicts; and it is not to be supposed, that while they continued in that
state their habits were much improved. With these habits, then, they
became freemen and settlers; the effect of which was, to render them
insolent and presuming; and most of them continued a dead weight upon the
government, without reducing the expenses of the colony.

These expenses were certainly great, and had been considerably increased.
The settlement was at this time much in want of many necessary articles
of life; and when these were brought by speculators and traders who
occasionally touched there, they demanded more than five hundred per cent
above what the same articles could have been sent out for from England,
with every addition of freight, insurance, etc. They saw the wants of the
colony, and availed themselves of its necessities.

April.] On the first of this month the criminal court sat for the trial
of a soldier belonging to the regiment, who had a few days before stabbed
a seaman of the _Reliance_, who insulted him when sentinel at one of
the wharfs at Sydney. The man died of the wound; the soldier, being
called upon to answer for his death, proved to the satisfaction of the
court, that it had been occasioned by the intemperance of the seaman, and
he was accordingly found to have committed a justifiable homicide.

This accident was the effect of intoxication, to which a few days after
another victim was added, in the person of a female, who was either the
wife or companion of Simon Taylor, a man who had been considered as one
of the few industrious settlers which the colony could boast of. They had
both been drinking together to a great excess; and in that state they
quarrelled, when the unhappy man, in a fit of madness and desperation,
put an untimely end to her existence. He was immediately taken into
custody, and reserved for trial.

To this pernicious practice of drinking to excess, more of the crimes
which disgraced the colony were to be ascribed than to any other cause;
and more lives where lost through this than through any other
circumstance; for the settlement had ever been free from epidemical or
fatal diseases. How much then was the importation of spirits to be
lamented! How much was it to be regretted, that it had become the
interest of any set of people to vend them!

Several robberies which at this time had been committed were to be
imputed to the same source.

A new enemy to agriculture made its appearance in this month. A
destructive grub-worm was discovered in several parts of the cultivated
ground; and at the Hawkesbury a caterpillar had commenced its ravages
wherever it found any young grain just shooting out of the earth. This
occasioned some delay in sowing the government ground.

It having been for several days reported, that the crews of two boats,
which had been permitted to go to Hunter's River for a load of coals, had
been cut off by the natives, the governor ordered his whale boat to be
well armed, and to proceed thither in quest of the boats and their crews;
sending in her Henry Hacking, a person on whom he could depend. Upon his
return, he informed the governor, that on his arrival he found an attempt
had been made to burn the smaller boat, which had had three men in her,
who were each provided with a musket. The boat was there, but the men
were not to be found. Going immediately in search of them, he fell in
with a large body of natives all armed. On desiring them to inform him
what was become of the white men, they told him they were gone to Sydney.
This did not satisfy him, as he found they had taken away the sails of
the boats, the men's blankets, and every thing that they had with them.
He then threatened to kill them if they did not instantly inform him, and
presented his musket at them. This they laughed at, and said, that if he
did not go away, and leave them a small two-oared boat which he had
brought with him, and the whale boat, they would destroy every white man
there, and poised their spears in a threatening manner. He again levelled
his piece at them, and snapped it without priming, in the hope of
alarming them; but they were not so easily frightened, and became most
noisy and violent. Finding that an attack was almost certain, he charged
his gun with buck shot, and ordered them to leave the place; but, their
clamour increasing, he fired, and four of them fell, one of whom got up
again and ran off, the other three remaining upon the ground, probably
mortally wounded. The whole body disappeared, and no more was seen of
them, leaving Hacking to fill his boat and effect his retreat unmolested.

Our people having frequently visited this river for coals, and always
treating with kindness and civility the natives whom they met, this
behaviour was not to be accounted for, except by its being allowed that
all savages are under the dominion of a sudden impulse; which renders it
impossible to know when to trust them.

As the men belonging to the boat were not heard of for a considerable
time, it was feared they had been murdered by the natives; but they
fortunately reached the settlement safe.

On the morning of the 24th, the _Nautilus_ returned from Norfolk
Island, and with her came in a Spanish ship, a prize to two whalers,
which they had captured off Cape Blanco on the coast of Peru. She was
bound from Lima to Guiaquill.

A court of vice-admiralty having been assembled, she was condemned as a
legal prize, and part of her cargo* was in a few days sold by public

[* This consisted of sugar, flour, and an ardent spirit similar
to the _aqua ardente_ of the Brazils. The governor would not allow
this article to be sold by auction.]

This was a new circumstance in the annals of the settlement, and wore the
appearance of rendering it of more consequence than it had hitherto been.
Did it not go to prove, that at some future period, in the event of a
Dutch or Spanish war, it might become a place of much importance, by
offering a reception to the prizes of our cruisers, a court whereat they
could be condemned, and a market for their cargoes?

Two days afterwards the _Norfolk_ returned from Norfolk Island,
where the maize harvest had entirely failed, owing to the long drought
which had prevailed there.

Every year's experience proved, that this island never would be of the
utility which might be expected from the very great expense that was
incurred on its account. It was probable, that this expense had not been
adverted to in England; for all the bills drawn there were sent to New
South Wales to be consolidated into bills upon the treasury; by which
means the expenses of the principal settlement appeared to be far more
considerable than in fact they were. The boast of its containing timber
and flax fit for naval purposes, sufficient to construct and equip a
navy, falls to the ground, when it is considered that the whole island
does not contain a single harbour, cove, or inlet, fit to shelter a boat,
much less a ship; but that it is surrounded by a dangerous coral reef,
which has proved the loss of one King's ship, and many lives. Besides,
the soil of New South Wales produces timber and flax perfectly calculated
for all naval purposes, and in sufficient abundance. The single advantage
that this island presents is, as has been mentioned before, its proving a
place of punishment to such notorious offenders in the seat of government
as there escape the gallows; and for this purpose a small civil and
military establishment might be maintained at a much less expense than
the present.

If an idea may be hazarded, Van Diemen's Island holds out in every
respect a more advantageous spot for a settlement, than this parched,
unattainable island; and were it not for the expense already incurred
there, it would be advisable to remove the whole of that settlement
thither; where, from the account given by Captain Flinders, and Mr. Bass,
they would be as likely to remain unmolested by natives as they are at
Norfolk Island, and would possess the superior benefits of a temperate
climate and capacious harbour.

In addition to the advantages likely to be obtained in New South Wales by
the culture of the flax plant, the breed of sheep had been considerably
improved by crossing the smaller Bengal with the larger Cape sheep. The
fleece produced from this mixture was excellent; and a specimen of
woollen cloth fabricated of it was sent to England. One end of a web of
linen, wove from the wild flax of the country, was crossed with a thread
spun from the bark of a tree; and a web from that bark was crossed, in
the specimen sent home, by a thread of wool. All these were made under
many difficulties; but they answered the purpose of showing what might be
done, with proper tools, at a future period. There was not any doubt, but
that the flax plant would considerably improve by cultivation; and the
manufacture of woollens promised to be of great benefit to the
settlement, whenever a sufficiency of the raw materials was collected.
Necessity has been long known as the parent of resources, and the poverty
of the public stores in the article of clothing had prompted these
experiments of the wool, the flax, and the bark.

The discovery of the vast strata of coal must be reckoned among the new
lights thrown upon the resources of the colony. The facility that this
presents in working the iron ore* with which the settlement abounded,
must prove of infinite utility whenever a dock-yard shall be established
here; and the time may come, when the productions of the country may not
be confined within its own sphere.

[* Some of this iron ore, which has been smelted in England, has been
reported to be equal, if not superior, to Swedish iron.]

In addition to other public works already in hand, the governor directed
a piece of ground, consisting of about seventy acres, and three-miles
distant from Sydney, to be inclosed for the use of the stock in that

The foundation of the walls of a government house at Parramatta was laid,
and the sowing the public wheat grounds begun; but, through want of
labouring people, less was sown this than in the last year.

The weather had been in general moderate and seasonable.


The _Buffalo_ arrives from England, and brings cattle from the Cape
A marine settler killed
A criminal court held
Taylor executed
Lowe punished
A highway robbery
Provisions in store
Ration altered
June, two whalers come in from sea
Ideas of a whale-fishery
Tempestuous weather
The _Albion_ whaler arrives from England
Her passage
July, a missionary murdered
The murderers tried and executed
Orders published
State of the farms
The _Hillsborough_ arrives from England
Mortality on board
Public works

May.] On the third day of this month his Majesty's ship _Buffalo_
arrived from England, but last from the Cape of Good Hope, whence she
brought sixty-six head of cattle, which, considering the length of the
voyage, were landed in good condition. She had also on board some tools
and articles of hardware for the use of the colony; but, unfortunately,
no bedding or clothing of any kind.

This ship arrived under the command of Mr. William Raven, whose services
to the colony in the private ship _Britannia_ cannot easily be
forgotten; and was sent out to replace the _Supply_, which had been
condemned as unserviceable, and whose commander, Lieutenant William Kent,
was with her officers and crew to be removed into the _Buffalo_; the
governor being directed to furnish Mr. Raven with a passage to England.

Although this ship was named the _Buffalo_, yet her head was the
carved figure of a kangaroo, which very much amused the natives, who
could have had no idea of seeing the animals of their country represented
in wood.

Some of these people, ever hostile to the settlers, had lately speared
one of them, a marine settler (as those were styled who had formerly
belonged to the marine detachment) at George's river, so effectually,
that he died of his wounds. The natives belonged to the tribe of which
Pe-mul-wy was the leader.

Savage as these beings certainly were toward our people, and to each
other, yet they could unbend, and divert themselves with the softer
amusements of singing and dancing. The annexed engraving represents a
party thus occupied, and gives a correct view of their persons and
manners. The figure leaning upon his shield, the attitude of the women
dancing, and the whole group, are accurate delineations of a party
assembled by the light of a fire at the mouth of one of their excavated

It might be supposed, that with this exercise, and the company of their
females, their angry and turbulent passions would be at rest, and that
the idea of murder could not enter their minds; yet have they been known
to start away, in search of some unsuspecting object of their revenge or
hatred, who before the morning has received a dozen spears through his
body: and this is man in his uncultivated state!

Several offenders having been secured for trial, it became necessary to
assemble the court of criminal judicature; and on the 16th Simon Taylor
was brought before it, accused of the murder of his wife; of which
offence being clearly convicted, he received sentence of death, and was
executed on the 20th at Parramatta. This unhappy man was thoroughly
sensible of the enormity of his guilt, and in his last moments admonished
the spectators against indulging in drunkenness, which had brought him to
that untimely and disgraceful end.

At the same court, one man, Robert Lowe, was adjudged corporal
punishment, and one year's hard labour, for embezzling some of the live
stock of Government, which had been entrusted to his care. He was a free
man, and had been one of the convicts who were with Captain Riou in the
_Guardian_, when her voyage to New South Wales was unfortunately
frustrated by her striking upon an island of ice; on account of which,
and of their good conduct before and after the accident, directions had
been given for their receiving conditional emancipation, and being
allowed to provide for their own maintenance. Few of these people,
however, were in the end found to merit this reward and indulgence, as
their future conduct had proved; and this last act of delinquency pointed
out the necessity of a free person being sent out from England to
superintend the public live stock, with such an allowance as would make
him at once careful of his conduct, and faithful in the execution of his

It should seem that the commission of crimes was never to cease in this
settlement. Scarcely had the last court of judicature sent one man to the
gallows, when a highway robbery was committed between the town of Sydney
and Parramatta. Three men rushed from an adjoining wood, and, knocking
down a young man who was travelling to the last mentioned town, rifled
his pockets of a few dollars. On his recovering, finding that only one
man remained, who was endeavouring to twist his handkerchief from his
neck, he swore that no one person should plunder him, and had a struggle
with this fellow, who, not being the strongest of the two, was secured
and taken into Parramatta. A court was immediately assembled for his
trial; but the evidence was not thought sufficient to convict him, and he
was consequently acquitted. The want of any corroborating circumstance on
the part of the prosecutor compelled the court to this acquittal.

A quantity of fresh pork having been for some time received into the
store, there were found at this period six months salt provisions
remaining; which, without this supply would have been all consumed, and
the colony left without animal food, save in the article of live stock, a
resource on which it could not have been prudent to have touched as a
supply, except in a case of the last necessity.

Every encouragement was given to the curing of pork upon Norfolk Island;
but the casks in which the salt meat was sent from England were in
general so extremely feeble by the time they arrived, that scarcely one
in a hundred was fit for that purpose a second time. Could any timber,
fit for this use, have been found in the country, yet a supply of hoops
and salt pans would have been necessary; and, unless it was cured in the
winter season, and the method observed by Captain Cook was practised at
Norfolk island, it remained a doubt whether it could be accomplished to
any considerable extent.

The price of fresh pork having been raised in consequence of the failure
of the late harvest, as a temporary relief to those who had suffered by
that misfortune, the commissary was, at the close of this month, directed
to return to the price formerly established, viz nine-pence per pound.

The state of the public stores with respect to salt provision having been
carefully examined, it became necessary to make a small reduction of the
ration in time, in order to prevent a greater. It was accordingly
ordered, that the following proportions should be issued, per man per
week; viz

Beef 5 pounds
Pork 3 pounds
Wheat 12 pounds
Sugar 6 ounces

and this they were informed was not to continue longer than the arrival
of a storeship with a supply of salted provision.

The commissary was also directed to issue to such men as might be
entitled, as much blue gurrah (an East India article not much better than
bunting) and thread as would make a frock and a pair of trousers, and a
proportion to the women and children. These gurrahs had been brought from
India in some of the speculative voyages to this country, and were now
found useful in covering the nakedness of the people.

By the arrival of the _Buffalo_, the governor at length had it in
his power to inform those people who had been convicted in Ireland, and
by the laws of that kingdom had been transported to New South Wales, that
he had received from thence a correct statement of the several sentences
of those who had been brought in the _Queen_; and an assurance, through the
secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, that the lists of those who had been
sent out since that period should be forwarded by the next vessel which
might sail from Ireland for this colony.

Those, therefore, who were remaining alive of the convicts received by
the _Queen_, might learn the extent of their conviction, by applying
at the commissary's office. Such as might appear to have been sent out
for life were told they need not despair of being, in due time, again the
masters of their own labours; as every one must have seen, that a decent,
orderly, industrious and obedient conduct, had frequently recommended
many of their description to public favour.

June.] On the 2nd of this month, the _Diana_ and _Eliza_
whalers came in to refit, and to refresh their crews. They had each
procured about twenty-five tons of spermaceti oil since they left the
port, and had spoke the _Britannia_, which had been more successful,
she having, in all, one hundred and ten tons of oil on board.

About this time the _Indispensable_ sailed on her fishing voyage.
This ship had been careened and completely repaired in the Cove.

From the experience of the masters of these whalers, there was every
reason to believe, that ships resorting hither, properly fitted for the
variable weather which they are liable to meet with upon the coast, would
most certainly succeed. The ships that had arrived, in general, were not
prepared for the weather of this ocean, but were fitted for the more
certain and serene skies of the coast of Peru; which occasioned their so
frequently running into port to refit. In this, such assistance as the
colony could supply was always readily afforded them; and it might be
worthy the attention of the houses of Messrs. Champion, Enderby, and
others, owners of ships in the whale fishery, to establish a depot or
warehouse at Sydney, well supplied with naval stores, where their
business could be transacted by their own people, and their ships
refitted with their own materials.

If try-pots were fixed at some convenient place near the entrance of the
harbour, and many such offer, where their warehouse might also be
established, the fishing ground not being far from the coast, might not a
ship run in with the whale in blubber, leave it to be tried out, and in
the mean while put to sea in quest of more? If any time would be saved by
this mode of proceeding, it surely would be worth adopting; but of this
these gentlemen must be the better judges.

In the evening on the fourth of June, which had been observed as His
Majesty's birthday with every demonstration of loyalty and respect, the
weather became very tempestuous, and continued for three days blowing a
heavy gale from the southward, attended with a deluge of rain; by which
several buildings belonging to Government, which had been erected with
great labour, were much damaged; among others, was unfortunately the
tower of the new mill at Sydney, of which the roof was fitting. The
south-side of this building was so much injured, that it became necessary
to take the whole down; which was done, and the foundation laid a second

This gale having subsided, it returned about the middle of the month,
blowing again from the southward with increased violence, and attended
with another deluge of rain. In its effects it was more destructive than
the preceding, doing much damage to various public and private buildings.
The south side of the church tower was entirely destroyed, but the clock
was saved. The Government house at Parramatta, which was nearly finished,
received some material injury, but was not wholly destroyed. A man, in
crossing a gully between Sydney and Parramatta, was, in attempting to
ford it, carried away by the violence of the torrent, and drowned. The
cattle suffered much, and a few of the public as well as private stock

The ravages of this storm were so great, that the settlement was thrown
back nearly twelve months in those works which at the time were expected
very shortly to be completed. The weather, from the beginning of this
month, had never since the establishment of the colony been observed to
be so severe. The settlement had indeed, between the fires of the summer,
and the floods and gales of the winter, suffered very considerably. Added
to these, at this time, were the inconveniences arising from an
unproductive harvest, from an exhausted store in the very essential
articles of clothing and bedding, from the hostile disposition of many of
the natives, and from the annihilation of morality, honesty, and industry
in the major part of the colonists.

As this picture is not exaggerated, the situation and feelings of the
rational part of the settlement were certainly not to be envied.

Every exertion was immediately made to remedy the misfortunes occasioned
by the late tempestuous weather, and it was hoped that most of them would
be surmounted by the end of the present year. The erecting of the stone
prison at Sydney being found to create much expense, as well as require
much time, the governor called a meeting of the officers, principal
inhabitants, and landholders, and proposed an assessment to be furnished
by each, as well of money, as of labour; which was readily agreed to on
their part; and that necessary building was thenceforth carried on at
their expense, the public stores only furnishing such iron as might be

On the evening of the 29th, the ship _Albion_ arrived from England,
having made the quickest passage of any that had yet come to this
country, being only three months and fifteen days on her voyage. She
brought out 900 tierces of salt pork, some dispatches, and a few letters,
by which the governor was taught to expect the arrival of two transports
with convicts, and of a king's ship, the _Porpoise_, which was to
replace the _Reliance_.

The extraordinary passage made by this ship drew the attention of those
who were judges, to her construction. This was her first voyage, having
been launched on the 25th of October 1798, from the yard of Messrs.
Barnard and Roberts at Deptford, where she was built. The length of her
keel for tonnage, was 86 feet; her extreme breadth, 27 feet 6 inches; her
depth in hold, 12 feet; her height between decks, 6 feet, and her
admeasured burden, 362 tons. She was remarkably clean in her run; and,
although extremely deep in the water when she sailed from Spithead, gave
early proof of her capacity in sailing.

Mr. Ebor Bunker, who had been at Port Jackson before in the _William
and Ann_ transport, commanded the _Albion_, and was now selected
by her owners, Messrs. Champions, to give the whale fishing upon the
coast a complete and fair trial. For this purpose the ship was fitted out
with the accustomed liberality of those gentlemen in the amplest manner,
with every store that could be necessary for her own use, and every
comfort for her people.

Fortunate it would have proved for the settlement in general, had these
and such respectable gentlemen been among the first of those whose
speculative views had induced them to embark their property in these
undertakings: it would then have escaped the extortions which had been
but too successfully practised by many others.

The labouring people were principally employed during this month, in
repairing the devastations occasioned by the late tempestuous weather.

July.] Another instance occurred of the little effect which even capital
punishments had in this profligate settlement. On the evening of the 2nd
of this month, a most horrid murder was committed upon Mr. Samuel Clode,
one of the missionaries, who had flown for refuge from the savages of
Otaheite to this government. This act of more than savage barbarity was
committed at the brickfields, in the house of one Jones, a soldier. His
brains were beaten out at the back of his head, with an axe, and his
throat so cut as nearly to sever the head from the body, which was then
dragged to a sawpit, at that time full of water, and, being thrown in,
was covered over with bushes. Here it remained only until the following
morning, when it was discovered by a labouring man, who went to get his
hoe; which, to prevent its being stolen, he had been in the habit of
concealing in the sawpit. Such are the directions of Providence!

Suspicion falling upon four persons, they were taken up; and, the
criminal court being immediately convened, three of the number, Thomas
Jones (a soldier), a woman (his wife), and John Albury (a free man),
were, on the clearest evidence, convicted of the murder, and adjudged to
suffer death.

It appeared upon the trial, that the trifling sum of ten pounds, which
Jones had been indebted to Mr. Clode, prompted him to his destruction. To
effect this, he signified to that truly unfortunate gentleman, that if he
would call at his hut in the evening he would pay him. Not suspecting any
evil design in this request, he called at the appointed time, and, while
leaning over a table to draw up a receipt, received the first blow with
the axe, from the hand of Jones (Albury's resolution, for it was agreed
that he should give it, failing at the moment), who, from the pecuniary
transaction between them, must have been under an obligation, which he
took this dreadful method of discharging.

Being convicted on the 4th, they were executed on the 6th, upon the spot
where the murder had been committed. The house was pulled down and burnt,
and the bodies of the two men were hung in chains near the place. That of
the woman was delivered to the surgeons for dissection.

The abandoned state in which the settlement was at this time cannot be
better understood than by a perusal of the following orders, which were

"From the late increased number of nocturnal robberies, there is much
reason to suspect that the petty constables and divisional watchmen are
either extremely negligent in the performance of their duty, or that they
suffer themselves to be prevailed on by the house-breakers to be less
vigilant than that duty requires, and to connive at their depredations on
the inhabitants. A continuance of this unpardonable remissness upon their
part must dispose the more respectable inhabitants to believe them
partakers with the thieves. It is, therefore, hereby particularly
recommended by the governor to every officer in the colony, as they value
the security of their property, to give their utmost assistance to those
immediately concerned in the executive part of the civil police, in
putting, as speedily as possible, a stop to so very great an evil. It is
also particularly recommended to the principal inhabitants of the towns
of Sydney and Parramatta, that they select a few of the most respectable
of their number, in each division of these towns, whom they may authorise
to consider of the most effectual means of detecting the robbers, and
bringing them to trial; whether by such rewards as they may be enabled to
offer, or by small divisional patrols for the night service, and who
shall take that duty by turns, and be under the immediate direction of a
reputable inhabitant, of their own choice, or an officiating constable
selected from among the most sober and vigilant of that description of

Proposals for this purpose were to be sent in writing to the
judge-advocate's office, and a bench of magistrates were to approve or
alter them, as they should think proper.

This order was published on the 2nd, and on the 3rd the following

"The continual complaints which are made of the conduct of the female
convicts require the most rigid and determined discipline with such
characters, who, to the disgrace of their sex, are far worse than the
men, and are generally found at the bottom of every infamous transaction
that is committed in the colony. It is hereby most strenuously
recommended to the magistrates in general, that on proof being brought
before them of any improper conduct in those dangerous and mischievous
characters, or of any disobedience of orders, or neglect of such duty as
they may be directed to perform, they may be ordered such exemplary
punishment, either corporal or otherwise, as the nature of their crime
may call for. This measure will appear the more necessary, when it is
recollected, that formerly, when such punishments were had recourse to,
these women gave much less trouble, and were far more orderly in their

The superintendants were directed not to allow them to leave their work
at their own pleasure, but to attend them, and see that they were
employed during those hours which were allotted for their labour. The
former of these orders seemed to have been attended with some effect; for
in a few days several idle people, who, being out of their time, were
employed only in wandering from one district to another, without any
visible means of getting their bread, were apprehended, and, being
examined before the sitting magistrate, were ordered to labour in the
gaol gang.

Still alarming depredations were nightly committed upon the live stock of
individuals, and were doubtless effected by those wandering pests to
society; the regulations which had long since been established as a check
to such an evil being wholly disregarded. It was discovered, that hogs
were stolen, and delivered on the victualling days at the public store,
without any enquiry being made, as to whose property they were, or by
whom delivered, any person's name which they chose to give in being
considered by the store-keeper as sufficient to authorise him to receive
it, although printed vouchers for the delivery of such pork (and grain
likewise) were left at the store, for the purpose of being signed by the
party offering it. This certainly operated as an encouragement to the
commission of these thefts; and it became necessary to order, that such
persons as attended the receipt of any of these articles at the store
should direct whoever delivered them to sign the voucher of the quantity
received by him, the governor being determined never to approve of any
bill laid before him for that purpose, unless the commissary should
produce the voucher, properly signed, by the person in whose name such
bill was made out.

About the middle of this month a general muster was made of all the
inhabitants in the different districts of the settlement; and the
governor, attending in person, collected from the settlers an accurate
state of their farms and grounds in cultivation. This he did with a view
of transmitting, in his next dispatches to Government, such an account of
these people as, from being taken under his immediate inspection, might
be depended upon. From the 14th to the 24th were taken up in this
enquiry, from the result of which it appeared that there were in the
district of the River Hawkesbury: 2544 and a half acres in wheat, 907
acres for maize; in the district of Parramatta: 1259 and a half acres in
wheat, 663 and a half acres for maize; in the Sydney districts: 538 and
a half acres in wheat, 365 and a half acres for maize; making a total of
4392 acres and a half in wheat, and 1436 acres for maize, in the three
principal districts of the settlements.

At the Hawkesbury, the greatest quantity of ground in cultivation by any
individual, who had from a convict become a settler, was fifty-one acres,
forty-six of which were in wheat. Two others had fifty each, forty of
which were in wheat. A man of the name of Flood (who, had been left by
Mr. Hogan, when here in the ship _Marquis Cornwallis_ in 1796, in
the care of some ground which that gentleman had purchased) had at this
time two hundred, and an agent of Mr. Palmer the commissary, had within
seven of three hundred, acres in wheat. There were but few sheep in the
possession of the settlers of this district, and about two hundred and
forty goats. Hogs were more numerous, there being, after all the
slaughter which had lately taken place among these animals, nearly two
thousand remaining. The fertility of this spot had invited about one
hundred and eighty persons to become holders of land thereon; and when
they shall have erected their dwelling-houses and barns on ground
inaccessible to the overflowings of the river (which, from its vicinity
to the immense body of mountains to the westward, and its own irregularly
winding form, must often occur), they will not find their time or
exertions to have been misapplied.

The settlers in and about Parramatta had not so much ground in
cultivation, and were fewer in number than those of the Hawkesbury
district. A widow woman of the name of Daveny, whose husband had been a
superintendant of convicts, had fifty acres in wheat, and twenty-three in
maize. Among the individuals who had attended to the rearing of stock
must be mentioned with the credit which he merits, Edward Elliot, who,
having firmly withstood every temptation that was placed in his way to
induce him to sell them, had at this time a stock consisting of 116*
sheep, derived from one ewe, which had been allowed him by Governor
Phillip in December 1792. It, perhaps, may be read with some
satisfaction, that George Barrington appeared to have twenty acres of
ground in wheat, and to be the possessor of thirteen sheep, fifty-five
goats, and two mares. His conduct continued such as it had been from the
first; but his health was visibly declining, his unremitted attention to
the duties of his office proving too much for an asthmatic habit, which
he brought with him from England.

[* Vide Vol I Ch. XXXI p 401, viz: 'One man, a settler at the
Eastern Farms, Edward Elliot, had received a ewe sheep from the late
Governor Phillip before his departure in the year 1792. He had resisted
many temptations to sell it, and at the time this inquiry took place was
found possessing a stock of twenty-two sheep, males and females. He had
been fortunate in not meeting with any loss, but had not added to his
stock by any purchase. This was a proof that industry did not go without
its reward in this country. Other instances were found to corroborate
this observation.']

There were nine hundred and three goats, three hundred and thirty-two
sheep, and about four hundred hogs, in this district, the settlers of
which were one hundred and four in number.

It has been shown, that the cultivated ground in the district of the
principal settlement was far less than in either that of the river, or
Parramatta. At each of these, the soil was greatly superior, and had
therefore been more desired by settlers; it must moreover be observed,
that most of the farms in the neighbourhood of Sydney were taken before
much knowledge had been obtained of the superior richness of the soil in
the interior, over that near the coast. The greatest quantity of ground
in cultivation by any individual was thirty-three acres. Their stock of
sheep amounted only to thirty-eight, of goats to two hundred and
ninety-two; and there were remaining among them about three hundred and
sixty hogs. The number of settlers was seventy-one. In this statement,
the farms and stock of the officers of the civil and military department,
and of some of the free settlers, were not included.

This certainly was not an unpromising view of the agricultural part of
the settlement. Much might be expected from the exertions of three
hundred and fifty-five people, and the greatest advantage would have been
derived from their labours had they been less prone to dissipation and
useless traffic--a traffic which most of them entered into solely with a
view to indulging themselves in their favourite propensity of drinking.

Independent of the wild herd of cattle to the westward, the live stock
belonging to the Crown, and to individuals, was annually increasing to a
great amount; but it was not yet sufficiently numerous to admit of
supplying the colony with animal food. To begin too early to apply it to
that use, would only have retarded the time when the colony would be
independent of any other country for provisions; and none but superfluous
males were ever killed.

On the 26th of this month the _Hillsborough_ transport arrived from
England, whence she had sailed with three hundred male convicts on board;
but, from the raging of a gaol fever, that made its appearance soon after
her departure, ninety-five had died during the voyage, and six more were
added to the number in a few days after they were landed.

It was impossible that any ship could have been better fitted by
Government for the accommodation of prisoners during such a voyage than
was the _Hillsborough_; but, unfortunately, they brought with them,
perhaps lurking in their clothing, a disease which bade defiance to all
the measures that could be taken for their comfort and convenience.

The hospitals were immediately filled with the survivors, from whom no
labour could, for a length of time, be expected; and they were supplied
with fresh meat.

None of the military having been embarked in this ship, the owners had
put on board a certain number of people, to act as a guard; and on the
commissary's mustering them and the ship's company, pursuant to a request
to that purpose from the commissioners of the Transport Board, it
appeared, that the terms of the charter-party had been strictly complied

The erecting of the public gaol advancing but slowly, the constables of
the different divisions of the town of Sydney were directed to give
information to the inhabitants of their respective divisions, that, as
this building was a work in which they were all interested, they were to
furnish from each of the four divisions, viz from King's, Nepean's,
Banks's, Maskelyne's (such being their names), and from that of the
Brickfields, five men each day, with a watchman to attend them. These
were to be relieved by a like number of men every day, and this
assistance was to be continued so long as the gentlemen who had the
direction of the work should have occasion for them.

Had the convicts who arrived in the _Hillsborough_ been in a condition
to labour, this requisition would have been unnecessary.

The _Albion_ was cleared during this month of the provisions which
she brought out for the colony, and prepared to proceed upon her fishing

The _Buffalo_ was also getting ready to go to the Cape of Good Hope
for cattle.


The governor visits the settlers upon George's river
The _Norfolk_ sloop returns from an excursion to the northward
Account of her proceedings
Enters Shoal Bay
Particulars respecting it
Description of a palm-nut tree
Enters Glass-House Bay
Lieutenant Flinders meets some natives
Has an interview with them
Point Skirmish
Proceeds to a river in Glass-House Bay

August.] In the beginning of this month the governor spent some days in
an excursion from Prospect-Hill to the settlement which he had
established on the banks of George's river. Having before examined the
country between Parramatta and that river, he now traced it in another
direction, and had the gratification of finding it equally favourable to
cultivation with what he had before observed. The distance from the hill
was about five miles, over excellent ground, well adapted both for
cultivation and pasturage, and equal to any on the banks of the Nile of
New South Wales. The settlers whom he had placed there were all doing
well, had not any complaints to make, and had not been molested lately by
the natives. On quitting them he proceeded down the river to Botany Bay,
and thence walked overland to Sydney, between which places there was
nothing but barren and uneven ground, but every where covered with the
most beautiful flowering heath.

Shortly after his return, the _Norfolk_ sloop came in from the
northward, having been absent about six weeks upon a particular service,
the following account of which is taken from the Journal of Lieutenant
Flinders, which he delivered to the governor after his arrival.

The governor being very desirous of gaining some information respecting
the coast to the Northward of Port Jackson, particularly of two large
openings marked by Captain Cook, the Northernmost of which he named
Hervey Bay, and appeared to lie about the latitude of 24 degrees 36
minutes south, he directed Lieutenant Flinders, who had been employed
before with Mr. Bass in the circumnavigation of Van Diemen's Island, to
proceed in the _Norfolk_ sloop to the northward, and examine them
with as much accuracy as the limited time of six weeks would admit. He
was also directed, if on his return he should find that he had some time
to spare, to enter Hunter's river, there to make what observations he
could relative to its extent, the quantity of coal to be found there, and
the nature of the country.

The vessel was manned with volunteers from the two king's ships, and
Lieutenant Flinders was accompanied by Bong-ree, a native of the
north side of Broken Bay, who had been noted for his good disposition, and
open and manly conduct. To guard against accidents, they were supplied
with provisions for eleven weeks, and on this service they sailed on the
8th of the last month, July, and proceeded to the Northward.

At half past seven in the morning of Sunday the 9th they sounded, but
without finding ground with fifteen fathoms of line, at the distance of
half a mile from a small reef of black rocks, which ran off from a
sugar-loaf point. There were two very low, and therefore dangerous rocks,
lying at S 20 degrees E three or four miles, and SE about two miles from
this point. Captain Cook passed this part of the coast in the night, and
therefore did not see the rocks; but they required to be particularly
looked out for by any vessel coming near the land.* The latitude of the
point is about 32 degrees 27 minutes S, Cape Hawke lying N 1 degree or 2
degrees E from it; and the intermediate coast was mostly beach, but
divided at intervals by short stony heads.

[* This and other nautical observations made by Lieutenant Flinders
are inserted, as it is presumed they (never having been published)
may be of use to such ships as may hereafter be employed in the whale
fishery upon the coast.]

Sounding with ten fathoms of line at half a mile distance from the shore
of Cape Hawke, they got ground. The two hills here mentioned by Captain
Cook were found to stand upon the pitch of the Cape, and were covered
with brush down to the low cliffs. The strata in these cliffs lay forty
or fifty degrees from the horizontal line. From the Cape the coast falls
back, forming a kind of double bay. The land was low, and rose, but very
gradually, ridge over ridge inland to a moderate height, the country
looking pleasant enough from the sea; but the trees appeared small, and
mixed with brushwood.

At daylight in the morning of the 10th they perceived the vessel to have
been carried by an extraordinary current considerably to the southward of
their expected situation, and at noon their latitude gave them a
difference of thirty-three miles, which current they attributed to their
being five or six leagues off the shore; for in the preceding twenty-four
hours, when she was close in with the shore, the difference between the
observation and the log was eight miles in her favour.

They found this morning that the sloop had unfortunately sprung a very
bad leak, which admitted so much water as kept one pump constantly at
work. By its coming on suddenly, it was judged not to have been
occasioned by any straining of the vessel. It was, however, a serious
cause of alarm; and the maize with which the sloop had been before loaded
was continually choking up the pumps.

The Solitary Isles were seen on the 11th. It had been Mr. Flinders's
intention to have landed upon some of these islets, had any inducement
presented itself; but on them he saw not either seal or bird. They seemed
to be covered with short brush; and two of them having been lately burnt
proved that they were visited by natives. In the colour of the rock, and
in their general appearance, they much resembled the small islands lying
off Tasman's heads, and might with equal propriety be termed the
Miserable as the Solitary Isles. Some breakers lying between them,
Mr. Flinders thinks it would be dangerous for a ship to pass within any of
them until they should be better known. At noon the observed latitude was
29 degrees 57 minutes 25 seconds south. The country still retained the
same woody, hilly, and irregular, though not unpleasing, appearance; but
in running along the shore it manifestly grew worse, having more tendency
to sand. The small projections of land which appeared as they sailed
along often presented the delusive appearance of openings behind them;
and they were the more inclined to entertain these hopes, as Captain Cook
passed along this part of the coast in the night.

At half past two a small island opened off from a low rocky point, behind
which there was a small river running into the SW; but breakers seemed to
extend mostly across the entrance. If there was any passage, it would be
found on the south side of the island.

At half past three, a peaked hill, standing four or five miles inland,
and more conspicuous than usual, bore true East. Before five, the vessel
stood in for what appeared to be an opening, and about dusk was in the
entrance to a wide shoal bay; soon after which she anchored in two and a
half fathoms, on a hard sandy bottom.

The objects in view that induced Mr. Flinders to enter this bay were,
that he might have daylight to run along the remaining part of the coast,
which had been passed by Captain Cook in the night, and to ascertain a
place of safety to run for, should the wind come dead on the coast on his
return. The leak in the sloop was also a material part of the inducement;
for should the place turn out to be of consequence enough to be worth
expending a few days in its examination, and a convenient place offer
itself for laying her on shore, he intended in the interval to get it

On examining this bay in his boat, he found it to be very shallow; the
north point of the entrance into it was only a projecting spot of sandy
ground. Having returned to the sloop about noon, he landed on the south
head for the purpose of observing for the latitude. The sun being more
than half an hour distant from the meridian gave him time to examine
three huts which stood at a little distance. They were of a circular
form, and about eight feet in diameter. The frame was composed of the
stronger tendrils of the vine, crossing each other in all directions, and
bound together by strong wiry grass at the principal intersections. The
covering was of bark of a soft texture, resembling the bark of what is
called the Tea-tree at Port Jackson, and so compactly laid on as to keep
out the wind and rain. The entrance was by a small avenue projecting from
the periphery of the circle, not leading directly into the hut, but
turning sufficiently to prevent the rain from beating in.* The height of
the under part of the roof is about four and a half, or five feet, and
those that were entered had collected a coat of soot, from the fires
which had been made in the middle of the huts. They much resembled an
oven. One of them was a double hut, comprising two recesses under one
entrance, intended most probably for kindred families, being large enough
to contain twelve or fifteen people. Bong-ree readily admitted that they
were much superior to any huts of the natives which he had before seen.
He brought away a small hand basket, made of some kind of leaf, capable
of containing five or six pints of water, and very nearly resembling
those used at Coupang in the island of Timor for carrying toddy, which
Mr. Flinders had noticed there.

[* How much superior in contrivance to those about Port Jackson, or in
Van Diemen's Island!]

The meridional altitude of the sun gave 29 degrees 26 minutes 28 seconds
S for the latitude of the entrance into the bay.

Many white cockatoos and paroquets were seen about here, and a crow
whose note was remarkably short and hasty. Numbers of pelicans, with some
gulls and red bills, frequented the shoals, and the country itself was
very sandy wherever they landed. The palm nut-tree which grows here was
the third kind of palm mentioned by Captain Cook as being produced on the
eastern coast of New South Wales.* This, he says, was found only in the
northern parts; and as Bong-ree, who was tolerably well acquainted with
the country as far as Port Stephens, never saw or heard of it before,
this was probably one of the most southern situations in which it would
be found.

[* Vide Hawkesworth's Voyages, Vol III p 624.]

The individual nuts were seen scattered about the fire-places of the
natives; and it was observed, that the lower end of them had been chewed
and sucked in the manner that artichokes are eaten. This method, on
procuring some that were ripe, was afterwards practised.

The taste was rather pleasant at first, but left an astringency behind
that scarcely tempted one to try a second time. The eatable part of the
nut in this way was so small, as to be not worth the trouble of sucking
it out from the fibres. They were about the size of a walnut; within the
outer skin was a hard shell like that of the cocoa nut; and within this,
two, or perhaps more, almond-like kernels. The nut, as taken from the
tree, was an assemblage of these kernels set into a cone, and was from
the size of a man's two fists, to that of his head. Its size, and the
furrows or indentations upon the surface, appeared on the first view like
the exterior form of the bread fruit, but a pine apple may be a better
object of comparison. The stem of the tree was short, and none were
observed to be two feet or even eighteen inches in diameter. The branches
did not ramify into twigs, but preserved their size to the extreme, where
the leaves were produced surrounding the fruit. One or two smaller
branches here and there struck off from the main branch, and produced
their leaves in the same way, without fruit. The height of the tree all
together might be from fifteen to twenty-five or thirty feet. Suckers or
branches of all sizes were seen shooting out below those bearing fruit,
and, growing downwards along the stem, entered the ground, where they not
only formed roots, but became supporters to the tree.

Mr. Flinders thought this fruit might be the mellori of the Nicobar
Islands. The description given of the mellori* in the third volume of
the Asiatic Researches corresponded with it in every particular, as far
as his examination went; but not having at that time any idea of the
value of the tree, and the subject being foreign to his pursuit, he did
not give it much attention.

[* The manner of cooking this fruit, mellori, is given in the description,
and may be found in the Annual Register for 1794.]

This bay not appearing to deserve more than a superficial examination,
Mr. Flinders did not think it worth consuming much of his time, and
therefore got under way at one o'clock in the afternoon of the 12th.

He could not give any particular mark that would point out the situation
of Shoal Bay, except its latitude, and the somewhat remarkably peaked
hill lying about four leagues to the southward of it. Were any vessel
ever likely to visit it, it would be necessary to observe, that either of
two heads, which bore from the vessel SW by W and W by N behind which
there was some appearance of an inlet, might be mistaken for the south
head of the bay.

On Saturday the 13th, about ten in the morning, they were three miles
distant from Cape Byron, and at the same time the peak of Mount Warning
was just appearing over it. Having hauled more off the shore soon after
noon, to avoid the reef lying off Point Danger, on the following morning
they found themselves at a considerable distance from the land. They now
steered west for a large space, where no land was visible, and,
perceiving breakers off the south point of the opening, were satisfied
that this was Moreton Bay. Passing between these breakers and Point
Lookout, they got ground in twenty fathoms water. As they drew nearer,
there appeared to be a very large extent of water within the opening; but
Mr. Flinders suspected that there was not any passage for a vessel in the
direction he was then steering, along the shore for the northern extreme
of the land. The country to the sea-ward was wretchedly sandy. At dusk
Cape Moreton bore west, distant two or three miles; and the highest
Glass-House, whose peak was just presenting itself over the distant land,
had opened round it at W 3 degrees or 4 degrees N. Two hummocks
resembling haycocks, distinct from any other land, opened soon after a
few degrees to the southward.

The vessel was now hauled in round Cape Moreton, to go into Glass-House
Bay. They steered west till eight o'clock, when, having little wind, and
that little being from the southward, they dropped anchor for the night.
Weighing again the next morning, the 14th, they worked near the eastern
shore until noon, at which time their latitude was 27 degrees 00 minutes
29 seconds south; and Cape Moreton bearing E 10 degrees N two or three
miles would be in the same latitude, allowing the variation to be 10
degrees east. This differs four miles and a half from its situation in
Captain Cook's Narrative.

While ranging within a mile of the shore, ten natives were counted, half
of whom were probably women, from their keeping behind the others. The
men made many antic gestures to our people. One had a green branch in his
hand, which he waved to and fro at the extent of his arm, from the ground
on one side of him to that on the other; and some of them would run into
the water occasionally, and beat the surf with sticks. They appeared to
be friendly, using nearly the same word in calling our people that would
have been made use of by a Port Jackson native, and seemed desirous that
they should proceed up the bay.

At eight in the evening they anchored in eleven fathoms water, about two
miles from a low sandy shore on the west side of the bay.

At daylight on Tuesday the 16th, they again weighed to turn up the bay,
having the wind still from the southward. In their progress, they met
with various depths of water; and, perceiving an opening in the low
western land, Mr. Flinders wished to anchor near it, but was prevented by
shoal water. At a quarter past eight in the morning they anchored in
three fathoms water for the night.

After breakfast Mr. Flinders went in his boat toward the opening, taking
Bong-ree the native with him. As they approached the sandy point on the
east side of the opening, some dogs came down upon the beach, and soon
after several natives made their appearance, most of them carrying
fishing nets over their shoulders. They lay upon their oars some time,
conversing with them by signs, and repeating the words which they made
use of. As they seemed to be friendly, Bong-ree wished to make them a
visit; and, seeing nothing among them but the pieces of fire-wood which
the natives usually carry with them, the boat was backed in, and he
jumped on shore, naked, and as unarmed as they themselves appeared.

He quickly made an exchange with the yarn belt from his waist, for a
fillet made of kangaroo hair. The muskets were kept at hand in the boat,
to be prepared against any treachery; but, every thing seeming to go on
well, the natives appearing rather shy than otherwise, Mr. Flinders
joined his companion, taking his gun with him. By making friendly signs,
laying down the gun, and offering them a woollen cap, he was suffered to
approach, and one took the cap; but when Mr. Flinders made signs that he
expected to have his net bag in return, he gave him to understand that he
must first give him his hat. This hat was made of the white filaments of
the cabbage-tree, and seemed to excite the attention and wishes of the
whole party.

As the hat was not given to him, he came forward, first throwing the cap
that he had received upon the bank behind him, to secure it, and seemed
very anxious for either the hat or gun, or both. Every thing, however,
was carried on very amicably; and Mr. Flinders, with his native,
retreated slowly toward the boat, but turned again, upon finding that
they pressed close after them. One of them then, laughing, and talking at
the same time to Mr. Flinders, attempted to take the hat off his head
with a long hooked stick; which, on his discovering, created a laugh.
Behind him another was stretching out a long arm to the same object, but
was fearful of coming near enough to reach it.

On our people getting into the boat, and shoving her off into deep water,
they did not seem pleased, but tried to persuade them to land again.
Finding they could not succeed, one of them threw his piece of fire-wood
at them; but it falling short, the matter was treated as a joke, and
laughed at. On this, another ran into the water, and threw his also, but
it likewise fell short: he then took the hooked stick, and slipping off
the hook, which it seems was only lashed or tied on, produced a spear,
with which he ran up to the middle in water, and threw at them by hand.
It passed over the centre of the boat, about a foot and a half above the
gunwale, but touched no one.

After this impudent and unprovoked attack, Mr. Flinders snapped his gun
at the man who threw the spear; but the flint having received some wet
when it was laid upon the beach, it missed fire. It was loaded with buck
shot, and he was strongly tempted to fire among the cluster of natives
who were standing upon the beach; but, recollecting himself, he tried
again at the offender, who was still standing in the water, with his back
turned toward them, and calling to his companions. The gun again missed

While this was transacting, the major part of the natives were observing
Mr. Flinders's motions with much unconcern. On the third trial, however,
it went off. The man in the water fell flat, as did every individual
among them; but those on shore rose almost instantaneously, and scrambled
away toward the bank, some upright, and some upon their hands and feet.
One of the people in the boat then fired among them, and they fell again
upon their faces; but they all got up, and flew immediately behind the
bank into the wood. Even the man in the water rose up, and made off, but
his progress was much slower than that of the others, and he stooped a
great deal, carrying one hand behind him upon his back. From hence it was
conjectured that he was wounded, and he looked every now and then over
his shoulder, as if expecting to see the spear that he supposed must be
sticking in his back.* According to Bong-ree's account, another native
had his arm broken by the second shot.

[* A certain proof of his total ignorance of the effect of fire arms,
he thus unhappily being the first victim to their use in this part of
the country.]

As this very wanton attack had unfortunately obliged the party to fire
upon these people, in order to maintain that superiority which they meant
upon all occasions to assert, Mr. Flinders thought it might be the means
of preventing much future mischief, to give them a more extensive idea of
his power, and thereby deter them from any future attempt in his
intercourse with them. For as this bay was to be examined, and the leak
which the sloop had sprung was to be stopped here, it became more than
probable that they would often meet; and he was well satisfied of the
great influence which the awe of a superior power has in savages, to
create respect, and render their communications with each other friendly.

In this view, with two musket balls in his gun, he fired at a man who was
looking at them from among the trees, and who, being about two hundred
yards off, perhaps thought himself secure. One of these balls touched the
edge of the bank in a right line for him, the other passed over, but
whether it took effect could not be seen. They afterwards landed,
intending to bring away the nets, which it was supposed they had in their
flight and alarm forgotten. On going upon the bank, previously to
ascertain the position of the enemy, he saw several of them running
different ways among the trees, apparently with a design of coming round
upon them; and, not knowing their force or numbers, Mr. Flinders directed
the native and a man who had also landed to return to the boat. But from
information since gained from Bong-ree, whose eyes were better than those
of Mr. Flinders, he believed they were running to conceal themselves.
They had not left their nets.

From the low sandy point where this affair happened, and which obtained
the name of Point Skirmish, they proceeded up the opening, which proved
to be a river leading to the Glass-House peaks. These peaks stood upon
the low flat ground, considerably within the mountains, and, as far as
could be judged, had every appearance of being volcanic. That they were
so, indeed, was in some measure corroborated by the quantity of pumice
stone which was lying at high-water mark upon the eastern shore of the
river, on which Mr. Flinders had landed to mark the nature and appearance
of the country, not being able from the strength of the ebb tide to
proceed far in his boat.

Among the largest and most common trees, there was one differing from any
that grew at Port Jackson. The leaves of this tree were of a darkish hue,
and bore some resemblance to the pine. The wood, when cut, smelt strongly
of turpentine, which exuded in places where the bark had been wounded.
The external part of the wood was white, but the body was of a reddish
brown, the bark somewhat resembling that of a tree at Port Jackson called
the iron bark.

The blue gum, she-oak, and cherry tree of Port Jackson were common here,
and also one with the leaves of the gum tree, but with the soft bark of
the tea tree. The soil where it grew was very sandy; but, fearing that
the natives might surprise them while among the trees, Mr. Flinders did
not go far from the beach; it was, however, covered with very tall and
not innutritious grass.

Five or six huts, from twelve to fifteen feet in length, were seen
standing near each other. They resembled a covered arch-way, rounded at
the far end. The roofs, and the manner of securing them, were nearly the
same as those which they had seen in Shoal Bay; but these had not any
curved entrance to keep out the weather, nor was the hut any smaller in
that part than elsewhere, but the sides and roof were equally calculated
to shelter the inhabitants from a storm. In one of them was found a small
and very light shield, and in another an old net, which had a bag to it,
and was knotted and made in the same way as it would have been if made by
an European seine maker. It appeared to be intended for a scoop net.
There were marks of a large kangaroo having passed, and many traces of
dogs were visible on the beach.

In returning to the sloop they passed a dry shoal lying at the entrance
of the river, the deep channel into which was between this shoal and
Point Skirmish, where they found from three to six fathoms water.

Before he left the sloop Mr. Flinders had given directions to examine a
part on the starboard side, where he suspected the leak to be; and on his
return was informed, that it was found to have been occasioned by the
starting of a plank from the timber about three or four streaks from the
keel. The caulker had filled it up with oakum from the inside, since
which she had made but little water lying at an anchor.

From the situation in which the sloop lay, the bay had not any appearance
of closing round, but seemed to promise a large river at its head, and a
communication with Moreton Bay, if not something more interesting. At
three in the afternoon they got under weigh to proceed up this river,
with a light air from the northward, standing to the southward until
dark, at which time they anchored, about three miles from the western
shore, in five fathoms, on a soft muddy bottom, whereas the ground before
had always been sandy.


Further proceedings in Glass-House Bay
Red Cliff point
Nets of the natives
Moreton Bay found to be an island
The sloop prepared for an attack of the natives
The Event
Account of an island
Enter Pumice-Stone river
See some natives
The leak in the sloop stopped
Interviews with natives
Mr. Flinders visits the Glass-House peaks
Account of the country
Return down the river
Other interviews with natives
Their manner of fishing
Other particulars of, and some conjectures respecting them
Quit Pumice-Stone river, and Glass House Bay

At daylight in the morning of Wednesday the 17th, the sloop was got under
weigh, and turned up with a southerly breeze, as long as the flood tide
lasted, anchoring about half past ten o'clock, a mile and a half from a
point with red cliffs. A little to the westward of this point, Mr.
Flinders found the latitude to be 27 degrees 16 minutes 25 seconds south.
The rocks here were of stone, strongly impregnated with iron, having some
small pieces of granite and crystal scattered about the shore.

From Red-cliff Point, they pulled over to a green head-land, about two
miles to the westward. The small reefs which lay off this head presented
a miniature of those which form such a barrier to the northern shore of
New South Wales, and render it almost inaccessible.

In a house which stood upon the west side of the head, they found a net,
or seine, about fourteen fathoms long, the meshes of which were much
larger than any English seine, and the twine much stronger; but its depth
was much less, being not more than three feet. At each end it had a
pointed stick of about the same length. Upon the shoal near the house,
there was more than one inclosure of a semicircular form, and the sticks
and branches of which it was made were set and interwoven so close, that
a fish could not pass between. This net Mr. Flinders supposed was to be
placed diametrically across the semicircle at high water, and thus secure
all the fish that might get within the inclosure, until the falling tide
should leave them dry. He brought away the net, as a proof of the
superior ingenuity of these over the natives of Port Jackson, leaving
them in return a hatchet, the only present which he had to make them; and
that they might the sooner learn the great use of their new acquisition,
and be consoled for the loss of their net, he cut down some branches and
laid them before the hut.

The wood, which at high water was collected for their fire, proved, when
cut up, to be cedar, and of a fine grain. The remains of a canoe made of
the stringy bark were lying upon the shore, near the house whence the net
had been taken.

There were traces of dogs, kangaroos, and emus upon the beach. Two hawks
of a moderate size were shot, but their plumage was unlike that of any
known at Port Jackson. That which was the most remarkable was of an
unvariegated dull red colour in the body, with a milk-white neck, breast,
and head.

In the afternoon they made some further progress with the sloop,
anchoring for the night on a soft muddy bottom.

On the following morning they got under weigh with a flood tide, and a
moderate breeze from the northward. In their progress, they passed two
islands, of from three to four miles each in circuit. The northernmost
was the largest, and seemed well covered with wood, the greater part of
which was probably mangrove, the island being nearly level with the
water's edge. The foliage of the trees upon the southern island was
equally dark and luxuriant with this, but the interior part of it was
higher. There were two other smaller islands, nearly on a level with the
first, and covered with wood, but the southernmost was very small.

In passing between the two islands they had deep water; but on its
suddenly shoaling they tacked and stood to the westward. In this
situation the entrance from Moreton Bay was open, the south side of which
bore N 68 degrees E six or eight miles, and the west side of what will
now be Moreton Island bore N 2 degrees W. Another island. apparently
larger than either of the four above mentioned, bore from the same place
from S 55 degrees to 34 degrees E at the distance of about five miles.
Reckoning the northernmost of the four islands to be the first in number,
they made their course good for the third island, after tacking; and the
water deepened almost immediately to six fathoms.

At this time their attention was much attracted by a party of natives
from these islands, who appeared to be standing up in their canoes, and
pulling toward them, with all their strength, in very regular order. They
seemed to have long poles or spears in their hands, with which also they
appeared to be paddling, the whole of them shifting their hands at the
same instant, after the manner of the South Sea islanders. As about
twenty of them were counted, and seemed to be coming on with much
resolution, our people prepared for whatever might be the event. The
sloop was put under easy sail, her decks cleared of every incumbrance,
and each man was provided with a competent number of musket balls, pistol
balls, and buck shot, which were to be used as the distance might
require; for it was intended that not a man should escape if they
commenced an attack.

Being thus prepared, they bore away toward them, finding that with all
their exertions they did not approach much nearer to the vessel. But what
was their surprise on discovering, that, instead of advancing in canoes
to attack them, they were standing upon a large flat, that surrounded the
third island, driving fish into their nets, and that they had but two
canoes among them. They were standing in a line, splashing in the water
with long sticks, first for some time on one side, and then all shifting
to splash on the other. Thus this hostile array turned out to be a few
peaceable fishermen: peaceable indeed; for on the approach of the vessel
they sunk their canoes upon the flat, and retreated to the island, where
they made their fires.

The flood tide having ceased to run, they anchored at noon, and by the
sun's meridional altitude, in 27 degrees 27 minutes 16 seconds south
latitude. The third island, on which the natives were, bore W 4 degrees S
one and a half or two miles distant, and the centres of the two northern
ones N 40 degrees and N 15 degrees W. The entrance from Moreton Bay
bearing N 68 degrees E from this anchorage, corroborated its latitude by
the observation of the 14th, which was taken on the sea side of it
although it differed considerably from that given by Captain Cook. This
difference may perhaps be thus accounted for. That great navigator
finding, by the meridional observation taken on the day following the
evening on which he passed this part of the coast, that a northerly
current had prevailed in the last twenty-four hours, probably allowed a
proportional part of it, to correct the situation of Point Lookout, as
given by the log; whereas in reality the northerly current might have
commenced only at the time that he opened the Moreton Bay entrance, and
became exposed to the outset from it. And it was by no means improbable,
that, instead of a northerly, he might have had a southerly set, from the
previous noon, when the latitude was 27 degrees 46 minutes to the time
when he opened the entrance; in the same manner as it had prevailed the
day before; when the observation was 17 minutes south of the log.

From the situation of the sloop at this anchorage, Glass-House-Bay seemed
to be closed round, except at one small opening which bore S 27 degrees
E. To turn up this opening, they got under sail as soon as the ebb tide
slacked. On standing near the south part of the shoal that appeared to
surround the island to which the natives had retired, one of them came
down abreast of the sloop, making the same gestures, and running
backwards and forwards, as others had done before; but little attention
was paid to him, Mr. Flinders being more intent on getting as far up the
bay as possible while the tide favoured him. A little before midnight he
was obliged to anchor, finding that the deep water had contracted into a
narrow channel.

On the following day Mr. Flinders landed upon an island that lay in his
passage, with instruments for taking angles, and observing the latitude.
Footsteps of dogs, and those recent, were numerous upon the beach; but
traces of men were scarcely visible: there were, however, several
fire-places, and many other marks of the island having lately been
visited. This island was two or three miles in circumference. The central
part was higher than the skirts, and was covered with a coat of fine
vegetable mould of a reddish colour. On the SE side of the island this
elevated part descended suddenly in a steep bank, where the earth was as
red as blood; and, being clayey, some portions of it were nearly hardened
into rock. The trees upon it, among which was the new pine, were large
and luxuriant. The exterior part of the island upon the west side was a
flat, over which the tide seemed to rise, and was abundantly covered with
large mangrove trees. On the SW and NE sides it was mostly low and sandy,
and here the palm nut tree was produced. Probably these nuts formed the
principal inducement for the natives to visit this island; and there was
abundant testimony under the trees that they were not suffered to fall
off and rot. They met with some boughs so ranged as to keep off the
southerly winds; and from the fireplaces which they were placed to
defend, it was inferred that not less than five or six natives had made
this their place of residence, probably a temporary one only, as they did
not meet with any huts regularly constructed.

The black and the white cockatoo, the beautiful lilac-headed paroquet,
and the bald-headed mocking bird of Port Jackson, were seen here; but
there were not any marks of resident quadrupeds, rats excepted.

The latitude of this island, deduced from the sun's altitude taken at
noon, was 27 degrees 34 minutes 59 seconds S making the depth of this bay,
from Cape Moreton, to be thirty-four miles; for beyond this island the bay
was contracted into a river, of considerable width indeed, but it appeared
to be so shoal, or, if there was any deep channel, to be so difficult of
access, that Mr. Flinders gave up all idea of pursuing it further,
especially as the winds were obstinately adverse: he therefore returned
on board, with the intention of running into the river near the
Glass House peaks, there to lay the sloop on shore, and procure a supply
of fresh water, if a convenient situation could be found.

The following day was passed in endeavouring to get into the river,
which, from the pumice-stone found upon its shores, obtained the name of
Pumice-Stone River, anchoring at sun-set within two miles of its

Early the next morning (Sunday the 21st), Mr. Flinders went in his boat
to examine the river, and the entrance into it. On approaching Point
Skirmish, five or six natives came down to the boat unarmed, and, by
friendly gestures and offers of their girdles and small nets, endeavoured
to persuade him to land. He could not satisfy himself whether they had
any treacherous design in this, or whether their presenting themselves
unarmed proceeded from any confidence which they might have felt, that
neither himself nor his people would hurt them if they were not the
aggressors. In this point of view, the offer of their girdles and nets
might have been meant as an atonement for their former conduct; he did
not, however, choose to trust them, but proceeded to examine the river.

Although the shoals in the river were very intricate; yet, finding that
there was depth of water sufficient to admit the sloop, he determined to
get her into it.

Upon these shoals were several pelicans; and they had not proceeded far
with their boat before they were greeted with the well-known creaking
note of the swan. These now engaged a great part of their attention, and
before they left the river eight of them were killed.

When they had nearly reached the end of their excursion, two natives came
down to the beach, and seemed desirous for them to land. There being a
dry sand at a sufficient distance to be out of the reach of spears, they
put ashore upon it. About the same time, Mr. Flinders taking up his gun
to fire at two red-bills, the natives ran into the woods; but on
Bong-ree's advancing that way they returned, and he made a friendly
exchange for their hair fillets and belts, giving them a white woollen
cap in return, and came to the boat for a piece of white cloth and some
biscuit for them, to make the exchange equal. During this time Mr.
Flinders was on shore upon the sand bank with a gun, to cover him in case
their behaviour should be unfriendly. On his advancing toward them, they
were very vociferous for him to remain at a distance, and would in no
wise admit of his approaching without laying down his gun. This place was
about six miles from Point Skirmish; but it was evident that the fame and
dread of their fire-arms had reached thus far, and were most probably
increased by the shooting of the swans, which they must have witnessed.

In returning down the river, they were called to by a man on the west
side, who had a spear in his hand; but two women and several children
being behind argued rather against any premeditated hostility. The women
and children retired on their approaching the shore; but they were
observed to be peeping at them from behind the bushes. This man made
great exclamations for the musket to be laid down, calling out 'woo-rah,
woo-rah,' as others had done, and seemed pleased when it was complied
with; but he could not have heard many particulars of their weapons, for,
on pointing a musket toward him to try the experiment, he did not appear
to be sensible of the danger to himself in that case. As he did not
choose to quit his spear, and the sun was descending, they did not land,
but backed in near enough to throw him a yarn stocking, which they showed
him was to be worn as a cap with a tail to it, and then parted good

Monday the 22nd was passed in getting the sloop into the river, which
with some difficulty was accomplished, having to find out a channel
through an infinity of shoals, some of which were covered with mangroves.
Finding a proper place to lay the sloop on shore, Mr. Flinders took the
necessary measures; and on Thursday the 25th, having completely stopped
the leak, by filling up the seam with oakum, nailing the plank to afresh,
and covering the whole with tarred canvas and sheet lead, he re-stowed
his vessel, which had been cleared of every thing, a few tons of ballast
excepted, and was again in a condition to prosecute his intended
excursion to the Glass-House peaks.

In a spare interval of a few hours before high water, (the day he laid
the sloop ashore) he attempted to get some swans, but met with none that
could not fly. He saw several large fish, or animals that came up to the
surface of the water to blow, in the manner of a porpoise, or rather of a
seal, for they did not spout, nor had they any dorsal fin. The head also
strongly resembled the bluff-nosed hair seal, but their size was greater
than any which Mr. Flinders had seen before. He fired three musket balls
into one, and Bong-ree threw a spear into another; but they sunk, and
were not seen again. These animals, which perhaps might be sea lions,
were not observed any where but in this river.

Not finding any fresh water wherewith to fill up their casks, they had
dug a hole in a low situation about a hundred yards inland. The first
spit consisted of vegetable earth, mixed with a large portion of black
sand; the three following feet were composed of different layers of sand,
and then they came to the hardened black clay of which the rocks on some
parts of the banks were formed. Here the water began to ooze in at the
sides of the hole, which in the course of thirty-six hours was filled,
but with very thick water. Luckily there was not any occasion to use it;
for one of the people, incautiously straying into the wood, met with a
hole of very good water, at which they completed their stock.

While they were employed in making up the sails, which had been loosed in
the first part of the morning to dry, three natives made their appearance
upon the beach, a short distance below the vessel, and unarmed as before.
Bong-ree went up to them in his usual undaunted manner; but they would
not suffer Mr. Flinders or any of his party to approach them, without
first laying down their muskets. Presents were made them of yarn caps,
pork, and biscuit, all of which they eagerly took, and made signs for
Bong-ree to go with them, and they would give him girdles and fillets, to
bind round his head and the upper parts of his arms. So long as their
visitors consisted only of two, the natives were lively, dancing and
singing in concert in a pleasing manner; but, the number of white men
having imperceptibly increased to eight, they became alarmed and
suspicious, seeming to look with a jealous eye upon a shot belt which Mr.
Flinders wore, and which, though they did not rightly know how, might
some how or other be a deadly weapon.

Observing this, he gave it to one of the people to take away; but this he
afterwards thought was wrong, as tending to make them suspicious of every
thing they saw, and thus be a means of destroying their friendly
intercourse. By this shot belt they seemed to recognise Mr Flinders as
the person who had fired upon them before, and were more desirous that he
should keep at a distance than any other person. Three of the sailors,
who were Scotch, were desired to dance a reel, but, for want of music,
they made a very bad performance, which was contemplated by the natives
without much amusement or curiosity. Finding they could not be persuaded
to visit the sloop, our people parted with them, but in a very friendly

Having weighed the anchors (Thursday the 25th) they turned two or three
miles further up the river in the afternoon, for the convenience of being
nearer to the Glass-House peaks, which he now intended to visit. In the
deepest parts of the river, there were from four to six fathoms water;
but the channel was much divided, and narrow. They anchored near that
place on the western shore where the man who had a family with him had
called to them; and at this time they saw a fire, and heard several
younger female voices in the same place.

On the following morning Mr. Flinders took the boat up a small branch
that pointed toward the peaks, but afterwards, joining the same stream,
formed two low mangrove islands, leaving the Glass Houses at some distance
on the left hand. About half past nine he left the boat, accompanied by
two seamen and the native. Steering NW by W through a low swampy country,
brought them to the side of a creek, the banks of which were low, muddy,
and covered with mangroves. This creek carried them by the south west
near the head of it, where the stream, passing through a rocky swamp,
permitted them to wade over it. Thence they steered between N 50 degrees
and 60 degrees West, getting a sight of the flat-topped peak at times,
which, appearing to be considerably nearer than the highest Glass-House,
was that which he first meant to visit; but observing that one of the
round mounts with sloping sides was still nearer, he altered his course
for it; and, after walking about nine miles from the boat, reached the

The country through which they had passed was low, swampy, and brushy,
and in the latter part of the way somewhat uneven. In those parts which
were swampy, the surface was full of winding holes, where the water,
lodging, rendered walking both difficult and tiresome. The places that
were somewhat higher were either sandy or stony, and in these the grass
tree (or gum rush) abounded; but, in general, the trees were the same as
before mentioned, except that the pine was not observed to be among them.

The mount was a pile of stones of all sizes, mostly loose near the
surface. The decayed vegetable matter that was lodged in the cavities
produced a thick covering of long, but rather spindly grass, very fit for
thatch from its length. The ascent was difficult, and similar to that up
Mount Direction, which stands on the east bank of the Derwent river in
Van Diemen's Land. The trees upon the mount were the same as on the level
ground, but taller and more straight.

From the summit of this mount, the view of the bay and neighbouring
country was very extensive. The uppermost part of the bay appeared at S
24 degrees E and most probably communicated with a line of water which
was visible at S 12 degrees E where there were several distinct columns
of smoke. This last bearing, which Mr. Flinders apprehended to be near
the head of the river, he was not permitted to enter with the sloop, from
the intricacy of the channel, and the shortness of the time which
remained for his excursion.

Near the head of Pumice-Stone river there was a large spread of water,
bearing S 72 degrees E and seeming to divide off into small branches.
There were other small branches falling into this below, the whole
forming into channels, which, ramifying through the low country, drew off
whatever water might collect within the ridge of the back mountains.
These appeared to be within the distance of between ten and twenty miles,
lying in a north and south direction; and the intermediate country to be
nearly as low as that which they had walked over. There was a large smoke
near the foot of them.

From this mount, the way was over an irregular country, the higher parts
of which were sandy and stony, the lower swampy as before. At about two
thirds of the distance between it and the flat-topped peak (one mile and a
half), they were induced by a stream of water to rest for the night, the
sun being then below the trees. At seven the next morning they found
themselves under the steep cliffs of the flat-topped peak. The stone of
which this was composed was of a whitish cast, close-grained and hard, but
not heavy. It was not stratified, but there were many fissures in it. At
a little distance from the peak there were some pieces of a
reddish-coloured stone, and some small pieces of granite scattered about.

Mr. Flinders was somewhat surprised at not meeting with any volcanic
appearances, as the pumice stone in the river, and the situation of these
stupendous peaks, standing upon low flat ground, led him to form some
anxious expectations upon that head. But it must be observed, that,
although he could not distinguish any traces of scoria, lava, basaltes,
or other igneous remains, yet they might still exist, more especially
about the high Glass-House, which he did not visit.

As the steepness of its sides utterly forbade all idea of reaching the
summit of the flat-topped peak, he directed his course downwards to the
river, steering SSE to go clear of the head of the creek, and of the
swamps in its vicinity; but this direction took him a great way inland;
and upon his altering the course to reach the place where he had left the
boat, he had to cross a broad stream of fresh water which fell in lower
down, and to walk near three miles to reach the water side. He, however,
hit the place with unexpected readiness, and was very acceptably
presented with a black swan, which the people in the boat had caught, and
which was at the moment ready for satisfying the appetites of his party,
which were not trifling, for a more laborious and tiresome walk of the
same length would seldom be experienced.

The traces of men and animals were very few, and but rarely met with in
the upper parts of this excursion; but Mr. Flinders found a new species
of pheasant, about the size of an English magpie. The emu was not seen,
although its voice had been so often heard, as to induce him to suppose
that bird must be numerous. The more inland part of the country was
something higher and better than in the neighbourhood of the salt water;
but no where did he meet with any that was calculated for the production
of wheat.

Having reached the sloop in the evening, as soon as the ebb tide
permitted, the following morning, Sunday the 28th, they got under weigh
to turn down the river, with the wind at SSE. There were many natives on
the shore abreast of them, who seemed particularly anxious to be visited,
dancing and singing to attract attention, and express their own
good-will; and, when they could not prevail upon our people to land.
followed the sloop along the banks, their hopes seeming to revive by the
trips which in tacking they occasionally made towards the shore.

The intricacy of the channels proving a great impediment to their
progress, they could not get out of the river in one tide, but anchored
about a mile short of the entrance. Three swans, that the boat caught in
coming down, made the number of eighteen which had been procured in this

Shortly after anchoring, Mr. Flinders took some people with axes on shore
to cut a log of the pine* for the workmen at Port Jackson, who might
ascertain the kind and worth of the wood. There was a house and several
natives near the place, with whom Bong-ree was in conversation when the
tree fell, the crash and report of which startled them a good deal, and
might probably assist in giving them a higher idea of the power of their
visitors. These people were still very averse from the appearance or
approach of a musket, keeping a watchful eye upon their least movement.
The gallant and unsuspecting native, Bong-ree, made them a present of one
of his spears, and a throwing-stick, of which he showed them the use, for
they appeared to be wholly ignorant of the latter, and their weapons of
the former kind were inferior to his.

[* This pine was pronounced to be of the same species as that found in the
middle harbour of Port Jackson, but was much superior to it in size.]

Very bad weather detained Mr. Flinders here for two days, during which
they were occasionally visited by the natives, who came down upon both
sides of the river, and entertained them with singing and dancing: their
singing, indeed, could not be distinctly heard, being nearly lost in the
wind. Not a spear was at any time seen among them.

While lying here, Mr. Flinders had some opportunity of observing their
manner of fishing, which was perfectly new to his companion Bong-ree. The
party on the east shore, near which the vessel lay, went out each morning
at daylight along the side of the river with nets on their shoulders; and
this, as far as a distant view would allow of observation, appeared to be
the mode in which they used them. Whichever of the party sees a fish, by
some dextrous manoeuvre, gets at the back of it, and spreads out his
scoop net: others prevent its escaping on either side, and in one or
other of their nets the fish is almost infallibly caught. With these nets
they saw them run sometimes up to their middle in water; and, to judge
from the event, they seemed to be successful, as they generally soon made
a fire near the beach, and sat down by it; not doubt, to regale with
their fish, which was thus no sooner out of the water than it was on the

The rain ceasing on Tuesday afternoon, a party went to the eastern shore
to procure fire-wood, and to comply with the desire which the natives had
so often expressed of seeing them land among them. On approaching them,
they carried their nets away into the wood; but three of them, who
remained, suffered the white people to advance without laying down their
muskets, which had never happened before. They were still timorous; but,
on being encouraged and requested by signs to sing, they began a song in
concert, which actually was musical and pleasing, and not merely in the
diatonic scale, descending by thirds, as at Port Jackson: the descent of
this was waving, in rather a melancholy soothing strain. The song of
Bong-ree, which he gave them at the conclusion of theirs, sounded
barbarous and grating to the ear; but Bong-ree was an indifferent
songster, even among his own countrymen.

These people, like the natives of Port Jackson, having fallen to the low
pitch of their voices, recommenced their song at the octave, which was
accompanied by slow and not ungraceful motions of the body and limbs,
their hands being held up in a supplicating posture, and the tone and
manner of their song and gestures seemed to bespeak the good will and
forbearance of their auditors. Observing that they were attentively
listened to, they each selected one of our people, and placed his mouth
close to his car, as if to produce a greater effect, or, it might be, to
teach them the song, which their silent attention might seem to express a
desire to learn. In return for the pleasure they had afforded, Mr.
Flinders gave them some worsted caps, and a pair of old blanket trousers,
with which they were much gratified. Several other natives soon made
their appearance, probably those who had carried away the nets. It was
some little time before they could overcome their dread of approaching
the strangers with their firearms; but, encouraged by the three who were
with them, they came up, and a general song and dance was commenced.
Their singing was not confined to one air; they gave three, but the first
was the most pleasing.

Of those who last came, three were remarkable for the largeness of their
heads; and one, whose face was very rough, had much more the appearance
of a baboon than of a human being. He was covered with oily soot; his
hair matted with filth; his visage, even among his fellows, uncommonly
ferocious; and his very large mouth, beset with teeth of every hue
between black, white, green, and yellow, sometimes presented a smile,
which might make one shudder.

Among other friendly interchanges, they learned the names of Mr. Flinders
and his party. Him they called *'Mid-ger Plindah,' and his brother Samuel
they named Dam-wel. Three of their names were Yel-yel-bah, Ye-woo, and
Bo-ma-ri-go. The resemblance of this last to Porto Rico imprinted it on
Mr. Flinders's recollection. When these people joined the party, the
strangers were shown, and their names severally told to them, until they
had gotten the pronunciation. This ceremony was reciprocal, and accorded
with what Captain Cook had said before of an inhabitant of Endeavour
river, 'he introduced the strangers by name, a ceremony which upon such
occasions was never omitted.' The difference of latitude between these
two places is 11 degrees 39 minutes, or seven hundred miles.

[* In these particularities, their language resembled that of
the Port Jackson natives. It may be seen in the former account, that Mr.
Ball was named Mid-ger Bool, and that none of them could ever pronounce
the letters f or s. Even Bennillong, on his return from England, still
used caw-be for coffee. Many other instances might be adduced.]

With regard to the comparative size of these people, they were evidently
somewhat lower than the common standard of Englishmen, and perhaps less
in every respect, except in the disproportionate size of the head; and
indeed this was not general. In the features of the face, particularly in
the elongation of the lower ones, in the small calf to the leg, and the
curve of the thigh, they bore a general resemblance to the natives of
Port Jackson; but there was not one in all this group, whose countenance
had so little of the savage, or the symmetry of whose limbs expressed
strength and agility, so much, as those of their companion Bong-ree.

A hawk presenting himself in an interval of conversation, Mr. Flinders
thought it a fair opportunity of showing his new friends a specimen of
the effect and certainty of his fire-arms. He made them comprehend what
was intended; but, while shifting the buck shot which were in the musket
for a charge of small shot, their agitation was so great, that they
seemed to be on the point of running into the woods; however, an
expedient to keep them was devised; the seamen placed them in a cluster
behind themselves, and in this situation they anxiously saw Mr. Flinders
approach toward the bird, and fire. What must have been his sensations at
this moment! for the hawk flew away, though not indeed unhurt, as the
natives noticed that the leg was broken. This disappointment brought to
his recollection how ineffectual had been some former attempts of his to
impress them with an idea of the superior refinement of his followers.
Bong-ree, his musician, had annoyed his auditors with his barbarous
sounds, and the clumsy exhibition of his Scotch dancers unaccompanied
with the aid of music, had been viewed by them without wonder or

It is almost unnecessary to say that these people go naked. They,
however, wore belts round the waist, and fillets about the head and upper
parts of the arm. These were formed of hair, twisted into yarn-like
threads, and then into bandages, mostly reticulated. Indeed the
inhabitants of this bay appeared to possess in general a very pointed
difference from, if not a superiority over, those of New South Wales,
particularly in their net-works. A seine eighty feet in length, and the
scoop nets which they use, have been mentioned. To these may be added the
bag in which they seemed to carry their portable property, and which was
most probably of the same kind as those mentioned by Captain Cook; but
they were seen of different sizes, and two that Mr. Flinders procured
were very differently worked. They were in general shaped somewhat like a
breast plate; and, being suspended from the necks of the possessors, led
him, previous to his first interview with them, to suppose they were some
kind of defence for the more vital parts. There was no doubt but that
they were provided with nets for catching very large fish, or animals, as
the fragments of a rotten one lying on the shore were picked up, the
meshes of which were wide enough to admit the escape of a moderate sized
porpoise; and the line of which it was made was from three quarters to an
inch in circumference. Probably the large animals which Mr. Flinders took
to be sea lions might be the objects for which these large nets were

Mr. Flinders was of opinion, that this mode of procuring their food would
cause a characteristic difference between the manners, and perhaps the
dispositions, of these people, and of those who mostly depend upon the
spear or fiz-gig for a supply. In the one case, there must necessarily be
the co-operation of two or more individuals; who therefore, from mutual
necessity, would associate together. It is fair to suppose, that this
association would, in the course of a few generations, if not much
sooner, produce a favourable change in the manners and dispositions even
of a savage. In the other case, the native who depends upon his single
arm, and, requiring not the aid of society, is indifferent about it, but
prowls along, a gloomy, unsettled, and unsocial being. An inhabitant of
Port Jackson is seldom seen, even in the populous town of Sydney, without
his spear, his throwing-stick, or his club. His spear is his defence
against enemies. It is the weapon which he uses to punish aggression and
revenge insult. It is even the instrument with which he corrects his wife
in the last extreme; for in their passion, or perhaps oftener in a fit of
jealousy, they scruple not to inflict death. It is the play-thing of
children, and in the hands of persons of all ages. It is easy to perceive
what effect this must have upon their minds. They become familiarised to
wounds, blood, and death; and, repeatedly involved in skirmishes and
dangers, the native fears not death in his own person, and is consequently
careless of inflicting it on others.

The net also appearing to be a more certain source of food than the
spear, change of place will be less necessary. The encumbrance too of
carrying large nets from one place to another will require a more
permanent residence; and hence it would naturally follow, that their
houses would be of a better construction. Those which had been met with
in Shoal Bay and Glass-House Bay were certainly far superior to any that
had been seen in the neighbourhood of Port Jackson; and this superiority
Mr. Flinders attributed to the different mode of procuring fish which had
been adopted by the inhabitants. He likewise supposed that the use of
nets, and consequently whatever resulted from such use, arose from the
form of the bay, which, being shoal for a considerable distance from the
shores, gave the greatest advantage to nets, over every other method,
more especially the setting and scoop nets. Pumice Stone river, being
full of shoals, required the same manner of fishing; and it was observed
that most, if not all, of the islands in the bay were surrounded by
extensive shoals, which, by extending the necessity, would assist in
bringing nets into more general use.

At one time they saw near twenty natives engaged in fishing upon one of
these flats, the greater part of whom were employed in driving fish into
a net which was held by their companions. That they were so engaged, they
convinced our people by one of the party holding up a fish to them while
he was standing in the water.

During the time the sloop was in Glass-House Bay, they scarcely saw any
of the women.

Of their canoes but little could be reported. The only one which Mr.
Flinders had any opportunity of examining was on the east side of
Pumice-Stone river. This was formed of the stringy bark, and was much
larger than any used at Port Jackson. The ends of it were tied up in the
same manner; but it was misshapen and clumsy. Not any of the natives ever
attempted to approach the sloop in canoes, although at times eight or ten
were seen standing together, who appeared very desirous of having a
communication with it.

On the day the sloop was laid ashore in the river, the rise of the tide
was but three feet and nine inches. The tides were then neaped, and the
remark made by Captain Cook, that 'they had only one high tide in
twenty-four hours' seemed to apply in this bay; for, although the sloop
was got up as high as the strength of the crew would admit, yet she
righted a full hour and a half before the night tide had done flowing,
and shortly after one man haled her off. The superior rise of the night
tide was well known, and advantage taken of it, at Port Jackson: it also
rose the highest at Western Port, round the southern promontory of New
South Wales. The time of high-water in the river preceded the moon's
passage over the meridian by two hours and a half, and Mr. Flinders did
not think the highest rise of the tide was more than seven, or less than
five, feet.

On Wednesday the 31st, having a moderate breeze at S by W with fine
weather, they got under weigh with the weather tide, and beat out of the
river. Having passed fifteen days in Glass-House Bay, Mr. Flinders was
enabled to form his judgment of it. It was so full of shoals, that he
could not attempt to point out any passage that would lead a ship into it
without danger. The east side of the Bay had not been sounded; if any
existed, it would probably be found on that side.

Mr. Flinders named the land upon which Cape Moreton was situated Moreton
Island, supposing it to be that which Captain Cook would have given it,
had he known of its insulated form. It appeared to be a strip of land
whose greatest extent east and west was not more than four or five miles;
but, according to the observations for the latitude, its north and south
extent was about twenty-two miles. The ridge of land which ran along the
middle of the island was nearly of the same height with the Cape; and,
although it appeared to be composed of great piles of sand heaped
together upon a base mostly of stone, it was yet interspersed with small
trees calculated to mislead a distant observer, who would probably think
that some parts of it were not among the most barren spots in the

In passing out of the bay they saw a large turtle lying asleep upon the
water; whence it became not improbable, that the capture of these animals
might form a part of the labours of the inhabitants, and of the intention
with which their larger nets were made.


The _Norfolk_ proceeds to Hervey's Bay
Some account of it
Curlew Island
She returns to Port Jackson
Observations on the currents and tides along the coast
A criminal court assembled
Order respecting the issuing of government notes
Public works
A ship arrives from America
The _Buffalo_ sails for the Cape
The governor crosses the Nepean
A calf killed
Convicts found on board the _Hillsborough_ and _Hunter_
The master of the _Hunter_ tried
A young ox stolen
Ration reduced
Price of Grain fixed

In his passage to Hervey's Bay, the next place of his destination, Mr.
Flinders was not more than two days; passing the Wide Bay of Captain Cook
on the 1st and Sandy Cape on the 2nd of August. The southerly wind of
the day veering round in the evening to the eastward compelled him during
the night to keep at a distance from the land; but, returning to it in
the morning, he found that Captain Cook's description of the coast
applied exceedingly well, so far as the distance of the sloop from the
shore would enable him to judge.

During this short run he passed one of those spotted flat-tailed snakes
which were first noticed by Captain Cook in this latitude, and which
appeared to be of the kind observed by Captain Dampier on the north west
coast of New Holland. Mr. Flinders had observed the same sort of snake
among the islands between New Guinea and New Holland, when on board His
Majesty's ship _Providence_; it was therefore probable, that it
might be found upon most parts of this coast, which were situated within,
or in the verge of, the Tropic.

In this bay Mr. Flinders remained until the 7th, during which time he had
sailed round the interior of it, but without being able to enter any
opening that might have led him to a river. It was deep and extensive,
the soundings in it very irregular, and in several places he was
prevented by breakers from approaching the shore.

Hauling up for an opening which he was desirous of examining, he came to
a small sandy islet, which lay at the mouth of it. Being unable to find a
passage into the opening with the sloop, he came to an anchor, and went
ashore upon this island, which was surrounded with shoal water. The base
of it he found to be a hard stone, over which was a covering of sand,
mixed with pieces of coral and shells. There was a little cluster of
palms upon it, and some other small trees. Two or three large trees were
lying upon the shore, thrown down either by wind or the flood, assisted
by the weight of the trees themselves, which the depth of soil was not
sufficient to support. They were a tough, hard, and close-grained wood.
Being about half ebb, the surrounding shoal was dry. On it were some
thousand curlews and gulls, and some pelicans; but all too shy to allow
of his approach within musket shot. Upon one of the trees was stuck the
cap of a small whale's skull, and in one of the sockets of the eyes was a
bird's nest apparently of the last season.

This islet must at times be visited by natives; for they found three
spears, and near them was hidden a small shield, of the same form and
substance as that seen in Pumice-Stone river. The spears were of solid
wood, of twelve feet in length, and could not have been used with a
throwing-stick. One of them was barbed with a small piece of some
animal's bone.

From the trending of the shores of this harbour, it was divided into two
bays, an upper and a lower bay; the former of which was the smallest,
and, in comparison with the latter, resembled the cod to a seine. The
shore on the east side of this bay (the upper) was high, and bounded by
white, steep cliffs; whence Mr. Flinders was induced to hope that a deep
channel might be found there, being unwilling to believe that there was
not a good passage even to the head of a sheet of water of six or seven
miles square, and into which most probably one or more streams of water
emptied themselves.

With the intention of attempting the eastern passage into this upper bay,
he returned on board from his visit to the islet (which he named
Curlew-Islet, and which is in the latitude of 25 degrees 17 minutes S)
and got the sloop under weigh; but was obliged to give up the idea, on
finding the shoal water so extensive as to make it probable that it
joined a line of breakers; and, the sun being near the horizon, to get
clear of the shoal water before dark became a principal concern, and
together induced him to shape a course for a sloping hummock on the west
side of the bay.

The soundings deepened gradually to six fathoms; but, shoaling again to
three and even two fathoms, Mr Flinders suspected that the flood tide
might have set the vessel to the southward toward the shore; this,
however, did not appear to have happened; for at daylight the following
morning her situation was what he supposed it would be, the sloping
hummock bearing W 5 degrees N and their distance off shore about two
miles, the wind having remained at SW during the whole night.

Keeping along the shore until nine o'clock, the water shoaled to nine
feet, and obliged them to haul off to the NE. Being now to the northward
of where Captain Cook had laid down the coast line, and the land being
visible at W 10 degrees N from the deck, and as far as NW from the mast
head, he judged it unnecessary to pursue the research any longer, under
the supposition of there being a double bay, and therefore continued his
course for the extreme of Break Sea Spit, the sloping hummock bearing S 9
degrees E at the time of altering the course.

The coast round Hervey's Bay was, in general, low near the shore, and on
the west side the low land extended to some distance inwards. On that
side the land wore a different appearance from that of Sandy Cape, there
being few marks of sand, and the shore was mostly rocky. Advancing toward
the head, the beaches presented themselves, and continued with little
interruption into the upper bay. A large island lying off the entrance to
the upper bay showed no marks of sand, but was well covered with wood and
verdure. In height, it was equal to the higher parts of the main, and
being four or five miles in length, seemed to be a fine island. On the
eastern shore the sand was more or less apparent every where increasing
in quantity toward the cape. The white cliffs that were noticed before
very probably contained chalk; the upper stratum, two or three feet in
thickness, being of a superior whiteness in those which were best seen.

With respect to fertility, the general aspect only can be spoken of.
About the head of the bay, the trees were of a fair growth; grass seemed
sufficiently abundant, and there were few appearances of sand. Some parts
of it Mr. Flinders thought were stony.

Of the inhabitants he could only observe, that their smokes were numerous
about the bay, and that they at times frequented Curlew islet.

Of the animal, vegetable, or fossil productions of the bay, he could not
speak, the shortness of his stay not permitting any examination.

From the appearance of the tide the day that he landed upon the islet, it
had been high water between twelve and one o'clock, which was between
three and four hours before the moon came upon the meridian.

The mean of nine amplitudes taken in this bay gave the variation 9
degrees 44 minutes east; and of two sets of azimuths 9 degrees 15 minutes
east; from both, the mean variation of the azimuth compass was 9 degrees
30 minutes east.

Having cleared the point of Break Sea Spit, on Thursday the 8th he
proceeded on his return to Port Jackson. Passing the land between Smoky
Cape and the Solitary Isles in the day which had been before passed in
the night, he observed that it seemed to be higher than most parts of its
coast in the neighbourhood, Mount Warning excepted; and even there it was
not so high near the shore. The view that he had of the land at sunset,
when Smoky Cape bore S 25 degrees W distant five or six leagues, induced
Mr. Flinders to think it probable that there might be an opening to the
northward of it.

In the afternoon of Sunday the 18th, there being but little wind, and the
weather fine, they were attended by several very large spermaced whales.
They were not more than twice the sloop's length from her, coming up on
either side at times very near her; and remained playing, or perhaps
feeding, in this way for more than two hours.

Their appearance was followed in the evening by a gale from the SW which
reduced them to their storm sails, and compelled them to keep off and on
during the night. The wind, however, moderating the next day, and a
southerly current having been in their favour, Mr. Flinders concluded his
labours at dusk in the evening of the 20th; at which time he secured his
little vessel alongside his Majesty's ship the _Reliance_ in Port

The observations which were made by Mr. Flinders on the set of the
current at different parts of the coast, being directly opposite to the
remarks of Captain Cook, it may be proper to state them. That great and
able seaman says, in his notice of the current on this coast, that 'It
always ran with more force in shore than in the offing.' Now, in going to
the northward the sloop was kept as near in shore as circumstances would
permit; but the whole sum of southing produced in eight entire days, from
latitude 33 degrees 45 minutes to 24 degrees 22 minutes south, was
sixty-five miles, almost the whole of which were lost off the Three
Brothers and Smoky Cape, when their distance from the shore was more
than in general it used to be. To counteract this, they had twenty-five
miles of northing, reducing the current to thirty miles in eight days,
which could scarcely be called a current.

On the other hand, their average distance from the shore, when on their
return, was about twelve leagues, or barely within sight of the land; and
in running the same difference of latitude in twelve days the sum of the
southing was two hundred and eleven miles, and the northing but one mile
and a half. Out of this, thirty-four miles were gained in one day when
their distance off the shore was the greatest, being between twenty and
twenty-five leagues.

From these data it should appear, that the current was strongest at the
distance of five, and from thence to twenty or more leagues; and within
that, there was some set to the northward. But Mr. Flinders thought it
most probable, that the southerly current would prevail nearer to such
projecting points of land as Point Danger, Smoky Cape, Red Point, and the
Heads of Jervis Bay; perhaps close to them, at such times when its
strength was greatest, for in that respect it had been found to vary
much: it was even believed at Port Jackson, that the current changes its
direction totally during some short space of time.

Of the tides it was scarcely necessary to say any thing; for, by a
comparison of the times of high water at Bustard Bay-and at Port Jackson,
it should seem that the flood came from the southward; and would
therefore produce little or no set along the coast either way, in the
greatest part of that space. It was probable, however that, to the
southward of Smoky Cape, the flood would draw somewhat from the
northward; for there the land trended to the westward of south; and
likewise the nearer the coast lies east and west, the more set would be
produced by the tide along it; as from Cape Howe to Wilson's Promontory
for instance. Again, from Break Sea Spit, the coast trends to the
westward of north, which has a tendency to draw the flood from the SE and
this was shown by Captain Cook to be the case.

We must here take leave of Captain Flinders, whose skill in exploring
unknown coasts and harbours, so amply manifested in this excursion,
creates an additional interest in the success of his present undertaking.

The courts of criminal judicature being assembled on the 29th of the
month, one man, Job Williams, was capitally convicted of a burglary; and
several others, free people, were ordered to be transported to Norfolk
Island. Williams afterwards received a pardon, some favourable
circumstances having been laid before the governor, which induced him to
extend the mercy vested in him by His Majesty's authority.

The difficulties which were still placed in the way of the commissary in
preparing his accounts to be sent home, through the settlers and other
persons, who had not come forward, as they were some time since directed,
to sign the requisite vouchers for the sums paid them for the grain or
pork which they had delivered at the public stores, the commissary was
directed not to make immediate payment in future, but to issue the
government notes quarterly only, when every person concerned would be
obliged to attend, and give the proper receipts for such sums as might be
then paid them. This was a most useful regulation, and had been long

The convicts brought out by the _Hillsborough_ being mostly recovered
from the disease and weakness with which they landed, some additional
strength was gained to the public gangs, and the different works
in hand went on with more spirit than they had done for some time
past. In addition to the battery which, under the direction of Lieutenant
Kent, had been constructed by the seamen of the _Supply_ on the east
point of the cove, the work on Point Maskelyne had been raised and
completed with embrasures; some guns were placed in a commanding
situation above the wind-mill on the west side; and a work had been
erected upon Garden-Island; so that, in point of defence, the settlement
at this time wore a respectable appearance.

The weather had for some time past been moderate and temperate.

 September.] In the night of the 6th of September, the American ship
_Resource_ arrived, after a passage of four months from Rhode
Island, bound to China. Mr. Magee, who was last here in the _Grand
Turk_ was on board the _Resource_. Having refreshed the people,
who certainly required some rest after such a voyage, she sailed again
on the 14th; but, to the great injury of such Americans as might visit
the settlement after him, the master took away several people, among
whom were some seamen belonging to the King's ships on this station. To
recruit their numbers, as well as to refresh those he had on board, were
probably his motives for coming in; but such conduct was deserving of a
representation to the American minister, which the governor accordingly
determined to make.

On the morning of the 15th, his Majesty's ship _Buffalo_ sailed for
the Cape of Good Hope, thence to return with cattle for the colony. It
had been wished to have sent a cargo of coals by her to the Cape; but the
repairs which she required had taken up so much time, that to have loaded
her with that article would have thrown her departure too far into the
season for sailing to the Cape, to admit of her return within the summer
months, a measure absolutely necessary for preserving her cattle. This
would otherwise have been an object too desirable to have been neglected.

The _Buffalo_ was commanded and manned by the officers and ship's
company of the _Supply_. Dispatches were sent to England by this
opportunity, and contained, among others, a requisition for such
materials as were wanting to carry into effect the endeavour to
manufacture woollens and linens, viz a large quantity of reeds from 400
to 1600; two complete sets of hackles; one gross of tow and wool cards,
with a quantity of log wood, red wood, copperas, and allum.

Having dispatched this ship, the governor set off on a visit to the wild
cattle. Leaving Parramatta on the 24th, he crossed the Nepean the
following day, but much further to the northward than he had done before.
In this direction he and his party traversed a new tract of country,
which was not only beautiful to the eye*, but highly calculated for
cultivation and pasturage.

[* What a contrast and relief must an excursion of this kind afford,
to the living in the unvarying repetition of criminal courts, and
their attendant crimes and punishments!]

On their arrival at the Cow-pasture Plains, they fell in with a herd of
the cattle, about twenty in number, and so extremely fierce, that, had
it not been for the dogs which were with them, they would probably have
been attacked. Some natives, who had accompanied the governor, were so
alarmed, that they availed themselves of their expertness in climbing
trees, and left their friends to provide for their own safety how they
could. These dogs having been hunted at the cattle, much against the
governor's wish, by some of the party, who did it, as not thinking their
situation perfectly safe, the animals were dismayed at the unusual
appearance and went off, but a bull calf, about six months old, was
detained by the dogs. Him the governor directed to be let loose; but here
a strange circumstance occurred. Having three horses with the party, the
calf would not quit them; but, running between their legs, cried out for
the flock, which, from his bellowing, there was reason to apprehend would
return, to the great danger of the party; one of the gentlemen was
therefore obliged to stop his cries by shooting him through the head, and
the whole regaled upon veal, a rare dish in this country.

On quitting the Cow-pasture Plains, the party crossed the river again,
higher up than they had formerly done; and were led for about four miles
over a mountainous country, but adapted either for tillage or pasture.
They then crossed a fine tract of level country, rich in the most
luxuriant grass, and uncommonly well watered, chains of ponds being found
every two or three miles.

October.] On their return they found that the _Eliza_ whaler had
arrived from sea, not wanting more than thirty tons of oil to complete
her cargo.

A number of the public labouring servants of the crown having lately
absconded from their duty, for the purpose either of living by robbery in
the woods, or of getting away in some of the ships now about to sail,
that none of those concerned in the concealing them might plead
ignorance, public notice was given 'that any officer or man belonging to
the above ships, who should be known to have countenanced or assisted the
convicts above alluded to in making their escape, would be taken out of
the ship, and punished with the utmost severity of the law; and as the
most strict and scrupulous search would take place on board, for every
convict which should be found concealed, or suffered to remain on board
without regular permission, so many of the ship's company should be taken
out and detained for daring to encourage such escape. Such of the above
public servants as might have taken to concealments on shore for the
purpose of avoiding their work, or making their escape from the colony,
if they did not return within a week to their respective stations, might,
upon discovery, expect the most exemplary punishment; but they would be
pardoned for the present attempt if they returned immediately.'

On the day this order was issued, the _Hillsborough_, which was
moving out of the Cove, and preparing for sea, was strictly searched, and
several convicts being found on board, they were brought on shore, and
each received a severe corporal punishment. One of them was excused, on
condition of his declaring who the people were that had encouraged their
concealment, and prepared hiding places for them. He accordingly deposed
to two of the seamen, who were also brought on shore, punished, and
afterwards drummed to the wharf, and sent back to their ship. The
foregoing order was then published.

How well it was attended to, and what effect the punishment of the seamen
and convicts produced, were instantly seen. The _Hunter_*,
preparatory to a voyage to Bengal, where she was to freight with goods
for the colony, went out of the harbour. A woman named Ann Holmes being
missing, the governor ordered an armed boat from the _Reliance_ to
follow the ship, with some of the constables, and search her; with
directions, if any persons were found on board who had not permission to
depart, to bring her into port again. Having found the woman, the ship
was brought up the harbour and secured.

[* This ship had been a Spanish prize, and was the property
of Mr. Hingston, late master of the _Hillsborough_, and two others,
free people belonging to the settlement.]

Several of her crew having behaved in a most insolent and mutinous manner
to the officer of the _Reliance_, having armed themselves against
the constables with cutlasses, and one of them having presented a musket
at the chief constable, they were secured, ordered to be punished on
board their own ship, and afterwards turned on shore. But it was
necessary to do something more than this; and, a criminal court being
assembled for the purpose, the master of the ship was brought to trial,
charged with aiding and abetting a female convict to make her escape from
the colony. As the offence consisted in aiding a convict, it was
requisite to prove that such was the person found on board his ship; but,
upon referring to a list of the prisoners who were embarked in the
_Royal Admiral_, the ship in which Arm Holmes had been sent out to
New South Wales, no specific term of transportation was found annexed to
her name. On the question then, whether the master had aided a convict in
making an escape, he was acquitted, it not being possible by any document
to prove that Holmes was at that moment a convict. But the master was
reprehensible in concealing any person whatever in his ship, and ought to
have felt the awkwardness of his situation, in being brought before a
court for the breach of an order expressly issued a short time before to
guard him and others against the offence that he had committed.

When the _Hillsborough_ was searched, not less than thirty convicts
were found to have been received on board, against the orders and without
the knowledge of the officers, and secreted by the seamen. This ship and
the _Hunter_, shortly after these transactions, sailed on their
respective voyages.

But although, by the measures which had been adopted, it was supposed
that none of these people had escaped in the ships, yet many were still
lurking in the woods. About this time a young ox was missing from the
government stock-yard at Toongabbie, and there was every reason to
suppose had been driven away and slaughtered by some of those wretches.
In the hope of discovering the offender, a notice was published, holding
out a conditional emancipation, and permission to become a settler, to
any convict for life, who would come forward with the information
necessary to convict the persons concerned in this destructive kind of
robbery; and an absolute emancipation, with permission to quit the
colony, to any one transported only for a limited time; but nothing was
ever adduced that could lead to a discovery.

The scarcity of wheat at this time in the public stores rendering it
necessary to deduct two pounds from the twelve which were issued,
addition was made to the weekly allowance of salt meat, eight pounds and
a half of beef being issued in lieu of five, and five pounds of pork in
lieu of three. This alteration was to continue until the new crops
came in.

These wearing at present a very promising appearance, and the various and
unforeseen misfortunes which had from time to time attended the exertions
of the industrious in agriculture, being, it was hoped, now at an end,
the governor, conceiving it to be no longer consistent with his duty to
continue the original prices of grain, directed that in future the
following should be given, viz, for wheat, per bushel, 8 shillings; for
the present barley, per bushel, 6 shillings; and for maize, per bushel, 4
shillings which prices were to commence on the 1st day of January 1800.

The scarcity of wheat in the public store was occasioned by the unbounded
extravagance of the labouring people, who had, in consequence of the last
unproductive season, reduced those who supported themselves to very great
distress; and several persons, who some time since would gladly have sent
their wheat to the store at the established price, had now refused it,
when the store was capable of receiving it; and, taking advantage of the
scarcity which they themselves had occasioned, had raised the price of
wheat to £1 10s per bushel: a shameful extortion!


The _Reliance_ sails for Norfolk Island
The _Walker_ arrives with Lieutenant-Colonel Paterson from England
Dispatches received
Orders respecting bread
Storm of wind
The _Britannia_ whaler sails for England
Settlers dissatisfied
A Spanish prize arrives
The _Martha_ from Cape Barren Island
A criminal court held
Wheat continued at the former Price
Gaol burnt at Parramatta
Harvest begun
Live stock

November.] On the 2nd of the month, his Majesty's ship the _Reliance_
sailed with the relief of the military on duty at Norfolk Island;
and in the afternoon of the following day the ship _Walker_ anchored
in the Cove from England. On board of this ship were Lieutenant-Colonel
Paterson, and Captain Abbot, of the New South Wales corps.

Dispatches were at this time received, whereby the governor, being
directed to cause a register to be kept of all ships entering inwards and
clearing outwards of the harbour, he appointed Richard Atkins, esq to the
service; and it became an article in the port orders which were
delivered to the masters of ships upon their arrival, that they were not
upon any account to break bulk, or attempt to land any article whatever,
until such time as an account of the ship, her commander, cargo, etc. had
been laid before the governor. It was at the same time signified, that no
boat, or any person whomsoever, except the pilot, such officer as might
be sent by the governor, and the person appointed to fill up the
register, should ever board strange ships entering the port, until the
above information had been regularly and fully obtained. It was
conjectured, that this measure of registering ships was preparatory to
the establishment of duties and a custom-house.

By the _Walker_ four iron twelve pounders were received, and
information that copper coinage to the amount of £550 was in the
_Porpoise_, whose arrival might be daily looked for. The circulation
of this money would be attended with the most comfortable accommodation
to the people in their various dealings with each other; and it might be
so marked, as to prevent any inducement to take it out of the colony, if
it should ever be found convenient by government to order a silver
coinage for the use of the settlement, if it was fixed at not more than
half or two thirds of the intrinsic value of what it might pass for, so
as to render the loss considerable to any one attempting to carry it
away, it would be felt as a considerable advantage, and would effectually
prevent the forgeries to which a paper currency was liable.

With the _Walker_ came in the _Britannia_ from her last successful
cruise, having now completed her cargo of oil. The _Walker_ was designed
for the whale fishery.

A complaint having been made by some of the inhabitants of the town of
Sydney respecting the quality of that very necessary article, the bread
that was delivered to them, the governor directed a meeting of officers
to assemble for the purpose of investigating it; when it appeared, that
the bakers received the wheat as it was issued, engaging to give in lieu
a certain quantity of bread; but, not having stipulated as to the
quality, returned a loaf in which there was so much more chaff and bran
than flour, that the convicts feelingly, and not unaptly, termed them
scrubbing brushes. The bakers were heard, and such directions given as
were necessary to remove the evil complained of.

The arrival of Lieutenant-Colonel Paterson had introduced some
alterations and regulations in the corps of which he had now taken the
command. Among others, his Majesty having been graciously pleased to
augment the pay of the non-commissioned officers, drummers, and privates
of the army, since the 25th day of May 1797, under certain regulations
with respect to stoppages, the regiment was now to receive the benefit of
such increase of pay. From this, three pence halfpenny per diem was to be
deducted, as a payment for the ration which was issued to them, and which
the commissary was now directed to serve, agreeable to the ration
established by his Majesty's command for such of his troops as were
serving in Jamaica, Gibraltar, and New South Wales.

Colonel Paterson having also been instructed to complete the different
companies of the corps, if he could obtain a sufficient number of proper
characters, a public notice was given, informing such free people as
could bring with them recommendations that would satisfy the colonel they
were deserving of being taken into his Majesty's service, that they would
be received, and attested for the regiment.

The very little attention which had long been, and continued to be shown
to the duties of religion, and the want of that decency and respect which
were due to the return of the Sabbath, were now so glaringly conspicuous,
that it became necessary to repeat the orders which had indeed often been
given upon that subject, and again to call upon every person possessed of
authority to use that authority in compelling the due attendance of the
convicts at church, and other proper observance of the Sabbath. The women
were also directed to be more punctual in their appearance; for these
still availed themselves of the indulgence which as women they had been
treated with, seldom thinking themselves included in the restrictions
that were laid upon others.

The wheat crops, at this time nearly ready for the reaper, wore the most
promising appearance, the stalks every where, particularly at the
Hawkesbury, bending beneath the weight of the richest ears of corn ever
beheld in this or indeed any other country. But, like other countries, a
crop was never to be reckoned in this, until it was gathered into the
barn. About the middle of the month there fell a very heavy storm of
thunder, lightning, and rain, attended also with a shower of hall from
the SE that beat all the fruit off the trees, and destroyed the gardens
in and about the town of Sydney, though it was not felt more than two
miles from that place. A heavy gale of wind and rain took place at the
Hawkesbury the day preceding the storm at Sydney, which laid much of the
wheat, and beat down one end of the public store. This destructive
weather, having subsided for a day, recommenced on the 20th, and
continued without intermission until the 25th, when it again cleared up;
and, to increase the vexation, myriads of caterpillars were found
destroying the young maize.

That it might be exactly known what was the produce of this year's
harvest, proper people were appointed, by order of the governor, to visit
each district; and, from the respective owners, to collect an account of
what each farm had produced.

The building of the public gaol at Sydney was not yet completed; nor,
although a meeting of the officers had been lately held to consider of
the means, was any mode devised of defraying the still heavy expense
thereof. It had been suggested to raise a fund on the importation of
merchandise; but nothing conclusive was yet determined upon.

December.] The _Britannia_ whaler having, as was before stated,
arrived a full ship, and being again ready for sea, on the 2nd of this
month sailed for England. In her, Mr. Raven, who brought out the
_Buffalo_, and some of his officers took their passage; and agreement
having been made with Mr. Turnbull, the master, to furnish them, six
in number, with a passage for the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds.*
The _Walker _sailed at the same time on her fishing voyage.

[* Mr. Raven was charged with dispatches; which, from his earnest
desire not to lose any time in delivering, he unfortunately lost.
When the ship was within sight of the Isle of Wight, he got into a boat,
which was captured by a small privateer, and was carried into France with
his dispatches, not having had time to sink them. He was soon liberated
himself, but was not able to obtain even the private letters that he had
with him.]

The settlers, being dissatisfied with the reduction in the price of grain
which had been ordered, presented petitions to the governor, in which
they stated the various hardships that for a considerable time past they
had laboured under, in the hope that he might be induced to receive the
crops of the present season at the usual price. Having taken their
petitions into consideration, he desired them to recollect, that near
four years since he had given them notice, that the high price of grain
could not be continued longer than that season; and though he had not any
doubt of their having sustained the losses which they represented, and
they must be sensible he had used every means in his power to remove and
relieve their misfortunes; yet his duty to government compelled him to
adhere to the reduction of which they complained. At the same time he
could not avoid observing, that some of these misfortunes had in many
instances proceeded from a want of that attention to their own interest,
which every man possessing common discretion would have shown; many of
them having parted with their last bushel for the gratification of the
moment, thereby reducing their families to distress and nakedness.

He likewise informed them, that he had much pleasure in finding that
government had a serious intention, as early as the public concerns of
the nation would admit, of administering every possible relief, by
supplying the inhabitants with such necessaries and comforts as they
might require at a moderate price. He was, however, obliged to direct the
commissary to receive the grain of this season at the prices ordered by
him in the month of October.

In the evening of the day on which the _Britannia_ sailed, the
_Plumier_, a Spanish ship, anchored in the cove. She was a prize to
three whalers, who had taken her near Cape Corientes, on the coast of
Peru. Her cargo consisted chiefly of bad spirits and wine, which, on her
being condemned by the Court of Vice-admiralty as a lawful prize, were
removed into the _Supply_, and an order was given out, strictly
forbidding the landing of any spirits, wine, or even malt liquor, until
a regular permit had been first obtained. This restriction upon wine and
malt liquor was occasioned by spirituous liquors having been landed under
that description.

At length the commissary was enabled to issue some slop-clothing to the
convicts, a quantity having been received by the _Walker_; but,
unfortunately, much of what had been put on board arrived in a very
damaged state, as appeared by a survey which was immediately taken.

On the 14th the _Martha_ schooner anchored in the cove from Bass
Strait, whence she had brought with her one thousand seal skins and
thirty barrels of oil, which had been procured there among the islands.

The court of criminal judicature being assembled on the 16th, two mates
of the _Walker_ were brought before it, and tried for using menaces
to a person who had stopped their boat when attempting to land spirits
without a permit; but as he had not any special authority for making the
seizure, or detaining the boat, they were acquitted.

One man, John Chapman Morris, was found guilty of forgery by the the same
court, and received sentence of death; but as this had been determined by
the majority of one voice only, whereas the letters patent for
establishing the court expressly say that five of the members are to
concur in a capital case, this business must, as provided also by the
patent, be referred to the King in council. It was hoped that this
circumstance would but seldom occur, as the object of it must, during the
reference, remain a prisoner, with all the miserable sensations that a
person would experience under sentence of death. The time that he must
linger in this uncomfortable situation could not well be less than
fifteen or eighteen months; and, admitting that the length of it might
have deadened the acuteness of his first sensations, and rendered him
thoughtless as to the event, yet how would that acuteness be aggravated,
should, unhappily for him, the sentence be at last confirmed by the royal

[* It may be pleasing to the reader to learn, that both Isaac
Nichols (see Chapter XVII viz: "The criminal court was only once
assembled during this month; when one man was condemned to death for a
burglary, and another transported for fourteen years to Norfolk Island.
This man, Isaac Nichols, an overseer, had been accused of receiving
stolen goods; but from some circumstances which occurred on the trial,
the sentence was respited until his Majesty's pleasure could be taken.")
and this man, have recently received his Majesty's pardon.]

The body of the settlers having again represented their total inability
to bear any reduction in the price of the wheat of this season, on
account, not only of their former heavy losses, but of the exorbitant
price of all those necessaries of life which they required for paying
their labourers, the governor at length consented to receive the wheat
only at the former price of ten shillings per bushel, and they were at
the same time told to prepare for the reduction that would certainly take
place in the next season. He also permitted a certain quantity of wine
and spirits from the prize to be landed, for the immediate accommodation
of those who had their crops to secure, and to prevent the impositions to
which they were subject in being obliged to procure them from a second or
third hand.

On the 24th the _Reliance_ and _Francis_ schooner returned from
Norfolk Island, with the relief of the military, having been absent on
that service between seven and eight weeks.

About ten o'clock of the night of the same day, the log gaol at
Parramatta was wilfully and maliciously set on fire, and totally
consumed. The prisoners who were confined were with difficulty snatched
from the flames, but so miserably scorched, that one of them died in a
few days. This building was a hundred feet in length, remarkably strong,
and had been constructed with much labour and expense.

The rewards which had been formerly held out upon similar occasions were
now offered to any man or woman who would come forward with evidence
sufficient to convict such diabolical incendiaries before the court of
criminal judicature; and the inhabitants were called upon by that duty
which every man owed to society, as well as to his own individual
interest, to use every means in their power to discover the perpetrators
of such horrid mischief, which in its extent, involved the lives of their

This was the second time such a circumstance had happened in the
settlement, a circumstance that even staggers credulity. What interest,
what motive could drive these wretches to such an action? The destruction
of the building, they must know, would be instantly followed by the
erection of another, at which they themselves must labour! Could it be
for the purpose of throwing obstacles in the way of government: that
government, which had ever been mild and not coercive, which had ever
stood forward to alleviate their miseries, and often extended the arm of
mercy, when their crimes cried aloud for that of punishment? and yet on
no other principle can it be accounted for.*

[* May the annalist whose business it may be to record in future
the transactions of the colony find a pleasanter field to travel
in, where his steps will not be every moment beset with murderers,
robbers, and incendiaries.]

The harvest was now begun, and constables were sent to the Hawkesbury
with directions to secure every vagrant they could meet, and bring them
to Sydney, unless they chose to work for the settlers, who were willing
to pay them a dollar each day and their provisions: for at this time,
there were a great number of persons in that district, styling themselves
free people, who refused to labour unless they were paid the most
exorbitant wages.

The following was the state of the live stock and ground in cultivation
in the different districts, as appeared from reports collected at the
latter end of the month of August last: viz


Horses              39
Mares               72
Horned Cattle
   Bulls and Oxen  188
   Cows            512
Hogs              3139
   Male           1846
   Female         2875
   Male            842
   Female         1746


Acres of Wheat    5465
Acres of Maize    2302
Acres of Barley     82
Acres of Oats        8

By this account it will appear, that there was a considerable increase of
live stock, except in the article of horses, and female goats. A great
addition had been also made to the ground in cultivation, the whole
amounting at the above period (August) to 7857 acres; making an increase
of 1745 acres, in twelve months.


The _Swallow_ Packet arrives on her way to China
Articles sold
The _Minerva_ arrives from Ireland with convicts
The _Fhynne_ from Bengal
Three settlers tried for murdering two natives
Assessment fixed to complete the gaol
Military rations
A soldier shoots himself
A whaler from America, with a Spanish vessel, her prize
The _Hunter_ from Calcutta
The _Friendship_ with Irish convicts arrives
Inutility of some of these prisoners
Clothing issued
Tax on spirits to complete the gaol
A new magazine begun
The _Reliance_ sails for England
A mountain eagle shot
The _Martha_ arrives from Bass Strait
Settlers sell their sheep
Flood occasioned by bad weather
Criminal court held
The _Speedy_ arrives from England with Lieutenant-Governor King
The _Buffalo_ from the Cape

January.] On the third day of this month, the _Swallow_,
East-India packet, anchored in the cove, on her voyage to China. She
brought information of the capture of the Dutch fleet in the Texel, and
the surrender of the forts upon the Helder. This intelligence was
announced to the settlement in a public order, and by a discharge of the
cannon on the batteries. The _Swallow_ on her anchoring saluted the
fort, which was returned.

In addition to this welcome news, she had on board a great variety of
articles for sale, which were intended for the China market; but the
master thought and actually found it worth his while to gratify the
inhabitants, particularly the females, with a display of many elegant
articles of dress from Bond Street, and other fashionable repositories of
the metropolis. She remained here nearly three weeks, taking her
departure for China on the 21st.

Previous to her sailing (on the 11th) the _Minerva_ transport
arrived from Ireland, with a cargo, not of elegancies from Bond Street,
but 162 male and 26 female convicts from the gaols of that kingdom: all
of whom were in perfect health, their treatment and management on board
doing the highest credit to the master, the surgeon, and his officers;
three only having died during the passage. She was chartered for Bengal;
and, as the season was early for her proceeding upon that voyage, the
governor, being desirous of dividing this description of people as much
as possible, would have sent her on with them to Norfolk Island; but no
provision having been made, as had sometimes been the case, for her
proceeding thither under the charter-party, he did not choose to give the
sum which the master demanded. And having learned that another ship, the
_Friendship_, had sailed at the same time from Ireland, he determined
to land the convicts and wait her arrival.

It was much wished that a clause should be inserted in every
charter-party, enabling the governor to send the convicts to Norfolk
Island in the ship that brought them out, if he should see occasion; as
the difficulty with which they were got together for that purpose, when
once landed, was inconceivable.

The _Minerva_, having touched at Rio de Janeiro, had brought many
articles for sale, as well from that Port as from England, most of which
were much wanted by the inhabitants; but the prices required for them
were such as to drain the colony of every shilling that could be got

With the _Minerva_ arrived the _Fhynne_, a small snow from Bengal,
under Danish colours, which had been chartered by the officers of
the colony civil and military, through the means of an agent whom they
had sent thither for that purpose. She was freighted on their account
with many articles of which they were much in want; and as more labour
could be obtained for spirits than for any other mode of payment, an
article so essential to the cultivation of their estates was not

On the evening of the 18th (which had been observed as the birthday of
her Majesty) a convict, in attempting to go alongside the _Minerva_,
although repeatedly told to keep off, was shot by the sentinel, who was
afterwards tried, and acquitted, having only executed his orders.

The decision of this affair was prompt, and unattended with any doubt or
difficulty; but not so was another business that had engaged the
attention of the criminal court. The natives having murdered two men who
possessed farms at the Hawkesbury, some of the settlers in that district
determined to revenge their death. There were at this time three native
boys living with one Powell, a settler, and two others, his neighbours.
These unoffending lads they selected as the objects of their revenge.
Having informed them, that they thought they could find the guns
belonging to the white men, they were dispatched for that purpose, and in
a short time brought them in. Powell and his associates now began their
work of vengeance. They drove the boys into a barn, where, after tying
their hands behind their backs, these cowardly miscreants repeatedly
stabbed them, until two of them fell and died beneath their hands. The
third, making his escape, jumped into the river, and, although in
swimming he could only make use of his feet, yet under this disadvantage,
and with the savage murderers of his companions firing at him repeatedly,
he actually reached the opposite bank alive, and soon joined his own

The governor, on being made acquainted with this circumstance,
immediately sent to the place, where, buried in a garden, the bodies of
these unfortunate boys were found, stabbed in several places, and with
their hands tied as has been described. Powell and his companions in this
horrid act were taken into custody, and, a court being convened, they
were tried for the wilful murder of two natives.

The evidence that was brought before the court clearly established that
the deceased had come to their death by the means of the prisoners; and
the members of it were unanimously of opinion that they were guilty of
killing two natives; but, instead of their receiving a sentence of
death, a special reference was made to his Majesty's minister, and the
prisoners were admitted to bail by the court.

The prisoners, in their defence, brought forward a crowd of witnesses to
prove that a number of white people had at various times been killed by
the natives; but, could these people have been sufficiently understood,
proofs would not have been wanting on their side, of the wanton and
barbarous manner in which many of them had been destroyed.

Entertaining doubts as to the light in which the natives were to be held,
the court applied to the governor for such information as he could
furnish upon this subject; and he accordingly sent them the orders which
from time to time had been given respecting these people, and a copy of
an article in his Majesty's instructions to the governor, which in strong
and express terms places them under the protection of the British
government, and directs, that if any of its subjects should wantonly
destroy them, or give them unnecessary interruption in the exercise of
their several occupations, they were to be brought to punishment
according to the degree and nature of their offence.

In this instance, however, the court were divided in their sentiments
respecting the nature of the offence, and submitted the whole business,
with their doubts, to his Majesty's minister. As they could not see their
way distinctly, they certainly were right to apply for assistance; but,
as it was impossible to explain to the natives, or cause them to
comprehend the nature of these doubts, it was to be expected that they
would ill brook the return of the prisoners to their farms and
occupations, without having received some punishment: a circumstance
wholly inconsistent with their own ideas and customs; and, indeed, they
loudly threatened to burn the crops as soon as it could be effected.*
Fire, in the hands of a body of irritated and hostile natives, might,
with but little trouble to them, ruin the prospect of an abundant
harvest; and it appeared by this threat, that they were not ignorant of
having this power in their hands; it was, therefore, certainly very
essential to the comfort and security of the settlers in particular, that
they should live with them upon amicable terms.

[* Fortunately, though greatly incensed, they did not put this threat
in execution.]

Towards the latter end of the month, the _Walker_ whaler came in
from sea, not having met with any success, though cruising in the height
of the summer season. She had spoke the _Albion_, which, though out
a longer time, had been equally unsuccessful.

The public gaol at Sydney still wanting much of its completion, from the
insufficiency of the sums which had been raised to carry it on; and it
appearing that most of the officers had already paid to the amount of
forty pounds each as an individual share of the expense, it became
indispensably requisite that some means should be immediately adopted to
finish the building; and, as the price of wheat had, at the urgent and
repeated solicitation of the settlers, been for this season continued at
ten shillings per bushel, it was proposed to raise a sum for this
purpose, by each person leaving in the hands of the commissary sixpence
for every bushel of wheat they should put into the store. This
contribution would be the least felt, and was to cease so soon as a sum
sufficient for the purpose was collected.

There not being at this time more than five months' provision in the
store at full allowance, it became necessary to issue only two-thirds of
the weekly ration; and this was ordered to commence on the first of the
ensuing month. A trifling addition was made to the quantity in store, by
the purchase of about seventy casks of salt provisions which the master
of the _Minerva_ had for sale.

The _Francis_ and the _Norfolk_ brought round from the river a
quantity of timber and plank for the vessel that was building at Sydney,
and for other purposes.

February.] On the first of the month the proposed alteration in the
ration took place. It has been said, that Colonel Paterson brought out
with him a new arrangement of the military ration. This, as directed by
his Majesty's regulation, consisted of, per man per diem,


Flour or bread   1½ lb
Beef             1  lb
Pork              ½ lb
Peas              ¼ pint
Butter or Cheese 1  oz
Rice             1  oz

When the small species cannot be issued, 1½ lb of bread or flour, and
1½ lb of beef, or 10 oz of pork, make a complete ration. The quantity of
salt provisions at this time remaining in the store, not admitting of
exempting the regiment from a reduction of the ration, they were informed
that, until the store could afford to victual them again agreeable to the
regulation, they would receive the same ration as the civil department;
but that no stoppages from their pay would on that account take place.

One of these people, a quiet well-disposed young man, fell a victim to an
attachment which he had formed with an infamous woman; who, after
plundering him of every thing valuable that he possessed, turned him out
of the house, to make room for another. This treatment he could not live
under; and, placing the muzzle of his gun beneath his chin, he drew the
trigger with his foot, and, the contents going through his neck,
instantly expired.

On the 13th, the _Betsey_ whaler arrived from the west coast of
America with 350 barrels of oil. She was extremely leaky, and much in
want of repair. At the same time came in the _Hunter_ bark from
Calcutta, with a cargo on speculation; and on the day following, a
Spanish brig which had been captured by the whaler.

Early in the morning of the 16th, the _Friendship_ transport arrived
from Ireland with convicts. She had been fifty days in her passage from
the Cape of Good Hope, where she left his Majesty's ship _Buffalo_
taking on board cattle for the settlement. The convicts arrived in very
good health, though the ship had been sickly previous to her reaching the

Many of the prisoners received by this ship and the _Minerva_ were
not calculated to be of much advantage to the settlement; and but little
addition was made by their arrival to the public strength. Several of
them had been bred up in the habits of genteel life, or to professions in
which they were unaccustomed to hard labour. Such must become a dead
weight upon the provision store; for, notwithstanding the abhorrence
which must have been felt for the crimes for which many of them were
transported, yet it was impossible to divest the mind of the common
feelings of humanity, so far as to send a physician, the once respectable
sheriff of a county, a Roman Catholic priest, or a Protestant clergyman
and family, to the grubbing hoe, or the timber carriage. Among the lower
classes were many old men, unfit for any thing but to be hut-keepers, who
were to remain at home to prevent robbery, while the other inhabitants of
the hut were at labour.

Some clothing had been received by these ships and the _Walker_,
but, unfortunately, not any bedding. The governor therefore purchased a
thousand bad rugs, which had been manufactured in some of the Spanish
settlements on the west coast of America, and were in the prize which
last arrived. These, with a complete suit of the clothing to each, were
now issued to the convicts.

The settlers of several of the districts declining to come forward to
assist with the small assessment of sixpence per bushel on their wheat,
which had been proposed toward the completion of the public gaol, it
became necessary to adopt some other expedient; and, as an article of
luxury was considered a fitter subject than any other for taxation, an
order was published, directing that on a permit being applied for to
land spirits, wine, beer, or other strong drink, from ships having those
articles for sale, the person desiring it was to make his first
application to the gentlemen of the committee appointed to carry on the
above building; to whom security was to be given for the payment of one
shilling per gallon on the purchase of spirits, sixpence per gallon on
the purchase of wine, and threepence per gallon on the purchase of porter
or strong beer; these sums, if the permits were granted, which depended
on the character of the person applying, were to be paid into the hands
of the committee, and appropriated to the above purpose.

It having been for some time observed, indeed more particularly since the
late arrivals from Ireland, that a number of idle and suspicious persons
were frequently strolling about the town of Sydney at improper hours of
the night, and several boats having been taken away, and much property
stolen out of houses; in order to put a stop to such practices, the
sentinels on duty were directed not to suffer any person, the civil and
military officers of the settlement excepted, to pass their posts after
ten o'clock at night, without they could give the countersign; in which
case the sentinel was to detain them until the relief came round; when,
if the corporal should not be satisfied with the account which they might
give, they were to be taken to the guardhouse, and there detained, until
released by proper authority. The patrol of constables were also directed
to be very strict in their rounds, and apprehend such improper or
suspicious persons as they might meet in the town during the night.

Shortly after the publication of this order, several of the Irish
prisoners having assembled at a private house, and making more noise than
was proper during the night, were taken up, and lodged in the gaol until
the morning; when they were liberated with assurances of being punished
if brought there a second time.

Among other public and necessary works which were in hand at this time,
must be noticed the construction of a new powder magazine. The former
building had been placed at too great a distance from the principal
battery, in a dangerous and insecure situation. The foundation of the new
one was now dug in a more eligible spot, and where it could be much
better secured; which had been rendered necessary from the turbulent
disposition of the people lately arrived from Ireland.

March.] His Majesty's ship the _Reliance_ being completely worn out,
and no longer capable of rendering any service to the settlement, it
became necessary to give her such repairs as would enable her to reach
England. In order, therefore, to ease the crown of such useless expense,
she was fitted for sea, and sailed on the 3rd of this month on her
homeward-bound voyage.*

[* The _Reliance_ touched at the Cape of Good Hope and the Island
of St. Helena, whence she brought some Indiamen safe home under
her convoy. She arrived at Plymouth on the 26th of August, 1800.
Nothing remarkable occurred during the voyage, except the discovery of an
island, which, from its approach to the Antipodes of London, Captain
Waterhouse named Penantipode island. He determined its latitude by one
double altitude, and chronometer, to be 49 degrees 49 minutes 30 seconds S
and its longitude, 179 degrees 20 minutes E. It was seen in the middle of
the night; and as the nearest of the double altitudes by which its
latitude was determined was nearly an hour past noon, hence, and from the
change of place in the interval of four hours, the latitude ought not to
be depended on nearer than from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. The error of the
chronometer being uncertain at the time, no correction was applied to the
longitude, which may very probably be within half a degree, or much
nearer. When this island was seen, it was blowing a gale of wind. There
were seals on it, and it did not appear quite so large as Norfolk Island.]

Captain Waterhouse, in an excursion which he made to the north arm of
Broken Bay, wounded and secured a bird, of a species never seen before in
New South Wales, at least by any of the colonists. It was a large eagle,
which gave a proof of his strength, by driving his talons through a man's
foot, while lying in the bottom of the boat, with his legs tied together.
it stood about three feet in height, and during the ten days that it
lived was remarkable for refusing to be fed by any but one particular
person. Among the natives it was an object of wonder and fear, as they
could never be prevailed upon to go near it. They asserted, that it would
carry off a middling-sized kangaroo. Captain Waterhouse hoped to have
brought it to England; but it was one morning found to have divided the
strands of a rope with which it was fastened, and escaped. A drawing had
been made of it while in our hands, of which the annexed engraving is a

The _Martha_ schooner, having some time back sailed again to the
southward, returned on the 6th with a cargo of oil and seal skins. The
_Nautilus_ having left some of her people upon Cape Barren Island,
it appeared by their accounts, that the most productive time for the
seals among those islands was from November to May. They stated, that
they had much fine weather during the winter months, and met with very
little frost or severe cold. Cape Barren is in 40 degrees 26 minutes 20
seconds S latitude.

About this time many of the Irish prisoners lately arrived were afflicted
with dysenteric complaints, of which several died.

Much has been said of the little indulgence to which some of the settlers
were, from their own misconduct, entitled. An instance of misbehaviour
occurred in a description of these people from whom it could scarcely
have been expected. The settlers who were fixed on the banks of George's
river had formerly served in the marine detachment, and afterwards in the
New South Wales corps. By their entreaties having prevailed upon the
governor to supply them with some live stock, they were furnished each
with a ewe sheep, of which they were no sooner possessed than they sold
them. This coming to the governor's knowledge, he directed them to be
seized, and instantly returned into the flock belonging to government.
Such conduct on their part certainly precluded them from ever soliciting
similar assistance again.

Accounts of a most alarming nature were received toward the latter end of
the month from George's river and the Hawkesbury. The weather had,
unfortunately for the maize now ripe, been uncommonly bad for three
weeks, the wind blowing a heavy gale, accompanied with torrents of rain
that very soon swelled the river Hawkesbury, and the creeks in George's
river, beyond their banks; laying all the adjacent flat country, with the
corn on it, under water. Much damage, of course, followed the desolation
which this ill-timed flood spread over the cultivated grounds; and,
although fewer than could have been expected, some lives were lost.

The prospect of an abundant maize harvest was wholly destroyed, and every
other work was suspended for a while, to prepare the ground a second
time this season for wheat. The settlement was yet too young to be able
to withstand such a succession of ill-fortune without its being felt, in
some degree, an inconvenience and expense to the mother country. Had the
settlers themselves in general been of a more industrious turn, they
would have been better prepared for such accidents; and it was much to be
lamented, that, in establishing them on the banks of the Hawkesbury, they
had not with more attention considered the manifest signs of the floods
to which the river appeared to the first discoverers to be liable, and
erected their dwellings upon the higher grounds; or that the inundations
which had lately happened had not occurred at an earlier period, when
there were but few settlers. These indeed had been such as formerly no
one had any conception of, and exceeded in horror and destruction any
thing that could have been imagined.

That the ground might with all possible expedition be prepared for wheat,
all descriptions of persons were called upon to give their assistance;
and there being at this, as at every other time, a number of idle persons
wandering about the colony, who refused to labour unless they were paid
exorbitant wages, these were again directed to be taken up, and, if found
to prefer living by extortion or robbery, to working at a reasonable
hire, to be treated as vagrants, and made to labour for the public.

During this month, the _Walker_ went to sea upon the fishery; and
the _Martha _snow went to Norfolk Island, with some articles for
sale, the property of her owners.

April.] On the first day of this month, the court of criminal judicature
was convened for the trial of several offenders. Robberies had of
late been very frequent, both on household property and live stock.
At this court, two men were found guilty of robbery, and one women,
Mary Graham, of forgery. Several were sentenced to receive corporal
punishment, and some were ordered to be transported to Norfolk Island.
The governor extended his Majesty's pardon to the woman and one of the
men, leaving the other to his fate, and the day was appointed for his
execution; but, the military officers soliciting in a body that the life
of this man should be spared, the governor consented. He however directed
that both the prisoners, being yet unacquainted with the pardon that was
to be granted them, should be taken to the place of execution with their
coffins, where the warrant for that execution should be read, and every
appearance observed that could give solemnity to the moment, and impress
the minds of the spectators with awe. These directions were followed. The
ropes being put about their necks, the provost marshal produced the
pardon and read it. One of the men appeared much affected; but the other
declared that he was never in his life so well prepared for death, and
scarcely seemed to desire a prolongation of existence.

On the 14th the _Hunter_ bark sailed for Norfolk Island, whence she
was supposed to be bound for Amboyna and Bengal; and on the 16th the
_Speedy_ whaler arrived from England, with fifty female convicts;
and, what were much more welcome and profitable, eight hundred and
thirty-two casks of salt provisions, which enabled the governor once more
to issue a full ration.

In this ship arrived Captain Phillip Gidley King, the lieutenant-governor
of Norfolk Island; and those marks of respect which were due to his rank
and situation as a lieutenant-governor were directed to be paid to him
by all guards, sentinels, etc.

On the evening of the same day, his Majesty's ship the _Buffalo_
returned from the Cape of Good Hope, having on board 85 cows and 20
breeding mares for the settlement. This voyage was performed in seven
months, the _Buffalo_ having sailed from Port Jackson on the 15th of
last September. She made her passage thither in three months, having
arrived in Table Bay on the 16th of December. This, therefore, will be
found to be the proper season for going to the Cape by the way of Cape

The quantity of spirits at this time in the colony occasioned much
intoxication and consequent irregularity. The settlers at the river were
so lost to their own interest as to neglect the sowing of their grounds:
a circumstance which, but for the timely interference of the governor,
would have ended in their ruin. Immediately on hearing their situation,
he forbade the sending any more spirits to that profligate corner of the
colony, as well as the retailing what had been already sent thither,
under pain of the offenders being prosecuted for such disobedience of his


Reports of seditious meetings among the Irish convicts
The _Friendship_ sails for Bengal
Letter from Lord Mornington respecting persons resident at Bengal,
 formerly in this colony
Correspondence relative to Indian convicts, and persons at Calcutta
 wishing to become settlers in New South Wales
Criminal court held
Two men hanged for sheep-stealing
The _Hunter_ sails with Major Foveaux for Norfolk Island
The _Buffalo_ ordered for sea
Public gaol
Three men executed
General muster
Cattle purchased
The _Martha_ driven on shore
Survey of public stores
Spirits landed and seized
Death of Wilson
Rumours of Insurrection
Volunteer corps
Coal found
The _John Jay_ arrives
The governor quits the settlement
Live stock, etc
The _Buffalo_ sails for England
Touches at Norfolk Island

May.] The governor having received information from several of the
officers, that they had good grounds for suspecting that some of the
convicts lately arrived from Ireland had not left behind them the
principles which occasioned their being sent from that kingdom, but were
carrying on seditious correspondences, and holding unlawful meetings; in
order to discover whether there was any foundation for this conjecture,
he called in the assistance of Lieutenant-Governor King, Colonel
Paterson, Major Foveaux, and the several magistrates of the district;
when it was determined to make a sudden and general search among the
persons suspected in all parts of the colony at one and the same hour,
and to secure their papers and seal them up.

This was put in execution upon the 15th; but nothing was found in their
several dwellings which could furnish the smallest suspicion of the
conduct imputed to them.

On the following day, a convict, who had endeavoured with some
earnestness to propagate a report that many pikes had been fabricated,
and, to prevent discovery, had been sunk in a particular part of the
harbour, was examined before some of the magistrates; when he confessed
that he knew nothing of what he had asserted; saying, that he was
intoxicated at the time. He was severely punished for his design, which
perhaps he chose rather to endure, than impeach his confederates.

From the secrecy with which this business might be conducted, the
magistrates succeeded no better in an examination which was taken before
them, on an information that Harold, the Roman Catholic priest, had been
concerned in some seditious conversations; nothing appearing whereby he
could be criminated. The governor, however, judged it necessary, in
consequence of these conjectures, to extract the heads of the late acts
against seditious correspondence or unlawful assemblies of the people,
altering them to meet the situation of the settlement, and published them
in the form of a proclamation, that none might plead ignorance of the
existence of such laws. This proclamation, beside being made public in
the usual manner, was read on Sunday the 24th, in church, after the
performance of divine service.

The _Friendship_ having sailed early in the month for Bengal, that
opportunity was taken of sending dispatches to England, and to the
Governor-General of India; who, by the _Hunter_, had sent a letter
to the governor, inclosing a list of persons from New South Wales who
were then resident in Calcutta, and desiring to be informed whether any
of them had left the territory without having previously obtained
permission for that purpose, or served the regular term of their
transportation; in which latter case, it was the intention of that
government to return them to the colony by the first opportunity. On
comparing the list with the colonial books, there were not any found of
this description, and all were accounted for, except two or three names
which did not appear in the books; and of course, as they had once been
on them, their owners must have adopted others, with the new character
that they were going to assume in that country. The whole number of
persons that appeared to have established themselves at Calcutta was not
more than fifteen; nevertheless, small as that number was, the fear that
worthless characters should find their way into that government was
strongly expressed in their public letter. Indeed, what community, where
honesty and morality were cultivated, would not deprecate even the
possibility of such characters mixing with them, with as much earnestness
as a people in health would dread the importation of a plague or a yellow

It appeared, that at the same time some propositions had been made, and a
correspondence entered into between the secretary of the Bengal
government and the gentleman who had been employed as the private agent
of the officers of the settlement, respecting the transportation of
Indian convicts to New South Wales. As this was a measure, though open to
no objection whatever, which must be submitted to administration before
it could be adopted, the correspondence which had passed on this occasion
was sent home. It was proposed by the government of Bengal to victual and
maintain their convicts for one year after their landing; after which
they were to be supported by the settlement. As such a description of
people might be very usefully employed there, and would be far more
manageable than the convicts from England or Ireland, it was hoped that
the plan might meet the approbation of his Majesty's ministers.

It should seem that some favourable ideas of the settlement had obtained
in India; for by the same conveyance three gentlemen of respectability
addressed the governor, stating to him their desire of embarking their
families and property, and becoming settlers; but as they required a ship
to be sent for them, to be furnished with a certain number of convicts
for a limited time, and a quantity of live stock, all of which must be
attended with a considerable expense to the crown, the governor, though
well aware of the advantages which the colony would derive from having
such persons resident among them, found himself compelled to lay their
proposals before the secretary of state.

To put a stop, if possible, to the encouragement which was given by
settlers and others to the vagrants who infested the different districts;
it was ordered, that when any one wished to travel from one place to
another, he was to apply to a magistrate for a pass, in which the
business he was going on was to be inserted; and all persons found
without this written permission were to be taken before a magistrate to
answer for their wilful disobedience of the regulations of the

Application having been made to the commissary to receive fresh pork into
the public stores, he was directed to comply therewith; but there was
reason to believe that such compliance would be attended with the
indiscriminate destruction of breeding and young sows. It was therefore
ordered, that if any person should be known to offer any meat of that
description to the store, it was not to be received; and the owner was to
be informed against, as being no longer deserving of encouragement or any
indulgence whatever.

The criminal court of judicature was assembled on the 26th of the month,
and continued sitting by adjournment for three days; whereat six
prisoners were capitally convicted, two of whom were condemned for
sheep-stealing. As it was absolutely necessary to make some examples,
these men were ordered for execution; the others were pardoned, upon
condition of being transported for life to Norfolk island.

In the course of this month died Mr. John Livingstone, the master
carpenter at Parramatta. This person came out from England in the
_Sirius_ with Governor Phillip, and had rendered much essential
service to the colony in the line of his profession. He had long been of
a consumptive habit.

The principal labour of the month consisted in preparing for wheat the
ground that the inundation had devastated.

June.] The month opened with the execution of one of the prisoners
condemned for sheep-stealing. He suffered on the 2nd, and on the 8th his
companion in iniquity and wretchedness underwent the same punishment. At
the moment of his execution he gave information of a daring gang of
villains with whom he had been connected.

His Majesty's birthday was observed by a discharge of all the artillery
in the settlement, and three vollies from the regiment upon their parade.

On the 8th, the owners of the _Hunter_ bark having altered her
destination, she returned from Norfolk Island, and was immediately
chartered to take thither an officer and a few soldiers, together with
some convicts and stores.

The _Belle Sauvage_, an American ship from Rhode Island, which had
anchored for a few days in Neutral Bay, to refit, and refresh her crew,
sailed again on the 15th, without taking any person from the settlement.
As this Port was conveniently situated for these ships to stop at and
refresh after the long voyages which they were in the habit of making in
their route to China, or the north-west coast of America, it certainly
was to the interest of the masters and their respective owners not to
infringe upon any of the local regulations of the colony.

The number of robbers and sheep-stealers still increasing notwithstanding
the late executions, it was deemed necessary to pursue some other steps
to get the better of this evil; and a proclamation was read in church on
Sunday the 15th, preparatory to issuing a process of outlawry against
these public depredators, whom all persons were commanded to aid and
assist in securing.

In consequence of this proclamation, three men were taken up, and, being
tried and found guilty of sheep-stealing, received sentence of death.

On the 29th, the _Hunter_ sailed for Norfolk Island, having on board
Major Foveaux of the New South Wales corps, who was proceeding thither to
take the command of that settlement. At the same time were sent those
prisoners who had been sentenced thither for transportation, and some
soldiers to augment the detachment of the regiment on duty there.

The governor having, by the arrival of the _Speedy_ in April last
received a letter from the secretary of state, he gave directions for
preparing his Majesty's ship _Buffalo_ for sea; which was accordingly
begun; and various accounts were ordered to be made out preparatory
to their being forwarded to England.

Information having been laid before the governor by the officers who were
appointed a committee for superintending the erection of the public gaol
at Sydney, that several persons had resisted the payment of the necessary
assessments which had been ordered to defray the expenses of the
building; it was ordered, that those assessments should be immediately
paid into the hands of the persons directed to collect them, or, in case
of a further refusal to a measure which had been entered upon at a
general meeting of the landholders, etc., in the colony, such steps as
should be adjudged necessary would be instantly pursued. Such being the
conduct of these people, even in a measure where their own personal
interests were so essentially concerned, can it be wondered at, that so
much profligacy prevailed in every part of the settlement?

July.] The prisoners who were left for execution at the end of the last
month suffered death, two of them at Sydney on the 3rd and the third at
Parramatta on the 5th of this month. If examples of this kind could
strike terror into the minds of the spectators, they certainly had not
lately been without these salutary though dreadful lessons.

A general muster was taken, during the month, of the inhabitants of the
several districts, attended by Lieutenant-Governor King, and other
officers of the settlement; and the _Buffalo_ dropped down the
harbour, that she might with more ease prepare for her voyage; as it was
impossible, without having recourse to punishment, to keep the people to
their duty on board while lying in the midst of temptation in Sydney

Several gentlemen being now preparing to return to England, having
obtained the governor's permission for that purpose; much live stock was
sold, and a considerable addition was made to that belonging to the crown
by the purchase of some of the large horned cattle.

The _Martha_, having been allowed to go to Hunter river for coals in
the beginning of the month, on her return, having anchored in some very
bad weather in the north part of the harbour, Little Manly Bay, was by
the parting of her cable driven on a reef of rocks, where her bottom was
beat out. With the assistance of the officers and crew of the
_Buffalo_, she was got off, and, being floated with casks, was
brought up to Sydney, where her damages were found not to be irreparable.

By the master's account it appeared, that he had not been in the river,
but in a salt water inlet, about five leagues to the southward of the
river, having a small island at its entrance. He was conducted by some
natives to a spot at a small distance from the mouth, where he found
abundance of coal.

Several certificates were granted during this month, to persons who had
served their terms of transportation; and, in order to concentrate as
much as possible the effective strength of the New South Wales corps
(which appeared to be necessary from the turbulent disposition of the
Irish prisoners), the presence of an officer was dispensed with at the
Hawkesbury. Mr. Charles Grimes, the deputy surveyor, was appointed to
reside there, and to take upon him the duties of a justice of the peace.

August.] Early in this month, the _Albion_ whaler ran into Broken
Bay, to complete her wood and water. She had on board 600 barrels of oi1;
but had not been able, through bad weather, to secure more than a fourth
part of the whales which they had killed. They had seen an immense number
of these fish.

A survey was at this time taking of the public stores and provisions, in
order to their being delivered over to the deputy commissary, as
Mr. Williamson, the acting commissary, was about to return in the
_Buffalo_ to England.

Toward the latter end of the month, an attempt was made, at three o'clock
in the afternoon, to land without a permit 1016 gallons of wine and
spirits, which were seized at the wharf by the sentinel. If the person
who made this attempt had been advised to so incautious and daring a
proceeding, it could only have been with a view to try the integrity of
the sentinels, or the vigilance of the police.

In defiance of the various orders which had been given to enforce a due
attendance on Sunday at divine service, that day still continued to be
marked by a neglect of its sacred duties. An order was again given out on
the 25th, pointing out the duties of the superintendants, constables, and
overseers, in this particular instance; and assuring them that a further
neglect on their part would be followed by their dismissal from their
respective situations.

Information had some time before this been received of the death of
Wilson, known among the natives by the name of Bun-bo-e. This young man,
while a convict, and after he had served the period of his
transportation, preferred the life of a vagabond to that of an
industrious man. He had passed the greater part of his time in the woods
with the natives, and was suspected of instructing them in those points
where they could injure the settlers with the greatest effect, and most
safety to themselves. In obedience, however, to a proclamation from the
governor, he surrendered himself, and promising amendment, as nothing but
a love of idleness could be fixed upon him, was forgiven; and, being
supplied with a musket and ammunition, he was allowed to accompany such
parties as made excursions into the woods, and at other times to shoot
kangaroos and birds. By him, the first bird of paradise ever seen in this
country had been shot; and it was his custom to live upon the flesh of
such birds as he killed, bringing in with him their skins.

With the wood natives he had sufficient influence to persuade them that
he had once been a black man, and pointed out a very old woman as his
mother, who was weak and credulous enough to acknowledge him as her son.
The natives who inhabit the woods are not by any means so acute as those
who live upon the sea coast. This difference may perhaps be accounted for
by their sequestered manner of living, society contributing much to the
exercise of the mental faculties. Wilson presumed upon this mental
inability; and, having imposed himself upon them as their countryman, and
created a fear and respect of his superior powers, indulged himself in
taking liberties with their young females. However deficient they might
be in reasoning faculties, he found to his cost that they were
susceptible of wrongs; for, having appropriated against her inclinations
a female to his own exclusive accommodation, her friends took an
opportunity, when he was not in a condition to defend himself, to drive a
spear through his body, which ended his career for this time, and left
them to expect his return at some future period in the shape of another
white man.

By a reference to the first volume of this work, it will be seen, that
the natives who inhabited Port Stephens, a harbour to the northward of
the settlement, entertained a similar idea of four white men who had been
thrown by chance among them; and Wilson, having heard the circumstance,
endeavoured to avail himself of it in his intercourse with the wood

The natives of the coast, whenever speaking of those of the interior,
constantly expressed themselves with contempt and marks of
disapprobation. Their language was unknown to each other, and there was
not any doubt of their living in a state of mutual distrust and enmity.
Those natives, indeed, who frequented the town of Sydney, spoke to and of
those who were not so fortunate, in a very superior tone, valuing
themselves upon their friendship with the white people, and erecting in
themselves an exclusive right to the enjoyment of all the benefits which
were to result from that friendship. That they should prefer the shelter
which they found in the houses of the inhabitants to the miserable
protection from weather which their ill-constructed huts afforded, or
even to that which they could meet with under a rock, will be allowed to
have been natural enough, when we present the reader with a view of a
man, his wife, and child, actually sketched on the spot, by a person who
met with them thus endeavouring to obtain shelter under a projection of a
rock, during a heavy storm of rain and wind.

September.] In the beginning of this month, rumours being circulated,
that the prisoners lately sent from Ireland for the crime of sedition,
and for being concerned in the late rebellion in that country, had formed
a plan for possessing themselves of the colony, that their arms (pikes
manufactured since their arrival) were in great forwardness, and their
manner of attack nearly arranged; a committee of officers was appointed
by the governor to examine all suspected persons, and ascertain whether
any such murderous design existed.

In the course of their inquiries, the committee saw occasion to imprison
Harold, the Roman Catholic priest, who from his language and behaviour
was suspected of being concerned in the intended insurrection. He then
confessed, that the reports of it were founded in truth, and engaged to
discover where the weapons were concealed, of which it was said many
hundreds had been fabricated. In his confession he implicated several of
his countrymen, who, on being questioned, in their turn accused several
others; and the committee adjudged them all to be deserving of
punishment; but Harold was never able to fulfil his engagement of
producing the weapons. These he first said were buried in the ground
belonging to a settler, which he pointed out; but on minutely searching
every part of it, nothing like a pike could be found. Failing in this, he
then said they were sunk in the lower part of the harbour; but even here
they could not be discovered. He tampered with an Irishman, to make a few
that he could produce in support of his assertion; but the man had,
unfortunately for him, been transported for having been a dealer in
pikes, and declared that he would not involve himself a second time for
them. He at last found a man to fabricate one out of an old hinge of a
barn door, but this bore too evidently the marks of imposition to go down
with every one; and his tale met with little or no credit. There was
evidently a design to create an alarm; and this man Harold, from
declaring that he alone, through his influence as their priest, was able
to come at the facts, was supposed to be aiming solely at making himself
of consequence in the colony. He had applied to the governor for
permission to officiate as their priest; and if well affected to the
government, of which there were but too many doubts, he might have been
of much use to the colony in that capacity.

In consequence of these alarms, and as much as possible to do away their
effects, by increasing the armed force of the colony, a certain number of
the most respectable inhabitants were formed into two volunteer
associations of fifty men each, and styled the Sydney and Parramatta
Loyal Associated Corps. Each was commanded by a Captain, with two
Lieutenants, and a proportionate number of non-commissioned officers. The
whole were supplied with arms and ammunition, of which they were
instructed in the use by some sergeants of the New South Wales corps, and
their alarm-post was fixed at the front of Government House.*

[* As these were formed upon the footing of the volunteer corps
in England, it is to be wished that they may as fully entitle
themselves to the praise and thanks of the community which they were
raised to defend, as those honourable associations have merited and
gained from theirs.]

It having been reported, that coal had been found upon the banks of
George's river, the governor visited the place, and on examination found
many indications of the existence of coal, that useful fossil, of which,
shortly after, a vein was discovered on the west-side of Garden Island

On the 21st, the American ship _John Jay_ arrived, after a passage
of four months and four days, from Rhode Island, bound to China. She had
on board a quantity of salt beef and pork, which was purchased by
government, at the rate of seven-pence three farthings per pound, for the
purpose of issuing to such people as were off the stores, or who had the
labour of convicts assigned to them, at the same price. This was a great

The _Buffalo_ being now ready for sea, the governor, who had
determined to return in that ship to England, having arranged various
matters relative to the settlement, and the lieutenant governor of
Norfolk island being on the spot, left the direction of the colony in his
hands, and embarked on Sunday the 28th, having previously reviewed the
New South Wales corps, of whom his excellency took leave in the following

"The governor, having this day reviewed that part of His Majesty's New
South Wales corps doing duty at Sydney, cannot omit this opportunity of
expressing the satisfaction he has received from their very handsome and
military appearance, which does so much honour to Lieutenant Colonel
Paterson, and the commissioned officers under his command. The expertness
with which the various military motions were performed is highly to the
credit of the whole body, and in which the non-commissioned officers have
a very distinguished share. The governor cannot lose the present
opportunity (as it may possibly be the last) of assuring the troops
generally, that the confidence which he has long reposed in their
promptitude upon every occasion that might require their particular
exertion, has ever inclined him to consider with contempt the threatnings
said to have been held out by a number of discontented and misled people:
well satisfied that the active assistance of the New South Wales corps,
added to those precautions and exertions which have and he trusts will
continue to distinguish the civil power, will ever be found a complete
security for the peace and tranquillity of this settlement, and of His
Majesty's government in this remote part of the British dominions."

The governor's embarkation was attended with every mark of respect,
attachment, and regret. The road to the wharf, where the _Buffalo's_
boat was in waiting, was lined on each side with troops, and he was
accompanied thither by the officers of the civil and military departments
with a numerous concourse of the inhabitants; who manifested by their
deportment the sense they entertained of the regard which he had ever
paid to their interests, and the justice and humanity of his government.

The following was the state of the live stock, and ground in cultivation,
at the time of the governor's departure: viz

Horses               60
Mares               143
Horned Cattle
   Bulls and Oxen   332
   Cows             712
Hogs               4017
   Male            2031
   Female          4093
   Male             727
   Female          1455

Acres of Wheat     4665¾
Acres for Maize    2930
Acres of Barley      82

And a considerable quantity of garden ground, in potatoes, etc and vines.

The poverty of the settlers and the high price of labour occasioned much
land to be unemployed this year. Many of the inferior farmers were nearly
ruined by the high price they were obliged to give for such necessaries
as they required from those who had been long in the habit of
monopolising every article brought to the settlement for sale; a habit of
which it was found impossible to get the better, without the positive and
immediate interference of the government at home.

Many representations had been made on this distressing subject; and they
seemed in some degree to have been attended to, as in several of the last
arrivals from England, certain articles, consisting of implements of
husbandry, clothing, and stores, had been consigned to the governor, to
be retailed for the use of the colonists: and it was understood that this
system, so beneficial to the settlement, was to be pursued in all the
ships which were in future to carry out convicts or stores to that

October.] The _Buffalo_ sailed for England on the 21st of October*,
and as the governor had intended to touch and land at Norfolk Island, for
the purpose of learning, from his own observation, something of the state
of that settlement, some few of the Irish prisoners, who were suspected
of laying plans of insurrection and massacre, were taken in the
_Buffalo_, and landed there. This settlement wore a most unpromising
appearance. All the buildings were in a state of rapid decay, and but few
symptoms of industry were visible. Of stock, only a few hogs and a small
quantity of vegetables were to be procured. On Phillip Island, which had
formerly fed a great number of hogs, not one was to be found alive, they
having, for want of better food, destroyed each other. A few fields of
wheat, which were ready for reaping, looked tolerably well; but on the
whole Norfolk Island by no means promised to repay the expense which it
annually cost the government.

[* The _Buffalo_ arrived at Spithead, with a convoy which she brought
from St. Helena, on the 24th of May 1801, having made the passage by
Cape Horn in seven months.]

On board of the _Buffalo_ were two of the birds denominated by
Dampier black-swans, and three of those which in New South Wales were
styled emus. However much in shape the former resembled the European
swan, yet, as they are of a different species, they are not properly
entitled to the appellation of swan, that name being appropriate solely
to the European species. These birds had with very great care been
brought alive to England, and were given by Lieutenant William Kent, the
proprietor, to Earl St. Vincent, who presented them as rarae aves and
literally 'nigro simillimae cygno' to her Majesty, by whom they were sent
to Frogmore. They were of different sexes; but unfortunately one of them
soon died in moulting; and the other having, after that operation, with
his health, also recovered the perfect use of his wings, availed himself
of the liberty they gave him (the precaution of cutting them not having
been taken), and was shot by a nobleman's game-keeper as it was flying
across the Thames.

The other birds were given by the same gentleman to Sir Joseph Banks; and
they are now enjoying their freedom in the Earl of Exeter's park at
Burleigh. These birds have been pronounced by Sir Joseph Banks, of whose
judgment none can entertain a doubt, to come nearer to what is known of
the American ostrich, than to either the emu of India, or the ostrich of
Africa. (The subjoined engraving is from a drawing made in New South
Wales, and shows the height to which they can erect themselves.)


The documents upon which the foregoing pages have been formed going no
farther than the departure of the _Buffalo_ for England, we must
here quit the regular detail of the transactions of the colony.

We learn from those who have conversed on the concerns of the settlement
with governor Hunter since his return, that he possesses the most minute
acquaintance with all its regulations, whether commercial, agricultural,
or legal. On those particular subjects, we understand he had from time to
time afforded the most ample information to government; and, as he is now
upon the spot, we hope that he may be able to show the advantages which
this distant colony will derive from a more frequent intercourse with the
mother-country. It must be gratifying to all who may be in any way
acquainted with the settlement, and are not strangers to the misfortunes
under which it has sometimes suffered, to find at this time in government
a determination to show it a greater degree of attention in future, than,
from unavoidable circumstances, it could formerly boast.

As notice has not been regularly taken of the public works in hand at the
close of each month, as was observed in the preceding volume, a view of
the whole that had been undertaken during Governor Hunter's
administrations of the affairs of the settlement, is annexed.

A large brick building which had been erected by Governor Phillip at
Parramatta, 100 feet in length, being much decayed, was completely
repaired; two floors laid throughout; and an addition of 60 feet made to
it, for the purpose of converting it into a granary for the reception of
wheat; there not being any building for this use in the colony.

A strong wind-mill tower of stone, erected upon the hill above the town
of Sydney. The mill completed and set at work.

An entire suite of apartments built of brick at Sydney, between the
hospitals and the dwelling-house of the principal surgeon, for the use of
the two assistant-surgeons; their former wretched huts having gone to

A strong double logged gaol, 80 feet long, with separate cells for
prisoners, was constructed at Sydney. This building was burnt.

A similar gaol was erected at Parramatta, 100 feet in length, and paled
round with a strong high fence, as was that at Sydney. This was also
destroyed by fire.

Two log granaries, each 100 feet long, one for wheat and another for
maize, were erected at the Hawkesbury on a spot named the Green Hills,
and enclosed with paling.

Thoroughly repaired, coated with lime (manufactured from burnt shells),
and white-washed both government houses, the military barracks, officers'
dwellings, storehouses, and granaries, and all the public buildings, to
preserve them from the decay to which they were rapidly advancing.

The government huts at Parramatta, which had been built by Governor
Phillip for the immediate reception of convicts on their arrival, having
been long neglected and disused, and fallen to ruin, were completely
repaired and made fit for the use for which they were designed. Many had
fallen down.

A barn of 90 feet in length was built at Toongabbie, in which nine pair
of threshers could work. The original barn at this place built by
Governor Phillip had fallen down.

Constructed eight embrasures to the battery on point Maskelyne, and
raised a redoubt with eight embrasures on the east point of the cove, and
mounted them with cannon. Two guns were also mounted on the high part of
Garden Island.

Made good the public roads, and repaired them at various times, and threw
bridges over the gullies.

An excellent framed bridge was built over Duck-river, capable of bearing
the weight of several heavy loaded carriages at one time.

At Sydney a good granary, 72 feet in length by 21 in width, with two
floors, was built out of the ruins of a mill-house, which had been
erected with much labour and expense by Lieutenant-governor Grose,
there not being a building of that description at Sydney.

Built a framed and weather-boarded house on the Green-hills at the
Hawkesbury, for the residence of the commanding officer of that district.
This house was shingled, and furnished with a cellar, a kitchen, and
other accommodations, and surrounded with paling.

Erected a second strong wind-mill tower at Sydney, 36 feet in height.
This tower, before it was covered in, was so damaged by a storm which
continued during three days, that it was taken down, and was rebuilt and

A weather-boarded store-house with two wings was built at Sydney, and on
the burning of the church was converted into a temporary place of

At Parramatta a weather-boarded granary, 140 feet in length, was built
for the reception of maize. This building was shingled.

Built a complete smith's shop for forges at Sydney.

Erected at Sydney an excellent brick granary, 100 feet long and 22 wide,
with three floors. An addition was made to this building about 70 feet in
length, for a kiln for drying the grain.

Built a range of barracks at Sydney for three officers.

Erected a handsome church at Parramatta, 100 feet in length and 44 in
width, with a room 20 feet long, raised on stone pillars, and intended
for a vestry or council room. (See the Plate.)

Began the foundation of a church at Sydney, but of larger dimensions.
Built a tower steeple at the same place for a town clock; and some time
afterwards, having been much damaged by the same storm that injured the
wind-mill, it was repaired at the south angle, and the whole made good
with plaster, and coated with lime.

Built an apartment of brick in the yard of the old gaol, before it was
burnt, for debtors, containing three rooms.

Paled in a naval yard on the west side of the cove, and erected within it
a joiner's and a blacksmith's shop, with sheds for the vessels while
repairing, and for the workmen; with a steamer, a storehouse, a warder's
lodge, and an apartment for the clerk.

Build a commodious stone-house, near the naval yard, for the master

Began and nearly finished a handsome and commodious stone gaol at Sydney;
with separate apartments for debtors, and six strong and secure cells for
condemned felons.

A large and elegant government house was erected at Parramatta, the first
being too small, and the framing so much gone to decay that the roof fell
in. The present building is spacious and roomy, with cellars and an attic

Built a neat thatched hut in the government garden at Parramatta, for the

Built a new dispensary, and removed the pannelled hospital to a more
convenient situation, raising it upon a stone foundation. At the same
time was erected a new hospital store.

Prepared the foundation of a new powder magazine.

Raised a frame, and thatched the roof of an open barn at the Ninety
Acres, and laid a threshing floor.

Fenced and surrounded the military barracks with lofty paling.

Paled in a cooperage adjoining the provision store at Sydney. Cleansed
from filth the public tanks at the same place, and surrounded them and
the spring-head with paling.

Enlarged by a scalene building running the whole length of each house,
the dwellings of the principal surgeon, the senior assistant-surgeon, and
the deputy-surveyor; which gave an additional accommodation of two rooms
to each house.

Built a military hospital and dispensary at Sydney, and an officer's
guard room at the main guard.

Built sheds for the boats belonging to government when hauled on shore.

Repaired a house for a school at Sydney, plastered, white-washed, and
coated it with lime.

Erected houses within the precincts of the hospital at Sydney, for the
nurses and attendants while on duty.

Laid a new foundation, rebuilt part of the walls, and completely repaired
the wet provision store at Parramatta, it being in a very ruinous

Enclosed several stock yards for cattle, and repaired the old sheds at
Parramatta, Toongabbie, and Portland Place. In the latter district, the
timber of 120 acres was cut down, and nearly half (that of 50 acres)
burnt off, a small township marked out, and a few huts built.

Raised also a variety of inferior buildings.

The inclosures of the park and burial ground having been suffered to go
to decay, a gang of carpenters and labourers were for a considerable time
employed in preparing pickets and railing, and putting them up.

The judge-advocate's house at Sydney was enlarged and completely
repaired, several alterations made, and out-houses built.

Exclusive of erecting and repairing the foregoing public works, small
detachments were daily employed in preserving in good order and condition
the various buildings belonging to the crown, particularly those occupied
by that class of inhabitants subordinate to the commissioned officers.
And, as these repairs were considered as essentially necessary to prevent
such buildings from going to decay, they had been invariably attended to
under Governor Hunter.

Had the strength of the public gangs permitted their being further
employed, it was intended to have erected a large water-mill at
Parramatta, of which some part of the machinery and water-works were

A court-house at the same place, and two new stores, with a guardhouse at
the Green Hills. The stores were to be built of brick, and the
guard-house of weather-boards.

It was likewise intended to build a strong log-prison or lock-up-house at
the Hawkesbury, not to be thatched as formerly, but to be either tiled or

In the district of Portland Place, a stock-yard, consisting of about 30
acres, was inclosed with posts and rails. It included four chains of
fresh-water ponds. Buildings were also designed to be erected within it;
and it was meant to continue clearing the ground there, it being
remarkably good, and at a convenient distance from Parramatta.

Another stock-yard was designed for government, at Pendent Hills, in
Dundas district; but the inclosure was not begun.

In the naval department, a vessel in frame was left on the stocks. She
was designed to be of about 150 or 160 tons burden, and capable of taking
the relief of the military to and from Norfolk island.

A boat named the _Cumberland_ was on the stocks, and nearly
finished, of about 27 tons burden, intended to be schooner rigged and
armed, for pursuing deserters; who were, at the time when her keel was
laid, in the practice of carrying away the boats of the settlement.

The lighter or hoy called the _Lump_, for want of tar to pay her
bottom, was worm-eaten; but, being a serviceable boat, it was intended to
repair and double her.

In addition to these buildings (which must have contributed to render the
town of Sydney, the principal seat of the government, a picturesque and
pleasing object to strangers, as well as tended to the infinite
accommodation of all the inhabitants) Lieutenant Kent, the commander of
the _Supply_, had, at a very great expense, built a handsome, large,
and commodious mansion-house, on a spot of ground which he held on lease
in the front of the cove, forming a principal and striking object from
the water. This house, on that officer's departure for England in the
_Buffalo_, was purchased for an orphan school.

Nothing has been said in this account of the public labour, of preparing
the government ground annually for seed and cropping it, or of gathering
the harvest when ripe. But these must be taken into the account, as well
as threshing the corn for delivery, and unloading the store ships on
their arrival; which latter work must always be completed within a
limited time, pursuant to their charters. It has been said before, that
it was impossible to obtain a fair day's work from the convicts when
employed for the public: the weather frequently interfered with outdoor
business, and occasioned much to be done a second time. Under all these
disadvantages, and with a turbulent, refractory body of prisoners, we are
warranted in saying, on thus summing up the whole of the public labour
during the last four years, that more could not have been performed; and
it is rather matter of wonder that so much had been obtained with such

The following is a statement of the ground granted and leased to
individuals by the different persons who were thereto authorised, from
the 22nd of February 1792, the date of the first, to the 25th of
September 1800, the date of the last grant.

                 Granted by: Phillip Grose Paterson Hunter Total
At Parramatta                   460    845    100     741  2,146
At Toongabbie                    -     420    160   4,734  5,314
At Sydney                        -     349     80      40    469
At the Northern Boundary Farms  370     80    125     150    725
At the Ponds                    660    200     20      80    960
At Prospect Hill                810    275     -      835  1,920
At the Eastern Farms            450    170    190   1,516  2,326
At the Field of Mars            590    905    760   1,420  3,675
At Mulgrave Place                -   2,040  2,475   6,820 11,335
At Liberty Plains                -     530    100     830  1,480
At Concord                       -     710    325     140  1,175
At York Place                    -      -      50     330    360
At Bu-la-nam-ing                 -     565     30   1,516  2,111
At Petersham Hill                -   2,140    410   2,015  4,565
At Hunter's Hill                 -     850     -       74    924
In Port Jackson Harbour          -     390    140     195    725
At Banks Town                    -      -      -    3,247  3,247
At Dundas District               -      -      -      700    700
At Norfolk Island                49    205     -    3,267  3,521
Total granted by each         3,389 10,674  4,965  28,650 47,678


In the township of Sydney        30     27     2       43¼   102¼
In the township of Parramatta     -      -     -       47     47
In the township of Toongabbie     -      -     -       30     30
At Mulgrave Place                 -      -     -       12     12
At Norfolk Island                 -      -     -      265    265
Total leased by each             30     27     2      397¼   456¼

It may not be altogether uninteresting to those who may wish for
information respecting the concerns of this settlement, to find a
register of the shipping which has visited New South Wales from various
parts of the globe; whereby it will be seen, that, in however
insignificant or contemptible a point of view the colony may in general
have been held, individuals have found in it either a port of refreshment
after the fatigues of a long voyage, or an advantageous market for their
speculations. The arrivals will be confined to the harbour of Port
Jackson; only mentioning in this place that of the two ships _Le
Boussole_ and _L'Astrolabe_, at Botany Bay, in January 1788,
under the command of the ever-to-be-regretted and unfortunate M. de la
Perouse, who followed in the path of our immortal circumnavigator,
Captain Cook (with whose name every writer must be proud to adorn his
page), and who, like him, has left his country, indeed the whole world,
to lament his loss.

                     Date of                         Date of   Whither
Names-of-Ships       Arrival  Whence  Cargo          Departure bound
                     1788     [* See note at end of table]
His Majesty's armed  25 Jan.  England                17 Apr.   Batavia
tender, Supply                                       1790
H.M. ship Sirius     26 -     -                      1 Oct.    C of G Hope
Alexander, transport 26 -     -       Convicts
Scarborough          26 -     -        -
Charlotte            26 -     -        -
Lady Penrhyn         26 -     -        -
Friendship           26 -     -        -
Prince of Wales      26 -     -        -             -
Fishburn, store-ship 26 -     -       Provisions, etc
Golden Grove         26 -     -                      -
Borrowdale           26 -     -
H.M. ship Sirius     6 May    CofG Hope              Lost at
                                                     Norfolk Is.
Lady Juliana, trans. 3 Jun.   England Convicts
Justinian, storeship 20 -     -       Provisions, etc.
Surprise, transport  26 -     -       Convicts
Neptune              28 -     -       -
Scarborough          28 -     -       -

H.M. a t. Supply     19 Sep.  Batavia Provisions
Dutch store-ship     17 Dec.  -       -
Mary Arm, transport  9 July   England Convicts
Matilda              1 Aug.   -       -
Atlantic             20       -       -
Salamander           21       -       -
William and Arm      28       -       -
H.M.S. Gorgon        21 Sep.  -       Stores/Provisions
Active, transport    26       -       Convicts
Queen                26       Ireland -
Albemarle            13 Oct.  England -
Britannia            14 Oct.  England -
Admiral Barrington   16       -       -
Pitt                 14 Feb.  -       -
Atlantic, store-ship 20 Jun.  Bengal  Provisions
Britannia            26 Jul.  England -              1792
                                                     24 Oct.   C of G Hope
Royal Admiral        7 Oct.   -       Convicts
Philadelphia, brig   1 Nov.   Philad- Speculation
American                      elphia
Kitty, transport     18       England Convicts
Hope, American       Dec.     RhodeIs Speculation
Chesterfield, whaler -        CofG H  To repair
Bellona, transport   15 Jan.  England Convicts
Shah Hormuzear       24 Feb.          Speculation
El Descuvierta Spa.  12 Mar.  Manilla To refresh
L'Atrevida Cor.      12 Mar.  Manilla To refresh
Daedalus, store-ship 20 Apr.  NWCoast Provisions,    1793      Nootka
                              of America    etc.     1 Jul.    Sound
Britannia            Jun.     CofGHopeCattle, etc.   8 Sep.    Bengal
                                      private property
Boddingtons, trans.  7 Aug.   Ireland Convicts
Sugar-cane           17 Sep.  -       -
Fairy, American      29 Oct.  Boston  To refresh
William, store-ship  10 March England Provisions
Arthur 10th                   Bengal  Speculation
Daedalus, store-ship 3 Apr.   America Provisions
Indispensable        24 May   England -
Britannia            l Jun.   Batavia -              1 Sep.    C of G Hope
Speedy               8        England -
Halcyon, American    14       RhodeIs.Speculation
Hope, American       5 Jul.
Fancy                9        Bombay  Provisions
Resolution, st.sh.   10 Sep.  England
Salamander           11
Mercury, American    17 Oct.  Rhode Is.
Surprise, transport  25       England Convicts
Experiment           24 Dec.  Bengal  Speculation
Britannia            4 Mar.   CofGHopeStock for      18 Jun.   India
                                      the officers
Endeavour, st. sh.   31 May   Bombay  Cattle
H.M.S. Providence    26 Aug.  England -
H.M.S. Reliance)     7 Sep.   England Stores         29 Sep.   C of G Hope
H.M.S. Supply  )                                     20
Young William,st.sh. 4 Oct.    -
Sovereign            5 Nov.    -
Arthur               1 Jan.   Bengal  Speculation
Ceres, store-ship    23       England Provisions
Experiment           24       Bengal  Speculation
Otter, American      24       Boston  To refresh
Marquis Cornwallis,  11 Feb.  Ireland Convicts
Abigail, American    Feb.     RhodeIs.Speculation
Assistance           17 Mar.  Dusky Bay
Susan, American      19 Apr.  RhodeIs.Speculation
Indispensable,trans. 30       England Convicts
Britannia, st. sh.   11 May   CalcuttaProvisions
Grand Turk,American  23 Aug.  Boston  Speculation
Prince of Wales,     2 Nov.   England
Sylph                17
Mercury, American    11 Jan.  Manilla To refit
H.M.S. Supply        16 May   CofGHopeCattle         Condemned
Britannia,transport  27       Ireland Provisions
Ganges               2 Jun.
H.M.S. Reliance      26       CofGHopeCattle
Deptford             20 Sep.  Madras  Speculation
Nautilus             14 May   OtaheiteMissionaries
Barwell, transport   18       England Convicts
Hunter               10 Jun.  Bengal  Speculation
Cornwall, whaler     2 Jul.   CofGHopeTo refit
Eliza                4
Argo, American sch.  7        MauritiusSpeculation
Sally, whaler        8 Jul.   CofGHopeTo refit
Britannia, transp.   18       England Convicts
Pomona, whaler       20 Aug.  CofGHopeTo refit
Diana                20
Semiramis, American  1 Oct.   Rhode Is.
Marquis Cornwallis   27       CofGHopeCattle
Indispensable,whaler 27       -       To refit
Rebecca, American    5 Mar.   -       Speculation
Nostra Senora de     24 Apr.  Cape Blanco Various
Bethlehem, prize                          articles
H.M.S. Buffalo       26       CofGHopeCattle         15th Sep. C of G Hope
Albion, store-ship   29 Jun.  England Provisions
Hillsborough, trans. 26 Jul.           Convicts
Resource, American   6 Sep.   RhodeIs.To refit
Walker, store-ship   3 Nov.   England Provisions
El Plumier, prize    2 Dec.   Cape    Various
                              Corientes articles
Swallow, packet      3 Jan.   England To refit
Minerva, transport   11       Ireland Convicts
Fhynne, Danish       11 Feb.  Bengal  Speculation
Betsey, whaler       13       W. CoastTo refit
Friendship, transp.  16       Ireland Convicts
Speedy, transport    15 Apr.  England -
H.M.S. Buffalo       15       CofGHopeCattle
Belle Sauvage        7 Jun.   RhodeIs.To refit

[* These departures are noticed, to show in what time the principal
passages have been made to and from the different ports with which the
colony had intercourse, by comparing the time of sailing with the return.]

Of these ships 37 sailed from England with convicts, male and female, for
the settlement, having about 5000 persons of that description on board,
of which something more (157) than one fifth were females.

The following ships had sailed from England and Ireland for New South
Wales; but none of them had arrived previous to the departure of the
_Buffalo_, viz

24th August 1799   Luz. St. Ann, transport, with 167 Convicts.
17th March 1800    H.M.S. the Porpoise.
                   She arrived the 7th Nov. following.
23d May 1800       Royal Admiral, transport, 300 convicts.
18th November      Earl Cornwallis,   -      327
21st June 1801     Nile,              -       96
-                  Canada,            -      103
28th November      Minorca,           -      101
12th February 1802 Hercules,          -    ) 330
-                  Atlas,             -    )
                   Coromandel,        -    ) 250
                   Perseus,                )
                   Rollo,             -    ) 250
                   Atlas,             -    )

Having been favoured with a more minute and ornithological description of
the elegant and novel bird mentioned in page 65* of the preceding sheets
since they were sent to the press, it is here given.

[* . . . They brought in with them one of the birds which they had
named pheasants, but which on examination appeared to be a variety of the
Bird of Paradise.]

The bill of this bird, which has been named the _Maenura superba_,
is straight, having the nostrils in the centre of the beak. The base of
the upper mandible is furnished with hairs like feathers turning down;
the upper mandible is at the base somewhat like that of the pigeon. The
eye is a dark hazel, with a bare space around it. The throat and chin are
of a dark rufous colour: the rest, with the body, of a dusky grey. The
feathers on the rump are longer than those of the body, and more divided.
The colour of the wings, which are concave, is dark rufous. The legs and
claws are large in proportion to the bird, particularly the claws. The
outward toe is connected with the middle one as far as the first joint.
The tail is long, and composed of three different sorts of feathers, of
which the upper side is of a dark grey, with ferruginous spots. The first
two lower feathers, which are a little curved, in two directions, are
beneath of a pearly colour, enriched with several crescent shaped spaces,
of a rich rufous and black colour. The laminae are unwebbed, turned round
toward the extremity, and ornamented with a black bar, the breadth of an
inch, and fringed at the end. The shaft of the second, which is likewise
long, is fringed with long hair-like filaments; and the third, which is
also long and curved, is plumed on the inner side only, except at the
extremity, where there are a few separated filaments of a dark grey

The female _Maenura superba_ differs very little from the male,
except in the tail, which is composed of twelve feathers a little curved
and plumed, having the upper side dark rufous and grey, and the under of
a pearly colour.

The following curious particulars of these birds were observed by persons
resident in the country, and who were eye-witnesses of what is here told.

They frequent retired and inaccessible parts of the interior; have been
seen to run remarkably fast, but their tails are so cumbrous that they
cannot fly in a direct line. They sing for two hours in the morning,
beginning from the time when they quit the valley, until they attain the
summit of the hill; where they scrape together a small hillock, on which
they stand, with their tall spread over them, imitating successively the
note of every bird known in the country. They then return to the valley.

The drawing from which the engraving is made was taken from a beautiful
stuffed _Maenura superba_ in the collection of Mr. Arthur Harrison
(who also is in possession of a female _Maenura superba_), and which
was presented to that gentleman by Governor Hunter.

The peculiar conformation of the amphibious animal mentioned on page 45
of this Volume*, having attracted the attention of Everard Home, esq a
paper, containing the result of a minute examination of the external and
internal parts of two specimens which had been preserved in spirits, and
sent from Port Jackson to Sir Joseph Banks was drawn up by Mr. Home, and,
having been read before the Royal Society (on Thursday the 17th December
1801), was afterwards published in the Philosophical Transactions. From
that paper, which was most obligingly and politely sent to me by Mr.
Home, I have, through the liberality of the President of that learned
body, been allowed to select such particulars of this curious animal, as
will, I think, be acceptable to the readers of this work; who no doubt
will join with me in rejoicing that an animal, hitherto unknown to
science, should have fallen under the observation and examination of a
gentleman so eminently qualified to develop the secrets of nature.

[* viz: "Although the settlement had now been established
within a month of ten years, yet little had been added to the stock of
natural history which had been acquired in the first year or two of its
infancy. The Kangaroo, the Dog, the Opossum, the Flying Squirrel, the
Kangaroo Rat, a spotted Rat, the common Rat, and the large Fox-bat (if
entitled to a place in this society), made up the whole catalogue of
animals that were known at this time, with the exception which must now
be made of an amphibious animal, of the mole species, one of which had
been lately found on the banks of a lake near the Hawkesbury. In size it
was considerably larger than the land mole. The eyes were very small. The
fore legs, which were shorter than the hind, were observed, at the feet,
to be provided with four claws, and a membrane, or web, that spread
considerably beyond them, while the feet of the hind legs were furnished,
not only with this membrane or web, but with four long and sharp claws,
that projected as much beyond the web, as the web projected beyond the
claws of the fore feet. The tail of this animal was thick, short, and
very fat; but the most extraordinary circumstance observed in its
structure was, its having, instead of the mouth of an animal, the upper
and lower mandibles of a duck. By these it was enabled to supply itself
with food, like that bird, in muddy places, or on the banks of the lakes,
in which its webbed feet enabled it to swim; while on shore its long and
sharp claws were employed in burrowing; nature thus providing for it in
its double or amphibious character. These little animals had been
frequently noticed rising to the surface of the water, and blowing like
the turtle."]

The natural history of this animal, which has obtained the name of
_Ornithorhynchus paradoxus_ is at present very little known. The
following particulars were communicated to Mr. Home by Governor Hunter,
who, during his residence in New South Wales, had opportunities of seeing
the animal alive.

The Ornithorhynchus is only found in fresh-water lakes, of which there
are many in the interior parts of the country, some three quarters of a
mile long, and several hundred yards broad. It does not swim upon the
surface of the water, but comes up occasionally to breathe, which it does
in the same manner as the turtle. The natives sit upon the banks, with
small wooden spears, and watch them every time they rise to the surface,
till they get a proper opportunity of striking them. This they do with
much dexterity, and frequently succeed in catching them this way.

Governor Hunter saw a native watch one for above an hour before he
attempted to spear it, which he did through the neck and fore leg: when
on shore, it used its claws with so much force that they were obliged to
confine it between two pieces of board, while they were cutting off the
barbs of the spear, to disengage it. When let loose, it ran upon the
ground with as much activity as a land tortoise; which is faster than the
structure of its fore feet would have led us to believe. It inhabits the
banks of the lakes, and is supposed to feed in the muddy places which
surround them; but the particular kind of food on which it subsists is
not known.

The male is 17½ inches in length, from the point of the bill to the
extremity of the tail. The bill is 2¼ inches long; and the tail,
measuring from the anus, 4½ inches.

The body of the animal is compressed, and nearly of the same general
thickness throughout, except at the shoulders, where it is rather
smaller. The circumference of the body is 11 inches. There is no fat
deposited between the skin and the muscles.

In the female, the size of the body is rendered proportionally larger
than that of the male, by a quantity of fat lying every where under the

The male is of a very dark brown colour, on the back, legs, bill, and
tall; the under surface of the neck and belly is of a silver grey. In the
female the colour is lighter.

The hair is made up of two kinds; a very thick fur, one half of an inch
long, and a very uncommon kind of hair, three quarters of an inch long.
The portion next the root has the common appearance of hair; but for a
quarter of an inch towards the point it becomes flat, giving it some
faint resemblance to very fine feathers: this portion has a gloss upon
it; and when the hair is dry, the different reflections from the edges
and surfaces of these longer hairs give the whole a very uncommon
appearance. The fur and hair upon the belly is longer than that upon the

Externally there is no appearance of the organs of generation in either
sex; the orifice of the anus being a common opening to the rectum and
prepuce in the male, and to the rectum and vagina in the female.

There was no appearance that could be detected, of nipples; although the
skin on the belly of the female was examined with the utmost accuracy for
that purpose.

The head is rather compressed. The bill, which projects beyond the mouth,
in its appearance resembles that of the duck; but is in its structure
more like that of the spoonbill, the middle part being composed of bone,
as in that bird: it has a very strong cuticular covering.

The nostrils are two orifices, very close to each other, near the end of
the bill; the upper lip projecting three quarters of an inch beyond them.

The eyes are very small; they are situated more upon the upper part of
the head than is usual, and are directly behind the loose edge of the
cuticular flap belonging to the bill. The eyelids are circular orifices
concealed in the hair, and, in the male, are with difficulty discovered;
but in the female there is a tuft of lighter hair, which marks their

The external ears are two large slits, directly behind the eyes, and
much larger than the orifices of the eyelids.

The teeth, if they can be so called, are all grinders; they are four in
number, situated in the posterior part of the mouth, one on each side of
the upper and under jaw, and have broad flat crowns. They differ from
common teeth very materially, having neither enamel nor bone, but being
composed of a horny substance only, embedded in the gum, to which they
are connected by an irregular surface in the place of fangs. When cut
through, which is readily done by a knife, the internal structure is
fibrous like the human nail: the direction of the fibres is from the
crown downwards.

Between the cheek and the jaw, on each side of the mouth, there is a
pouch, as in the monkey tribe, lined with a cuticle. When laid open, it
is 1½ inches long, and the same in breadth. In the female it contained
a concreted substance, the size of a very small nut, one in each pouch:
this, when examined through the microscope, was found to be made up of
very small portions of broken crystals.

Besides these grinding teeth, there are two small pointed horny teeth
upon the projecting part of the posterior portion of the tongue, the
points of which are directed forwards, seemingly to prevent the food from
being pushed into the fauces during the process of mastication; which
circumstance Mr. Home thinks peculiar to this animal: in the tongue of
the flamingo there is a row of short teeth on each side, but not in any
other bird that he has seen.

The fore legs are short, and the feet webbed. On each foot there are five
toes, united by the web, which is very broad, and is continued beyond the
points of the toes nearly an inch. On each toe there is a rounded
straight nail, which lies loose upon the membrane forming the web.

The hind legs are nearly of the same length as the fore legs, but
stronger. Each foot has five toes with curved claws, and webbed; but the
web does not extend beyond the points of the toes.

In the male, just at the setting-on of the heel, there is a strong
crooked spur, half an inch long, with a sharp point, which has a joint
between it and the foot, and is capable of motion in two directions. When
the point of it is brought close to the leg, the spur is almost
completely concealed among the hair; when directed outwards, it projects
considerably, and is very conspicuous. It is probably by means of these
spurs, or hooks, that the female is kept from withdrawing herself in the
act of copulation; since they are very conveniently placed for laying
hold of her body on that particular occasion. This spur is peculiar to
the male.

The tail, in its general shape, is very similar to that of the beaver.

Of the internal parts, the tongue is two inches long, lying in the hollow
between the two jaws, but not projecting any way into the bill, being
confined to its situation, except a very small portion at the tip.

The ribs are sixteen in number, and are united by a very elastic
ligamentous substance, which admits of their being pulled to some
distance; so that the capacity of the chest can undergo a very unusual
degree of change.

The heart is situated in the middle line of the chest, its apex pointing
to the sternum, and is inclosed in a strong pericardium: it is made up of
two aurieles and two ventricles.

The lungs are large in size, corresponding to the capacity of the chest.
Instead of a portion of them being above the heart, as in other animals,
the heart may be said to be above the lungs; for they only embrace its
sides, and do not surround its upper surface, but extend downwards into
the more moveable part of the cavity of the chest.

The stomach is smaller than in most other animals; in this respect
resembling the true stomach of birds.

The liver is composed of four lobes, besides the small lobe, or lobulus
spigelii. The gall bladder is in the usual situation, and of the common

The skull is rather flattened upon the upper surface: its cavity is
capacious, and there is a boney process projecting from the cranium, in
place of the falx or dura mater. This Mr. Home believes is not the case
in any other quadruped.

The olfactory nerves are small, and so are the optic nerves; but the
fifth pair, which supply the muscles of the face, are uncommonly large.
From this circumstance, we should be led, Mr. Home says, to believe, that
the sensibility of the different parts of the bill is very great, and
therefore that it answers the purpose of a hand, and is capable of nice
discrimination in its feeling.

The eye is very small, and is nearly spherical. There is a membrana
nictitans; and the eyelid is very loose upon the eyeball: it is probably
capable of great dilatation and contraction.

The membrana tympani is larger than in other quadrupeds of the same size.

The organs of generation in this animal have several peculiarities of a
very extraordinary nature.

The male organs do not appear externally; so that the distinguishing mark
of the sex is the spur on the hind leg.

The testicles are situated in the cavity of the abdomen, immediately
below the kidneys: they are large for the size of the animal. The
epididymis is connected with the body of the testicle by a broad
membrane, which admits of its lying very loose.

The penis in this animal does not, as in other quadrupeds, give passage
to the urine. It is entirely appropriated to the purpose of conveying the
semen; and a distinct canal conducts the urine into the rectum, by an
opening about an inch from the external orifice of the intestine. The gut
at this part is defended from the acrimony of the urine, by the mucus
secreted by two glands, which, probably for this reason, are very large
in the male, but small in the female.

The penis is short and small in its relaxed state; and its body does not
appear capable of being very much enlarged when erected. The prepuce is a
fold of the internal membrane of the verge of the anus, as in the bird;
and the penis, when retracted, is entirely concealed.

The glans penis is double; one glans having its extremity directed to the
right, the other to the left: and as they supply two distinct cavities
with semen, they may be considered as two penises. This is an approach to
the bird kind, many species of which have two. There was no appearance of
vesiculae feminales.

The female organs open into the rectum, as in the bird. The vagina is 1½
inches long: its internal membrane is rugous, the rugae being in a
longitudinal direction. At the end of the vagina, instead of an os
tincae, as in other quadrupeds, is the meatus urinarius; on each side of
which is an opening leading into a cavity, resembling the horn of the
uterus in the quadruped, only thinner in its coats. Each of these
cavities terminates in a fallopian tube, which opens into the capsule of
an ovarium. The ovaria are very small; they were not in a very perfect
state of preservation, but bore a general resemblance to those of other

This structure of the female organs is unlike any thing hitherto met with
in quadrupeds; since in all of them that I examined, says Mr. Home, there
is the body of the uterus, from which the horns go off as appendages. The
opossum differs from all other animals in the structure of these parts,
but has a perfectly formed uterus; nor can I suppose it wanting in any of
the class Mammalia.

This animal, having no nipples, and no regularly formed uterus, Mr. Home
says, he was led to examine the female organ in birds, to see if there
was any analogy between the oviducts in any of that class, and the two
membranous uteri of this animal; but none could be observed; nor would it
be easy to explain how an egg could lie in the vagina to receive its
shell, as the urine from the bladder must pass directly over it. Finding
they had no resemblance to the oviducts in birds, Mr. Home was led to
compare them with the uteri of those lizards which form an egg, that is
afterwards deposited in a cavity corresponding to the uterus of other
animals, where it is hatched; which lizards may therefore be called
ovi-viviparous; and I find, says Mr. Home, a very close resemblance
between them. In these lizards there are two uteri, that open into one
common canal, or vagina, which is extremely short; and the meatus
urinarius is situated between these openings. The coats of these uteri
are thinner than those of the uteri of quadrupeds of the same size.

In the ovi-viviparous dog-fish, the internal organs of the female have a
very similar structure. There is therefore every reason to believe, that
this animal also is ovi-viviparous in its mode of generation.

* * *

It appears, by accounts which have been received from New South Wales,
that the voyage of the small brig _Lady Nelson_, commanded by
Lieutenant Grant, was (notwithstanding her size, being only 60 tons
burden, and the distance she had to sail) effected without her meeting
with any material accident; she arriving in December 1801. Her commander
was so perfectly acquainted with her good qualities, that he ventured to
make the land of New Holland, in latitude 38 degrees 00 minutes south,
coasting for some distance toward the eastward, and sailing through Bass
Strait, in his way up to Port Jackson.

It does not appear, that this passage of the _Lady Nelson_ through
the Strait added any thing new to the discoveries which had been
previously made by Captain Flinders and Mr. Bass, in the little sloop
_Norfolk_, except that of having made the land about four degrees
further to the westward than had been seen by those gentlemen.

By means of a few such vessels as the _Lady Nelson_, well commanded,
and furnished with instruments requisite for carrying on a maritime
survey, the necessary knowledge of the coast of that extensive country
would soon be obtained. Governor Hunter, who is well known to be
thoroughly qualified in this essential part of maritime education, has
been frequently heard to say, that with a few small vessels, perhaps
three or four, if he could have obtained them, or if his instructions
would have permitted his building them, he would in the course of a short
period have gained some acquaintance with all that part of the coast
which Captain Cook had not an opportunity of examining minutely.

Large vessels, in his opinion, were not wanted for such a survey, nor
were they fit for the purpose. A deposit of the stores necessary for this
service could be made at the principal settlement, where such vessels,
whenever requisite, might refit or repair. Large ships are proper to be
employed only when they are to survey an unknown coast, where supplies
are not to be had; this rendering it expedient that they should be
sufficiently capacious to carry a considerable stock of provisions and
stores for all their purposes. The small vessel, if caught upon a lee
shore, and unable to work off, has a chance of finding security for
anchorage where a large ship cannot; and if no such shelter offer, she
has in her favour a greater probability of saving her crew by running on
shore; her light draught of water admitting her to approach the land much
nearer than could the large vessel.

* * *

Dispatches have been recently received at Lord Hobart's office from New
South Wales, dated in August 1801, by which it appears, that the quantity
of salt provisions remaining in store in the beginning of the year, being
very inconsiderable, and it being possible that accidents might happen to
ships sent from England with meat, the governor had judged it necessary
to send the _Porpoise_ to the island of Otaheite, for the purpose of
salting pork for the use of the colony: and as it was absolutely
necessary to send thither a quantity of salt for this purpose (an article
which the colony could not furnish), he fortunately was enabled to
purchase about fifteen tons of salt from the master of a whaler which put
in there from one of the Cape de Verd islands. On this voyage the
_Porpoise_ sailed in the month of May 1801, and her commander,
Lieutenant Scott, was furnished, in addition to very ample instructions
for his guidance, with a letter from the governor to Pornarre, the king
of Otaheite, urging him to give Mr. Scott every protection and assistance
in the execution of the business on which he was sent to the island, and
recommending particularly to his care such of the missionaries as resided
in the place. It was pointed out to him how much this conduct would
ensure his majesty the favourable opinion of King George; and Mr. Scott
was provided with a quantity of such articles for barter as were likely
to please the eye as well as be useful to the people whom he might have
to deal with; among which were some red and yellow cloth, some tomahawks,
axes, knives, scissors, shirts, jackets, etc.: and, as nothing was more
likely to ensure success than a handsome present to his Majesty, a mantle
and some other articles of dress decorated with red feathers, together
with six muskets and some ammunition, were given to Mr. Scott to be
presented to the king.

Directions were also sent to the lieutenant-governor at Norfolk Island,
to salt a quantity of pork for the use of the principal settlement.

The governor had likewise entered into a contract with a merchant in
India, to freight a ship with cattle and rice, after the arrival of which
he was of opinion that further supplies of cattle might be unnecessary,
the stock in the country, independent of the wild herd, being very
considerable. That herd was grown very furious, and, having got among the
mountains to the westward, rendered any attempts to take them dangerous
and useless.

The _Lady Nelson_ brig had been in Bass Strait, and surveyed Western
port, where she found a very good harbour. She had also been, in company
with the _Francis_ (colonial schooner), to Hunter river, where they
took in between them 45 tons of coal, which were exchanged with the
master of the _Cornwallis_, for a quantity of nails and iron,
articles that were much wanted; thus, for the first time, making the
natural produce of the country contribute to its wants.

The _Francis_ being nearly worn out, the governor had purchased a
vessel called the _Harbinger_, to be employed in going to and from
Norfolk Island, the service of the _Porpoise_ being required for
longer voyages. The _Supply_, which had been long since condemned,
was fitting up as a hulk to receive such convicts as were incorrigible,
in which capacity she might still be very useful. It was intended that
the _Lady Nelson_ should, at the proper season, be employed in an
accurate survey of Bass Strait.

Accounts having been received of the Union between the Two Kingdoms, that
event was celebrated on the 4th of June 1801, and on that occasion the
new union flag was for the first time displayed in New South Wales. The
governor took that opportunity of releasing several of the Irish
insurgents who had been in confinement.

It appeared, on examining the registers of the several terms of
transportation of the convicts, that the clerks, who necessarily had had
access to them, had altered the sentences of about two hundred prisoners,
receiving a gratuity from each equal to ten or twelve pounds. This was a
very serious evil; and proper steps to guard against it in future have
been taken both at home and in the colony.

That necessary institution, the Orphan School, had been carried into
effect, and the house which had been purchased for the reception of the
children was occupied by them.

It appeared, upon collecting the accounts of the expenses attending the
erecting of the county gaol, that that building had cost the sum of £3954
the greatest part of which had been paid by assessments upon individuals.

Every encouragement was given to promote the growth of wool fit for the
purpose of manufacturing, and three hundred and six yards of blanketing
had been made from what had been produced in the year preceding the date
of the dispatches, from the flocks belonging to government and to
individuals. In five months four hundred and seventy-two yards of flax
had been manufactured into linen.

The colony continued healthy. In July 1801 there were one hundred and
eighteen persons on the surgeon's list.

The spirit of adventure, which still manifested itself in the arrival of
ships upon speculation, received some check in the governor's sending
back three vessels that had arrived from Bengal, on board of which were
not less than fifty-four thousand gallons of spirits and wine.

A quantity of copper coin having been received, the governor published a
table of all the specie legally in circulation within the colony,
affixing the following rates to each, at which they should be considered
and be a legal tender in all payments or transactions within the
territory, viz.


A guinea        £1  2 0    A rupee               £0 2 6
A johannes       4  0 0    A Dutch guilder        0 2 0
A half ditto     2  0 0    An English shilling    0 1 1
A ducat          0  9 6    A copper coin of 1 oz  0 0 2
A gold mohur     1 17 6    A ditto of ½ oz        0 0 1
A pagoda         0  8 0    A ditto of ¼ oz        0 0 0½
A Spanish dollar 0  5 0

And as the supply of copper was sent to relieve the inconvenience under
which persons who wanted to make small payments laboured, no sum
exceeding £5 was to be deemed a legal tender in this money. It was also
declared, that the exporting or importing (except from the treasury) of
any sum of the copper coin exceeding £5 should be punished by a
forfeiture and fine of treble the value of the sum so exported or

Several ships had arrived from India, England, and America, most of which
had brought, upon speculation, cargoes consisting of wine, spirits,
tobacco, teas, sugar, hardware, wearing apparel, etc, etc. the sale of
which was, with the governor's approbation, advertised by the commissary,
and publicly sold to all descriptions of people.

It appears, that from these ships

59,294 gallons of spirits     )   had been imported.
30,896 gallons of wines       )

26,974 gallons of spirits     )   had been landed.
8,896 gallons of wines        )

32,320 gallons of spirits     )   had been sent away.
22,000 gallons of wines       )

Three ships had arrived with convicts, viz.
The _Royal Admiral_, on the 22nd of November 1800.
_Luz. St. Anne_, on the 21st of February 1801.
_Earl Cornwallis_, on the 12th of June following.

On the 30th of June 1801, there were in the settlement, five thousand
five hundred and forty-seven persons of all descriptions, of whom seven
hundred and seventy-six were children. At Norfolk Island the whole number
of persons was nine hundred and sixty-one, making a total of six thousand
five hundred and eight persons under the authority of the governor.

At Norfolk Island it was fortunately discovered, on the 14th of December
1800, that a plot had been formed by some of the convicts to murder the
officers, and, getting possession of the island, to liberate themselves.
Two of the ringleaders were immediately executed.

Major Foveaux, the lieutenant-governor, had found, what had been so much
wanted and hitherto unknown, a good landing-place for boats and small
craft, in Anson's Bay, where there were four and five fathoms of water
within a few yards of the shore, which was a fine sandy beach, and the
passage free from rocks or shoals.

The following was the state of the live stock, and ground in cultivation,
in New South Wales:

In June 1801   Sheep  Cattle  Horses  Goats   Hogs
               6269   362     211     1259    4766

In August 1801 Sheep  Cattle  Horses
               488    931     32

              Acres of Wheat  Acres for Maize
Government          467             300
Individuals         4857¼          3564
Total               5333¼          3864

A stack, containing 1000 bushels of grain, the property of an individual,
had been unfortunately destroyed by fire.

The Hawkesbury had again inundated the adjacent country; and many of the
settlers, who had farms on its banks, had in despair totally abandoned

With this information I must here conclude my labours; and, as the
annalist of the English Colony in New South Wales, probably take my leave
for ever of that country, in whose service I spent the first nine years
of its infancy, during all the difficulties and hardships with which, in
that rude state, it had to contend: a country which has eventually proved
the destruction of my brightest prospects; having, by my services there,
been precluded from succeeding to my proper situation in the professional
line to which I was bred; without any other reward as yet to boast of,
than the consciousness of having ever been a faithful and zealous servant
to my employers, and knowing that the peculiar hardship of my case has
been acknowledged by every gentleman, in and out of office, to whom it
has been communicated.


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 2" ***

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