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Title: An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island
Author: Hunter, John, 1738-1821
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island" ***

Italics in the book are enclosed by underscores [_] in the ebook


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Printed for John Stockdale, Picadilly
January 1, 1793.

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The ships destined for Botany-Bay rendezvous at the Mother-Bank.--Leave
that place, and proceed on the voyage.--The convicts on board one of
the transports attempt an insurrection.--Are timely discovered, and the
ring-leaders punished.--Arrived at Santa Cruz.--Transactions there.--
Attempt of a convict to escape.--Description of Laguna, and the adjacent
country. Departure from Santa Cruz.--Pass Cape Frio.--Arrive at
Rio Janeiro. Transactions there.--City of St. Sebastian described.--Table
of Winds, Weather, etc.


Anchor in Table-Bay.--Refreshments procured there.--Depart
from the Cape of Good Hope.--Captain Phillip quits the Sirius,
and proceeds on the voyage in the Supply.--The Sirius arrives in
Botany-Bay.--Finds the Supply at anchor there.--Arrival of the
Bussole and Astrolabe.--Leave Botany-Bay, and anchor in Port
Jackson.--The Table of Winds, Weather, etc.


Frequent interviews with the natives.--Weapons described.--Ornaments.--
Persons, manners, and habitations.--Method of hunting.--Animals
described.--Birds, and insects.--Diary of the weather.--Departure of
the Bussole and Astrolabe.--A convict pretends to have discovered a gold
mine.--The fraud detected.--Observations for the longitude,


The Sirius leaves Port Jackson.--Sails for the Cape of Good
Hope, by the Eastern Passage.--Falls in with many large islands
of ice.--Casts anchor at Robin's Island.--Tables of the winds,
weather, etc.


Depart from Robin's Island, and anchor in Table Bay.--The sick
sent on shore.--Arrival of the Alexander transport.--Provisions
procured for the settlement at Port Jackson.--Departure of the
Sirius.--In great danger from a violent tempest.--Arrives safe at
Port Jackson.--Tables of the winds, weather, variation of the
compass, etc.


The small-pox makes its appearance among the natives.--Its
fatal effects.--A criminal court held.--Six marines tried and
convicted.--Governor Phillip visits Broken-bay.--Explores its
various inlets.--Returns to Port Jackson. Broken-bay
surveyed.--Botany-bay surveyed.--Two natives brought to the
settlement, and kindly treated.--One of them makes his


The Sirius and Supply sail for Norfolk Island.--Land the
marines and convicts.--Wreck of the Sirius.--Some provisions
saved.--Martial Law established.--Ratio of provisions
settled.--Vast numbers of birds caught.--In distress for
provisions.--Receive a supply from Port Jackson.--Officers and
crew of the Sirius leave Norfolk Island, and arrive at Port
Jackson.--Norfolk Island described.--Its situation and
extent.--Soil.--Climate, etc.--Table of Winds, etc.


Great improvement of the country at Rose Hill.--Vicissitude of
the climate. Norfolk Island remarkably healthy.--A native runs
away from the settlement.--Frequent visits from the
natives.--Governor Phillip wounded by the natives with a
spear.--Natives again visit the settlement.--Entertain the
governor, etc. with a dance.--Decorate themselves for that
purpose. Method of dancing described.--Music and singing.


Captain Hunter leaves Port Jackson in the Waaksamheyd
transport.--In danger amongst some islands.--Isle of Pines
described.--Stewart's islands discovered.--Fall in with Bradley's
shoals.--Discover a cluster of islands.--Name them Lord Howe's
Groupe.--The natives described.--Attempt to find anchorage on the
coast of New-Britain.--Are disappointed.--Anchor at the Duke of
York's island.--Attempt to procure water.--Are attacked by the
natives.--A few shots fired.--The natives dispersed.--A
reconciliation effected.--Natives described.--Weapons.--Ornaments,
etc.--Produce and soil.--Leave the Duke of York's island.--Natives
from the Admiralty islands visit the ship.--Their canoes
described.--Phillip's islands discovered.--Anchor at Hummock
island.--Refreshments procured.--Visited by the Raja.--A quarrel
ensues.--Several of the natives killed.--Articles of barter in
request.--Canoes described.--Leave Hummock island.--Anchor at
Batavia.--Tables of latitude and longitude, etc.


Captain Hunter waits on the Governor at Batavia.--Applies for
a passage to England.--Purchases the Waaksambeyd for that
purpose.--Leaves Batavia.--Passes the Keelings.--Arrives at the
Cape of Good Hope.--Leaves that place, and anchors at Saint
Helena.--Departs from Saint Helena.--Arrives at Portsmouth.--Tables
for the variation of the compass.--Captain Hunter's letter to the
Lords of the Admiralty.


Lieutenant King visits Monsieur De la Peyrouse at
Botany-Bay.--Polit reception there.--An account of his
adventures.--Lieutenant King returns to Port Jackson.--Sent by
Governor Phillip to form a settlement on Norfolk Island.--Leaves
Port Jackson.--An island discovered.--Arrival at Norfolk
Island.--Difficulty in finding a landing-place.--Lands the
convicts, provisions, and stores.--Ground cleared, and tents
fixed.--A store-house erected.--Vegetables, and various sorts of
grain sown.--Distressed by rats.--General orders for the
regulation of the settlement.


Regular employment of the convicts.--Meet with an unlucky
accident.--Thefts detected.--The robbers punished.--Pestered with
rats.--Method of destroying them.--Live stock on the
settlement.--Trees discovered which afford food for hogs.--Some
of the settlers poisoned.--Cured with sweet oil.--A convict
punished for using seditious language.--Birds on the island.
Description of Arthur's Vale.--His Majesty's birth-day
kept.--Flourishing state of the gardens.--Arrival of the
Supply.--Four persons drowned.--Provisions and stores
received.--Queries from Governor Phillip, and the
answers.--Ball-Bay described.--The landing-place
cleared.--Arrival of the Golden Grove transport.--Marines and
convicts brought in the Golden Grove.--Provisions and stores.


Quantity of provisions received by the Golden Grove.--Timber
sent to Port Jackson.--Observations on the navigation near
Norfolk Island.--Number of persons on the settlement.--Nepean and
Phillip Islands described.--Corn reaped.--A party sent to Ball
Bay.--Talk-work of the convicts.--The free people
exercised.--Plot to seize the island discovered.--Orders made
public for the preservation of regularity.--Oath of allegiance
administered.--Provisions and stores examined.


A violent hurricane at Norfolk Island.--Arrival of the
Supply.--Convicts sent from Port Jackson.--Provisions and
stores.--Departure of the Supply.--Robberies
committed.--Employment of the convicts.--Wheat infested with
caterpillars.--A store-house erected.--Arrival of a party of
marines from Port Jackson.--Thefts committed.--Orders read for
preserving regularity.--A female convict punished.--Pernicious
effects of the grub-worm.--Gardens plundered.--A granary
erected.--Wheat destroyed by paroquets.--Number of inhabitants on
the island.


The arrival of the Sirius and Supply at Norfolk-Island.--The
loss of the Sirius.--Captain Hunter and the crew saved.--A
general meeting of the officers convened.--Sundry regulations
adopted.--Martial-Law proclaimed.--Lieutenant-Governor Ross takes
the command.--Lieutenant King leaves Norfolk-Island.--Description
of Norfolk-Island.--Face of the country.--Water--Soil--Climate--Timber--
Insects--Fish--Seasons--Winds--Coast, and Bays.--Present state of
cultivation.--General behaviour of the convicts.--Number of inhabitants
on the island.--Grain and live-stock.--Lieutenant King arrives at
Port Jackson.--Finds the country greatly improved.--Manners and
customs of the natives.--Vocabulary of the language.


Lieutenant King sails for Batavia.--Meets with a dangerous
shoal.--Discovers Tench's-Island.--A description of the
inhabitants.--Prince William-Henry's Island described.--Touches
at Kercolang.--A description of the inhabitants, their cloathing
and utensils.--Passes through the Streights of Salayer.--Arrival
at Batavia.--Interview with the governor.--Batavia
described.--Situation and extent.--Manners and customs of the
inhabitants.--Government and police.--Annual exports.--Departure
from Batavia.--Mortality amongst the sailors.--Arrival at the
Isle of France.--An account of that island.--Sails from the Isle
of France.--Arrival in the English Channel.


The Lady Juliana Transport arrives at Port Jackson.--Loss of
the Guardian.--A settlement made at Sydney-Cove.--A state of the
settlements at Sydney-Cove and Rose-Hill.--A general return of
male convicts, with their employments.


An excursion into the country.--An interview with the
natives.--Governor Phillip wounded with a spear.--A second
interview with the natives.--Occurrences on that occasion.--Five
convicts effect their escape in a boat.--The settlement visited
by the natives.--Their customs.--Arrival of the Supply from


Fruits in season described.--The manners of the natives.--Disputes
with them.--Arrival of a vessel from Batavia.


The depredations of the natives.--Bannelong's behaviour.--The
Supply sails for Norfolk-Island.--The quantity of provisions
brought in the Waaksam-heid from Batavia.--The appearance of a
prodigious number of Bats.--The return of Bannelong.--The manners
of the natives further described.


An excursion into the country.--Occurrences on the
journey.--Surprising dexterity of the natives in climbing
trees.--Their superstition.--Their method of curing
wounds.--Their language.--Their manners and disposition.


A second excursion into the country.--The first grants of land
to settlers.--A barter with the natives established.--The arrival
of several vessels from England.--A new harbour discovered.--The
names of the first settlers.


Arrival of the Gorgon, and several transports at Port
Jackson.--The number of convicts brought out in these vessels.--A
whale-fishery established on the Coast of New South Wales.


The Supply leaves Port Jackson.--Receives some damage in a
storm.--Doubles Cape Horn.--Passes Staten's land.--Anchors at Rio
Janeiro.--Refreshments procured.--Departure from Rio
Janciro.--Proceeds towards England.--Arrives off the
Lizard.--Particulars respecting Norfolk-Island.

* * * * *


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* * * * *


1.  Captain Hunter
2.  Vignette on the Title Page.
    [Refer to paragraph "On our speaking to her, she raised herself up"...]
3.  A Map of New South Wales
4.  View of the Settlement on Sydney Cove, Port Jackson
5.  The Southern Hemisphere, showing the Track of the Sirius
6.  A Chart of Botany-Bay, Port Jackson, and Broken-Bay, with the Coast
    and Soundings
7.  View at Rose-Hill
8.  A Man of Lord Howe's Groupe
9.  A Man of the Duke of York's Island
10. Canoes of the Duke of York's-Island
11. Canoes of the Admiralty Islands
12. Track of the Waaksamheyd Transport
13. A Plan of Norfolk-Island
14. A Family of New South Wales
15. Non-Descript Shells, of New South Wales, Plate I.
16. Non-Descript Shells, of New South Wales, Plate II.
17. Non-Descript Shells, of New South Wales, Plate III.

* * * * *


Chapter I

October 1786 to September 1787

The ships destined for Botany-Bay rendezvous at the Mother-Bank.--Leave
that place, and proceed on the voyage.--The convicts on board one of
the transports attempt an insurrection.--Are timely discovered, and
the ring-leaders punished.--Arrived at Santa Cruz.--Transactions
there.--Attempt of a convict to escape.--Description of Laguna, and
the adjacent country. Departure from Santa Cruz.--Pass Cape Frio.--Arrive
at Rio Janeiro. Transactions there.--City of St. Sebastian described.--
Table of Winds, Weather_, etc.

It being the intention of government to remove the
inconvenience, which this country suffered, from the goals being
so exceedingly crouded with criminals, who had been by the laws
condemned to transportation, the east coast of New Holland was
the place determined upon to form a settlement for this salutary
purpose. The east coast of New Holland is that country, which was
discovered and explored by Captain James Cook, in his first
voyage round the world, and by him called New South Wales. Botany
Bay, the only place he entered with the ship, which could be
called a harbour, having been mentioned in the narrative of that
voyage, as a convenient place for a settlement, was fixed upon by
government for the intended design.

On the 25th of October, 1786, his Majesty's ship Sirius, lying
in the dock at Deptford, was commissioned, and the command given
to Arthur Phillip, Esq; the Supply armed tender was also put in
commission, and Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball was appointed to
command her.

The Sirius was a ship of about 540 tons burthen, exceedingly
well calculated for such a service; she mounted 20 guns, and had
a spar deck over them, was of a round full built, and was all
together a very capacious and convenient vessel. The Supply armed
tender was a brig, and was one of the vessels which were employed
in carrying naval stores from one of his Majesty's dock-yards to
another; she was a very firm strong little vessel, very flat
floored, and roomy, mounted eight guns, and had a deep waist,
which I feared would be found a very great, if not a dangerous
inconvenience in so low a vessel on so long a voyage. The
Sirius's compliment was 160 men; that of the Supply, 55 men.
These two ships were intended, after having performed the service
of escorting the convicts to the place of their destination, to
remain in the country to be employed as the governor might find
necessary for the public service, until they should be relieved
by other ships from England.

I had some reason, during the equipment of those ships, to
think I might be employed upon this service, in some way or
other; and as Captain Phillip was appointed governor of the new
settlement, and of course had much business to transact in
London, I frequently visited the Sirius, and frequently received
his directions in any thing that related to the fitting her; she
was out of the dock and the rigging in hand when I first went on
board, On the 9th of December, the ship being ready to fall down
the river, we slipped the moorings and sailed down to Long-Reach,
where we took in the guns and ordnance stores. On the 15th, I was
informed by a letter from Mr. Stephens, Secretary to the
Admiralty, that there was a commission signed for me in that
office, and desiring I would come to town and take it up. The
nature of the service upon which the Sirius might be employed in
those seas to which she was bound, having been considered, it was
judged necessary that an officer, bearing a certain rank, should
command that ship in the absence of Captain Phillip, whose
prefence, it was to be supposed, would be requisite at all times
wherever the seat of government in that country might be fixed.
In consequence of Mr. Stephens's letter, I repaired to the
Admiralty, and received a commission, appointing me Second
Captain of his Majesty's ship Sirius, with the rank of Post
Captain, and with power to command her in the absence of her
principal Captain; subject nevertheless to his controul, and to
such orders and directions for my proceedings as he might see
occasion to give me, for the good of the service. This
appointment of a Second Captain, to a private ship, being the
first instance in our service, it could not, consistent with the
established regulations of the navy, take place, but by the
authority of the King's order in council: an order from his
Majesty in council, authorizing the Lords of the Admiralty to
make such appointment, was therefore given.

On the 30th of January, 1787, two transports, one having male,
the other female convicts on board, dropt down to Long-Reach, but
they having business to transact with the owners of the ships,
relative to their ships companies, were permitted to proceed as
low as Gravesend, where the Sirius joined them the next day, and
proceeded immediately to the Nore, where we anchored the same
day, and were joined by his Majesty's armed tender Supply: on the
4th of February, we anchored in the Downs, and were detained
there by bad weather and contrary winds, until the 19th, when we
put to sea in company with the Supply and transports, and arrived
on the Mother-Bank on the 21st: at this anchorage, all the
transports and store-ships were directed to rendezvous; the
latter were already arrived, and, while we lay here, the other
transports joined us from the westward.

On the 9th of May, Captain Phillip arrived in Portsmouth, and
the next day came on board, and issued the signals and other
necessary orders to Lieutenant John Shortland, the agent for
transports, to be delivered to the masters of the different

On Sunday the 13th, we sailed from the Mother-Bank in company
with the Supply armed tender, six transports, having on board 600
male, and 200 female convicts, and three store-ships, carrying
provisions and various other stores: on board the ships carrying
convicts, were embarked 160 marines, with their proper officers;
Major Robert Ross was commandant of the battalion, and appointed
lieutenant-governor of the new settlement; a surgeon and three
assistants were also embarked in the transports, with medicines
and necessaries for the people under their care. The wind being
easterly, we ran out at the Needles, and were accompanied by his
Majesty's ship Hyena, Captain De Coursey, who had received orders
from the Admiralty to see us 100 leagues to the westward.

We had light breezes with fair and pleasant weather down the
channel, but had the mortification to find that two of our
transports sailed exceedingly bad; one of which, the Hyena towed
two or three days. On the 15th, at sun-set, the Start Point bore
north-east half east by compass, distant seven or eight leagues:
at noon on this day (which finishes the nautical and begins the
astronomical day) the longitude, by account, was 5°. 01'.
west of the meridian of Greenwich, and by a timepiece made by Mr.
Kendal, with which the Board of Longitude had supplied us, it was
4°. 59'. west; we had a variety of weather from this time
till the 21st. when being in latitude 47°. 52'. north, and
longitude 12°. 14'. west, Captain Phillip put his dispatches
on board the Hyena; she saluted us with three cheers, and we
parted company; the wind was now, and had been for some days
before, in the south-west quarter, with hazy weather, our
progress to the southward was therefore but slow; much attention
was required on our part to the rate of sailing of the different
transports, in order to prevent separation.

At this time a report was made from one of the transports,
both by the commanding marine officer on board, and the master of
the ship, that a discovery had been made of an intended
insurrection amongst the convicts in that ship; in which, if they
had succeeded, they were to have quitted the fleet in the night,
and afterwards to have made such use of the ship, as they should,
upon farther consideration of the matter, determine amongst
themselves. Captain Phillip had very humanely, a few days
previous to this scheme, directed that the irons with which most
of the male convicts had hitherto been confined, should be taken
off them generally, that they might have it more in their power
to strip their cloaths off at night when they went to rest, be
also more at their ease during the day, and have the farther
advantage of being able to wash and keep themselves clean; this
indulgence had no doubt left it more in the power of those who
might be disposed to exert their ingenuity, in so daring an
attempt, to carry their plan into execution with a greater
probability of success; but I am thoroughly convinced, that so
strict an attention to duty was paid by the whole of the marines
employed on this service, that such an attempt would have
terminated in the destruction of those who appeared most active
and forward in it. Two of the principals were brought on board
the Sirius, severely punished, and sent on board another
transport, properly secured in heavy irons.

On the 23d, the wind inclined to the north-west, and, after
heavy rain, settled in that quarter; by the favour of this change
we proceeded to the southward, at the rate of between 70 and 100
miles in 24 hours. On the 26th, the wind shifted to the
northward, and from that to the north-east; our latitude at this
time was 42°. 10'. north, and the longitude 11°. 36'.
west; variation of the compass, 20°. 19'. west.

On the 29th in the evening, (as we intended making the islands
of Porto Sancto and Madeira) being but a little distance from the
former, and the weather being hazy, we shortened sail, to prevent
the convoy from falling suddenly in with the land in the night:
at day-light the next morning, we saw the Deserters off Madeira,
bearing west-south-west, five leagues distant; we had passed the
island of Porto Sancto in the night, having steered to pass eight
or nine leagues to the eastward of it; we found the ship set this
last 24 hours 12 miles to the southward of the log. At noon the
south-easternmost Deserter bore by compass north 17°. west,
by which we made its latitude 32°. 29'. north, and its
longitude by the time-keeper 16°. 38'. west of Greenwich; the
variation of the compass was here 17°. 00' west: from hence,
with a light breeze from the northward, we steered south half
west, by compass, and at five P.M. on the 1st of June, we made
the Salvages; which was rather sooner than we expected, by the
distance we had run from the Deserters off Madeira, and the
latitude observed the preceding noon, by which we judged
ourselves not less than 17 leagues from them. At midnight we were
exactly in their parallel, and saw them very distinctly by the
light of the moon, which was very clear; their latitude, deduced
from the preceding, as well as following meridian observations,
is 30°. 12'. north, which is 12 miles to the northward of
what they are generally placed, either in tables or charts; their
longitude, by our time-keeper, is 15°. 53'. west. I had never
seen these rocks before, and always understood them to be small
inconsiderable spots, but the largest is so high as to be seen at
the distance of seven or eight leagues, and appears to be about a
mile and a half in length, from north-west to south-east; there
are a few scattered rocks appear above water, to the westward;
and I have been told, that a reef of considerable extent
stretches out from them to the westward.

From the time of our passing these rocks until the evening of
the 3d, we had very light airs and variable, but mostly from the
south-west quarter, and every day found we were affected by a
southerly current of 10 or 12 miles in 24 hours. The wind now
sprung up from the northward, and we steered for the island of
Teneriffe, directing our course by the longitude determined from
the time-keeper, the account being 1°. 04'. to the westward
of it, and our lunar observations within three miles of it: at
day-light in the morning we saw the island of Teneriffe, and at
noon Point de Nagara, or north-east point, bore south-west by
south, distant five leagues; some of the convoy being
considerably astern we brought to, and in the afternoon, there
being a fresh of wind from the north-east, we bore away and made
the signal for the convoy to make all the sail possible, in
order, as we were strangers to Sancta Cruz road, that we might
save day-light to the anchorage, which we effected, and had the
whole convoy in before dark; at half past six in the evening we
anchored in 15 fathoms water, soft ground, being a mixture of
sand and black mud: we moored with the bower anchors, and had the
church of St. Francisco south 73°. 00'. west, the easternmost
point in sight, called Point Roquet, (from a small rock which
lies a little detached from it) north 78°. 00'. east, and a
fort to the south-west of the town, south 45°. 00'. west,
distant from the nearest shore about two and a half cables
length. The ground all over this bay is said to be foul; we
therefore buoyed up our cables, but had no reason, upon examining
them afterwards, to believe there was any foul ground where we

The next morning, Captain Phillip sent an officer to wait on
the governor with the usual information of whom we were, and our
business at that island; but, previous to our anchoring, the
master attendant, and some other officers, were on board the
Sirius for this very purpose; a ceremony which I believe is
seldom neglected. When the officer returned, he brought a very
polite reply from the governor, signifying his sincere wishes
that the island might be capable of supplying us with such
articles as we were in want of, and his assurances that every
refreshment the place afforded we should certainly have. Captain
Phillip then waited on the governor, accompanied by Major Ross,
myself, and several other officers; we were most politely
received by him, and he repeated his hope that Teneriffe might
afford every refreshment which we had occasion for.

Two days after this visit, the governor, who was then the
Marquis Branceforte, and captain-general of the whole of the
Canary Islands, notwithstanding he had the day before returned
Captain Phillip's visit by an officer, came on board himself,
attended by several officers. He remained about an hour on board,
and asked many questions respecting the extent of our voyage, and
situation of the place where we were going to settle, all of
which we explained to him by a general chart of the world. A day
or two after this visit, Captain Phillip received an invitation
to dine with him, and to bring as many of the principal officers
as could be spared from the ships: we waited on him in a party
about twelve, and were very hospitably and politely entertained;
in short, on the whole, I never met with so polite and so
pleasant a man in any foreign port I have ever visited.

During the time we lay in this road, the ships companies, the
marines, and convicts, were every day supplied with fresh
provisions, of which there appeared to be great abundance on the
island: vegetables and fruit were at this time scarce; potatoes,
onions, and pumpkins _only_ were to be had, and those but in
small quantities. It was Captain Phillip's intention, when we
arrived here, to have remained only three or four days, but we
found that the watering of the ships was a business which could
not be completed in so short a time. During our stay, the
watering the ships was our principal consideration, and it was
often unavoidable to be employed in this necessary business on
board the transports after dark; the watering-place being only
contrived to load two boats at a time.

A convict one evening, while every body was employed in
clearing a boat of water, contrived to slip into a small boat,
and dropt away from the ship unperceived; when he got to some
considerable distance off, he then exerted himself at his oars,
and got on board a foreign East-India ship, which was lying here,
and offered himself as a seaman, but was refused; finding himself
disappointed in his hope of getting off in that ship, he judged
it necessary, knowing that he would very soon be missed, and
search made after him, to quit that ship; he landed to the
westward of the town, but on a place where there was a good deal
of surf, and where the rocks behind him were inaccessible. The
officer of marines on board that transport, having ordered the
convicts to be mustered as usual at setting the watch, when they
were always put below, found this man was missing, and immediate
information of it sent to Captain Phillip; who next morning sent
an officer from the Sirius to the governor, requesting his
assistance in recovering the deserter; orders were immediately
given by the governor for that purpose; in the morning early,
boats were dispatched from the ships to row along shore to the
westward, to endeavour to recover the boat he had taken away, and
a little to the westward of the town, they discovered the boat
beating on the rocks; and rowing in to pick her up, they
discovered the fellow concealing himself in the cliff of a rock,
not having been able to get up the precipice: the officer
presented a musket at him, and threatened if he did not
immediately come down and get into the boat he would shoot him;
the fellow complied, rather than run the hazard of being shot,
and was taken on board, punished, and put in irons until we got
to sea, when he was liberated in the same manner as the rest.

Before we were ready to put to sea, a party of us had
determined to make a short excursion into the country, where we
had no doubt of finding its aspect more inviting than the
prospect from the ships: for this purpose, we set out one morning
very early, accompanied by two British gentlemen, who were
merchants resident here, (Mr. Little and Mr. Armstrong,) and who
had shown us upon every occasion much civility and attention:
those gentlemen had previously provided horses, mules,
provisions, etc. We directed our journey to the city of
Laguna, which was, and is still called the capital of the island;
it is said to be but three or four miles from Santa Cruz; but,
whether from the badness of the road, (which is certainly the
worst I ever saw in any country,) or the slowness of our progress
from that cause, I thought it not less than twice that

When we arrived at Laguna, we walked through many of the
streets, which are very regular, and cross each other at right
angles; the buildings in general are good, and some of the
streets are wider than you generally see them in any of the
Spanish or Portuguese towns: there are two parish churches, which
have short square steeples, but they appear above all the other
buildings; there are also two nunneries, and three or four
convents, which are built in a quadrangular form, and have good
gardens. In the middle of the town is a conduit, which supplies
the inhabitants with water. This city stands on a plain of
considerable extent, over part of which we rode, until we came to
the foot of the hill from whence the town is supplied with water.
We ascended the mountain, and traced the stream to its
fountain-head, where we found it issuing from cavities in several
parts of the hill, and was conveyed down the declivity in
stone-troughs, and received on the plain by troughs of wood,
supported about seven or eight feet above the ground by props;
through this aqueduct, the water is carried to the center of the
city, over a plain, from a distance of four or five miles.

The plain on which Laguna stands, is pleasant and fertile; it
was now the height of their harvest, and many people were
employed in cutting down the corn, with which this plain seemed
to be well planted; there were also many pleasant gardens here,
and the soil in general appeared rich. The plain is surrounded by
very high mountains, down the sides of which in the rainy season,
(for their rains are periodical,) vast torrents of water run,
from which cause, I apprehend, its unhealthiness must proceed;
for I was told, when remarking how thinly the town of Laguna
appeared to be inhabited, that very few, who had it in their
power to choose their place of residence, would continue in
Laguna. The governor has a palace here, but generally resides at
Santa Cruz; and this city, once the residence of persons in great
authority, is now quite deserted by people of any distinction. I
saw nothing of the lake from which it derives its name, but was
given to understand that it was now a very inconsiderable piece
of water; probably the accounts given of there having been a
large lake here, may have originated from the plain being quite a
swamp during the fall of the heavy rains. We returned to Santa
Cruz the same evening, very much pleased with our excursion: I
regretted much, that the time proposed for settling our business
here, would not admit of a visit to the Peak, a mountain so much
spoken of by all who have visited this island, for its wonderful

The bay of Santa Cruz is defended by many small batteries of
four or five guns each, which are placed at certain distances
from each other, round the bay, and close to the water-side,
which exposes them much to the annoyance of ships; but their
principal fort is near the landing place, and is a strong work,
but the water being deep very near in, they are all exposed to
the attack of ships: on the whole, it is said, they mount near
one hundred pieces of cannon.

The town of Santa Cruz is very irregularly built; the
principal street is broad, and has more the appearance of a
square than a street; the governor's house stands at the upper
end; it is but a mean looking building, and has more the
appearance of a country inn, than the palace of a governor: at
the lower end of the street there is a square monument,
commemorating the appearance of Notre Dame to the Guanches, the
original inhabitants of the island. The out-skirts of the town
have more the appearance of a place deserted and in ruins, than a
place of trade, for many of the houses there are either left half
built, or have fallen to decay from some other cause, and the
stone walls, which were their principal fences, are broken down
and in ruins.

On the ninth of June, in the afternoon, the transports having
completed their watering, the signal was made from the Sirius for
every person of our fleet to repair immediately on board their
respective ships, and on the 10th, in the morning, we put to sea
with a light air of wind from the land.

The island of Teneriffe is situated in latitude as observed in
the road, 28° 29' 5" north, and longitude, determined by the
time-keeper, 16° 18' 00" west.

We steered to the south-west until we were near the meridian
of the island of Sal, the northernmost of the Cape De Verde
Islands, and then shaped our course so as to fall in a little to
the eastward of it. At 10 in the evening of the 18th, being at no
great distance from the island, we made the signal for the convoy
to shorten sail, the distance not being sufficient to admit of
our carrying sail all night; at nine the next morning we saw the
island bearing north-west by north, distant four leagues: I make
the latitude of the north end 16° 48' north, and its
longitude, determined by the time-keeper, is 23° 03' west,
the south end is in latitude 16° 39' north. We steered from
abreast the center of this island, south half east by compass,
which carried us about three or four miles wide of the reef,
which extends from the north-east part of Bonavista, and runs
from the shore in a south-east direction three or four miles: it
was about two o'clock in the afternoon when we made the island of
Bonavista, so that we had a very good opportunity of seeing the
reef, from which I observe Captain Cook says, in one of his
voyages, he was in great danger, and that it lies off the
south-east part of the island; which is certainly a mistake, for
we ran down the east side of the island, at the distance of three
miles from the reef, and I make its latitude and longitude as

Island of Bonavista:
Latitude of the north end 16° 13' north.
Longitude by time-keeper 22° 51' west.
Latitude of the south end 16° 00' north.
Variation of the compass 11° 19' west.

At twelve o'clock at night, having an intention of anchoring
in Port Praya Bay, in the island of Saint Jago, we made the
signal and brought-to till day-light; we then made sail, the
weather very hazy, which is generally the case among these
islands: we ran close round the south end of the isle of May, and
stretched over for the south end of Saint Jago; but when we
opened Port Praya Bay, we were suddenly taken aback with the wind
from north-west, and every ship appeared to have the wind in a
different direction. In this situation it was thought that any
attempt to gain the anchorage under such unfavourable
circumstances might be attended with the danger of some of the
ships getting on board each other; it was therefore determined to
give up the intention, and the signal was made for that

The object for which we endeavoured to get into this bay, was,
a supply of fresh vegetables for the ships companies and
convicts, an article with which we had been but scantily provided
at Teneriffe. Port Praya Bay, on the island of Saint Jago, is
situated in latitude 14° 54' north, and longitude 23° 37'
west. This was about noon of the 20th of June, and we took our
leave of these islands, and steered to the southward, intending
to cross the equator, if possible, two or three° to the
eastward of the meridian of Saint Jago.

We had a fresh gale from the north-east until we were in the
latitude of 10° 30' north; the north-east trade now became
faint and variable, and in 9° 30' north we had frequent
calms, with dark cloudy weather, and heavy showers of rain;
squalls were seen now rising from every part of the horizon, and
appeared to threaten much wind, but they seldom contained any
thing but torrents of rain; the breezes, which were very light,
and were generally from the southward, very much retarded our
progress towards the line. In latitude 8° 30' north, the wind
fixed in the south-west quarter (rather an extraordinary
circumstance in these latitudes) and blew a fresh gale, with
which we stood to the eastward; but as it was generally far
southerly, we were soon in longitude 18° 26' west, by the
time-piece, on which we had more reliance than on the dead
reckoning, for here we found a current setting considerably
strong to the eastward; our lunar observations, which we never
failed to make at every opportunity, constantly confirmed the
truth of the watch.

Finding no prospect of a change of wind by continuing to stand
to the eastward, we tacked in the above longitude, and latitude
6° 48' north, and stood to the westward; for the wind now
appeared fixed between south-west and south, a steady gale with a
large sea from the southward; many of the convoy sailed so heavy,
and were so leewardly, that to gain ground thus circumstanced was
impossible; we had therefore only to hope, that by standing off
to a greater distance from the coast of Africa, we might find the
wind incline to the eastward of south: we, therefore, kept
working in this manner for twelve days, in the course of which
time our dead reckonings were four° to the westward of the
truth, occasioned by the the strong easterly currents; in the
latitude of 4° 30' north, and longitude, by the time-keeper,
19° 40' west, the wind began to incline to the
south-south-east, which gave us some reason to hope that the
south-east trade wind was at no great distance.

It continued wavering between the south by east and south-east
until we had got another degree to the southward, when it settled
at south-east a steady breeze; but the easterly current, which
would now have been an advantage to us by keeping the transports
to windward, had ceased, and we found a strong westerly one
running for several days, from 30 to 45 miles in 24 hours, by
which our account was brought back to its original agreement with
the time-keeper and lunar observations. The greatest velocity of
the westerly current, was between latitude 3° 00' north and
the line, and its direction appeared to have been nearly west,
for we never found our observations for the latitude materially
affected by it; the same was the case with the easterly current,
which may account for the ships from the northward, bound to the
coast of Brazil, who may have no other way of determining their
longitude but by account, scarcely having been sensible of any
current; so very nearly does the westerly set, counteract, in the
passage, that to the eastward.

On the 14th of July, in the evening, we crossed the equator in
longitude 26° 10' west, and with 5° 00' of west
variation. The south-east trade wind now made us ample amends for
the failure of the north-east, for it blew a fresh and steady
breeze from east-south-east to east, which I believe is rather
uncommon when the sun has so great north declination: if the wind
had not favoured us so much, we must have fallen in with the
coast of Brazil, far to the northward, which, with this convoy,
would have been attended with much loss of time, and some degree
of danger; however, with this favourable slant, we carried all
the sail possible, and were enabled to keep at a distance from
the coast, but not so far as to be able to make the island of
Trinidada, which it was Captain Phillip's intention to have done,
had the wind permitted.

We passed its parallel 4° 30' to the westward of it, and
had for several days kept a look out for an island, which the
Portuguese call Ascencao, and is said to lie between Trinidada
and the coast of Brazil; but the existence of which there is much
reason to doubt. We did not see any thing until the 3d of August,
when we made Cape Frio; at 12 o'clock at night we were right
abreast of it, and had it bearing north half west five or six
miles; its longitude, by the time-keeper, is 41° 40' west of
the meridian of Greenwich* and its latitude is 22° 58' south.
This cape is an island distant two or three miles from the main
land; we had very light airs and variable weather between the
Cape and Rio Janeiro, which is a distance of 18 or 20 leagues; we
never approached the shore nearer than five or six miles, at
which distance we had 30 fathoms water over a soft bottom, and at
four leagues distance had 42 and 43 fathoms, with the same soft

[* It will appear hereafter that we had not the true
rate of the watch, and consequently that the above longitude is
not correct.]

On the 6th of August, a light breeze from the sea carried us
within the islands which lie off the harbour, where we anchored
for the night, with the convoy, in 14 fathoms water, clear soft
ground, the island Raz (a low flat island) bearing south by west
two miles, and Rodondo (a high round island) south-west by south.
The next morning an officer was sent to the town, to wait on the
viceroy, and give him information who we were, and for what
purpose we had visited that port: in the afternoon of the 7th,
with a breeze from the sea, we weighed, and, with the whole
convoy, sailed into the harbour.

As we passed Fort Santa Cruz, we saluted with 13 guns, which
was returned by an equal number from the fort; we anchored off
the town in 17½ fathoms water, over a good soft bottom,
and moored with best bower to the south-east, and the small bower
to the north-west; Fort Santa Cruz south 36° 00' east; the
Sugar Loaf south, 7° 00' east; and the Flag-Staff, on the
Island Cobres, north 78° 00' west, distant from the town one
mile and a half. In going into the harbour, there being very
little wind, some of our convoy were alongside of each other, and
were drifting in with the tide; at which the master of the port,
who was on board the Sirius, expressed much uneasiness; but he
was told our seamen knew very well how to manage their ships, and
that there was no danger: the Portuguese will not allow more than
one of their ships in the narrows at a time.

The ships in general had been remarkably healthy; the whole
number buried since we left England was sixteen, six only of that
number had died between Teneriffe and this place, which certainly
is a very trying part of the voyage to people who have not been
accustomed to warm climates, and being fed wholly on salt
provisions; many of those whom we had lost since we left
Portsmouth, had been lingering under diseases with which they
were afflicted when they embarked; consequently little hope could
be entertained of their recovery in such a situation and under
such circumstances.

On our arrival here, there were but four out of the whole
number in fevers, and a few others with various but trifling
complaints; and between 20 and 30, in whom symptoms of the scurvy
had lately appeared, the seeds of which it was hoped and expected
would be effectually eradicated before we left this place. Fresh
provisions were immediately provided on our arrival, and served
to the ships companies, marines, and convicts; vegetables were
also provided, of which they were to have a proportion served
with their other provisions every day whilst we remained here;
oranges and other tropical fruits were in vast abundance at this
time; the convicts also had a proportion of oranges with their
other provisions, this fruit being in such great plenty, that the
expence attending the purchase of a few for each individual a
day, was too inconsiderable to be noticed. Indeed, it was no
uncommon thing to see the country boats, as they passed the
ships, throw in a shower of oranges amongst the people.

We had not been ten days in this harbour, before we found the
convicts in every ship much more healthy than when we left
Spithead. Much pains had been taken by some (who, from whatever
cause, were averse to the expedition) to make the world believe
that we were, whilst lying at the Mother-Bank, so very sickly as
to bury eight or ten every day; and that a malignant disease
raged with great violence on board the transports: how far those
reports were true, will best appear by the returns which will no
doubt be sent to England from this place. Among such a number of
people confined in small ships, to have no sick on board, was not
to be expected; but the reports spread by some industrious
persons exceedingly exaggerated our numbers. I may, without a
probability of being much mistaken, venture to say, that there
are few country towns in the island of Great-Britain, which
contain 1500 inhabitants, (the number which the ships employed on
this service had on board) which have not frequently as many sick
as we had, at the time it was given out we buried such numbers

At this place we met with every thing that was civil and
polite; a day or two after our arrival, the whole of the officers
were introduced and paid their respects to the Vice-King, who
seemed desirous of making the place as convenient and pleasant as
possible, consistent with his instructions, relative to
foreigners, from the court of Portugal.

It has ever been a custom here, that when any foreign ships
are in this harbour, a guard boat rows constantly night and day,
and when any boat from such foreign vessel goes on shore, a
soldier is put into the boat, and continues on board her during
her stay on shore: this custom is intended to prevent smuggling,
a crime which is punished here with the utmost severity; and when
any foreign officer lands, an officer from the guard is ordered
to attend him wherever he goes: this restraint, which would
certainly have been very ill relished by us, however necessary it
might have been for our own convenience to have complied with
it--was not even in the beginning offered, but every officer
permitted to walk where he pleased, except in the forts; a
liberty never granted to strangers; nor was any centinel ever
placed in any of the King's boats at landing, not even in those
of the transports; an extraordinary mark of civility and
confidence, and of which every officer in our fleet was perfectly
sensible. But when the masters of the transports went on shore, a
non-commissioned officer from the guard attended them wherever
they went, and their sailors were attended by a private

During our stay here, we were permitted to erect a tent on the
island Enchados, (a small island about a mile and a half farther
up the harbour than where we lay with the ships,) for the purpose
of landing a few of the astronomical instruments which were
necessary for ascertaining the rate of the time-keeper; they were
put under the charge and management of Lieutenant William Dawes,
of the marines, a young gentleman very well qualified for such a
business, and who promises fair, if he pursue his studies, to
make a respectable figure in the science of astronomy.

The weather was rather unfavourable, during the time the
instruments were on shore for ascertaining the rate of the
time-keeper, but as constant attention was paid, every
opportunity that offered was made use of, and the watch was found
to be 2"-27. which is near a second more than was its rate at

The 21st of August being the anniversary of the Prince of
Brazil's birth-day, at sun-rise in the morning we displayed the
flag of Portugal at the fore top-mast head, and that of our own
nation at the main and mizen: half an hour after ten, the
Vice-King received compliments upon that occasion; all the
officers of our fleet which could be spared from duty on board,
landed, and in a body went to the palace to make their
compliments upon this public day; the viceroy upon this, as well
as upon every other occasion, showed us particular attention. We
were the first company admitted into the levee-room, then the
clergy and military, after which, the civilians and some of the
military promiscuously.

When we entered the room a signal was made from the palace,
and the fort began to fire. Orders had been left with the
commanding officer on board the Sirius, to begin to salute after
the fort had fired two guns, which was particularly attended to,
and a salute of twenty-one guns was given. It is rather uncommon
upon such occasions, for an English ship of war to salute at so
early an hour, but certainly the greatest compliment which we
could at such time pay them, was to observe in this case the
custom practised by their own ships.

On Monday the 3d of September, the watering of the convoy, and
every other part of their refitting being compleated, the signal
was made from the Sirius for every person to repair immediately
on board their respective ships, and at the same time the signal
for unmooring was shown; and on Tuesday morning, with a light
breeze from the land, we weighed with the convoy. When the Sirius
had got within about half a mile of Fort Santa Cruz, that castle
saluted us with 21 guns, which was answered by us with the same
number; a very high and uncommon compliment, and such I believe
as is seldom paid to any foreigner; but was no doubt meant as a
suitable return to the attention paid by his Majesty's ship to
the birth-day of the Prince of Brazil. We carried wind enough out
to run us clear without the islands before night.

The harbour of Rio de Janeiro may be known when you are off
it, by a remarkable hill at its entrance, called Pao d'Asucar,
from its resemblance to a loaf of sugar; but there is a hill to
the south-east of the harbour, which is called by some the False
Sugar-loaf; but which, as you view it from the eastward, I think
has more the appearance of a church, with a short spire steeple;
this hill points out the harbour to ships at a distance, much
better than Pao d'Asucar. The land to the westward of the harbour
is high and broken, and is commonly so covered with clouds, that
you cannot discover the true make of it.

Right off the harbour lie several small islands, all steep to,
or nearly so; a few rocks project a very small distance from some
of them, but which cannot be considered dangerous, as no person
possessed of common prudence would ever take a ship so near as
they lye; within those islands (if you have not wind to carry
your ship into the harbour) you may anchor; the best birth for
getting under way with any wind, is to bring the island Raz (a
low island) to bear south or south half west one mile, in 14 or
15 fathoms water, soft bottom; there is nothing in the way
between this anchorage and the harbour; you will observe in the
entrance a small island or rock, fortified, called Lage; you sail
about mid-channel between this island and Fort Santa Cruz,
observing that the tide of flood sets upon Santa Cruz point, and
the ebb upon the island; the soundings from the outer anchorage
decrease from 14 fathoms, where we lay, regularly, till near
abreast of the Sugar-loaf, where it is six and a half fathoms:
from this depth you drop into 12, 14, and 16 fathoms. Run up, and
anchor off the town in 17 or 18 fathoms, clear soft ground.


Latitude: 22° 54' 13" south

Longitude, deduced from our time-keeper of the meridian of
Greenwich, and which agrees with that laid down in the new
requisite tables, but which certainly are not correct: 42°
44' 00" west.

Longitude, determined by two astronomers sent from Portugal
for that and other purposes: 43° 18' 45" west.

Longitude, by an eclipse of Jupiter's third satellite, taken
by Lieutenant Dawes, on the island Enchados: 43° 19' 00"

Longitude, by a mean of several distances of sun and moon
taken by me at the outer anchorage: 43° 11' 15" west.

Longitude, by Lieutenant Bradley: 43° 33' 00" west.

The tide flows here at full and change of the moon, north-east
by north and south-west by south, and rises between six and seven

The harbour is very extensive and commodious; there are many
convenient bays in it, where a vast many ships may be laid up in
perfect security from any bad weather. The town is large, well
built, and populous, but ill situated for the health of its
inhabitants: it stands upon low ground, which was formerly
swampy, and is surrounded with hills of immense height, which
entirely exclude the benefit of the refreshing sea and land
breezes; so that in the summer time, it is really suffocating
hot, and of course very unhealthy. The streets, some few of them,
are pretty wide, the others in general rather narrow, and mostly
intersect each other at right-angles. The square, or parade,
opposite to which the boats land, is large, and the buildings
round it are good, and on the south side of this square stands
the viceroy's palace. The churches are very good buildings, and
their decorations exceedingly rich, and they seem to have
excellent organs in them; all those which I saw here, as well as
at Teneriffe, had what in a large church I conceive to be a
considerable improvement, and it is what I never have seen
applied to any of our organs, even in the largest churches in
England; each pipe of the organ has a tube which projects from
its lower part in a horizontal direction, and is wide at the
outer end, like a trumpet: these tubes throw every note
distinctly into the church, and prevent, what I have frequently
observed, in many of our organs, some of the tones being almost
lost in the body of the instrument.

I observed here, that the different mechanics carry on their
business in distinct parts of the town, particular streets being
set apart for particular trades; you find one street filled with
taylors, another with shoemakers, a third with carpenters,
etc. etc.

As far as numerous forts and guns can be said to give strength
to any place, the city of Saint Sebastian may be considered as
strong; the island of Cobres, which overlooks and lies close to
the town, has a strong work upon it, the east end of it is rather
low, and there is good depth of water off it, so that ships of
very large size may come very near in, and there are many hills
very near, which command the town and most of the works which
defend it.

The annual exports from Rio de Janeiro are, 3,200 arobes of
gold, which are sent to Portugal, and of which the King has a
tenth part; 6,000 cases of sugar, each weighing 40 arobes; 5,000
cases of rice, and 1,500 casks of rum, each cask containing eight

[* An arobe is thirty-two pounds; an almuda, four
gallons and a half.]

Before we left this port, we took on board the following seeds
and plants, viz.

Coffee plant and seed, cocoa-seed, jalap, ipecacuhana,
tamarind, banana, orange, lime, and lemon-trees, guava seed,
prickly pear, with the cochineal in seed upon it, pomrose, grape,
tobacco, and rice for seed.

[A TABLE of the WINDS and WEATHER, etc. etc. in the Passage
from the Island of Teneriffe to Rio de Janeiro, Coast of Brazil,
on board His Majesty's Ship SIRIUS.]
[The table is included in the HTML version]

Chapter II

September 1787 to January 1788

Anchor in Table-Bay.--Refreshments procured there.--Depart from the
Cape of Good Hope.--Captain Phillip quits the Sirius, and proceeds
on the voyage in the Supply.--The Sirius arrives in Botany-Bay.--Finds
the Supply at anchor there.--Arrival of the Bussole and Astrolabe.--
Leave Botany-Bay, and anchor in Port Jackson.--The Table of Winds,
Weather, etc.

We had light and variable winds for the two first days after
leaving Rio de Janeiro, then it veered round to the north-east,
and freshened up, and was some times as far to the northward as
north by east; we steered off east-south-east and south-east. In
latitude 25° 50' south, the weather became dark and cloudy,
with much rain and lightning all round the horizon, which shifted
the wind to the southward, and the weather cleared up. On the
19th, we saw several Pentada birds. On the 29th, having had thick
hazy weather during the night, some of the convoy had been
inattentive to the course, and were found at day-light
considerably scattered and to leeward; we bore down and made the
signal for closing. Nothing worth relating happened this passage.
On the 12th of October, as we were expecting every hour to make
the land, the weather being hazy, with a strong westerly wind, at
midnight we made the signal and brought to; at day-light we bore
away and made sail, and at six o'clock saw the land, distant 10
leagues; at noon, the entrance of Table-Bay, at the Cape of Good
Hope, bore east three leagues. At the distance of seven or eight
leagues from the land, the Supply armed tender being ordered to
wait for the sternmost of the convoy, Lieutenant Ball took that
opportunity of sounding, and at the before-mentioned distance had
115 fathoms, over a black sandy bottom; and at five leagues
distance he had 90 fathoms, sand with small stones. The water
appeared, at a much greater distance, considerably discoloured,
from which I think there is reason to suppose that the soundings
from this part of the coast run farther off to the westward. We
were all this time in the parallel of 34° south. On the 14th
of October, at five in the evening, we anchored with all the
convoy in Table-Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and at sun-rise the next
morning we saluted the fort with 13 guns, which was answered by
the same number.

By altitudes taken this morning for the time-keeper, it
appeared that we had not had sufficient time at Rio Janeiro for
ascertaining the true rate of the watch's going, having
determined what we have allowed this passage, viz. 2"-33 from a
very few observations, and those not to be relied on, the weather
having been very unfavourable; for, by the difference of time
between the meridian of Rio Janeiro and the cape, both which
places are well determined, the watch has lost at the rate of
3"-17, which we shall hereafter allow to be the true rate; and as
a proof of that having been really its rate all along, by
allowing it from the time of our leaving Portsmouth, until our
arrival at Rio Janeiro, we shall have the longitude of that place
43° 33' 30" west of the meridian of Greenwich, which is 45'
45" to the westward of that laid down in the new Requisite
Tables, and which agrees very nearly with the observations made
on the spot.

As Table-Bay was the last port at which we could touch for
refreshments during our voyage, such articles as we were in want
of, both for present consumption, and for stocking the intended
settlement, were applied for, in such quantities as we could find
room for on board the different ships. Eight or ten days elapsed
before any answer could be obtained from the council, what
necessaries and in what quantities they could supply us with:
this delay occasioned our passing more time here than was at
first intended or expected.

A few days before we sailed, having compleated such articles
of provisions as we wanted, we embarked on board the Sirius six
cows with calf, two bulls, one of which was six or seven months
old, with a number of sheep, goats, hogs, and poultry of
different kinds; on board one of the transports were put three
mares, each having a colt of six months old, and a young
stallion; a quantity of live stock was also put on board the
store ships; so that the whole on government account, I think,
amounted nearly to one stallion, three mares, three colts, six
cows, two bulls, forty-four sheep, four goats, and twenty-eight
hogs. The officers on board the transports, who were to compose
the garrison, had each provided themselves with such live stock
as they could find room for, not merely for the purpose of living
upon during the passage, but with a view of stocking their little
farms in the country to which we were going; every person in the
fleet was with that view determined to live wholly on salt
provisions, in order that as much live stock as possible might be
landed on our arrival.

November 12th, having completed all our business at the Cape,
we made preparations for our sailing; and on the 13th, we weighed
with the whole convoy, and stood out of the bay.

During the time we lay in this bay, I took a considerable
number of lunar observations, by a mean of which I make Cape
Town, in longitude 18° 24' 30" east of the meridian of
Greenwich: latitude observed in the bay, 33° 55' south, and
variation of the compass, observed about 18 leagues to the
westward, 21° 52' west.

We had fresh gales from the south-south-east and south-east,
and sometimes at south, for the first eight days, which, with a
large sea, so very much distressed our cattle, that we were very
apprehensive we should lose some of them. On the 25th, being in
latitude 38° 40' south, and longitude 25° 05' east,
Captain Phillip embarked on board the Supply, in order to proceed
singly in that vessel to the coast of New South Wales, where he
made sure of arriving a fortnight or three weeks before us, as
some of the convoy sailed very heavy; he took with him from the
Sirius, Mr. Philip Gidley King, second lieutenant, and Lieutenant
Dawes, of the marines, who had hitherto kept an account of the
time-keeper, which he also took with him; several carpenters,
sawyers, and blacksmiths were likewise put on board the Supply,
in order, if they arrived in sufficient time, to examine the
place attentively; and the governor had fixed on the most
eligible spot to build upon, there to erect some temporary
store-houses for the reception of the stores, when the convoy
arrived; but as a number of working people would be wanted in
carrying on such service, three of the best sailing transports,
under the command of Lieutenant Shortland, the agent, were also
directed to quit the convoy, and make the best of their way to
Botany-Bay; Major Ross, the lieutenant-governor, embarked in one
of those transports; the remaining transports and store-ships
were left under the care of the Sirius.

The next day, after parting company, the Supply was in sight
from the mast-head, and the three transports were about seven or
eight miles from us, but the wind having shifted to the
south-east in the night of the 27th, we stood to the southward
and saw no more of them. I was at this time of opinion, that we
had hitherto kept in too northerly a parallel to ensure strong
and lasting westerly winds, which determined me, as soon as
Captain Phillip had left the fleet, to steer to the southward and
keep in a higher latitude.

We had the winds from the north-east with squalls and hazy
weather, until the 29th, when it backed round to the westward
again, and the weather became fair. After the time-keeper was
taken from the Sirius, I kept an account of the ship's way by my
own watch, which I had found for a considerable time, to go very
well with Kendal's; I knew it could be depended on sufficiently
to carry on from one lunar observation to another, without any
material error; for although its rate of going was not so regular
as I could have wished, yet its variation would not in a week or
ten days have amounted to any thing of consequence; it was made
for me by Mr. John Brockbank, of Cornhill, London, upon an
improved principle of his own. The lunar observation, which I
never failed to take every opportunity, and which Lieutenant
Bradley also paid constant attention to, gave me reason to think,
by their near agreement with the watch, that it continued to go
well. On the 1st of December our longitude, by account, was
36° 42' east; by the watch 36° 48' east; and by distance
of sun and moon 36° 24' east: latitude 40° 05' south, and
the variation of the compass 29° 40' west.

For three successive days both Mr. Bradley and myself had a
variety of distances, by which our account seemed to be very
correct. I now determined (if I could avoid it) never to get to
the northward of latitude 40° 00' south, and to keep between
that parallel and 43° or 44° south. After the 3d, I
found, by altitudes taken for the watch, that we went farther to
the eastward than the log gave us, and no opportunity offered for
getting a lunar observation to compare with it until the 13th,
when both Mr. Bradley and I got several good distances of the sun
and moon, by which our longitude was 70° 22' east, by the
watch 70° 07' east, and by account 67° 37' east.

On the 14th, the weather being very clear, we had another set
of distances, which gave our longitude 73° 06' east, by the
watch 73° 09' east, and by account 70° 34' east. Again,
on the 15th, I observed with two different instruments, one by
Ramsden, and the other by Dolland, and the results agreed within
ten miles of longitude; the mean was 75° 18' east, by the
watch 75° 16' east, and by account 72° 49' east. Mr.
Bradley's mean was also 75° 18' east; so that, as I have
already observed, the ship seemed gaining on the account; but
there was no reason to believe, that in the middle of this very
extensive ocean we were ever subject to much current: I therefore
attribute this set to the eastward, to the large following sea,
which constantly attended us, since we had taken a more southerly
parallel. The variation of the compass continued to increase
pretty fast, until we were as far to the eastward as 39° 00'
east, where we found it 31° 00' west; from that longitude to
54° 30' east, it increased very slowly to 32° 00' west,
which was the highest we had; during all that time we were in the
parallels of 40° 00' and 41° 00' south.

We saw many whales, of a very large size, during this part of
our passage, but very few birds. On the 16th, we saw a quantity
of sea weed, which I suppose might have come from the island of
Saint Paul, as we were now near its meridian, and not more than
60 leagues from it. We had at present every prospect of an
excellent passage to Van Diemen's Land: for although the wind
sometimes shifted to the north-east, it seldom continued more
than a few hours; then backed round again to north-west and
south-west, between which quarters it seemed to blow as a trade
wind; from north-north-east to the westward, and round to
south-south-west are in general its limits: we had frequently
hazy weather, but not so thick as to be called foggy; the wind in
general very fresh.

Whenever there was an appearance of hazy weather coming on,
the signal to close was always made, and the convoy kept in as
close order as possible, to prevent those ships which sailed
heavy from the risk of being separated from the Sirius. On the
20th, the wind increased and was steady between west-north-west
and south-west; we seldom sailed less than 50 leagues in the 24
hours, and frequently more. With the north-west winds we
generally had foul weather, but whenever the wind changed to the
south-west quarter, it cleared up and became pleasant. It seems
to be exactly the reverse of the effects produced by those winds
in the northern hemisphere, where it is well known to seamen,
that southerly and south-west winds are generally attended with
hazy and foul weather, often accompanied with strong gales; it
was exactly so here with the wind from the north-west. We knew by
experience, when in the open ocean at a distance from land, in
either hemisphere, that the winds which blow from those quarters
of the compass next to the elevated pole, are generally dry and
clear, and from the opposite, generally wet and hazy.

On the 1st of January we had a very heavy gale of wind from
north-north-west to west-north-west, attended with frequent and
very violent squalls or gusts, and hazy weather; the convoy in
general were brought under a reefed fore top-sail, and the Sirius
carried her three storm stay-sails; so that the transports should
not find it necessary to attempt carrying more sail than was
consistent with safety: the sea was very high and irregular, and
broke with great violence on some of the ships; the rolling and
labouring of our ship exceedingly distressed the cattle, which
were now in a very weakly state, and the great quantities of
water which we shipped during this gale, very much aggravated
their distress; the poor animals were frequently thrown with much
violence off their legs, and exceedingly bruised by their falls,
although every method, which could be contrived for their ease
and comfort, was practised; the ship was very ill fitted for such
a cargo; and the very lumbered condition she had constantly been
in rendered it impossible to do more for them, except by putting
slings under them; a method which, when proposed, was rejected by
those to whose care and management they were intrusted; from an
idea, that they would entirely lose the use of their legs by such
means, although it were only practised in bad weather.

We perceived the sea now covered over with luminous spots,
much resembling so many lanthorns floating on its surface;
whether this appearance proceeded from the spawn of fish, which
may swim in small collected quantities, or from that animal of a
jelly-like substance, which is known to sailors by the name of
blubber, I cannot tell, but I believe the latter, as we had seen
in the day some of a large size. We had now also many sea-birds
about the ship, such as albatrosses, gulls of different kinds,
and a large black bird, which, in the motion of its wings, had
much the appearance of a crow, but its neck and wings are longer
than those of that bird, and it is altogether larger.

On the 4th of January we had a number of good observations for
the longitude, and as it was probable they might be the last we
should have an opportunity of taking, before we should make Van
Diemen's Land, the result, which gave 135° 30' east, was
marked with chalk in large characters on a black painted board,
and shown over the stern to the convoy; at the same time a signal
was made which had been previously appointed.

On the 6th in the evening, as I intended running in for the
land all night, I made the signal for the convoy to close, and to
drop into the Sirius's wake, under an easy sail; the night was
dark, but clear in the horizon, so that we could see near two
leagues a-head. This night the aurora austreales were very
bright, of a beautiful crimson colour, streaked with orange,
yellow, and white, and these colours were constantly changing
their places: the highest part was about 45° above the
horizon, and it spread from south by east to south-south-west. On
the next morning at sun-rise, one of the transports having pushed
a little a-head, made the signal for seeing the land, in which,
however, she was mistaken: we at this time judged ourselves not
less than 33 or 34 leagues from it, deducing our distance from
the last lunar observation.

It may not be improper, before I proceed farther, to observe
of the compass, that its westerly variation decreased from the
longitude of 54° 30' east, where it was greatest, (viz.
32° 10' west,) to longitude 135° 30' east, where it was
1° 00' east.

We continued steering in for the land, and the weather being
cloudy, in order to make sure of our latitude, which, in our
present situation, was of consequence, we took two altitudes
before noon, by which we were in 44° 05' south, which being
seventeen miles to the southward of the rock, called the
Mewstone, we hauled from east-north-east to north-east, and at
three P.M. of the 8th, (by log,) we made the land in that
direction, stood well in with the Mewstone, and, as the wind was
fresh from the westward, I would have gone within it, and ranged
along the coast from point to point; but having a convoy of
transports and store-ships astern, who were to be led by the
Sirius, I was apprehensive, in case it fell little wind under the
land, and night set in, an accident might have happened to some
of those ships, which all the knowledge I could have gained, by a
nearer examination of the coast, would not have compensated: I
therefore stood on without the Mewstone, and steered in for the
south cape, which we passed at three miles distance, leaving the
rocks Swilly and Eddistone without us. The south cape terminates
in a low rocky point, and appears to be a bold shore, and the
hills within it, which are moderately high, appear to have many
tall trees upon them, which are very streight, and seem to have
no branches, except near the top; from which circumstance, I
suppose them to be the palm or cabbage tree.

To the eastward of the south cape, between that and the next
point of land, which is called Tasman's-head, is a large bay, at
the bottom of which there appears to be an island or two; from
the south-west cape to the south cape there are several bays, and
pretty deep bights, which may probably afford some good harbours;
there are also several appearances of islands on this part of the
coast, but most of them seem to lie pretty near the land, except
the Mewstone, (a high ragged rock) which is about ten miles off,
and Swilly and Eddystone, which lie about south by east from the
south cape, about five leagues distant. Swilly is a high rock,
and the Eddistone has, at a distance, the appearance of a sail;
these two rocks are at the opposite ends of a ledge of sunken
rocks, on which the sea seemed to break very high: this ledge
lies east-north-east and west-south-west; the two rocks are in
one with that bearing.

The latitudes and longitudes of the different points or capes,
seem to have been very correctly determined by Captains Cook and
Furneaux, when they were here; it would therefore be superfluous
to mention them here from any other authority; they have settled
them as under:

South-west cape         lat 43 37 00 S. long 146 07 00 E. of Greenwich
South cape              lat 43 42 00    long 146 56 00
Tasman's-head           lat 43 33 00    long 147 28 00
Swilly Island, or rock  lat 43 55 00    long 147 06 00
Adventure bay           lat 42 21 20    long 147 29 00

Such observations as we had an opportunity of making near this
coast, agree very well with the above.

We had just got to the eastward of the south cape as it became
dark, and were about four miles from it when it fell calm, and
soon after a very light air sprung up from east-north-east,
which, with a large westerly swell, scarcely gave the ships
steerage way: this situation gave me some anxiety, as I was
uncertain whether the sternmost ships had seen Swilly, and they
were at this time a little scattered; the breeze, however,
favoured us, by freshening up at north-east, which enabled the
whole of us to weather those rocks, without the apprehension of
passing too near them in the dark: in the morning at day-light
they bore west-south-west three leagues.

Here we saw many animals playing along-side, which were at
first taken for seals; but, after having seen a considerable
number of them, I did not think they were the seal, at least they
appeared to me a very different animal from the seals to be met
with on the coast of America and Newfoundland; for they have a
short round head, but these creatures heads were long, and
tapered to the nose; they had very long whiskers, and frequently
raised themselves half the length of the body out of the water,
to look round them, and often leaped entirely out; which I do not
ever recollect to have seen the seal do: from these
circumstances, I judged them to be something of the

On the night of the 8th, it blew so strong from
north-north-east and north, as to bring us under close reefed
main top-sail and fore-sail; this gale was accompanied with
thunder, lightning, and rain, which soon changed it to the
south-west quarter, and immediately cleared the weather. On the
10th, we had two very violent white squalls from north-west, with
lightning, thunder, and rain: these squalls came on so very
suddenly, that some of the convoy were taken with too much sail
out, which obliged them to let go their tacks and sheets, by
which means one ship carried away her main-yard in the slings,
another had her three top-sails blown from the yards, and a third
lost her jibb, and some other trifling accident: this occasioned
a short delay, but as soon as these accidents were repaired we
made sail, and availed ourselves of every slant of wind, to get
in with the coast. I was desirous of falling in with it about
Cape Howe, which is in latitude 37° 30' south, and longitude
150° 00' east, and from thence to have run down along the
coast to Botany-bay; but the wind prevailed so long from the
north-ward and north-west, that we could not fetch that part of
the coast.

On the 15th, by a good lunar observation, I found our
longitude to be 152° 43' east, which was twenty-five leagues
farther from the coast than I expected we were. Every endeavour
was exerted to get to the westward, and on the 19th in the
evening, judging from the last observation, (the dead reckoning
being out,) that we could not be above eight or nine leagues from
the land, the wind being from the eastward, I made the signal and
brought to with the convoy till day-light, when we made the land
in latitude 34° 50' south, six or seven leagues distant. We
steered in slanting to the northward, until we were within about
six or seven miles of the shore, and then steered along the coast
at that distance, not choosing, as the wind was easterly, to
carry the convoy nearer.

At noon, we were abreast of Red-point, which is well
determined by Captain Cook: I observed its latitude to be 34°
29' south; this point being only ten leagues from Botany-bay, I
made sail a-head of the convoy, in order if possible, to get
sight of its entrance before night. There are a number of
projecting points hereabout, which by being so near in shore
deceived us a good deal; however, we perceived from the masthead
before dark, what I had no doubt was the entrance of the bay, as
we were now near its latitude; which is certainly the only true
guide whereby you can find it; for the coast has nothing so
remarkable in it as to serve for a direction for finding this

About three leagues to the southward of Botany-bay, there is a
range of whitish coloured cliffs on the coasts, which extend some
distance farther south, and over these cliffs the land is
moderately high and level; on this level land there is a small
clump of trees, something like that on Post down hill, near
Portsmouth: these, I think, are the only remarkable objects

As soon as we had brought the entrance of the bay to bear
north-north-west, we brought to, and made the signal for the
convoy to pass in succession under the Sirius's stern, when they
were informed, that I intended, as the wind was easterly, to keep
working off under an easy sail till day-light, and that the
entrance of the harbour bore north-north-west seven or eight
miles; which I supposed they could not have been near enough to
have seen before dark.

The next morning being fair, with a south-east wind, we made
sail at day-light for this opening, and, by signal, ordered the
ships into the Sirius's wake. When the bay was quite open, we
discovered the Supply and the three transports at an anchor; the
former had arrived the 18th, and the three latter the 19th. At
eight A. M. of the 20th, we anchored with the whole of the convoy
in Botany-bay, in eight fathoms water.

As the ships were sailing in, a number of the natives
assembled on the south shore, and, by their motions, seemed to
threaten; they pointed their spears, and often repeated the
words, wara, wara. The Supply had not gained more than forty
hours of us, and the three transports twenty. We probably met
with fresher winds than they had done, otherwise I think these
ships, all sailing well, should have had much more advantage of
the heavy sailing part of the convoy.

On the first day of my arrival, I went with the governor to
examine the south shore, in order to fix on a spot for erecting
some buildings; but we found very little fresh water, and not any
spot very inviting for our purpose: we had a short conversation
with a party of the natives, who were exceedingly shy. During the
time we lay here, we sounded the bay all over, and found a
considerable extent of anchorage in four, five, six, and seven
fathoms water, but wholly exposed to easterly winds, and no
possibility of finding shelter from those winds in any part of
the anchorage.

We anchored on the north shore, off a sandy bay, which I think
as good a birth as any in the bay; Cape Banks bore
east-south-east, and Point Solander south-south-east, the ground
clear and good. The wind, either from the north-east or
south-east quarters, set in a prodigious sea. Higher up the bay
there is a spot of four fathoms, where a few ships might be laid
in tolerable security, but they must be lightened, to enable them
to pass over a flat of twelve feet, and that depth but of narrow

The day after my arrival, the governor, accompanied by me and
two other officers, embarked in three boats, and proceeded along
the coast to the northward, intending, if we could, to reach what
Captain Cook has called Broken-bay, with a hope of discovering a
better harbour, as well as a better country; for we found nothing
at Botany-bay to recommend it as a place on which to form an
infant settlement. In this examination, a large opening, or bay,
about three leagues and a half to the northward of Cape Banks,
was the first place we looked into: it had rather an unpromising
appearance, on entering between the outer heads or capes that
form its entrance, which are high, rugged, and perpendicular
cliffs; but we had not gone far in, before we discovered a large
branch extending to the southward; into this we went, and soon
found ourselves perfectly land-locked, with a good depth of

We proceeded up for two days, examining every cove or other
place which we found capable of receiving ships; the country was
also particularly noticed, and found greatly superior in every
respect to that round Botany-bay. The governor, being satisfied
with the eligibility of this situation, determined to fix his
residence here, and returned immediately to the ships.

On the 25th, we received the time-keeper from the Supply,
which I am sorry to say, had been let down while on board her,
during the passage from the Cape of Good Hope; and the same day,
the governor sailed in the Supply, with a detachment of marines,
to the new harbour, which Captain Cook had observed as he sailed
along the coast, and named Port Jackson; he did not enter it, and
therefore was uncertain of there being a safe harbour here: it
has the appearance from sea of being only an open bay.

The convoy was again left to my care, the masters of the ships
having had previous orders from Captain Phillip to prepare for
sea. On the 26th, I made the signal for the transports to get
under way. We perceived this morning two large ships in the
offing, standing in for the bay, under French colours: these
ships had been observed two days before, but the wind blowing
fresh from north-west, they were not able to get in with the
land. I sent a boat with an officer to assist them in, and about
an hour after, a breeze sprung up from the south-east, and they
were safely anchored in the bay. I then got under way, and with
the transports worked out of the bay, and the same evening
anchored the whole convoy in Port Jackson.

The two strangers proved to be the Bussole and Astrolabe,
which sailed from Brest in June, 1785, upon discoveries, and were
commanded by Mons. de la Perouse; Mons. de L'Angle, who commanded
one of the ships when they left France, had been lately, when the
ships were at the Islands of Navigators, murdered, with several
other officers and seamen, by the natives; who had, before that
unfortunate day, always appeared to be upon the most friendly and
familiar terms with them. This accident, we understood, happened
when their launches were on shore filling water, on the last day
which they intended remaining at those islands: during the time
they were employed in filling their water-casks, having the most
perfect confidence in the friendly disposition of the natives,
the sailors had been inattentive to the keeping the boats afloat;
some misunderstanding having happened between some of the seamen
and the natives, an insult had been offered by one or other,
which was resented by the opposite party; a quarrel ensued, and
the impossibility of moving the boats, exposed the officers and
crews to the rage of the multitude, who attacked them with clubs
and showers of stones, and would inevitably have massacred the
whole, if there had not been a small boat at hand, which picked
up those, who depending on their swimming, had quitted the

Many of the natives were killed upon this occasion; and the
loss of the ships was said to have been fourteen persons killed,
including Captain de L'Angle, and some other officers; several
were much wounded; and the boats were entirely destroyed.

This account of the accident is by no means to be considered
as a correct statement of it; as it is only collected from little
hints dropt in the course of conversation with different officers
of those ships: they did not appear disposed to speak upon that
subject, we therefore did not presume to interrogate. The voyage
of those ships will no doubt be published by authority; till then
we must wait for the particulars of that, and another unfortunate
accident which happened to them upon the west coast of America,
where they lost two boats and twenty-two men, including six
officers, in a surf.

[A TABLE of the WINDS and WEATHER, etc. etc. on a Passage
from Rio de Janeiro to the Cape of Good Hope; and from thence to
Botany-Bay, on the East Coast of New Holland, on board His
Majesty's Ship SIRIUS, in 1787, and Beginning of 1788.]
[The table is included in the HTML version]

Chapter III

January 1788 to August 1788

-Frequent interviews with the natives.--Weapons
described.--Ornaments.--Persons, manners, and
habitations.--Method of hunting.--Animals described.--Birds, and
insects.--Diary of the weather.--Departure of the Bussole and
Astrolabe.--A convict pretends to have discovered a gold
mine.--The fraud detected.--Observations for the longitude,

A Few days after my arrival with the transports in Port
Jackson, I set off with a six oared boat and a small boat,
intending to make as good a survey of the harbour as
circumstances would admit: I took to my assistance Mr. Bradley,
the first lieutenant, Mr. Keltie, the master, and a young
gentleman of the quarter-deck.

During the time we were employed on this service, we had
frequent meetings with different parties of the natives, whom we
found at this time very numerous; a circumstance which I confess
I was a little surprized to find, after what had been said of
them in the voyage of the Endeavour; for I think it is observed
in the account of that voyage, that at Botany-bay they had seen
very few of the natives, and that they appeared a very stupid
race of people, who were void of curiosity. We saw them in
considerable numbers, and they appeared to us to be a very lively
and inquisitive race; they are a straight, thin, but well made
people, rather small in their limbs, but very active; they
examined with the greatest attention, and expressed the utmost
astonishment, at the different covering we had on; for they
certainly considered our cloaths as so many different skins, and
the hat as a part of the head: they were pleased with such
trifles as we had to give them, and always appeared chearful and
in good humour: they danced and sung with us, and imitated our
words and motions, as we did theirs. They generally appeared
armed with a lance, and a short stick which assists in throwing
it: this stick is about three feet long, is flattened on one
side, has a hook of wood at one end, and a flat shell, let into a
split in the stick at the other end, and fastened with gum; upon
the flat side of this stick the lance is laid, in the upper end
of which is a small hole, into which the point of the hook of the
throwing stick is fixed; this retains the lance on the flat side
of the stick; then poising the lance, thus fixed, in one hand,
with the fore-finger and thumb over it, to prevent its falling
off side-ways, at the same time holding fast the throwing-stick,
they discharge it with considerable force, and in a very good
direction, to the distance of about sixty or seventy yards*.
Their lances are in general about ten feet long: the shell at one
end of the throwing-stick is intended for sharpening the point of
the lance, and for various other uses. I have seen these weapons
frequently thrown, and think that a man upon his guard may with
much ease, either parry, or avoid them, although it must be owned
they fly with astonishing velocity.

[* I have since seen a strong young man throw the
lance full ninety yards; which, till then, I did not believe
possible. I measured the distance.]

While employed on the survey of the harbour, we were one
morning early, in the upper part of it, and at a considerable
distance from the ship, going to land, in order to ascertain a
few angles, when we were a little surprized to find the natives
here in greater numbers than we had ever seen them before in any
other place: we naturally conjectured from their numbers, that
they might be those who inhabited the coves in the lower part of
the harbour, and who, upon our arrival, had been so much alarmed
at our appearance, as to have judged it necessary to retire
farther up; they appeared very hostile, a great many armed men
appeared upon the shore wherever we approached it, and, in a
threatening manner, seemed to insist upon our not presuming to

During the whole time we were near them, they hailed each
other through the woods, until their numbers were so much
increased, that I did not judge it prudent to attempt making any
acquaintance with them at this time: for, as I have already
observed, we had only a six-oared boat and a smaller one; our
whole number, leaving one man in each boat, amounted to ten
seamen, three officers, and myself, with only three muskets; we
therefore for the present, contented ourselves with making signs
of friendship, and returned to the ship.

In two days after, we appeared again in the same place, better
armed and prepared for an interview. Their numbers were not now
so many, at least we did not see them, although it is probable
they were in the wood at no great distance; but having occasion
to put on shore to cook some provisions for the boats crews, I
chose a projecting point of land for that purpose, which we could
have defended against some hundreds of such people: I ordered two
marine centinels upon the neck, in order to prevent a surprize,
and immediately set about making a fire.

We soon heard some of the natives in the wood on the opposite
shore; we called to them, and invited them by signs, and an offer
of presents, to come over to us, the distance not being more than
one hundred yards across: in a short time, seven men embarked in
canoes and came over; they landed at a small distance from us,
and advanced without their lances; on this I went up to meet
them, and held up both my hands, to show that I was unarmed; two
officers also advanced in the same manner; we met them and shook
hands; but they seemed a good deal alarmed at our five marines
who were under arms by the boats, upon which they were ordered to
ground their arms and stay by them; the natives then came up with
great chearfulness and good humour, and seated themselves by our
fire amongst us, where we ate what we had got, and invited them
to partake, but they did not relish our food or drink.

I was one day on shore in another part of the harbour, making
friendship with a party of natives, when in a very short time,
their numbers encreased to eighty or ninety men, all armed with a
lance and throwing-stick, and many with the addition of a shield,
made of the bark of a tree; some were in shape an oblong square,
and others of these shields were oval; these were the first
shields we had seen in the country*. Upon examining some of these
shields, we observed that many of them had been pierced quite
through in various places, which they by signs gave us to
understand had been done with a spear; but that those shields
will frequently turn the spear, they also showed us, by setting
one up at a small distance, and throwing a spear at it, which did
not go through. They were much surprized at one of our gentlemen
who pulling a pistol out of his pocket, that was loaded with
ball, and standing at the same distance, fired the ball through
the thickest part of the shield, which they examined with
astonishment, and seemed to wonder, that an instrument so small
should be capable of wounding so deep.

[* It has since been found that the shields are in
general made of wood.]

Our numbers at this time were what I first mentioned, with
only three muskets, one of which I carried. The natives were very
noisy, but did not appear disposed to quarrel; we gave them such
little presents as we had with us, with which they seemed well
pleased; although we had much reason afterwards to believe, that
such trifles only pleased them, as baubles do children, for a
moment: for at other times we had frequently found our presents
lying dispersed on the beach, although caught at by these people
with much apparent avidity at the time they were offered.

While we were employed with this party, we observed at a
distance, a number of women, who were peeping from their
concealments, but durst not gratify their natural curiosity, by
appearing openly and conversing with us; as the men appeared here
to be very absolute. I signified to the men that we had observed
the women, and that I wished to make them some presents, if they
might be permitted to come forward and receive them. The men
seemed unwilling to suffer them to advance; for we had frequently
observed, that they took particular care upon every occasion to
keep the women at a distance, and I believe wholly from an idea
of danger. They desired to have the presents for the women, and
they would carry and deliver them, but to this proposal I
positively refused to agree, and made them understand, that
unless they were allowed to come forward, they should not have
any. Finding I was determined, an old man, who seemed to have the
principal authority, directed the women to advance, which they
did immediately, with much good humour; and, during the whole
time that we were decorating them with beads, rags of white
linen, and some other trifles, they laughed immoderately,
although trembling at the same time, through an idea of danger.
Most of those we saw at this time were young women, who I judged
were from eighteen to twenty-five years of age; they were all
perfectly naked, as when first born.

The women in general are well made, not quite so thin as the
men, but rather smaller limbed. As soon as the women were ordered
to approach us, about twenty men, whom we had not before seen,
sallied from the wood, compleatly armed with lance and shield;
they were painted with red and white streaks all over the face
and body, as if they intended to strike terror by their
appearance: some of them were painted with a little degree of
taste, and although the painting on others appeared to be done
without any attention to form, yet there were those who, at a
small distance, appeared as if they were accoutred with
cross-belts: some had circles of white round their eyes, and
several a horizontal streak across the forehead: others again had
narrow white streaks round the body, with a broad line down the
middle of the back and belly, and a single streak down each arm,
thigh, and leg. These marks, being generally white, gave the
person, at a small distance, a most shocking appearance; for,
upon the black skin the white marks were so very conspicuous,
that they were exactly like so many moving skeletons. The colours
they use are mostly red and white; the first of which is a kind
of ochre, or red earth, which is found here in considerable
quantities; the latter is a fine pipe-clay.

The bodies of the men are much scarified, particularly their
breasts and shoulders; these scarifications are considerably
raised above the skin, and although they are not in any regular
form, yet they are certainly considered as ornamental.

The men, thus armed and painted, drew themselves up in a line
on the beach, and each man had a green bough in his hand, as a
sign of friendship; their disposition was as regular as any well
disciplined troops could have been; and this party, I apprehend,
was entirely for the defence of the women, if any insult had been
offered them. We also observed at this interview, that two very
stout armed men, were placed upon a rock, near to where our boats
lay, as centinels; for they never moved from the spot until we
left the beach: I therefore suppose they were ordered there to
watch all our motions. We left these people, after a visit of
about four hours, both parties apparently well satisfied with all
that passed.

In the different opportunities I have had of getting a little
acquainted with the natives, who reside in and about this port, I
am, I confess, disposed to think, that it will be no very
difficult matter, in due time, to conciliate their friendship and
confidence; for although they generally appear armed on our first
meeting, which will be allowed to be very natural, yet, whenever
we have laid aside our arms, and have made signs of friendship,
they have always advanced unarmed, with spirit, and a degree of
confidence scarcely to be expected: from that appearance of a
friendly disposition, I am inclined to think, that by residing
some time amongst, or near them, they will soon discover that we
are not their enemies; a light they no doubt considered us in on
our first arrival.

The men in general are from five feet six inches, to five feet
nine inches high; are thin, but very straight and clean made;
walk very erect*, and are active. The women are not so tall, or
so thin, but are generally well made; their colour is a rusty
kind of black, something like that of soot, but I have seen many
of the women almost as light as a mulatto. We have seen a few of
both sexes with tolerably good features, but in general they have
broad noses, large wide mouths, and thick lips; and their
countenance altogether not very prepossessing; and what makes
them still less so, is, that they are abominably filthy; they
never clean their skin, but it is generally smeared with the fat
of such animals as they kill, and afterwards covered with every
sort of dirt; sand from the sea beach, and the ashes from their
fires, all adhere to their greasy skin, which is never washed,
except when accident, or the want of food, obliges them to go
into the water.

[* See a plate of the natives in Phillip's

Some of the men wear a piece of wood or bone, thrust through
the septum of the nose, which, by raising the opposite sides of
the nose, widens the nostril, and spreads the lower part very
much; this, no doubt, they consider as a beauty; most of those we
had hitherto met, wanted the two foremost teeth on the right side
of the upper jaw; and many of the women want the two lower joints
of the little finger of the left hand, which we have not as yet
been able to discover the reason or meaning of. This defect of
the little finger we have observed in old women, and in young
girls of eight or nine years old; in young women who have had
children, and in those who have not, and the finger has been seen
perfect in individuals of all the above ages and descriptions;
they have very good teeth in general; their hair is short,
strong, and curly, and as they seem to have no method of cleaning
or combing it, it is therefore filthy and matted.

The men wear their beards, which are short and curly, like the
hair of the head. Men, women, and children go entirely naked, as
described by Captain Cook; they seem to have no fixed place of
residence, but take their rest wherever night overtakes them:
they generally shelter themselves in such cavities or hollows in
the rocks upon the sea shore, as may be capable of defending them
from the rain, and, in order to make their apartment as
comfortable as possible, they commonly make a good fire in it
before they lie down to rest; by which means, the rock all round
them is so heated as to retain its warmth like an oven for a
considerable time; and upon a little grass, which is previously
pulled and dryed, they lie down and huddle together.

And here, we see a striking instance of the particular care of
Providence for all his creatures. These people have not the most
distant idea of building any kind of place which may be capable
of sheltering them from the severity of bad weather; if they had,
probably it would first appear in their endeavours to cover their
naked bodies with some kind of cloathing, as they certainly
suffer much from the cold in winter.

Their ignorance in building, is very amply compensated by the
kindness of nature in the remarkable softness of the rocks, which
encompass the sea coast, as well as those in the interior parts
of the country: they are a soft, crumbly, sandy stone; those
parts, which are most exposed to, and receive the most severity
of the weather, are generally harder than such parts as are less
exposed; in the soft parts time makes wonderful changes; they are
constantly crumbling away underneath the harder and more solid
part, and this continual decay leaves caves of considerable
dimensions: some I have seen that would lodge forty or fifty
people, and, in a case of necessity, we should think ourselves
not badly lodged for a night. Wherever you see rocks in this
country, either on the sea-shore, or in the interior parts, as
they are all of this soft sandy kind, you are sure of finding
plenty of such caves.

In the woods, where the country is not very rocky, we
sometimes met with a piece of the bark of a tree, bent in the
middle, and set upon the ends*, with a piece set up against that
end on which the wind blows. This hut serves them for a
habitation, and will contain a whole family; for, when the
weather is cold, which is frequently the case in winter, they
find it necessary to lie very close for the benefit of that
warmth to which each mutually contributes a share. These bark
huts, (if they deserve even the name of huts) are intended, as we
have lately discovered, for those who are employed in hunting the
kangaroo, opossums, or in short, any other animals which are to
be found in the woods; for at certain seasons, when those animals
are in plenty, they employ themselves frequently in catching

[* For an exact description and representation of
this hut, see Governor Phillip's Voyage.]

As most of the large trees are hollow, by being rotten in the
heart, the opossum, kangaroo rat, squirrel, and various other
animals which inhabit the woods, when they are pursued, commonly
run into the hollow of a tree: in order, therefore, to make sure
of them, which they seldom fail in, when they find them in the
tree, one man climbs even the tallest tree with much ease, by
means of notches at convenient distances, that are made with a
stone hatchet; when he is arrived at the top, or where there may
be an outlet for the animal, he sits there with a club or stick
in his hand, while another person below applies a fire to the
lower opening, and fills the hollow of the tree with smoak; this
obliges the animal to attempt to make its escape, either upwards
or downwards, but whichever way it goes, it is almost certain of
death, for they very seldom escape. In this manner they employ
themselves, and get a livelihood in the woods.

They also, when in considerable numbers, set the country on
fire for several miles extent; this, we have generally
understood, is for the purpose of disturbing such animals as may
be within reach of the conflagration; and thereby they have an
opportunity of killing many. We have also had much reason to
believe, that those fires were intended to clear that part of the
country through which they have frequent occasion to travel; of
the brush or underwood, from which they, being naked, suffer very
great inconvenience. The fires, which we very frequently saw,
particularly in the summer-time, account also for an appearance,
which, when we arrived here, we were much perplexed to understand
the cause of; this was, that two-thirds of the trees in the woods
were very much scorched with fire, some were burnt quite black,
up to the very top: as to the cause of this appearance we
differed much in our opinions; but it is now plain, that it has
ever been occasioned by the fires, which the natives so
frequently make, and which we have seen reach the highest
branches of the trees: we sometimes, upon our arrival here,
conjectured that it proceeded from lightning, but upon looking
farther, it appeared too general amongst the woods to have been
occasioned by such an accident.

We had reason to believe, that the natives associate in tribes
of many families together, and it appeared now that they have one
fixed residence, and the tribe takes its name from the place of
their general residence: you may often visit the place where the
tribe resides, without finding the whole society there; their
time is so much occupied in search of food, that the different
families take different routs; but, in case of any dispute with a
neighbouring tribe, they can soon be assembled.

We are well informed by those whom we have had among us, that
they sometimes have quarrels, and that they endeavour from
concealments, to destroy those they are at war with. They are by
no means a brave and determined people, except when passion
overcomes them, and when they act as all savages do, like madmen.
In all their quarrels with one another, they put themselves under
the direction of a chief: how those chiefs are chosen we have not
learnt, but have reason to believe it is from an opinion of their
dexterity in war.

All the human race, which we have seen here, appear to live
chiefly on what the sea affords, and consequently we find the
sea-coast more fully inhabited than the interior, or that part of
the country which we have had an opportunity of visiting more
remote from the sea. The men fish with a spear, or fish-gig, in
the use of which, it is apparent they are very dextrous. The
fish-gig is in length something more than the war lance, but they
can, according to the depth of water, increase its length, by a
variety of joints; some have one, some two, three, or four
prongs, pointed and barbed with a fish, or other animal's bone.
We have sometimes, in fine weather, seen a man lying across a
canoe, with his face in the water, and his fish-gig immersed,
ready for darting: in this manner he lies motionless, and by his
face being a little under the surface, he can see the fish
distinctly; but were his eyes above, the tremulous motion of the
surface, occasioned by every light air of wind, would prevent his
sight: in this manner they strike at the fish with so much
certainty, that they seldom miss their aim.

The women are chiefly employed in the canoes, with lines and
hooks; the lines appear to be manufactured from the bark of
various trees which we found here, of a tough stringy nature, and
which, after being beaten between two stones for some time,
becomes very much like, and of the same colour as a quantity of
oakum, made from old rope: this they spin and twist into two
strands: in fact, I never saw a line with more than two. Their
hooks are commonly made from the inside, or mother of pearl, of
different shells; the talons of birds, such as those of hawks,
they sometimes make this use of; but the former are considered as

In this necessary employment of fishing, we frequently saw a
woman with two or three children in a miserable boat, the highest
part of which was not six inches above the surface of the water,
washing almost in the edge of a surf, which would frighten an old
seaman to come near, in a good and manageable vessel. The
youngest child, if very small, lies across the mother's lap, from
whence, although she is fully employed in fishing, it cannot
fall; for the boat being very shallow, she sits in the bottom,
with her knees up to her breast, and between her knees and body,
the child lies perfectly secure. The men also dive for
shell-fish, which they take off from the rocks under water; we
frequently saw them leap from a rock into the surf or broken
water, and remain a surprizing time under: when they rise to the
surface, whatever they have gathered they throw on shore, where a
person attends to receive it, and has a fire ready kindled for

They have no other method of dressing their food, than that of
broiling. Boiling water they have no conception of, as appeared
very lately; for when one of our boats was hauling the seine, one
of the sailors had put a pot on the fire ready to dress some
fish, and when the water was boiling, some fish were put in; but
several natives, who were near, and who wished to have more fish
than had been given them, seeing the fish put into the pot, and
no person watching them, a native put his hand into the boiling
water to take the fish out, and was of course scalded, and
exceedingly astonished.

With respect to religion, we have not been able yet to
discover that they have any thing like an object of adoration;
neither the sun, moon, nor stars seem to take up, or occupy more
of their attention, than they do that of any other of the animals
which inhabit this immense country.

Their dead they certainly burn, of which I have been well
convinced lately, when employed on the survey of a distant branch
of Port Jackson. Some of my boat's crew having, when on shore,
discovered a little from the water-side, upon a rising ground,
what they judged to be a fresh grave, I went up and ordered it to
be opened; when the earth was removed, we found a quantity of
white ashes, which appeared to have been but a very short time
deposited there: among the ashes we found part of a human
jaw-bone, and a small piece of the scull, which, although it had
been in the fire, was not so much injured, as to prevent our
distinguishing perfectly what it was. We put the ashes together
again and covered it up as before; the grave was not six inches
under the surface of the ground, but the earth was raised the
height of our graves in Europe.

In the months of March and April, we found the natives to
decrease in their numbers considerably; but we have no reason to
suppose that they retire back into the interior parts of the
country; for in all the excursions which have been made inland,
very few have been seen. The sea-coast, we have every reason at
present to believe, is the only part of this country which is
inhabited by the human race; the land seems to afford them but a
very scanty subsistence. We have seen them roast and chew the
fern-root. There is a small fruit here, about the size of a
cherry; it is yellow when half grown, and almost black when ripe;
it grows on a tree, which is not tall, but very full and bushy at
the top; of this fruit we have often seen them eat: it has a good
deal the taste of a fig, and the pulp, or inside, very much
resembles that fruit in appearance: but the sea is their
principal resource, and shell, and other fish, are their chief

They frequently attended our boats when hauling the seine, and
were very thankful to the officer for any fish he might give
them, as in cold weather the harbour is but thinly stocked;
indeed, when we arrived here it was full of fish, and we caught
as many as we could use, but in the winter they seem to quit our
neighbourhood. I had reason to think, that the people who
inhabited Port Jackson when we first entered it were gone farther
to the northward, and that it is their constant custom, as the
cold weather approaches, to seek a warmer climate, by following
the sun; and in this practice they have another very powerful
incitement, as well as the comfortable warmth of the sun, which
is, that the fish incline to the northward, as the cold weather
comes on: this conjecture seems, in some degree, to account for
Captain Cook's having seen so few natives while he lay in
Botany-bay, and that it appeared to him the seacoast was thinly
inhabited; for I think it was in April, or May, that he was

The animal described in the voyage of the Endeavour, called
the kangaroo, (but by the natives patagarang) we found in great
numbers; one was lately shot which weighed 140 pounds; its tail
was 40 inches long, and 17 in circumference at the root; it is
very well described in Phillip's Voyage: we ate the flesh with
great relish, and I think it good mutton, although not so
delicate as that which we sometimes find in Leadenhall-market.
The strength this animal has in its hind quarters is very great:
in its endeavours to escape from us, when surprized, it springs
from its hind legs, which are very long, and leaps at each bound
about six or eight yards, but does not appear ever in running to
let its fore-feet come near the ground; indeed they are so very
short, that it is not possible that the animal can use them in
running: they have vast strength also in their tail; it is, no
doubt, a principal part of their defence, when attacked; for with
it they can strike with prodigious force, I believe with
sufficent power to break the leg of a man; nor is it improbable
but that this great strength in the tail may assist them in
making those astonishing springs.

We for some time considered their tail as their chief defence,
but having of late hunted them with greyhounds very successfully,
we have had an opportunity of knowing that they use their claws
and teeth. The dog is much swifter than the kangaroo: the chase,
if in an open wood, (which is the place most frequented by that
animal,) is seldom more than eight or ten minutes, and if there
are more dogs than one, seldom so long. As soon as the hound
seizes him, he turns, and catching hold with the nails of his
fore-paws, he springs upon, and strikes at the dog with the claws
of his hind feet, which are wonderfully strong, and tears him to
such a degree, that it has frequently happened that we have been
under the necessity of carrying the dog home, from the severity
of his wounds: few of these animals have ever effected their
escape, after being seized by the dog, for they have generally
caught them by the throat, and there held them until they were
assisted, although many of them have very near lost their lives
in the struggle.

Some of the male kangaroos are of a very large size; I have
seen some, that when sitting on their haunches, were five feet
eight inches high, such an animal is too strong for a single dog,
and although he might be much wounded, would, without the dog had
assistance at hand, certainly kill him. We know that the native
dogs of this country hunt and kill the kangaroo; they may be more
fierce, but they do not appear to be so strong as our large
greyhound; there was one not long ago seen in pursuit of a
kangaroo, by a person who was employed in shooting, who mistaking
the two animals as they passed him to be of the kind he was
looking for, he fired at the hindmost and brought him down, but
when he came up it proved to be a native dog.

Of those dogs we have had many which were taken when young,
but never could cure them of their natural ferocity; although
well fed, they would at all times, but particularly in the dark,
fly at young pigs, chickens, or any small animal which they might
be able to conquer, and immediately kill, and generally eat them.
I had one which was a little puppy when caught, but,
notwithstanding I took much pains to correct and cure it of its
savageness, I found it took every opportunity, which it met with,
to snap off the head of a fowl, or worry a pig, and would do it
in defiance of correction. They are a very good natured animal
when domesticated, but I believe it to be impossible to cure that
savageness, which all I have seen seem to possess.

The opossum is also very numerous here, but it is not exactly
like the American opossum; it partakes a good deal of the
kangaroo in the strength of its tail and make of its fore-legs,
which are very short in proportion to the hind ones; like that
animal, it has the pouch, or false belly, for the safety of its
young in time of danger, and its colour is nearly the same, but
the fur is thicker and finer. There are several other animals of
a smaller size, down as low as the field-rat, which in some part
or other partakes of the kangaroo and opossum: we have caught
many rats with this pouch for carrying their young when pursued,
and the legs, claws, and tail of this rat are exactly like the

It would appear, from the great similarity in some part or
other of the different quadrupeds which we find here, that there
is a promiscuous intercourse between the different sexes of all
those different animals. The same observation might be made also
on the fishes of the sea, on the fowls of the air, and, I may
add, the trees of the forest. It was wonderful to see what a vast
variety of fish were caught, which, in some part or other,
partake of the shark: it is no uncommon thing to see a skait's
head and shoulders to the hind part of a shark, or a shark's head
to the body of a large mullet, and sometimes to the flat body of
a sting-ray.

With respect to the feathered tribe, the parrot prevails; we
have shot birds, with the head, neck, and bill of a parrot, and
with the same variety of the most beautiful plumage on those
parts for which that bird here is distinguished, and a tail and
body of a different make and colour, with long, streight, and
delicate made feet and legs; which is the very reverse of any
bird of the parrot kind. I have also seen a bird, with the legs
and feet of a parrot, the head and neck made and coloured like
the common sea-gull, and the wings and tail of a hawk. I have
likewise seen trees bearing three different kinds of leaves, and
frequently have found others, bearing the leaf of the gum-tree,
with the gum exuding from it, and covered with bark of a very
different kind.

There are a great variety of birds in this country; all those
of the parrot tribe, such as the macaw, cockatoo, lorey, green
parrot, and parroquets of different kinds and sizes, are cloathed
with the most beautiful plumage that can be conceived; it would
require the pencil of an able limner to give a stranger an idea
of them, for it is impossible by words to describe them*. The
common crow is found here in considerable numbers, but the sound
of their voice and manner of croaking, is very different from
those in Europe. There are also vast numbers of hawks, of various
sizes and colours. Here are likewise pigeons and quails, with a
great variety of smaller birds, but I have not found one with a
pleasing note.

[* See very accurate representations, drawn from
nature, and described by that ingenious and able naturalist, John
Latham, Esq; in Phillip's Voyage.]

There have been several large birds seen since we arrived in
this port; they were supposed, by those who first saw them, to be
the ostrich, as they could not fly when pursued, but ran
exceedingly fast; so much so, that a very strong and fleet
greyhound could not come near them: one was shot, which gave us
an opportunity of a more close examination. Some were of opinion
that it was the emew, which I think is particularly described by
Dr. Goldsmith, from Linneus; others imagined it to be the
cassowary, but it far exceeds that bird in size; it was, when
standing, seven feet two inches, from its feet to the upper part
of its head; the only difference which I could perceive, between
this bird and the ostrich, was in its bill, which appeared to me
to be narrower at the point, and it has three toes, which I am
told is not the case with the ostrich: it has one characteristic,
by which it may be known, and which we thought very
extraordinary; this is, that two distinct feathers grew out from
every quill*. The flesh of this bird, although coarse, was
thought by us delicious meat; it had much the appearance, when
raw, of neck-beef; a party of five, myself included, dined on a
side-bone of it most sumptuously. The pot or spit received every
thing which we could catch or kill, and the common crow was
relished here as well as the barn-door fowl is in England.

[* See an elegant engraving of the Cassowary in
Phillip's Voyage.]

Of insects there are as great a variety here as of birds; the
scorpion, centipede, spider, ant, and many others; the ants are
of various sizes, from the smallest known in Europe, to the size
of near an inch long; some are black, some white, and others, of
the largest sort, reddish; those of this kind are really a
formidable little animal; if you tread near the nest, (which is
generally under ground, with various little passages or outlets)
and have disturbed them, they will sally forth in vast numbers,
attack their disturbers with astonishing courage, and even pursue
them to a considerable distance; and their bite is attended for a
time with a most acute pain. Some build their nests against a
tree, to the size of a large bee-hive; another kind raises little
mounts on the ground, of clay, to the height of four feet.

In speaking of the spider, it would be improper to be silent
upon the industry of this little creature; I call them little,
although, if compared with our common spider, they are very
large; they spread their web in the woods between trees,
generally to a distance of twelve or fourteen yards, and weave
them so very strong, that it requires considerable force to break
them. I have seen the silk of which the web is composed, wound
off into a ball, and think it equal to any I ever saw in the same
state from the silk worm; it is of the same colour, a pale
yellow, or straw colour. None of the gentlemen employed here have
as yet made any particular observations upon the manner in which
this animal is produced, or how they prepare their silk. I have
found upon bushes, on which the web has been hanging in clusters,
a thin shell, something like that wherein the silk-worm prepares
its silk, but of this shape, [The image is included in the HTML
version] and, upon opening them, I have seen a quantity of this silk
within, in which a spider was found wrapped up.

Of reptiles, there are snakes from the smallest size known in
England, to the length of eleven feet, and about as thick as a
man's wrist; and many lizards of different kinds and sizes.

The natives we have seen accompanied by dogs, which appear to
be domesticated the same as ours in Europe; they are of the wolf
kind, and of a reddish colour.

When speaking of birds, I should have mentioned, that some of
our gentlemen have seen in the lagoons and swamps which they have
fallen in with, in their shooting excursions, the black swan,
which is said to have been found in some parts of the west coast
of this country; the extremity of their wings are described to be
white, and all the rest of the plumage black. I have seen one
which has been shot. It answered the above description as to
colour, but the bill was a pale pink or crimson; it was about the
size of a common white swan, and was good meat.

The vast variety of beautiful plants and flowers, which are to
be found in this country, may hereafter afford much entertainment
to the curious in the science of botany; but I am wholly
unqualified to describe the different sorts with which we find
the woods to abound; we sometimes met with a little wild spinach,
parsly, and sorrel, but in too small quantities to expect it to
be of any advantage to the seamen. The flax plant has been found
here in several places, but not in any considerable quantity; I
have heard it reckoned a good kind, but in that also I must
confess my ignorance.

In the infancy of a distant settlement, the want of timber to
carry on the necessary buildings, will be allowed to be a very
great inconvenience; but we were here in the middle of a wood, in
which were trees from the size of a man's arm to twenty-eight
feet in circumference; but they were either so very crooked, so
rent, or so very rotten in the heart, that we could scarcely get
one sound or serviceable in a dozen; and what in our situation
was a very great misfortune, we had not as yet found one piece of
timber that would float in water. The wood is so exceedingly
heavy, that when a large tree was cut down, in order to clear a
piece of ground, it would sometimes take a party of men three or
four days to dispose of it, or move it from the place.

We arrived in this country in the end of January, 1788; the
weather was then very fine, though warm; the sea and land breezes
pretty regular, and Farenheit's thermometer was from 72° to

In February, the weather was sultry, with lightning, thunder,
and heavy rain; this sort of weather continued for a fortnight,
with few and very short intervals of fair weather; a flash of
lightning fell one night near the camp, and struck a tree near to
the post of a centinel, who was much hurt by it; the tree was
greatly rent, and there being at the foot of it a pen in which
were a sew pigs and sheep, they were all killed. Towards the
latter end of the month the weather was more settled, little
thunder, lightning, or rain, and the thermometer from 65° to

In the middle of this month, Lieutenant King of the Sirius, a
master's mate, and surgeon's mate, with four other men from the
ship, together with a few men and women convicts, embarked on
board the Supply armed tender, and she sailed with them for
Norfolk Island. In the passage thither, they fell in with a small
island which had not before been discovered; it lies in latitude
31° 36' south, and about 140 leagues to the eastward of this
coast; lieutenant Ball named it Lord Howe's Island. After having
landed the party intended to remain on Norfolk Island, with their
provisions and stores, Mr. Ball, in his return to Port Jackson,
called at Lord Howe's Island, in order to examine it more
particularly. He found anchorage on the west side of it, but the
bottom was coral rock. He landed, with his boat, within a reef,
and caught a number of excellent turtle upon a sandy beach: this
island also abounded with a variety of birds, which were so
unaccustomed to being disturbed, that the seamen came near enough
to knock down as many as they wanted with sticks.

In March, the weather was variable, sometimes strong gales
from the southward and south-east, with moist and hazy weather; a
great sea rolling in upon the coast. This month the marines were
ordered to clear ground and begin to build huts and barracks for
the winter; the convicts were also directed to employ certain
hours in the same necessary work for themselves. The mornings and
evenings were now rather cold; the thermometer from 60° to

In the month of April the weather was much the same as in
March; rather variable; a few days of cloudy weather with rain,
which generally fell in the night, and southerly and south-east
winds; but when the wind shifted to the westward or north-west,
the weather became fair and pleasant, and this weather was
frequently attended with sea and land breezes; the mornings and
evenings cold, and the middle of the day (if calm) very hot.
Thermometer from 68° to 72°.

The beginning of this month much bad weather; strong gales
from south to south-east, generally attended with rain in the
night; middle of the month fair and settled weather for several
days together, with a regular land and sea wind; towards the end
of the month the wind prevailed between south-west and
south-east, weather unsettled, showers of rain commonly in the
night; in the day little wind and warm weather. The thermometer
from 56° to 67°.

The beginning of June fair and pleasant weather, attended with
land and sea breezes; from the middle to the latter end, stormy
weather with much rain, wind chiefly from the south-east quarter.
The thermometer from 52° to 62°.

This month begun as the last ended, with blustering, rainy
weather; the middle was less windy, though cloudy and dull, with
frequent showers; the end of the month fair weather with westerly
winds. The thermometer from 52° to 63°.

This month commenced with cloudy weather and much rain,
southerly and south-east winds; the middle moderate and fair with
variable winds; the latter part was fair weather with light and
variable winds. The thermometer from 56° to 72°.

From the beginning till about the 20th, the weather was cloudy
with frequent showers of rain; but the latter part had strong
gales from the south-east quarter.

I was furnished with the following months by Lieutenant
William Dawes, of the marines.

The first and middle parts of this month the weather was
moderate and cloudy, and the wind very variable, frequent thunder
and lightning with showers of rain; the latter part was clear,
fine weather in general, with distant thunder and lightning, and
a few violent squalls of wind, which happened generally in the
night. The Thermometer from 49° to 81°.

In the beginning of this month the weather was generally
cloudy and hazy, the wind from the eastward; the middle part also
cloudy with frequent light showers of rain, thunder, and
lightning, sometimes distant and sometimes very heavy; latter
part, cloudy and hazy, with violent thunder, lightning, and rain;
wind from north-east to south-east; and the thermometer from
53° to 93°.

The first part was cloudy and hazy, with some thunder,
attended with light rain; middle, same kind of weather, with
frequent and light showers of rain; latter part, moderate weather
with a good deal of rain; the wind chiefly from the northward and
eastward. The thermometer from 53° to 102°.

During the whole of this month, the weather was cloudy and
hazy, with light showers of rain, and sometimes distant thunder;
the wind chiefly, though from the north-east and south-east, and
during the night, westerly, or land winds. The thermometer from
63° to 112°.

The thermometer, as marked for these last four months, was in
the open air occasionally exposed to the sun and wind.

I judged it better, while mentioning the weather during the
different months, to go on with that by itself, and not to mix it
with any other occurrences: I must, therefore, return back as far
as the beginning of March, at which time, as the two French ships
already spoken of were preparing to leave this coast, I
determined to visit Monsieur de la Perouse before he should
depart; I accordingly, with a few other officers, sailed round to
Botany-Bay, in the Sirius's long-boat. We staid two days on board
the Bussole, and were most hospitably and politely entertained,
and very much pressed to pass a longer time with them.

When I took my leave the weather proved too stormy to be able
to get along the coast in an open boat; I therefore left the
long-boat on board the Bussole, took my gun, and, with another
officer and two seamen, travelled through the woods and swamps,
of which there were many in our route. We directed our course by
a pocket compass, which led us within a mile of our own
encampment; the distance from Botany-Bay to Port Jackson, across
the land, and near the sea shore, is, in a direct line, eight or
nine miles; and the country about two miles to the southward of
Port Jackson abounds with high trees, and little or no underwood;
but between that and Botany-Bay, it is all thick, low woods or
shrubberies, barren heaths, and swamps; the land near the sea,
although covered in many places with wood, is rocky from the
water-side to the very summit of the hills.

Whilst walking on shore with the officers of the French ships
at Botany-Bay, I was shown by them a little mount upon the north
shore, which they had discovered, and thought a curiosity; it was
quite rocky on the top, the stones were all standing
perpendicularly on their ends, and were in long, but narrow
pieces; some of three, four, or five sides, exactly (in
miniature) resembling the Giants Causeway in the north of

The Bussole and Astrolabe sailed from Botany-Bay the 11th of

As I have mentioned something of the country between
Botany-Bay and Port Jackson, I must farther observe, that in the
neighbourhood of Sydney Cove, which is that part of this harbour
in which Governor Phillip has fixed his residence, there are many
spots of tolerably good land, but they are in general of but
small extent; exclusive of those particular spots, it is rather a
poor steril soil, full of stones; but near, and at the head of
the harbour, there is a very considerable extent of tolerable
land, and which may be cultivated without waiting for its being
cleared of wood; for the trees stand very wide of each other, and
have no underwood: in short, the woods on the spot I am speaking
of resemble a deer park, as much as if they had been intended for
such a purpose; but the soil appears to me to be rather sandy and
shallow, and will require much manure to improve it, which is
here a very scarce article; however, there are people whose
judgment may probably be better than mine, that think it good
land; I confess that farming has never made any part of my
studies. The grass upon it is about three feet high, very close
and thick; probably, farther back there may be very extensive
tracts of this kind of country, but we, as yet, had no time to
make very distant excursions into the interior parts of this new

On the 6th of May, three of the transports, which were
chartered by the East-India Company to load tea at China, sailed
from this port; the Supply also sailed for Lord Howe Island.

The carpenter of the Sirius, with his crew, had been
constantly employed on shore since our arrival in this country,
assisting in erecting store-houses, and other necessary
buildings. The ship's company were variously employed out of the
ship upon the business of the settlement. The scurvy had, for
some time past, appeared more amongst the seamen, marines, and
convicts, than when on board the ships, which will appear
strange, after having enjoyed the advantage of being much upon
the land, and eating various vegetable productions; but this the
gentlemen of the faculty say is no uncommon thing, particularly
when men are under the necessity of continuing the same salt
diet; setting aside this, and a few with dysenteries, the health
of the people cannot be said to be bad.

About the middle of this month a convalescent, who had been
sent from the hospital to gather wild spinach, or other greens,
was murdered by the natives; there were two of them together, the
one escaped, but was wounded, the other has never been heard of
since; but as some part of his cloaths were found which were
bloody, and had been pierced by a spear, it was concluded he had
been killed. A short time after this accident, a report
prevailed, that part of the bones of a man had been found near a
fire by which a party of the natives had been regaling
themselves; this report gave rise to a conjecture, that as this
man had been killed near this place, the people who had committed
the murder had certainly ate him.

Whether any of the natives of this country are cannibals is
yet a matter on which we cannot speak positively; but the murder
of two other men, as related immediately after this, seems to
contradict the conjecture that they are cannibals, as the men
were left on the spot where they were killed: however, the
following circumstance may, in some degree, incline us to
believe, that although the natives in general do not eat human
flesh, yet that that horrid custom is sometimes practised. I was
one day present when two native children were interrogated on the
subject of the quarrels of their countrymen; they were
particularly asked, what the different chiefs did with those they
killed; they mentioned some who burnt and buried the slain, but
they also particularly named one who ate those he killed.

Some short time after the before-mentioned accident happened,
two convicts who had been employed at a little distance up the
harbour, in cutting rushes for thatching, were found murdered by
the natives. It has been strongly suspected that these people had
engaged in some dispute or quarrel with them, and as they had
hatchets and bill-hooks with them, it is believed they might have
been rash enough to use violence with some of the natives, who
had, no doubt, been numerous there; be that as it might, the
officer who went to look after those unfortunate men, and to see
what work they had done, after hailing some time for them without
any reply, set his boat's crew upon the search, who, having found
a considerable quantity of blood near their tent, suspected what
they soon found to be the case: for they discovered the two men
immediately after, lying in different places, both dead; the one
had his brains beat out with a club or stone, besides several
other wounds; the other had many wounds, and part of a spear,
which had been broke, sticking quite through his body. Their
tent, provisions, and cloaths remained, but most of the tools
were taken away.

The 4th of June being the birth-day of our much beloved
sovereign, and the first we had seen in this most distant part of
his dominions, it was celebrated by all ranks with every possible
demonstration of loyalty, and concluded with the utmost
chearfulness and good order.

Having at this time of the year much bad weather, and very
heavy gales of wind, I must observe, that I had, as well as many
others, believed till now, that the gales had never blown upon
the coast in such a direction, but that a ship, on being close in
with the land when such a gale commenced, might gain an offing on
one tack or the other; but we now found, that those gales are as
variable in their direction upon this coast as any other during
the winter season: I would, therefore, recommend it to ships
bound to any port here to the southward of latitude 30° 00'
south, at this time of the year to get in or near the parallel of
their port, before they attempt to make the land; as in that
case, if a gale from the eastward should take them when near the
land, they would have their port under their lee, for it would be
next to an impossibility for a ship to keep off the land with
such a sea as these gales occasion.

In the month of July, our scorbutic patients seemed to be
rather worse; the want of a little fresh food for the sick was
very much felt, and fish at this time were very scarce: such of
the natives as we met seemed to be in a miserable and starving
condition from that scarcity. We frequently fell in with families
living in the hollow part of the rocks by the sea-side, where
they eagerly watched every opportunity of moderate weather to
provide shell or other fish for their present subsistence: if a
bird was shot, and thrown to them, they would immediately pluck
off the feathers, put it upon the fire without taking out the
intestines, and eat the whole; sometimes they did not pull off
the feathers, and, if it were a small bird, did not even throw
the bones away.

This season, in which fish is so scarce, subjects these poor
creatures to great distress, at least we were apt to believe so;
they were frequently found gathering a kind of root in the woods,
which they broiled on the fire, then beat it between two stones
until it was quite soft; this they chew until they have extracted
all the nutritive part, and afterwards throw it away. This root
appears to be a species of the orchis, or has much of its
nutritive quality.

Large fires were frequently seen in this season upon some of
the hills, and we had been much at a loss to know for what
purpose they were so frequently lighted, at this time of the
year; but in going down the harbour one day, with an intention to
get upon the North Head, for the purpose of ascertaining its
exact latitude, we observed on a hill near that point, one of
those large fires, which (with the first lieutenant and surgeon
who were with me) we determined to visit; and as we thought it
might probably be some funeral ceremony, which we were very
desirous of seeing, we took our guns, and intended getting up
amongst them unperceived; but when we arrived at the place, to
our very great disappointment, not a person was to be seen: I
believe there were not less than three or four acres of ground
all in a blaze; we then conjectured that these fires were made
for the purpose of clearing the ground of the shrubs and
underwood, by which means they might with greater ease get at
those roots which appear to be a great part of their subsistence
during the winter. We had observed that they generally took the
advantage of windy weather for making such fires, which would of
course occasion their spreading over a greater extent of

On the 14th of July four transports, under the command of
Lieutenant Shortland, sailed for England; they intended going to
the northward, and passing through the streights of Macassar and
Sunda, the season being too early either to attempt going round
Van Diemen's land, and to endeavour to get to the westward by
that tract, or to go to the eastward by Cape Horn.

The 12th of August being the birth-day of His Royal Highness
the Prince of Wales, a salute of 21 guns was fired from the
Sirius and Supply, and the officers of the settlement and ships
dined with the governor, as on His Majesty's birth-day.

We began at this time to take equal altitudes for ascertaining
the exact rate of the time-keeper. On the 17th, the governor
directed two boats from the Sirius, with a proper officer in
each, to go up the harbour; one to take the north, the other the
south side; they were to enter every cove in their way up, in
order to ascertain, as exactly as possible, the number of canoes
and natives within the harbour of Port Jackson; for the same
purpose, two other boats went down the harbour; in one of which
the governor went, and I proceeded in the other; in the lower or
north part of the harbour there was a considerable number of
canoes, some of which were then employed in catching fish.

Upon my going round the coves, they all left their work and
pushed with great precipitation for the land, which convinced me
that they were women who were thus employed; as they had always
shown a desire, as much as possible, to avoid us. I did every
thing in my power to prevent their being alarmed, or in any
respect uneasy, by keeping at a distance from them, and making
every friendly signal I could, but to no purpose; for although
there was no other boat in company, they did not seem disposed to
trust us near them: there were many men upon the shore, who spoke
to us in their usual familiar and chearful manner, and invited us
with much apparent earnestness and friendship to come on shore,
which, however, I declined, in order to prosecute the business I
was engaged in; although I own I thought the counting them from
the boat was a very uncertain method of coming at their

It blew fresh, and there was so much surf on shore, that it
was impossible to land where the people stood, without the danger
of hurting the boat, otherwise it is probable that I, together
with Lieutenant George Johnston, of the marines, who was in the
boat with me, should have landed: we went as near as possible to
the shore, I believe within twenty yards, and whilst in friendly
conversation with them, and lying upon our oars, we observed one
of them place his lance upon the throwing-stick, but had no idea
that he meant to throw it amongst us, after so friendly an
invitation as we had received from them to land: but I was now
convinced, that they only wanted us within their reach, no doubt
from an opinion that we had no fire arms, as they did not appear:
as soon as they thought that they could throw it with effect, a
lance was discharged, which passed about six feet over our heads;
I saw the lance in the air, and immediately snatched up my gun,
which, as they run off the moment they had shown their hostile
intention, I was determined to discharge amongst them, and should
probably have killed one of their number, if my gun had not
missed fire. Mr. Johnston, upon my gun having missed, immediately
discharged his into the bushes in which they had sheltered
themselves from our sight; but as it was charged only with small
shot, I think it could not have hurt any of them.

What reason they could have had for this treacherous kind of
conduct, I am wholly at a loss to guess, for nothing hostile or
mischievous had appeared on our part; on the contrary, the most
friendly disposition had been manifested in every thing we said
or did; even when their women took the alarm upon our approach, I
spoke to them, and made such signs of friendship as we judged
they would understand, and went round at a distance to prevent
their apprehension of any insult. It was perhaps fortunate that
my gun did not go off; as I was so displeased at their treachery,
that it is highly probable I might have shot one of them.

On comparing the accounts, which were taken by the different
boats employed upon this business, it appeared that we had
seen--Canoes 67--men 94--women 34--children 9,--which is by no
means a just account of the numbers who, at that time, lived in
and about this harbour; for I have since seen in one part of the
harbour more than that number.

On the 27th, the Supply tender arrived from Norfolk Island,
where she had been with a quantity of provisions and stores for
that settlement; she brought the melancholy account of the loss
of Mr. James Cunningham, and four others, who were drowned in the
surf, by their boat being overset in landing the stores from the
Supply; so exceedingly difficult of access is the shore of that
island, from an almost continual surf breaking on a reef which
encompasses the coast on that part where the settlement is

In this month a report prevailed in the settlement, which
seemed at first to gain some credit:--It was, that one
-Dailey_, a convict, had discovered a piece of ground,
wherein he had found a considerable quantity of a yellow coloured
ore, which, upon its being tried, appeared to have a certain
proportion of gold in it; at this time the governor happened to
be absent on a short excursion into the country, to the
northward: the report having been made to the
lieutenant-governor, he, of course, examined the man, who had
made the discovery, and who told his story with so much
plausibility, that it was not doubted but an ore of some kind had
been sound.

Dailey was interrogated as to the place, but this he refused
to give any information of until the return of the governor, to
whom he would give a full account of the discovery, provided he
would grant him what the discoverer considered as but a small
compensation for so valuable an acquisition; this reward was, (as
there were ships upon the point of sailing) his own and a
particular woman convict's enlargement, and a passage in one of
the ships to England, together with a specified sum of money,
which I do not now recollect. The lieutenant-governor insisted,
that as he had already mentioned the discovery he had made, he
should also show what part of the country it was in, otherwise he
might expect punishment, for daring to impose upon those officers
to whom he had related this business: the fear of punishment
disposed him to incline a little, though apparently with much
reluctance; he proposed to the lieutenant-governor, that an
officer should be sent down the harbour with him, for the mine,
which, he said, was in the lower part of the harbour, and near
the sea shore, and he would show the place to the officer.

Accordingly, an officer, with a corporal and two or three
private soldiers were sent with him; he landed where he said the
walk would be but short, and they entered the wood in their way
to the mine; soon after they got among the bushes, he applied for
permission to go to one side for a minute upon some necessary
occasion, which was granted him; the officer continued there some
hours without seeing the discoverer again, who, immediately on
getting out of his sight, had pushed off for the camp by land,
for he knew the road very well, and he had cunning enough to
persuade the officer to send the boat away as soon as they had
landed, as he supposed he would not choose to quit the place
until a good guard came down; for which purpose, the officer was
to have dispatched a man by land, as soon as he arrived at the
place, and was satisfied that it merited attention.

The convict arrived in camp pretty early in the afternoon, and
informed the lieutenant-governor, that he had left the officer
who went down with him in full possession of the gold mine; he
then got a few things out of his own tent, and disappeared; the
party, after waiting for some hours hooping and searching through
the woods for the cheat, left their stations and marched round to
the camp, where they arrived at dusk, heartily tired, and not a
little chagrined at the trick the villain had played them. The
want of provisions soon brought him from his concealment, and a
severe punishment was the necessary consequence of this
imposition: however, he still gave out, that he had made the
discovery which he before had mentioned, and that his reasons for
quitting the officer who went with him was, that he thought, if
he gave the information to the governor himself, he should
certainly get what he had asked.

When the governor returned, another officer was sent with him,
although every person now believed that there was no truth in
what he had hitherto reported. This officer informed him, in
going down in the boat, that he would not suffer him to go three
yards from him when landed, and that he would certainly shoot him
if he attempted to run from him; for which purpose he showed him,
that he was loading his gun with ball: this so terrified the
cheat, that he acknowledged he knew of no gold mine. He was then
interrogated respecting the ore which he had produced, and he
confessed he had filed down part of a yellow metal buckle, and
had mixed with it some gold filed off a guinea, all which had
been blended with some earth, and made hard. The man who tried
the ore was bred a silversmith, and upon separating the different
parts, he discovered that it contained a small quantity of gold:
the inventor was, of course, well punished for his trick.

[The observations which I made here, both for the latitude and
longitude, as well as those that were made by Lieutenant Bradley,
were the same as are inserted in the following tables.]
[The tablse are included in the HTML version]

Chapter IV


September 1788 to January 1789

The Sirius leaves Port Jackson.--Sails for the
Cape of Good Hope, by the Eastern Passage.--Falls in with many
large islands of ice.--Casts anchor at Robin's Island.--Tables of
the winds, weather, etc.-

In the month of September, Governor Phillip signified to me,
that it was his intention very soon to dispatch the Sirius to the
Cape of Good Hope, in order to purchase such quantity of
provisions as she might be capable of taking on board; and that
she might be made as light as possible for that purpose, he
desired I would land eight or ten of her guns and carriages, with
any other articles which I judged the ship could spare, for the
time she might be absent, and which might answer the purpose of
lightening the ship and the making of room.

In consequence of this order, eight guns, with their
carriages, and 24 rounds of shot for each gun, 20 half barrels of
powder, a spare anchor, and various other articles, were put on
shore at Sydney-cove: he also directed that I should leave the
ship's long-boat behind for the use of the settlement: this order
I confess I with reluctance obeyed, as the want of such a boat
has often been very severely felt; at the same time I was desired
to endeavour, on my arrival at the Cape, to purchase such a boat
for the settlement; and that written directions for that and
other purposes would be given me, when I received my final
instructions. Whilst upon this subject, I thought it a proper
opportunity to represent, that the Sirius was (except in the
carpenter's department,) perfectly ready for sea; but the
carpenter's crew, together with the carpenter of the ship
himself, having all been employed constantly on the business of
the settlement, since our arrival in this country, the ship had,
in consequence, been much neglected in that department; and as
she was soon to go to sea, it was highly necessary that those
people should be immediately sent on board to prepare her for a

We had, it is true, (upon my representing the absolute
necessity of having the ship's decks and sides caulked,) employed
an old man, the carpenter's yeoman, and a convict caulker, upon
the weather work of the ship; but that work, we had afterwards
reason to know, had not been so well executed as it might have
been, had the carpenter of the ship been permitted to stay on
board and attend so necessary a duty.

On Tuesday the 30th of September, I received my final orders,
and on Wednesday the Ist of October, unmoored the ship; the
governor and his family dined on board, and the wind being
easterly, we got under weigh and worked down to the lower
anchorage, where we came to, intending to take advantage of the
land wind in the morning to put to sea. The Golden Grove
store-ship also came down and anchored below, having on board
provisions and other stores, for Norfolk Island; she had also on
board a number of men and women convicts for that island; I think
twenty men and twelve women, together with six marines and three
seamen from the Sirius. In the evening, the governor and the
other gentlemen who were with him took their leave, and early in
the morning of the 2d, with the wind at south-west, we sailed out
of the harbour.

As I have not at any time, when speaking of this harbour,
given any description of it, or any directions for sailing into
it, I will take this opportunity.

The entrance of the harbour of Port Jackson has nothing in its
appearance, when six leagues from the land, by which it may be
known; your latitude will be your most infallible guide to this
harbour, or indeed to any other upon this coast. Steer in for the
land, which here lies about north by east half east and south by
west half west; keep as near as you can in latitude 33° 50'
south; the entrance, when you come near, will show itself, by the
heads on each side, which are high, steep, perpendicular cliffs,
of a light reddish colour; a ship bound in here, may run in
without fear between the heads, which are distant from each other
one mile and three quarters; there is nothing in the way, and the
shore pretty steep to on each side; the sea breaking, which it
does even in fine weather, will show any rocks which may lie near
under the shore. Steer in between the heads for a high bluff
point, which is called Middle Cape or Head, and is steep to,
until you open to the southward of you a very extensive arm of
the harbour.

If the wind be sufficiently large to run up this branch,
(which lies by compass south-west by south) on either shore, haul
round the east-most point of this arm, which is called the Inner
or South Head; it is a low rocky point; give it a birth of
two-thirds of a cable, and steer right in for the first sandy
cove above it, on the same side, called Camp Cove; keep at a
convenient, but small distance from the shore, in three and a
half and four fathoms, and observe, that right off this cove, and
near mid-channel, lies a patch of rocks, which appear at
half-tide; the shoaling toward them is gradual all round, upon a
smooth sandy bottom; it is rocky only about half a cable's length
from the dry part; you may keep near the upper point of Camp
Cove, in six and seven fathoms, and from thence steer directly up
the harbour. If you intend to go on the west shore, and to leave
this patch of rocks to the eastward of you, steer in as before
for Middle Head, and when within a cable's length of it, steer up
for the next point above it, on the same side, observing not to
make too free with that point, as it is rocky something more than
half a cable's length off. In this channel, which is much the
best, being rather broader than the eastern channel, you will
have four, four and a half, and five fathoms. When you are above
this second point, on the west shore, you may take what part of
the channel you please, or anchor wherever you wish, there being
nothing in the way from shore to shore.

The chart will certainly be the best guide in going in. If the
wind should be southerly, a stranger would not venture to work
up, but he might anchor with safety in the north part of the
harbour, which he will perceive by the chart, to which I would
refer him, rather than to a written description*.

[* For an accurate survey of this harbour, see a
Chart of Port Jackson, by Captain Hunter, in Phillip's Voyage,
4to. Edition.]

We were no sooner clear of the harbour, than the wind veered
more to the southward, and began to blow strong, with thick,
hazy, and dirty weather; and, what gave me privately a good deal
of concern, the carpenter reported, that the ship, which had
hitherto been very tight, now made water. This piece of
information, with such a voyage as the Sirius was now entered
upon, was no doubt very unwelcome; and more particularly so, when
it was considered, that the ship's company, from having been long
upon salt diet, without the advantage of any sort of vegetables,
were not so healthy and strong as a leaky ship might require.

I had often observed, that when this voyage, upon which we
were now entered, was the subject of conversation, in company
with the governor, he always spoke in favour of the passage round
Van Diemen's land, and to the westward; but when I signified a
wish that he would direct by what route I should endeavour to
perform the voyage, he declined that; and said that I should be
governed by circumstances, and that he should leave it to my
discretion and judgment; at the same time expressing his opinion
strongly in favour of the western route; which I confess I was a
little surprised at, as it had never yet been attempted, not even
by ships employed in that kind of service which leaves it in
their power to make experiments.

I do not say that the passage from Van Diemen's land to the
Cape of Good Hope, by the westward, is impracticable, as that
remains yet to be tried; but from my own experience of the
prevalence of strong westerly winds across that vast ocean, I am
inclined to think it must be a long and tedious voyage; and at
the same time so very uncertain, that the time for which the
Sirius was victualled, (for four months, and of some articles not
more than two weeks, for the number of men on board; having left
a considerable quantity of our provision for the use of the
settlement,) and the nature of the service she was going upon,
which was no doubt of considerable consequence to the colony, was
not an opportunity for trying such an experiment; as the
consequence of a disappointment would have been, that I must have
returned again to Port Jackson for a fresh supply of provisions,
and the season for another passage would have been too far
advanced. I therefore determined, judging from the experience of
those who had before made the eastern passage, to pass to the
southward of New Zealand and round Cape Horn.

We stood off to the eastward, determined as early as possible
to get an offing of fifty or sixty leagues; the wind continued to
the southward, with the same hazy and squally weather, until the
5th, when it shifted to south-south-east; by this time we were
about 70 leagues from the coast, which enabled us to tack and
stand to the south-west: with this change of wind from the
south-west to the south-east quarter, the same squally and
unsettled weather continued. The ship upon the larboard tack made
much more water than on the starboard, so much as to render it
necessary to pump her every two hours, to prevent too long a
spell; she made in general from ten to twelve inches in two

There was reason to conjecture, from this difference on the
opposite tacks, that the leak was somewhere about the starboard
bow, and near the surface of the water, and if it proved so, I
had a hope that we might, the first moderate weather, with smooth
water, be able to come at and stop it. I was the more sanguine in
this expectation, as the carpenter, in a few days after,
discovered it to be under the after part of the fore-channel, a
little below the surface of the water; and seemed to think it
proceeded from one of the butt-bolts being corroded by the
copper, which I now understood had never been taken off since the
ship's being first sheathed, which was now more than eight

On the 6th, the weather cleared up, and both Mr. Bradley and
myself had a few distances of the sun and moon, by which our
longitude was 157° 10' east, by the time-keeper 156° 55'
east, and by account 156° 17' east; the latitude 34° 49'
south; variation per Azimuth 11° 40' east. At noon, the wind
got round to east and east by north, with which I steered
south-south-east; still favouring our endeavours to get to the
southward; it next came to north-east and north, and in latitude
40° 33' south, it came to north-west, but the weather still
continued squally and unsettled. As the weather began now to be
rather cold, and as in the track I meant to prosecute my voyage
by I might expect to have it considerably colder, and
consequently the ship's company would require a shift of
cloathing, slops were served to all who stood in need of them.

On the 9th, we were near as far to the southward as Van
Diemen's Land, or South Cape of New Holland; and the wind being
apparently settled in the south-west quarter, I steered a course
for the south cape of New Zealand. From Port Jackson to Van
Diemen's Land we had run parallel to the coast, at the distance
of 60 leagues from it, and have not seen any thing; so that we
may venture to say, that there are no islands lie off that part
of the coast, at the above distance from it. On the afternoon of
this day (9th) we had several good setts of distances of the sun
and moon, by which our longitude was 157° 26' east, by the
time-keeper 157° 19' east, and by account 157° 48' east;
the latitude 43° 30' south; the thermometer was now 57°.

On the 12th, we passed the south cape of New Zealand, but the
weather being very hazy and squally, we did not attempt to make
it, but kept a degree and a half to the southward of it; here we
met with vast numbers of birds of various kinds, mostly aquatic,
such as albatrosses, pentada birds, divers, peterels, and a
variety of gulls; some of a kind I had not before seen during the
voyage, very large, of a dark brown or mouse colour; and another
sort not quite so large, with a white body, dark wings, and the
head of a light blue or lead colour: much sea-weed was also seen
here in very large patches.

We now had the wind fresh from the north-west quarter, with
frequent squalls, attended with rain, and the weather cold. We
found the variation of the compass 40 leagues south-south-east
from the south cape of New Zealand, to be 16° 54' east. Mr.
Worgan, the surgeon, having recommended the essence of malt to be
served at this time to the ship's company, a certain quantity of
wort was made every morning, and a pint served to each man.

On the 15th, by an observation of the moon's distance from the
star aquila, our longitude was 171° 16' east, the latitude
was 50° 45' south, and the variation of the compass 16°
20' east; longitude by the time-keeper 171° 32' east, and by
account 172° 10' east. From this time to the 22d, we had
light and variable winds, sometimes from the south and
south-east, and sometimes from the northward, with moist and hazy

On the 22d, the wind inclined from the westward, and the weather
became fair; we had this day a set of distances of the sun and moon,
which gave our longitude 182° 46' east, the time-keeper 182° 37' east,
and the account 184° 10' east; the latitude 51° 03' south; the variation
was now 13° 45' east, and the thermometer 48°. For three successive days
we had lunar observations, by which it appeared that the reckoning a
few days before had been more than a degree and a half to the
eastward of the observations and time-keeper; but by our last
distances of the sun and moon (26th) the ship was gaining on the
account; these differences seem wholly to proceed from the sea,
occasioned by the prevailing winds for the time; the easterly
variation was decreasing, being now only 11° 00' east, in
latitude 52° 42' south, and longitude 196° 11' east. We
now very frequently heard the divers in the night, and as often
saw them in the day; it is really wonderful how these birds get
from or to the land, at such an immense distance from it as from
800 to 1000 leagues: they undoubtedly lay their eggs, and hatch
them on shore, and yet we plainly perceived that those we met
were of the penguin kind, and could not fly: from the slow
progress such a bird can make in the water, it might be supposed
that it would take them many years (were instinct to point out
the direct and shortest course for them) before they could
possibly reach any land, unless there are islands in these seas,
and not far from our track, which have not yet been

I endeavoured, in sailing from New Zealand to Cape Horn, to
keep as much as possible in a parallel between the tracks of the
Resolution and Adventure; so that if any island lay between the
parallels in which these ships sailed, we might have a chance of
falling in with them. We have bad very variable weather for some
days past, with equally variable winds, and a confused jumble of
a sea, which the very frequent shifting of the wind

On the 2d of November, by a lunar observation, we were in
longitude 214° 27' east; the time-keeper gave 214° 19'
east, and by account 213° 02' east; the latitude 55° 18'
south, the variation was here 11° 00' east, and the height of
the thermometer was 50°. From the 2d to the 6th, we had the
winds from north by west to north-north-east: on the 6th and 7th,
we had very good observations for the longitude by the sun and
moon; the former gave 223° 57' east, and the latter 227°
58' east; the longitude by account was 226° 20' east, the
latitude 56° 12' south: the variation increased again, being
in this situation 12° 20' east, thermometer 46°.

From the 7th until the 17th, the weather was very variable,
and the wind very unsettled, between the south-east and
south-west quarters, attended with strong gales and dark hazy
weather, with frequent showers of snow and hail; the thermometer
was down at 42° in the cabin, where we sometimes had a fire,
but in the open air it was at 35°; the showers were commonly
accompanied with heavy gusts or squalls of wind. Notwithstanding
we were, with these winds from the southward, subject to snow and
hail, yet we frequently found that some of the gales which had
blown from the northward were attended with a more piercing
degree of cold. On the 18th, the weather became more moderate and
fair, and the wind shifted to west, with a moderate breeze: we
were now in longitude 261° 50' east, and latitude 55° 23'
south, and had 14° 43' east variation. On the 19th, we found
that the variation had increased, in a run to the eastward of 25
leagues, to 17° 30' east.

On the 22d, we had several good distances of the sun and moon,
and found our longitude to be at noon 280° 22' east, by the
time-keeper 281° 08' east, and by account 283° 09' east;
the latitude was 57° 15' south; the variation of the compass
increased very fast as we approached Cape Horn, being now 20°
30' east; and on the next day (23d) 22° 30' east; but a table
of the variation will be inserted at the end of the chapter,
where it will appear at one view.

We now very frequently fell in with high islands of ice. On
the 24th, we had fresh gales with hazy and cold weather, and met
so many ice islands, that we were frequently obliged to alter our
course to avoid them. On the 25th, we had strong gales with very
heavy and frequent squalls: as we were now drawing near Cape
Horn, and in all the charts of Terra del Fuego which I had seen,
there is an island laid down, bearing from the Cape about
south-south-west, and called Diego Ramirez, distant from the land
ten or twelve leagues; and as I do not find that the existence of
such an island has ever been contradicted by any person who has
sailed round this promontory, I determined to keep as near as
possible in its parallel, the wind being from west-north-west to
west-south-west, and the weather rather hazy; if I should make
it, I could pass either within or without, as might be
convenient; and it would be as good a land-fall as the Cape
itself, as, in case the wind should incline to the southward, we
should have offing enough to clear the land, which, to us who
were upon a service that would not admit of any loss of time, was
of consequence.

At noon on the 26th, we had a good meridian observation, and
were exactly in the parallel of Diego Ramirez; and at eight A. M.
an opportunity offered, for about an hour, for taking a set of
distances of the sun and moon, of which both Mr. Bradley and myself
availed ourselves; the result of which was (taking the mean of
both observations, which agreed within a few miles) 292° 38'
east, at the time of observation; so that we must then have been
very near the place in which this island is laid down, for we
could rely upon the observations: but as nothing appeared, we
hauled in for the land, the looming of which we frequently saw,
but the heavy black squalls which were constantly gathering upon
it, rendered it too indistinct to be able to determine any
particular point.

At this time several long strings of wild ducks flew past the
ship: in the evening the weather cleared a little in the horizon,
and we set the extremes of Terra del Fuego from north by west to
west-north-west, distant about 10 leagues. We continued our
course north-east, and I think we may safely venture to
determine, that there is no island so situated from Cape Horn as
this Diego Ramirez is said to be.

For several days before we made the land, and every day after
we left it, until the 27th, we fell in with a great number of
very high ice islands. Here also we met with divers and seals. We
had got but a very small distance to the eastward of the cape,
when the winds inclined to the northward, and from that to the
north-east, and blew a fresh gale.

From the 27th of November until the 12th of December, we had
the wind constantly in the north-east quarter, which I believe to
be rather uncommon near Cape Horn for such a length of time; as
ships in general, that are bound into the south sea, find it
rather tedious getting to the westward round this cape.

The ship's company now began to show much disposition to the
scurvy, and what made it more distressing, we had nothing in the
ship with which we could hope to check the progress of that
destructive disease, except a little essence of malt, that we
continued to serve to the ship's company. We had only to hope for
a speedy passage to the Cape of Good Hope, where we should,
without a doubt, with the good things which were to be had there,
be able to re-instate their health perfectly: I was so far from
being surprised at this appearance of the scurvy amongst the
company of the Sirius, so soon after leaving her port, that it
was with me rather a matter of wonder that it had not shown
itself sooner; and so it must be with every person who considers
how they had lived since we left the Cape outward bound; during
that time (about 13 or 14 months) they had not tasted a bit of
fresh provisions of any kind, nor had they touched a single blade
of vegetables.

We began now to be subject to hazy moist weather, with
frequent very thick fogs; the latitude 55° 30' south, and
longitude 306° 00' east; the weather was very cold, and very
high islands of ice were seen in every quarter, some of a
prodigious size: for fourteen days after we got to the eastward
of Cape Horn, we were beating to the north-east, anxious to get
so far to the northward as to feel the influence of the summer
sun, by which it was to be hoped and expected our scorbutic
patients might be much relieved. In latitude 52° 30' south,
and longitude 318° 20' east, the wind inclined to the
southward of east, with hazy moist weather, and we steered to the
north-east. We found many large whales here; they seemed to go in
droves of from five and six to fifteen and twenty together,
spouting within a cable's length of the ship, and sometimes so
near that it would have been no difficult matter to harpoon them
from the fore part of the ship as they passed under the bows.

On the 12th of December, Henry Fitz-Gerald, a feaman, departed
this life; he was troubled with a disease in his lungs, but the
scurvy was his principal malady.

On the 13th, in the morning, we passed one of the largest
ice-islands we had seen; we judged it not less than three miles
in length, and its perpendicular height we supposed to be 350

In latitude 51° 33' south, and longitude 321° 00'
east, the wind seemed set in at south-west, and blew a fresh
steady gale, frequently attended with showers of snow or hail;
the variation of the compass decreased fast, as will appear in
the table annexed. On the 16th the wind shifted suddenly to the
north-west quarter, and blew a steady gale. On the 19th, it blew
very strong from west-north-west, with hazy weather, and frequent
showers of rain, which again changed the wind to the south-west
quarter, and the weather, as usual upon those changes, became
fair and pleasant.

We now seemed to have got out from among the ice-islands, with
which, from South Georgia to the latitude of 46° south, this
ocean seems at this season of the year to be overspread. In
latitude 44° 00' south, we saw the last piece of ice, and in
the whole, we had been twenty-eight days among the ice, and
sailed a distance of 800 leagues. We had run for several days
together, at the rate of from 50 to 60 leagues in the 24 hours,
in a north-east direction; and had passed through a lane or
street, if it may be so called, of ice-islands, the whole of that
distance: in general they were from the size of a country church,
to the magnitude of one, two and three miles in circumference,
and proportionably high.

Were it not that at this season of the year we had in such
high latitudes very short nights, and scarcely an hour which
could be called dark; it would certainly be attended with
considerable danger to run in the night, the ice islands were in
such vast numbers; indeed, we seldom sailed more than three or
four miles, without having several upon each beam. I think the
direction, in which those pieces of ice seemed to have been
driven, is a strong proof of the prevalence of south-west winds
in this part of the ocean. It is highly probable that they had
been formed upon the coast of South Georgia and Sandwich Land,
and separated from the ground early in the spring, or probably in
a gale of wind during the winter. Many of them were half black,
apparently with earth from the land to which they had adhered, or
else, with mud from the bottom on which they had lain: for it is
well known, that ice-islands, after having been driven about at
sea for a length of time, become so light and spungy in that part
which has been immersed in the water, that the upper part becomes
heavier, and thereby they frequently overset, and may, by such a
change, show some part of the ground on which they had rested.
Others had large and distinct portions of them thoroughly tinged
with a beautiful sea-green, or bright verdigrease colour.

In latitude 45° 30' south, and longitude 342° 00'
east, the variation of the compass, which had decreased very
gradually, was only 00° 4' east. We carried on strong
westerly winds with us, which amply compensated for the northerly
and easterly gales which detained us so long between Cape Horn
and South Georgia; and it was exceedingly fortunate for us that
we were so favoured by the winds, for the ship's company were
falling down very fast with the scurvy; and as I have already
observed, we had nothing on board with which we could hope to
check its progress, much less to cure it.

Nothing certainly can promise so fair to effect so desireable
a purpose, as carrying a good stock of various vegetable acids in
every ship, but particularly in ships employed upon such services
as the Sirius was. The elexir of vitriol, hitherto allowed, and
-formerly considered_, not only as a preventive, but as a
cure, was found by no means to answer the purpose of the former,
far less of the latter. The vegetable acids, which might be
provided for the use of ships upon long voyages, I apprehend
would be found to occasion a very small additional expence, if
any; and I am convinced in the end would be found a considerable

Having on the 25th of December arrived upon the meridian of
Greenwich, from which we had sailed in an easterly direction, and
completed 360° of east longitude, and consequently gained 24
hours, I dropt 360° and repeated, Thursday, 25th

On the 30th, John Shine, a seaman, died of the scurvy.

On the 31st, I had a few sets of distances of the sun and  moon, by
which our longitude at noon was 17° 16' east; by Mr. Bradley,
it was 16° 58' east; the mean of both gave 17° 07' east,
and by the time-keeper it was 18° 10' east; and we had not
yet made the land; the latitude was 33° 48' south. This was a
proof that the time-keeper must have altered its rate since we
left Port Jackson; we had then determined it to be losing 4"-77.
This change of its rate, since we left Port Jackson, I had some
time suspected, and attributed it to the effects of the weather
we had off, and near, Cape Horn. This evening we made a short
trip off till midnight, when we tacked and stood for the land
again: Joseph Caldwell, a seaman, died of the scurvy. At
day-light we saw the land; the nearest, or that part which we
were a-breast of, was distant about four leagues, and the Table
Mountain bore south by east about nine or ten leagues; the wind,
for the last twenty-four hours, had been strong from the
southward, and we had, occasioned by there being too much of it,
fallen to leeward.

Nothing could have been more correct than our observations for
the longitude. The wind coming from the sea, we stood along shore
to the southward, and in the afternoon were a-breast of Robin's
Island, but could not fetch round the reef, and into Table

The weakly condition of that part of the ship's company, who
were able to do duty upon deck, and the very dejected state of
those who were confined to their beds, determined me, if
possible, to bring the ship to an anchor before night; as the
very idea of being in port, sometimes has an exceeding good
effect upon the spirits of people who are reduced low by the
scurvy; which was the case with a great many of our ship's
company; and indeed, a considerable number were in the last stage
of it.

After endeavouring in vain to weather the reef off the south
end of the island, I bore away, and ran round the north end, and
anchored within, right off the flag-staff and landing-place, in
nine fathoms water, coarse ground; the flag-staff bearing west,
and the south end of the island, just on with the Lyon's

[A Table of the winds and weather, etc. on a passage from the coast
of New South Walesto the Cape of Good Hope (by the route of Cape Horn)
in His Majesty's ship Sirius, in the months of October, November and
December, 1788.]
[An Account of Observations for finding the variation of the compass...]
[The tables are included in the HTML version]

Chapter V


January 1789 to May 1789

-Depart from Robin's Island, and anchor in Table
Bay.--The sick sent on shore.--Arrival of the Alexander
transport.--Provisions procured for the settlement at Port
Jackson.--Departure of the Sirius.--In great danger from a
violent tempest.--Arrives safe at Port Jackson.--Tables of the
winds, weather, variation of the compass,

As soon as the ship was anchored, we sent a boat with the
first lieutenant on shore to the island, for such news from
Europe as the commanding officer there might be able to give; I
wished also to know if Governor Van de Graaff was still at the
Cape, and if Colonel Gordon was still commander in chief of the
troops in garrison there.

The officer commanding at the island was exceedingly civil to
the lieutenant who went on shore, and gave him every information
he could; but it was unfortunate that the one could not speak a
word of English, nor the other understand a word of Dutch:
however, it was observed, that he wore a large orange cockade in
his hat, and although he could not converse, he made the officer
sufficiently understand, by broken expressions of half English
and half Dutch, that the English and Dutch were very good friends
again, and that the French had no connection at all with Holland:
from all which I conjectured, that some considerable changes had
taken place in the affairs of the republic, since our departure
from England, and that the Stadtholder had been reinstated in all
his rights.

On hearing what a long voyage we had come, the officer was so
kind as to send a basket of such fruit as his garden afforded;
which, (to make the dejected sick well assured we were really in
port,) were sent down and divided among them, for until then some
of them very much doubted.

In the morning of the 2d of January, with a fine breeze from
the northward, we got under way, and sailed up to Table Bay. I
had generally understood, that the depth of water between this
island and the anchorage in Table Bay, was so very considerable
as to be unsafe for anchorage, in case of being becalmed, or
otherwise not able to reach the proper anchoring ground. I was
the more inclined to believe that to be the case, from never
having seen the soundings laid down in any chart of this bay,
except where ships commonly anchor: I therefore, to ascertain
whether that were the case or not, determined to go up under an
easy sail, and to keep the lead going; the soundings were
regular, and the deepest water was 15 fathoms; the ground was
hard and probably not very clear, but still there is anchorage,
which I did not before know.

At ten o'clock in the morning, we anchored in Table Bay, in
seven and a half fathoms, and moored a cable each way. As soon as
the ship was secured, I sent an officer to wait on the governor,
and to inform him of the business I was come upon: he very
politely informed the officer, that there was great abundance of
every thing to be had, and that I had nothing to do but to
signify in writing the quantity of each article wanted, and
directions would be immediately given respecting it. His
excellency also took that opportunity of sending me information,
that he should in a few days, send a ship for Amsterdam; and,
that if I had any dispatches to forward, and would send them to
his house, he would answer for their being delivered into the
custody of the British ambassador, at the Hague, as far as the
safety of the ship could be depended on.

The governor also confirmed the political accounts we had
(though imperfectly,) received at the island: he sent me the
treaty of alliance formed between the Kings of Great-Britain and
Prussia, and also that between the States-General and these two
sovereigns, which was a very pleasing piece of intelligence.
Every person here, either military or civil, wore a mark of their
attachment to the Orange party and the old constitution; the
former by an orange cockade, the latter, by a bit of ribbon of
that colour, either at the breast, button-hole, or sleeve.

Immediately after our arrival, I directed that sick-quarters
should be provided for the sick, which was done; and the
invalids, to the number of forty, were landed under the care of
Mr. Worgan, the surgeon of the ship. Their expeditious recovery
was of much consequence to the service upon which I was at that
time employed; and it was also of consequence to that service,
that they should be perfectly recovered before they were taken on
board again; as we had yet a very long voyage to perform before
we could arrive at any port, after leaving the Cape. When we
arrived in this bay, we had just twelve men in each watch, and
half that number, from scorbutic contractions in their limbs,
were not able to go aloft.

Every person here, with whom any of the officers fell in
company, spoke of our voyage from the east coast of New Holland,
by Cape Horn, to the Cape of Good Hope, with great surprise, not
having touched at any port in our way, and having sailed that
distance in ninety-one days.

I was now very anxious to get some account of the transports,
which, under the command of Lieutenant Shortland, the agent, had
left Port Jackson on the 14th of July, 1788, and which I was
sorry to understand had not been in this bay: for I thought it
highly probable, that as their route was to the northward, by the
Molucca Islands and Batavia, they would certainly touch here in
their way home. It being now seven months since they sailed, I
was apprehensive for their safety; particularly when I considered
the very weakly condition of some of their crews, by the scurvy,
when they left us, and not a surgeon in any one of the ships.
This must be allowed to be very improper oeconomy in the owners
of those ships, when the extent of the voyage they had undertaken
is considered, together with the well known impossibility of
their being able to procure seamen, or any recruit of strength to
their ships companies, in that inhospitable and far distant part
of the world.

I cannot help here taking the liberty of saying, that it is
much to be lamented, when ships are hired for the service of
government, to perform such long and trying voyages to the health
of those employed in them, that it is not made a part of the
contract and practice, that they carry a surgeon; for I know
well, that seamen, when taken ill upon such long passages, are,
at the very idea of being without the assistance of a surgeon,
(although careless and void of thought at other times, when in
perfect health,) apt to give way to melancholy, and a total
dejection of spirits; and that many a valuable subject has been
lost to the country by such a trifling saving. Out of the nine
transports which were employed on this service, one only had a
surgeon; and that one, had she not been bound upon some other
service, after leaving Port Jackson, would in all probability
have been without one also.

On the 5th, a Dutch India ship arrived here from Rio de
Janeiro: by this ship I received information of the arrival at
that place of two vessels from the east coast of New Holland;
that they arrived singly, and in very great distress, from
sickness, and the death of many of their people; that the first
which arrived, had her name on her stern, (-Prince of Wales, of
London_;) from which circumstance, there could be no doubt of
its being one of our transports: the other vessel was also so
well described, that I knew it to be the Borrowdale store-ship.
The officers of this India ship observed farther, that they were
so weak, that had they not been boarded by boats without the
harbour, they had been unable to bring their vessels into

These ships, I apprehended, had parted company with Lieutenant
Shortland, soon after sailing from Port Jackson, and had then
determined to go to the eastward by Cape Horn; but they were
wrong in my opinion, (and I judge from my own experience,) after
passing Cape Horn, in preferring a port at Rio de Janeiro to the
Cape of Good Hope, which last place, I have no doubt, they would
have reached in less time, and with considerable less fatigue to
their sickly crews; beside the advantage of being able to procure
more seamen, if they were in want; which I apprehend they will
find much difficulty in obtaining at Rio de Janeiro.

As westerly winds are prevalent between Cape Horn and the Cape
of Good Hope, if it should so happen that these winds blow more
from the north-west than the south-west quarters, their progress
to the northward would be but slow along the coast of South
America; but from both these quarters it is fair, if bound over
to the coast of Africa: and farther, with respect to a passage to
Europe, they would have been more conveniently situated at the
Cape of Good Hope, than at Rio de Janeiro, for making that
passage with expedition; for at Rio you are within the limits of
the south-east trade, and upon that coast are consequently to
leeward; so that you may be obliged to stretch as far from thence
to the southward as the latitude of 30° 00' south, and
sometimes 32° 00' along that coast, before you can tack and
stand to the north-east, in order to be able to cross the equator
far enough to the eastward, to ensure a tolerable passage across
the north-east trade; but at the Cape, you are far to windward,
and steer to the northward with a large wind.

On the 19th, a small Dutch frigate arrived here from Batavia;
from which I learned, that Lieutenant Shortland had arrived at
that port with a single ship, about the beginning of December, in
a very distressed condition; that he had buried the greatest part
of the ship's company, and was assisted by the officers and
company of the above frigate to secure his vessel and hand the
sails, which he could not have done without assistance; and that
he had been reduced to the necessity, some time before he
arrived, to sink the other vessel which was in company with him,
for the purpose of manning one out of the remaining part of the
two ships companies; without which, he never could have reached
Batavia with either: for when he arrived there, he had only four
men out of the two crews, who were capable of standing on the
deck. I was now particularly anxious for the arrival of Mr.
Shortland at the Cape, that I might have something more authentic
than these reports to give Governor Phillip, on my return to Port

By altitudes taken for the time-keeper, since we had been
here, we found its error to be 1° 31' easterly, and
Brockbank's watch erred 3° 01' easterly also; from which I
conjecture, that the very cold weather which we experienced some
time before we reached, and for a considerable time after we
passed, Cape Horn, had affected the watch's going: when we made
Terra del Fuego, it appeared to be about 1° 00' to the
eastward. I made a present of a dog from New South Wales, to a
gentleman who came on board, and thought it a curiosity: it was
taken by many who visited the Sirius for a jackall, as it was
much of that make and colour.

On the 18th of February, to my no small satisfaction, (for I
was preparing to sail the next day,) Mr. Shortland arrived in the
Alexander transport. I was going off from the shore, when I
discovered the ship coming round Green Point; I rowed directly on
board, and his people were so happy to see their old friends in
Table-Bay, that they cheered us as we came alongside. I now
received from Mr. Shortland an exact confirmation of all the
intelligence which I had received concerning him from the
officers of the Dutch frigate. The two ships which I had
collected some accounts of from Rio de Janeiro, he told me, had
parted company with him two days after he left Port Jackson; and
that he was nineteen weeks and four days on his passage to

On the 20th of February, I sailed from Table-Bay, after having
taken on board twelve months provisions for the ship's company;
and, in addition, about six months flour for the whole
settlement; together with various stores for the colony, and many
private articles for the different officers, etc. etc. in
short, the ship's hold, between decks, every officer's apartment,
and all the store-rooms were completely filled.

During the time we lay in Table-Bay, I received many
civilities, indeed many marks of the most polite and friendly
attention from Governor Van de Graaf, Colonel Gordon, and many
other officers of this settlement.

Before we embarked any of the provisions, we heeled the ship,
to endeavour to stop the leak, which had kept the pumps so much
employed during the voyage, and which I mentioned before, I was
in hopes of being able, in fine weather, to get at, and stop at
sea; but, after several attempts, we found it impracticable: we
were now so fortunate as to get at it; it proceeded from an iron
bolt, which had been corroded by the copper, and by the working
of the ship had dropt out, and left a hole of more than an inch
in diameter. A wooden plug was put in, and covered again with
copper. But beside this leak, there were many other smaller
holes, which were occasioned by the decay of long spikenails with
which the skirting-board (which secures the upper edge of the
copper) had been fastened on, and had gone quite through the main
plank of the ship's bottom. All were closed, as far as we
examined, and the ship for the present made less water, but was
not so tight as formerly; it was therefore my intention, upon my
arrival at Port Jackson, to represent to Governor Phillip the
necessity there was to lighten and examine the ship some distance
below the wales; that such defects as we might find might be
remedied while they were trifling.

The time-keeper, which I have already mentioned to have had
upon our arrival here an error of 1° 31', seemed, during the
time we lay in Table-Bay, to have gradually recovered its
original rate, (viz. 4"-77,) it was now losing 4"-78; this served
to convince me of the justice of my conjecture, that it had been
considerably affected by the very cold weather we had near Cape

After we left the Cape of Good Hope, we had, for three weeks,
strong gales from the southward, with squally disagreeable
weather, which sometimes reduced our sails as low as courses; we
did not meet with westerly winds quite so soon as I expected, or
as we had done the last time we made this passage. In latitude
38° 30' and in the meridian of the Cape, we had, for two
days, a current to the northward of 44 miles each day; and in
latitude 40°, and longitude 22° east, we were, in two
days, set 68 miles to the southward, and by the watch, 60 miles
to the eastward, more than the log gave. In latitude 41° 50'
south, and longitude 28° 09' east, the wind shifted from the
southward to the north-north-east, and blew a very strong gale
for two days; it then settled in the north-west quarter.

At that time, being in latitude 43° 00' south, and
longitude 37° 30' east, we found the variation of the compass
had encreased as high as 32° 20' west, before we had reached
as much east longitude as we found that variation in last
passage; but we were now in a higher latitude, as will appear by
the variation table which is annexed at the end of this

On the 20th of March, having sprung the trussle trees of the
main-top-mast, we struck and unrigged them, and fitted new ones.
On the 22d, we had a very heavy gale of wind from
north-north-east and north, with a prodigious high broken sea;
our course (east-south-east) being at right angles to the wind,
we kept the ship in the trough of the sea, which occasioned our
shipping several heavy seas, and made me very apprehensive for
the safety of the boats and booms; I was therefore under the
necessity of laying the ship to, under a balanced mizzen, for
about four hours; when the wind shifting suddenly to north-west,
enabled me to bear away and set the reefed fore-sail.

It continued to blow very hard all night, and we shipt much
water, but the ship having a flush deck, no weight could lay on
it, the only danger was that of filling the boats; to prevent
which, I, after this gale, had them turned bottom up; the ship
now made about as much water as she did on the former passage.
The wind continued in the north-west quarter, and blew strong
until the 8th of April, when it inclined a little to the eastward
of north for two or three days, but it had not so much easting in
it as to be unfavourable for our course. On the 16th, we were in
latitude 44° 45' south, and in longitude 135° 30' east;
and at night we perceived the sea spread over with luminous
spots, resembling lanthorns floating on its surface; when nearly
about the same longitude on the last voyage we discovered the
same appearance upon the sea: this observation may have its use,
and serve as a hint for your being at no great distance from Van
Diemen's Land. On the 20th, we had a strong gale from
west-north-west to north-north-west, which suddenly moderated in
the night, and veered round to the westward, with a light air at
south-west by south, by which we were encouraged to make all the
sail possible; but we had no sooner got every thing set, than the
wind veered round to the southward, and began to blow; in a few
hours it increased to a very violent gale of wind.

We were now in latitude 44° 29' south, by account, and
longitude 144° 30' east, being so near Van Diemen's Land, and
so well to the southward as I supposed we were, I had no doubt of
being able to cross it, and, availing myself of this southerly
wind, to run along the coast to the northward, and reach Port
Jackson in a few days; but as we drew near the meridian of the
south cape, the gale increased to a mere tempest, attended with
thick hazy weather, and a most astonishing high sea; this brought
us under a reefed fore-sail, balanced mizzen, and the three storm

At day-light on the morning of the 21st, the fore, main, and
mizzen stay-sails were all split by the violence of the wind; by
this accident we were reduced to the reefed fore-sail and
balanced mizzen; and for some time we were under the necessity of
handing the fore-sail, the gale still continuing to increase
rather than abate; and inclining to the eastward of south, was in
our situation at this time particularly unfortunate: for we were
now so far advanced to the eastward as to hope that in a few
hours we should have been able to have made a fair wind of it, if
it had continued to the southward.

I still flattered myself, that we were so far to the
southward, as not to have a doubt of passing some distance to the
southward of Rock Swilley, and consequently at a sufficient
distance from the south cape, which is the southern point or
extremity of this promontory; for this rock, or ledge of rocks,
is not less than fifteen miles from the south cape, and we were
now about its meridian, both by the longitude carried on from the
last lunar observations, which were taken five days before, and
by our time-keeper, from which our situation had been determined
since these observations, as long as the sun was to be seen in
any part of the day: it now blew a most violent gale of wind,
with thick hazy weather.

It may not be improper here to observe, that three days had
now elapsed without a sight of the sun during the day, or a star
during the night, from which we could _exactly_ determine
our latitude; but as every allowance had been made for the
drifting of the ship to leeward, under a very low sail, and an
exceeding heavy sea, and for every other disadvantage attending
such a situation; there remained not a doubt with me, or any
officer on board, but that we were near half a degree to the
southward of the south cape, and as the distance from west to
east, across this promontory, is not more than a degree and a
half of longitude, or about twenty or twenty-two leagues in
distance, (that is, from the south-west cape to Tasman's Head) we
had every reason to think we were near round it; but at half past
three in the afternoon it cleared a little in the horizon, and we
saw the land bearing east; the haze was such that we could not
well guess the distance, but it was very near; on this we wore
the ship immediately, and stood to the westward.

The wind had now got to south-south-east, but continued to
blow with great violence, the ship upon this tack lying up
south-west, we set the reefed main-sail, and at half past six we
saw the land again, through the haze close under our lee bow, and
the sea breaking with prodigious force upon it it, was impossible
to weather it; therefore we wore the ship immediately, while
there was a chance of having room for doing so. I now found that
we were embayed, and the gale not in the least likely to abate,
and the sea running mountain high, with very thick weather, a
long dark night just coming on, and an unknown coast I may call
it, (for although it has been seen by several navigators, it is
not yet known) close under our lee; nothing was now left to be
done but to carry every yard of canvass the ship was capable of
bearing, and for every person on board to constantly keep the
deck, and attentively to look out under the lee for the land, and
as often as it might be discovered, to wear, and lay the ship's
head the other way: but as we knew not what bay, or part of the
coast we were upon, nor what dangerous ledges of rocks might be
detached some distance from the shore; and in our way, we had
every moment reason to fear that the next might, by the ship
striking, launch the whole of us into eternity.

Our situation was such that not a man could have escaped to
have told where the rest suffered: however, whatever might have
been the private feelings of each individual, I never saw orders
executed with more alacrity in any situation; every officer and
man took his station for the look-out; and, the ship being wore
to the eastward, notwithstanding the strength of the gale, the
close reefed fore and main top-sails were set over the reefed

Fortunately at this instant the wind favoured us near two
points, and the ship lay better up upon this tack, than her
course upon the other had promised, but still the weather was so
thick, the sea so high, the gale so strong, and so dead upon the
shore, that little hope could be entertained of our weathering
the land. We stood on to the eastward, and the ship, to my
astonishment, as well as to that of every person on board, bore
such a press of sail wonderfully. We had, about midnight, run
back the distance made from the first land we saw to the second,
and perceived, through the haze, the looming of that land under
our lee, nearly on the beam; this advantage we had gained by the
shifting of the wind two points. We now stood on, and I had hopes
that this might be the most projecting land; but at two in the
afternoon, as I was looking from the quarter deck very anxiously
to leeward, I observed the looming of a high and very steep point
of rocky land, and the sea foaming with frightful violence
against it. I made no mention of it; but just at that instant it
was discovered by the sailors stationed forward, and they called
out, "Land, close under our lee;" I replied it was very well, I
had seen it some time, and that as it was now upon our beam
(which it really was, for I discovered it through the main
shrouds) there could be no danger from it, we should soon pass
it: if this land had been seen a little sooner, the fear of not
being able to weather it might have occasioned our wearing, which
would have been unfortunate, as the weather just cleared up at a
time when we could see that no danger was to be apprehended from

The ship was at this time half buried in the sea by the press
of sail, since she was going through it (for she could not be
said to be going over it) at the rate of four knots.

We soon shot past this head, and from the course we had made,
I was convinced it was Tasman's Head, which is the eastern point
of a bay, of which the south cape is the western, and was called
by Tasman, _Storm-Bay_. The first land we had seen was
within the bay, on the east shore, not so far out as Tasman's
Head; and the western land, under which we wore at half past six,
was the south cape.

After passing Tasman's Head, we kept our wind still, and
carried sail, in order, if possible, to weather Maria's Islands,
which lay about six leagues to the north-east, for we had no
sooner got round the last head, than the wind headed us, and we
fell off from east by south to east by north; had this change
taken place a little sooner, it must have proved fatal to us.

At eight the next morning, we passed to the windward of
Maria's Islands, which, from the haziness of the weather, we did
not see until they were upon the lee quarter. If I had found it
impossible to have got round those islands, it was my intention
to have stood back to the westward, and have got sight of the
land, between Tasman's Head and Adventure-Bay; to have run along
the coast, close in, until I found the opening of that road, and
there to have depended upon our anchors.

In this trying situation, the ship being leaky, our pumps
during such a night were a distressing tax upon us; as they were
kept constantly at work.

I do not recollect to have heard of a more wonderful escape.
Every thing which depended upon us, I believe, was done; but it
would be the highest presumption and ingratitude to Divine
Providence, were we to attribute our preservation wholly to our
best endeavours: his interference in our favour was so very
conspicuously manifested in various instances, in the course of
that night, as I believe not to leave a shadow of doubt, even in
the minds of the most profligate on board, of his immediate

After having weathered Maria's Islands, we continued to stand
on with a press of sail to the eastward, for I was anxious to
gain an offing from the coast, the ship being exceedingly
disabled. All the rails of the head, round houses, and figure of
the head, were washed entirely away; and the rails to which the
bumkins were secured were so much weakened as to require to be
frapped down to the knee of the head; the jibboom, the
sprit-sail-yard, and the fore-top-gallant mast were necessarily
kept down upon deck to ease the bow-sprit, in case any of its
securities should be in danger from the shattered condition of
the cutwater.

We were no sooner to the eastward of Maria's Islands, than the
wind shifted round to south-east and east-south-east, which
brought us again upon a lee shore, for we could not weather
Maria's Islands upon one tack, nor Shooten's Isles and Bay of
Shoals upon the other; however, as it did not now blow so hard,
and the land was near 20 leagues distant, I was not under any
apprehensions from it.

On the 26th, the wind set in from the northward, and blew
fresh, frequently attended with the most violent squalls; it
continued northerly until the 2d of May, when it inclined to the
southward, and from that to the eastward: I had on this day
several distances of the sun and moon, the result of which was
155° 25' east longitude, which was little more than one
degree to the eastward of the time-keeper. On the 6th, in the
morning, we made the land in latitude 33° 30' south; and at
noon Cape Three Points bore west by south, distant off shore four
leagues. Here, upon a rough examination of the error of the
time-keeper, it appeared to be a degree or little more to the
westward of the Truth, but we expected, upon our arrival at Port
Jackson, to examine its error more particularly.

On recurring back to the last altitudes taken for the
time-keeper before our making Van Diemen's Land, and carrying it
on by the log, we found that the error on making that land was
but a very few miles of longitude, and that error most probably
was in the carrying on the log; so that there was every reason to
think, that the violent agitation of the ship during that time,
was the cause of that change in the watch, and which I own I was
not at all surprised at, but think it highly probable, as the
watch lay in a box upon soft cushions, and that box screwed down
to a place securely and firmly fixed for that purpose: I cannot
help thinking but that so very valuable a piece of watch-work
(for I do really think, from the experience I have had of it,
that a superior piece of work was never made) would be better
fixed upon a small horizontal table, made on purpose, and well
secured; and under the box which contains the watch, a kind of
spiral spring or worm, which, with every jerk or pitch of the
ship, would yield a little with the weight of the watch, and
thereby take off much of that shock which must in some degree
affect its going.

The winds now (rather unfortunately for us), after 24 hours
calm, inclined again to the southward, and we kept plying to
windward with all the sail we could carry. Right off Cape Three
Points, at six leagues distance from the shore, we sounded in 75
fathoms, over a bottom of fine grey sand.

On the 8th, a light air from the northward in the night,
carried us by day-light in sight of the entrance of Port Jackson;
and in the evening of the 9th, we entered between the heads of
the harbour, and worked up to Sydney Cove, where we anchored
before dark, after an absence of 219 days, 51 of which we lay in
Table-Bay, Cape of Good Hope: so that, although during this
voyage we had fairly gone round the world, we had only been 168
days in describing that circle; and, by taking a mean of the
highest and lowest latitudes we sailed in, we shall find our
track nearly in latitude 45° south. We found in the cove the
Supply armed tender.

Our passage, since we came round Van Diemen's Land, had been
attended with much bad weather, very violent squalls, and a thick
haze; particularly with the wind from the eastward: I had before
observed, that in the winter-time, upon this coast, we were
subject to much bad weather; and this passage convinced me of the
necessity, when ships are intended to be sent to this settlement,
that the season should be considered and attended to. During the
summer months we were sometimes subject to thunder, lightning,
and strong squalls; but in general the weather is fine. If in the
fairest weather you observe it to lighten in the lee part of the
horizon, you should prepare for a squall from that quarter, which
is in general pretty severe.

In passing (at a distance from the coast) between the islands
of Schooten and Furneaux, and Point Hicks; the former being the
northermost of Captain Furneaux's observations here, and the
latter the southermost part, which Captain Cook saw when he
sailed along the coast, there has been no land seen, and from our
having felt an easterly set of current, when the wind was from
that quarter (north-west) we had an uncommon large sea, there is
reason thence to believe, that there is in that space either a
very deep gulf, or a straight, which may separate Van Diemen's
Land from New Holland: there have _no_ discoveries been made
on the western side of this land in the parallel I allude to,
between 39° 00' and 42° 00' south, the land there having
never been seen.

[A Table of the winds and weather etc. on a passage from the Cape of
Good Hope to Port Jackson in His Majesty's ship Sirius, 1789.]
[An Account of Observations for finding the variation of the compass...]
[The tables are included in the HTML version]

Chapter VI


May 1789 to January 1790

-The small-pox makes its appearance among the
natives.--Its fatal effects.--A criminal court held.--Six marines
tried and convicted.--Governor Phillip visits
Broken-bay.--Explores its various inlets.--Returns to Port
Jackson. Broken-bay surveyed.--Botany-bay surveyed.--Two natives
brought to the settlement, and kindly treated.--One of them makes
his escape.-

As soon as the ship was secured, I went on shore to wait on
the governor, whom I found in good health; he was sitting by the
fire, drinking tea with a few friends; among whom I observed a
native man of this country, who was decently cloathed, and seemed
to be as much at his ease at the tea-table as any person there;
he managed his cup and saucer as well, as though he had been long
accustomed to such entertainment.

This man was taken from his friends, by force, by Lieutenant
Ball, of the Supply, and Lieutenant George Johnston, of the
marines, who were sent down the harbour with two boats for that
purpose; the governor having found that no encouragement he could
give the natives, would dispose them to visit the settlement of
their own accord: this method he had therefore determined upon,
to get one man into his possession, who, by kind treatment, might
hereafter be the means of disposing his countrymen to place more
confidence in us. This man, whose name was _Ara-ba-noo_, was
taken, as I have already said, by force, and in the following

After having been a short time in conversation with some of
the gentlemen, one of the seamen, who had been previously
directed, threw a rope round his neck, and dragged him in a
moment down to the boat; his cries brought a number of his
friends into the skirts of the wood, from whence they threw many
lances, but without effect. The terror this poor wretch suffered,
can better be conceived than expressed; he believed he was to be
immediately murdered; but, upon the officers coming into the
boat, they removed the rope from his neck to his leg, and treated
him with so much kindness, that he became a little more

He was for some time after his arrival at the governor's
house, ornamented with an iron shackle about his leg, to prevent
his being able to effect his escape with ease; this he was taught
to consider as _bang-ally_, which is the name given in their
language to every decoration; and he might well believe it a
compliment paid to him, because it was no uncommon thing for him
to see several (of the most worthless of the convicts, who had
merited punishment) every day shackled like him; the cause of
which he could not of course understand. However, he was very
soon reconciled to his situation, by the very kind treatment he
received from every person about him, and the iron growing
uneasy, it was taken off, and he was allowed to go where he

He very soon learnt the names of the different gentlemen who
took notice of him, and when I was made acquainted with him, he
learnt mine, which he never forgot, but expressed great desire to
come on board my _nowee_; which is their expression for a
boat or other vessel upon the water.

The day after I came in, the governor and his family did me
the honour to dine on board, when I was also favoured with the
company of _Ara-ba-noo_, whom I found to be a very good
natured talkative fellow; he was about thirty years of age, and
tolerably well looked.

I expressed, when at the governor's, much surprize, at not
having seen a single native on the shore, or a canoe as we came
up in the ship; the reason of which I could not comprehend, until
I was informed that the small-pox had made its appearance, a few
months ago, amongst these unfortunate creatures, and that it was
truly shocking to go round the coves of this harbour, which were
formerly so much frequented by the natives; where, in the caves
of the rocks, which used to shelter whole families in bad
weather, were now to be seen men, women, and children, lying
dead. As we had never yet seen any of these people who have been
in the smallest degree marked with the small-pox, we had reason
to suppose they have never before now been affected by it, and
consequently are strangers to any method of treating it: and, if
we consider the various attitudes, which the different dead
bodies have been found in, we may easily believe, that when any
of them are taken ill, and the malady assumes the appearance of
the small-pox, (having already experienced its fatality to whole
families,) they are immediately deserted by their friends, and
left to perish, in their helpless situation, for want of
sustenance. Some have been found sitting on their haunches, with
their heads reclined between their knees; others were leaning
against a rock, with their head resting upon it: I have seen
myself, a woman sitting on the ground, with her knees drawn up to
her shoulders, and her face resting on the sand between her

Two children, a boy of six or seven years of age, and a girl
about ten, were lately picked up, labouring under the same
disease; two old men, whom we had reason to believe were the
fathers of the two children, were picked up at the same time, and
brought to the hospital, and much care taken of them: the two men
lived but a few days, but the children both recovered, and seemed
well satisfied with their _very comfortable situation_.
Through the means of these children, if they should retain their
native language, a more intimate and friendly intercourse with
the people of this country may in time be brought about.

Five or six days after my arrival, poor Ara-ba-noo was seized
with the small-pox, and although every possible means for his
recovery were used, he lived only till the crisis of the disease.
Every person in the settlement was much concerned for the loss of
this man.

I was exceedingly concerned on hearing of the death of Captain
Shea, of the marines, which happened while we were absent; his
disorder was a general decay, which I think must have taken place
very suddenly, for he was apparently strong and healthy when the
Sirius sailed from Port Jackson.

Several people had been lost in the woods during our absence,
and had either been killed by the natives, or perished there.

Another melancholy piece of information which we received on
our arrival, was, that six marines had been tried by a criminal
court, and found guilty of robbing the public stores: they were
sentenced to death, and executed accordingly. It appeared upon
the trial of these infatuated men, that they had carried on this
iniquitous, (and I may add from our situation) dangerous practice
to the settlement at large, for several months; and all
originally occasioned by some unfortunate connections they had
made with women convicts.

The settlement had been, during our absence, remarkably

Before the Sirius sailed from Port Jackson, the governor had
determined to send a detachment of the marines, with a
considerable number of convicts, for the purpose of clearing as
much as might be necessary, and preparing a tract of land at the
head of this harbour, (which place I have already mentioned) in
order to sow corn. When we returned from our voyage, I went up to
see what progress was made at this farm, which had been named
Rose Hill: it certainly very much exceeded my expectations; the
quantity of ground prepared for receiving grain at the proper
time, was considerable; a number of huts were built, the gardens
were in tolerable appearance, and there was altogether every
prospect, in due time, of a very extensive farm; and we knew that
if there were people enough to labour, it might be carried at
least twenty miles to the westward, and every foot of the ground
apparently as good as that on which they were now at work; but we
found here, that although the land was tolerable, there would be
great, and I think an insurmountable difficulty, in attempting an
extensive farm, chiefly for want of water.

At Rose Hill, there is in dry seasons but very little water,
and that by no means good; but farther back to the westward, you
can but now and then meet with as much as will quench the thirst
of a traveller: you may walk many miles, particularly in hot dry
summer weather, without meeting with as much as you may want for
drinking; this scarcity, though I do not pretend to any knowledge
in farming, I cannot help thinking, were water wanted only for
the use of a family, a vast difficulty, and an inconvenience not
to be got the better of, unless it were possible to get water by
sinking wells at every half mile distance.

There have been several attempts made by the gentlemen here,
who had little farms in the neighbourhood of Sydney Cove, to
raise grain of different kinds, for the purpose of feeding a few
pigs, goats, or poultry; but although their endeavours seemed for
a time to promise an ample reward, for the corn shot up very
quickly, yet it no sooner formed into ear, than the rats (with
which, as well as other vermin, this country is over-run)
destroyed the whole of their prospect: the Indian corn, which was
remarkably promising, was destroyed in a night; but I am sorry to
say, that such of the corn as had escaped the vermin,
notwithstanding its very promising appearance in the beginning,
turned out the most miserable empty straws I ever beheld; the
greatest part was mere straw of about two or two feet and an half
high, and the whole produce of a patch of an acre, when cut down,
could be carried in one hand.

Having, since our arrival, examined the error of the
time-keeper, we found it amount to 5' 20", or 1° 20' of
longitude westerly, which made the error, in sailing the whole
circle, only 00° 11' of longitude easterly; and as I had kept
Brockbank's watch going the whole time, I examined its error
also: I have already mentioned that it was, upon our arrival in
Table-Bay, 3° 01' eastward; but upon our return to this
place, it was correct to the fraction of a second; so that
whatever its errors might have been during the voyage, it had
none upon our arrival. I did not keep the account of longitude by
it, but every day, when the sun could be seen, I determined our
place by the time-keeper; in doing which, I generally compared my
own watch with it, both before and after the altitudes were
taken, and carried it upon deck, the time-piece being fixed in
the cabin.

On the 6th of June, I was engaged in a party, with the
governor, on a visit to Broken-Bay, in order to examine some part
of that harbour which had not been (for want of time and
opportunity) noticed in his last visit to that place; two boats
were dispatched under the care of Mr. Keltie, master of the
Sirius, with provisions, etc. And the party, which consisted
of the governor, Captain Collins (the judge-advocate), Captain
Johnston, of the marines, Mr. White, principal surgeon of the
settlement, Mr. Worgan, Mr. Fowell, and myself, from the Sirius,
and two men, all armed with musquets, etc.

We landed on the north part of Port Jackson, and proceeded
along the sea coast to the northward; in the course of our march,
we had many long sandy beaches to cross, which was a very
fatiguing part of the journey: when we ascended the hills, we had
frequently thick woods to pass through, but as we often fell in
with paths, which the natives in travelling along the coast had
trod very well down, these paths rendered our march, not only on
account of pointing to us the most easy and accessible parts of
the hills and woods, but, in point of direction, the shortest
which could be found, if we had even been better acquainted with
this tract.

We left Port Jackson at six o'clock in the morning, just as
the day was dawning, and arrived at the south branch of
Broken-Bay at three in the afternoon, after a pretty warm and
fatiguing journey, loaded as we were with provisions for several
days, water, and ammunition: when we arrived at the water-side,
we found our boats, which had left Port Jackson at midnight, were
safely arrived. As it was now too late in the day, and we were
all too much fatigued to attempt any part of the main business
upon which we came here, we pitched our tents, and hauled the
Seine for fish, and being successful, we sat down to regale
ourselves on fresh fish and salt beef, and rested the remainder
of the day.

In the course of the little excursions of our boats' crews
this afternoon, a native woman was discovered, concealing herself
from our sight in the long grass, which was at this time very
wet, and I should have thought very uncomfortable to a poor naked
creature. She had, before the arrival of our boats at this beach,
been, with some of her friends, employed in fishing for their
daily food, but were upon their approach alarmed, and they had
all made their escape, except this miserable girl, who had just
recovered from the small-pox, and was very weak, and unable, from
a swelling in one of her knees, to get off to any distance: she
therefore crept off, and concealed herself in the best manner she
could among the grass, not twenty yards from the spot on which we
had placed our tents. She was discovered by some person who
having fired at and shot a hawk from a tree right over her,
terrified her so much that she cried out and discovered herself.
Information was immediately brought to the governor, and we all
went to see this unhappy girl, whom we found, as I have already
observed, just recovered from the small-pox, and lame: she
appeared to be about 17 or 18 years of age, and had covered her
debilitated and naked body with the wet grass, having no other
means of hiding herself; she was very much frightened on our
approaching her, and shed many tears, with piteous lamentations:
we understood none of her expressions, but felt much concern at
the distress she seemed to suffer; we endeavoured all in our
power to make her easy, and with the assistance of a few
expressions which had been collected from poor Ara-ba-noo while
he was alive, we soothed her distress a little, and the sailors
were immediately ordered to bring up some fire, which we placed
before her: we pulled some grass, dried it by the fire, and
spread round her to keep her warm; then we shot some birds, such
as hawks, crows, and gulls, skinned them, and laid them on the
fire to broil, together with some fish, which she eat; we then
gave her water, of which she seemed to be much in want, for when
the word _Baa-do_ was mentioned, which was their expression
for water, she put her tongue out to show how very dry her mouth
was; and indeed from its appearance and colour, she had a
considerable degree of fever on her.

Before we retired to rest for the night, we saw her again, and
got some fire-wood laid within her reach, with which she might,
in the course of the night, recruit her fire; we also cut a large
quantity of grass, dried it, covered her well, and left her to
her repose, which, from her situation, I conjecture was not very
comfortable or refreshing.

Next morning we visited her again; she had now got pretty much
the better of her fears, and frequently called to her friends,
who had left her, and who, we knew, could be at no great distance
from her; she repeated their names in a very loud and shrill
voice, and with much apparent anxiety and concern for the little
notice they took of her intreaties to return: for we imagined, in
all she said when calling on them, she was informing them, that
the strangers were not enemies, but friends; however, all her
endeavours to bring them back were ineffectual, while we remained
with her; but we were no sooner gone from the beach, than we saw
some of them come out of the wood; and as there were two canoes
on the shore belonging to this party, they launched one into the
water, and went away.

We employed this day in going up the south branch which the
governor named Pitt Water, and so much of the day was spent in
examining it, that when we returned down near the place where we
had passed the last night, it was thought too late to proceed
farther; we therefore encamped on the same spot. Our tents were
no sooner up, than we went to visit our young female friend, whom
we found in a little bark hut upon the beach; this hut was the
place in which she and her friends were enjoying themselves, when
the arrival of our boat alarmed them. She was not alone, as
before, but had with her a female child, about two years old, and
as fine a little infant of that age as I ever saw; but upon our
approach (the night being cold and rainy, and the child terrified
exceedingly) she was lying with her elbows and knees on the
ground, covering the child from our sight with her body, or
probably sheltering it from the weather, but I rather think on
account of its fears.

On our speaking to her, she raised herself up, and sat on the
ground with her knees up to her chin, and her heels under her,
and was at that moment, I think, the most miserable spectacle in
the human shape I ever beheld*: the little infant could not be
prevailed on to look up; it lay with its face upon the ground,
and one hand covering its eyes. We supplied her, as before, with
birds, fish, and fuel, and pulled a quantity of grass to make her
a comfortable bed, and covered her little miserable hut so as to
keep out the weather: she was now so reconciled to our frequent
visits, seeing we had nothing in view but her comfort in them,
that when she wanted _baa-do_, or _ma-gra_, which
signifies fish, she would ask for them, and when she did, it was
always supplied her: in the morning we visited her again; the
child had now got so much the better of its fears, that it would
allow us to take hold of its hand; I perceived, that young as it
was, it had lost the two first joints of its little finger, of
the left-hand, the reason or meaning of which we had not yet been
able to learn.

[* See the Vignette in the Title Page.]

We gave her all the fish we had remaining, and having put a
quantity of fire-wood and water within her reach, we took our
leave. We embarked in the boats, and sailed across the bay to the
north branch, which has a very shoally and narrow entrance. We
proceeded but a small distance up, before we landed on the west
shore and refreshed ourselves; after which we rowed round the
first opening on the east side; this we followed up until we came
to its head. It is very shallow and narrow, and ended in a large
bason, full of shoals, and surrounded with mangroves; it extended
near four miles to the north and eastward.

When we returned from this branch, we pitched our tents on the
west shore for the night, and early the next morning we proceeded
to the northward: in this route we fell in with many shoals of
considerable extent; and after rowing about six or seven miles
up, we arrived at the head of it, which divides into two large
bays, in one of which I observed the latitude to be 33° 26'
30" south. We returned from hence to a point near the entrance of
this north harbour, where we encamped and spent the night; in
this harbour we did not see more than twenty natives, some few of
whom came and conversed with us.

Across the mouth of this north harbour there is a bar or spit
of sand, which extends from the sandy beach, or west point of the
entrance, almost over to the eastern shore, and on which, from
the wind having been from the southward the preceding night, the
sea broke prodigiously from side to side, so that near low water
it was impossible for the boats to get out; we were on that
account obliged to remain there until it was more than two-thirds
flood, when, in the deepest part of the channel, where the sea
did not break, we pushed out, and pulled over for the south-west
arm, or harbour, up which we went; but as part of this branch had
not been looked into last winter, we entered an arm on the north
side of it, and proceeded up about a mile and a half to an island
we had visited the last winter.

Here we encamped for the night, and hauled the seine with
great success; and from the vast quantity of excellent mullet and
other fish caught here, it got the name of Mullet Island. Next
morning we rowed into a branch, which the boats had been in the
last time we were here, but had not thoroughly examined; we
proceeded to the top, and found it very shoally, extending to the
northward about four miles, and navigable only for boats, having
but four, five, and six feet water in it. After having satisfied
ourselves as to the extent of this arm, we returned to Mullet
Island, where we caught fish and dined.

In the afternoon, the governor and myself went in one of the
boats, leaving the rest of the party with the tents on Mullet
Island; we entered another branch which had also been seen last
winter, but was not examined; we rowed up this about seven or
eight miles, until it became so very narrow and shoally, having
scarcely water enough to float the boat, or room to use the oars,
that we thought it was not worth prosecuting any farther
discovery at the risk of grounding the boat, and being left
during the night; we therefore returned to Mullet Island, and
spent another night upon it. This branch is all shoal water, only
five and six feet.

The next morning we struck our tents and proceeded, in the
boats, to examine a point of high land, which, from our situation
in the boat the day before, had the appearance of an island; of
this we were determined to be satisfied, and we found it to be an
island as we had conjectured. In examining this, we were led into
a branch which had not before been discovered: we proceeded up
this for a considerable distance, found good depth of water, and
every other appearance of its being the opening of an extensive
river: we continued to row up in it the whole of this day, and in
the evening we went on shore, on the most commodious spot we
could find, which was a low marshy point. Here we raised our
tents, and spent the night.

At day-light in the morning it was so foggy, that we were
obliged to defer our departure from this situation until ten
o'clock, when the influence of the sun dispelled the mist, and we
continued our course upwards, still finding good depth of water
and strong tides; both which we considered as indications of a
considerable river. The whole of this day was employed in
exploring and making what progress we could; the ebb tides we
observed thus far up were considerably stronger than the floods,
and the water had very little the taste of sea water; indeed, it
scarcely could be called brackish. We continued going up until
the evening, when it was found impossible, at this time, to make
any farther discovery; our provisions being nearly expended: we
filled our water-casks, where we gave up the pursuit, and there,
although the tide was high, the water was perfectly fresh.

The general depth of this river was from three to seven
fathoms, and its breadth was from 100 to 300 fathoms. There are
some shoals, but they generally extend from low mangrove or
marshy points. Its general direction, as far as we were up, is to
the north-west. We were, when farthest up, about twenty miles
from the entrance of the south-west arm of Broken-Bay. The banks
of the river, on the lowest part, had many mangrove trees along
it; higher up, reeds grew along its margin, and behind these
reedy banks were immense perpendicular hills of barren, rocky
lands, with trees growing from between the rocky cliffs; the
depth of the river, when we were highest up, was six and seven

We were so anxious to prosecute this discovery, that we did
not think of returning until it was near dark; and in our present
situation, there was not a spot on which we could erect a tent,
so very steep were the shores, except where they were marshy. We
pushed down as fast as possible, in order to find a
landing-place, before it should be very late; and soon after
dark, we put a-shore on a parcel of rocks, which was, indeed, the
only spot near on which we could find room for our tents, and
here we passed the night.

The morning of the next day was again foggy, until the sun had
sufficient power to disperse it; we then returned down the river,
and as the wind was fair, and blew fresh, we sailed down, and in
the afternoon arrived in the south branch, or Pitt-Water, fixed
our tents for the evening, and caught some fish, in order to spin
out our provisions. Our female friend had left this place.

The governor was now determined to return as fast as possible
to Port Jackson, and, after resting a few days, to prosecute this
useful discovery to its source. We struck the tents at night, and
embarked them in the boats; for, as the wind was northerly, it
was intended they should sail at midnight; a wigwam was made to
shelter us during the night, and a large fire before it, by which
we lay till day-light. The boats having sailed in the night, we
set off at dawn of day in the morning by land; we found an easier
path than that by which we came, and arrived at the north cove of
Port Jackson by two in the afternoon, where the boats were
already arrived.

In our journey we fell in with several dead bodies, who had
probably fallen by the small-pox, but they were mere skeletons,
so that it was impossible to say of what disease they died.

Boats were upon our arrival immediately ordered to be
prepared, and provisions got ready for another excursion, the
same party being engaged to go again, and, if possible, trace
this river to its source. As far up as we advanced, I made an eye
sketch of it.

On Sunday the 28th of June, the boats being ready, provisions
embarked, and the wind fair for another visit to Broken-Bay, they
sailed before day-light on Monday morning; the party engaged to
go by land were put on shore at the north part of the harbour at
six o'clock; the same gentlemen who were on the former expedition
were on this also, and an addition of five marines; on the whole,
our numbers amounted to about forty, including those in the
boats: we were all well armed, and capable of making a powerful
resistance, in case, as we advanced up the river, we should find
the interior parts of the country well in-habited, and the people

Having, on our last expedition, found a good track to travel
by, we were soon in the neighbourhood of the south branch of
Broken-Bay, at which place one boat had been ordered to meet us,
in order to save us by much the worst part of the journey. We
arrived at the head of Pitt-Water before eleven o'clock, but no
boat appeared, which obliged us to walk round all the bays,
woods, and swamps, between the head and entrance of this branch;
by which, when we joined the boats, we were exceedingly fatigued;
the weather being rather warm, and each person having his
knapsack and arms to carry, this last part of our journey
increased the distance from twelve or fourteen miles to about
twenty-five; in the course of which we had very high and steep
hills to climb, and many deep swamps to wade through: by the time
we joined the boats the day was too far advanced to think of
proceeding any farther, we therefore pitched the tents, and
occupied the spot which we had formerly done when here.

On Tuesday the 30th, we embarked in the boats at day-break,
intending to reach as high up this day as possible; we passed
Mullet Island, and proceeded into the river, and before night, we
had advanced as far up as a point on which we had rested a night
the last time we were here, and which was within three or four
miles of the place, where we left off the pursuit: here we slept
for the night, and at day-light on the 1st of July we embarked,
and after advancing a very little way beyond our farthest
discovery, the river divided into two branches, one leading to
the north-west, the other to the southward.

We took that which led to the north-west, and continued all
day rowing up this arm, which was in general shoal water, from
four to ten and twelve feet, and its breadth from about 20 to 40
fathoms; the banks of this branch were in general immense
perpendicular mountains of barren rock; in some places the
mountains did not reach the margin of the river, but fell back a
little way from it, and were joined by low marshy points, covered
with reeds or rushes, which extended from the foot of the
mountains to the edge of the river. At five in the evening, we
put on shore, and raised our tents at the foot of one of the
mountains, where we found a tolerable dry spot for that purpose;
and in the morning of the 2d, we proceeded higher up, but this
morning's progress was a good deal retarded by many large trees
having fallen from the banks, and which reached almost across the
river; for here it was so narrow, that it hardly deserved that

By ten o'clock we were so far up, that we had not room for the
oars, nor indeed water to float the boats: we therefore found it
necessary to return, and before noon we put on shore, where I
took the meridian altitude of the sun, which gave our latitude
33° 21' south, and we judged, by the estimated distances
marked in my sketch, that we were about thirty-four miles above
Mullet Island.

At the place where we passed the last night we were examining
the ground round us, as was customary wherever we placed our
tents for the night; and about half a mile distant, some of the
gentlemen found a small hut; they saw a person whom they took for
a native woman, and who, upon our approach, fled with great
precipitation into the woods. They went to examine the hut, and
found two small helpless children in it; the poor little
creatures were terribly frightened, but upon their being kindly
treated, they seemed to recover a little from their fear. They
appeared to be in great distress, apparently for want of food;
they had a little fire by them, and in it was found a few wild
yams, about the size of a walnut: upon a supposition that the
parents of these children would soon return, after our leaving
the place, a hatchet and some other trifles were left in the

Next morning, while the people were employed in striking the
tents, some of the gentlemen again visited the hut which they now
found unoccupied; the whole family were gone, and the hatchet,
etc. were left lying by it. It is really wonderful, that these
people should set so little value upon such an useful article as
an axe certainly must be to them; this indifference I have
frequently seen in those who have been shown the use of it, and
even when its superiority over their stone hatchets has been
pointed out by a comparison. It is not easily to be accounted

We had now a strong ebb tide, and we rowed late, in order, if
possible, to get out of this branch before we stopt for the
night. About six o'clock in the evening we entered the southern
branch, and very soon after encamped for the night. The next
morning (Friday 3d) we proceeded up this arm for about seven or
eight miles, where it again divided into two branches; thus far
we found the depth from three to nine fathoms, and the breadth of
the river from 100 to 150 fathoms; we took the branch which led
to the northward, (the other went to the southward) but we had
not advanced more than a quarter of a mile before we found the
water very shoally; however, as it might lead to a good country,
the governor determined to go as high as the boats could find
water; we went through various windings, and met with many
difficulties from the shoallyness of the water: notwithstanding
which, we made shift to get about 13 miles up; the depth was from
four to twelve feet, and the breadth from 20 to 50 fathoms; the
banks of this branch were the same as the last, high, steep, and
rocky mountains, with many trees growing down their sides, from
between the rocks, where no one would believe there could be any
soil to nourish them.

Both this and the last branch we examined, probably extend
many miles farther than we with our boats could trace them, but
they did not appear, where we left off the examination of them,
to be navigable for any vessel but the canoes of the natives,
which do not draw more than two or three inches water. We saw
several natives in these branches, but they fled into the woods
on our approach: the wretched condition of the miserable natives
who have taken up their residence, for a time, so far back from
the sea coast, where no fish are to be had, is far beyond my
description; they, no doubt, have methods of snaring or killing
the different kinds of animals which are to be found here,
otherwise I think it impossible they could exist at any distance
from the sea: for the land, as far as we yet know, affords very
little sustenance for the human race.

Having advanced as far as possible with the boats, we
returned, and having rowed two or three miles down to a point
where there was tolerable landing, we put a-shore, and pitched
the tents for the night. In the morning of the 4th, while the
tents were putting into the boats, I measured the height of the
opposite shore, which I found to be 250 feet perpendicular above
the level of the river, which was here 30 fathoms wide: at seven
o'clock we embarked, and rowed down until we came to the entrance
of the second southern branch, where we found good depth of
water, in six and seven fathoms. This, from its depth, encouraged
us to hope that it might extend a great distance to the westward:
we went up this branch about 13 or 14 miles before we put on
shore for the night: in this distance, the general depth of water
was from two to seven fathoms, and the breadth of the river from
70 to 140 fathoms; but the country still wore a very unpromising
aspect, being either high rocky shores, or low marshy points.

After having rested for the night, we were again under way at
day-light, and this day advanced about fourteen miles against the
tide. In the woods we frequently saw fires, and sometimes heard
the natives; in the afternoon we saw a considerable number of
people in the wood, with many fires in different places; we
called to them in their own manner, by frequently repeating the
word _Co-wee_, which signifies, come here; at last, two men
came to the water-side with much apparent familiarity and
confidence: I thought, from this circumstance, that they had
certainly seen us before, either at Botany-Bay, Port Jackson, or
Broken-Bay; they received a hatchet, and a wild duck, which had
been just before shot from the boat; and in return, they threw us
a small coil of line, made of the hair of some animal, and also
offered a spear, which was refused. The only argument against
their having seen us before is, that they were the first we had
met with who appeared desirous of making a return for any present
they received.

Here the banks of the river are low and covered with what we
call the pine-trees of this country; which indeed have received
that name merely from the leaf, which is a good deal like the
pine, but the wood is very different.

The natives here, appear to live chiefly on the roots which
they dig from the ground; for these low banks appear to have been
ploughed up, as if a vast herd of swine had been living on them.
We put on shore, and examined the places which had been dug, and
found the wild yam in considerable quantities, but in general
very small, not larger than a walnut; they appear to be in the
greatest plenty on the banks of the river; a little way back they
are scarce.

We frequently, in some of the reaches which we passed through
this day, saw very near us the hills, which we suppose as seen
from Port Jackson, and called by the governor the Blue

At five in the evening, we put ashore at the foot of a hill,
where we passed the night; and at day-light in the morning of the
5th, we embarked, and continued our way up the river; in which we
still found good depth of water, from two to five fathoms, and 60
or 70 fathoms wide. As we advanced, we found the river to
contract very fast in its breadth, and the channel became
shoaler; from these circumstances, we had reason to believe that
we were not far from its source: the ebb tides were pretty
strong, but the floods were only perceptible by the swolling of
the water.

In the evening we arrived at the foot of a high mountain,
which was spread over with Iofty trees, without any underwood;
and saw a pleasant looking country, covered with grass, and
without that mixture of rocky patches in every acre or two, as is
common in many other places: we ascended some distance, and
erected our tents for the night. The river here is not more than
twenty fathoms wide. In the night, when every thing was still, we
heard distinctly the roaring of what we judged to be a fall of
water; and imagined from this circumstance, that we should not be
able to advance much farther.

In the morning, we walked to the top of the hill, and found we
were not more than five or six miles from a long range of
mountains, between which, and that where we stood, there is a
deep valley, or low country, through which, probably, a branch of
this river may run. This range of mountains we supposed to be
those which are seen from Port Jackson, and called the Blue
Mountains: they limit the sight to the west-north-west. In that
range of high land there is a remarkable gully, or chasm, which
is seen distinctly at a distance, and from which we appeared to
be distant about five miles. The hills on each side of this gap
were named by Governor Phillip; on one side the Carmarthen, on
the other, the Lansdown hills; and that on which we stood was
called Richmond-hill.

In the morning of the 6th, we examined the river, which, as I
have before observed, was narrow and shoally; its bed was
composed of loose round stones and sand: it was now low water,
and not a sufficient depth to float the boats: we therefore
delayed any farther attempt to get up until it should be near
high water; and, in the mean time, determined to take a view of
the country round this hill; which, had it been clear of trees,
would from its commmanding height, have given a most extensive
prospect to the eastward, northward, and southward; but the range
of hills before-mentioned were still higher, and of course
limited our view to the westward.

While the other gentlemen of the party were along with the
governor, examining the country, I employed myself in taking the
meridian altitude of the sun, by which I found the highest part
of the hill to be in latitude 33° 37' south.

The gentlemen spoke highly in favour of the country as far as
they walked; it was perfectly clear of any kind of under-wood;
the trees upon it were all very tall, and stood very wide apart;
the soil was also examined, and found very good: a small patch
was dug up, and a few potatoes, Indian-corn, melon, and other
seeds sown. This was a common practice, when a piece of ground,
favourable from its soil, and being in an unfrequented situation,
was found, to sow a few seeds of different kinds: some of the
little gardens, which had been planted in this manner, and left
to nature, have been since visited and found thriving, others
have miscarried.

After making these observations, the tide being made, we put
off in the boats, and endeavoured to get higher up, but were
frequently aground: by the time we had reached half a mile higher
than the foot of Richmond-hill, we met the stream setting down so
strong, that it was with much difficulty we could get the boats
so high. We here found the river to divide into two narrow
branches, from one of which the stream came down with
considerable velocity, and with a fall over a range of stones
which seemed to lye across its entrance: this was the fall which
we had heard the night before from our situation on the side of

We found too little water for the boats which we had with us
to advance any farther, and the stream was very strong, although
weak to what it may reasonably be conjectured to be after heavy
rains; for here we had evident marks of the vast torrents which
must pour down from the mountains, after heavy rains. The low
grounds, at such times, are entirely covered, and the trees with
which they are overgrown, are laid down (with their tops pointing
down the river,) as much as I ever saw a field of corn after a
storm; and where any of these trees have been strong enough to
resist in _any degree_ the strength of the torrent, (for
they are all less or more bent downwards) we saw in the clifts of
the branches of such trees, vast quantities of large logs which
had been hurried down by the force of the waters, and lodged from
thirty to forty feet above the common level of the river; and at
that height there were great quantities of grass, reeds, and such
other weeds as are washed from the banks of the river, hanging to
the branches.

The first notice we took of these signs of an extraordinary
swelling of the water, was twelve or fourteen miles lower down,
and where the river is not so confined in its breadth: there we
measured the same signs of such torrents twenty-eight feet above
the surface of the water: the common rise and fall of the tide
did not appear to be more than six feet.

On the banks here also we found yams and other roots, and had
evident marks of the natives frequenting these parts in search of
them for food. They have no doubt some method of preparing these
roots, before they can eat them; for we found one kind which some
of the company had seen the natives dig up; and with which being
pleased, as it had much the appearance of horse-radish, and had a
sweetish taste, and having swallowed a small quantity, it
occasioned violent spasms, cramps in the bowels, and sickness at
the stomach: it might probably be the casada root.

We found here many traps, for catching animals, in which we
observed the feathers of many birds, particularly the quail.

We now gave up the hope of tracing this river higher up with
our boats; and, as in case of heavy rains setting in, which might
be expected at this season of the year, there would be
considerable danger, while confined in this narrow part of the
river, we pushed down and encamped the night of the 6th, about
seven miles below Richmond-hill.

In the morning early, we set off on our return, and encamped
on the 7th at night, about twenty-six miles down: at seven in the
morning of the 8th, we embarked again, and by four in the evening
had reached a point about forty-three miles down, where we
pitched our tents for the night, which was very foggy. In our way
down, we stopped, and measured the perpendicular height of a hill
on the north side of the river, (or more properly one of the
banks of the river; for it is a long range of level land, and
nearly perpendicular from the water; the opposite shore is low
and marshy;) which I found to be 399 feet: the river was here 120
fathoms wide.

On the 9th in the morning, we proceeded to examine some of the
inferior branches; their general direction was to the southward,
and the longest was not more than five or six miles in length,
and was navigable for such boats as ours; the general depth was
three and four fathoms for about four miles up, and then shoal
water; the others were inconsiderable.

In one of these branches we passed the night of the 9th, and
saw a few natives, who came off to us in their boats with much
chearfulness and good humour; I thought I had seen them before:
they received a few presents, among which was a looking-glass,
which we took much trouble to show them the use of: they were
some time before they observed their own figure in the glass, but
when they did, they turned it up and looked behind it; then
pointed to the water, signifying that they could see their figure
reflected as well from that.

Having now examined every thing which was thought worth our
attention, we made the best of our way to Mullet-island, where we
landed on the 10th in the evening, and caught some fish. This
night, and all the next day, (11th,) it blew a gale of wind from
the southward, so that we were obliged to pass a second night
here. In the morning of the 12th, it was more moderate, although
very squally and unsettled; we struck our tents and sailed for
Pitt-water, where about noon we encamped upon a point pretty high

In our way, we put ashore to fill some fresh water, and in a
cave near the stream we found a native woman, who appeared to
have been dead some time, for her skin was as hard as a piece of
leather; it was impossible to know whether she had died of the
small-pox or not.

In the morning of the 13th, as we intended to land well up
this branch, in order to avoid the most difficult and tiresome
part of the road to Port Jackson. We embarked, after we had
breakfasted, and rowed up about a couple of miles, when the party
for walking went on shore, each with his arms, and knapsack,
containing two days provisions; we were about half an hour in
getting through the wood, which led us to the sea-coast, where we
fell into our old and well known path, and by four o'clock in the
afternoon arrived at the north part of Port Jackson; but we might
as well have been fifty leagues off, for here we could have no
communication either with the Sirius or the settlement, and no
boat had been ordered to meet us. We went immediately to work and
made a large fire, by which we lay all night, which happened to
be very cold.

The next day we crossed the hills, and came to the mouth of
the north-west harbour, but could not find the means of crossing
it; muskets had been frequently fired during the night, in hopes
that some boat might have been down the harbour fishing, and
heard them. We found this morning a canoe upon the beach, with
which we had no doubt of getting two men across the water, who
could in a short time walk over to the cove where the Sirius lay;
but this prospect was disappointed by the first man who entered
the canoe having overset her, and she immediately sunk, and he
was obliged to swim ashore: after this we went to work and made a
catamaran, of the lightest wood we could find, but when finished
and launched, it would not, although pretty large, bear the
weight of one man.

It was now proposed to walk round the head of the north-west
harbour, which would have been a good long journey for at least
two days, and our provisions were nearly expended; to this
proposal I was under the necessity of objecting, for want of
shoes, the last march having tore all but the soals from my feet,
and they were tied on with spun-yarn; I therefore declined the
proposed walk, and determined to go back to Broken-bay and rejoin
the boats; which I had no doubt of being able to effect in the
course of that day, and with far more ease than I could, without
shoes, climb such rocky mountains, and thick woods, as lay in the
way round the head of the north-west harbour. But as it was
likely I might fall in with some parties of the natives in the
way, I wished to have a companion.

Captain Collins preferred accompanying me in the intended
walk, and we were just upon the point of setting out, when two of
the people who were with us proposed swimming over the water, and
to cross through the wood to the Sirius; the distance they had to
swim was not more than two cables length, or four hundred yards;
they immediately stripped, and each having had a dram, they tied
up in a handkerchief a shirt, trowsers, and a pair of shoes each,
which was rested upon their shoulders: thus equipped, they took
the water, and in seven minutes landed on the opposite shore; but
one being seized with the cramp, was obliged to disengage himself
from his bundle, which was of course lost: they set off through
the woods, and in a short time got on board the ship, the one
with his shirt and trowsers, the other perfectly naked.

Upon their information, a boat was sent down, and took us on
board, after a pretty fatiguing journey. I cannot help here
remarking how providential it was, that we did not all agree to
walk round the north-west harbour. At eight in the morning we
heard the report of a great gun, which led me to suspect that
some person belonging to the Sirius was missing, and had probably
been lost in the woods; we frequently fired muskets that morning,
and sometimes imagined we heard a musket at a considerable
distance in the woods; in consequence of this suspicion, we
frequently fired several together, and as often heard the report
of that which we believed was meant to answer us.

In short, by means of these repeated vollies, we drew nearer
to that which answered us, and by hallooing all together, found
we had got within hearing of the person who had answered our
firing; for, after calling out, we listened attentively, and
heard a very faint voice in answer; in that direction we walked,
and at last, by frequent calling, and answering, we found the
person out, who proved to be Peter White, sail-maker of the
Sirius; who had been four days lost, and when he set out from the
ship had not more than four ounces of biscuit with him, one ounce
of which he had still left; he was very faint, and appeared to us
to be stupid and almost exhausted, for he staggered like a man
drunk; we took him with us, and by giving him such provisions as
we had, in small proportions, he was in a few hours a good deal
recovered; but I think if he had not been found as he was, in
twenty-four hours more he would not have been able to make any
farther effort to save himself, and must have perished where he
lay down.

It is remarkable, that the flint of his gun being worn to a
stump, he could not get fire out of it the whole of the day
before, when trying to shoot some birds for his subsistence,
until night came on, when it was necessary for him to have a fire
to sleep by; he then tried it again with very little hope of
succeeding, but contrary to his expectations he got a fire and
sat by it the whole night; the next morning it failed him
repeatedly, until he had occasion to answer our musquets, when it
struck fire every time he wished to answer us, otherwise, in all
probability, we should not have found him. This is exactly his
own account.

In the end of August, the governor having expressed a wish to
have a survey made of Broken-Bay and Botany-Bay, I offered to
perform that service. The Sirius had some time ago been removed
from Sydney Cove, to a cove on the north side of the harbour,
much more convenient for giving her those repairs of which she
now stood so much in need. The carpenter and his crew, who had
been employed on shore upon the business of the settlement, ever
since our return from the last voyage, were now ordered on board,
to attend the repairs of the ship; a temporary wharf was built by
the ship's company, and a piece of ground levelled to receive the
provisions and stores: every person was now employed in
lightening the ship, and in cutting down timber for the repairs

A survey upon the defects of the ship was ordered by Captain
Phillip, and she was reported to be very weak in her upper works;
several bolts were decayed under her wales, which occasioned her
making much water at sea; and that it was absolutely necessary to
examine as many of the butt bolts as possible: it was also
thought necessary to fix seven pair of top riders on each side,
to strengthen her upper works; various other defects were given

While the ship's company were employed in lightening the ship,
and the carpenters were cutting down timber for riders and plank,
I determined, before any thing material in the repairs was set
about, to go round and make a survey of Broken-Bay: in this
excursion I was accompanied by several gentlemen of the
settlement; the boats were dispatched round, under the care of
Lieutenant Bradley, by whom, and Lieutenant Ball, of the Supply,
I was assisted in this work: the party went by land, but as I
wished also to make a sketch of the coast between the two
harbours, we determined to be two days on the journey, and to lye
all night in the woods. After taking a sketch of the coast, we
arrived at Pitt-Water, and joined the boats in the afternoon of
the second day. We visited all those parts, which are navigable
for shipping, and having before very particularly sounded and
examined all the branches here, the business was finished in
little more than a fortnight. Mr. Bradley returned with the
boats, and we walked along shore to Port Jackson.

The entrance of Broken-Bay lies in latitude 33° 34' south,
and longitude 151° 27' east; the bay is large and clear; the
distance from north to south head, is two miles, and the depth is
eight, ten, and twelve fathoms; but as you run up the bay it
shoals to six, seven, and five fathoms. Just within the north
head of the bay is the entrance of the northern branch, which,
from the shoalness of the water, is only navigable for boats, or
small vessels; the channel going in is very narrow, occasioned by
a long spit of sand, which extends from a low sandy point on the
west side of the entrance, and on which, when the wind is from
the eastward, the sea breaks very high.

A little within the south head of the bay is the entrance of
the Southern Branch or Pitt-Water; this is a good harbour, though
the entrance is rendered rather narrow by a shoal bank, which
extends from the eastern point full two-thirds across; keep the
west shore on board, which is pretty bold, and is a high, steep,
rocky point, and steer right up the branch; three fathoms is the
most you will have at low water, and that depth is only in the
narrows, which are of very short extent, for as you run up, you
very soon deepen to four, five, six, and eight fathoms; to the
shoal which narrows the entrance, it is very gradual soundings.
When you are above the second point on the west shore, you have
good depth of water and good room; you may run up in mid-channel
without fear; both shores are pretty bold to, except off the
points, from some of which it is shoal a small distance: in this
branch there are several coves, in which a ship might lighten and
careen; there is also fresh water in various parts of this
harbour, with wood in abundance, and fish may be caught in all
the sandy bays.

The entrance of this branch is divided from the south-west arm
by several rocky points; the land over them high and steep;
between which are some small sandy bays; and right off the mouth
of this arm is a very high rocky island, of but small extent; its
eastern end is very high and perpendicular; this island is a good
mark, for any part of the bay may be known, with certainty, by
the situation of it, which the chart will point out. If a
stranger were coming in here for shelter in a gale of wind, I
would recommend his pushing up the south-west arm, and steering
in for the island, which is now called Mount Elliot, from its
similarity to the north end of Gibraltar Rock.

You may pass on either side, but the south side is fairest for
going up the south-west arm; keep mid-channel between the island
and south shore: this shore is so bold that you may run within
two cables length of it. In your way up you will perceive a
branch on the north side, which runs up north-west; when thus
high, you are above a bank or middle ground, on which the least
water is 16 feet; you may, by keeping near the shore, pass on
either side of this shoal, which has gradual soundings to it; the
south side has most room and deepest water; the north side has
five fathoms: when above this, you may keep in the middle, if you
wish to go higher, and the least water will be five or six
fathoms for several miles higher: from this south-west arm
several branches extend, most of which have good depth of water,
but the chart will be the best guide.

If you wish to enter the north-west branch, enter it by
keeping the larboard shore on board, and for some distance up, as
from the starboard shore a shoal extends one-third of the
distance over.

After having rested a few days, I determined not to lose any
time, but go immediately and make a survey of Botany-Bay, while
the weather was cool and pleasant.

Towards the end of September, two boats with provisions,
tents, etc. were got ready, and dispatched round, under the
care of Mr. Keltie, the master of the Sirius, by whom, and Mr.
Blackburn, the master of the Supply, I was assisted in my work at
Botany-Bay. A few gentlemen of the settlement having signified a
wish to accompany me, the party resolved to walk over and meet
the boats there; this route being now well known, and the path
well trodden, it was not an unpleasant walk. We joined the boats
about noon, and found our tents pitched.

The same afternoon we began our operations, and in about ten
days had finished the survey of the bay. The anchorage in this
bay, as I have before observed, is extensive, and the passage
into it easy; there is a cluster of rocks, which lie
south-south-east, about two cables length from a little bare
island on the north shore, on which the sea frequently breaks
very high; but if you keep Cape Banks open, you will avoid them;
both shores are bold to, till you come thus high. A little above
Point Southerland (south shore) is another patch of rocks, which,
to avoid in turning, keep the land below this point open.
Although the anchorage here is extensive, yet by looking at the
chart, it will appear a small spot for so very large a piece of
water: from both the north and south sides, and from the bottom
of the bay, the flats run off a great distance, from four to
fifteen feet water.

I did formerly believe, that there was an easy channel over
the flats into the west river, but on this examination I think it
rather difficult, if practicable at all, as the soundings are
very irregular.

This river in some parts has good depth, and that near and
within its entrance; but higher up it is all shoal water, and
full of knowls of sand; in short, it is only to be navigated by
boats: it has two branches, in which there are several coves, or
bays, containing shoal water.

After having gone to the head of this river, and returned to
the bay again, we then entered a small river which empties itself
in the north-west part of the bay; this river, as far as I went
up, which was about five miles, is all shoal water (it has since
been examined to the head by Lieutenant Bradley): in short, these
rivers were _with me_ no object at this time to throw away
time upon; I therefore made no other survey than an eye sketch;
every reach is laid down true with respect to direction; the
soundings are the depth at or near low water; and the distance is
estimated by short portions at a time, that they might be the
more correct.

It will easily be perceived, by looking at the draft of this
bay, that it is not possible to lie land locked with a ship in
any part of it; you will always be exposed to the large sea which
tumbles in here with an easterly wind. The edge of the flatts (in
three fathoms) is determined by many intersections, so that its
extent is pretty nearly ascertained.

In the end of October it was judged necessary to shorten the
allowance of provisions one-third; for although we might expect
store-ships from England by the end of January, 1790, yet as
there did not remain above five months provisions in the
settlement, the governor thought it necessary to issue an order
for two-thirds allowance to commence the 1st of November.

Having finished the placing of the top riders in the Sirius by
the end of October, we took our provisions and stores on board;
and on the 7th of November, we moved the ship from Careening Cove
over to Sydney Cove.

A few days before that time, John Mara, the gunner's mate, had
been missing, and was supposed to have been lost in the woods;
parties were sent out in search of him: the third day after he
disappeared, I was going up the harbour in a boat early in the
morning, and some distance up, I thought I heard the voice of a
man upon the north shore; we lay upon the oars a considerable
time, and listened attentively; we again heard the voice, and
rowed immediately towards that part of the shore from whence the
voice came, and there we found the person missing: he was sitting
upon a rock, was exceedingly faint, and scarcely able to get into
the boat; having had nothing to eat during his absence but an
herb which the people use by way of tea, and which is so
palatable they can drink it without sugar; it has exactly the
taste of liquorish root. I interrogated him with respect to the
manner of his losing himself; he said, "That having been sent on
shore in the evening to fill a few water-casks, which were landed
at a run of water near the ship, and that having just before he
was sent on shore taken a copious drink of grog, he felt himself,
soon after he landed, a good deal disposed to sleep; that the
weather being warm, and the evening well advanced, he laid down
upon the hill, some distance from the run of water, and fell fast
asleep upon the grass; that he did not wake until it was late,
and the night being dark, and he a little confused when he awoke,
he went farther into the wood instead of coming out of it, and by
that means lost himself entirely." He also said, "That when I
took him up, he was so exhausted that he should not have been
able to walk much longer, and that he had only reached the
water-side the night before."

He had no arms of any kind; it was therefore fortunate that he
did not fall in with any of the natives, as we have much reason
to believe that they are disposed to take the advantage of those
they meet without fire-arms.

The night before we left Careening Cove, Mr. Francis Hill, one
of the master's mates, had desired permission to go over to
Sydney Cove, and to return early the next morning; he went over,
and was the next morning early put across to the nearest part of
the north shore, intending to walk round to the ship, a route
which had been often taken by many of our gentlemen, and was not
more than an hour and a half's walk, but in this short distance
Mr. Hill lost himself. The next day, parties were sent out
different ways, and boats were sent both up and down the harbour
in search of him; a gun for their and his direction was fired
from the ship every two hours, and this continued for two days.
The third day, many additional parties were sent, to the number
of nine or ten; in short, every piece of ground where it was
thought possible he might have passed, was traversed over and
over by the different parties, but without effect; we had,
therefore, much reason to believe that he fell in with a party of
the natives, who probably murdered him, for he had no arms of any
kind with him.

That this opinion of a disposition in the natives to take
advantage of a single person, particularly when unarmed, is not
ill founded, we have had many instances to prove; one of which in
this place may suffice, as it had happened very recently, and
near to the place where Mr. Hill was lost. A man belonging to the
Sirius, who had generally been employed in shooting for the
officers, was, a few days previous to the supposed death of Mr.
Hill, in the woods looking for game, and had been seen by a party
of the natives from the skirts of a wood; they had not been
observed by him, and taking the advantage of that, threw a large
stone at him, which very narrowly missed his head, at which it
was very well aimed; had it hit him, it would have knocked him
down and deprived him of his senses, which opportunity they would
no doubt have availed themselves of to dispatch him; but as they
did not succeed in their attempt, they stood their ground, and he
fired a charge of small shot at them, which I suppose they felt
no inconvenience from, as they laughed at him, and advanced with
their lances; he was pretty quick in loading his gun again, into
which he put a heavy charge of buck shot, and as they appeared to
him to be determined on mischief, he resolved, for his own
safety, to be before-hand with them; he took very good aim, and
fired right amongst them; two of them fell, and the rest, with
great precipitation, made off, but he believed they carried their
wounded (probably dead) friends with them; he stood where he was
and loaded his gun, then came towards the ship without seeing any
more of them. They are exceedingly terrified by fire-arms.

There was one circumstance which disposed me to believe that
Mr. Hill had been murdered by the people of the country, which
was, that one of the boats which went down the harbour to look
for him put a-shore in one of the coves in the north part of it;
the young gentleman who had charge of this duty went up the
beach, with five of the boat's crew, while two remained to take
care of the boat; they had only been landed a few minutes, and
were near the skirt of the wood, when two spears were launched
from a rising ground; one of which struck the hat of one of the
seamen; and as no fire-arms had appeared, the natives showed
themselves, to the number of between twenty and thirty; the
midshipman and the sailors returned to the boat, and brought up a
musquet loaded with ball, which the natives observing, all
disappeared, except two, and the ball was fired at them; whether
with or without effect we knew not, but they also disappeared

These hostile appearances, I think, may have been the effect
of their success, in having lately murdered some of our people;
for as we have had several such accidents here, we have had an
opportunity of remarking, that they have generally shown
immediately after them, a more than ordinary degree of

The want of one of the people of this country, who, from a
habit of living amongst us, might have been the means of
preventing much of this hostile disposition in them towards us,
was much to be lamented. If poor Ara-ba-noo had lived, he would
have acquired enough of our language to have understood whatever
we wished him to communicate to his countrymen; he could have
made them perfectly understand, that we wished to live with them
on the most friendly footing, and that we wished to promote, as
much as might be in our power, their comfort and happiness.

The two children mentioned formerly, and who were very happy
amongst us, were yet too young to be of use in reconciling the
natives to us; they now understood almost every thing we said,
and could make themselves very well understood; but the governor
was desirous of having a man or two in our possession, to whom we
might teach enough of our language without the danger of losing
any part of their own, to render them useful to their countrymen;
it had therefore for some time past been in agitation to
endeavour, by force, to secure one or two.

For that purpose, on the 25th of November, Lieutenant Bradley,
with some other officers, and a party of men, were sent down the
harbour in an armed boat: they went to the north part of the
harbour, where, upon one of the sandy beaches, they observed two
native men walking; they immediately formed a scheme to entice
them to a conversation; for that purpose, a few large fish were
held up, and they were called to, which had the desired effect;
the men with much confidence came forward unarmed, and with much
chearfulness received the fish, and held a conversation with
those who presented them.

At this time there were about five of our people upon the
beach, and the boat lying afloat, with her stern close to the
shore, and the sailors lying on their oars: Mr. Bradley, who was
in the stern of the boat, seeing the opportunity good, gave the
signal for securing them; in a moment their heels were knocked
up, and they were tumbled into the boat, followed by those who
secured them, and the boat pulled immediately off. They called
out to their friends the moment they were taken hold of, but
though a considerable number appeared in the skirt of the wood,
on seeing arms in the hands of those in the boat, who stood up
ready to fire, they did not venture an attack. The men were
lashed to the thwarts of the boat, on their first being taken
into her, but after having got to such a distance from the shore,
as to prevent the possibility of an escape, their hands were
loosed, and they were secured by only one leg; but until they
were thus far liberated, their terror was considerable.

On their being landed at Sydney-Cove, they were immediately
taken up to the governor's house, where they were very kindly
treated; but to prevent any attempt to escape being at all
probable, they had each an iron-shackle put on one of their legs,
to which a piece of rope was spliced, and a man was ordered for
each, who was to be answerable for their security; wherever they
went those keepers accompanied them, holding one end of the rope.
When these two strangers landed in Sydney-Cove, many people,
prompted by curiosity, went to see them; among that number were
the boy and girl, natives, whose names, I think, when speaking of
them, I have never yet mentioned; the girl was called _A-ba-roo_,
and the boy _Nan-bar-ry_, or _Bal-der-ry:_ the moment they saw
the men, they with raptures of joy called them both by their
names; the children were also known to them, and it was not
improbable but that their very comfortable appearance, after
having lived so long amongst us, might, in some degree, calm
that perturbation of mind, which we would naturally believe
might attend them in such a state of captivity; for it should be
recollected, that not one of those natives whom we have had amongst
us, had ever returned to inform their friends, what kind of
treatment they had met with from us; it was therefore not to be
wondered at, if they supposed that such as fell into our hands
were put to death.

The two old men who were picked up when very ill with the
small-pox, at the time _A-ba-roo_ and _Nan-bar-ry_ were
found, (and whom we believed to be the fathers of the children)
died very soon. Poor _Ara-ba-noo_, who was at liberty to go
where he pleased some time before he died, was so well reconciled
to us, that he never showed the smallest inclination to go from
us; he unfortunately did not survive the small-pox, and the girl
and boy were now so accustomed to our manner of living, that it
was not at all probable they would relish that of their own

We soon discovered, upon the arrival of these two strangers,
whom the children called by name, that one was a chief, or
distinguished person, among those of the tribe of
-Ca-di-gal_; his name was _Co-al-by_; he was a man of
about 35 years of age; the other was about 25 years old, and was
called by several different names, such as _Ba-na-lang,
Vogle-troo-ye_, or _Vo-la-ra-very_; the first we thought
his proper name, the others we understood from himself were names
by which some of his particular connections were distinguished,
and which he had, upon their death, taken up: this man was a very
good looking young fellow, of a pleasant lively disposition.

The presence of _Co-al-by_ seemed to be a check upon the
chearful temper of _Ba-na-lang_, which inclined us to think
that he paid a kind of deference to him; he was always very
silent in his company.

Seventeen days after these people were taken, they appeared so
well satisfied, that their keepers began to be less apprehensive
of their attempting to make their escape, which they did not fail
to notice, and had no doubt laid a plan to avail themselves of,
for they were very far from being destitute of observation and
cunning. One evening, when it was pretty dark, their keepers were
sitting within the door of their house, eating their supper;
_Ba-na-lang_ was within also, and employed in the same
manner; _Co-al-by_ was at the door, sitting just on the
outside, and had with him something for his supper, which he
pretended to be employed about, the end of his rope was in the
hand of his keeper; while they in the inside were thus amused,
-Co-al-by_ drew the splice of his rope from the shackle, and
in a moment was over the paling of the yard, and out of sight; an
immediate search was made for him, but without effect, we saw him
no more: however we heard afterwards that he joined his friends
again, and will no doubt be careful how he confides hereafter in
us: his friends would certainly be something surprized to see him
so well cloathed, for he carried off his whole wardrobe. I
suppose it would cost him some trouble to get the shackle from
his leg, which was riveted on.

The other man was much more chearful after _Co-al-by-'s
absence, which confirmed our conjecture, and the children's
account, that he was a man more distinguished in his tribe than

In the month of January, 1790, in every company, the
conversation turned upon the long expected arrivals from England,
which we had been for some past in daily expectation of, with a
supply of provisions; our store here was now in a very exhausted
state, much more so than we ever expected it would have been: for
it was the general opinion, that I should the last year, on my
arrival at the Cape of Good Hope, have there met with store-ships
bound to this country, as it was always understood that the
settlement would never have been reduced lower than one year's
provisions in store.

We landed in this country with two years provisions, at least
with what was supposed, when we sailed from England, would be the
case; that time was now elapsed, yet we had not been visited by
any ships from Europe, and we still had remaining provisions, at
half allowance, to last until June. We all looked forward with
hope for arrivals with a relief; and that every assistance
necessary for strangers might be at hand, I offered, with a few
men from the Sirius, to go down to the south head of the harbour,
there to build a lookout-house, and erect a flag-staff upon the
height, which might be seen from the sea; and which might also
communicate information of ships in the offing to the governor at

The governor approved my proposals. I went down with six men,
and was accompanied by Mr. White and Mr. Worgan, the surgeons of
the settlement and Sirius. We erected a flag-staff, and lived in
a tent for ten days, in which time we compleated a tolerably good
house. At the end of ten days, I was relieved by Mr. Bradley with
a fresh party.

Chapter VII


February 1790 to February 1791

-The Sirius and Supply sail for Norfolk
Island.--Land the marines and convicts.--Wreck of the
Sirius.--Some provisions saved.--Martial Law established.--Ratio
of provisions settled.--Vast numbers of birds caught.--In
distress for provisions.--Receive a supply from Port
Jackson.--Officers and crew of the Sirius leave Norfolk Island,
and arrive at Port Jackson.--Norfolk Island described.--Its
situation and extent.--Soil.--Climate, etc.--Table of Winds,

In February, we began to look a little serious on our
disappointment of arrivals: we had not now more than provisions
till June, at the allowance I have already mentioned. The
governor now saw a necessity for dividing the settlement, and
signified his intention that such division should take place
soon, by sending a certain number of marines and convicts, under
the command of Major Ross, the lieutenant-governor, to Norfolk
Island; at which place he understood there were many resources,
which Port Jackson, or the country round it, did not afford; and
the gardens and cultivated lands here also would then be more
enjoyed by the remaining numbers.

Accordingly an arrangement took place, and on the 26th of
February, I received an order to prepare the Sirius for sea, and
to embark the lieutenant-governor, with one company of marines,
and the officers, baggage, and also 186 convicts; in all, 221
persons; with such a proportion of the remaining provisions and
other stores, as the settlement at that time could furnish; and I
was directed to land them upon Norfolk Island: Lieutenant Ball,
commander of his Majesty's armed tender Supply, was ordered under
my command, and he also embarked a company of marines, and twenty

We sailed from Port Jackson on the 6th of March, and the wind
being from the westward, we made Lord Howe's Island on the 9th,
at four in the afternoon, bearing east-north-east, distant about
16 or 18 leagues. The south end of this island is two very high
mountains, nearly perpendicular from the sea; those hills are the
only land you see until you come within six or seven leagues,
when the lower land begins to appear, extending from the foot of
the mountains, northward: it was calm most of the night, with now
and then a light air, with which, and an easterly set of current,
which is generally found here, we were enabled to get in with the
land by noon of the 10th. I made the Latitude of the southermost

(Mount Gower) 31° 35' S.
Longitude, by time-keeper, 159° 10' 30" E. of Greenwich.
Longitude, by distance of the sun and moon, taken at 10, A. M.
159° 08' 00" E.

There is a very remarkable rock, which lies about 12 or 14
miles to the southward of the island, and which is named
Ball's-pyramid, and has much the appearance of a church steeple
at a distance; but as you come near, it is exceedingly high and
perpendicular: we passed in the evening between the island and
the pyramid, and had 26 fathoms within two miles of Mount Gower,
over a rocky bottom. This island I judge to be about three miles
and a half long, north-north-west and south-south-east; it is
very narrow across. There is anchorage on both sides of it, but
the bottom is foul. On the west side there is a bay, off which
lies a reef parallel to the shore, with good swatches, or
passages through for boats; this reef breaks off the sea from the
shore, which is a fine sandy beach, so that there is no
difficulty in landing. I have observed before, that turtle are
sometimes caught here, and that there are many birds upon the

On the 13th, at two o'clock in the morning, we made Norfolk
Island, which I did not expect we should have done quite so soon,
but the easterly current, which is commonly found here, had been
strong: we brought to till day-light, and then, as the wind was
fresh from the south-west, I well knew there could be no landing
in Sydney-bay, where the settlement is fixed, on account of the
high surf, which southerly winds occasion, I therefore bore away,
and ran round to the north-east side of the island into a bay
called Cascade-bay; where, after a few days of moderate weather,
and an off-shore wind, it is possible to land; but that only on
one spot, which is a rock that projects some distance into the
sea, and has deep water to it: on that rock I landed, on the
afternoon of the 13th, all the marines, and a considerable number
of the convicts, but being set to the eastward in the night, I
did not land the remainder until the 15th, when they were also
put on shore on the same place.

These people were no sooner on shore than the wind shifted to
the eastward, and the weather became hazy and blew strong, so
that I had no prospect of being able to land any part of the
provisions. We had put on shore from the Sirius and Supply 270
people, and had no opportunity of sending any stores with them,
as we were now driven out of sight of the island. I knew the
exhausted state of the stores there; I was also acquainted with
the many difficulties which Lieutenant Ball, commander of the
Supply, had met with in the different voyages he had made from
Port Jackson to this island, with provisions; and the length of
time he had, in some of these voyages, been obliged to cruize,
before he could have any access to the shore; so continually does
the surf break all round it: these considerations gave me much
anxiety and uneasiness.

On the 19th, a slant wind from the south-east brought me again
in with the island: the Supply had the preceding night parted
company, but as they were better acquainted here than we were, I
judged they had stood for the land in the night before I did. As
we stood in, finding we could fetch the windward part of the
island, I steered in for Sydney-bay; and as we drew near, I
observed the Supply lying to in the bay, and the signal upon the
shore was flying, that long-boats, or any other boats might land,
without any danger from the surf. Anxious to avail myself of this
favourable signal, I steered in as far as I judged safe, and
brought to with the ship's head off shore, in the south-east or
windward part of the bay, hoisted out the boats, loaded them with
provisions, and sent them in; but observing that the ship settled
fast to leeward, we made sail, and immediately hauled on board
the fore and main tacks, the Supply had also made sail, and was
to leeward of the Sirius.

There is a reef of sunken rocks, which lies off the west point
of the bay, and which (as the wind freshened and the sea rose)
broke a considerable way out; the Supply having drawn a-head,
could not weather this reef: on this she tacked; and, as we drew
near, I plainly perceived that we settled so fast to leeward that
we should not be able to weather it: so, after standing as near
as was safe, we put the ship in stays; she came up almost head to
wind, but the wind just at that critical moment baffled her, and
she fell off again: nothing could now be done, but to wear her
round in as little room as possible, which was done, and the wind
hauled upon the other tack, with every sail set as before; but,
still perceiving that the ship settled into the bay, and that she
shoaled the water, some hands were placed by one of the bower
anchors, in five fathoms water; the helm was again put down, and
she had now some additional after-sail, which I had no doubt
would ensure her coming about; she came up almost head to wind,
and there hung some time; but by her sails being all a back, had
fresh stern way: the anchor was therefore cut away, and all the
haulyards, sheets, and tacks let go, but before the cable could
be brought to check her, she struck upon a reef of coral rocks
which lies parallel to the shore, and in a few strokes was

When the carpenter reported to me, that the water flowed fast
into the hold; I ordered the masts to be cut away, which was
immediately done. There was some chance, when the ship was
lightened of this weight, that by the surges of the sea, which
were very heavy, she might be thrown so far in up the reef, as to
afford some prospect of saving the lives of those on board, if
she should prove strong enough to bear the shocks she received
from every sea.

It was now about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, and after the
masts were gone, all hands were employed in getting out of the
hold such provisions as could be come at, and securing them upon
the gun-deck, that they might be at hand in case any opportunity
offered of floating them on shore.

In the evening the wind freshened still more, and the surf was
considerably increased; in consequence of which, it was strongly
recommended by the gentlemen on shore, who knew the place much
better than we could, that every person should quit the ship: for
this purpose the end of a small rope was floated through the
surf, and over the reef, to the shore, by an empty cask; and by
that rope a seven inch hawser was hauled on shore, with a wooden
heart upon it for a traveller, and the end was made fast to a

By this traveller I corresponded with those on shore, and
received their opinions. To the traveller three or four sailors
at a time were made fast, and were hauled by the people on shore
through the surf, and over a ragged reef to the land; another
part this evening, and the remainder the next day. The whole crew
were intended to have been landed that night, but when it became
dark the hauling rope of the traveller got often foul of the
rocks, which might have occasioned the drowning of those who were
at such a time on the traveller: for the long scope of hawser
(nearly the length of two hawsers) by the weight of three or four
people, was more than two-thirds of the way in the surf, and the
men on it under water.

The second day after the landing of the crew, the weather
being more moderate, and the surf less dangerous, a few of the
seamen, who could depend, in case of accident, upon their good
swimming, were got on board by the hawser, and the utmost
exertion used to get some part of the provisions sent on shore;
but it was the fifth day before any could be landed.

We were now upon this little island 506 souls, upon half
allowance of provisions; and that could, with our present
numbers, last but a very short time; as the supply intended for
the island was yet on board the Sirius; and consequently its
safety very uncertain.

Providence was kind to us. We had for several days the weather
fine, and the surf uncommonly smooth, for this place: for
although there was a continual surf breaking upon the ship, and
all the way between her and the shore, yet it was considered here
as uncommonly smooth: each of those fine days we got on shore
from twenty to thirty casks of provisions, with various other
articles of both public and private property; such articles as
would swim were entrusted to the chance of being thrown on shore
by the surf: all that I or any other officer saved, was found
washing upon the beach; but as the shore was lined with the
marines, to prevent the convicts from committing depredations, it
was much, but not wholly prevented. Every thing which came on
shore was placed under the care of centinels, until claimed by
the proprietor, before certain officers.

But that success which attended those things that were
committed to the sea, proved at last a misfortune; for it
occasioned their trusting every thing promiscuously of private
property to the surf; by which many valuable articles of mine and
some of the officers were lost, being too heavy to float, a
circumstance that those who threw them overboard had not
considered. The provisions being the first object, nothing
besides was allowed to be sent by the traveller; and
notwithstanding it was all dragged through the sea, the damaged
part was but trifling. Some casks were washed out of the slings,
dashed to pieces upon the rocks, and of course lost; but, taking
the whole together, we saved more provisions than we could have
reasonably expected.

By the time we had landed the principal part of the
provisions, the weather began to be rather unfavourable to our
wishes and endeavours; the wind set in from the southward, the
sea rose and occasioned a very high surf, which rendered it
unsafe for any person to remain on board; the small bower cable,
which had hitherto kept the ship's head to the sea, being cut by
the rocks, and the ship being considerably lightened by what had
been taken out of her, she was lifted so high by every sea, as to
occasion her striking very heavily; and by those repeated shocks
she was thrown for a short time broad-side to the sea: had she
kept in that position, she would soon have gone to pieces; but
from her being very light forward, the iron ballast having dropt
out of her bottom, she was lifted fairly round, and was thrown
more than her own length nearer to the shore, and was, by this
change in her position, almost out of the reach of the break of
the sea; that is, the surf, which before generally broke upon
her, now broke outside, and its force was considerably spent,
before it reached her; so that when the weather was moderate and
the surf low, we got with more ease on board, and could remain
there with less danger.

One of the bow ports was enlarged for the purpose of getting
casks and other parcels out; the hauser and traveller were also
fitted and hove taught from the bow, and various stores were sent
on shore with more ease and certainty than before; but the knees
of the beams, being many of them broke, and the ends of the beams
being dislodged from the clamps, the orlop deck blown up, and the
lower deck beams loose, and many of them broken, it was dangerous
to attempt going into the hold; for by every stroke of the sea,
the decks were all in motion: however, every thing that could be
got at by the sailors on board was sent on shore.

A few days after the unfortunate loss of the Sirius, the
ship's company being all on shore, with very little provisions on
the island for so great a number of people, and the supply from
the wreck being yet in a very precarious situation, the
lieutenant-governor assembled all the officers in the settlement
together; and in order that the description of people now among
us in so considerable a number, (I mean the convicts, who I
believe to have been some of the worst characters ever sent from
Great-Britain) should fear the commission of any crime here, more
than they had ever done under the laws hitherto established in
this settlement, it was unanimously judged necessary for the
general safety and good of the whole, that martial law be now
established in this island until such time as we might be
relieved from the distressing prospect that was now before us, by
a supply of provisions, or until the governor in chief of his
Majesty's territory in this part of the world might think fit,
either to approve or disapprove of it.

The necessity of such a measure in the situation we were now
reduced to, I apprehend, will be apparent to every considerate
person. By the proclamation of the law martial, which was
generally consented to, not by an oath, as I believe is commonly
the case, where it is found necessary: but, the service we had to
perform not admitting of the delay that such ceremony would have
occasioned, the general approbation was taken by every individual
passing under the king's colours, which were displayed for that
purpose; _that ceremony_ every person was previously
informed would be considered as an assent, and which was done
with a degree of solemnity, and at the same time an apparent
chearfulness through the whole.

By this proclamation of the law martial, much mischief I am of
opinion was prevented: hitherto, every convict, or any other
person on this island, who had committed any crime which merited
a trial by the criminal court, were to be sent the first
opportunity to Port Jackson, with all the necessary evidence, and
there to be tried. This, in our situation, would have been
attended with innumerable inconveniences and many bad
consequences, which, as I have already said, I confidently
believe were prevented by this proclamation; which may be said to
have been held out in terrorem only: for, during the whole time
of its existence, we had but once occasion to put it in force;
the fear of an immediate trial, and, if found guilty, immediate
execution, kept every body tolerably honest and attentive to the
necessary duties, which it became the whole of us now to look
forward to.

As the Supply tender sailed from this island on the 24th of
March, which was the fifth day after the loss of the Sirius, and
we had not at that time been able to get any part of the
provisions from the wreck; she could not carry to the governor
any certain account, whether we should or should not be able to
get any thing on shore, to help out the very scanty proportion of
provisions which now remained in the store; we therefore
entertained a glimmering of hope that she might, in the course of
five or six weeks, return to us with the very comfortable news of
arrivals from England.

However, after the expiration of that time, during which we
looked anxiously to the sea, our situation began to wear a very
alarming aspect. We now had no doubt, but that in consequence of
a disappointment in the expected arrivals, the governor had found
it necessary to dispatch Lieutenant Ball to some European
settlement, and that he could not relieve us with provisions from
Port Jackson. In consequence of this deplorable situation, on the
14th of May, the officers composing the council met the
lieutenant-governor agreeable to appointment, and published the
following orders:--

"At a meeting of the governor and council held to
consider of the very exhausted state of the provisions in this
settlement, and to consult upon what means are most proper to be
pursued, in order to preserve life until such time as we may be
relieved by some arrivals from England, of which we have been so
long in expectation, but probably disappointed by some
unfortunate accident having happened to the ships intended for
this country. The state of the provisions having been laid before
the council, and the alarming situation of the settlement having
been taken into the most serious consideration, the following
ratio of provisions was unanimously resolved and ordered to take
place on Saturday the 15th instant, viz.

Flour--three pounds per week, for every grown

Beef--one pound and an half per ditto; or, in lieu of
the beef.

17 ounces of pork.

Rice--one pound per ditto.

Children above twelve months old, half the above
ratio. Children under twelve months old, one pound and an half of
flour and a pound of rice per week. In future, all crimes which
may by any three members of the council be considered as not of a
capital nature, will be punished at their discretion, by a
farther reduction of the present allowance of

Every day, and during every breeze from the westward, we now
looked out upon the sea; but on this unfrequented ocean we could
expect nothing to appear but what might be intended for us. Day
after day we talked to each other respecting our situation, as no
other subject seemed to occupy the mind of any one among us. We
were here situated upon an island of only five miles long, and
three in breadth, three hundred leagues from the nearest part of
the Coast of New South Wales, deprived of every hope of finding
any relief by a change of situation, and we had the additional
mortification of anticipating, in a short time, a farther
reduction of our allowance of provisions.

At this particular season we had one advantage, which, when
that leaves us, will reduce us to very great distress; I think,
then, that many of the convicts (who are indolent to
astonishment, and who can, and frequently do, eat at one meal
what they are allowed for a week) must, when the resource I am
going to mention fails, perish for want, or suffer death for the
depredations they are so much inclined, even in times of plenty,
to commit upon others.

In the month of April we found that Mount Pitt, which is the
highest ground on the island, was, during the night, crowded with
birds. This hill is as full of holes as any rabbit warren; in
these holes at this season these birds burrow and make their
nests, and as they are an aquatic bird, they are, during the
day-time, frequently at sea in search of food; as soon as it is
dark, they hover in vast flocks over the ground where their nests
are. Our people, (I mean seamen, marines, and convicts) who are
sent out in parties to provide birds for the general benefit,
arrive upon the ground soon after dusk, where they light small
fires, which attract the attention of the birds, and they drop
down out of the air as fast as the people can take them up and
kill them: when they are upon the ground, the length of their
wings prevents their being able to rise, and until they can
ascend an eminence, they are unable to recover the use of their
wings; for this purpose, nature has provided them with a strong,
sharp, and hooked bill, and in their heel a sharp spur, with the
assistance of which, and the strength of their bill, they have
been seen to climb the stalk of a tree sufficiently high to throw
themselves upon the wing. This bird, when deprived of its
feathers, is about the size of a pigeon, but when cloathed, is
considerably larger, for their feathers are exceedingly thick;
they are webb-footed, and of a rusty black colour; they make
their holes upon the hills for breeding their young in; they lay
but one egg, and that is full as large as a duck's egg.

They were, at the end of May, as plentiful as if none had been
caught, although for two months before there had not been less
taken than from two to three thousand birds every night; most of
the females taken in May were with egg, which really fills the
whole cavity of the body, and is so heavy that I think it must
fatigue the bird much in flying. This _bird of Providence_,
which I may with great propriety call it, appeared to me to
resemble that sea bird in England, called the puffin: they had a
strong fishy taste, but our keen appetites relished them very
well; the eggs were excellent*.

[* For a further description, and an engraving of
this bird, see the Norfolk-Island Petrel, in Phillip's Voyage,
4to Edition.]

We were highly indebted to Providence for this vast resource;
but as these singular advantages could only be for a season, we
reflected, with pain, that they must have an end, and that in all
probability this would be the case before we got a relief. Fish
was generally mentioned by Governor Phillip, when speaking of
this island, as an inexhaustible resource; he also mentioned the
vast quantity of birds (tropic birds and gannets) which were to
be caught here upon the two small islands (Mount Pitt was not
then known to be the resource we have found it).

If the governor had ever been here himself, or spent a winter
upon Norfolk Island, as I have done, he certainly would not have
laid any stress upon resources so very precarious as we had found
them; and consequently not to be depended upon as a certain
advantage. I have seen the weather so stormy, and the surf so
high for near a month together, that a boat could not be launched
more than twice during that period, and then only for a few
hours; and even when they had got out, they would sometimes bring
in a hundred fish of from two to four pounds weight, and at other
times only five or six fish: so that this supply was very
uncertain and very trifling, when it was considered that we were
above 500 people.

The procurement of the birds upon the small islands was
attended with the same disadvantages, by the difficulty of
landing, from the constant surf.

In the end of May the wreck of the ship still held together,
but the beams and knees were all either broken or loose; she was
so much out of the reach of the surf when it was very heavy, that
it broke with considerable less force upon her than formerly.
Every time that the weather would admit, a few sailors were sent
on board to save whatever articles could be got at, and to send
them on shore.

Our distress did not occasion us to forget that the 4th of
June was the birth-day of our much beloved sovereign. On the
morning of this day the colours were displayed, and at noon three
vollies of musquetry were fired by the marines; as an
acknowledgment that we were Britons, who, however distant and
distressed, revered our king, and loved our country.

The seamen, having but little to do on the wreck, were now
employed in clearing ground for a garden, that they might have a
few vegetables to lengthen out their pittance of provisions.
About the middle of this month I sent some sailors on board to
see if any alteration had taken place in the wreck, that might
render it possible to get at the best bower and sheet cables, or
any cask from the hold; but it was found impracticable, from the
orlop and lower decks lying down on the contents of the hold.

On the 6th of July, a convict man who had been out in search
of birds, reported, that he had been robbed of his shirt by three
other convicts, who, being too lazy to work, had left the
business they had been employed at, and had taken shelter in the
woods: and as it became necessary to check an evil of so
dangerous a nature as early as possible, lest from any
inattention to it many of the very worthless characters, which
were now upon the island, might be encouraged to assemble in
considerable numbers, to the very great annoyance of the more
industrious part of the settlement, the lieutenant-governor
directed two small parties of marines, and expressed a wish that
I would also order two parties of the seamen, who might probably
be less suspected of any design, to apprehend them. Each man sent
upon this duty was provided with a ship's pistol, and a few
charges of powder and ball: in the evening of the same day on
which the parties went out, the culprits were brought in,
pinioned by two of the seamen who had been sent after them. A few
days after, a court-martial was assembled for the trial of the
above convicts, and they were sentenced to receive 300 lashes

The Sirius's men were now wholly employed, when the weather
would admit, in fishing for the settlers; and when the surf was
too high, in making fishing-lines and hooks. A party of marines,
and all the convicts, were employed in clearing ground for corn
and potatoes. On the 24th of July, there being at that time no
more than ten or twelve days salt provisions left, at the short
allowance before-mentioned, and as birds, though growing scarce,
were yet still to be had, it was judged necessary by the
lieutenant-governor and council to stop the salt provisions
entirely during the time which birds were to be caught; so that
the ratio now was three pounds of flour, and one pint of rice per
week, or in lieu of the flour, the same quantity of Indian corn
meal, or wheat ground, with the husks and bran in the meal.

The people in general were now reduced so low in bodily
strength for want of a sufficiency of food, that much work could
not be expected; however, it was absolutely necessary that
something should be done to get seed into the ground. A
considerable portion of the cleared land was planted with
potatoes, as the first thing from which we could expect any

On the 4th of August, one of the seamen who had been walking
towards the south-east part of the island, casting his eyes
towards the sea, _saw a sail_; without waiting a moment to
examine her particularly, he ran back with as much speed as
possible, calling out as he ran, A ship! a ship! This news was
all over the settlement in a few minutes, and men, women, and
children were hastening in different directions to welcome the
expected relief. I took a spy glass in my hand, and went to the
place from whence the ship had been seen, and there, to my very
great happiness, I observed a ship with an English ensign flying,
not more than six or seven miles off shore.

The wind at this time blowing strong from south-west, it was
not possible for her to appear off Sydney-Bay, she therefore
wore, and seemed to intend going under the lee of the island, in
order to land a boat there. Captain Johnstone, of the marines,
and myself, agreed to walk across the island and receive them. We
set off, and when we arrived at the sea-side, it is impossible
for me to describe our feelings, when we observed the ship before
the wind, and making sail from the island. We did all we could to
show ourselves, but they did not think proper to speak to us.

The effect this disappointment had upon every individual on
the island will be easier to conceive than to express by words.
Every one agreed in opinion, that it would have been much better
if no ship had been seen. There surely was an appearance of a
great want of the common feelings of humanity in the commander of
this ship: for although we afterwards knew that he had no relief
for us, he had it in his power to have given us some comfort,
some hope of relief being at no great distance; that would, in a
considerable degree, have relieved the anxiety of mind under
which we had laboured for five months past, and he would not have
lost two hours in doing it.

As Captain Johnstone and I were on our way home, lamenting our
disappointment, it struck me that this ship must be from Port
Jackson, and that the commander was bound to China; had nothing
on board for the island, and therefore did not choose to lose any
time; but if this conjecture should be just, he must have known
from our friends what the probable state of this island was, and
therefore might readily suppose that five minutes conversation
would have been a vast relief to our anxiety.

After having determined to believe that he was from Port
Jackson, and that we should soon have something from thence, we
kept a very good look-out, and, to our great happiness, on the
7th, a ship was discovered in the offing, and towards the
evening, another appeared in sight; the surf being low, a boat
was sent immediately off to go on board the nearest: they proved
to be the Justinian and the Surprize, from Port Jackson, with
provisions for the relief of this island, and with an addition to
the number of convicts, of about 200. The masters informed us,
that five ships had arrived in New South Wales with 980 convicts,
and provisions for the settlement, and that they had been arrived
about two months; a delay of great length, when it is considered
that our situation, when the governor last heard from us, was
rather an alarming one: nothing had then been saved out of the
wreck of the Sirius, so that there was no certainty that we had
been able to exist. Such were the reflections which I made during
a moment of anxiety, and which, in a period of quiet, I do not
wish to repeat.

We received information, by these ships, of the unfortunate
accident which befel his Majesty's ship Guardian, in her passage
to this country, with provisions and stores; and also that the
Gorgon was fitting, to bring farther supplies, with another
lieutenant-governor, who commanded a corps that had been raised
for this particular service, the marines being ordered for

The Justinian and Surprize, by the good fortune of an uncommon
time of fine weather, were cleared in little more than three
weeks, and proceeded upon their voyage to China on the 30th. If
these ships had been here two months before they did arrive, the
weather was such that they could not have been cleared two days
before the time that they were. We were now looking eagerly for
the arrival of the Gorgon, which ship, the governor informed me
by letter, was to take the Sirius's crew and marines off this
spot, which has cost me so much distress.

As soon as the above ships arrived, and we had communication
with them; for their safety, as well as for the more
expeditiously landing the provisions, I sent Lieutenant Bradley
on board the one, he being now perfectly acquainted with the set
of the tides, their uncertainty, and all the other dangers around
the island; I also sent Mr. Donovan, a midshipman, on board the
other, he having been near two years upon duty on this island,
and was well acquainted with the above particulars: this
assistance enabled them at all proper times to make more free
with the shore. Mr. Keltie, the master of the Sirius, and Mr.
Brooks, the boatswain, attended with me the whole day at the

The boats employed on this business were manned by the
Sirius's crew; so that every possible attention to prevent danger
or accident was used: but, notwithstanding which, on the 17th of
August, in what was considered as good landing, one of the boats,
in coming into the passage, was overtaken by a succession of
heavy surfs, which threw her on one of the reefs, where she
parted in less than two minutes, and seven people were drowned. I
was with several other officers within twenty yards of them, and
with at least thirty people beside, and could render them very
little assistance.

Of the persons who were drowned, there were two of the boat's
crew, who belonged to the Sirius; three women convicts, who were
coming from the ship in this boat, a child, and one convict man,
who went off with many others to try to save the women. There
were two women brought on shore, by the exertions of the people
on the reef, who were, when landed, apparently dead, but
recovered by the surgeons; one was mother of the child which was
lost; one convict man, who was exerting himself to save others,
was himself brought on shore apparently drowned, but was also
brought to again. The people who were lost, were carried out by
the outset from the shore, which at a certain time of tide is so
strong that a boat can scarcely pull a-head against it, even when

This serves to convince me of the unfounded illiberality of an
observation which I have seen in a certain publication, lately
come out from England, wherein it is mentioned, when speaking of
this island, that there was a boat's crew drowned at a certain
time, but that it was occasioned by the imprudence of the
midshipman, who did not attend to the orders which were given
him: yet certain it is every officer here, at this time, was
fully satisfied it had not been in his power to obey, owing to
the out-set above-mentioned: and therefore it is equally certain,
the reflection upon that gentleman's conduct was highly unjust.
If there had been any act of imprudence committed at that time,
it was not by the midshipman, whose duty it was to obey orders,
but by sending in that narrow and intricate passage, one boat to
meet another, where they must be in each other's way, and
subject, by that means, (if a surf should rise at the moment) to
very great danger.

I found it necessary, in unloading the ships which arrived at
this time, (in consequence of seeing the boats going out and
meeting those coming in considerably endangered by the entangling
their oars, so narrow is the passage in its most dangerous part,)
to give orders that no boat should put off from the shore, when a
loaded boat was near in, nor indeed until such loaded boat was
safely landed.

The arrival of supplies for our relief at this very critical
juncture, was truly comfortable, and a strong instance of the
kindness of Divine Providence to us: for our great and indeed
only resource began to fail us very fast,--the Mount Pitt birds,
on which it may justly be said we had for a very considerable
time principally lived, were now very scarce; many people who
went out to catch them, were frequently, after remaining a whole
night on the ground, where they were, during the plentiful
season, so very numerous, contented to bring in six or eight
birds, and were sometimes unable to find one. The fish also
failed us entirely; for the ships, during the time they were
cruizing about the island and landing the provisions, did not
catch one fish: it will therefore appear, that had not these
supplies arrived so timefully, or had they been detained six
weeks longer, through any accident, or other cause, what a
deplorable situation we should have been reduced to.

Thank God, such consequences as must have attended it, were
prevented by this providential relief, and the dejected gloom,
and pale sickly look, which was to be seen in every countenance,
now gave way to a chearful and happy appearance of

In the month of January, 1791, finding it impossible to get
any of the remaining stores out, which were under the lower and
orlop decks of the wreck, I determined to attempt getting the
guns out, which, until then, I did not incline to try; the gun
deck being in so infirm a state, I was suspicious, that by moving
the guns, which had hitherto (being housed) hung chiefly by the
bolts in the side, it might cause the deck to fall in, as the
beams, from the opening of the ship's sides, did but barely keep
hold of the clamp, the bolts of the knees being all broken: had
this deck fallen in upon the others, it would have prevented
every endeavour to save such stores as were under it, and which,
from time to time, by the alterations which every heavy surf made
on the wreck, we were sometimes enabled to get at: however, after
every thing, which there was any possibility of getting at, was
saved, we began with the guns, and in a few days got every gun
and carriage on shore, by means of a traveller upon a nine inch
hawser; there were only of our ordnance two carronades lost,
which were carried away by the fall of the masts.

We had just compleated this business of the guns, when a sail
was discovered in the offing, which we all believed to be the
Gorgon, that we had so long expected; but upon her nearer
approach, we discovered it to be the Supply armed tender. She had
been, upon her return from Norfolk Island with the account of our
misfortune, immediately dispatched to Batavia; where Lieutenant
Ball was directed to endeavour to hire a vessel, and to load her
with such articles of provisions as he could procure, for the
relief of the settlement: this service Mr. Ball succeeded in;
having procured a Dutch snow, of about 300 tons, and put on board
such provisions as he could procure; consisting of beef, pork,
flour, rice, and various hospital stores. The season, at Batavia,
while the Supply was there, was very sickly; he lost many of his
men by fevers, and among the number was Mr. Newton Fowell, the
second lieutenant of the Sirius, who had been put on board to
assist in bringing the vessel, which might be hired, to Port
Jackson. I was exceedingly concerned for the loss of this young
gentleman, who was a good, well disposed, and promising young

Mr. Ross, the gunner of the Sirius, who had been left at Port
Jackson on duty, when she sailed for Norfolk Island, died also at
Batavia: he had been put on board the Supply, in order to be
landed at Norfolk Island, if she should be able to reach that
place in her way to Batavia.

After the return of the Supply to Port Jackson, she was found
to require some repairs, which having been compleated, she was
ordered upon the service wherein we now found her, viz. bringing
a few stores for Norfolk Island, with orders to embark the
remaining officers and crew of the Sirius, and to return with
them to Port Jackson.

This information I received with joy, as our situation was now
become exceedingly irksome: we had been upon this small island
eleven months, and during great part of that time, through
various causes, had been oppressed by feelings more distressing
than I can find words to express. On the 11th of February, I
embarked, with the officers and ship's company, on board the
Supply, having taken my leave of a place which had cost me so
much distress and vexation. We had fine weather during our
passage to Port Jackson, where we arrived on the 27th, and were
kindly and hospitably received by all our friends there.

I now understood from the governor, that he had entered into a
contract with the master of the Dutch snow, for carrying the
officers and ship's company of the Sirius to England; a piece of
information which I did not by any means feel a pleasure in
hearing: for, anxious as I was to reach England as soon as
possible, I should with much patience rather have waited the
arrival of an English ship, than to have embarked under the
direction, or at the disposal, of a foreigner: however,
preparations were then making for sending us off as fast as

As I have spent so much time upon an island, which has of late
been much spoken of, and of which many flattering accounts seem
to have been given, it will be expected that I should say
something concerning it.


Mount Pitt, or the highest land, lies in Latitude 29° 02'
south. Longitude 168° 05' east of the meridian of Greenwich.

Ships, on making Norfolk Island*, may stand boldly in, there
not being any thing farther out than half a mile from the shore
to take them up. If the wind is west to south or south-east,
there is generally too much surf in Sydney-Bay for boats to land,
which circumstance is signified from the shore by not hoisting
any flag at the lower flag-staff; in which case you will
generally find good landing in Cascade-Bay, where I think there
would not be any difficulty in landing provisions from a

[* The remarks and directions for Norfolk Island and
Sydney-Bay were made by Captain Bradley.]

If she should put in here, she might always be getting her
cargo out either there or at Sydney-Bay, as the winds that
prevent landing in Cascade-Bay generally make smooth water in
Sydney-Bay. People may at times be landed in Ball-Bay,
Duncombe-Bay, and Anson's-Bay, but neither stores nor provisions
can be landed, on account of the perpendicular hills that
surround them. The ground of the north side of the island is
clearer of rocks than in Sydney-Bay.

Great attention should be paid to the tides, and on the south
side of the island particularly; with southerly and south-east
winds I have known the tide shift six points, at different times,
in the space of half an hour; and if you cannot lie up
south-south-west, standing off upon the larboard tack, the ebb
tide will heave you in upon the shore. There is a mud bank to the
north-east by north of Nepean's island, where a ship might safely
anchor in westerly winds, and prevent being driven off Norfolk


Lies in latitude 29° 05' south; longitude 168° 02'
east; and variation 11° 00' east. The tide flows full, and
changes at three quarters past seven, and rises from five to
seven feet: the flood runs to the south-west by south; and the
ebb to the north-east by north.

[* For Sydney-Bay, Norfolk Island, upon a large
scale, see Phillip's Voyage.]

In general the tides are equal each way, the ebbs and the
flows regular along the shore six each tide: the eastern tide is
stronger than the western tide; sometimes the eastern tide runs
several hours beyond its usual course, and sometimes the western
tide thus irregularly, which irregularities, although they seldom
happen, make it necessary to bring to, and try the tide before
you come within the outer part of the Nepean Island; and be aware
of an indraught, which sometimes sets into the bight on the west
side of the bay, on both tides, while you are baffled by the
south-east and southerly winds, as you come in with

All within Nepean Island is foul ground, and very irregular
soundings, and no safe passage between it and Point Hunter; but
if a ship should be pressed by necessity, I would recommend
keeping within half a cable's length of Nepean Island, after
having passed the bed of rocks to the westward of the little

Norfolk Island lies north-west by north and south-east by
south, and is in this direction about five miles long, and nearly
three in breadth; it is very thickly covered with wood, of which
there are six or seven different kinds, and some I believe might
be applied to naval purposes.

The Pines, which has been particularly spoken of by Captain
Cook, and by others, who have lately visited this island, is the
most conspicuous of any tree here; they grow to a prodigious
size, and are proportionably tall, being from 150 to 200 feet,
and in circumference from 12 to 14 feet, some to 28 and 30 feet.
These trees, from their immense height, have a very noble
appearance, being in general very straight, and free from
branches, to 40, sometimes 60 feet, above the ground; they have
been by some thought fit for masts, for ships of any size; in
length and diameter they certainly are, but with respect to
quality they are, in my opinion, wholly unfit; even admitting
them to be found, which, from experience, I know is seldom the

I employed the carpenters of the Sirius, while here, to cut
down a few sticks, which it was intended should be sent home by
the first opportunity, in order for trial in his Majesty's
dock-yards, to see if they were, as had been said, fit for his
Majesty's navy, or not. In providing a top-mast and a
top-sail-yard for a seventy-four gun ship, a thirty-two, a
twenty, or a sloop, and one rough spar, in all seven sticks, 34
trees were cut down, 27 of which were found defective. When these
trees were falling, it was observed that most of them discharged
a considerable quantity of clear water, which continued to flow
at every fresh cut of the axe; there is no turpentine in these
trees but what circulates between the bark and body of the tree,
and which is soluble in water. It is a very short grained and
spongy kind of timber, and I think fit only for house-building,
for which we know it to be very useful.

When fresh cut down, five out of six will sink in water, the
wood is so exceedingly heavy: and, if we suppose for a moment,
that great part of the pine timber were fit for naval purposes,
the great difficulty, and indeed I may say impossibility, of
getting it from the interior parts of the island to the sea,
would render it of little value, if designed for masts; but if
for plank, it could be cut up where fallen. Those which grow on
the south-east point of the island, where the land is low, are
those which have hitherto been made use of.

Norfolk Island, if correctly laid down in a plan, with all the
hills and vallies represented accurately, would very much
resemble the waves of the sea in a gale of wind; for it is
composed wholly of long, narrow, and very steep ridges of hills,
with deep gullies, which are as narrow at the bottom as the hills
are on the top, so that there is scarcely any level country upon
it; but as viewed from the sea, it appears quite level, the
different ridges being nearly the same in height.

Arthur's Vale, which is near the settlement, and the first
place which was cleared for cultivation, is a pretty spot of
level ground, and the most extensive flat yet cleared; it
contains eleven acres. This very great unevenness of the ground
occasions much labour in cultivation, and renders it wholly
impossible to use the plough, even if the ground were
sufficiently cleared, and there were cattle to work; every labour
of that kind must be done by hand. There was, when I left the
island, in February, 1791, something more than 100 acres cleared
for the public, exclusive of private gardens, but all the roots
of the trees were left in the ground, which would no doubt occupy
a fifth part of it, for many of them were very large.

The soil over the whole of this island is generally allowed to
be remarkably fine, and it is very deep; indeed, the luxuriance
with which almost every thing grows sufficiently indicates a very
rich soil: it seems to be composed principally of a deep, fat
clay, and decayed vegetable matter; in short, without pretending
to natural knowledge, that unhappily I do not possess, I shall
only observe, that a more luxuriant soil I never met with in any
part of the world.

The flax plant mentioned by Captain Cook grows chiefly on the
sea coast, or on points which project into the sea; but as these
points seem to have the same kind of soil as the other parts of
the island, there can be no doubt of its succeeding in the
interior parts, if planted there.

In the very sanguine opinions which we find have been given of
this island, since we arrived in this southern part of the world,
it appears that the size of it has been wholly overlooked,
otherwise I think such expectations and opinions of its value, as
appears to have been entertained, could not have taken place. I
only judge of such expectations by the number of people which
Governor Phillip has thought proper to send there: opinions have
been given, that it will maintain 2000 inhabitants; if it were
all cleared and cultivated, it would no doubt furnish many of the
necessaries of life for such a number; but in its present state,
I should think a fourth part of that number too many, and, in my
humble opinion, they should be such as have forfeited every hope
of seeing their native country again; such a description of
people would find it their particular interest to be industrious,
as their existence might depend upon it.

The crops here are very subject to blights from the sea winds,
and there are immense numbers of the grub worm and caterpillars:
there is also a fly of a very destructive nature to the gardens
and corn; but when such vermin do not appear until the crops have
arrived at a certain age, and have gained their strength, their
effects are not so very ruinous; there is no certain period at
which they appear; probably when a large extent of ground is
cleared these vermin may not be so frequent.

Indian corn grows here with great advantage, producing from
forty to fifty bushels an acre, planted with about a peck. This
little island is extraordinary well watered; there are several
fine streams which seem to flow from the body of Mount Pitt, and
empty themselves on both sides of the island into the sea. On the
north side, in Cascade-Bay, there are two pretty falls from steep
cliffs into the sea; there are two streams upon this island,
which I have often noticed even in very dry weather, and thought
them capable of turning a mill.

With respect to landing upon the shore, as it is frequently
attended with great difficulty and danger, stores should never be
sent here but in the summer time, when there is much fine weather
and easy landing; but when the landing is impracticable in
Sydney-Bay, it is possible to get light stores a-shore in
Cascade-Bay, which will then be smooth, if it do not blow hard;
when it does, the whole island is inaccessible, for it is not of
sufficient extent to prevent the sea, occasioned by bad weather,
from affecting every part of the shore.

[A TABLE, distinguishing those Days on which Landing was good,
and those of High Surf, when there could be no landing, at the
annexed Landing Places, in _Norfolk-Island_, between the
19th of _March_, 1790, and the 12th of _Feb._ 1791. By

Chapter VIII

February 1791 to March 1791

Great improvement of the country at Rose Hill.--Vicissitude of the
climate. Norfolk Island remarkably healthy.--A native runs away from
the settlement.--Frequent visits from the natives.--Governor Phillip
wounded by the natives with a spear.--Natives again visit the
settlement.--Entertain the governor, etc. with a dance.--Decorate
themselves for that purpose. Method of dancing described.--Music
and singing.-

After my arrival at Port Jackson I went to Rose Hill, where
great improvements were carrying on; a considerable town was laid
out, many good buildings were erected, and roads were cut, with
about two hundred and thirteen acres of land cleared for corn,
and eighty acres for buildings and gardens; that is, the trees
were cut down, but the roots remained in the ground, which would
certainly lessen the quantity of cleared ground; this ground
being grubbed up and laid open, gave me an opportunity of
examining what the soil consisted of, and although I do not
pretend to any knowledge in farming, yet I thought it required no
very great judgment to perceive and determine this favourite spot
(which, to do it justice, is certainly better than any upon or
near this harbour) to be a poor, sandy, steril, soil; the surface
is covered a few inches deep with a soil which seems to be
produced from decayed vegetation, rotten leaves, burnt and
withered grass; and under that is a mere bed of sand.

Rose Hill is certainly a pretty situation, but the country
will require much manure, much dressing, and good farmers to
manage it, before good crops can be expected from it; the best
they have ever had, I have been informed, has amounted only to
six or seven to one, and this last season has been little more
than two to one, but that may in some measure be accounted for by
there being a great scarcity of rain.

If it be the determination of government to persevere in
establishing a settlement in this country, upon an extensive
plan, the nation must be contented to submit to a very heavy
expence. It must be stocked with cattle, were it only for the
manure, for without manure this country is too poor ever to yield
tolerable crops; and if it should be resolved upon to stock it
with cattle, it will be found highly necessary to employ a
considerable number of people in the care of them, to prevent
their being frequently attacked by the natives, whom we know are
frequently driven to very great distress for food.

The country about Rose Hill, which I have formerly mentioned
as requiring not much labour in clearing, from its being covered
only with lofty, open woods, without any underwood, and which I
then observed ran to the westward about twenty miles, has since
been travelled over by several gentlemen, who admit that that
kind of country does extend near the distance above-mentioned to
the westward, but in a north and south direction, it does not
extend more than three or four miles, when you come again into
barren, rocky land, wholly unfit for cultivation; in short, as I
have walked over a good deal of ground since I have been here,
and have frequently travelled from Botany-Bay to Broken-Bay along
the sea coast, I can with much truth declare, that I have never
met with a piece of ground any where sufficient for a small farm,
which has not been so rocky as to be unfit for cultivation; the
best of it appears to be a poor, miserable, sandy soil; and what
must subject those who live on it to much inconvenience is, the
very great scarcity of water.

Upon my arrival here from Norfolk Island, all the streams from
which we were formerly supplied, except a small drain at the head
of Sydney-Cove, were entirely dried up, so great had been the
drought; a circumstance, which from the very intense heat of the
summer, I think it probable we shall be very frequently subject
to. This frequent reduction of the streams of fresh water
disposes me to think, that they originate from swamps and large
collections of rain water, more than from springs.

When the sudden vicissitudes of heat and cold are considered,
we might be too apt to pronounce this country very unhealthy; but
near four years experience has convinced us that it is not the
case: it is no uncommon thing at Rose Hill, and frequently at
Sydney, for the thermometer to be in the morning at 56° or
60°; and by two hours, afternoon, at 100°, sometimes
112°; and after sun-set, down to 60° again; this is, with
the thermometer exposed to the air, in a shade, and not within
the house. When I went last to Rose Hill, I left Sydney at five
o'clock in the morning, and rowed up the harbour, a great coat
was then comfortable; at noon I walked over the cleared ground,
the thermometer was then more than 100°.

Norfolk Island is also subject to such sudden changes, but is
also remarkably healthy. I do not think I can give a stronger
proof of the salubrity of the climate, than by observing, that I
never saw the constitutions either of the human race or any other
animal, more prolific in any part of the world; two children at a
birth is no uncommon thing, and elderly women, who have believed
themselves long past the period of child-bearing, have repeatedly
had as fine healthy strong children as ever were seen. And there
has but one old woman, who was sickly before she came to the
country, and one infant, died of a natural disease on the island,
since it has been settled.

I have some time ago mentioned the name of Ba-na-lang, a
native man, who had been taken in the lower part of the harbour,
with another of the name of Co-al-by, who soon after made his
escape. Ba-na-lang had been kept in his shackle, and treated with
so much kindness, that it was now supposed he might be trusted
with his liberty, without any fear of his leaving us; he was
therefore, in the month of April, 1790, which was soon after we
left Port Jackson for Norfolk Island, set at liberty, and did not
appear at all disposed to leave the governor's house, or absent
himself from his new acquired friends; this appearance of
satisfaction he feigned with success for several days, for no
person seemed to suspect him; he at last, however, took French
leave; having, after dark, one evening, stripped himself of his
very decent cloathing, left them behind, and walked off. Both he
and Co-al-by were frequently seen by our fishing-boats, and were
so familiar as to converse with the people, who often invited
them to come up to Sydney (the name by which the settlement is
called) but this invitation they were not much disposed to
accept, until the governor in person should invite them, and give
them his promise that they should not be detained; the governor
did invite them, and promised to give them many things, of which
they were very much in want.

It was scarcely to be expected that these people, who had been
deprived of their liberty in so treacherous a manner, and had
been so long detained from their families and connections, should
have had confidence enough to trust their liberty again in our
hands; however, as the governor and every other person in the
settlement had ever been kind to them, they were inclined to
depend on the governor's promise, and did come to Sydney; were
kindly received, went from house to house, and saw all their old
acquaintances; they received many little presents, and returned
to their friends when they thought proper.

This confidential visit from two men, who appeared to have
some influence among their countrymen, soon brought about a more
general intercourse, and the next visit from those men brought
the same favour from their wives and families, whose example was
followed by many others; so that every gentleman's house was now
become a resting or sleeping place for some of them every night;
whenever they were pressed for hunger, they had immediate
recourse to our quarters, where they generally got their bellies
filled. They were now become exceedingly fond of bread, which
when we came here first, they could not bear to put into their
mouths; and if ever they did, it was out of civility to those who
offered it; but now the little children had all learnt the words,
-hungry, bread_; and would, to show that they were hungry,
draw in their belly, so as to make it appear quite empty.

Co-al-by's wife had a young female child in her arms, about
three or four months old; this little creature had a ligature
round the little finger of the right hand, in order to separate
the two lower joints, which in the course of three weeks or a
month it effected: I saw it just as the finger was about dropping
off, but as it hung by a bit of skin, they begged Mr. White, the
surgeon, to take it off, which he did, with a pair of scissars,
and which the child did not seem to feel. This taking off the
finger of the right hand appeared to be a mistake in the mother,
who frequently pointed that it should have been the left

A short time previous to this friendly and general visiting
from the natives, the governor, as I have already observed, in
order to dispose them the more to confide in us, went down the
harbour himself, to see and converse with our old friends
Ba-na-lang and Co-al-by, and to invite them to come to his house,
where they should get whatever they might be in want of; and be
permitted to return when they pleased. The governor having
received information that these two men with several other
natives were in Collins's-Cove, went thither, accompanied by
several other gentlemen, and they were all unarmed; this
unfortunate want of necessary caution had very near proved fatal
to the governor; the particulars of this accident were related to
me by an officer who was of the party, and were, as near as I can
recollect, as follows:

On Thursday the 7th of September, the governor, with a few
other gentlemen, went down to the look-out, in order to fix on a
spot for erecting a column, or pyramid, as a mark, by which
strangers might, at sea, the better know the harbour; and were
returning, when they were met by a boat which had been landing a
party of gentlemen, who intended walking along the coast to
Broken-bay: by the cockswain of this boat, the governor was
informed, that Mr. White, who was one of the above party, had
seen Co-al-by and Ba-na-lang, and had a long conversation with
them; that these men enquired for every body they knew, and
particularly for the governor; that they had sent his excellency
a piece of whale, which had been thrown on shore, and which they
had been regaling themselves upon; that Ba-na-lang would go up to
Sydney, if the governor would come for him.

In consequence of this information, the governor returned to
the look-out, and got together every thing that he could find,
which he thought would be acceptable to his old friends: he also
took with him four muskets, and went immediately to
Collins's-Cove, where those people had been seen. In their way
they examined the muskets, and found that only two of the four
would strike fire, and these they loaded: when they reached the
place, they observed a number of the natives sitting round a fire
which was near the place where the dead whale lay; the governor
stood up in the boat, and asked in their language where
Ba-na-lang was; Ba-na-lang answered, I am here; the governor then
said, I am the governor your father; (a name he wished the
governor to be known by when he lived with him.) The governor,
after desiring Captain Collins and Mr. Waterhouse to remain in
the boat, and to have the muskets ready, landed, and walked up
the beach with his arms extended, to show that he was unarmed,
and that they might not be alarmed: they did not seem inclined to
meet him; however he followed them into the wood, and one of them
frequently called out governor and father; in consequence of
this, and having shook hands in a friendly manner, the governor
returned to the boat, and desired one of the men to bring up some
wine, beef, and bread, and a jacket or two, which had been
brought on purpose, and went back with those articles to them: on
his holding up a bottle, one of them called out wine, and
repeated several English words; two of the natives came forward
and received the things, and one drank a little wine; they had
likewise received from the governor a few knives.

In a short time, the governor came to the boat again, and
mentioned all that had happened; observing at the same time, that
Ba-na-lang and Co-al-by were not among the number: he asked
Captain Collins to walk up with him, and desired Mr. Waterhouse
to stay by the boat. When they went up, Mr. Waterhouse frequently
heard one of the natives call to Ba-na-lang, and informed him of
what observations he made upon those who remained in the boat,
the people being employed in keeping her afloat, upon her oars.
Shortly after, one of the men came down from the governor, and
informed Mr. Waterhouse, that both Ba-na-lang and Co-al-by were
there, and that the former had frequently asked for Mr.
Waterhouse, and the governor desired he would come up, which he
did. On his arrival, he observed a considerable number of the
natives on each side, and eight or ten in front, all armed with
their spears, except two, with whom the governor and Captain
Collins were in conversation.

Mr. Waterhouse went up, but did not know Ba-na-lang, until he
was pointed out to him; he then shook hands with him and
Co-al-by. Ba-na-lang had at this time two jackets on, which he
had received from the governor and Captain Collins; Co-al-by had
also a jacket given him; after Ba-na-lang had been asked several
questions, he took Mr. Waterhouse round the neck and kissed him;
these questions were relative to various circumstances which
happened while he lived with the governor, all of which he seemed
to recollect very well: Co-al-by shook hands again with Mr.
Waterhouse, and begged him to put on the jacket which had been
given, and which he held in his hand, not knowing how to put it
on himself, which Mr. Waterhouse did for him. Ba-na-lang, on the
governor's first meeting him, had a remarkable fine spear, which
the governor asked him for, but he either could not or would not
understand him, but laid it down on the ground.

During all this time, there was the greatest appearance of
harmony and friendship. However, the natives seemed closing round
the party, which being observed, the governor proposed going down
to the boat, for they had by this time nearly formed a crescent,
and had the governor's party in the centre: there were now
nineteen armed men near, and a considerable number in the wood
out of sight. The governor now told Ba-na-lang that he would
return in two days, and bring him the cloaths he used to wear
when in his house, and would also bring him a couple of hatchets
for himself and Co-al-by; with which promise they seemed well
pleased, and often repeated that it might not be forgot.

Just as the governor and his party were going, Ba-na-lang
pointed out and named several of the natives who were strangers,
one of whom the governor went up to and offered to shake his
hands, at which the man seemed much terrified, and immediately
seized the spear, which Ba-na-lang had laid on the ground, fixed
it on the throwing-stick, and discharged it with astonishing
violence: he with all his associates made off with the utmost
precipitation. The spear entered the governor's right shoulder,
just above the collar-bone, and came out about three inches lower
down, behind the shoulder-blade.

Mr. Waterhouse, who was close by the governor at the time,
supposed that it must be mortal, for the spear appeared to him to
be much lower down than it really was, and supposed, from the
number of armed men, that it would be impossible for any of the
party to escape to the boat. He turned round immediately to
return to the boat, as he perceived Captain Collins to go that
way, calling to the boat's crew to bring up the muskets; the
governor also attempted to run towards the boat, holding up the
spear with both hands, to keep it off the ground, but owing to
its great length, the end frequently took the ground and stopped
him (it was about twelve feet long). Governor Phillip, in this
situation, desired Mr. Waterhouse to endeavour, if possible, to
take the spear out, which he immediately attempted, but observing
it to be barbed, and the barb quite through, he saw it would be
impossible to draw it out; he therefore endeavoured to break it,
but could not.

While he was making this attempt, another spear was thrown out
of the wood, and took off the skin between Mr. Waterhouse's
fore-finger and thumb, which alarmed him a good deal, and he
thinks added power to his exertions, for the next attempt, he
broke it off. By this time, the spears flew pretty thick, one of
which he observed to fall at Captain Collins's feet, while he was
calling to the boat's crew: the governor attempted to pull a
pistol out of his pocket, but the spears flew so thick, that it
was unsafe to stop: however he got it out and fired it, upon a
supposition, that their knowing he had some fire-arms would deter
them from any further hostility.

The whole party got down to the boat without any further
accident, and in two hours they arrived at the government-house,
when the surgeons were sent for: Mr. Balmain, who was the first
that arrived, after examining the wound, made every body happy,
by assuring them he did not apprehend any fatal consequences from
it; he extracted the point of the spear, and dressed the wound,
and in six weeks the governor was perfectly recovered.

Immediately on the arrival of the governor at Sydney, it was
judged necessary to send an armed party of marines towards
Broken-bay, to escort the gentlemen who had walked that way back
again; lest the same hostile disposition in the natives, should
incline them to make an attack on them on their return.

Before I left Port Jackson, the natives were become very
familiar and intimate with every person in the settlement; many
of them now took up their rest every night in some of the
gentlemen's houses; their very unprovoked attack on the governor
and his party being passed over and almost forgot.

We have frequently observed, since this familiar intercourse
took place, that they often had a dance amongst themselves at
night, on the lower part of Sydney-cove, where a small house had
been built by the governor's order, for their accommodation. It
had been signified to some of the principal amongst them, that we
should be glad to have an opportunity of seeing them dance, which
they readily agreed to, and the following night was appointed,
when the governor and a considerable number attended; every one
being provided with arms of some kind: a caution which,
notwithstanding friendly appearances, was generally allowed to be
necessary; for experience had convinced us that these people have
a good deal of treachery in their disposition.

Preparatory to this exhibition, much attention was paid to the
decorating themselves; they were all Adams and Eves, without even
a fig-leaf, but without their dignity. The young women were
employed with all their art in painting the young men, who were
chiefly ornamented with streaks of white, done with pipe-clay,
and in different forms, according to the taste of the man
himself, or to that of the lady who adorned him: no fop preparing
for an assembly was ever more desirous of making his person
irresistibly beautiful. This paint, so much in use among them,
could not be applied without a little moisture, and the lady, in
drawing those marks on the face, which were so essential a part
of the decoration, I observed frequently to spit in the face of
her friend, whom she was employed in adorning, in order to make
the white clay mark the stronger. When they were all prepared, we
walked down to the place appointed, after dark, for they prefer
taking their amusement by fire-light; we found several fires
lighted, and a considerable number of people assembled. We walked
round to see that there were no armed lurkers among the

The dancers being ready, we were placed in a semicircle, by
Ba-na-lang, and Co-al-by, who seemed to have the chief authority
and direction. The dance was begun by a few young boys, and was
encreased by men and women, chiefly by the former, until their
number amounted from twenty to twenty-six. Their dance was truly
wild and savage, yet, in many parts, there appeared order and
regularity: one man would frequently single himself out from the
dance, and running round the whole of the performers, sing out in
a loud voice, using some expressions in one particular tone of
voice which we could not understand: he would then join the
dance, in which it was observed that certain parties alternately
led forward to the front, and there exhibited with their utmost
skill and agility, all the various motions which, with them,
seemed to constitute the principal beauties of dancing: one of
the most striking was, that of placing their feet very wide
apart, and by an extraordinary exertion of the muscles of the
thighs and legs, moving the knees in a trembling and very
surprizing manner, such as none of us could imitate; which seemed
to show that it required much practice to arrive at any degree of
perfection in this singular motion.

There appeared a good deal of variety in their different
dances; in one of which they paired themselves, and frequently
danced back to back; they then changed suddenly and faced each
other: sometimes all the performers sat down on the ground with
their feet under them, and at a particular word, or order, they
all raised themselves up: this motion they performed without any
assistance from the hands; now they ran back in direct rows, then
advanced in the same order; again they would form a circle, with
some distinguished person in the center, and sometimes the whole
of the performers would appear with a green bough in their hands,
which they held up in a conspicuous manner.

In all the different figures which they performed, I observed
that they generally finished by certain numbers of their
principal dancers advancing to the front, and going through that
favourite part of the dance, the quivering motion of the knees;
whenever this was done, the whole company faced to the front and
went through the same motions; but it was noticed that some were
more frequently in the front than others, and those, I concluded,
were such as had great confidence in their own skill in the
execution of this very difficult part of the performance, and no
doubt were vain enough to outshine in their ability the rest of
the company.

On the whole, this exhibition was well worth seeing; and this
was the first opportunity that had offered for us to see any
thing of the kind, since we had been in the country. Their music
consisted of two sticks of very hard wood, one of which the
musician held upon his breast, in the manner of a violin, and
struck it with the other, in good and regular time; the
performer, who was a stout strong voiced man, sung the whole
time, and frequently applied those graces in music, the piano and
forte; he was assisted by several young boys and girls, who sat
at his feet, and by their manner of crossing the thighs, made a
hollow between them and their belly, upon which they beat time
with the flat of their hand, so as to make a kind of sound which
will be better understood from the manner of its being produced,
than from any verbal description: these children also sung with
the chief musical performer, who stood up the whole time, and
seemed to me to have the most laborious part of the

They very frequently, at the conclusion of the dance, would
apply to us for our opinions, or rather for marks of our
approbation of their performance; which we never failed to give
by often repeating the word _boojery_, which signifies good;
or _boojery caribberie_, a good dance. These signs of
pleasure in us seemed to give them great satisfaction, and
generally produced more than ordinary exertions from the whole
company of performers in the next dance.

Chapter IX


March 1791 to September 1791

-Captain Hunter leaves Port Jackson in the
Waaksamheyd transport.--In danger amongst some islands.--Isle of
Pines described.--Stewart's islands discovered.--Fall in with
Bradley's shoals.--Discover a cluster of islands.--Name them Lord
Howe's Groupe.--The natives described.--Attempt to find anchorage
on the coast of New-Britain.--Are disappointed.--Anchor at the
Duke of York's island.--Attempt to procure water.--Are attacked
by the natives.--A few shots fired.--The natives dispersed.--A
reconciliation effected.--Natives
described.--Weapons.--Ornaments, etc.--Produce and
soil.--Leave the Duke of York's island.--Natives from the
Admiralty islands visit the ship.--Their canoes
described.--Phillip's islands discovered.--Anchor at Hummock
island.--Refreshments procured.--Visited by the Raja.--A quarrel
ensues.--Several of the natives killed.--Articles of barter in
request.--Canoes described.--Leave Hummock island.--Anchor at
Batavia.--Tables of latitude and longitude,

On the 27th of March, 1791, every thing being embarked, we
left Sydney-cove, in the Waaksamheyd transport, and sailed down
the harbour; when we were accompanied by the governor, and most
of the civil and military officers in the settlement. When we
passed the lower point of the Cove, all the marines and the New
South Wales corps, who were off duty, came down and cheered our
people, by way of taking leave, and wishing us a good

Never, upon any service, did there a better, or a more
friendly, understanding subsist between different corps, than had
ever been the case between the seamen and soldiers employed upon
this. When we came near the lower part of the harbour, our
friends took leave, and soon after the wind setting in from the
sea, we were obliged to anchor until the next morning, when a
land wind carried us clear out. The master of the ship had orders
from Governor Phillip to call at Norfolk Island, in order to take
on board the dispatches of Lieutenant-Governor Ross; but this
order was meant only in case it could be done without any
material loss of time.

We were in all, on board that little vessel, one hundred and
twenty-three souls, victualled for sixteen weeks. We had a very
long voyage before us. It was my wish, if possible, to avoid
touching at Batavia, in order to prevent sickness among our
people, in the very crouded state they were in, which, at the
season we should probably be there, was much to be dreaded. I had
expressed a desire to pass through amongst the Molucca Islands,
and endeavour to call at Timor, for the purpose of watering, and
getting such other articles as could be had there; as by the time
we could arrive among those islands, the easterly wind would be
set in strong; and from thence, to have proceeded as far as I
could with the provisions I had, either to the Mauritius, or the
Cape of Good Hope.

We therefore could not afford to lose much time in an attempt
to call at Norfolk Island; three weeks, however, we persevered in
endeavouring to reach it, and had arrived within twenty-five
leagues of it, when the wind set in strong from the eastward. I
now called the officers and the master of the ship together, to
consider of our situation, with respect to water and provisions.
We had been fitted out in a very hasty and careless manner, with
water-casks built from old worm-eaten staves, which had been
laying exposed to the sun for more than a year; so that by the
time we had arrived within the above distance of the island, we
had lost by leakage full three weeks water, and had every reason
to fear the loss of much more from the same cause: it was not
therefore time, with a heavy sailing vessel, to attempt beating
to windward, in order to reach a place, which we knew we could
not gain without a change of wind; and the very great difficulty
and uncertainty of getting a supply of water there, determined
every one's opinion in favour of bearing away to the

Much time had already been lost in making the attempt, we
therefore steered to the northward, intending to pass between the
New Hebrides and Nova Caledonia; but in this intention we were
disappointed. Upon making the Isle of Pines, (on the 23d of
April,) which lies off the south end of New Caledonia, (the
island bore when we made it north,) the wind blew so strong from
the northward of east, that we could not weather and pass to the
eastward of it. We had not Cook's Second Voyage on board, so that
we had no account of this land, and as I had always understood
that the Isle of Pines was a small inconsiderable spot, with many
tall pine-trees upon it, we all concluded, that, what afterwards
proved really the island was the land which Captain Cook had
called the Prince of Wales's Foreland, and is the south-west part
of New Caledonia.

We had moreover farther reason to believe this to be the case,
from the circumstance, that from this land to the south-east
there lay a low island on which grew high pine-trees; from which
circumstance, we considered it to be the Isle of Pines; and being
unable, as I have already observed, to weather it, we bore away,
intending to run along the western coast of New Caledonia: this
mistake had nearly proved of fatal consequences to us, for after
we had coasted along for a few leagues, and had been employed in
taking angles for ascertaining the shape of the coast, as we
sailed along it, land was discovered a-head; upon which the
course was altered: soon afterwards, more land was seen still
a-head, and as we hauled up to avoid it, more land and broken
keys or low islands were discovered a-head, and as far to
windward as the eye could reach; we consequently hauled our wind,
and stood towards it, in order to discover our situation with
more certainty.

We soon found that we had sailed into a very deep bay, formed
between the Isle of Pines to the eastward, and a most dangerous
reef on the west, which extended from the high land or south-west
point of New Caledonia, not less than ten or eleven leagues, and
was nearly that distance in a south-west direction from the high
part of the Isle of Pines: in this situation there was no
alternative; for we must either beat to windward to go round the
reef, find a channel through it, or go on shore: the first,
therefore, we determined to attempt, so we made all the sail the
ship could bear, and stood towards the reef, and it being then
evening we wished to ascertain our exact situation before

We found the reef composed of a number of low islands or keys,
and many rocks above the water, and of considerable breadth; in
short, there was not the smallest hope of passing through it, the
sea broke very high on every part of it, which we could reach
with the eye from the mast-head. As soon as it was dark, and we
thought ourselves near enough to it, we tacked, and kept every
person upon deck during the night. We had, during the time we
were running to leeward and making observations on the coast,
passed by a number of low islands, covered with trees or shrubs,
and had observed they were all surrounded with a reef, which the
sea broke upon, and among these little islands were many reefs,
which appeared only by the breaking of the sea: we were then
thoroughly sensible of our mistake, and that the land which we
had taken from its extent to be a part of New Caledonia, was the
Isle of Pines; and that the height which we had steered down for,
and thought to be a part of the coast which Captain Cook had not
seen, was what he called the Prince of Wales's Foreland, and was
the farthest land he had seen to the westward.

We kept working to windward all night, between that extensive
reef to the westward, and those small keys and reefs which lay
between us and the land, and of which I have since observed,
Captain Cook, in his sketch, takes no notice; the outer reef he
marks, but leaves a large open space between it and the land,
which describes the reef to be a round cluster of rocks above and
under water: he probably had not an opportunity of observing this
dangerous place so near to the land as we had: there may be a
channel to the leeward between the inner end of this reef and the
shore, but it had very little the appearance of it; as we saw
many low shrubby islands between us and the shore, to which they
were probably connected by a reef under water, which, at the
distance we were from it, could not be ascertained.

At day-light in the morning of the 24th, we observed with no
small degree of pleasure, that we had gained ground to windward;
but this we knew was not owing to any weatherly qualities in the
ship, but to the wind having varied several points during the
night, and of which we had availed ourselves: by noon we were so
far to windward as to perceive the utmost extent of the reef to
the southward under our lee, and we had a prospect of weathering
it; we, of course, carried a press of sail, and did weather it
about two or three miles: when a-breast of it, the highest part
of the Isle of Pines was just to be seen above the horizon, which
was very clear, and it bore by compass north-east by north,
distant ten or eleven leagues; having passed without the reef, at
noon we observed our latitude to be 23° 7' south, so that the
south extremity of this dangerous reef lies in latitude 23°
00' south nearly: as soon as we were fairly clear of this
situation, we bore away to the westward.

The Isle of Pines, so far from being an inconsiderable spot,
as I had believed, is not less than 14 or 15 miles over in a
south-east and north-west direction; it is high and remarkable in
the middle, being quite a pointed hill, sloping towards the
extremities, which are very low; the low land had many tall
pine-trees upon it; these trees, in length, seemed exceedingly to
surpass those of Norfolk Island, but their branches did not
appear to extend so far from the body of the tree.

We continued to steer to the north-westward without seeing any
thing, and when we had reached the latitude of 19° 00' south,
which is supposed to be as far to the northward as any part of
New Caledonia extends, we hauled to the north-east, so as to pass
between Queen Charlotte's Islands and that large track of land
which had been seen by Monsieurs Bougainville and Surville
formerly, and lately by Lieutenant Shortland, in the Alexander
Transport, and more recently still by Lieutenant Ball, in his
Majesty's armed tender Supply. The part seen by Lieutenant Ball
is, I believe, more to the southward, than that seen by the
French, and is no doubt the same as that seen by Lieutenant
Shortland; but the one sailed along the east, the other along the
west side of it. It is highly probable that there is a
continuation of the same track, and it is farther probable, by
the breaks which have been observed in it, that it is a chain of
islands extending in a south-east and north-west direction, and
very nearly connected with the coast of New Guinea.

On the 5th of May we were near as far to the northward as the
southermost part of this land, but did not see it, being by our
longitude in 163° 33' east, which is more than a degree to
the eastward of the south part seen by the Supply; the weather
was now dark and gloomy, with heavy rain at times, and light,
variable winds. Queen Charlotte's Islands certainly lie farther
to the eastward than has generally been supposed, otherwise we
must have made them, for we crossed their latitude in 163°
30' east longitude, which is nearly what the west end of Egmont
Island is said to lie in.

On the 8th of May we had a number of very good observations of
the sun and moon's distance, by which our longitude was at noon
163° 32' east, and the latitude at the same time 9° 33'
south. On the 10th, in the morning, we saw land bearing
west-north-west, distant about seven leagues; we bore down to
make it plain, and it proved to be a cluster of small islands,
five in number; they were well covered with trees, amongst which
we thought we observed the cocoa-nut.

These islands, when we first discovered them, appeared as only
one, which induced me to think it might be Carteret's Island; and
had it not been that by going nearer we discovered that there
were five of them, and that they did not at all answer the
description of that given by Captain Carteret, I should have
concluded that it was so, although the longitude of his island
must have been very erroneous, had it been the case. Their
latitude is 8° 26' south, which is nearly the latitude of
Carteret's; and their longitude, deduced from the preceding day's
observations, is 163° 18' east. We steered from them directly
to the northward, in order to see if we could discover Gower's
Island, which Captain Carteret says lies about ten or eleven
leagues to the northward of Carteret's; but as we saw nothing, I
concluded they had never been seen before; I therefore called
them Stewart's Islands, as a mark of my respect for the
honourable Keith Stewart.

The two largest of the islands just mentioned I judged to be
about three miles in length; whether they were inhabited or not
we could not discover: we passed to windward of them, and not
being situated conveniently for making discoveries, or exploring
unknown lands, we made the best of our way to the northward: just
after we left these islands, we passed through a very strong
ripling of a tide or current, and saw the trunks of several large
trees in the water. On the 12th, at nine o'clock in the morning,
the man at the mast-head discovered breakers on the starboard
bow, and not more than six miles distant; soon after, breakers
were seen on the starboard quarter, and on the beam, extending in
the direction of east-south-east and west-north-west five leagues
distant: at eleven, breakers were seen on the larboard beam, in
different patches about two miles long, and lying parallel to
those on the starboard side.

On this we brought to, and sounded with 130 fathoms of line,
but had no ground. This had the appearance of a dangerous cluster
of shoals, for being situated in a climate where it seldom blows
so strong as to raise a large sea, a ship might in the night,
without a very good look-out, be in very great danger before they
could be perceived: they appeared to be sand shoals, and very
little below the surface: the passage we sailed through is in
latitude 6° 52' south, and longitude 161° 06' east: these
patches should not be crossed in the night: I called them
Bradley's Shoals. The variation was here 8° 01' east.

On the 14th, at day-light in the morning, we saw land, and at
sunrise we observed this land to be a number of islands; some
were of considerable extent, and many of a smaller size.
Thirty-two were distinctly counted from the mast-head, bearing
from north-west half north to north-east half east; many of them
were considerably distant, so far as to make it probable that we
did not see the whole of this extensive groupe. At ten o'clock we
perceived six or seven canoes coming off, with large triangular
sails; a little after noon, one of them, with nine men in it,
came up with us, although we did not shorten sail: we could not
persuade them to come along-side, or touch the ship, but we threw
a few beads and nails, and other trifles, into their boat, with
which they appeared much pleased; and in return, they threw some
pieces of cocoa-nut on board; at one o'clock a fresh breeze
sprung up, and they left us. The men in this boat were a stout,
clean, well made people, of a dark copper colour; their hair was
tied in a knot on the back of their head, and they seemed to have
some method of taking off their beards; for they appeared to us
as if clean shaved, but they had an ornament, consisting of a
number of fringes, like an artificial beard, which was fastened
on between the nose and mouth, and close under the nose; to that
beard hung a row of teeth, which gave them the appearance of
having a mouth lower than their natural one; they had holes run
through the sides of the nose into the passage, into which, as
well as through the septum, were thrust pieces of reed or bone;
their arms and thighs were marked in the manner described by
Captain Cook, of some of the natives of the islands he visited in
these seas, called tatowing; and some were painted with red and
white streaks; they wore a wrapper round their middle. Their
canoe was about 40 feet long; it was badly made, and had an

The islands appeared very thickly covered with wood, among
which the cocoa-nut was very distinguishable; I think it highly
probable that there may be good anchorage amongst them, but my
situation would not admit of my examining into that matter. They
lie in an east and west direction along that side on which we
sailed (south side), and their latitude on that side is 5°
30' south, the longitude from 159° 14' east to 159° 37'

[* These islands I called Lord Howe's

On the 18th, at eight o'clock in the morning, we saw three
small islands bearing west-north-west, and very high land bearing
south-west: at eleven o'clock two more islands were in sight from
the mast-head, and two smaller ones, which appeared no larger
than rocks: at noon five islands and two rocks were to be seen;
they seemed all to be connected by a reef which on the west side
extended some distance from them; great part of a sand bank
within the reef appeared dry, and some natives were seen upon it;
two canoes, with triangular sails, endeavoured to reach the ship,
but it blew very fresh, and we could not afford to lose time.
These I took to be a part of Captain Carteret's nine islands;
they seemed to lie in the direction of south-east and

We sailed round the south end, from which, to the westward, a
reef extends about two miles. The southermost island lies in the
latitude of 4 53' south, and longitude 155° 20' east; the
south-westernmost island is in 4° 50' south, and longitude
155° 13' east. The land seen in the south-west was
exceedingly high, and bore at noon south-south-west half west: at
sun-set, the extremes of the high land bore from south by east to
west-south-west, and seemed to terminate to the northward in a
low woody point; about the middle part of this high land there is
a considerable breach or opening, which had much the appearance
of a streight or passage through; and as I judge this is the
land, along the west side of which Lieutenant Shortland, in the
Alexander transport, sailed, until he found an opening through
which he passed to the eastward, I think it highly probable that
this may be the streight; particularly as he says, "That soon
after he was clear, and stretching to the north-east, he fell in
with four islands, which he took to be part of Carteret's nine
islands*." This opening was intersected from two stations, and
the run of the ship, and was found to lie in the latitude of
5° 25' south, and longitude 154° 30' east.

[* See Shortland's Journal and Charts in Phillip's
Voyage, fourth Edition; and "Discoveries of the French," by M.
Fleurieu, late minister of the French Navy: a very ingenious and
able work on the discoveries of the French and Spaniards in the
South Seas.]

Whether these islands, which I have last mentioned are Captain
Carteret's nine islands, or those Lieutenant Shortland saw, I
will not be very positive; he says, they extended north-west by
west and south-east by east; the direction is nearly the same,
and the distance in that direction is fifteen leagues, and their
number nine. We did not see much more than half that distance, in
which seven only were to be seen.

Our latitude, considering that he passed round the north end,
and we the south, will agree very well; and with respect to
longitude, his was determined by the reckoning of the ship, mine
by lunar observations, and the difference is only about a

At day-light in the morning of the 19th, we saw Sir Charles
Hardy's Island, bearing north 2° 00' west, five leagues
distant; and Winchelsea, (or Lord Anson's Island, as marked in
Captain Carteret's chart) south 48° 00' east; this last was
certainly the point which terminated the high land
before-mentioned, for we had kept it in sight since the evening
before, and were a-breast of it at two in the morning, and were
not more than fourteen or fifteen miles from it. Its latitude
will be 5° 08' south, and the longitude 154° 31' east.
Sir Charles Hardy's Island is low, level, and covered with wood;
its latitude is 4° 41' south, and the longitude 154° 20'

At noon on the 19th, we saw high land bearing from west to
west-north-west. It was very cloudy over it, so that we could not
see its extent to the northward; it was distant eight or nine
leagues: the west point of it was, no doubt, Cape Saint George,
New Ireland. At six in the afternoon of the 20th, Cape Saint
George bore north 80° 00' west, five leagues distant. We had
light winds during the night, and in the morning, the land was so
covered with clouds that we could not discover the extremity or
point of the Cape; we steered to the north-north-west, having
found, from the general bearings of the land, that we had been
set to the southward during the night: at noon it was clearer,
and the Cape bore north 14° 00' east ten or eleven miles
distant. We had very light and baffling airs during the night of
the 21st, which made me apprehensive, from what Captain Carteret
has said of strong westerly currents here, that as we had now
opened St. George's Channel, we might be set past both Gower and
Carteret's harbours, before we could get as much wind as would
command the ship; for she was as dull and heavy sailing a vessel
as I ever was embarked in, and in my opinion was wholly unfit for
the service she was now employed in. When any other vessel would
be going three knots with a light wind, we could scarcely give
her steerage-way.

In the evening, finding, as I apprehended, the ship setting
fast to the westward, we hauled up to the eastward, in order to
keep as near the Cape as possible, until day-light. That night
also we had little wind, and that was variable; we kept her head
as much as possible to the eastward, and at eight in the morning
the Cape bore north 16° 00' east, distant eleven or twelve
miles; which was much farther off than I wished; at the same
time, a projecting point on the coast of New-Britain bore west
north-west: we were becalmed most of this day, and were still
setting to the westward. In the afternoon of the 22d, a very
light breeze sprung up from the eastward, with which we
endeavoured to get within Wallis's island; we sounded frequently,
but had no ground with 130 fathoms of line: this situation was
truly distressing, for although we had every thing set, we could
not force the ship more than a knot and a half through the water,
and had the mortification to see that we were driving to the
westward: about two o'clock the breeze freshened up a little, and
although we were within three miles of anchorage in Gower's
harbour, we saw plainly we could not fetch it; however I had
hope, as Carteret's harbour is laid down in the chart four
leagues to leeward of it, that we might with ease get in there;
we had a boat in shore at this time sounding, and it was the
general opinion, that unless we bore away soon, we should not run
the distance before dark, we therefore made the signal for the
boat, and bore away.

The northermost point in sight from the ship was, according to
the sketch made in the Swallow, Point Carteret; we considered the
north-west entrance as near to that point, but intended of course
to avail ourselves of being to windward to go in at the
southermost passage. The distance, as I have already mentioned,
being marked four leagues from Wallis's Island to Carteret
harbour, unfortunately deceived us; and Cocoa-nut island being
low, when compared with the high land under which it lies,
appeared like a low point projecting from it: we were past the
south entrance of this harbour, before we thought ourselves
within six miles of it, and had now a strong south-east wind,
which two hours sooner, would have enabled us to have got into
English Cove, in Gower harbour: the distance from harbour to
harbour did not appear to me to be more than two leagues, if so
much. It was our misfortune, that the distances marked in the
sketch just mentioned, did not agree with our judgment of

And there is another error which I must take the liberty to
correct, and which also tended to deceive us; Point Carteret, in
the Swallow's sketch, is the extremity of the land westward,
which can be seen from a ship off Gower harbour, and the land
from that point inclines immediately to the northward; but there
is a point which lies north-west from Point Carteret, not less
than four miles, and from that point the land trends to the
northward: this point comes suddenly down from very high land to
a round bluff point, which is steep to, and Point Carteret is low
and woody. We discovered our mistake when it was too late to
recover it in such a vessel.

We ran along the shore close in, and endeavoured to find
anchorage; we had also a boat a-head for the same purpose, but
although we went sometimes within a cable's length of the shore,
we could not find bottom. Our situation now became serious, for
our water was become short, and we had yet a long voyage before
us; it was now absolutely necessary to look for some supply of
that article, and as we were only victualled for sixteen weeks
when we left Port Jackson, and had already been eight at sea, we
could not on that account lose much time, lest we should meet
with calms as we came near the Line. Full allowance of water, in
so sultry a climate, and so crowded a ship, was a matter which I
was exceedingly anxious about, for without a sufficiency of that
article, sickness amongst the people was much to be dreaded.

Before we went any farther to the northward, I was determined
to try the coast of New-Britain; we therefore stood over for that
land, intending, if possible, to find an anchoring place. On the
morning of the 22d, we came within three or four leagues of the
shore; it then fell calm, and the boat was sent in shore with Mr.
Keltie, the master of the Sirius, who had directions to make a
certain signal if he found anchorage: in the afternoon, a light
breeze sprung up, which enabled us to stand in and meet the boat.
Mr. Keltie reported, that the part of the coast which he had been
in with, was streight, and had no appearance of any sort of bay,
or the smallest probability of anchorage; that he had frequently
tried to get bottom within three cables length of the shore, but
without success. On this coast we found a regular tide, its
general direction was south-east and north-west.

The hills mentioned by Captain Carteret, on the coast of
New-Britain, by the name of the Mother and Daughters, are very
remarkable; a little way within the south-eastermost Daughter,
there is a small flat-top'd hill, or volcano, which all the time
we were within sight of it, emitted vast columns of black smoke.
On this coast there appeared many extensive spots of cleared, and
apparently cultivated land.

The next step that was to be pursued, was to examine the Duke
of York's Island, and on the night of the 22d, we ran off the
east point of it, with a light air from the westward, and brought
to till day-light; having been near enough to the south-east part
of the island the whole of the preceding day, to discover that
there was little prospect of anchorage on that side. In the night
we heard breakers at no great distance from us; this we found at
day-light was a spit, which runs a small distance off the east
point of the island.

On the 23d in the morning, we had very little wind, and the
boat was sent in shore to sound; the ship was at this time about
a mile and a half off. Many canoes came off, with every
appearance of friendly disposition; we gave them a few trifles,
and they seemed to insist on making a return for every thing they
received; cocoa-nuts, yams, and bananas, were held out on the
point of a long spear, or pole, for they seemed afraid to touch
the ship; the boat which was sounding endeavoured to make them
understand that we wanted water, and showed a small keg,
intimating by signs that they wanted it filled; the people in one
of the canoes went to the boat, received the keg, went
immediately on shore, filled it, and brought it back to the boat:
the officer then gave them another small keg, which he meant as a
present, but it was immediately sent on shore by another canoe:
in the mean time a breeze sprung up, the boat steered along shore
and the ship followed: the people who had taken the last keg,
after having filled it, followed our boat with the utmost speed,
came up with her and delivered it; this I thought a striking
proof of the honesty of these people, and it will particularly
appear so, when it is considered, that the keg was hooped with

As we ran round the western side of the island, we observed a
small bay or cove, into which the boat went, followed by many
canoes, and an immense multitude of people on the shore. We
shortened sail to give the boat time to examine it; she very soon
returned, and Mr. Keltie informed us that there was anchorage in
the bay; we immediately made sail into it, and at noon of the
23d, anchored in twenty-one fathoms soft ground, with some loose
patches of coral; here we were within a cable and a half of the

In the afternoon, we sent the boats armed to look for fresh
water; a vast multitude of the natives were by this time
assembled on the shore, and the bay was filled with canoes; in
consequence of which we got the ship's guns loaded and ready;
(she mounted six three-pounders) but although they were
exceedingly clamorous, they were still apparently well disposed;
they showed the officer in the boat how to find water by digging
holes in the sandy beach, in the manner frequently practised in
the West-Indies; we followed their advice, and sunk a cask in the
sand; the water flowed into it, but was too much mixed with the
sea water to be used. Some of the natives, however, afterwards
pointed out another place, from which the fresh water issued in a
considerable stream, out of chasms in the rocky face of a high
bank: this discovery set our people upon farther searches, and
they found several such discharges from the side of the bank,
enough to answer our purpose, if the natives remained quiet and

This business I was particularly desirous we might be able to
effect, without being under the necessity of convincing them of
our superiority in arms. The first day was spent in endeavouring
to show them, that we were desirous of a friendly intercourse
with them, and that we wanted nothing but water, which they could
well spare: however, on discovering that water was to be had, we
were of course determined to have as much as might be necessary
for our purpose, and by such means as might be found necessary
and effectual.

This first night there was a very strict look-out kept, as
well by the natives as by us; they had a regular watch-word,
which they sung out in a very pleasing and musical manner, and it
was answered by those on the next post, and so all round the
skirt of the wood. The next morning we loaded one boat with empty
casks, and had the other armed, to lie off the shore and cover
the people employed filling water; the ship's guns were loaded
with round and grape shot, and were within less than two cables
length of the watering-place; twelve men, with small arms,
attended on shore with the waterers.

The watering business was now begun, and might have satisfied
the natives what our business was there; however, their numbers
increased to such a degree, all armed, and they were so very
troublesome, that very little work could be done in the watering.
An old man, who was powdered all over with a white powder, and
who seemed to possess great authority and influence amongst his
countrymen, disposed them to be more and more troublesome;
presents were offered him, but he rejected every thing with a
very surly and determined air; in short, he seemed resolved that
we should not fill water, or remain upon their territory; he
carried every appearance of an intention to dispute the point by
force; every means were used to please this old fellow, but
without effect.

At last some stones were thrown from a sling, but this was not
done until the principal part of the natives had retired to some
distance from the place where our people were employed; the men
who were armed for the protection of the waterers, stood the
whole time with their arms ready to fire at a moment's notice,
and the natives, ignorant of what the musquets were, had
certainly taken them for clubs. Some of the stones, which they
threw, came with the force of a shot from a gun among the
sailors. The consequence of this unmerited attack was, that the
officer was obliged to fire, the covering boat fired, and a few
shot were fired from the ship: at this time, there were thirty or
forty canoes about the ship, full of people; their terror and
consternation at the noise, and probably the effect of the guns,
was such, that many leaped from their boats overboard, and swam
under water as far as they were able; such guns as were fired
from the side on which the canoes were, were pointed well over
them, being more intended to intimidate than destroy. This firing
occasioned a general dispersion of the natives, and the filling
of water was carried on with case and expedition.

We received on board that afternoon about seven tons. The next
morning, before the boats went on shore, we fired a few grape
shot into the woods, and the boats landed without seeing any of
the natives; at the same time we warped the ship within a cable's
length of the watering-place, and secured her head and stern for
covering the party on shore; the covering boat was directed to
fire whenever any of the natives were seen in the woods over the
watering party, which, in the course of the day, they had
frequent occasion to do.

Many canoes came into the bay this day, but kept at an awful
distance, holding up green boughs as a signal of peace and amity;
to some we made signs to go away; to others, who ventured a
little nearer, we showed signs of friendship, and made them
perfectly understand, that our firing was occasioned by their
slinging of stones among our people, who were watering: after
these hostilities, our watering went on without the smallest
interruption, except that the covering boat had occasion
sometimes to fire a few musquets into the woods over the watering

In four days we compleated our water, and on the last evening,
as the sailors were coming from the shore, a number of the
natives from the woods right above the watering place, came down
to the beach with green boughs in their hands, bringing with them
cocoa-nuts, yams, plantains, etc. accompanied by a song of
friendship: they seemed earnestly to with for a reconciliation,
and took every means in their power to testify their concern for
what had happened; a boat was sent on shore to meet them, with a
green branch in the bow, and the boat's crew were desired to
spread open their arms when they came near the breach, to show
they were well disposed to peace.

When the boat landed, the natives retired back a little, but
not out of sight; having piled up upon the beach their
peace-offering, which consisted of yams, cocoa-nuts, plantains,
bananas, sugar-cane, and some other articles: on the top of this
pile was laid a small living male and female dog, with their
mouths and feet tied: (they appeared to be of the small terrier
kind) in the middle of the heap was stuck in the sand, a young
tree of the palm kind, upon a branch of which were hung a number
of braded lines, like what is called by seamen, _sennit_,
and much of the same colour, being made of the bark of a
particular tree: what this could mean we were wholly at a loss to
comprehend, unless, as the head of this young tree was designedly
bent down by the lines above-mentioned, it was meant as a token
of submission; be that as it might, they received the boat's
crew, etc. with every demonstration of a true concern for what
had happened; and I fear and believe they had much cause to be
sorry, for I think some must have lost their lives by the grape
shot from the ship.

It is much to be regretted, that after having seen us employed
in getting what we wanted, in doing which every person was
completely employed, and not the most distant appearance of
insult, or any sort of provocation had been offered them, they
could not have desisted from hostility until some kind of offence
had been offered, a circumstance which, during the whole time,
was most particularly guarded against in those employed on shore:
but from an ignorance of the effect of our arms, and from their
very superior numbers, they were inclined to be insolent and
troublesome; our sailors on shore were so very few, when compared
with their numbers, that it became absolutely necessary to resent
the first unprovoked offence which they gave, and thereby to
convince them, before it might be too late, that although their
numbers far exceeded ours, their real force was very

After peace had been re-established on shore, the conk shell
was sounded, which is the signal whereby they assemble
considerable numbers; and in a very short time, they appeared
coming from all parts of the wood round the bay, and were met by
those who had been the means of bringing about a reconciliation,
with a song of friendship, in which the whole joined, and which
was really harmonious and very pleasing: the canoes crowded the
bay from different parts of the island, and were as familiar as
ever, except that they would not now venture on board, which many
had done before this quarrel: every boat brought a green bough,
that was conspicuously held up; they also brought many things to
barter, and were pleased with such trifles as we had to give them
in return.

They are, I believe, the only people in those seas, who do not
set a value upon iron work, in preference to any other thing;
beads or looking-glasses they were not much pleased with, but
rags of white linen, strips of scarlet cloth, or any thing of gay
colours, they were very anxious to have: nails they would not
accept at all.

The natives of the Duke of York's Island are a stout, robust,
well made people, of a light copper colour; I saw none who could
be called black; they go entirely naked; the hair is woolly, but
it is so managed by some sort of grease or ointment, and a white
or red powder with which they dress it, that it hangs on some
like so many candle wicks, or rather like the thrums of a new mop
reversed, or turned upside down; they are generally as fully
powdered as a beau dressed for an assembly; some have their hair
of a yellow, sun burnt colour, others quite red, as if powdered
wholly with the true marechall; none are seen with the hair of
its natural colour.

This yellow or red appearance, I believe, may be occasioned by
this universal method of powdering, for the powder seems to be
made from burnt shells, or coral, and is really a kind of lime;
they generally carry a small goard or box filled with it about
them, and when they are hostilely disposed, they frequently take
a quantity of this powder into the hollow of the hand, from
which, with a strong blast from the mouth, they blew it before
them; and at a small distance it has exactly the appearance of
firing gunpowder, and no doubt is meant as a token of defiance.
This practice is certainly used by the people of New Guinea, for
Captain Cook takes notice of it when his boat landed on that
coast near Cape Walsh, and says, that he supposes those people
have some method of producing fire in that sudden manner.

He also observes, that they had a bamboo or hollow cane from
which fire and smoke was observed to issue; but I am disposed to
think, that the conjecture of having seen fire could only have
been occasioned by the appearance of smoke, which we naturally
suppose to have proceeded from fire, for it is probable that fire
and smoke being projected suddenly from any confined engine,
would occasion some degree of explosion, although it is also
probable that the gentlemen in the Endeavour's boat might not
have been near enough to have heard it: however, after all, there
is much reason to believe, that what Captain Cook saw upon that
coast was the very practice used here, where we saw it in a much
nearer interview, as some of our people had it blown in their
eyes. Their chief, upon hostile occasions, powdered his body all
over, so that it was no difficult matter to discover him.

They also upon such occasions painted their faces red; some
had marks upon their arms and shoulders, occasioned by scarifying
those parts in long stripes, and letting the sore rise above the
surface of the skin; they frequently wore a bone or reed thrust
through the septum of the nose, and, like the natives of Lord
Howe's Groupe, had also holes cut through the wings of the nose,
into which were fixed short pieces of hollow reed, as ladies wear
wires to keep the ears open when newly bored; into these hollows
or rings they occasionally stuck long pieces of reed, which are
no doubt considered by them as ornamental. The men in general
were well looking people, but such of their women as I saw were
very ordinary.

The weapons used by the people of this island were lances of
different kinds, some were made of a kind of ebony, or hard wood,
about ten feet long, frequently ornamented with feathers of
different colours at the upper end; others were made of bamboo,
pointed with hard wood; the lance is thrown by hand, but they had
not the use of the throwing stick, like the natives of New South
Wales: they also, in their quarrels, used the sling for throwing
stones, which appears to be made of some tough dried leaf,
several times doubled; the strings were manufactured from some
soft, silky, and fibrous plant; they throw a round hard pebble,
of which they generally carried a small nett full about them; the
stones were about the size of a small fowl's egg, and flew with
much force, and great exactness from the sling: they had also a
long unhandy kind of club. They used, in fishing, a fishing
spear, small seine netts, and hooks and lines; their hooks were
of tortoise-shell, from which circumstance there can be no doubt
but they have either turtle in their neighbourhood, or the
tortoise upon the island.

They had a kind of musical instrument, with which they
sometimes, in their canoes alongside, endeavoured to amuse us; it
was composed of a number of hollow reeds of different lengths,
fastened together, but they did not seem to be very expert in
proportioning their lengths, or tuning them to harmony: sound,
not concord, seemed to be all they expected from it; they blew
into the mouth of the different reeds by drawing the instrument
across their lips, and in that manner they produced sounds: their
vocal music was far more harmonious, although there was not much
variety in it. Those who were considered as people of distinction
were always to be found in a better sort of boat than common; and
I observed, that when any canoe came near the ship with people of
distinction on board, the higher ranks were always to be known by
a man sitting in the middle of the boat, who held a wooden
instrument in his hand, resembling in shape a common paddle, but
handsomely carved and painted, with its handle finished something
like the hilt of a sword.

When those people were disposed to be kind and friendly, they
frequently sung out in one particular tone, in which, if there
were five hundred together, the nicest ear could not discover one
to differ in the tone or particular note; and immediately after
they all mimicked the barking of a dog: this was meant by them as
a _certain proof_ of their friendly disposition. Before we
had cause to quarrel with them many came on board and were
shaved, an operation with which they were much pleased.

This island, by its appearance from the sea, I judged to be
about ten miles long, in a south-south-west and north-north-east
direction; it is not high, nor can it be called low land, but
appears, when near it, of moderate height and flat: it is well
covered with wood, and along the sea shore were to be seen many
huts of the natives, which were small and neatly made; they were
chiefly built of bamboo, and generally situated under the shade
of a grove of cocoa-nut trees, with a fence or railing before
them, within which the ground was well cleared and trodden, which
gave their little habitations a very neat and cleanly appearance:
I examined whilst we lay there several neat and well fenced
inclosures, in which were the plantain, banana, yam, sugar cane,
and several other articles, which they seem to take some pains to

In short, from what we could discover in the little time we
remained there, I may venture to pronounce the island a perfect
garden, as far as it can with propriety be called so in the hands
of a people, who, no doubt, trust chiefly to nature, and who are
ignorant of the means of assisting her, in the improvement of
those advantages, which she has so bountifully bestowed upon

Although our time here was so short, we had an opportunity of
knowing that this island produced cocoa-nuts, yams, plantains,
bananas, sugar-cane, beetle-nut, mangos, bread-fruit, and guavas.
There are also dogs, hogs, and the common fowls, and some spices,
(the nutmeg I saw). Most of the natives chew the beetle, and with
it used the chenam and a leaf, as practised in the East-Indies;
by which the mouth appeared very red, and their teeth, after a
time, became black.

Their canoes were neatly made, and of various sizes, with an
out-rigger to balance them. I sent the carpenter of the Sirius on
shore, to examine the different kinds of timber; he reported to
me, that he found one tree which was hard, and had something like
the appearance of ebony, but was not quite so black; all the
others he tried were soft and spongy, like the palm or cabbage

The soil I think for richness beyond any I ever saw; it
exceeded Norfolk Island in that respect: I had a man with me who
had been upon that island from its first settlement, and who had
cleared and cultivated land there; he assured me that this was
superior to any he had ever opened at that island.

On the 27th in the morning, we prepared for sailing; before we
got under way, two English pointers, male and female, which had
been given to the master of the ship at Port Jackson, were sent
on shore, and given to a party of the natives, who seemed highly
delighted with them; a cock and hen were also given to them.

At ten o'clock we sailed out of the bay. This bay was named
Port Hunter; its latitude is 4° 7' 30" south, and longitude
152° 42' east; although it is not large, it is convenient and
safe at this season; it lies on the north-west part of the
island, and you may anchor in any part of it, from twenty-five to
fifteen fathoms, but the shoal-water has the worst ground: in
twenty fathoms it is soft, with loose patches of coral; the
watering place is on the east side, but as the tide flows up to
the place from whence the fresh water issues, it is best to fill
from half ebb to half flood. The water is so exceedingly soft,
that there were some amongst us who were so prejudiced against it
that they believed it brackish; a quality I own which I never
could discover in it; I was therefore of opinion that this
prejudice could only have proceeded from knowing that the salt
water was so very near it at high water time; such opinions were
not however confirmed from experience, as we never felt any
inconvenience from it. The tide here seemed to rise five or six
feet, but the exact period of high water was not noticed, we had
so much business to do.

We steered north-west by west, and west-north-west, and at
eight o'clock in the morning, saw Sandwich Island, bearing
north-west; at noon, our latitude was 3° 13' south, and
longitude 150° 42' east; the south-west point of Sandwich
Island bearing north 45° west, distant from the nearest shore
six leagues. The latitude of the south-west point will be 2°
58' south, and its longitude 150° 27' east. This island is of
moderate height, and well covered with wood; we passed on the
south side; its general direction is about east-north-east and
west-south-west, and in that direction is about seven leagues in
length: it appeared to be of considerable breadth at its eastern
end, and narrow towards its western, where it terminates in a
narrow point, off which lies a small woody island, with a narrow
passage between that and the main island, to which it appears
connected by a reef. On the north side of Sandwich Island, we
observed the remarkable peaked hill mentioned by Captain
Carteret, and also the corresponding one on the coast of New

As soon as we were passed Sandwich Island, we observed that
the western current, which we had hitherto experienced in this
strait, now took a turn more northerly, having opened the strait,
or passage between New Ireland and New Hanover, which last land
we saw before night. We steered during the night west by north by
compass, intending to pass at a convenient distance from the
Portland Islands, but at day-light we were obliged to haul up
west by south, having been more to the northward than we
expected: we passed them at four miles distance; they are nine in
number, are low and covered with wood; the center of them is in
latitude 2° 38' south, and longitude 149° 08' east.

During the night of the 30th, we had heavy dull weather, with
light and variable winds, and the appearance of the wind
threatened much rain, which, however, fell only in light showers.
At seven the next morning, we saw an island bearing north-west by
west, and at eight, saw more land from the mast-head, bearing
west; those we supposed to be part of the Admiralty Islands: the
wind was now at south-west, and we could not weather the
southermost, on which we bore away and passed between them. The
smaller, which we left to leeward, was a pretty looking spot, of
moderate height, its latitude was 2° 19' south, and longitude
147° 52' east. As we had seen much land, and in different
directions, before dark, we determined to bring to for the night;
it then fell calm, so that we had by the morning only drifted a
little with a current to the north-west.

At day-light of the 31st, we saw much land to the northward
and westward. Five large canoes came off from the nearest island,
in each of which were eleven men; six paddled, and five stood up
in the center of the boat, who appeared to be of the better sort,
being painted and ornamented, and seemed as if intended for war;
but when they came near, they showed no hostile appearance: we
invited them by signs to come on board, but they would not
venture near the ship; they held up various articles, which they
seemed desirous of exchanging; such as lines, shells, ornaments
of different kinds, and bundles of darts or arrows: they were a
stout well-looking people, rather darker than the natives of the
Duke of York's Island; their hair appeared woolly, and and was
knotted or tied upon the top of their head; they wore a wrapper
round their waist. One of them made various motions for shaving,
by holding up something in his hand, with which he frequently
scraped his cheek and chin; this led me to conjecture, that some
European ship had been lately amongst them, and I thought it not
improbable, that it might have been Mons. de la Perouse, in his
way to the northward from Botany-Bay.

Their canoes appeared from forty to fifty feet long, were
neatly made, and turned a little up at the extremities; there was
a stage which lay across the midships of the boat, and projected
out some distance on one side; it was bent upwards a little at
the outer end, to prevent its dipping in the water, by the motion
of the boat; this stage seemed intended for the warriors to use
their weapons upon: on the opposite side, was fitted in a
different manner, an out-rigger to balance the boat; three of the
rowers sat before and three abaft the stage, so that those
intended for battle were not at all incommoded by them.

A heavy black squall coming on at this time, they all pushed
for the land, otherwise I believe we might have prevailed on them
to come alongside.

The north-west end of this island is in latitude 2° 21'
south; longitude 147° 28' east; and the southermost point in
sight was in latitude 2° 28' south, and longitude 147°
33' east. A fresh breeze now sprung up, and we wished if possible
to clear the islands before night: all sail was made, and as we
ran past this large island, we raised many others; in short, land
was seen in every direction; four islands were seen from the
mast-head, bearing east-north-east, and two low level islands
a-head, between which there appeared an open passage; we steered
for it, and at noon passed through it: its latitude is 2° 10'
south; longitude 147° 26' east.

At four in the afternoon, the western extremity of a very long
island bore west half south, and we steered west-north-west,
determined to run no farther during the night than we could see
before dark. The night was very dark, with heavy rain, and a very
light air of wind.

At day-light the extremity of a very large island, bore from
south-east to south-west by south; at noon the latitude observed
was 1° 44' south, and the extremes of this island, as far as
the eye could reach, bore from south 23° 00' east, to south
50° 00' west, distant from the nearest shore five leagues.
This island is so very extensive, that I believe it to be the
largest of the Admiralty Islands: I do not think that we saw its
western extremity, for as far as we could discern from aloft,
trees were to be seen just above the horizon: the westermost
point seen from the ship was in latitude 1° 59' south, and
the longitude of it was 146° 30' east.

This groupe of islands is very extensive, as well in a north
and south direction as east and west. Having now got to the
westward of the Admiralty Islands, I considered myself clear of
St. George's Channel; and I agree perfectly with Captain
Carteret, in thinking it a very safe, and (to ships bound
northward, which want water,) a very convenient navigation; his
chart was of much use to us in coming through, although, had time
permitted, considerable additions, and some improvements, might
have been made to it.

On the 3d of June, we saw land, about two points before the
starboard beam; this proved to be two islands: at eight o'clock
the next morning, we saw another island, bearing south 42°
00' west; and by intersections taken by the ship's run, this last
island was ten leagues distant; it was high land: at noon we
determined that island in the south-west to be in latitude 1°
36' south; longitude 145° 35' east; and those to the
northward, I judged to be in latitude 0° 55' south; longitude
146° 09' east. I think it probable that these islands may
have been seen before, as in a general chart of these seas which
I have seen, there are three islands laid down nearly in this

From those islands we steered to the north-west and
west-north-west, with light and variable winds, and sometimes
squally and very unsettled weather, with a disagreeable head-sea,
against which we made very slow progress. On the 8th, at noon, by
a considerable number of very good lunar distances, our longitude
was found to be 144° 13' east, which agreed so very near with
our account carried on from the last observations, that I think
the longitude of the different lands, as marked in this Journal,
will not be found very erroneous. In this part of our passage, we
saw many very large trees floating about the sea.

We now found the ship had set fourteen or fifteen miles a day
to the northward more than the log gave; and in the parallel of
4° 00' north, or nearly, we found, that for the space of
eight days, from the 19th, we had been set to the eastward at the
rate of thirty-nine miles in the twenty-four hours; and there was
much reason to fear, that from the next observations for the
longitude which we might have, we should have the mortification
to find, that this easterly current continued; for at that time,
(the 28th of June,) the wind seemed to be set in from
west-north-west to west-south-west.

On the 30th died William Phillips, seaman.

On the 5th of July, by observations of the sun and moon, we
were in longitude 140° 32' east, which was 10° 10'
eastward of our account, and the wind continued fixed from the
westward. On the 11th of July, necessity obliged us to reduce the
allowance of water; the whole allowance now to each man for all
purposes, cooking, drinking, etc. was two purser's quarts for
twenty-four hours, and the weather was exceedingly sultry, which
made it the more distressing.

On the 13th, I found it necessary, from the very unfavourable
prospect before us, to call together my own officers, and the
master of the ship, and to consult upon the most eligible plan to
be pursued, for enabling us to reach some port or settlement,
where it might be possible to obtain some supply of provisions
and water, sufficient for the relief of one hundred and
twenty-one men, the number now on board this small vessel. The
general opinion was, that it would be highly imprudent in the
present reduced state of our provisions and water, to persevere
any longer in an attempt to reach the strait of Macassar, in the
face of fresh westerly winds and a strong easterly current;
particularly, in a vessel so very ill constructed for working to
windward; and what rendered it still more necessary to give up
such an attempt in our situation was, that the master of the
ship, (who had been a number of years in the Dutch service among
the Molucca Islands) assured me, in the presence of some of the
officers, that he did not know of any one place in our route,
short of Batavia, where any supply for our numbers could be had.
The quantity of provisions now on board, at half allowance, was a
supply for about ten weeks, and the water at about two purser's
quarts a man per day, was a supply for the same time, provided we
had no leakage.

We were now driven by currents, notwithstanding our utmost
endeavours to get to the westward, eleven° of longitude,
or 220 leagues farther to the eastward than the account by the
ship's run; and that had happened within the last month, and
between the latitudes 3° 00' north, and 6° 30' north.

On the 13th of July we bore away to the northward, it being
determined either to attempt the strait through which the
Acapulco ships pass to the port of Manilla, or to go round the
north end of Luconia, and endeavour to fetch Macao, in China,
though we were a little doubtful about fetching the latter in so
leewardly a vessel. It appeared from the winds that we then had,
that the south-west monsoon at times blows very strong through
the opening between the islands of Mindanao and Celebes, and
reaches a considerable way to the eastward; I can with certainty
say as far as 142° 00' east longitude.

On the 14th in the morning, we saw land bearing north; this we
found to be two islands joined together, or nearly so, by a long
sandy spit, above water, which reached for about two-thirds of
the distance from the eastermost or largest island, to the
westmost, which is small. All round the largest is a sand-bank
above water, which extends from the foot of the higher land about
half a mile into the sea, and may have shoal water from it. We
saw on the beach a few natives running along shore, as the ship
sailed past. These islands are dangerous to people in the night,
on account of the sandy spits which project from them; they were
covered with shrubs, and had but few tall trees on them, and the
land is but low: the latitude of the large or eastmost island, is
8° 06' north, and longitude 140° 03' east. I did at first
suppose them to have been part of the New Carolines, but they
seem to lie quite alone, and are about five miles asunder. I
called them Phillip Islands, after Arthur Phillip, the governor
of New South Wales.

On the 17th of July in the morning, we saw land from the
mast-head, bearing west by south nine or ten leagues distant; at
noon we could see it from the deck, and it appeared to be three
islands; at four in the afternoon, they bore south by west
three-quarters west, and were by intersections taken from the
ship, distant eight leagues. A considerable number of fish being
at that time round the ship, the people, in looking over the side
at them, discovered rocks under the bottom; we immediately
sounded, and had fifteen fathoms: the rocks appeared very large,
with patches of white sand between them; in twenty minutes, the
water appeared to deepen, and we had no ground with forty fathoms
of line. This ridge of rocks appeared to be about half a mile in
breadth, and was seen from the mast-head to stretch to the
southward towards the islands, and considerably to the northward
of the ship; although it be of great extent in a north-north-east
and south-south-west direction, yet I do not think there is any
very shoal water upon it, for we saw no break, surf, or rippling,
which would indicate shoal water; and there was a sufficient
swell of the sea to have occasioned some appearance where any
ship would have struck the ground.

These islands lie in the latitude of 9° 33' north;
longitude 137° 30' east, and are probably a part of the New
Carolines; at least, from the situation of those islands in the
charts, they answer to the place of some of them; but as the New
Carolines are marked as very numerous, and very contiguous to one
another, I did expect to have seen many more; there were of
these, three only; the largest was very high, but not extensive.
From the time of our making these islands until the 23d, when we
were in latitude 11° 56' north; longitude 132° 20' east,
we had light and variable winds, but chiefly from the eastward;
in the above latitude and longitude it inclined to the northward,
and from that to the westward, and became very squally and
unsettled weather, with very heavy rains at times.

During these heavy showers, which were in our situation very
comfortable, whether in the day or night, every one was employed
in spreading his blanket or rug, for the purpose of saving as
much water as he could for his own use; for, as we had no means
of providing a quantity for the general good, every one did the
best he could for himself. The sun being almost vertical, and the
weather exceedingly sultry, the scarcity of water was very much

It continued this squally and unsettled weather until the
30th, during some part of which time it blew so strong as to
bring the ship under her reefed courses: after the 30th, the wind
shifted to west and west by south, with which we stood to the
south-ward; for with this wind we could not now fetch the Bashee
Islands, and upon the southern tack we could not reach in with
any part of the coast of the Philipine Islands; it was therefore,
in our situation, judged best to keep as near in with the
parallel of Cape Espiritu Sancto as possible, that being the
nearest land, which with a hope of a short spurt of wind from the
eastward, or a slant either from the northward or southward,
would serve to carry us in with the coast: we were then in
latitude 13° 25' north; longitude 128° 37' east; Cape
Espiritu Sancto bearing south 75° 00' west, 58 leagues

It was very clear to me, from the winds we had experienced
since we came to the northward of the Line, that at this time of
the year, and generally during the height of the south-west
monsoon, in the China seas, these winds do sometimes extend far
to the eastward of the Philipine Islands, and frequently blow in
very heavy gales. The easterly winds, which we had after crossing
the Line, had been constantly so very light, that the run for the
twenty-four hours, seldom exceeded from twenty to fifty

The wind now became very variable, but chiefly from the
south-west quarter. On the 2d of August, it shifted to
west-north-west, and we stood to the south-west. On the 4th, we
made the land, bearing west-south-west twelve leagues; the next
morning, it bore from west-south-west to west, and at noon we saw
it from south-west to west half south; this proved to be the
north end of the island of St. John, and is in latitude 9°
30' north; longitude 126° 32' east. From the 31st of July to
this time, we had been set to the southward one hundred miles.
The wind being again set in at south-west, we could only now
stand to the southward, and avail ourselves of the strong
southerly current which we every day experienced so much
assistance from, and which we had some reason to hope would lead
us to the southward of Mindanao.

If this current should fail us, we could not expect to get to
the southward, but must then have steered along the coast to the
northward, as far as Cape Espiritu Sancto, and enter the Strait
of Manilla, where probably we might have found some settlement,
short of that port, capable of assisting us with such relief as
might have enabled us to proceed on our voyage.

On the 6th, we saw the coast of Mindanao from south to
north-west by west; it is very high land in the interior parts of
the country, but moderately so on the sea-coast, which makes it
rather difficult to judge of your distance from it. The current
to the southward still continued from thirty to fifty miles in
twenty-four hours.

On the 8th, in standing to the southward, we saw an island
bearing south five or six leagues; this, from its situation, must
have been the island of Palmas; it seemed to lie east by south,
sixteen or seventeen leagues distant from the south-east point of
Mindanao; it is a high round hummock at the north-east end, and
runs out in a low point to the south-west, on which are a number
of round lumps or hillocks, that at five leagues distance appear
like rocks just above water. Its latitude is 5° 33' north,
and its longitude is 127° 00' east. Being now to the
southward of Cape Augustine, which we never saw distinctly, we
carried all the sail possible to get to the westward. On the 9th
in the afternoon, the south-east point of Mindanao bore north
20° 00' west, five or six leagues distant.

At day-light the next morning, the coast of Mindanao bore from
west by north to north by east, and a high island west by south,
off shore five leagues: at noon, the south point of Mindanao bore
north 76° 00' west: we intended to have passed to the south
ward of this island, but the wind inclining from that direction,
we could not weather it, we therefore bore away, intending to
pass between it and Mindanao.

We now observed that what we had taken for one island, was
three distinct islands; the westmost is very high, and is that
which Captain Carteret saw from his anchorage on the south coast
of Mindanao, and called Hummock Island; it appeared to be six
miles long from north to south; the next, to the eastward of it,
is about the same length, moderately high and level, and the
eastmost of the three, is a little round spot, covered with small
trees or shrubs; from the east side of this small island there is
a reef stretches to the eastward a considerable distance, and on
which the sea generally breaks: the other islands appear to be
quite encircled by a reef, at the distance of a cable and a half
from the shore. We passed between the small island and the next,
having previously sent a boat to try the channel; we found it a
clear safe passage, of one mile and a half wide; we kept about
one-third of the distance from the largest island, and had from
ten to twenty-five fathoms: in the shoalest water the ground was
hard, but in sixteen and eighteen fathoms it was soft: here the
tide or current set strong through to the westward; I rather
think it a regular tide, for we did not drift at the same rate
all day.

We continued to work between the south point of Mindanao and
these islands, during the remainder of the day; in the afternoon,
a boat was seen coming off from the high island, with twelve
persons on board, and a white flag flying; we stood towards them,
and answered their signal with a white flag at the ensign staff;
they came within a little distance of the ship, and asked a
variety of questions, whether we came from _Ternate_, (a
small island among the Moluccas, on which the Dutch have a
factory) and if we were going to Batavia; to which they were
answered in the affirmative; the conversation was carried on in
the Malay language, of which the master of the ship had some
knowledge, and as he had for a part of his crew twelve or
fourteen Javanese, who all spoke that language, and who also
spoke Dutch, we could be at no loss to be understood, or to
understand those with whom we conversed. Dutch colours were
hoisted to confirm the answer given: from this boat we learnt,
that they were upon intimate and friendly terms with the Dutch,
and that we might have as much water, wood, and various articles
of refreshment as we wanted. They desired to have a note from the
master of the ship to the Raja, by whom these islands were
governed, which was given them, with such information as might be

A larger boat armed came off also the same evening, but as it
was dark they did not choose to come on board, but conversed with
us at a distance. The next morning (the 11th) we stood in for
Hummock Island, and sent a boat in shore to search for anchorage,
which she very soon made the signal for having found; and at noon
we came to in twenty-two fathoms water, over a bottom of coarse
sand and loose coral, about one mile from the shore. A short time
before we got into anchorage, the same canoe which had spoken us
the evening before, came off again with Dutch colours flying, and
brought a note from the Raja to the master, written in the Malay
characters, signifying, that we should have what we wanted.

In the afternoon we sent a boat to look for water, which was
found in great abundance under the high land near the north-east
point of the island; we went immediately to work to water the
ship, and very soon had a number of canoes from the shore, on
board, with a variety of refreshments, which we were very much in
want of; a brisk trade was carried on for poultry, goats, fruits
of various kinds, honey, sago, and tobacco; but what we wanted
principally was rice, to issue to the sailors at sea, being now
exceedingly short of every species of victualling. Those who were
employed on shore were kindly treated by the natives, and every
thing bore the most friendly and promising appearance. This day
the Raja, according to previous information, which he had given,
came on board in a large boat, and did us the honour of a visit;
this boat was covered with an awning of split bamboo; he was
attended by the person next in authority, and a considerable
number of people, and was, on his arrival, saluted with five
guns. Upon this occasion, it was thought necessary to have a
party of ten men armed, placed on the top of the round house
abaft, where they continued during the Raja's visit. The Raja and
his attendants were, on coming on board, led down to the cabin,
and he had every mark of civility and attention shown to him: on
his taking leave, he was presented by the master of the ship with
a very handsome piece of silk, and on embarking in his boat, was
saluted with a volley of musquetry. While he remained on board
much conversation passed between him and the master of the ship,
but it being carried on in the Malay language, I could only
collect, that the Raja was strongly pressed to assist us with a
quantity of rice, or paddy, (which is the rice in husk.) He
showed us, while in the cabin, that he was supported in his
authority over these islands by the Dutch East-India Company, by
producing his written appointment, which he had brought with him
for that purpose: this writing I looked at, but being in the
Dutch language, I did not understand it, but observed, that it
was subscribed by a number of officers in the Company's service;
I also perceived it was subscribed by a very respectable officer
in the naval service of the States, with whom I had the pleasure
of being a little acquainted, the last time I was at the Cape of
Good Hope: so that the interest of the Dutch Company seemed to be
well established in these islands.

When the Raja left us, he promised to be on board the next
day, and said, he would bring with him the articles that we were
in want of. All this time we were busily employed in getting
water on board, and refitting the rigging; intending, as soon as
the water was completed, to employ one day in cutting wood.

The next day, (the 14th) in the afternoon, the Raja again came
on board, but, to our very great disappointment, instead of the
expected supply, he produced four small baskets of sago powder,
and one bag of paddy, which would scarcely have maintained two
men for a week; this return for the civilities he received the
day before, was by no means a proper one, particularly as I was
told he had been given to understand, that we were much in want
of provisions, and he had been greatly pressed for a quantity of
paddy, sufficient to serve two hundred men, until we could reach
Batavia, to which place he was told we were going; and he was
also informed, that it should be paid for in bar iron and other

Our demand was more than perhaps might have been necessary,
but it was made large from an opinion that we might not get near
the quantity applied for. We had reason to believe, that the
island could well furnish the supply we had asked for, without
any inconvenience to the inhabitants; for eight hundred weight
had been purchased out of a common boat the day before, for a few
pieces of bar iron, and the natives appeared to make more use of
sago and fruits than of paddy: the master of the ship showed some
displeasure, and I own (if he had made our wants well understood
the day before, which I had my doubts of) not without cause: he
came to me at the gangway, and told me he intended to detain the
Raja until he sent some of his boats on shore for the paddy
wanted: I advised him against any violent measures, left our
wants had not been perfectly understood; and that I did not see,
that it could, in our present situation, answer any good end: at
this time we had a boat and several people on shore.

I recommended to him to endeavour to make the Raja understand,
that unless he sent for the supply we had asked, and he had
promised, that he, as commander of the Company's ship, would
represent his conduct to the governor and council at Batavia, who
would certainly take notice of it; I thought a threat of that
sort might answer our purpose better than the means he proposed:
for we were in no respect prepared for a quarrel with those
people, the meanest of whom wore a cress or dagger constantly by
his side, and the decks were at that time almost full of them;
many of our people were also upon deck, but wholly unarmed and
off their guard.

The master of the ship returned, and entered again into
conversation with the Raja, who was on the after part of the
quarter deck, but what was said I did not understand: however, I
joined them, and again recommended prudence and moderation to the
master of the ship, and desired he would recollect, that we were
not prepared for such violent measures as he seemed
inconsiderately disposed to; that as there were a few stand of
arms in the ship, and a few pairs of pistols among the officers,
they should have been upon deck, and people stationed with
ammunition for them; instead of which, we had not one armed man
upon deck, nor a single necessary for using the carriage guns;
all which rested with him, such articles being in his care and
custody as master, for his owners: notwithstanding this, the
violence and perverseness of his temper was such as to dispose
him (probably because he was advised against it) to create a
disagreement between those people who were all armed, and our
people who were defenceless.

Some of these islanders paid much attention to the nature and
extent of our force, and some of them shrewdly observed, that the
great guns were very good at a distance, but of no use when boats
got alongside of the ship; if they had any fear of us, it
proceeded from our numbers, which amounted now to one hundred and
twenty, and when all upon deck in this small vessel, they
appeared still more numerous.

During the conversation between the Raja and master of the
ship, our people were employed in hoisting the long boat in, at
which the Raja seemed very much agitated, and at this very
juncture, the master having ordered some cutlasses upon deck, of
which he had but very few in the ship, they were imprudently laid
down on the quarter deck, in the presence of the Raja and his
attendants; this conduct confirmed me in the opinion I already
entertained, that he had made use of some threats which made such
preparation necessary: be that as it might, the Raja was alarmed
for his liberty; his people took the alarm also, and called their
companions from their boats, who boarded us with drawn daggers:
an old man, about seventy years of age, who stood near the Raja
and held him by the sleeve, drew his dagger, and in great rage
endeavoured to reach and stab the master of the ship, but was
held back by the Raja; on this, the master snatched up a hanger
to defend himself, and with great vehemence called out for small

I was close to him at the time, and however much I disapproved
of his general conduct, (which was certainly, in our unguarded
situation, destitute of thought, common sense, or discretion, and
was the effect of one of the most perverse and diabolical tempers
I ever met with,) I judged it necessary to draw my sword and
defend him: he continued to call for small arms with much
agitation, which should have been previously prepared.

A number of my sailors being on the fore part of the deck,
trading with the natives, (a considerable number of whom were on
board, but who all drew their cresses upon the alarm given by
their countrymen) armed themselves with handspikes, billets of
wood, or whatever lay in their way, while the petty officers of
the Sirius got up the small arms, and kept up a smart fire on the
natives, who were in a short time driven overboard; some into
their boats, and others were obliged to take to the water; the
Raja, during the scuffle, tumbled himself from the gunwall into
his boat, accompanied by his faithful attendants, who certainly
did themselves much honour by their attention to his safety.

If I had been prepared with my loaded pistols, as I was upon
the Raja's first visit, I should certainly have shot the old man
before-mentioned, although I am sure, that upon a little serious
reflection, and consideration of the motives of his conduct, I
should have exceedingly regretted having done so: he certainly in
some respect occasioned the disturbance, (although it originated
with the master of the ship) but it was in consequence of an
indignity offered to the person of his sovereign in his presence:
we should, therefore, be disposed more to commend than condemn
his conduct; the insult was too much for a loyal and affectionate
subject to bear; he therefore preferred certain death in his
defence, to that of living to see him so degraded.

As soon as the Raja and his people were in their boat, they
cut the rope which held them, and pulled from the ship with the
utmost precipitation; many were killed in their boats, which (now
that this affair had arrived at such length) became really
necessary, to prevent their rallying and reboarding the ship; for
after they got into their boats, many lances were thrown into the
ship, which occasioned the fire of musquetry to be kept up
something longer than it would have been. I saw the Raja pulling
at an oar himself, and did every thing in my power to prevent his
being shot: for as every person knew him by his dress, it was
probable he might be particularly marked; I fear much he was
wounded, perhaps mortally, notwithstanding my endeavours to save
him, as he dropt his oar several times: during the short time,
which I had been in his company, I was much pleased with him;
there was a certain graceful ease and affability in his manner,
which was highly prepossessing, and a degree of dignity, which
bespoke him of superior rank: he appeared to be about forty-three
or four years of age.

In this unlucky rencontre, we were so fortunate as not to have
a man wounded, which was rather extraordinary, and I believe must
have been owing to the panic occasioned by so sudden and
unexpected an alarm.

Our boat returned from the shore just at the conclusion of
this unlucky scuffle; which common prudence, or a disposition to
benefit by the advice that had been offered, might have
prevented; for whatever may be the natural disposition of the
inhabitants of these islands, they had shown nothing either
unfriendly or suspicious to us; at the same time, to place
implicit confidence in the friendly disposition of such people, I
think, would be highly imprudent. A ship calling here for water
should be ever on her guard, a precaution which was not in any
one respect taken by the master of the ship, except upon my
proposing, on the Raja's first visit, to have ten of my men
placed with small arms upon the top of the round house abaft,
from which situation they could command the whole deck: this
proposal he agreed to, which was more than I expected; for it was
no uncommon thing with him to reject any plan, however necessary,
which his duty should have suggested, without the assistance of
other opinions.

These observations I cannot help making; for they naturally
arise from the distressing situation in which I found myself and
officers who were placed under the direction of this most
ignorant and disagreeable man. If he had felt himself qualified
to have navigated a ship in the seas we had to pass through, his
conduct would in all probability have been more unsufferable, if
possible, than it was; but our assistance was absolutely
necessary, otherwise I believe his vessel had never reached

At eight o'clock in the evening we weighed from the road and
put to sea; one unfortunate Javanese seaman was by accident left
on shore, but he spoke a language which most of these people
understand. I therefore hope it might be the means of saving his
life, but as their rage, when once roused, does not quickly
subside, I feared much for the safety of this innocent man: this
unlucky affair prevented our being able to complete our water, or
cut any wood; however, we had filled as much as would prevent our
being distressed for some time, and the sailors had received many
refreshments, of which they were much in need.

These islands, I have already mentioned, are three in number:
Hummock Island, on which the Raja resides, is exceedingly
fertile, and seemed to produce most of the tropical fruit; we
found here rice, sugar cane (exceedingly fine and large), pine
apple, mango, sour oranges, limes, jack, plantain, cocoa-nut,
sago, sweet potatoes, tobacco, Indian corn, and a small kind of
pea: dogs, goats, fowls (very fine), parrots, and many other more
useful articles; but I judge that their principal article of
trade with the Dutch is bees-wax, of which they appear to have a
considerable quantity, and of course much honey.

The islands lie about five leagues south, from the southern
point of Mindanao: the road where we anchored is on the
north-east side of Hummock Island, and is in latitude 5° 27'
north, longitude 125° 12' east: there appeared to be a
passage between this island and the next to it, lying in a north
and south direction, but there is a long rocky spit, which runs
from a low point on Hummock Island, and seems to throw the
channel through upon the other shore: we had not an opportunity
to examine it, but we found here a regular tide, which was high
at full and change of the moon at seven o'clock, and rose by the
shore six or seven feet. There were several inlets or openings on
the west shore of the other island, which may be probably
convenient and well sheltered coves.

The articles, which seemed of most value here in exchange for
stock, were light cloathing of white or printed linens, or
cottons, such as loose gowns or jackets, coloured handkerchiefs,
clasp knives, razors, and bar iron; metal buttons had for some
time a good run, which a stranger on board here would soon have
perceived, as there was scarcely a coat or jacket to-be seen upon
deck with a button on it. The natives on these islands are the
same sort of people, and speak the same language, as people on
Mindanao; they have a great deal of the Malay both in appearance
and disposition; they are nearly the same size, make, and colour,
and have many of their features; they wore in general jackets and
trousers, but the lower orders had seldom any thing but a wrapper
round the waist; they commonly wore a handkerchief, or other
piece of linen round the head, in the manner of a turban. In the
sash or wrapper, which all wear round the waist, they had their
cress or dagger stuck, the scabbard of which was a case of wood.
Many of these natives were troubled with a disease much
resembling the leprosy; their skins were covered with a dry
scurf, like the scales of a fish, which had a very disagreeable

Their canoes were of various sizes; the bottom is hollowed out
of the trunk of a tree, and they were generally raised with an
upper work of split bamboo, which was set very close and light;
they had an outrigger on each side to balance them; they had also
a larger boat on which they mounted three small pieces of cannon,
of brass; these pieces, I was told, were of their own
manufactory, which I could readily believe, as they were of a
very different make to any I had ever seen; they were very long,
and of narrow bore, and were mounted with a swivel, upon posts,
placed one at each end, and one in the center of the boat; they
had a long wooden tail fixed to them, by which they turn about
and point them.

These boats will contain and conceal a great number of men;
they were commonly covered with an awning of split bamboo, raised
some distance above the gunwall, like the ridge of a house. Their
mast was composed of three bamboos, two of which stood as a pair
of sheers, and required no shrouds; the third stood forward, and
answered the purpose of a stay; and upon this mast they set a
square sail. On Hummock Island, as well as the south side of
Mindanao, were many pleasant looking spots, which appeared to be
cultivated land.

When we left these islands, the wind being from the westward,
we steered to the southward. At seven o'clock in the morning, we
saw a small island, bearing south-west; at ten, we saw two more,
and by four in the afternoon of the 15th, there were seven
islands in sight, bearing from south-west to west-north-west: at
six o'clock we saw a large island a-head, with a number of
smaller ones, and some single rocks of considerable height above
the water, lying off it: at noon, we were near enough to observe,
that several of the rocks and smaller islands had reefs lying
from them, on which the sea broke. Here we found a strong
south-west set of current; we sounded, and had seventy-two
fathoms, over a bottom of coarse sand and coral.

One of the small islands was distant little more than a mile.
This island, which is very high land, is that laid down in the
chart by the name of Poolo Sanguy: we observed the latitude of
its north end to be 3° 44' north, and its longitude 125°
11' east; there is a continued chain lying in a north and south
direction from the south coast of Mindanao thus far to the
southward; and, by such charts as I have seen, this chain seems
to be continued from Poolo Sanguy quite over to the north-east
point of Celebes. Poolo Sanguy is a large tract of land.

The wind now inclined from the southward, otherwise we should
have stood on, with a view of reaching some of the Dutch
settlements amongst the Molucca Islands, in order to endeavour to
procure some sort of supply of provisions, as we were now reduced
very low; but with this southerly wind we could only stand to the
westward and push for the Strait of Macassar: the wind continued
from the southward and sometimes from the south-east, but in very
light airs.

At day-light in the morning of the 25th, we made the island of
Celebes, bearing from south 11° 00' east, to south 54°
00' east, distant eight or nine leagues: at noon on the 26th, the
north-west point of Celebes bore south-south-east about ten
leagues. This part of the coast runs down in a low point into the
sea, and a little way back, rises in a round hill or hummock, but
considerably lower than the back land, which is very high; from
this point the land seems to take its direction about south-west
by west. The latitude of the north-west point is 1° 22'
north, and the longitude, by lunar observations, 121° 00'

On the 27th at noon the land of Celebes was distant about
eight or nine leagues; between us and the southermost land in
sight there was a small island. Ever since we had made the coast
of Celebes we had very little wind, and that had generally been
from south-east to south-west; no current was perceptible; the
weather was exceedingly sultry; the freshest winds we had were
from south-west; on which account, we endeavoured to get over on
the Borneo shore. At four in the morning of the 29th, we had a
very heavy squall from west-north-west, which obliged us to clew
all up.

On the 30th, at five in the morning, we saw the island of
Borneo, bearing west-north-west; this part of the coast is high
land: we saw, at the same time, from the mast-head, a small
island, bearing west-north-west; this I took to be one of the
small islands which are laid down to the southward of the Taba
Islands, and near in upon the coast: at eight in the evening, we
tacked, and in the night, the wind came from the land, but
squally, with which we stood to the southward. This part of the
coast of Borneo seems to be a projecting point, and is in the
latitude of 1° 02' north; longitude 119° 00' east.

On the 31st, at day-light, the land of Celebes bore east by
north half north; we had a heavy squall of thunder, lightning,
and rain.

On the 1st of September, about eight o'clock at night, when it
was very dark, we suddenly discovered something on our weather
quarter, which had much the appearance of a large row-boat, and
there being but a very light air of wind, we prepared, with all
possible silence, for the reception of a pirate; but as it did
not approach us as we expected, we supposed it to have been a
large tree adrift.

In crossing from Celebes to Borneo and back, we passed nearly
over the place where seven islands are laid down in the charts,
about 00° 40' to the northward of the line; but, as we saw
nothing, I conclude, as Captain Carteret did, "that they exist
only upon paper;" or that they may have been some of those
islands which have been seen near the coast, and by an incorrect
account of their situation, in point of longitude, have been
placed here in mid-channel. In the morning, the Island of Celebes
bore from east half north to south-south-east, and a small island
covered with wood bore south-east half east, four or five miles
distant. This island is in latitude 00° 03' south, longitude
119° 54' east; it lies off the opening of a large bay. On the
5th, we were in the latitude of 00° 50' south, and longitude
119 06' east, and were about six or seven leagues from the coast
of Celebes; here the land near the sea is of a moderate height,
but the back land is remarkably high.

On the 7th, we saw two large proas, in the south-west; we were
standing towards them, and as they were at some distance from
each other, the one bore down and joined the other, and both
stood for the land; we however judged it necessary to be prepared
for them all the succeeding night: they might have been trading
vessels, but as they can conceal their numbers, and as we knew
that these seas are infested with piratical vessels of that
description, it was necessary for us to be on our guard.

At noon we were in latitude 1° 47' south; longitude
118° 50' east, and no part of the Celebes shore in sight. I
am convinced, from the many observations made for the longitude
here, by myself, as well as by Lieutenants Bradley and
Waterhouse, that the west coast of Celebes is laid down in all
the charts which I have seen, much farther to the westward than
it should be. On the 8th, in the evening, we were looking out for
the Little Pater Nosters, being near the latitude of their north
end, as determined by Captain Carteret; but although we stood to
the westward all night, we saw nothing of them; I therefore
suppose they lay nearer the Celebes shore than we were at this

On the 9th in the morning, observing the water much
discoloured, we sounded, and had thirty-five fathoms over a sandy
bottom; soon after, we saw, from the mast-head, a small sandy
island, bearing south-west by west: at noon we were within five
miles of it, and observed several shoals breaking to the
northward and southward of it, with some dry patches of sand.
These shoals have been taken by some for the Little
Pater-Nosters, but are called by the Dutch, the Triangles; they
lie in latitude 2° 58' south; longitude 117° 53' east:
they are so very low, that a ship in the night would be ashore
before they could be perceived; there are good soundings at some
distance to the eastward of them.

The whole time we had been in this strait, the wind had been
variable from south-south-west to west-north-west; in the night
it sometimes inclined in very light airs from south-south-east to
south. On the 11th, in the afternoon, as we were standing to the
westward, the water appeared suddenly of a very light colour, and
on looking over the side, we perceived the ground under the ship:
before we had time to heave a cast of the lead, it appeared to be
deeper, and we had ten and twelve fathoms; but I am inclined to
think, from what I saw of the bottom, that there could not have
been more than five or six: the bottom was white sand, with some
dark patches upon it. From the mast-head, at the same time, was
seen a dry sand-bank, bearing north-north-east six miles distant;
a little way to the eastward of it, the water seemed to break.
This shoal is very dangerous, and does not appear in any chart
which I have seen: there is a shoal marked in the Dutch charts,
nearly in the same parallel, but it is so very much misplaced in
its longitude, or distance from the land, that I cannot suppose
it has been meant for the same shoal. The latitude of this shoal
is 3° 37' south, and the longitude 117° 54' east; it
extends from the two small islands which are called the Brothers,
and lie off the east part of Borneo, east half north, distant
fifty-one miles.

We made the Brothers at day-light in the morning, after
passing this shoal, and at ten o'clock we passed within three
miles of them, in from twenty-two to seventeen fathoms water,
over a sandy bottom. The latitude of the Brothers is 3° 41'
south, and the longitude 117° 00' east. We stood on to the
south-west, after passing the Brothers, expecting that course
would have carried us clear of every part of Borneo, but the
south part of Borneo, and the large island called Poolo La'oot,
form a considerable bight; into this bight we found a strong
in-draught, by which, and the wind being light, we were drawn,
and could not fetch round Borneo; we stood off and on there with
light and baffling winds, and a short chop of a sea, and gained
no ground: after passing two days and a night in this situation,
we got a breeze, which enabled us to weather the Brothers again,
and stand to the eastward, where we had more room. This situation
gave me some uneasy moments; for we dropt in so fast upon the
shore, that we found it necessary to prepare for anchoring; this
would have occasioned a loss of time, which, from a variety of
circumstances, we could not afford: the anchorage off here is
clear soft ground, and shoals regularly to the shore; we had
twelve fathoms four miles off. This bight ought to be carefully
avoided, for certainly during the prevalence of the easterly
monsoon here, there is a very strong set into it: it would be
much better for ships bound to the westward to get as far to the
southward as the south point of Borneo, before they stretched to
the westward of the Brothers, unless they may have a fresh gale
that they can depend on.

The southermost part of Borneo which we saw, lies in latitude
4° 00' south, and longitude 116° 35' east, but there is
land to the southward of that, which appeared to us like two
islands, on the northermost of which are two remarkable round
hills; whether these are really islands, or any part of Borneo,
we could not ascertain; but in all the charts the south part of
Borneo is laid down farther south than that land which we at
first supposed to be it, and agrees nearly with this which
appeared to us like two islands, the southermost of which is in
latitude 4° 15' south, and longitude 115° 16' east.

Having determined after we got out of this bight and to the
eastward of the Brothers, to endeavour to get nearer the Celebes
shore, and to work up on that side to the southward of 4° 00'
south latitude, before we should attempt to cross the meridian of
the Brothers, we stood to the eastward, and had the wind in the
fore part of the day from south-south-east and south-east, and
after sun-set it inclined to the south-west, but in very light
airs; however, with these slants we got southing; but if ever the
south-south-east breeze continued long enough to carry us in
sight of the south east part of Borneo, we were then sure to be
set to the northward: this having been the case, on the 15th, it
obliged us to stand to the eastward, although it were an
unfavourable tack.

At day-light in the morning, we tacked to the southward, and
again fell in with the dry sand-bank already mentioned; we passed
it at four miles distance, and had thirty-five fathoms water (to
the eastward). The dry part of this sand-bank is so very small,
that in bad weather the sea must break entirely over it: there is
regular soundings between it and the Brothers, from twenty-five
to seventeen fathoms. Being now determined not to stand farther
to the westward than we could by that means gain southing, we, by
the different changes of the wind, got, by the 19th, as far as
4° 42' south latitude: that morning, as we were steering to
the westward, ground was discovered under the ship which of
course drew every body on deck; we had ten fathoms, over a rocky
bottom, which we saw very distinctly. The latitude of this ridge
is 4° 35' south, and longitude, observed that morning is
117° 19' east: I judge that it must extend from some small
islands, which are laid down in most of the charts, and which we
supposed lay at that time directly to the southward of us, but we
saw nothing of them.

From this reef we steered west-south-west, and at six in the
afternoon, we saw an island bearing west half south; we hauled to
the southward to weather it, and at day-light in the morning of
the 20th, it bore north, distant seven leagues; its latitude is
4° 56' south, and the longitude observed that morning
115° 40' east; this we supposed to be Poolo Laut: we kept the
lead going all night, and had from twenty to twenty-eight
fathoms; the wind fresh from south-east by south.

We continued to steer west-south-west, and, for about fourteen
leagues, we crossed a flat of sixteen fathoms. At midnight on the
21st, we saw an island bearing west-north-west three or four
miles distant; this we supposed to be the island of Solombo; its
latitude is 5° 42' south, and the longitude 114° 24'
east. We continued to steer to the westward, and had from
twenty-five to thirty-five fathoms until day-light in the morning
of the 23d, when we made the islands called Cariman Java; the
middle or principal one is large, and of very considerable
height; it is encompassed by many smaller ones, some of which are
well covered with wood: the latitude of the south side of these
islands is 5° 21' south, and the longitude 110° 33'

On the morning of the 24th, we saw a number of water spouts
and whirlwinds, some of which came so very near that we fired a
few guns, in hopes that the concussion of the air would have
dispersed them; but our guns were too small to give a sufficient
shock to the atmosphere; however, a good breeze of wind sprung up
and carried us clear of them. We steered from Cariman Java, west,
and in the evening of the 25th, we made the small islands called
the Boomkins, which lie about five leagues from the Coast of
Java; we passed about three miles within them, and saw the shore
of Java. During part of the night we steered west-north-west to
avoid some sunken rocks which are laid down to the westward. The
south side of the Boomkins lies in latitude 5° 56' south, and
longitude 108° 21' east.

In the morning, we saw Carawang Point on Java, bearing
south-south-west six or seven miles; and at five in the afternoon
of the 27th, we anchored in Batavia Road, after a passage from
Port Jackson of twenty-six weeks.

[A Table of the winds and weather, etc. on a passage from Port Jackson,
New South Wales, to Batavia in the Waaksamheid Transport.]
[The tables are included in the HTML version]

Chapter X


September 1791 to April 1792

Captain Hunter waits on the Governor at Batavia.--Applies for a
passage to England.--Purchases the Waaksambeyd for that purpose.--Leaves
Batavia.--Passes the Keelings.--Arrives at the Cape of Good Hope.--Leaves
that place, and anchors at Saint Helena.--Departs from Saint Helena.--
Arrives at Portsmouth.--Tables for the variation of the compass.--Captain
Hunter's letter to the Lords of the Admiralty.-

The master of the ship went immediately on shore, to inform
his owner (the Shebander) of his arrival: that gentleman wrote me
a note the same night, begging to see me the next morning as
early as possible, that he might introduce me to the governor; he
informed me at the same time, that it was quite unnecessary to
write to the governor upon any business I might have to settle
with him, (which the master of the ship informed him I intended)
as my business could be done with more ease in a personal

I landed the next morning, and went with the Shebander (who
spoke English) to the governor, who lived about three miles out
of town. I had previously told the Shebander, in writing, what my
business was, which he thought necessary for enabling him the
better to interpret between us. I informed the governor, that
Governor Phillip had found it necessary, for the forwarding of
his Majesty's service, to employ the vessel in which I was
embarked to convey to that port the officers and company of his
Majesty's lost ship the Sirius, with a view, that after we had
procured the necessary provision and refreshments, we should be
permitted to proceed in the same vessel to England: I therefore
desired permission to have her refitted, and to proceed with all
possible expedition.

The governor, in answer to my request, informed me, that he
could not consent to any vessel belonging to the company being
employed as a transport, and that it was contrary to the
established regulations of the company to permit that vessel, as
Dutch property, to proceed from thence to Europe.

I desired that he would take the trouble to consider the
nature of my application; and I begged he might understand, that
I was not soliciting a favour to myself, as an individual, but
that I was an officer in the king's service, and that although I
was not at that port in the command of one of his Majesty's
ships, that I nevertheless was in actual service, and had at that
time a ship's company, and their proper officers, under my
command; that he would be pleased, therefore, to understand me
correctly, that it was for his Majesty's service I was then
making the application he had heard; and I hoped, and believed,
that himself and the council would find no difficulty or
inconvenience to the company's concerns, in deviating a little
from their established rules for the accommodation of his
Britannick Majesty's service.

To this he only replied, he could do nothing of himself, and
that my application must be made to the council; to which, I
informed him, I had no sort of objection.

The Shebander, therefore, wrote an application from me in the
Dutch language, founded on the letter which I had written to him
on that subject; to which he added one paragraph that, he said,
would very much facilitate the business, and prevent delay; this
was, after having desired permission to let the vessel proceed to
Europe, "That if it were impossible, consistent with the
established rules of the company, to grant such a request, that
they would be pleased to give permission for my purchasing the
vessel, if I could settle the business with the proprietor."

I waited on the governor and council in person, and received
my answer from the governor, which was, that the council had
complied with my request, and would permit me to purchase the
vessel; a business which the proprietor and I had previously
settled. I cannot help noticing here, that this vessel was
sometimes considered as belonging to the company, and at other
times as the sole property of a private individual; probably,
those gentlemen who hold considerable appointments under the
company, and are at the same time employed in an extensive
commerce on their own account, may be authorised to use the name
of the company, whenever it may be necessary to promote their own
private interest.

This gentleman, whose name was Engelhard, acted with much
liberality in the equipment of his ship, although those whom he
employed on that business did not act with the same good
intention: he was, upon every occasion, civil and attentive.

A short time before we arrived here, the town of Batavia had
been very unhealthy, and was, though much better, still sickly.
Our sailors continued to enjoy good health until about a week
before we were ready for sea, when they fell down fast with a
fever which had raged much at Batavia: this fever was, however,
in some of the seamen, brought on by a little intemperance. On
the 19th of October died Daniel Buddle, seaman.

On the 20th, we left the road and sailed to the island of
Onrust, where we anchored and received some stores for the use of
the ship. On the 22d, we sailed from Onrust, and the 26th cleared
the streight of Sunda: at this time Terence Burne, seaman, died,
and we had twenty-two down with the Batavia fever; it was of the
intermitting kind, and exceedingly obstinate and difficult to
remove; it reduced the patient to a very weakly state in a very
short time, and occasioned much sickness at the stomach, and a
loathing of every kind of food.

On the 30th, as we were steering south-west, we kept a good
lookout all night for the islands called Keelings, or Cocos
Islands; being uncertain whether their situation was well
ascertained: at noon on the 31st, the latitude observed was
12° 10' south; this I supposed to be rather to the southward
of them, and altered the course to west-south-west: at three in
the afternoon, we discovered the islands under our lee, distant
about four leagues: there are three of them well covered with
wood, but they are very low and flat; there are several smaller
spots like rocks above water; the larger islands have sandy
beaches, and in many places there were very high breakers: the
latitude of the south side is 12° 06' south; the longitude by
account from Java Head, but afterwards confirmed by observations
of is 98° 03' east.

On the 14th of November, Robert Henderson, seaman, died; and
on the 11th of December died Edward Moore, seaman.

On the 15th we made Cape Lagullus, and the 17th anchored in
Table-Bay, at the Cape of Good Hope; but it blew so strong from
the south-east that we were not able to fetch the upper
anchorage: it continued to blow from the same quarter for several
days, and on the 20th, it blew so violent a gale, that the two
bower anchors would not hold the ship: finding in the evening
that the gale did not in the smallest degree abate, and that if I
continued to trust any longer to anchors, which it was plain were
too light for the ship, we should run a risk of being drove upon
the reef off Robbin's Island in the night, for every heavy gust
set the ship a-drift, we cut both the cables before dark, and had
just day-light enough to run to sea under the foresail. When we
got a few leagues to sea we found the weather quite moderate, and
made sail, with the hope of being able to recover the bay

On the 22d, in the evening, we fetched close round Green
Point, and hoisted the signal of distress, having but one small
anchor left: his Majesty's ship Providence, the Assistant armed
tender, and Pitt transport, being in the bay, repeated our signal
with many guns, and sent all their boats; several English whalers
and some Americans also sent their boats with anchors and
hausers, and we were very soon got into safety.

I was much obliged to Captain Bligh, as well as to the
commanders of all the other ships for their exertions, without
which we must again have been driven to sea. The same night we
received anchors and cables from the shore, and secured the ship.
The anchors which we had left being far down the bay when we
quitted them, were entirely lost.

On the 23d, the Providence and Assistant tenders left the bay,
and on the 24th the Pitt transport sailed for New South

As our sick, from the very low state they were in when we
arrived, were likely to detain me longer here than it was my wish
or intention to have staid, I determined to avail myself of that
time, and convert a spare top-mast into a mizen-mast; the ship
being in certain situations, very unsafe for want of after-sail;
and the head of the main mast being much crippled by the weight
of the try-sail, I set the carpenters immediately to work upon
this job, which was soon completed; but on examining the head of
the fore-mast, I found it was also very defective, which
determined me to reef both the top-masts.

On the 13th of January, 1792, having completed our provisions
for sixteen weeks, I directed that such of the men as were
sufficiently recovered to proceed upon the voyage, might be
discharged from sick quarters and sent on board. On the 18th,
with a breeze from south-south-east, we ran down to Robbin's
Island, where, it falling calm, we anchored. On the 19th, with a
south-west breeze, we stretched out to sea. We left five men at
sick quarters who were too weakly to be taken on board.

On the 4th of February, at five in the afternoon, we saw the
island of Saint Helena, and at noon we anchored off James's
Valley in fourteen and a half fathoms, and moored ship: I sent an
officer on shore to wait on the governor, who wrote me a very
polite note, expressing his concern for the misfortune I had met
with, and offering every refreshment the island could afford to
my seamen. On the 5th, I landed, and was received by the governor
under the usual salute given to captains of his Majesty's ships
(eleven guns). On the 13th, we left the island, having received
fresh beef for our ship's company during our stay there, and
having completed our water.

I should very ill deserve the civilities I received here, if I
were not to take this opportunity of expressing my obligations to
Lieutenant Colonel Brooke, the governor of this island, and to
every individual of his family, for their great politeness and
very friendly attention to myself and officers whilst we remained
at this island.

On the 22d of April we arrived at Portsmouth.

[An account of the observations for finding the variation of the compass...]
[The tables are included in the HTML version]

A Voyage From Port Jackson to England

* * * * *

The LORDS of the ADMIRALTY, from a zealous wish to promote the
nautical interests of Great-Britain, were pleased to permit the
publication of the following letter from CAPTAIN HUNTER; which
gives his opinion on the best course from NEW SOUTH WALES to
EUROPE; and which closes the instructive communications of that
able navigator.


My Lords,

As the settlement, which is now established on the coast of
New South Wales, will no doubt occasion a frequent intercourse
between the Mother Country and that part of the world, I conceive
it to be a duty in those, who, from their own experience and
observation, may be qualified to give any information in their
power, relative to the navigation to and from that distant
country: it is with this hope, that I presume to trouble your
lordships with an opinion, which, I can with truth say, has been
founded on my own experience and observation.

The passage from England to the Cape of Good Hope is already
so well known that it would be superfluous in me to make any
observations upon it. From the Cape to our settlement at Port
Jackson, the navigation is now much better known, than it was
when the first convoy to that country was left in my charge; it
is a plain and easy track; any person who is acquainted with the
common rules of navigation, and finding the variations of the
compass, may, with the necessary look-out, run across that
extensive ocean without danger: I have sailed over it twice, and
it has been crossed by many other ships since. The advantage of
being able to ascertain the ship's place in longitude, by
observations of the moon, will ever be satisfactory, but more
particularly through so vast a tract of sea, in which the error
of the log may considerably accumulate, when ships arrive upon
that coast where the land lies so nearly in a north and south
direction, there can be no difficulty in discovering what part of
the coast they are upon, their latitude observed will always
point that out, by applying to the general chart, given from the
authority of that most correct and able navigator Captain Cook.
When they arrive off Botany-Bay, Port Jackson, or Broken-Bay,
they will I hope receive some assistance into any of these
harbours, from the surveys done by me, copies of which I
delivered to the governor, as the different harbours were
completed, in order that fair copies might, as early as he should
judge proper, be transmitted home: but that nothing in my power
may be wanting to assist those who may be strangers on their
arrival off that part of the coast, separate copies of those
ports, with directions more full than were given with the first,
will be delivered at your lordship's board, with this, and also a
copy of the three harbours, on one sheet, connected with the
intermediate coast.

It is the return from that country immediately for Europe, by
the safest, most certain, and expeditious route, that should be
the object of our particular attention. The passage from Van
Diemen's Land westward, to the Cape of Good Hope, has never yet
been attempted; we can therefore say but little upon it; some,
however, are of opinion, that a passage may be made that way with
as much ease and expedition as by any other route. I confess that
I differ from these opinions: I admit that the passage may be
made; but I think, whenever it is tried, that it will be found
tedious, and fatiguing to the ship's company. The ship which
pursues that route should be strong and well found, and her crew
healthy and capable of bearing much blowing, and some cold
weather. It is not from a single voyage that we are to judge of
the eligibility of this passage; it will happen in some seasons
that the wind may be more favourable for making that passage than
in others; but it is on the general prevalence of westerly winds
here, and the heavy sea which is constantly rolling from the
westward, that I conceive this route may be tedious and
fatiguing, and on which account I give the preference to the
southern route by Cape Horn. This passage has been frequently
tried, and never yet failed of being safe and expeditious; the
other never having yet been tried, leaves in my mind some doubt
of its certainty and expedition, and a strong suspicion, that
whenever it is, it may be found twice out of three times,
attended with the difficulties I have hinted at; but if from
repeated experience it should be found to be as practicable,
expeditious, and certain, as some imagine, it will no doubt be
preferable to all the others, as being a shorter distance.

This passage will of course be attempted only in the Summer
months: for admitting a ship to have gained so much to the
westward, as to enable her to clear the west coast of New
Holland, and to stretch to the northward, until she falls into
the south-east trade wind, she will carry this trade in the
Summer time probably quite home to the Cape; but in the Winter,
north-west winds prevail in the neighbourhood of that coast,
which would exceedingly retard her arrival there.

The passage southward by Cape Horn, I have sailed, and as a
proof of the prevalence of westerly winds in those high
latitudes, I made my voyage to the Cape of Good Hope, in
ninety-one days, from Port Jackson, although I was so unlucky as
to be detained beating off Cape Horn for seventeen days, with a
north-east wind; which I believe is not very common there. This
is rather a long voyage to be performed in that time, and yet I
think it will be done twice in three times in less, although a
distance of about 3300 leagues.

The northern passage, which can only be attempted during the
Winter season, in the southern hemisphere, on account of the
periodical trade winds in the Indian seas, and undertaken in such
time as to ensure their reaching Batavia, before the setting in
of the westerly winds there, which is generally in the middle or
end of October. The dangers, currents, calms, and other delays to
which we are liable in these little known seas, and of which we
had much experience in the Waaksamheid transport, is the subject
of the preceding narrative, which was written particularly for
the information of your lordships, and principally with a view of
showing the very great uncertainty of an expeditious voyage to
Europe by that passage. I sailed from Port Jackson in March, and
I can take upon me, without, I hope, being supposed to have
presumed too much on my own judgment and experience to assert,
that a ship leaving that port in the end of September, or
beginning of October, taking her route by Cape Horn, would have
reached England as soon as I have. The time I stopped at such
places as I was obliged to touch at, will appear in the

If ever government should find it necessary to send ships to
that country, which may be intended to return immediately from
thence to England, I beg leave to suggest to your lordships, that
the particular seasons in the southern hemisphere should be
considered, in order to prevent those delays in the return of the
ships which must inevitably attend their sailing at an
unfavourable time.

If such ships leave England in February, or earlier, if found
more convenient, they should refresh at Rio de Janeiro in
preference to the Cape of Good Hope; as by the time they could
arrive at the Cape the north-west winds will be setting in there,
which will oblige them to go into the False bay; this will
considerably encrease their expences, and probably occasion some
delay: sail immediately from Rio Janeiro for the coast of New
South Wales, where, if they are not uncommonly unfortunate, they
will arrive early in September; this is giving them good

They will then have time to clear, ballast, and to refresh
their people for six weeks or two months, and return by Cape
Horn; or, if the western passage be found preferable, the season
will be equally favourable for it. If they should take their
route by Cape Horn, as they will no doubt require to refresh
somewhere in their voyage home, they may either stop at Santa
Catherina or Rio Janeiro, on the Brazil coast, or go to the Cape;
in this case I would recommend the Cape, as more convenient, in
more respects than one. If they are sickly, there they may get a
supply of men, which it is well known they cannot at either of
the other places; and in sailing from the Cape homeward they will
have the advantage of being to windward; however, if as late as
April, they would probably prefer Brazil. If water only were
wanted, that could be had at Falkland's Islands.

In taking the liberty to offer these hints, I mean only, that
in order to prevent any loss of time, upon such a service, the
ships may be dispatched from England in such time as to insure
their having the Summer months to return either by Cape Horn, or
the western route, as may be directed.

The ships upon this service will no doubt be under the
inconvenience of coming upon the coast of New South Wales in some
of the Winter months; we have some bad weather on that coast in
the Winter, and some smart gales of wind; the easteriy gales
always bring thick or hazy weather: I would recommend the not
making too free with the coast, until they be near the parallel
of their port. In steering in for Port Jackson, if they should
fall to leeward, either with a northerly or southerly wind, they
can avail themselves of either Botany-Bay or Broken-Bay, Port
Jackson being the center harbour.

In the sketches which will accompany the narrative of my last
passage, I beg leave to inform your lordships, that the bearings
and relative situations of the different lands which we fell in
with were determined by intersections taken from the ship by
Lieutenants William Bradley and Henry Waterhouse, who paid
particular and constant attention to those very necessary
observations; and that the situations of the lands in general
were determined by observations for the longitude as well as
latitude, which were made by myself and the above officers.

I have now only to request that your lordships will do me the
honour to believe, that in the liberty I have taken, I am
prompted wholly by a sense of duty, and that I am, with the
utmost respect,

My Lords,

-June_, 1792.

Your Lordship's most obedient and devoted humble servant,


* * * * *


The public owe an obligation, and the publisher a kindness, to
Sir Joseph Banks and Mr. Stephens, of the Admiralty, to whose
charge Lieutenant King had committed his journal, for liberally
allowing the free use of this intelligent manuscript, in order to
the publication of such parts of it as might be supplementary in
its notices to the foregoing narrative of Captain Hunter.

The journal of Lieutenant King, like the narrative of Captain
Hunter, begins with the _plan_ of a settlement on the coast
of New South Wales, for the present banishment of convicts, in
the hope of future benefit to the nation; and with the outfit of
the ships which had been appointed for this uncommon expedition.
Like Captain Hunter, under whom he sailed in the Sirius, he
conducts their little fleet from England to the Canaries; from
these islands to the Brazils; from Rio de Janeiro to the Cape of
Good Hope; recording such professional notices, and making such
useful remarks, as occurred on a voyage, which being now
perfectly known, could afford in the recital little diversity,
and could furnish in the publication neither information nor

Of the Sirius, which was never more to return to _the
Thames_, he tells the following anecdote: "She was built in
-the river_ for an east country ship; and in loading her,
she took fire and was burnt down to her wales. The government
wanting a roomy vessel to carry stores abroad, in 1781, purchased
her bottom, which was rebuilt with such stuff as, during the war,
could be found. She went two voyages as the Berwick store-ship;
and without any repairs she was reported, when the present
expedition was thought of, as fit for the voyage to New Holland,
when she was named _The Sirius_." Experience, however,
evinced, that she was altogether adequate to the service for
which she was destined; and carried her crew safe through one of
the most tremendous gales, on a lee shore, that the oldest seaman

Lieutenant King describes the Cape of Good Hope, of which so
many accounts have been given. Here was it determined, that with
Governor Phillip and other officers, he was to change his ship
from the Sirius to the Supply, an armed tender of one hundred and
seventy tons: but this measure was not executed till the fleet
had sailed 352 miles from the Cape of Good Hope, when they yet
had 5582 miles of an ocean to traverse, before they could expect
to see the south cape of New Holland, the object of their hopes.
Soon after they had parted from their associates in the voyage,
they were alarmed in the night with the cry of _rocks under the
lee bow:_ but having put the helm a-lee, they soon perceived,
that the Supply had passed over two enormous whales, which gave
her a shock that was felt by all. Without any other accident,
though they had heavy gales and a boisterous sea, they anchored
at Botany-Bay on the 19th of January, 1788, after a voyage of
thirty-seven weeks and a day, since their departure from

On the fifth day after their arrival, two strange ships were
seen standing into the bay, which proved to be the La Boussole
and L'Astrolabe under the command of Monsieur De la Peyrouse, and
which have been long wishfully looked for by all the good and
wise of Europe.

Chapter XI


February 1788 to April 1788

Lieutenant King visits Monsieur De la Peyrouse at Botany-Bay.--Polite
reception there.--An account of his adventures.--Lieutenant King
returns to Port Jackson.--Sent by Governor Phillip to form a settlement
on Norfolk Island.--Leaves Port Jackson.--An island discovered.--Arrival
at Norfolk Island.--Difficulty in finding a landing-place.--Lands the
convicts, provisions, and stores.--Ground cleared, and tents fixed.--A
store-bouse erected.--Vegetables, and various sorts of grain sown.--
Distressed by rats.--General orders for the regulation of the settlement.

On the 1st of February, at day-light in the morning,
Lieutenant Dawes, of the marines, and myself, left Sydney Cove in
a cutter, in order to proceed to Botany-Bay, and visit Monsieur
De la Peyrouse, on the part of Governor Phillip, and to offer him
any assistance he might stand in need of. We soon got down to the
harbour's mouth, and finding a light breeze from the southward,
we were obliged to row all the way: we arrived on board the
Boussole at ten o'clock in the morning, and were received with
the greatest attention and politeness by Monsieur Peyrouse, and
the few officers he had.

After delivering my message to him, he returned his thanks to
Governor Phillip, and made us similar offers to those he had
received, adding at the same time, that he should be in France
within the space of fifteen months, and as he had stores, etc.
sufficient to serve him for three years, he should be happy to
send Governor Phillip any thing that he might want. Monsieur
Peyrouse informed me, that a number of the convicts had been to
him, and wanted to enter on board his ships, but that he had
dismissed them with threats, and had given them a day's
provisions to carry them back to the settlement.

The wind coming on to blow fresh from the northward, I
accepted Monsieur Peyrouse's invitation to pass the day with him,
and to return to Port Jackson the next morning.

In the course of our conversation, I learned that he had
touched at, and been off, the following places, viz. Madeira,
Teneriffe, and Santa Catherina: he had run down the coasts of
Chili and California, on the last of which he had lost boats,
officers, and men, by the surf. He had been at Kamschatka, where
he replaced the wooden inscription that had been erected to the
memory of Captain Clerke, (which was nearly defaced) with a
copper one: for this attention I thanked him. From Kamschatka, he
went to Macao; from thence to the Phillippines, the Sandwich
Islands, Isles des Navigateurs, Friendly Islands, and Norfolk
Island, from whence he came to Botany-Bay.

At the Island Macuna, (one of the Isles des Navigateurs) in
latitude 14° 19' south, longitude 173° 00' 20" east of
Paris, he had been so very unfortunate as to lose Monsieur De
Langle, captain of the L'Astrolabe, together with eight officers,
four sailors, and one boy; all of whom were killed by the
natives, besides a number who were wounded. This melancholy
affair happened in the following manner: The two ships had been
at the island just mentioned some days, and were on very good
terms with the natives, who had furnished them with every article
of stock in the greatest profusion, for barter: Monsieur De la
Peyrouse, however, had sound it very necessary to be on his guard
against a treacherous disposition which he discovered in them.
When every thing was ready for their departure, and the ships
were under weigh, De Langle requested M. Peyrouse to permit him
to get another turn of water; this M. Peyrouse consented to, but
with as much reluctance as De Langle seemed solicitous to obtain
his request: as the long-boats were not hoisted in, they were
sent on this service, with two other boats to attend them, under
the direction of the unfortunate De Langle. At this time the
ships were lying to, and a strong current set them round a point
out of sight of the place where the boats were to land. When the
boats landed, the men were, as usual, surrounded by the
inhabitants, who did not immediately discover any hostile
intention: unfortunately, the sailors in the long-boats had
suffered them to take the ground, and whilst they were
endeavouring to get them afloat again, the natives were very
troublesome, and pressed close in upon the sailors; on this, De
Langle ordered the men in the rowing-boats to be ready to fire on
the natives, but not to do it until he ordered them. Some
altercation happening at this juncture, in consequence of their
pressing so close upon the French, probably occasioned a blow
with a club from one of the natives, which was instantly taken as
a signal by the rest, and the massacre began. The natives were
armed with short heavy clubs, by which means they rendered the
fire-arms useless. Orders were given to fire the swivels, etc.
in the rowing boats, but it was too late, although the natives
fled the moment they were fired, dragging the dead bodies after

It was supposed that thirty of the natives were killed in this
unfortunate affray. Those belonging to the ships, who escaped the
massacre, swam to the rowing boats, and were carried on board the
ships: many of them had received violent contusions on the head,
as all the blows were aimed at that part.

De la Peyrouse thought proper to quit the island immediately,
after endeavouring to regain his long-boats, which he found the
natives had destroyed: he describes the inhabitants of these
islands as a very strong and handsome race of men; scarcely one
was to be seen amongst them less than six feet high, and well
proportioned; the women are delicately beautiful; their canoes,
houses, etc. are well constructed, and they are much more
advanced in internal policy and order than any of the islands in
the Pacific Ocean. These, islands are surrounded by a coral reef,
but boats may land with great safety.

After dinner I attended M. Peyrouse and his officers on shore,
where I found him quite established; he had thrown round his
tents a stockade, which was guarded by two small guns, and in
which they were setting up two long boats, which he had in frame.
After these boats were built, it was the intention of M. Peyrouse
to go round New Ireland, and through the Moluccas, and to pass to
the Island of France, by the streights of Sunda. An observatory
tent was also fixed on shore, in which were an astronomical
clock, a quadrant, and other instruments under the care of
Monsieur D'Agelet, Astronomer, and a member of the Academy of
Sciences at Paris: he, as well as Monsieur De la Peyrouse,
informed me, that at every place they had touched at, and been
near, they had found all the nautical and astronomical remarks of
Captain Cook to be very exact and true; and he concluded with
saying, "Enfin Monsieur Cook a tant fait, qu'il ne m'a rien
laissè a faire, que d'admirer ses oeuvres."

In the evening I returned on board the Boussole, and was shown
all the drawings they had made during their voyage; and at five
o'clock the next morning I set out on my return to Port Jackson,
but did not arrive on board the Sirius before seven in the
evening, having been obliged to row all the way against the wind
and a great swell.

On the 4th, I went by land to Botany-Bay, accompanied by
Lieutenant Ball, and some other officers: we found the country
between that place and Port Jackson to consist chiefly of deep
bays and sand hills, interspersed with a vast number of rocks: we
did not return until the evening of the 5th.

About this time two criminal courts were assembled in order to
try offenders, and as the proceedings in these cases are, in a
great measure, new, a short account of them may not be

The judge-advocate issues his precept for the three senior
naval officers and three military officers to assemble at the
time appointed, dressed in their uniforms and their side-arms:
when they are met, the judge-advocate administers an oath to the
members, similar to that which is used at military
courts-martial; afterwards, one of the members administers the
same oath to the judge-advocate, who presides at the court, and
the rest take their seats according to their rank. The prisoner
is then asked, whether he is guilty or not, and, as the general
answer is, "not guilty," the accusations against him are read,
and witnesses are examined on oath to support or prove the
charge; after which the prisoner enters on his defence, and
brings evidence to prove his innocence: the court is then
cleared, and the members consider what sentence to pronounce; if
it be death, five out of the seven must concur in opinion. The
governor can respite a criminal condemned to die, and the
legislature has fully empowered him to execute the sentence of
the law, or to temper it with mercy.

Actions for debt, for a certain amount, are cognizable by this
court, as are all other actions at common law, where they are
decided according to the law of England, as nearly as the
situation will allow.

On the 6th, Governor Phillip signified his intention of
sending me to Norfolk-Island, with a few people, and stock to
settle it, and lieutenant Ball was ordered to receive on board
the Supply the stores and provisions necessary for that purpose:
this business engaged the whole of my attention until the 15th,
when, having received my commission and instructions from the
governor, (and taken the oaths of fidelity and allegiance,
etc. etc. and the customary oath as a justice of the peace
for Norfolk-Island;) by which I was appointed superintendent and
commandant of Norfolk-Island, I embarked the following persons,
who were appointed to go along with me, viz. Mr. James
Cunningham, master's mate of the Sirius; Mr. Thomas Jameson,
surgeon's first mate of the Sirius; Mr. John Altree, assistant to
the surgeon; Roger Morly, weaver; William Westbrook, and----
Sawyer, seamen; Charles Heritage, and John Batchelor, marines;
with nine male and six female convicts; in all, twenty-three

We sailed from Sydney-Cove at seven o'clock in the morning,
with a fine breeze at west-south-west, and at eight, we got out
of the harbour, when we found it blew very fresh, and as we got
off the land it came on to blow a perfect hurricane, with a most
tremendous sea running, which often broke into the vessel: the
gale kept up with great violence, as did the sea during the whole
day, and I often thought the vessel in a critical situation.

At two o'clock in the morning, the wind veered round to
south-by-west, and moderated, but a heavy sea was still running.
At noon, the latitude was 32° 22' south, 154° 11' east
longitude. In the evening, a flying-fish flew on board, which is
rather an extraordinary event in this latitude. At day-break in
the morning of the 18th, land was discovered bearing
east-south-east; and, from its appearance, we judged it to be two
small rocks or islands, not more than six leagues distant. At the
time we first saw the land, we were standing to the northward,
with the wind at east-south-east: at eight in the morning, we
tacked towards the land, but the wind being light during the
whole day, our progress was very slow.

Early the next morning, having neared the land considerably,
we perceived a pointed rock right a-head, at some distance from
the island; on which, we hove to, and soundings were tried for
with 120 fathoms of line, but we got no bottom. At day-light we
made sail, and perceived that the two islands or hills we had
seen the day before, were two very high rocky mountains, on the
south side of an island, extending from north 37° east, to
north 55° east. This side of the island formed a deep bay, in
which there appeared to be good shelter from the north-east. At
noon, we had a very good meridian altitude, by which the latitude
was 31° 40' south, and the center of the island bore north
40° west, distant about six miles; consequently, its latitude
is 31° 35' south, and the longitude 159° east of

The form of the island is a crescent, and it is very small in
proportion to the two stupendous rocky mountains which rise at
its southern extremity. One of the rocks rises perpendicularly
from the sea, and has the appearance of a regular pyramid, when
seen from the westward: we sailed from it in a direct course 22
leagues, and could then see it very plainly. Lieutenant Ball, who
was certainly the discoverer of this island, has named its points
and rocks, as they are marked in the chart*. At noon on the
20th, we lost fight of Ball's pyramid in the haze, after having
run 22 leagues from it in the direction of east by south: I
think, in clear weather, it may be seen at the distance of thirty
leagues. We had light winds and pleasant weather until the 24th,
when we had very strong gales from east-south-east, with a high
cross sea.

[* For this Chart, and a View of Ball's Pyramid, with
a full Description, see Phillip's Voyage, 4to.

Early in the morning of the 28th, the wind veered to
south-west, and, imagining ourselves to be about fifteen leagues
to the westward of Norfolk-Island, we hove to at seven in the
evening. The next morning, at day-light, we made sail, steering
east: we had great numbers of birds round us, and the clouds
hanging very thick to the eastward, indicated our being near the
land; but it was not till eleven o'clock in the forenoon that we
made the largest of the two small islands which lie off the
south-west end of Norfolk-Island, bearing east 16° north,
five leagues distant.

At noon, the body of Norfolk-Island bore north 61° east,
distant seven or eight leagues. At four in the afternoon, we
rounded the northern point of the island, which I named Point
Howe, in honour of the first lord of the admiralty, at the time
we left England: we soon after hove to, off a cascade, which is
situated near the middle of the north side of the island: the
boat was hoisted out, and lieutenant Ball and myself went to
examine if it were possible to land on a stony beach, which is
situated a little to the eastward of the cascade; but we found so
great a surf rolling on the shore, that the loss of the boat, and
perhaps of the sailors lives, would have been the consequence of
our attempting to land; so that at sun-set we returned on board,
and the boat was hoisted in.

Early the next morning, lieutenant Ball and myself went in a
boat to examine whether we could find a landing-place from the
southermost, or Point Ross, to the north-west, or Point Howe,
which was (the wind being then west-north-west,) the lee side of
the island. From the cascade to a small bay, which lies on the
north-east side of the island, we found the shore lined with
steep inaccessible cliffs, against which the sea broke with great
violence, and rendered the boat's approach impracticable. The
small bay, which I named Ball-bay, (after lieutenant Henry
Lidgbird Ball) lies in a west-north-west, and east-south-east
direction, and is about four cables length deep, and two cables
length wide: the bottom of the bay is a stony beach, on which the
surf broke with too much force to risque the boat; though at
times, the surf probably may be less.

From this bay, we rowed round the south-east point, and opened
the two islands, the largest of which, I named Phillip-Isle,
after Governor Phillip; and the smallest, Nepean-Isle, after Evan
Nepean. The point of Norfolk-Island, opposite Nepean-Isle, I
called Point Hunter, after captain John Hunter, of his Majesty's
ship the Sirius.

Between Point Hunter and Point Ross, there is a large, though
not a deep, bay, with several fine sandy beaches; but without the
beaches, there runs a reef parallel with the shore, which seemed
to prevent any landing on it; and, as we were opening the weather
side of the island, and a great swell running, which prevented us
from pulling the boat a-head, we returned along shore, and
endeavoured to land on a stony beach to the westward of the
cascade, but could not: we then rowed to the north-east point of
the island, off which lies a cluster of high rocks; I called them
Cook's rocks, in memory of the late Captain James Cook, who
discovered this island, and landed near these rocks in 1774: but
we found landing impossible, on account of the surf, which broke
every where, though this may not be the case in fine weather. In
the evening we returned on board, without being able to set our
feet on shore.

During the night, we had light winds from the south-west; and
a current, or tide, had set us a considerable distance to the
north-east of the island; which, at eight o'clock the next
morning, bore south-east, eight miles distant: from this time,
until three in the afternoon, we were employed in working up
under the north-east point of the island, where we anchored in
nineteen fathoms, distant from the nearest shore one mile. A boat
was hoisted out, and after two attempts, I landed with Lieutenant
Ball, on the side of a large rock, which lies close to the shore,
at the west end of a small stony beach; it must have been on this
rock that Captain Cook landed, as there is no other place at this
side of the island, where it is possible to attempt a landing at
any time, and that is only practicable here, from half ebb to
half flood, in very fine weather, and the wind off the island. As
it was near the evening when we landed, we very soon returned on
board again, with a quantity of sorrel that we had gathered. We
found this a very improper place to land either people or stores,
it being impracticable to get them further than the beach, and
there was no fresh water near it.

At day-light in the morning of the 3d, I left the Supply, and
went in her boat along with Mr. Cunningham, to examine the
south-west side of the island, which we rowed round, until we
opened Phillip and Nepean Isles off the south point; but it blew
too hard, and there was too great a sea running for us to pull
the boat any farther, so that at two in the afternoon we returned
on board.

There is only one place on this side of the island, where
landing is at all practicable, and that is in a small bay just
within the west point: the bottom of it is a fine sandy beach,
but the surf broke on it with such violence, as to put landing
out of the question.

As it blew very fresh all night, I landed the next morning
abreast of the Supply, with the midshipman and surgeon: we walked
across the island to the bay which I had seen the day before.
After ascending a very steep hill, we got to the top of the
island, which we found to be a plain, but every foot of ground
was covered with trees, or the large roots of trees which rose
above the surface of the earth; these were not the only
impediments to our march, as it was impossible for us to walk
four yards, without encountering an almost impenetrable net-work,
composed of a large kind of supple-jack, or vine; which was so
very strong, as to suppress the growth of several trees, by
bending them in every direction; and they so completely stopped
our progress, that we were obliged to cut our way through them.
No grass, or herb of any kind, grew between the roots of these
trees, although the soil every where was extremely rich and good;
but this may be attributed to the total exclusion of the sun, and
the want of air, which doubtless prevent this sort of

The pines, which are numerous, are of an incredible growth:
one of them, which had been blown down, or had fallen by age,
measured 140 feet in length, and several which were measured
standing, were 30 feet in circumference: they grow quite
straight, and have no branches for near 80 feet from the

We found it impracticable to get into Anson's bay, although we
saw down into it; but the hill over it was a perpendicular cliff,
with a large kind of iris growing on the sides of it, which was a
providential circumstance, for, in our endeavour to get into the
bay, we were all in the greatest danger of falling down the
cliff; indeed, if the iris had not been sufficiently strong to
have supported our weight, we must have fallen down a depth of 90
feet. We were too much pleased with, and thankful for our escape,
to attempt a second trial, as the whole of this side of the
island had the same steep appearance.

In our return, we frequently heard a very distinct cry of
"yaho," which seemed as if it was uttered by an animal or

During this excursion, we did not see a leaf of flax, or any
herb whatever; the ground, although a rich and deep soil, being
quite bare, which is rather extraordinary, as Captain Cook says
that the flax plant is rather more luxuriant here than at New
Zealand. We saw pigeons, parrots, parroquets, doves, and a
variety of other birds, in great numbers, and so very tame, that
they might be knocked down with a stick.

Large pieces of pumice stone were seen in every part; probably
a crater, or the remains of one, may be found at, or near a
mountain, which rises to a considerable height in the middle of
the island, and which I called Mount Pitt, in honour of the
chancellor of the exchequer.

As the sandy bay, on the south-west side of the island, had
not been examined to my satisfaction, Lieutenant Ball proposed
going round in the brig, and endeavour to land, which there was a
great probability of effecting, as the wind was then at
east-north-east: accordingly, at day-light in the morning of the
5th, we weighed, and ran round to the bay, which I had named
Anson-bay, after the parliamentary representative for
Litch-field. We found the surf too violent to land there, and I
now began to think it would be impossible to land on the island;
as I had nearly made a circuit of it, and had not found a place
where I could attempt landing.

There yet remained one place unexamined, which was the south
side of the island, in a bay, that appeared to be entirely lined
with a reef, on which the surf broke with great violence. The
wind being at east-north-east, we worked up for the bay, and at
noon, the master was sent to examine if there were any opening
through the reef; on his return he informed us, that landing in
the bay was very safe and practicable, as the reef terminated
about two-thirds of the bay over, and round the point of this
reef, landing was easy and safe.

On hearing this report, Lieutenant Ball and myself went to
examine the place, and found it exactly to answer the master's
description. The shore, close to the beach, was covered with a
long kind of iris, within which was an impenetrable forest: the
soil was good. Here I resolved to fix, and was pleased at having
found a place where I could make a commencement. I had no doubt
but water would be procured, and that at no great distance from
the spot; but as it was very late in the evening, I returned on
board the Supply, and she was soon after brought to an anchor in
20 fathoms, over a sandy bottom.

At day-light on the 6th, I left the Supply with two boats,
having in them all the persons belonging to the settlement,
together with the tents a part of the provisions, and some of the
most useful tools; all which we landed, and began clearing a
small piece of ground to erect the tents on: the colours were
hoisted, and before sun-set, every person and article belonging
to the settlement were on shore, and the tents pitched. Before
the colours were hauled down, I assembled my small colony under
them, (Lieutenant Ball and some of his officers being present,)
and drank the healths of his Majesty, the Queen, the Prince of
Wales, and success to the settlement: and, as we had no other way
of testifying our loyalty, we gave three cheers on the

The wind blew very hard the whole of the 7th, and the surf ran
so high that no boat could land: the Supply still remained at
anchor in the road. This day I began to clear a piece of ground
for sowing some seeds; the spot, which I fixed on for that
purpose, is on the east side of an hill which has a tolerable
easy ascent, and the soil is rich and deep. Soon after landing,
we found a very fine rivulet of water, which ran close at the
back of the ground where the settlement was made.

I took the first opportunity of examining the island around
me, and found it almost impenetrable from the size of the trees,
and the entangled state of their roots, which were in general two
feet above the ground, and ran along it to a considerable
distance. On the spaces of ground unoccupied by these roots,
there grew a kind of supple-jack, which in general was as thick
as a man's leg; these supple-jacks ran up the trees, and as they
grew in every direction, they formed an impenetrable kind of
net-work; bending some trees to the ground, and then taking root
again, they twined round other trees in the same manner, until
the whole became an impervious forest.

As I had only twelve men, (one of whom was seventy-two years
old, and another a boy of fifteen,) exclusive of the mate and
surgeon, my progress for some time must of course be very slow.
On the 8th we had strong gales of wind and cloudy weather: at
nine in the morning, we hoisted the colours in a west, as a
signal that the Supply's boat might land; and at eleven, we
received the last of our baggage, provisions, and stores, and
hauled the boat up. In the afternoon, Lieutenant Ball came on
shore to ask if I had any farther occasion for the Supply, and,
as I had not any, he took leave and returned on board; and in the
afternoon sailed for Port Jackson. I sent by him a journal of my
proceedings to Governor Phillip.

The 9th, being Sunday, every person in the settlement
assembled in my tent, where I performed divine service; after
which my commission from the Governor, to whom we were
subordinate, was read, appointing me superintendant and
commandant of this island: I then assured every person, that my
intention was to forward the King's service to the utmost of my
power; and (addressing myself to the convicts) I endeavoured to
convince them, that those who were idle or dishonest should not
escape that punishment, which is due to useless and destructive
members of society: I also informed them what ration of
provisions would be allowed daily, and I held out every
encouragement for them to behave with propriety and industry.

In the afternoon I saw some turtle lying on a sandy beach at
the east end of the bay; two of which we turned and brought to
the tents for general use; they were issued out in lieu of salt
provisions. Finding we had turtle on the island, I gave strict
orders that no person whatever should go near the beach where
they were seen, in order to prevent them from being frightened,
which might occasion the loss of this valuable resource: the two
turtle we had caught weighed two hundred weight each. From this
time until the 15th, every person was employed in clearing away,
and turning up the garden ground, which, when finished, was
enclosed by a hedge, and sown with a small quantity of all the
different kinds of seeds I was furnished with. The size of the
enclosure was eighty-seven feet square: the soil very rich and

This afternoon I turned three more turtles, which were brought
to the settlement. We generally saw three lying on the beach at
low water, in clear weather, but when cloudy, they never land;
this, together with there being no appearance of any pits where
they lay their eggs, leads me to suppose that they do not breed
on any part of the island; especially as this is the only place
where there is a possibility for them to make their pits.

The 16th, being Sunday, I performed divine service. Two
convicts, whom I had given leave the preceding day to take an
excursion into the interior part of the island, returned this day
at noon quite naked: they had several cuts in different parts of
their bodies, some of which were deep, occasioned by the
entangled state of the woods, and the sharpness of the briars:
they had not been an hour from the settlement before they lost
sight of the sun from the thickness of the woods; this caused
them to wander about till eleven o'clock, when they heard the
noise of our church bell, which was a man beating on the head of
an empty cask, and presently afterwards they returned to the

As my own situation, and that of every other person was very
uncomfortable, owing to the tents being close to the sea shore,
on which a heavy surf continually beats: I set the people to work
on the 17th, to clear a piece of ground to the right of the
garden, and a little above it; here I intended to move the tents,
or to build houses; and having two sawyers and a carpenter, I set
them to work in digging a sawpit, in order to saw pine for
building a store-house for the provisions and stores, they at
present being lodged in my tent, which was made of the Sirius's

The surgeon, in walking about the island, found out the
flax-plant, which proved to be what we had hitherto called the
iris: not having any description of this plant, I had no idea of
its being what Captain Cook calls the flax-plant of New Zealand;
the cliffs and shore near the settlement were covered with it;
its root is bulbous, and eight leaves issue from it, which are,
in general, five or six feet in length, and about four inches
broad, close to the root: the plant bears a great resemblance to
the iris, except that the leaves are much thicker and larger; the
flaxy part is the fibres, which extend the whole length of the
leaf; towards the root they are very thick and strong, and
diminish in size as they approach the end of the Jeaf. This
plant, in its green state, is of a surprising strength: from the
quantity of dead leaves about the root, I imagine it is an
annual, and that the root sends forth fresh leaves.

The method of preparing the New Zealand flax not being
described by Captain Cook, I caused three bundles of ours to be
put in the rivulet to soak, intending to try it after the
European method of dressing flax. The sawpit being finished on
the 18th, a small pine was cut down near it, which measured 115
feet in length, and two feet six inches diameter at the base: a
twelve foot length was got on the pit, and the sawyers began
sawing it into framings and scantlings for the store-house. By
the 19th, the greatest part of the seeds we had procured at the
Cape of Good Hope, and sown in the garden, were out of the
ground, and seemed likely to do well; but scarcely any of the
English seeds grew, they, in general, being spoiled.

From this time till the 1st of April, two men were employed in
sawing up wood for the store-house; one man was building it, six
were clearing away the ground, and the women burnt up the small

The store-house was finished on the 2d: its dimensions were
twelve feet square, and nine feet high. All the provisions and
stores were immediately brought from my tent and deposited in the

During the last three days the wind blew very strong from the
south-west, which blighted every plant that was come up and doing
very well; I had also the mortification to find that the rats
were very numerous; they destroyed some Indian corn which was
three inches out of the ground.

As there was every reason to suppose that the south-west winds
would be frequent during the winter, I began to clear the ground
on the north-east side of the hill, (which I named Mount George)
which, of course, would be sheltered from the south and
south-west winds; and it was my intention to continue clearing
the ground in that situation until the middle of June, when I
purposed sowing it with wheat and barley. I now found that no
vegetables would thrive at this season of the year on the south
side of the mount; I therefore ordered the garden ground to be
turned up and sown with wheat.

The ground which we had for some time been clearing to fix the
tents upon, being now ready for that purpose, all the tents were
moved to it on the 3d, and some of the men began to build huts:
the sawyers were employed in sawing scantling, and other
necessary timber to build me a house.

I had much reason to fear that the turtle were frightened
away, as we had not seen any on the beach since the 14th of
March, although every precaution had been used to prevent their
being molested. This resource we could not help feeling the want
of, as its good effects had already been experienced by every
person on the island; indeed, there was not an individual who had
not the scurvy on landing, and some of the convicts had it very
bad; but they were now quite recovered.

Another unfortunate circumstance was, that as yet we had not
brought any vegetables to perfection; however, to make some
amends for this accident, we found a vast number of
cabbage-trees, the excellence of which are well known: they are a
very good substitute for other vegetables, but one tree produces
only a single cabbage.

The wheat, which was sown in the garden ground on the 2d, was
entirely eat up with rats by the 4th; they did not leave a single
grain in the ground. As I had no cats, and only one dog, these
vermin were likely to prove a serious nuisance; however, in order
to rid ourselves of them as much as possible, I caused all the
empty casks to be converted into traps.

Behind the hill where the settlement was fixed, there was a
very large swamp, occasioned by the overflowing of the rivulet:
at the head of this swamp there is a fine valley, in which a
number of plantain or banana trees were found on the 5th; and a
small spot being near them which would not cost so much pains or
trouble to clear as many other places, I judged this would be a
very good place for a garden; especially as the surrounding hills
entirely sheltered it from the sea winds, and, from the
appearance of the banana trees, I expected they would thrive very
well when cultivated; at present, they were in thick clusters,
choaking each other; and being covered with wild vines and
aquatic shrubs, their growth was considerably retarded. Some
fruit was found on them, but the birds had destroyed it before it
was ripe.

The sixth, being Sunday, I performed divine service; and as
some irregularities had taken place, that did not merit corporal
punishment, being anxious to prevent any ill behaviour, which
might render such a step necessary, I read the following orders
for the preservation of regularity and decorum.


As it is highly necessary, for the preservation of good order,
regularity, and cleanliness, to establish certain rules and
regulations, the following are to be observed and performed with
the strictest attention.

I. No person is to absent himself from public worship, which
will begin every Sunday morning at eleven o'clock, in the
commandant's house, when every one will come clean and orderly,
and behave themselves devoutly.

II. The hours of work are as follow: until further orders, to
begin work at day-light, and work till half past seven; at half
past eight, to work again until half past eleven; and then to
work again at two until sun-set.

III. In order to encourage the cultivation of gardens, every
one will have the Saturdays to clear away and cultivate gardens
for themselves; and those who are industrious will be encouraged,
but those who misapply that indulgence will be deprived of

IV. On application, at the proper time of the year, seeds will
be distributed to those who have cleared away garden ground; and
those who raise the greatest quantity of seeds and vegetables
will be encouraged and rewarded.

V. The women are to sweep round the houses or tents every
morning, and to cook the victuals for the men; and every person
is strictly forbid cleaning any fish or fowls in or near the
houses, but to go to the sea-side for that purpose.

VI. Every person is strictly forbid going near Turtle Bay, and
those who are found in it, or going there, will be instantly and
severely punished.

VII. The women are to collect the dirty linen belonging to the
men every Friday, and to return each man his proper linen, washed
and mended, on the Sunday morning.

VIII. No person is to cut down or destroy any banana tree.

IX. Exchanging or selling cloaths by the convicts is strictly
forbid. As their cloathing is the property of the crown, they are
not to dispose of it. A disobedience of this order will be deemed
a theft, and meet with a suitable punishment. It is recommended
to every one to be careful of their cloathing and bedding, as
accidents may happen which may prevent a speedy supply.

X. Great care is to be taken of all the tools; each man taking
his axe or hoe to his tent, or delivering them to the
store-keeper, that they may not be injured by the weather.

XI. As the future welfare of every person on this island
depends on their good behaviour, it is recommended to them to
persevere in that willing disposition to work which they have
hitherto shown; and above all, to be honest and obliging towards
each other, which will recommend them to those who may have it in
their power, and who have a wish and inclination to serve them:
but the dishonest or idle may not only assure themselves of being
totally excluded from any present or future indulgences, but also
that they will be chastised, either by corporal punishment on the
island, or be sent to Port Jackson, to be tried by a criminal
court there.

Chapter XII


April 1788 to October 1788

-Regular employment of the convicts.--Meet with
an unlucky accident.--Thefts detected.--The robbers
punished.--Pestered with rats.--Method of destroying them.--Live
stock on the settlement.--Trees discovered which afford food for
hogs.--Some of the settlers poisoned.--Cured with sweet oil.--A
convict punished for using seditious language.--Birds on the
island. Description of Arthur's Vale.--His Majesty's birth-day
kept.--Flourishing state of the gardens.--Arrival of the
Supply.--Four persons drowned.--Provisions and stores
received.--Queries from Governor Phillip, and the
answers.--Ball-Bay described.--The landing-place
cleared.--Arrival of the Golden Grove transport.--Marines and
convicts brought in the Golden Grove.--Provisions and

The settlement being now brought to some degree of order, I
distributed the people into regular working parties, in order to
facilitate the different operations which I was anxious to get
forward as fast possible. Five men were sent to clear away ground
on the north-east side of Mount George; two were employed in
clearing a road from the ground where we had pitched the tents,
to the fresh-water rivulet; two sawyers were sawing timber to
build me a house; two men were employed in building huts; and I
sent Mr. Altree, (the surgeon's assistant) to the valley which
has already been mentioned, in order to make a commencement
there, but as he had only a boy to assist him, his progress was
of course very flow.

For some time, the people were thus invariably employed; but
the work was often retarded by colds, which was the only sickness
we had as yet experienced: the workmen, indeed, had been often
blinded for four or five days together, by the white sap of a
tree, which getting into their eyes, occasioned a most
excruciating pain for several days. The best remedy we could
apply, was Florence oil; which, dropped into the eye, destroyed
the acrimony of the sap. One man was totally blinded with it, for
want of making timely application to the surgeon.

On the 17th, I detected John Batchelor, one of the marines, in
my tent, stealing rum out of a small vessel, which contained what
was drawn off to serve the officers and men belonging to the
Sirius; and was kept in my tent, as I had not a more secure place
to put it in. In the afternoon, I assembled the settlement, and
punished the thief with three dozen lashes; causing him to be led
by a halter to the place of punishment: I also stopped the
deficiency of rum out of his allowance.

Though there was reason to hope that this example would deter
others from committing crimes of the like nature, yet it had not
the desired effect; for on the 20th, a convict boy was detected
stealing the surgeon's allowance of rum, out of his tent. This
boy was only fifteen years old, and was transported for seven
years. I ordered him to be punished with an hundred lashes, which
I hoped would have a good effect.

We now had two formidable enemies to encounter in the rat and
grub-worm, both which were very numerous and destructive: some
wheat had been sown in the garden ground on the 11th, and the
next morning there was not a grain of it left, being all eat up
by the rats; and the few potatoes and other vegetables, which
escaped the bad effects of the southerly wind, were all eat up by
the grub-worm. I have before observed, that on our first
discovering the rats to be numerous, I ordered the empty casks to
be converted into traps, and for some time they were very
successful, thirty or forty rats being caught for several nights
together: these were killed, and scattered about the garden, to
deter the rest from coming to the place; but they soon grew too
cunning to be caught in the traps, and too bold to be intimidated
by their dead companions. I next caused some glass to be pounded
very fine, and mixed with oatmeal, which being distributed about
the garden, killed vast numbers of them.

To prevent the bad effects of the grub-worm, I tried ashes,
lye of ashes, and urine, but to no purpose, so that the women
were kept constantly employed in picking them off the few plants
we had left.

Out of six ewes which I brought to the island, five died with
the scab, notwithstanding every possible care was taken of them;
and one of my sows was poisoned, by eating something noxious in
the woods. The remainder of my small stock was likely to do very
well: it consisted of two ewes, three sows, two boars, four hens,
one cock, three ducks, one drake, and one goat.

The sugar-cane, two Rio Janeiro banana trees, and two orange
trees, which I brought with me, were kept in tubs, until I should
find a sheltered situation to plant them in. The wind seemed now
to be set in from the southward, and the weather was very raw and
cold, so that I called this the beginning of winter. Another of
my sows was poisoned on the 24th, so that I found it necessary to
confine them in a hog-pen, which, in regard to feeding them, was
a great inconvenience, as they used to provide very well for
themselves in the woods; fortunately, however, a tree was found
which afforded them very good food: this tree grows to the height
of eighty feet, and the branches, which resemble those of the
palm-tree in their growth, fall off every year, leaving an
indentation in the trunk. The leaves of these branches, which are
twelve in number, are much like the heath-fern, from whence this
tree obtained the name of the fern-tree. The middle of the tree,
from the root to the apex, consists of a white substance
resembling a yam, and when boiled, it tastes like a bad turnip;
this the hogs fed on very eagerly: the outside of the trunk is
hard wood, and full of regular indentations from the top to the
bottom. The tree is found in great plenty in all parts of the

At the end of this month, I sent some of the people to assist
Mr. Altree, at the plantation in Arthur's Vale, which was the
name I gave to the valley he had begun to clear; the rest were
employed in clearing the ground at Mount George, except three
men, whom I set to dig a cellar under my house.

On the 8th of May, the two sawyers, the carpenter, and three
convicts were poisoned, by eating some beans, which had a very
tempting appearance, and much resembled the Windsor bean: they
had gathered a quantity, which were boiled, and afterwards fried
with butter: in two hours time, they were seized with violent
gripings, retchings, and cold sweats; fortunately, I had a gallon
of sweet oil, which, with other medicines administered by the
surgeon, happily gave them relief; but they were so much weakened
and exhausted that they were not able to work for a week

For some time past, we had seen no turtle, and it was probable
that the cold weather had driven them to a warmer climate.

As we could catch no fish from the shore, I launched the boat
on the 9th, and sent her into the roads to fish; they returned
with the boat in two hours, and brought thirty-six very fine
fish, weighing from six to eight pounds each: these I caused to
be issued out in lieu of salt provisions, at the rate of six
pounds of fish for one pound of beef. The boats grapnel was left
in the road, and being hooked in the rocks, we never could clear

This ample supply of fish was a most fortunate event; yet they
could not be depended on as a constant resource; for sometimes it
would happen, that a boat could not go without the reef for a
fortnight together, on account of the very violent surf; but when
a boat could be sent out, there was no danger of catching a vast

On the 10th, I was obliged to inflict a punishment of forty
lashes on one of the convicts, for making use of very threatening
and seditious language. I had received orders from Governor
Phillip, to make a saving of the salt provisions, whenever fish
or turtle could be obtained, in order that they might last as
long as possible: the putting this order in execution when the
turtle were caught, produced murmuring; but, when the fish was
issued on the 9th, the convict who was punished, said, "the
people (meaning those in the settlement) were fools for suffering
their salt provisions to be stopped," and "that the convicts
would soon be the strongest, and then it would be seen who were
masters." As I thought this language deserved punishment, I
assembled the people, and pointed out to them, that, independent
of the orders I had received, I saw the greatest necessity for
making every possible saving of the provisions: I represented to
them that misfortunes might happen to vessels, provisions might
get spoiled, and many other accidents might happen, which would
render it necessary for us to go to a short allowance; and, that
the greater quantity of provisions which could be saved would be
so much the better for the whole settlement: I concluded with
assuring them, that I should invariably attend to my orders, and
put them in execution; and that a very severe punishment would be
inflicted on any who presumed to excite sedition, or behaved
improperly on that, or any other pretext.

On our first landing, we found a great number of pigeons,
which were so tame, that we knocked them down with sticks; but
latterly they quitted the low boughs, and generally harboured
about the tops of the pines: when plucked and drawn, they weighed
from three-quarters, to one pound each. The parrots are numerous,
and the ugliest bird of the kind I ever heard of; this, added to
the harshness of their note, makes them a very disagreeable bird.
The parroquets are entirely green, except a red tuft on their
head. Hawks are numerous and of two different kinds, the grey and
blue: they were great enemies to the young chickens, and it was
no unusual sight to see them take up the rats. Quails and curlews
are plentiful, but very shy. The owls, which have very handsome
plumage, make a noise like one man calling to another, and they
pronounce the word "yaho" very distinctly. Many of the smaller
birds have a most melodious note, and their plumage is very

There are also a species of birds which burrow in the ground
like rabbits, where they hatch their eggs, and rear their young:
they are web-footed; which is rather extraordinary, and their
bill is like that of other sea-fowl; but they have not the least
fishy taste, and their flesh is very fine. These birds never quit
their holes till sun-set; from which time, until midnight, the
air is full of them: they afforded us many fresh meals.

I now set the two sawyers and two carpenters to work in
building houses; one man was employed in making a crab to heave
the boat by, another attended the live-stock, and the remainder
were busied in clearing ground at Mount George, and Arthur's

By the 17th, the rain was almost incessant, and, as I had
every reason to suppose it would continue so three or four months
longer, which would endanger the health of those who lived in
tents; I caused the provisions to be removed from the store-house
to a cellar under my house, which was dry, and the stores I put
into a loft; and, as five men and three women lived at present in
tents, I put them into the store-house, until they could build
huts for themselves. The whole settlement were now well
sheltered, except the surgeon and the midshipman; for whom I
proposed to begin a house immediately.

On the 18th, the shell of my house was finished: its
dimensions were twenty-four feet long by twelve feet wide, and
eight feet under the eaves: the sides and roof were

I sent the boat out this afternoon, and she returned with
fifty very fine fish, which were issued out as usual.

I set out on the 19th, with an intention of tracing the
rivulet which runs through Arthur's Vale, to its source, and
likewise to examine the extent of the valley; but, after
wandering about the greatest part of the day, I returned back,
much fatigued, and all the cloaths torn off my back by the briars
and the entangled state of the woods.

Arthur's Vale is situated between the north side of Mount
George and the opposite hills: its direction is about
north-north-west into the interior part of the island. The bottom
of this valley, in some places, is not more than thirty yards
wide; in others, at least three hundred. The hills on each side
are cloathed with a thick forest; their ascent is not too steep
for cultivation, and the soil is excellent, being a fat brown

A very fine rivulet runs through this vale, sufficiently large
to turn any number of mills. As the bank of the sea-shore is
considerably above the level of the rivulet, it sinks into the
earth; and, after passing under the bank, it forces a passage for
itself through a fissure of the rock, on Stony Beach and Turtle
Bay, between high and low water marks, where it boils up with
great force, and is excellent water. As the whole of this water
is not carried off by the passage just mentioned, sufficient to
keep the low ground clear, what does not pass under the bank,
overflows the lower part of the valley, for the space of half a
mile: this swamp might be drained by cutting a channel for the
rivulet to empty itself on the sea-shore; but the operation would
require time and a number of hands, and, when finished, it is not
clear but that the force of the sea would soon fill the channel
up again.

I cannot ascertain the length of this vale, but I think it
runs as far as Mount Pitt, where, most probably, the rivulet
takes its rise. That part of the vale which I have already said
Mr. Altree was clearing, is half a mile from the settlement, near
a large cluster of plantain trees; he transplanted some of the
young suckers, an operation which was likely to improve them
much: a garden, which measured ninety rods was planted, and most
of the plants were up and likely to do very well. The sugar-cane,
orange trees, and Rio Janeiro plantains, which had hitherto been
kept in tubs, were now planted in the vale, and I had hopes they
would thrive, as the situation was well sheltered: I also planted
a quantity of cotton seeds, as some which were sown when we first
came on shore, rotted in the ground.

The 1st of June, being Sunday, I performed divine service as
usual. In the afternoon, I went in the boat, and attempted to
land on Nepean Isle, on the south-west side of which is a small
creek that goes in a considerable way, with a small sandy beach
at the end of it; but as there was a number of rocks in the
creek, and a surf beating on the shore, I did not land. This
island is covered with pines, which grow at a distance from each
other: there is a reef off the south-east side, which stretches
near a mile; within a ship's length of it, there is fourteen
fathoms water, and nine fathoms all round the east side, within
half a mile of the shore. The passage between Point Hunter and
Nepean Island is a very good one, there being three fathoms close
to Nepean Isle, and eight fathoms in mid-channel. I sounded close
along the back of the reef which runs along Sydney-Bay, and found
four fathoms within a ship's length of the reef. I returned at
sun-set, having caught thirty-six very fine fish, which were
issued out as usual.

I brought only five months bread and flour to the island, and
it being now expended to three casks of each, which was two
months bread at full allowance, and as I had near six months salt
provisions, I put myself and every person on the island to
two-thirds allowance of flour and bread on the 2d, until the
arrival of more provisions.

The 4th, being the anniversary of his Majesty's birth-day, I
caused it to be observed as a holiday. The colours were hoisted
at sun-rise; every person had a good dinner, of the produce of
the island, and I gave the convicts some liquor to drink their
sovereign's health: the evening concluded with bonfires, which,
exclusive of the joy we felt at the return of his Majesty's
birth-day, and the celebrating it in this distant part of the
globe, we with pleasure saw some large piles of wood burnt that
had been along time collecting, and which were a great
incumbrance to us.

At day-light in the morning of the 15th, the midshipman and
four men went out in the boat to fish: they were returning at
nine o'clock, and in passing the point of the reef, the fine
weather, and the absence of surf, threw them so much off their
guard, that the boat shipped a sea which filled her, and washed
John Batchelor, a marine, overboard: the boat, with the rest of
the men, drove in among the rocks to the westward of the
landing-place, where they were saved with great difficulty,
having received violent contusions. The boat was got round to the
crab and hove up; she was much damaged, and her repairs were
likely to take up a considerable time, as I had only two men who
could assist in this business.

The wheat which was sown on the north-east side of Mount
George, the 15th of June, being all rotten in the ground, except
260 blades, which I transplanted and put together, that patch of
ground was sown with barley on the 1st of July. The wheat had a
very bad appearance when put into the ground, being much heated
and destroyed by the weevil.

The labourers were employed the greatest part of this month in
clearing away and turning up some ground near my house, for a
garden; its size about thirty rods. The barley which was sown on
the 1st came up on the 10th, and every thing at the plantation
had a promising aspect. On the 15th, the last cask of beef and
pork were opened, which would serve forty-four days at full
allowance; it therefore was my intention to put every person to
half allowance on the 28th, should no provisions arise before
that period.

On the 17th, we had a most tremendous gale of wind from the
northward, accompanied by a deluge of rain. The gales of wind
were now very frequent from the south-west and north-west, but it
seldom blew hard from the eastward. These gales generally happen
about the full and change of the moon, and continue three or four

We planted upwards of one thousand cabbages on the 23d, and
every vegetable at the plantation was in a thriving state: we had
turneps, carrots, lettuces of three sorts, onions, leeks,
parsley, cellery, five sorts of cabbages, corn sallad,
artichokes, and beet in great forwardness; but there was reason
to fear that the potatoes and yams were quite destroyed by the

At five in the evening of the 26th, his Majesty's armed tender
the Supply hove in sight, coming round Point Ross: she ran to
leeward of this island, between Nepean and Phillip Isles, to ride
out the gale, which blew very strong at west-south-west. Mr.
Waterhouse, and a midshipman belonging to the Supply, arrived at
the settlement on the 27th, with my dispatches from the governor;
they were sent by Lieutenant Ball, who landed them in Ball's Bay.
I found the Supply had brought provisions, tools, and seeds of
various kinds for the settlement. I was informed by Governor
Phillip, that as the Sirius would go to the northward in the
month of September, he had deferred sending any more convicts
until he heard my account of the island; and that if he thought
it adviseable to send more settlers, they would be brought in the
Sirius, which ship he intended sending among the islands, to
procure stock for breeding. At day-light on the 28th, the
midshipman returned to Ball Bay, in order to go on board the
Supply. The labourers were employed in removing some large stones
from the landing-place, and making a road to roll up the

I received a message from Lieutenant Ball on the 29th,
intimating, that as the wind was southerly and blew strong, he
meant to anchor under the north-east part of the island; and as I
expected he would anchor in Cascade Bay, I sent a man across the
island on the 30th with a letter for him.

At ten in the morning of the 31st, the Supply's boat landed
with some light articles; Lieutenant Ball sent a carpenter in her
to offer his assistance in building a convenient boat for the use
of the settlement: I directed him to begin his work immediately,
and set the sawyers to work in sawing plank for his use. The
other workmen were employed in turning up a piece of ground to
sow two pecks of good seed wheat on, which came in the

From the 1st to the 4th of August, the wind blew very strong
from the southward, which prevented the Supply from coming on
that side of the island; but at sun-set on the 4th, the wind
veering to north-east, she came round Point Ross, and anchored in
the roads. The man whom I sent on the 30th of July across the
island to find the Supply, returned this day at noon, much
exhausted and fatigued: he had lost his way, and had been without
food for three days; fortunately, the Supply was standing in for
the shore and saw him, otherwise he must have perished.

Landing was very safe in the afternoon of the 5th, and we
received on shore a part of the provisions and stores.

At day-light in the morning of the 6th, we hoisted the colours
as a signal that the landing was safe, and at seven o'clock the
colours were struck half staff, this being the signal that
landing was dangerous, the surf having considerably increased
with the flowing tide. At half past seven the Supply weighed, and
soon afterwards she hove to and hoisted her boats out, and sent
them towards the shore. I perceived her small boat was determined
to come in, and being apprehensive that some accident might
happen, I ordered Mr. Cunningham (the mate) into our boat, with
four men, to lie within the point of the reef, in order to assist
the Supply's boat, should any misfortune happen to her.

Unfortunately, our boat was swept away to the westward by the
tide, and whilst they were endeavouring to get under the point of
the reef again a heavy surf broke on her broad side and overset
her. The anguish I felt at this shocking accident may be more
easily conceived than described: small as our numbers were
before, they were now decreased by the loss of Mr. Cunningham,
(whom I sincerely cherished as a good young man) the sawyer, and
one of the best of the convicts; a seaman belonging to the Supply
was also drowned, and another convict narrowly escaped the same
sate. Immediately after this dreadful misfortune the Supply's
jolly-boat landed with three casks of flour, and as the large
boat was coming near the shore, I ordered some musquets to be
fired, on which she returned on board: the Supply bore up, and
ran to leeward of the island. At one o'clock, there being
scarcely any surf, the jolly-boat went off, and ran to leeward of
the island, to get on board the brig.

On the 7th, I was obliged to punish one of the convicts with
thirty-six lashes, for stealing a hatch of eggs from under a hen
which was sitting on them.

At day-light on the 8th, the Supply anchored in the road, and
the landing being good, we received part of the provisions and
stores; the remainder were landed on the 10th.

Our new boat being finished, I sent the carpenter and Mr.
Waterhouse on board the Supply, in the morning of the 11th, with
my letters for the Governor; and soon afterwards she hoisted her
colours, and set sail for Port Jackson.

I received from Governor Phillip seventeen queries, which,
with my answers to them, are as follow:

Query 1. In what time do you think the island will be able to
support the people you have with you, independent of supplies
from this settlement?

Answer. From the excellence of the soil, and the present
appearances, the island will produce more than a sufficiency of
grain in two years: animal food depends on the supply and
breeding of stock; and cloathing on the flax-plant being brought
to work.

Q. 2. Do you wish to have more people sent you, and what
number of men and women do you wish to have in addition to those
you have already.

Ans. With twenty more men, and women in proportion exclusive,
I should be able to make a little progress in clearing and
cultivating the ground.

Q. 3. In what time do you think the island will be able to
maintain the additional number of people you wish to have sent

Ans. I think in two years, but in three at most, as answered
by the first question.

Q. 4. What ground have you in cultivation?

Ans. Two acres and an half in barley, and one acre in garden
ground: in September I shall have an acre in Indian corn and

Q. 5. Have you discovered the flax-plant?

Ans. Yes: some bundles of the flax-plant which I put into
water on the 17th of March were taken up the 27th of July, when
we found that the thick vegetable of the fibres had rotted away,
but still they were covered with an hard woody substance, from
which we have ineffectually tried to separate the flaxy part,
which I have no doubt would make good cordage, canvas, and linen,
as it appears to be of a fine and strong texture. Some lines were
made of it, which were tolerably strong and good; but the want of
a method to separate the woody part from the flax, will be a
great hindrance to its being made useful.

Q. 6. How many acres of clear ground have you found in the

Ans. Not a yard square.

Q. 7. Have you any place round the island at which a vessel of
thirty or forty tons can remain at anchor in security all the
year round?

Ans. None; without removing to the lee side of the island as
the wind changes. Anchorage is good all round the island, as the
bottom is a coral sand: at about two miles from the land the
circular depth is twenty-two fathoms. An harbour might be made by
cutting a channel through the reef about four hundred feet long,
but it would be necessary to blow up some sunken rocks to
facilitate the entry: if it should ever be thought proper to do
this, five vessels of seven feet draught might lie all the year
round in security within the reef: they will not be able to enter
but in the finest weather, with the wind from north-east to
north-west, and then they must warp in: perhaps less difficulty
will be found when I am informed of the state of the weather
during the Summer months.

Q. 8. How far will it be possible to load any ship hereafter
with spars for ships of the line; I mean with respect to the
great difficulty, I am told, there is to land any thing on the
island, or to take any thing off?

Ans. I cannot answer this question so fully as I could wish,
until I am acquainted with the state of the weather during the
summer months. In fine weather, with the wind at north-east,
spars of any dimensions may be sent off from Sydney-Bay, by
mooring a boat without the reef, and hauling the spars off. I
have great reason to suppose anchorage will be very safe off
Sydney-Bay in the summer. I think vessels might be built and
launched in Ball-Bay; and when the flax-plant can be brought to
work, cordage and sails can be made of the finest and strongest

Q. 9. How does your stock thrive, and what does the island

Ans. Of the stock I brought with me, five ewes are dead with
the scab, and two sows poisoned: the rest are all very thriving
and likely to do well. The productions of the island, are timber
for the construction of vessels, pines for masting them, and,
when the flax-plant can be worked, a sufficiency of cordage for
the navy of Great-Britain, which needs no cultivation, as the
island abounds with it, and fresh leaves shoot from the roots.
Pigeons, parrots, parroquets, and other birds, are in abundance;
the sea abounds with fish, and probably we may have turtle during
the summer months. A number of banana trees have been found on
the island.

Q. 10. What live stock do you wish to have sent you?

Ans. Stock of any kind would be acceptable for breeding. I
have no she-goats. The leaves of the trees and underwood, afford
ample and wholesome food for many animals, and the fern-tree,
which is very plentiful, is very good food for hogs.

Q. 11. Are those who are with you satisfied, or do they wish
to be relieved?

Ans. Every one is satisfied, and no person wishes to be

Q. 12. What weather have you in general?

Ans. During the months of March and April, we had very fine
weather; since when, it has been variable; and when the wind has
been at south, and south-west, the air was raw and cold. The full
and change of the moon has generally been accompanied with very
heavy gales of wind and torrents of rain, from the north-east, or
south-west, both of which have been very violent at times. We
have had no thunder or lightning, nor ice.

Q. 13. What are the prevailing winds?

Ans. The winds have been variable: westerly winds appear to be
most frequent during the winter, and I have great reason to
suppose easterly winds are constant during the summer.

Q. 14. Have you been at the small islands?

Ans. I have been round Nepean Island once, but could not land
on it, the wind being westerly, which made a great break in the
small sandy bay which lies on the south-west side of that isle.
My not having men to row, and the uncertainty of the weather, has
prevented my going to Phillip isle.

Q. 15. Are there any animals on the island, and of what kind
are they?

Ans. None but rats, which are distructive, and have been very
numerous; but now they are much thinned.

Q. 16. Have you found any lime or chalk stone?

Ans. None.

Q. 17. Have you been supplied with fish?

Ans. Fish in great numbers, and of a large size, abound all
round the island. Some turtle were caught soon after I landed,
but the approach of cold weather drove them off. I have not been
able to send the boat off so often as I wished, not having men to
row, but when she has gone out, a plentiful supply of fish has
been obtained.

* * *

At sun-rise on the 12th of August, we hoisted the colours, in
observance of the birth-day of his Royal Highness the Prince of
Wales; and the same day a rood and an half of ground was sown
with a peck of seed wheat, which I received by the Supply.

From this time till the 17th, every person was employed in
clearing a piece of ground to sow the remainder of the seed
wheat, which was brought by the Supply; and this being completed,
I sent the labourers to clear away, turn up, and plant half an
acre of ground in Arthur's Vale, with Indian corn.

The frequent accidents which had happened to boats here, made
me anxious to search for a better landing place, or a place where
landing might be practicable, when the surf ran too high to land
in Sydney-Bay; and Lieutenant Ball having mentioned one as likely
in Cascade-Bay, on the north side of the island, I set out at
day-light in the morning, taking three men along with me, in
search of it; proposing, at the same time, to examine Ball-Bay in
my road. I left the surgeon commanding officer at the settlement,
and I cannot help testifying the great satisfaction I felt at
having a person of his character, to superintend the work in my
absence, and his steadiness and general knowledge, made him a
valuable associate. After climbing and descending a number of
steep hills, and cutting our way through the thick woods which
covered some small plains, we arrived at a gully to the westward
of Ball-Bay, about eleven o'clock; from whence we walked round to
the bay by the sea-shore, it being low water.

The distance between the two points of Ball-Bay is about a
mile and a half; it goes in west-north-west, and is nearly a mile
deep. At the distance of two hundred yards from the shore, the
bay is entirely surrounded with steep hills, except in the
center, where there is a valley, down which, a stream of fresh
water runs, and empties itself on the beach. The sides of these
hills are cloathed with pines and the flax-plant; the beach is
covered with large round stones, under which is a hard bottom,
formed by the incrustation of sand and shells. The wind being now
at south-south-east, there was not the least surf on the beach;
and I apprehend, that when the wind blows from the south-west,
which makes very bad landing in Sydney-Bay, the landing is very
good here; so that, should I not find Cascade-Bay a more eligible
place than this, it was my intention to make a creek on the
beach, by removing the stones for the breadth of twenty feet,
until the bottom is clear, and as they are very heavy, I do not
think it would be liable to fill up again.

I passed the remainder of the day here, and slept under a tent
which I had brought with me. The next morning at day-light, we
set out from Ball-Bay in order to go to Cascade-Bay, on the north
side of the island, which is not more than three miles distant,
yet we did not arrive there before five o'clock in the afternoon,
quite exhausted and fatigued; having been under the necessity of
cutting our way through the entangled underwood, which
intercepted us in every direction.

The landing place mentioned by Lieutenant Ball, is on a rock,
a little detached from the island, and has communication with it
at half tide: there is no objection to this being a very good
landing place, if it were not for the almost total impossibility
of getting any article of provisions or stores further than the
rock, which is at least three hundred yards from the valley that
leads down to it. Between this rock and the cascade, there is a
stony beach, similar to that at Ball-Bay, on which landing is
very good, with southerly winds, and they generally prevail
during the winter. Spars might be sent off from hence with great
ease; but should the island remain settled, it will be necessary
to make the landing at this place more convenient than it is at
present. We passed the night in the valley above the cascade:
this valley is extensive, and a very large deep rivulet runs
through it.

At day-light on the 19th, we set out on our return to
Sydney-Bay, where we arrived at four in the afternoon, with
scarcely a rag to cover ourselves, the cloaths being torn off our
backs by the briars.

I observed the soil to be very good in every part of the
island I visited during the excursion, and it was well watered;
but the woods were almost impassable. There is a deal of level
ground on the tops of the hills, and most of them will admit of
cultivation; and where they are too steep for that purpose, the
timber which grows on them might he reserved for fuel.

The wheat which we had sown on the 12th and 17th, was all out
of the ground by the 24th, and had a very promising

Early in the morning of the 25th, the surgeon, with six men,
went to Ball-Bay, to make a commencement on the creek; taking a
week's provisions and four tents along with them.

I visited this party on the 27th, and found they had made good
progress, considering that their labour was greatly retarded by
neap tides, and an easterly wind, which threw a great surf upon
the beach.

The surgeon and his party returned on the 30th, and the next
morning, at day-light, I set out, with some men, to see what
further could be effected: we got to the bay by half past eight
o'clock, and found the tides of the preceding day had thrown a
number of loose small stones into the cut. As the tide ebbed, I
directed the labourers to clear away a number of large stones
which lay in the entrance of the cut; and at low water, all the
stones were removed as far out as possible, which was compleated
at five o'clock in the afternoon. The out was about three feet
deep, and at half tide there was upwards of six feet at the
entrance: with any other wind than between south-west and
north-west, there is a surf on the beach, which often breaks with
so much violence, as to render any attempt to land highly
dangerous. As I found every thing done at this place, which could
be effected with the small number of men I had, we returned to
Sydney-Bay on the 3d.

Hitherto, the people on the settlement had not done much work
for themselves; and, all the good seed of Indian corn being sown,
I gave every person liberty from this time till the 14th, to
clear away their gardens, and sow them. For four days past, a
single turtle had been observed on the beach; I was loath to turn
it, hoping it would draw others on, but finding that did not
happen, it was turned on the 6th day, and brought to the
settlement, where it was served out as usual.

This turtle had been recently wounded between the shoulders
with a kind of peg; which circumstance, together with some pieces
of canoes, a wooden image resembling a man, and a fresh
cocoa-nut, found in Ball-Bay, induced me to suppose that there is
a considerable island undiscovered, not far from the eastward of
Norfolk-Island. The Indian-corn sown during the last and present
month, was now all up, and likely to do well.

I set off at day-light in the morning of the 15th, and went to
the western or rocky point. The entangled state of the woods on
this part of the island, were worse, if possible, than any where
else, but the soil and general appearance was much the same. From
Point-Ross to Rocky-Point, the shore is inaccessible; consisting
altogether of steep cliffs, which rise perpendicular from the
sea. I returned at sun-set, much fatigued, and my cloaths, as
usual on these excursions, were torn from my back.

As the houses and tents were surrounded by a thick wood, I set
the men to make an opening to the sea-side, by cutting down the
trees and piling up the timber.

In the course of this month, we saw a great number of whales
and thrashers, some of which came close to the reef: indeed, on
our first landing here, I found the entire skeletons of two
whales, which had every appearance of having been driven on
shore, and the flesh destroyed by rats and birds.

On counting some of the plants of barley, I found one grain
produced 124 stalks; this pleasing prospect induced me to set
about building a granary of eighteen feet long by twelve feet
wide; and I set the sawyers and carpenters to work in sawing wood
for that purpose: some of the labourers were ordered to assist
them in placing the granary on posts, others were employed in
making shingles to cover it with, and the rest were digging a
cellar under the surgeon's house, for stowing provisions: the
women were employed in picking grubs off the Indian corn.

In the beginning of October, we found a sensible alteration in
the weather, it being very warm, except the mornings and
evenings, which were still cold: gales of wind were less
frequent, and the landing was better in general than it had been
for two months back. Some heavy rain fell on the 3d, which lodged
the barley, that had been some time in ear, and the rats got to
it, so that our return was likely to be but small.

The Indian corn, which was about eight inches high, suffered
greatly from the grub-worm, which got into the plant and cut it
off close to the ground, destroying forty or fifty plants in the
course of one night, which obliged me to keep the women
constantly employed in picking them off: every other remedy was
tried; such as sprinkling ashes, and lye of ashes round the
roots, but with no good effect.

I made an excursion to Mount Pitt in the morning of the 4th,
and arrived there at noon: from the top of this mount, I had a
complete view of the whole island, and a part of its sea-coast.
The whole exhibited a picturesque scene of luxuriant natural
fertility, being one continued thick wood, and I found the soil
every where excellent. Within a mile of the summit of Mount Pitt,
the ground, which is a red earth, was full of very large holes,
and I fell into one of them at every step, as they were concealed
by the birds making their burrows aslant. Near the summit of the
mount, there grew a number of very large pines, which I was
surprised at; it is indeed wonderful how they can withstand the
violent gales of wind which often blow here.

On the 13th, at day-light, we saw the Golden-Grove transport
lying at an anchor in the road, and soon afterwards, Mr. Donovan,
a midshipman belonging to the Sirius, came on shore, and
delivered the governor's letters: by this gentleman I also
received a letter from Mr. Blackburn, the master of the Supply,
informing me that he sailed from Port Jackson on the 24th of
September, being ordered by Governor Phillip to conduct the
transport to this island; that he had brought Mr. Donovan, a
serjeant, a corporal, and five private marines, two gardeners,
who were seamen belonging to the Sirius, and twenty-one men and
eleven women convicts; also the Supply's jolly-boat and boat's
crew, to assist in unloading the Golden-Grove.

In the course of the 15th, we received on shore the party of
marines and all the convicts; also most of the stores, and some
provisions. The next day we landed 56 casks of flour, and 18
casks of salt provisions, besides a quantity of stores.

This day I turned a turtle, which weighed 200 pounds.

Towards evening, the Golden-Grove weighed, and stood off and
on during the night. Ever since her arrival the weather had been
fine, and not the least surf.

Chapter XIII


October 1788 to February 1789

-Quantity of provisions received by the Golden
Grove.--Timber sent to Port Jackson.--Observations on the
navigation near Norfolk Island.--Number of persons on the
settlement.--Nepean and Phillip Islands described.--Corn
reaped.--A party sent to Ball Bay.--Talk-work of the
convicts.--The free people exercised.--Plot to seize the island
discovered.--Orders made public for the preservation of
regularity.--Oath of allegiance administered.--Provisions and
stores examined.-

The flood tide running strong all the morning of the 16th, and
the wind being to the eastward, prevented the Golden Grove from
working up; and though she fetched Point Ross in the afternoon,
the flood making, she was swept to leeward.

Having received instructions from Governor Phillip to send all
the useful timber I conveniently could to Port Jackson, I set the
men to work in cutting spars, and sawing boards for that purpose.
At day-light in the morning of the 17th, the Golden Grove stood
into the road and anchored, but the surf ran so high that no
boats could pass before low water, which was at three in the
afternoon, when I sent the Coble off; but as the surf increased,
I made the signal for her to be hoisted in, and soon afterwards
the transport got under weigh.

The next forenoon, the coble came on shore, and soon
afterwards the Golden Grove anchored in the road. The same
afternoon we landed eighteen casks of flour, and ten of salt

Landing was very good until the evening of the 21st, and
during that time we received the whole of the stores and
provisions from the Golden Grove: I also received two sows and
fourteen young pigs belonging to the crown, and a she-goat, which
was the property of Mr. Collins, the judge-advocate. The
provisions received were--one hundred and twenty-six barrels of
flour, thirty-nine tierces of beef and twenty-two tierces of
pork, twenty-three firkins of butter, thirty-three casks of peas,
and five puncheons of rum, which were about seventeen months
provisions at the following ratio:--For one man for a week,
flour, seven pounds: beef, three pounds and a half: pork, two
pounds: butter, six ounces: peas, three pints. For one woman for
a week, flour, four pounds and a half: beef, two pounds and a
quarter: pork, one pound and a quarter: butter, four ounces:
peas, two pints. It should be observed, that the above ratio was
full avoirdupoise weight, without any deduction whatever.

During the night of the 22d, we had very strong gales of wind,
and at day-light, I perceived the Golden Grove had left the road;
I afterwards learnt that she parted her cable at ten o'clock, and
was not more than her own length to windward of the reef of rocks
which lie off the south-east end of Nepean Island in passing

From this time to the 28th, we had only three days good
landing, during which a number of spars and planks were sent on
board the Golden Grove, for Port Jackson. Previous to the
departure of that vessel, I wrote a letter to Mr. Blackburn,
requesting him to communicate his remarks on the navigation round
these islands; as he had a better opportunity of making himself
acquainted with it than I possibly could have, to which he
returned the following answer; and, from the abilities of this
officer, I believe his observations are very accurate.

"North-north-west, about five miles from Duncombe Bay, there
is a bank of coarse sand and coral, with sixteen and seventeen
fathoms on it, between which and the anchoring place there are
twenty-five fathoms: there are also soundings north-east from
Phillip Isle, from thirty-five to twenty-five fathoms at least
four leagues off; at which distance it is foulest and shoallest.
The bearings, when at anchor in Duncombe Bay, were Cook's rocks
east-south-east, and the rocks off Point Howe, west-south-west
one quarter west, the landing rock south, distance off one mile;
the depth nineteen fathoms, coarse sand and coral. The best
anchorage in the Cascade Bay is with the great cascade
south-west, and Cook's Point north-east; distance off shore about
a mile and a half; the ground tolerably good. Cascade Bay is a
very good road in the strong south-west wind, and very smooth
water; the landing is easy, as is the access to the island. As
the ebb goes very strong nine hours to the eastward, the most
convenient place for anchoring off Sydney Bay, on account of the
boats, is, with the body of Nepean's Isle east-north-east half
east, or east by north; the flag-staff north-north-east half
east, Point Ross north-west by west, and the west end of Phillip
Isle south-south-east nineteen fathoms; _but here the ground is
rocky:_ the best anchoring is with the middle of Nepean Isle
east-north-east half east, the west end of Phillip Isle south by
east, the outermost breaker off Point Ross north-west by west
half west, the flag-staff north by east half east, and Collins's
Head north-east by east half east, seventeen fathoms clear

"The tides round the island are very strong, and from the
observations I have been able to make, and the difficulty we
always found in the Supply of getting from Cascade Bay round to
Sydney Bay, (which ever end of the island we tried at) I have
every reason to believe that the flood sets south-south-west, and
the ebb north-north-east: it flows about seven o'clock all round
the island: now as the ebb runs nine hours north-north-east, it
strikes directly against Rocky Point, which divides the tide, the
eastern part runs with rapidity through the islands, and then
resumes its former course of north-north-east: the other part
goes north-north-west past Anson Bay, round the west end of the
island, and then north-north-east; so that in coming from the
north side of the island (unless the wind gives aslant) you have
the tide right a-head which-ever end of the island you attempt to
get round. As to the flood it runs but three hours, and with
little strength."

The master of the Golden Grove's observations, which I
requested him to communicate to me, are as follow:--"The flood
comes directly from the south-east, strikes in with Ball Bay, and
sets up through between the islands: the other part, as it
divides itself, sets round the north-east part of the island; so
that a ship coming round from Cascade Bay, can never work up with
the wind to the southward and westward, as both tides take her
directly on the weather bow. From what I have seen of Ball Bay, I
by no means like it; my reason is, it is a bay that a ship can
never get out of with an _in-blowing wind_, and I do not
think it a safe one to ride in: the Cascade Bay I give much the
preference to, as it can hardly happen but a ship can get to sea
on one tack or another, and ride in very smooth water at anchor.
I could load the Golden Grove very well with timber or masts,
taking the advantage of the winds in Cascade and Sydney

As I was very much in want of a carpenter, a man who had been
discharged from the Sirius, and was on board the Golden Grove as
a sailor, offered to remain on the island on any terms, but I
could make no agreement with him, not being impowered to take any
step of that kind; I therefore informed him, that if he chose to
remain he must take it on himself: this he with great readiness
consented to, and I found him a great acquisition.

The Golden Grove sailed for Port Jackson on the 29th.

As an encouragement to the convicts who came by the Golden
Grove, I gave them from the time of their landing until the 30th
to build houses for themselves, and to clear away a little garden
ground. The huts were very soon built, being composed of logs,
and thatched with bullrushes and flaggs, which made them very
comfortable; and as a farther encouragement, I gave some of them
(who had the best characters) permission to build their houses in
the vale, and to clear away ground near them for their own

The settlement now consisted of the following persons,

Mr. Stephen Dunnavan, midshipman of the Sirius                    1
Mr. Thomas Jamieson, surgeon's first mate of ditto                1
Mr. John Altree, assistant-surgeon                                1
Roger Morley, Robert Webb, Thomas Webb, seamen belonging to ditto 3
John Livington, carpenter, late belonging to ditto                1
Serjeant, corporal, six private marines                           8
                                                                 16 free.
Male convicts                                                    29
Female convicts                                                  17
The total number, besides two children,                          62

Soon after the departure of the Golden Grove, I made public
the following extract from Governor Phillip's letter to me:--

"You will return any marine, convict, or other person, with
whose conduct you are not satisfied; and you are at liberty to
permit those, whose good behaviour merits the indulgence, to work
one day in the week on lots of land, one or two acres of ground
to a convict, which you will cause to be pointed out for that
purpose, and which they may consider as their own property while
they behave well; after the time for which they are sentenced may
expire, lands will be granted them, if they wish to remain as
settlers, and you may give them such part of the public stock to
breed from, as you may judge proper, forbidding any person on the
island ever to sell any fowl, hog, or any other animal, without
having first obtained your permission; and you are not to permit
the killing of any live stock until you have a sufficient
quantity on the island for your support, except in cases of

"You will make the report to me, when opportunity offers, of
such who are not convicts, and who are desirous of settling on
the island; and you are at liberty to permit them to cultivate
ground for their own benefit, not exceeding ten acres to any one
person; they will receive the indulgence of such part of the live
stock as you may judge necessary to give them, but neither
settler, nor any other person on the island, is to be at liberty
to kill any animal without having obtained your permission.
Hereafter, grants will be made to those who wish to remain on the
island, of a larger extent of ground."

During the month of November, the weather was very warm,
except four days, when we had strong gales of wind from the
southward, which made it as cold as winter.

On the 14th, I planted about thirty rod of ground with Indian
corn: some which had been planted in September was now five feet
high, and the wheat grew so very rank that I was obliged to crop

I went out in the coble on the 22d, and sounded between Point
Hunter and Nepean Isle: there is a good channel, and there are
not less than three fathoms close to Point Hunter; and on the
north side of Nepean Isle in mid-channel, there are eight fathoms

On the 29th, I landed on Nepean Island, and found it to
consist entirely of one mass of sand, held together by the
surrounding cliffs, which are a border of hard rocks:
notwithstanding there was not the least appearance of earth or
mould on the island, yet there were upwards of two hundred very
fine pines growing on it; the surface was covered with a kind of
coarse grass.

The weather being now very hot, I changed the working hours,
and gave the labourers from half past ten o'clock until half past
twelve, to avoid the heat of the sun: they were employed in
clearing ground for cultivation, making shingles, cutting a road
from the settlement to Ball Bay, and reaping wheat and

The heat of the sun split the weather boarding with which my
house was covered; and it being very leaky, I fet the carpenters
and sawyers to work to put a new roof on, and to raise the house
five feet, in order to make room for stores and provisions.

At day-light in the morning of the 2d of December, I went in
the coble to Phillip Isle, where I landed on a rock, in a small
bay on the north side. It was with difficulty that I ascended the
first hills, which were covered with a sharp long grass that cut
like a knife; this was interspersed with brushwood. The soil is a
light red earth, and was so full of holes, which had been made by
the birds, that walking was very laborious. A small valley runs
the whole length of the island, in which, and on some of the
hills, a few pines grow, but I think the whole island does not
produce more than one hundred and fifty. I found no fresh water
on the island, but probably there may be some, as I saw a number
of hawks, pigeons, and parrots; but as I had only two convicts to
row the boat, I left the island, and got to Sydney Bay in the

On the 8th, I housed all the barley which had been raised on
an acre of ground, and was sown in June and July. During the
first of its growth, it had a most promising appearance, but when
the ear was shot and nearly filled, some heavy rains in September
laid a great part of it down, and the quantity destroyed by the
rats and quails was almost incredible: there was every prospect
of getting at least fifty bushels of grain, but the whole
quantity, when gleaned, yielded only ten bushels. The barley was
very fine, and 116 ears were produced from one grain. Garden
vegetables throve very well, and cabbages were cut weighing
twenty-six pounds each. I have no doubt but potatoes would thrive
very well here; unfortunately, we had only two sets on the
island, which were brought by the Golden Grove. Most of the
marines and convicts had now very good gardens, but the grub-worm
was a great and perpetual enemy to their vegetables.

It has already been observed, that 260 plants of wheat were
transplanted the beginning of June; these were threshed on the
15th, and the produce was three quarts of a very fine full

The weather often was very favourable for landing in
Sydney-Bay, and the boat was frequently sent out; but the surf
often rose presently afterwards which made it dangerous for her
to come on shore, so that she was obliged to go to Ball Bay, and
men were sent from the settlement to haul her up, which
occasioned a great loss of time: I therefore resolved to send Mr.
Altree, who was a very trusty young man, a gardener, and one
convict, together with three women to remain there, as they would
not only cultivate the ground in the valley, but would, at all
times, be ready to assist in hauling the boat up.

This party went to Ball-Bay on the 18th, where they found
landing as fine as could be wished, though the surf ran very high
in Sydney-Bay; the wind being at south, and blowing hard.

Some wheat was reaped on the 22d, which had been sown on the
11th of August: the grain was very full and fine, but as it was
sown late the stock was not so fine as might have been

The 25th, being Christmas-day, it was observed as a holyday.
The colours were hoisted at sun-rise: I performed divine service;
the officers dined with me, and I gave each of the convicts half
a pint of rum, and double allowance of beef, to celebrate the
festival: the evening concluded with bonfires, which consisted of
large piles of wood, that had been previously collected for the
occasion. Spring-tides were now at the height, and I sent every
person on the 26th to Ball-Bay to make the cut deeper, and to
clear away some stones which were washed into it. The wheat which
was sown the latter end of August, was reaped on the 29th, and
the Indian corn was nearly fit for the sickle.

I now began to perceive a very great difference between the
work done since the arrival of the convicts by the Golden-Grove,
and what was done before, in proportion to our numbers; the
reason was, that when the number of convicts was increased, I had
not persons sufficient to overlook them and keep them at work: I
therefore adopted the plan of talking them; for which purpose I
consulted those whom I thought conversant in the different
employments that were carrying on; and their opinions, added to
what I had observed myself, determined me to six the different
tasks as follow, with which they were all contented. Six men were
to cut the timber down on an acre of ground in one week: six men
to clear away and turn up an acre of ground fit for receiving
seed, in twenty-eight days: two sawyers to saw one hundred feet
of sawing each day. At these tasks the convicts would have an
opportunity of saving time to themselves; and, as that time was
to be employed in clearing gardens and ground to cultivate for
their own use, what was thus saved from the public work would not
be lost to society; although it was to be feared that some would
pass their time in idleness.

Having six musquets on the island, exclusive of the marines
arms, I thought it necessary to instruct the few free persons I
had (which were six) in the use of fire-arms, in case the marines
should be sick, or any other exigency should happen; I therefore
gave orders to Mr. Dunavan to exercise them every Saturday
morning; and the serjeant was to exercise the marines at the same
time, or oftener: I intended that the former, after they were a
little expert, should fire half a dozen rounds once a month.

I went in the boat on the 5th, and examined the north and west
side of the island, which I found every where surrounded by
perpendicular cliffs. I landed on the beach in Anson's-Bay, where
I found the remains of a canoe, which had been washed there by
the tide; a very good cocoa-nut was also found. This beach is
very small, and appeared to be a mere quicksand; there is no
fresh water near it, and the bay is surrounded by steep hills, on
which there grows a quantity of the flax-plant.

The 8th ushered a male child into the world, and as he was the
first born on the island, he was baptized by the name of Norfolk.
At noon on the 15th, parties were sent out in search of the
cockswain of the coble, who had lost himself in the woods, as he
was returning from Ball-Bay, where the boat had been hauled up
the preceding day at sun-set: he was found on the 18th, naked and
almost exhausted, insomuch that he was obliged to be carried to
the settlement, having received several deep cuts and bruises
which rendered him incapable of getting out of his bed for some

Thomas Watts, a convict, was punished with twenty-four lashes,
on the 19th, for contemptuously refusing to work, and being
abusive to the corporal of marines, who reprimanded him for not
going to work with the rest of the convicts.

The weather, during this month, was very fine and settled, and
the wind northerly until the 22d; from which time to the end of
the month, we had constant heavy rain, without an hour's interval
of dry weather: such a continuance of rainy weather I never heard
of, and it was frequently attended with heavy gales of wind from
the north-east.

In consequence of some irregularities which had happened, I
found it necessary to assemble all the free people on the 23d,
and to read the articles of war.

The next day, Robert Webb, a seaman belonging to the Sirius,
but who was employed as a gardener on the island, came to me, and
signified a wish to speak with me in private, which being
granted, he informed me that a plan had been concerted among the
convicts, to surprize me, with the rest of the officers, marines,
and free people; and to possess themselves of the public stores,
and afterwards to endeavour to surprize the Supply, or any other
vessel that might come here, and make their escape from the
island. On my interrogating him, he said that Elizabeth Anderson,
a female convict, who lived with him, had given him this
information the day before, and on his doubting the truth of what
she advanced, she offered to convince him of the truth of her
assertion, by bringing him within hearing of a convict whom she
would entice to relate the plan; which being agreed to by Webb,
this morning (the 23d.) Elizabeth Anderson invited William
Francis (a convict) into the hut, to drink a dram, when he
related the circumstances of the plan, and how it was to be
carried into execution; Webb being at this time hid from the view
of Francis, by a piece of tent which was hung before the bed he
lay in.

As I thought it necessary to substantiate this information, I
caused Robert Webb and Elizabeth Anderson to be kept apart, and
took their depositions on oath separately, both of which
perfectly agreed in every particular, and were in substance as

"That yesterday (the 22d.) between nine in the morning and
noon, Elizabeth Anderson being washing, she sighed, when William
Francis, who stood near her, asked what she sighed for; she
answered, she was very low; William Francis then asked her, if
she could get her liberty, whether she would leave Webb, and on
her saying yes, he said, the first ship that comes here, except
the Sirius, we will every man and woman have our liberty, to
which we were all sworn last Saturday; and we (the convicts)
would have had it already, if the Sirius was not the first ship
expected, and the day that Watts was flogged was intended to have
been the day for making Mr. King and the free people

Francis added, "that it was proposed to take the Golden-Grove
on her passage, as they (the convicts) were all for it, except
one man, and he was the forwardest in the present plot. Robert
Webb appearing, put an end to this conversation; and Elizabeth
Anderson repeated to Webb all that passed between her and
Francis: on Robert Webb's suspecting the story being an invention
of hers; they agreed that he should lie concealed in the bed,
which had a curtain made of a piece of tent, while she should
endeavour to draw from Francis a fuller account of the plan laid
by him and the rest of the convicts; and this morning (the 23d.)
at day-light, Robert Webb being still in bed, Elizabeth Anderson
got up, and on seeing Francis near the hut, she wished him the
'good morrow,' and informed him that Webb was gone to town to
grind his tools; she then said, 'come Bill, sit down and drink a
little rum, it will do us both good, and drink to the boys of the
ship that will take us from this place:' to which health they
both drank. Elizabeth Anderson then asked Francis how long it was
since they (the convicts) had planned the scheme; he said they
were all sworn on this Saturday month past, at Thompson's, in the
vale, excepting Widdicome and Rice, (convict rope-makers,) who
were Mr. King's right-hand men, and therefore not to be trusted:
Lucas (the convict carpenter) had not been asked, but they were
sure he would be on their side, when they (the convicts) got the

"Francis continued saying, 'I'll tell you how it is to be
done; the whole is left to my management, and the best time will
be the first Saturday after the arrival of any other vessel than
the Sirius. Most of the marines and free people will be
a-cabbaging*, and as Mr. King generally goes to the farm twice a
day, in his absence I will step into his house and hand out the
arms** to my men; then I will go out and take Mr. King, and after
that the other officers, and what marines are in camp, and the
rest as they come in from cabbaging: we will then put them all in
irons, two and two together, when they will be as helpless as
bees. We will then make the signal for a boat, and when she
lands, we'll _nab_ the boat's crew; then send the coble off
with Mr. King's compliments, and request another boat may be sent
to carry off plank, as the first boat was stove, and the coble
could not carry luggage: when the second boat comes, the people
belonging to it will be _nabbed_, and the two boats with the
coble will be filled with our people (the convicts) and the
women, and take possession of the ship. Three of the sailors
might remain, if they were willing, and one officer should be
kept to navigate the ship; the rest of the officers and ship's
company will be left on Nepean or Phillip-Island, with the coble,
from whence they might go to Norfolk-Island and liberate the

[* Getting the wood-cabbages.]

[** The marines arms were kept in my

"Elizabeth Anderson then expressed her wishes that it might
succeed, and Francis left her."

The taking Webb and Anderson's depositions, and interrogating
them, took up two hours; and it being Saturday, most of the
convicts were out getting cabbages: there was a possibility that
the accusation against William Francis might be an invention;
yet, having received that information, it became necessary to use
every precaution against a surprize; I therefore ordered a
constant guard of three privates, to be commanded by Mr. Dunavan,
the serjeant, and corporal, and a guard-house was built between
my house and the surgeon's, in which the provisions and stores
were deposited. The store-house occupied by the marines, I
removed from the water side nearer to my house. Every person,
without exception, was ordered to live in the town, or camp, and
I recalled the party who had been sent to Ball-Bay.

Being still desirous to obtain fuller proof the criminality of
the parties concerned in this diabolical scheme, I desired
Messrs. Dunavan and Jamieson to watch the return of John Bryant,
a convict, who had always behaved very well: they were to
interrogate him respecting the plan laid by the convicts, and to
assure him of a pardon, if he would discover all he knew. I also
sent to the house of William Thompson, in the Vale, to search for
any written agreement that might have been drawn up, but none was
found; however, the persons employed in this search found a
quantity of Indian corn in a chest in Thompson's house, which,
from its not being quite hard, must have been stolen from the
King's grounds in Arthur's Vale, as there was no other on the

The next step I took was to order William Francis, John
Thompson, Samuel Picket, and Joshua Peck to be taken into
custody, on their return from cabbaging.

Messrs. Dunavan and Jamieson met John Bryant, and persuaded
him to discover all he knew about the plot; presently afterwards,
they brought him before me, when he was sworn on the cross, being
a catholic, and I took his deposition; the substance of which was
as follows:

"That on the passage from Port Jackson to Norfolk-Island it
was talked among the convicts to take the Golden-Grove transport
from the officers and crew and run away with her, and on its
being proposed to Bryant he said they could be only fools to
think of such a thing. That in going out to work on the 14th of
this month with all the "convicts, Samuel Picket remarked how
easy it would be to take the island, by making the commandant
prisoner, when going to, or returning from the farm in Arthur's
Vale; after which, coming in and seizing the arms, and making
prisoners of the marines and other free people. It was soon
after agreed that the rest of the convicts were to be consulted,
and if they were willing, a meeting was to be held at John
Thompson's house in the Vale; Samuel Picket and Joshua Peck
being inmates of his."

The remainder of Bryant's deposition, respecting how the
island was to be taken, agreed in every particular with the
testimony of Elizabeth Anderson and Robert Webb.

I next sent for Joshua Peck, and examined him on oath, and
after much prevarication, he gave nearly the same account how the
business was to be conducted as the others had done, except as to
the manner how the officers were to be made prisoners, which was,
"that after "they had secured me, they were to go to Mr.
Dunavan's house at "the entrance of the vale, and take him and
conduct him to the farm, "where we were to be tied back to back;
after which, one of the "convicts was to be sent in with a
message as from me, to speak with "the surgeon, serjeant of
marines, and the rest, and they were to be "secured one by one as
they came out."

To Bryant and Peck, I put the two following questions, telling
them, that as their depositions and examination would be sent to
the Governor, it was necessary that they recollected the nature
of the oath they had taken, and to give a just answer.

Question.--Can you assign any reason for the aforesaid plot
being formed? Answer.--None, but the hopes of regaining our

Question.--Have you at any time heard any convict on the
island express any discontent at the conduct of officers, or on
any other ground? Answer.--None.

It was now clear to me that a scheme had been entered into, in
which all the convicts were concerned, except the rope-makers and
carpenter already mentioned; and their succeeding in it, so far
as regarded the taking myself and the officers prisoners was not
to be doubted; for, I must own, that I was not sufficiently upon
my guard against the description of people I had to deal with; as
the apparent satisfaction which they often expressed at being on
this island in preference to Port Jackson, added to the great
indulgences they had frequently received from me, lulled any
suspicion of their having the most distant idea of the kind.

The second part of their plan, viz. that of taking any ship
which might come to the island, was very doubtful; but had the
first succeeded, the destruction of the provisions and stores
would have followed; and it is difficult to say what fatal
consequences would have ensued from the drunken state they would
have been in whilst the rum lasted: indeed, I must in justice to
them observe, that no sanguinary measures were thought of; on the
contrary, they proposed good treatment to myself and the free
people; but how far that intention would have been observed by a
set of men of their description, when in a state of drunken
madness, may easily be conceived.

I ordered Samuel Picket and William Francis to wear irons, and
the next day (Sunday), after prayers, I addressed the convicts,
and pointed out to them the absurdity of their plan, admitting
they had made themselves masters of a vessel. I endeavoured to
convince them of the advantages they enjoyed on this island,
where nothing but industry was requisite to insure them a happy
and comfortable livelihood; after which, I exhorted them to let
their future conduct wipe away the present impropriety of their
behaviour: those who distinguished themselves by a regular,
honest, and industrious line of conduct, I promised to
countenance and encourage, whilst those of a contrary description
were sure to be made severe and dreadful examples of. I likewise
cautioned them against stealing and plundering the grounds and
gardens; assuring them that they would be severely punished on

Having finished my address to the convicts, I caused the
following orders to be read, in addition to those which were
before made public for the preservation of order.

"The commandant strictly forbids any officer, soldier, free
person, or convict, male or female, ever absenting themselves
from the camp or town for ten minutes together, without having
first obtained leave from the officer charged with the guard, who
will obtain the commandant's leave, if he should think fit to
grant it. The officer of the guard will take an account of the
names of those who are absent on leave, on a slate, which will be
kept in the guard-house for that purpose.

Every person returning from that leave, is to acquaint the
officer of the guard of their return.

Every convict who is observed to go over the hill to the farm,
without having obtained leave, or going to work there, will be
fired at by the centinel.

The convicts, and not more than three together, are to build
houses for themselves, at their leisure hours, in such places as
will be pointed out.

No person for the future will be suffered to live out of the

John Thompson and Samuel Pickett are dispossessed of their
garden ground, in consequence of their ill behaviour.

Though I had not the most distant reason to suspect any free
person whatever, of being in the least disaffected, yet I judged
it necessary to finish this affair by administering the oaths of
allegiance and fidelity to the officers, marines, and free people
individually, in the presence of the convicts. The theft of the
Indian corn being fully proved, on the 26th, I ordered William
Thompson to be punished with fifty lashes; and Thomas Jones,
another convict, was punished with thirty-six lashes, for abuse
and insolence to Messieurs Jamieson and Dunavan.

The whole of the convicts were now employed in cutting down
trees, and clearing the ground near the houses, in order to give
more room for building others.

As the rains were very violent, and seemed to be set in, and
the heat of the weather had made much of our Indian corn to shoot
out, I began gathering that which was sown in September.

Joseph Long, a convict, was punished with twelve lashes on the
28th, for quitting his work and absenting himself without

The month of February commenced with heavy gales of wind and
deluges of rain, which greatly damaged the Indian corn, and
different plants that were seeding. The small patch of barley
which was cut on the 20th of last month, was quite spoiled by the
constant rain, and the swamp was entirely overflowed. On the 6th,
we had a very heavy gale of wind from the northward, attended
with lightning, which was the first I had seen since my arrival
on the island.

Two convicts were punished on the 9th, for absenting
themselves after ten o'clock at night from their quarters, with a
bad intention.

The 15th, being Sunday, after performing divine service, and
reading the orders, I forgave the prisoners, Samuel Pickett and
William Francis, for their ill behaviour in the affair of the
plot; but it was my intention to send Francis to Port Jackson the
first opportunity, as he was a worthless, troublesome

The heavy rains had now in a great measure subsided, and the
weather on the 16th being fair, we embraced that opportunity of
examining the provisions which were stowed in the cellars. On
getting up the ground tier of flour casks from under the
surgeon's house, I found a quantity of water had lodged amongst
them; and although they were well dunnaged, yet we found many of
the casks much damaged, and the flour in them spoiled; but the
quantity lost could not immediately be ascertained: however, it
was of the utmost consequence to have the whole overlooked, and
every person was employed till the 21st in cleaning the flour and
separating the damaged part of it from that which was dry and in
good condition.

Chapter XIV


February 1789 to March 1790

-A violent hurricane at Norfolk Island.--Arrival
of the Supply.--Convicts sent from Port Jackson.--Provisions and
stores.--Departure of the Supply.--Robberies
committed.--Employment of the convicts.--Wheat infested with
caterpillars.--A store-house erected.--Arrival of a party of
marines from Port Jackson.--Thefts committed.--Orders read for
preserving regularity.--A female convict punished.--Pernicious
effects of the grub-worm.--Gardens plundered.--A granary
erected.--Wheat destroyed by paroquets.--Number of inhabitants on
the island.-

The interval of fine weather, which gave us an opportunity of
examining the state of our provisions, and cleaning the damaged
flour, was succeeded by a hurricane that was dreadful beyond
description. In the morning of the 25th, we had light winds from
the north-east, and very dismal, dark, cloudy weather, with
constant torrents of heavy rain: towards noon, the wind blew a
heavy gale, and kept increasing in violence. At midnight, it
shifted to east-south-east, and blew with great fury, attended
with constant deluges of rain. At four o'clock the next morning
several of the largest pines were blown up by the roots, one of
which fell on the hog-stye and killed a very fine English sow and
a litter of seven pigs that were my property, and three sows and
two boars belonging to the crown. This was a severe loss to young
colonists, but a still worse accident afterwards happened, and
which had nearly deprived us of our flour.

From four in the morning until noon, the wind increased to a
very severe hurricane, with the heaviest rain I ever saw or heard
of. Pines, and oak-trees of the largest size, were blown down
every instant; the roots were torn up, together with rocks that
surrounded them; frequently leaving pits at least ten feet deep.
Some of the very large trees, which measured 180 feet in length,
and four feet diameter, were thrown by the violence of the
tempest to a considerable distance from the place where they
grew; and others, whose roots were too deep in the earth to be
torn up, bent their tops nearly to the ground.

In addition to the horror of this scene, a very large tree
fell across the granary and dashed it to pieces, staving a number
of flour casks that were in it; but by the general activity of
every person on the settlement, the flour, Indian corn, and
stores were in a short time collected, and removed to my house,
with the loss of a few pounds of flour and some small stores that
were blown away.

The gale now raged with the most violent fury, which defies
all description: whole forests seemed, as it were, swept away by
the roots, and many of the trees were carried to a considerable
distance. By one o'clock in the afternoon, there were as many
trees blown down round the settlement as would have employed
fifty men for a fortnight to cut down. The swamp and the
adjoining vale were overflowed, and had every appearance of a
large, navigable river: the surf ran mountains high, but did not
overflow the bank, although very near its level: in the road, the
sea ran very high, often eclipsing Nepean Isle.

At two in the afternoon, the gardener, two convict men, and
one woman, who lived in the vale, came to the settlement, having
narrowly escaped with their lives from the falling of trees, and
great depth of water in many parts of the valley; and their
houses, which had been built and framed with strong logs, were
blown down. Three acres of ground that had recently been cleared
were almost covered with trees: every thing in the gardens was
nearly destroyed, and an acre of Indian corn, which was in a
promising state, and nearly fit for reaping, was laid flat and
covered with water four feet deep; nay, incredible as it may
appear, the violence of the wind blew up cabbages, turnips, and
other vegetables by the roots; and what remained in the gardens
were turned as black as if they had been burnt.

At three o'clock, the wind veered round to south, and
moderated, and at sun-set, the weather was very pleasant.

It was a providential circumstance that the discovery of the
plot (as has already been related) happened previous to this
dreadful storm, as, on that account, the convicts had altogether
been employed in cutting down large trees round the settlement,
to make room for building other houses: had not this been done,
our houses would probably have been destroyed and many lives
lost, as we had no asylum or retreat whatever: fortunately,
however, only one man was hurt; he received a violent contusion
on his right side by the branch of a tree falling on him. There
was no appearance on any part of the island of such a storm
having ever happened before.

During the remainder of the month we had very pleasant
weather; the wind at south-west, but a heavy surf kept still

On the 2d of March, at day-light, we saw the Supply in the
road; on which I sent Mr. Dunavan on board her: he soon returned,
bringing letters for me from Governor Phillip, who, I learnt, had
sent twenty-one men and six women convicts, with three children
in the Supply, to be landed on this island. As I had the fullest
confidence in the few free persons who were with me, I did not
hesitate one moment in receiving the additional number of
convicts who were now arrived, although some of them had very bad
characters. By the Supply I also received a bushel of potatoes,
and some seed-wheat and barley, that had been saved at Port
Jackson; and in the course of the day, all the convicts and the
greatest part of the provisions and stores were landed. One turn
of provisions were got on shore early the next morning, but the
surf increasing, no more boats passed that day.

Landing was very practicable on the 4th, and we received the
remainder of the provisions and stores; also two three-pounders
and their carriages belonging to the Supply, which should have
been landed when I first came to the island, but were prevented
by the surf. The surf ran so high on the 5th, that no boats could
land: at two o'clock the Supply parted her cable, and stood off
and on during the night. The Supply's boats were employed during
the 6th, in sweeping for her anchor, as no landing could be
attempted; but the surf abating on the 7th, we received every
article on shore that was intended for the settlement.

I now ordered the surgeon to examine all the convicts who had
lately arrived, in order to discover if any of them were infected
with diseases, or troubled with complaints of any kind; but on
examination, he found them all healthy.

The Supply having ineffectually swept for her anchor till the
morning of the 10th, she made sail for Port Jackson at ten
o'clock in the forenoon. The ground in the road off Sydney-Bay is
very foul in general, although there may be some clear spots. The
Golden-Grove parted her cable in the road, but regained her
anchor, which the Supply was not lucky enough to accomplish; and
she had the additional misfortune of nearly ruining two new
cables in sweeping for it. It is somewhat remarkable, that the
beach in Sydney-Bay has at times five feet of sand on the stones,
and at other times it is all cleared away: this has happened when
the wind has been at south-east, and when the beach was filled
with sand, the wind has been at south-west: this probably may be
the case in the road.

I gave the convicts who were newly arrived until the 18th, to
build habitations for themselves; the others were employed at
task-work. The numbers now on the island were as follows,

Officers, marines, and free men, 16
Male convicts,                   50
Female convicts,                 23
Children,                         5
Total                            94

In order to prevent the water from overflowing the cultivated
grounds in the upper part of Arthur's Vale, I set eight labourers
to work on the 19th, in cutting a water-way of sixty rods long,
by six feet deep.

I have hitherto forborn mentioning the numerous thefts that
had almost daily been committed; and, notwithstanding the utmost
vigilance, we had not been able to detect any person. Gardens had
been constantly plundered; the harness cask, containing the
provisions that were daily issued out, had been robbed; and one
night an attempt was made to get into the upper part of my house,
where the slops were deposited. Great rewards had been offered to
tempt one or other to discover their accomplices, but without
effect: however, at eleven o'clock in the night of the 23d,
Thomas Watson, a convict, was detected in another convict's
house, stealing a bag of flour.

From the number of daring thefts which had been committed,
without my being able to fix on the thief, it became necessary to
inflict a very severe punishment on this offender; and as I had
no authority to give him any very severe corporal chastisement;
after examining witnesses upon oath, and fully proving the theft,
I ordered him into confinement, with an intention of sending him
to Port Jackson to take his trial. In order to prevent these
depredations as much as possible in future, I gave orders for the
convicts to be mustered in their huts three times every night,
and the hour of muster to be constantly changed: this had a good
effect, but did not entirely prevent robberies from being

James Davis, a convict, was punished with twenty-four lashes,
on the 25th, for using seditious expressions, and throwing away
some fish which had been issued, in a contemptuous manner.

On inspecting the seed-wheat, I found the weevil had begun its
depredations, on which, I set some of the labourers to winnow and
clear it. On the 30th, some atrocious villain stabbed one of the
hogs belonging to the crown, which occasioned its death: this,
amongst many other actions which happened, of a similar nature,
served to show that there are wretches equal to any act of
inhumanity and barbarity.

The sugar-cane, which I planted soon after my arrival on the
island, being in a very exposed situation, I removed it on the
31st, and planted out 106 very good joints, which were produced
from only four canes. The Indian corn, that had been damaged by
the hurricane, was reaped this afternoon.

The different employments of the convicts were as follows:

At task-work, clearing away ground for cultivation,     30
Sawyers, sawing boards, for building a store-house,      2 2 free.
Carpenters, building a store-house,                      2 1 free.
Blacksmith, making fish-hooks, and other necessary work, 1 1 free.
Coble-men fishing,                                       3
Gardeners,                                               3 1 free.
Making shingles,                                         4
Schoolmaster, 1; officers servants, 3; care of stock, 1, 5
Total                                                   50 5

On the 2d of April, three quarters of an acre of ground was
sown with wheat, the produce of that ground which had been first
cleared on the north side of Mount George. The season for sowing
wheat was as yet rather early, but I did it to try different
periods, and to see which would answer best.

April On the 5th, (Sunday) after divine service, Thomas Jones,
a convict, acquainted me that the term of his transportation
expired that day. I had been informed by Governor Phillip that
the different terms for which the convicts were sentenced was not
known, as the masters of the transports had left the papers
necessary for that information with their owners; but that he had
wrote to England for them, and until their arrival no steps could
be taken, as the convicts words were not sufficient: I therefore
informed Thomas Jones that he was at liberty to work for whom he
pleased, and if he chose to work for the public good, he would be
used the same as others were, until I received further orders
concerning him.

An acre of ground, in Arthur's Vale, was sown with wheat on
the 6th; and on the 8th, Noah Mortimer, a convict, was punished
with sixty lashes, for refusing to work, on being ordered by the
overseer, and being abusive. The 10th, being Good-Friday, I
performed divine service, and no work was done on the

On the 13th, three acres of wheat were sown with four bushels
of seed. Every garden vegetable, now growing, were much blighted
by west and south-west winds; indeed, this was a very improper
time to sow any garden seeds, it being the commencement of
winter; but the potatoes I had by me grew out so very fast, that
I was obliged to sow them all. I had found the last year that
June and July were the best months for sowing the general crop.
We had a very heavy gale of wind this day from the south-west,
which was the first southerly wind that had blown with any degree
of force since last August; and the last year, the southerly
winds did not begin until the 10th of April: from which I
conclude that southerly and westerly winds are not frequent in
the summer; especially as we had not one gale from that quarter
during the last summer.

Three acres of wheat were sown in Arthur's vale on the 16th,
and by the 21st eight acres of wheat were up, and had a promising

As there was a projection of the reef where boats used to
land, which, if taken away, would greatly lessen the danger of
landing; I set six men to work about removing it on the 22d, with
orders to continue at the employment every tide until it was

Notwithstanding every convict had suffered exemplary
punishment for their crimes, whenever they were detected; yet
this was not sufficient to keep the free people in proper
subordination; for on the 26th, John Williams, a marine, quitted
his guard, and raised a quarrel in a convict's house; the
consequence of which was a battle between himself and another
marine: on which, I assembled the marines and all the other free
people under arms, under the flag-staff, on which the colours
were hoisted; and I punished him with twenty-four lashes, for
quitting his post, and fighting with his comrade.

I observed on the 7th of May, that all the wheat which
hitherto had a very fine appearance, was blighted in many places,
and particularly where it was thinnest sown: on examining it, I
found it entirely covered with a small black caterpillar, which
had eat off the stems within an inch of the ground: these
destructive vermin kept on the wheat during the whole month; they
began on the lower part of the eight acres that were sown in
Arthur's Vale, and proceeded regularly through it, destroying
every blade. We tried various methods to extirpate them, such as
rolling the wheat with a heavy roller, and beating it with
turf-beaters, in order to kill them, but with little effect; for
in an hour's time they were as numerous as ever, and daily
increased in size. I found they were bred from a small moth, vast
numbers of which infested the air in the mornings and evenings:
the number of these caterpillars on the wheat was incredible; and
they were so thick in the gardens that we swept them in heaps:
the adjoining rivulet was also covered with them. The whole wheat
of eight acres (which was a foot high when these pernicious
vermin first attacked it) was eat close to the ground by the
28th, and three acres of it never grew afterwards. Having gone
through the gardens and wheat, these destructive insects left us
on the 29th.

The carpenters had now finished the new store-house: its
dimensions were thirty feet long by eighteen feet wide, and ten
feet under the eaves: the sides were covered with weather
boarding, and the roof was shingled. I ordered the provisions to
be brought from my house and from the surgeon's, and deposited in
the new store-house: the stores were also removed, and lodged

The 4th of June, being the anniversary of his Majesty's
birth-day, it was observed as a holiday. The colours were hoisted
at sun-rise: at noon, the marines and free people drew up under
arms, to the right and left of the two three-pounders which were
on the parade, in front of my house. The male convicts were also
drawn up on the right, and the females on the left. Three rounds
of the guns and musquetry were fired; after which, the whole
party gave three cheers, and were dismissed.

In consideration of the behaviour of the convicts on the day
when the hurricane happened, and their general conduct since the
discovery of the plot, I was induced to let them partake of the
general festivity of the day; and ordered half a pint of rum for
each man, and a pint of wine for each woman, for them to drink
his Majesty's health: the officers dined at my table, and on our
drinking the King's health after dinner, three rounds of the
great guns were fired: in the evening bonfires were lighted up,
and the front windows of my house were illuminated with the
initials G. R.

When every person was assembled, and before the firing began,
I ordered the prisoner, Thomas Watson, who was in confinement for
a theft, (and whom I proposed sending to Port Jackson to be
tried) to be brought out, and in consideration of the day I
forgave him.

The remaining four acres of wheat, which the caterpillars had
not totally destroyed, were now shot out again, and had a very
promising appearance.

On the 11th, I drilled thirty pints of wheat into sixty roods
of ground; and, as I had but little seed left, this was, in my
own opinion, disposing of it to the best advantage; especially as
it was probable that the increase would be equal to that which
had been sown at a broad cast: I also drilled in eighteen pints
of marrow-fat peas.

At day-light in the morning of the 13th, we perceived his
Majesty's armed tender, the Supply, in the road: the surf at that
time ran very high in Sydney-Bay, and there being but little
easterly wind, with a strong flood-tide, she could not get to
Ball-Bay before three o'clock in the afternoon; when I received
my letters from Governor Phillip, who informed me, that he had
sent Lieutenant John Cresswell, of the marines, with fourteen
privates, to the island; that Mr. Cresswell was to put himself
under my command; and that in case of my death, or absence, the
government of the island was to devolve on him. I had also the
pleasing satisfaction to find that my conduct was approved of by
Governor Phillip.

The surf ran very high on the 14th, until three o'clock in the
afternoon, when Lieutenant Cresswell landed with his detachment
and part of their baggage; but nothing else could be received on
shore until the 17th, when part of the provisions and stores were
landed. As another boat was now become necessary for the use of
the settlement, I wrote to Lieutenant Ball, requesting him to
send his carpenter on shore to build a coble, that being the most
convenient sort of boat for going out and coming into this place.
The carpenter landed in the afternoon, and immediately got to
work in building a boat.

During the 18th, all the provisions were received on shore,
except sixteen casks of flour; but the surf increasing very much
in the evening, I made a signal for the Supply to hoist the coble
in. The sea ran so very high, that no boat could land until the
21st, when we received the remainder of the provisions and
stores; after which, the boats were employed in carrying off
water for the Supply, and planks for Port Jackson.

Two pecks of wheat were drilled into an acre of ground in
Arthur's Vale, on the 24th; and on the next day, one acre and a
quarter was sown with half a bushel of wheat at a broad cast.

We now had very strong gales at south-west, and at nine
o'clock in the morning the Supply passed between Nepean Isle and
Point Hunter. The gale continuing heavy from the south-west, I
sent a person round to the lee side of the island on the 26th, to
look for the Supply; but she could not be seen until day-light in
the morning of the 30th, when she was perceived hull down to the
southward, and working up to the island. By this time the new
boat was in great forwardness, and my own workmen being able to
finish it, I sent the carpenter of the Supply on board; and at
four in the afternoon that vessel made sail for Port Jackson.

Lieutenant Ball had orders to examine a shoal, which was seen
by the master of the Golden Grove, on her return from this island
in October last, in latitude 29° 25' south, longitude
159° 59' east of Greenwich: he was also to look for an island
and shoal that were seen by Lieutenant Shortland, in the
Alexander transport: the shoal, in latitude 29° 20' south,
longitude 158° 40' east, and the island 28° 10' south
latitude, and 159° 50' east longitude. Mr. Shortland named
them Sir Charles Middleton's Island and Shoal, and imagined they
were joined together.

On the 1st of July, the new coble was finished, and her bottom
payed: her dimensions were twenty-two feet long, by six feet six
inches wide. This business being compleated, the sawyers and
carpenters began to erect a house for Lieutenant Cresswell, of
eighteen feet long, by 12 feet wide, with a back part nine feet
square. The garden in Arthur's Vale being quite exposed and open,
I employed six men to surround it with a wattled hedge.

Edward Gaff, a convict, was punished with 100 lashes on the
6th, for stealing three quarts of wheat: indeed, scarcely a day
passed without complaints being made of thefts, which were
committed with such dexterity that it was impossible to detect
them. That thefts in so small a society should so frequently
happen was really astonishing; but when it is considered, that
the greatest part of that society were hardened villains, the
wonder will cease.

Eleven acres of wheat were now up in Arthur's Vale, and had a
very promising appearance: every vegetable in the gardens were
also in a thriving state.

Nothing material happened in the course of this month until
the 28th, when a tree fell on John Bryant, a convict, which
bruised his head so much that he died two hours afterwards. This
man was one among the very few honest convicts which I had on the

Two bushels of seed wheat, being the remaining part of what I
had left, was sown this day, on the sides of Mount George, on two
acres of ground. Most of the marines who came to the island with
Lieutenant Cresswell, had now very comfortable huts and good

In the month of August we had, in general, heavy gales of
wind, chiefly at north-west and south-west, attended with

The general employment of the convicts was now as follows:

Clearing away ground for cultivation and other necessary work 30
Sawyers sawing scantlings, and boards for buildings            2 2 free.
Carpenters building a house for Lieutenant Cresswell           2 1 free.
Blacksmith making and repairing necessary iron work            1 1 free.
Coblemen fishing                                               3
Gardeners                                                      2 1 free.
Making shingles                                                4
Schoolmaster 1, officers servants 3, care of stock 1           5
Total                                                         49 5

The 12th, being the anniversary of his Royal Highness the
Prince of Wales's birth-day, the colours were hoisted at
sun-rise, and it was observed with the same ceremony as his
Majesty's birth-day, except giving liquor to the convicts, as
their recent behaviour, with regard to thefts, had totally
excluded them from that indulgence. As the wheat in Arthur's Vale
grew very rank, I was advised to crop it, which was done on the
13th: however, I let three acres remain in order to see which way
it would be most productive.

The carpenters having finished the shell of Lieutenant
Cresswell's house, I employed them in building an addition to the
back part of my habitation, as I was apprehensive of its being
blown down by the violent south-west winds, which were now almost
constant. After divine service on the 16th, (Sunday) the
following orders were read for preserving regularity and good
order among the inhabitants of the island.


I. All persons on the island are regularly to attend muster
and divine service, unless prevented by sickness: a disobedience
of this order will be punished by extra-work, or by stopping a
day's provisions for the first offence; which, if repeated, will
be punished by corporal chastisement.

II. No persons are to absent themselves from their quarters,
either by night or day, except they have obtained leave, or are
going to their respective work; and if any one is observed
lurking about after the watch is set, he will be fired at by the

III. The working hours are to be regularly attended to, and
all persons absent from their work after the drum beats for that
purpose, will lose a portion of the time they may save from their
tasks; and in case of a second offence, they will be severely

IV. The tasks will be continued as usual, and the time saved
by the gangs is at their own disposal: those who distinguish
themselves by employing their time in cultivating their gardens,
and clearing ground for their own use, will meet with
encouragement and reward.

V. If the overseers, or the greatest part of any gang, should
have reason to complain of the idleness of any one man belonging
to that gang, and the complaint should be found just, the
offender will be severely punished.

VI. Those who render themselves unable to work by their
neglect or obstinacy, in not building themselves warm huts, or
who cut themselves through carelessness, will have a part of
their provisions stopped until they are able to go to work

VII. All the tools and utensils are to be returned regularly
every night to the store-house when the retreat beats; and any
person who is found secreting any tool, or any article of the
King's stores, or committing any robbery whatever, will, on
detection and conviction, receive such punishment on the island
as his Majesty's Justices of the peace may judge the offence
deserves; or the offender will be sent to Port Jackson, to be
tried by the criminal court, as the commandant may judge

VIII. It is recommended to every one to be very careful of
their cloathing, and every free person or convict is strictly
forbid buying or selling any article of slop cloathing: those who
disobey this order will be prosecuted for buying or selling the
King's stores, whether free people or convicts.

IX. Whenever it may be necessary to make any complaint, the
person making the complaint is to inform the corporal of the
guard, who will immediately report it; when the commandant (or,
in his absence, Lieutenant John Cresswell,) will hear the
complaint and decide upon it.

X. Disobedience of orders, insolence to officers or overseers,
or any other improper behaviour, tending to the disturbance of
the peace, or hindrance of the King's service, will meet with
severe punishment; and a regular, honest, good behaviour, will
meet with encouragement and reward.

His Majesty's justices of the peace for this island, viz. the
Commandant and Lieutenant John Cresswell, (on whom the government
of the island devolves, in case of the commandant's death or
absence) have appointed Roger Morley and John Altree, to hold the
office of constables; and every person is ordered to be assisting
to either or both of them in the execution of their office.

Such were the laws, which our then situations required.

Four acres of ground in Arthur's Vale were planted with Indian
corn on the 24th; and, as the rats had dug up most of that which
had been planted in the gardens, I replaced it, putting five
grains of corn into each pit. During the remainder of this month,
we had heavy gales of wind from the south-west, which turned all
the wheat quite black, that was growing on the south side of
Mount George: but I did not apprehend that it was otherwise
injured than by being kept back. This gale was of longer
duration, and blew with greater force than any I had hitherto

On the 29th, Ann Coombs, a female convict, received fifty
lashes at the cart's tail, for defrauding Thomas Jones, of some
provisions: this punishment, however, did not deter her from
committing crimes of a similar nature; for the very next day she
was detected stealing two new check shirts from Francis Mew, a
private marine, and was punished with 100 lashes.

The weather during the month of September was variable; we had
some heavy gales of wind from the south-west and east-north-east,
but they were not of long duration.

Frequent notice has been taken of the destructive effects of
the grub-worm, and they were now as troublesome as ever. These
pernicious vermin are generated from the eggs of a fly, which are
left on the leaves of plants: here they come to life, and daily
gathering strength and vigour, they destroy the leaves; and
afterwards, falling on the ground, they cut off the roots and
stalks. The surgeon, who, with great perseverance and industry,
had got a very good garden, and every thing in it in great
forwardness, had all his plants and vegetables nearly destroyed
by the grub-worm, and most of the other gardens shared the same
fate. The mischief done at my garden in Arthur's Vale was not so
great, which I attributed to the quantity of cultivated ground
near it; and, probably, when more extensive pieces of ground come
to be cleared, the bad effects of the grub-worm will be in a
great measure prevented, but at present, these destructive
vermin, and the depredations of the convicts, rendered the
cultivation of gardens very discouraging to individuals.

The corporal of marines, who was a very industrious young man,
had cleared and planted a piece of ground, and by attention and
assiduity, had raised a quantity of vegetables, besides a very
fine crop of potatoes, which would have yielded him at least five
bushels; but, on the evening of the 5th, between sun-set and the
time of the watch being set, some villains dug up every one of
the potatoes, and destroyed a quantity of other vegetables; and
although the convicts were mustered in their huts at sun-set, and
three times more during the night, yet the theft was not
discovered until the next morning, when a very strict search was
made, in order to find out the offender, but to no purpose, as
the potatoes were (in the cant phrase) _all planted_; viz.
buried in the ground, so as to be taken out as they were

This was one of the many acts of villainy that were daily
committed by these atrocious wretches.

Catherine Johnson, a female convict, was punished with fifty
lashes on the 7th, for abusing the store-keeper, and accusing him
of theft wrongfully.

Two acres were sown with Indian corn on the 16th, and the
ground being quite shaded from the sun, I employed a gang of
labourers to cut down the trees from three acres of land, in
order to let the sun in upon the corn. On the 28th, the produce
of 240 sets of potatoes, which had been planted on three roods of
ground the first of June, were dug up, and yielded five bushels
of very fine potatoes.

During the month of October, the weather was in general very
mild; the wind chiefly from the south-east. On the 1st, the
carpenters, with two men to assist them, began framing a barn,
which I proposed to erect in Arthur's Vale. The grub-worms were
still very numerous, notwithstanding the women convicts were
daily employed in picking them off the plants and out of the
ground: they totally destroyed one acre of Indian corn, and cut
off every cabbage and other plants as fast as they sprang up.

As it would be very convenient to have a path to the west side
of the island, I employed six men to cut a road from the
settlement to Mount Pitt, and from thence to Anson-Bay, which
business was completed on the 21st.

I went out in the morning of the 23d, to survey the west side
of Sydney-Bay, in the course of which, I found most of the bones
belonging to the body of one of the men who were drowned on the
6th of August, 1788: I brought them to the settlement, where they
were interred.

On the 27th, we had a strong gale of wind from the east,
attended with heavy rain, which was the first that had happened
since the 23d of September, and was much wanted. Fifteen acres of
wheat were now in ear, and had a good appearance; and the Indian
corn, of which we had seven acres, was in a thriving state,
although much thinned by the grub-worm: one acre of barley was
also in ear, and the garden vegetables were in great forwardness.
The grub-worm had totally disappeared, but still our calamities
were not at an end; for the parroquets (of which we had myriads)
were constantly destroying the wheat, and the garden productions;
insomuch that we were obliged to keep a number of persons
employed in beating them away with long poles.

During the month of November, the weather was hot and sultry,
with only one shower of rain; the wind from the east-south-east.
The carpenters finished the barn on the 9th: its dimensions were
30 feet long by 16 feet wide, and 17 feet under the eaves, with a
loft over it. The roof was well shingled, and the sides
weather-boarded: in short, it was a complete building, and
conveniently situated, being in the center of the cultivated
grounds in Arthur's Vale.

On the 13th, Lieutenant Cresswell turned a turtle in a small
bay, to the westward of the settlement, which he distributed
amongst the free persons and others, as far as it would go.

Robert Webb, a seaman belonging to the Sirius, went on the
15th, to the valley above the Cascade-Bay; having obtained my
permission to become a settler, if Governor Phillip should have
no objection to it.

Some barley which had been sown the latter end of May, about
three quarters of an acre with one bushel and an half of seed,
was cut this day, and the produce was twenty-three bushels of a
very fine full grain. The potatoes which were sown during the
month of September, in Arthur's vale, were all running to stalk,
and not one potatoe formed at the roots: the fibres were very
strong and shooting out of the ground, notwithstanding they had
been well earthed: this was probably owing to the very great heat
and drought which we had recently experienced. Large flocks of
parroquets still infested the wheat, and made great havock in one
acre; but as it ripened very fast, I did not apprehend much
farther damage from them or the caterpillars, which were again
become very numerous.

As it would be necessary to have the hogs and poultry near the
granary, during the time of harvest, I employed a party of
labourers in bringing logs to make an inclosure round the barn,
and other conveniencies for the stock; and on the 30th, we began
the wheat harvest.

On the 3d of December, at day-light, the Supply arrived in the
road, and soon afterwards, I received my letters from Governor
Phillip. In the course of the day, six men and eight women
convicts were landed, with some provisions and stores for the
settlement. By an order from Governor Phillip, all persons on the
island were to be put to two-thirds allowance of provisions,
which commenced on the 5th: the settlement at Port Jackson went
to this allowance in November. Having received every thing from
the Supply, that vessel sailed for Port Jackson on the 7th.

All the labourers were now employed in reaping, stacking, and
thatching the wheat, which business was all finished by the 24th.
Four acres of the wheat were greatly damaged by some very heavy
rain, which fell from the 14th to the 18th, and caused it to
shoot out; but this was put into a stack by itself for present
consumption. The wheat now reaped had been sown at different
periods, notwithstanding which, it was ripe nearly at the same
time; but the last sown did not stock so well as that which was
put more early in the ground: that which was sown in drills,
suffered much from the blighting winds; and, as this island is
subject to these winds at all times of the year, the method of
drilling wheat or barley in rows, will not answer so well as when
sown at a broad cast. The best time for sowing wheat, is from the
latter end of May to the middle of June; indeed, that which was
sown in August, yielded a very large sound grain; but, (as I have
already observed) it did not stock so well as the other.

At sun-rise on the 25th, the colours were hoisted, in
observance of Christmas-day; divine service was performed at ten
o'clock, and I ordered two hogs, belonging to the crown, to be
killed and issued out to the free people and convicts, at the
rate of one pound and an half to each person: and, as the crop of
wheat had turned out tolerably well, I ordered two pounds of
flour to each man, and the women one pound each, to celebrate the

During the month of January, the weather was very variable,
with frequent strong gales of wind from the south-east. The
general employment of the labourers was clearing away ground for
the next season, and turning up the fifteen acres of wheat
stubble, threshing, making shingles, cutting logs, to make a
log-house for the store-keeper, and other necessary business.

The small union flag had hitherto been used as a signal for
landing, but as it could not easily be distinguished from the
roads, on the 11th, I had a flag-staff fixed in the front of my
house, the lower mast of which was 20 feet long, and the top-mast
36 feet; on which a large union was occasionally to be

Some villain stabbed a very fine sow which was near farrowing,
on the 18th, but though the strictest enquiry was made, I could
not discover who was the perpetrator of this atrocious act.

Most of the labourers were now employed in cutting down,
gathering, and cleaning the Indian corn, a vast quantity of which
was destroyed by the parroquets, although men were constantly
employed in beating them off with long poles.

A greater number of people were sick during this month, than
had been the case since my landing on the island. The complaint,
in general, was a diarrhoea, but those who had this disorder were
soon recovered. The surgeon was of opinion that the great change
of weather which had happened, joined to the great quantity of
vegetables that were daily consumed, was the cause of this

The appearance of a vessel in the road at day-light in the
morning of the 29th, caused the greatest acclamations of joy
through the whole settlement; every person imagining that ships
had arrived from England; especially as the Supply had been with
us so recently: but, presently afterwards, we perceived it to be
that vessel; and on receiving my letters from the governor, I
found that no ships had arrived from our native country; which
piece of intelligence being circulated through the settlement, a
dejection took place equal to the joy that was visible a short
time before.

Twenty-two male convicts and one female arrived by the Supply,
but no provisions were sent along with them, there being only a
sufficient quantity at Port Jackson to serve until the latter end
of May, at the present allowance; and as our crops had been good,
and our resources, with respect to fish and vegetables, were
greater than at Port Jackson, the governor had thought proper to
send this additional number of convicts.

Our present numbers were now as follow, viz.

Civil and military, 32
Male convicts,      79
Female convicts,    33
Children,            5
Total              149

I was also informed by Governor Phillip, that as it was
necessary for the Sirius to have her full complement of officers,
he had ordered me to be discharged from that ship; and had
appointed Mr. Newton Fowell to be second-lieutenant in my room,
and Mr. Henry Waterhouse to be third-lieutenant, instead of
Lieutenant George William Maxwell, who was reported by the
surgeons to be insane.

Having received all the convicts from the Supply, and sent my
letters for Governor Phillip on board, she set sail for Port
Jackson on the 2d of February.

During this month we had heavy gales of wind, with some
intervals of fine weather, and the rain becoming frequent, I
ordered sheds to be built over the saw-pits, that the sawyers
might work without interruption.

Those few amongst the convicts who had been industrious, were
now rewarded for it, as some had raised from one thousand to
fifteen hundred cobs of Indian corn; which, together with the
fish that was procured from time to time, was of great service to
them now that their allowance of salt provisions was reduced. The
remainder of the Indian corn was got in on the 19th.

Richard Phillimore, a convict, had informed me that the term
of his transportation expired on the 16th of January; and having
taken the oath administered on that occasion, he signified a wish
of becoming a settler: as he was a sober, industrious man, I gave
him time to consider of it, and to look out for a situation where
he would like to settle at: he informed me on the 22d, that he
still was desirous of fixing on the island, and had found a spot
where he wished to reside; on which, I sent some labourers to
build him an house, and to clear away a little ground for a
commencement; I also gave him a sow with young, and some poultry,
and he was fully of opinion, that in one year, or two at
farthest, he should be able to support himself, without any
assistance from the settlement.

During the month of March, we had a deal of blowing weather,
and much rain; the wind generally from the south-west. The
labourers were employed in clearing ground for cultivation,
husking and stripping Indian corn, and other necessary work; and
six men were sawing frames for building barracks.

Chapter XV


March 1790 to April 1790

-The arrival of the Sirius and Supply at
Norfolk-Island.--The loss of the Sirius.--Captain Hunter and the
crew saved.--A general meeting of the officers convened.--Sundry
regulations adopted.--Martial-Lawproclaimed.--Lieutenant-Governor
Ross takes thecommand.--Lieutenant King leaves
Norfolk-Island.--Description of Norfolk-Island.--Face of the
and Bays.--Present state of cultivation.--General behaviour of
the convicts.--Number of inhabitants on the island.--Grain and
live-stock.--Lieutenant King arrives at Port Jackson.--Finds the
country greatly improved.--Manners and customs of the
natives.--Vocabulary of the language.-

At the break of day on the 13th of March, I was alarmed with a
tumultuous noise of huzzaing and rejoicing; on enquiry into the
cause, I found that two vessels were seen in the offing. Every
one of us were now fully persuaded that the long looked for and
much expected relief was at length arrived, and we began to
felicitate each other that the time was now come, when we should
hear news from England: some of us anticipated pleasing and
unpleasing accounts from our friends in the northern hemisphere,
as we had been near three years absent, without having received
the least intelligence from our relatives, or native country.

As the wind blew strong at south-west, and a great sea was
running in the bay; the vessels, (which we found were the Sirius
and Supply,) bore up for Ball-Bay, to which place I went, and
received from Lieutenant Ball my letters from Governor Phillip.
Our expectations were once more blasted, for, instead of those
pleasing hopes being realized, which the appearance of the
vessels had created in the morning, we were informed that no
relief had arrived, nor had any intelligence been received from

I found by the governor's letter, that he had sent
Lieutenant-Governor Ross in the Sirius, to take the command at
Norfolk-Island, as the service rendered it necessary for my
returning to England, in order to give such information to his
Majesty's ministers, respecting the settlement I had established,
as could not be conveyed by letter. I was also directed to
furnish Lieutenant-Governor Ross with copies of all such orders
as I had from time to time received from the governor, and which
had not been put in execution; together with all the information
I had acquired respecting the nature of the soil, and the mode of
cultivation which had been followed; as also my observations
respecting the climate, and the general line of conduct of the
people under my direction; and to leave him such rules and
regulations as I had established for preserving good order and
regularity among the convicts.

I was farther directed to embark on board the Sirius, whose
commander had orders to receive me on board, with all such petty
officers, seamen, and marines, belonging to that ship, who were
not desirous of becoming settlers; directions having been given
the Lieutenant-Governor to that effect. Lieutenant-Governor Ross
brought with him, one captain, five subalterns, a number of
non-commissioned officers and privates, with the colours: also a
number of male and female convicts, and children; with their
proportion of cloaths, provisions, and stores.

The two vessels went round to Cascade-Bay, where part of the
detachment of marines and some of the convicts were landed; and
the next forenoon, the remainder of the marines and convicts,
with a great part of their baggage, were landed, and they marched
to the settlement. The Lieutenant-Governor arrived at the
settlement at noon. In the orders for the night, he requested
that I would continue the command of the island until my

On the 15th, the remains of the provisions and other stores on
the island were surveyed by Captain Johnston and Lieutenants
Cresswell and Clark: after which, I got the receipts from Mr.
Roger Morley, to whom I had given an order to act as
store-keeper, with the approbation of Governor Phillip. The wind
blew strong from the east-south-east; and on the 16th, we had
strong gales from the north-east, with almost constant heavy
rain. The Sirius and Supply were seen from Mount Pitt, some
distance at sea, in the south-east quarter.

This day, Jeremiah Leary, a convict, ran the gantlet among the
convicts for a theft, and was severely punished.

We had very strong gales from the north-east on the 17th,
attended with almost constant rain. The two vessels were working
up for the island; and at one o'clock in the afternoon, the
Supply came into the road, and landed a quantity of luggage, some
stock, and thirteen casks of provisions. No landing could be
attempted on the 18th, the wind still blowing very strong at
north-east; but on the 19th, the wind shifted to the
east-south-east, and grew more moderate; so that at day-light,
the Supply came into the road, and the Sirius was at some
distance to the southward, standing in for the island. There
being very fine landing, I made the signal that large boats could
land safely, and by ten o'clock every thing was received from the

Soon afterwards, the Sirius hove to, in order to hoist her
boats out, which, being accomplished, she made sail; but the tide
of flood still ran very strong, and she could not weather the
outer rock of the reef which runs off Point Ross: after an
unsuccessful attempt to stay, she wore and came to the wind on
the starboard tack: unfortunately, the wind shifted to the
south-east, and the strong hold which the tide had on the ship,
forced her near the island, and she got to the back of the reef:
she was now hove in stays, but having fresh stern way, she tailed
on the reef and struck. The masts were instantly cut away, and
the surf increasing along-side of her, only two boats load of
provisions could be got out: an anchor was let go, which
prevented the ship from coming broadside to on the reef. From
noon until four o'clock, every person was employed in getting a
hawser from the ship, and fastening it to a tree on the shore: a
heart was fixed on the hawser as a traveller, and a grating was
slung to it, fastened to a small hawser, one end of which was on
shore and the other end on board.

At five o'clock, the surgeon's mate came on shore by the
grating, being hauled through a very great surf: he brought me a
note from Captain Hunter, desiring to know if I thought it would
be safe for the sailors to abide by the wreck all night. The wind
was now at south, and the weather had a very threatening
appearance, and as the surf had risen considerably, I thought
there was the utmost danger of the ship's parting at the flowing
tide, the consequence of which must have been the destruction of
every person on board: I therefore made a signal for the wreck to
be quitted, and by the time it grew dark, the captain and most of
the sailors were on shore, being dragged through a very heavy
surf; many of them received violent blows from the rocks over
which they were dragged.

Captain Hunter and Mr. Waterhouse were got on shore together,
and just as they got footing on the reef, the captain was so much
exhausted, that he had nearly quitted his hold: the first and
second lieutenant, with some of the sailors, remained on board
all night.

The instant the ship struck, Lieutenant-Governor Ross ordered
the drums to assemble all the marines and convicts: martial law
was then proclaimed, and the people were told that if any one
killed any animal or fowl, or committed any robbery whatever,
they would be instantly made a severe example of. The officers
and marines were ordered to wear their side-arms: guards were set
over the barn and store-houses, and some other necessary
regulations were ordered by the Lieutenant-Governor.

On the 20th, we had very strong gales of wind at south, and a
great surf running: by four o'clock, every person were got out of
the wreck without any other accident than receiving a few
bruises. Those who came last from the wreck, reported, that the
beams of the lower deck were started from the side, and that at
high water, the sea came to the after hatchway on the lower deck,
the fore part of the ship being under water; and that the
provisions were mostly on deck.

The gale continued very strong on the 21st, with a heavy surf
running; but the wreck being in the same position as the
preceding day, we entertained the pleasing hopes of being able to
save all the provisions, and most of the ship's effects.

At ten in the morning, Lieutenant-Governor Ross, Captain
Hunter, all the commissioned officers of marines and of the
Sirius, and myself, assembled in the government-house, when the
lieutenant governor laid the situation of the island before the
meeting, and pointed out the necessity of a law being made, by
which criminals might be punished with death for capital crimes,
there being no law in force on the island that could notice
capital offences: he also proposed the establishment of martial
law until further orders, which was unanimously agreed to; and
that in all cases where sentence of death was pronounced, five
persons out of seven should concur in opinion: it was also
resolved, that all private stock, Indian corn, and potatoes
should be given in to the store-keeper, and appropriated for the
use of the public; and that every person should go to half
allowance of provisions until it should be known what quantity
could be saved from the wreck; also, that three locks should be
put on the store-house and barn; one key to be in the possession
of Captain Hunter, another in possession of a person to be named
by the lieutenant-governor, and the third to be kept by a person
to be named by the convicts.

These resolutions were agreed to, and signed by the
lieutenant-governor and the rest of the officers assembled.

At eight o'clock in the morning of the 22d, all persons on the
island were assembled near the lower flag-staff, on which the
union was hoisted: the marines were drawn up in two lines,
leaving a space in the center, at the head of which was the
union. The colours of the detachment were then unfurled, and the
Sirius's crew were drawn up on the right, and the convicts on the
left, the officers being in the center. The proclamation was then
read, declaring, that the island was to be governed by martial
law, until further orders: the lieutenant-governor next addressed
the convicts, and, after pointing out the situation of the
settlement, he exhorted them to be honest, industrious, and
obedient. This being concluded, the whole gave three cheers; and
every person, beginning with the lieutenant-governor, passed
under the union flag, taking off their hats as they passed it, in
token of an oath to submit and be amenable to the martial law,
which had then been declared.

After this ceremony was concluded, the convicts and the
Sirius's crew were sent round to Cascade-Bay, where a proportion
of flour and pork was received from the Supply, and brought round
to the settlement.

In the afternoon, John Brannagin and William Dring (two
convicts) offered to go on board the wreck, in order to heave the
live stock over-board; and having obtained the permission of
Captain Hunter and the Lieutenant-Governor, they went to the
wreck, and sent a number of pigs and some poultry on shore, but
they remained on board; and at the dusk of the evening, a light
was perceived in the after part of the ship; on which, a volley
of small arms were fired, to make them quit the wreck, or put the
light out; which not being done, a three pounder shotted was
fired into the wreck, but with no effect: on this, John Arscot, a
convict carpenter, offered to go off; and although it was quite
dark, and the surf ran very high, yet he got on board, and
obliged the other two convicts to quit the wreck by the hawser.
Arscot hailed the shore, but we could not understand what he
said, except that he should stay on board the wreck. Brannagin
(one of the convicts) was drunk when he came on shore.

On the 23d, we had very strong gales of wind at west by north,
but the landing was good early in the morning, and the large
coble was sent on board the Supply, (which was in the road) with
some of my baggage, and the officers and men belonging to the
Sirius, who were going to Port Jackson. The master of the Sirius,
with eight men, went on board the wreck by the hawser, and a
triangle was erected on the reef, to keep the bight of the hawser
from the ground; which would greatly facilitate the landing any
article from the wreck. The master informed Captain Hunter, by a
note, that Brannagin and Dring (the two convicts) had set fire to
the wreck, which had burnt through the gun deck; but had been
happily extinguished by Arscot, who went on board to send them
out of the ship: on this, they were ordered into confinement
previous to their being tried for setting fire to the wreck.

The weather being moderate and pleasant in the morning of the
24th, I went on board the Supply, along with Lieutenants
Waterhouse and Fowell, and twenty-two of the crew, belonging to
the late Sirius; and at noon, we made sail for Port Jackson.

As I have now taken leave of this island, I shall add my
general observations on it; and although several of them may
probably have been made before, in the course of this journal,
yet it perhaps may not be amiss to collect them together in one
point of view.


By the mean of several meridional altitudes of the sun, and a
great number of lunar observations, the latitude of Sydney-Bay is
29° 04' 40" south, and its longitude 168° 12' east, of
Greenwich. The form of the island is a long square, and it
contains about fourteen thousand acres: it is six miles in length
and four in breadth.

Face of the country_.--The island is very hilly, and
some of the valleys are tolerably large, considering the size of
the island; but most of them are only deep hollows, formed by the
steep hills on each side, some of which rise so perpendicular
that they cannot be cultivated. There are some extensive plains
on the summits of the hills. Mount Pitt is the only remarkable
hill on the island, and is about two hundred fathoms high. The
cliffs round the island are about forty fathoms high, and are
quite perpendicular: the basis of them, as well as most of the
rocks and reefs round the island, is a hard, firm clay, of a very
fine texture. The whole island is covered with a very thick
forest, choaked up with underwood, which makes it impassable
until it is cleared away.

-Water_.--The island is well supplied with many streams
of very fine water, some of which are sufficiently large to turn
a number of mills: it is probable that most of these rivulets
originate from springs near Mount Pitt. On a hill, near the
middle of the island, between Cascade and Sydney bays, there is a
pond of fresh water, about half an acre: there is no rivulet near
it, nor can any spring be perceived, yet, in the greatest
drought, it constantly remains full, and has a very good taste.
All these streams abound with very fine eels.

-Soil_.--From the sides of the cliffs which surround the
coast, to the summit of Mount Pitt, there is a continuation of
the finest soil, varying from a rich brown mould to a light red
earth. Some large stones are found on different parts of the

-Air_.--As a proof of the salubrity and wholesomeness of
the air, it is to be remarked, that there had been scarcely any
sickness since I landed, nor had we any illness whatever, except
a few colds.

-Timber and trees_.--There are only five sorts of trees
on the island which can be called timber; viz. the pine, a wood
resembling the live oak; a yellow wood; a hard black wood; and a
wood resembling the English beech. The pine-trees are of a great
size, many of them being from one hundred and eighty to two
hundred and twenty feet high, and from four to eight feet
diameter some distance from the ground. Those trees, which
measure from one hundred to one hundred and eighty feet high, are
in general sound, and are without branches for eighty or ninety
feet, but the upper part is too knotty and hard to be useful;
indeed, it frequently happens, that after twenty feet have been
cut off from the butt, the trees becomes rotten and shaky, and is
also very brittle; for which reason, no dependance can be put on
them for masts or yards. The turpentine which exudes freely from
the bark, is of a milk-white glutinous substance; but it is
rather remarkable, that there is none in the timber. We tried to
render this turpentine useful in paying boats, and other
purposes, but without success; as it would neither melt nor burn:
we also tried to make pitch or tar, by burning the old pines; but
there being no turpentine in the wood, our efforts were useless.
The pine is very useful in buildings, and being dispersed in
various parts of the island, is well calculated for such
buildings as hereafter may be necessary: from what I have been
able to observe, it is very durable, as that which we had used
for erecting houses, stood the weather very well. Two cobles were
built of this wood, one of which was built in June, 1788: she was
water-soaked, owing to our want of any kind of stuff to pay her

The live-oak, yellow-wood, black-wood, and beech, are all of a
close grain, and durable; in general they are from fourteen to
twenty inches diameter. The branches of the live-oak are fit for
timbers and knees of boats or small vessels.

There are a variety of other small trees on the island, but as
they are not useful, it is unnecessary to enumerate them here;
though I should not omit the fern-tree, the bark of which serves
many purposes, instead of twine and rope. The cabbage-palm were
in great plenty when I first landed on the island, but, by
continual cutting, they were almost destroyed. There is a plant
among the underwood, which produces a kind of pepper; its leaves
are broad, and have an aromatic, pungent taste: the core which
contains the seed, shoots out between the leaf and the stalk, and
is in general two or three inches long, and full of small seeds,
which have nearly the same taste as the leaves; but, on their
being dried, the smell and taste leaves them: it is also
difficult to find them in a state of ripeness, as the parroquets
destroy them before they can arrive at any degree of

The flax-plant of New Zealand, grows spontaneously, and in
great quantities on many parts of the island, but chiefly on the
coasts and in the vallies near the sea: the leaves of this plant,
when full grown, are from six to eight feet long, and six inches
wide at the bottom: each plant contains seven leaves, and a woody
stalk rises from the center, which bears the flowers: it seeds
annually, and the old leaves are forced off by the young one
every year. The method of soaking and preparing European flax and
hemp, had been tried, but with no other effect than separating
the vegetable part from the fibres; and a ligneous substance
still remaining, it could not be reduced to an useful state. Some
lines have been made of it, but they were not very strong; though
the flax appears capable of being worked into a very fine
substance, if the method of preparing it were known.

-Insects_.--These have already been described. The ground
is much infested by the grub-worm, which are very destructive to
the growth of vegetables: they are mostly troublesome about the
spring. Various methods have been tried to destroy these vermin,
but without effect. The caterpillar has also been very
troublesome in the spring; having destroyed acres of Indian corn
and acres of wheat: they came in upon the grain quite suddenly,
and after remaining three weeks, they went away with the same

-Fish_.--The coasts of the island abound with very fine
fish, which are principally the snapper, and weigh from four to
eight pounds each. A few fish are at times caught from the shore;
this, however, happens but seldom; so that a supply of fish must
depend on the weather and the surf permitting boats to go out. In
moderate weather, boats might land in Collins's-Bay, on
Phillip-Island, where a great quantity of fish might be cured,
from March to September; after which time the fly prevents

-Seasons_.--The spring is very visible in August, but the
trees on many parts of the island are in a constant succession of
flowering and seeding the whole year round. The summer is very
hot: I had no thermometer to determine the degree of heat, but it
is excessive. From the 23d of September, 1789, to the 22d of
February, 1790, not one drop of rain fell, excepting on two days
in December; but it should be remarked, that we had no drought in
the former year. All the grain, and the European plants seeded in
December. From February to August may be called the rainy season;
not that I think there is any regular time of rains during these
months, as the weather is sometimes very fine for a fortnight
together; but when the rain does fall, it pours in torrents. I do
not recollect more than three claps of thunder, or lightning,
during the time I remained on the island. The winter, (which may
be said to commence in April, and end in July,) is very pleasant;
there is never any frost; but when the south-west winds blow,
which are very frequent and violent in these months, the air is
raw and cold. It is very remarkable, that during some days in
December and January, the weather has been much colder than in
the winter months. The south-east, and east winds are very
parching and dry, as no dew falls when those winds prevail.

-Winds_.--During the winter months, the wind is mostly
from south to west, blowing with great violence for a week
together; afterwards it veers round to the southward and
south-east, which brings fine weather for a few days, then it
veers to east, north-east, and north-west, blowing in heavy
gales, and generally accompanied with violent torrents of rain:
after which it shifts to south-west: indeed, I do not remember
one instance of the wind coming to the north-east, round by west.
The south-east wind blows during the summer with very little
variation, and sometimes very strong.

-Coasts of the island_.--The coasts of the island are in
general steep to, and (excepting Sydney, Anson, Ball, and Cascade
Bays,) are inaccessible; being surrounded by steep cliffs, which
rise perpendicularly from the sea. A number of large rocks lie
scattered about close to the shore, on which a continual surf
breaks with great force.

SYDNEY-BAY, (which was so named after Lord Viscount Sydney,)
lies on the south side of the island, and here the settlement was
formed: this bay is formed by Point Hunter and Point Ross, which
lie east half north, and west half south of each other, and are
about a mile and three-quarters asunder. A reef of clay and coral
extends from Point Hunter, at the distance of 150 yards from the
shore, and parallel to it, for about three-quarters of a mile:
close to the back of this reef, there is four fathoms water; it
terminates abreast of the settlement with a corner, round which
is the landing place; but, as the surf breaks with great violence
on the reef, it sometimes breaks into the passage off the corner,
so that landing is then impossible. The landing in this bay,
entirely depends on the state of the sea without, and the
direction of the wind; great attention should also be paid to the
signals from the shore. I have seen the landing, for a month
together, as good as could be wished; and sometimes a very heavy
surf would continue for a fortnight: on the whole, the best time
for landing is from half ebb to half flood, and an easterly,
north-east, and north-west wind, generally make smooth water.

There is another reef off Point Ross, which stretches about
half a mile into the sea; and no vessel ought ever to go within
the outer breaker of this reef, and the south point of
Nepean-Isle. The tide sets right through between the islands, and
when the flood runs to the westward, it sets very strong round
Nepean-Island into the bight of Sydney-Bay; therefore all vessels
ought to be particularly cautious not to go within Nepean-Island
with an inblowing wind: should the wind be from the eastward or
westward, vessels might stand very close in; but even this ought
not to be done, except for the purpose of taking a boat up, and
then the tide must be considered.

The passage between Point Hunter and Nepean-Island is a very
good one, there being three fathoms water close to Nepean-Isle,
and nine fathoms in mid-channel. There lies a rock off Point
Hunter in the direction of south-west with one fathom and a half
on it, but it is out of the passage. The tide occasions a very
strong race between the islands, which makes it very difficult
for vessels to have communication with the shore, as they cannot
anchor, the bottom being rocky. The ebb runs nine hours to the
east, and the flood three hours to the west, but at times, the
flood has been observed to run five hours: it flows in this bay
at seven hours and an half, full and change, and rises seven feet

ANSON-BAY, (which was named after George Anson, the member of
parliament for Litchfield,) is a small bay with a sandy beach:
the landing here is tolerably good in settled weather, and when
the sea is quite smooth; but as the interior parts of the island
are so very difficult of access from thence, no ship's boats have
ever landed there.

BALL-BAY, (which was named after Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird
Ball,) goes in about three-quarters of a mile: the beach is
formed of large loose stones, which renders beaching boats here
dangerous, though it often happens that the landing here is very
good when the surf has increased so much in Sydney-Bay as to
render landing there impracticable. A good landing place was
cleared away here, but in the course of three months the stones
were washed into it again, although many of them weighed two
hundred pounds each. This bay is surrounded by very steep hills,
which renders the access to the settlement from hence rather

CASCADE-BAY.--The south-west winds, which generally prevail
during the winter months, make this the best side of the island
for landing on at that season. A good landing place may easily be
made, where any thing might be landed from half ebb to half
flood. It is the intention of the lieutenant-governor to erect a
store-house, and make a good landing place; indeed this would
have been done before, but the want of hands prevented it. The
Golden-Grove and Supply have both lain at anchor in this bay,
bringing the great Cascade to bear south-west, at one mile from
the shore, in seventeen fathoms coral and sand, but the bottom is
foul, as there is great reason to suppose it is all round the

-Present state of cultivation_.--The proper time for
sowing wheat or barley is from May to August: that which is sown
in sheltered situations, should be sown in May, June, and July:
and that which is sown in places that are exposed to the
sea-winds on the south side of the island, should not be sown
before July; and if so late as August, it would yield well. The
wheat, which has been sown, produced more than twenty fold; and,
I think in future, it will yield a still greater increase. We
have found a bushel and an half of seed sufficient for an acre of
ground newly broke up. Two bushels of barley sown in May on an
acre of ground yielded twenty-four bushels. Indian corn should be
planted from June until August, in places not much exposed to the
sea winds: it yields well, and is in my opinion the best grain to
cultivate, on account of the little trouble attending its growth,
and the manufacturing it for food.

The sugar-cane grows very strong, and I think will come to
perfection; although it suffers much from the blighting winds,
and the grub-worm. Vines, orange, and lemon trees, are in a very
thriving state: the banana trees found growing on the island,
will, I make no doubt, thrive very well, when those which have
been planted out from the old trees come to perfection; indeed
some of them have already yielded good fruit. That useful article
of food, the potatoe, thrives amazingly, and two crops a year may
be obtained with ease: I have seen 120 potatoes at one root, 80
of which were larger than an hen's egg. Every kind of garden
vegetable (which the grub spares,) grows well and comes to great
perfection: cabbages weigh from ten to twenty-seven pounds each:
melons and pumpkins also grow very fine.

I think situations might be found on the island, where cotton
and indigo will thrive: of the latter, there are two trees, both
which are very large and fine, but the ant destroys the blossom
as fast as it flowers. Rice has been sown twice, viz. once each
year, but the south-east winds blighted a great part of it: that
which escaped the blight, yielded a great increase. The quantity
of ground cleared and in cultivation on the 13th of March, 1790,
was thirty acres belonging to the crown, and about eighteen acres
cleared by free people and convicts, for their gardens.

It was my intention to put as many labourers as could be
spared from other necessary work, to clear ground for
cultivation; and I had reason to believe that I should have had
from fifty to seventy acres sown with grain by the end of
October: I purposed to continue clearing ground in Arthur's Vale,
and on the hill round it, in order to have all the cultivated
lands belonging to the public as much connected together as
possible; this would have answered much better for the growth of
wheat, Indian corn, or barley, than their being sown in confined
situations; which experience had shown were not at all
productive: the parroquets and other birds would not have
destroyed so much of the grain before it was got in, and it might
be much better guarded from thieves than if the cultivated
grounds were dispersed in different parts of the island: another
very material reason for clearing all the ground in this
particular situation was, that the barn was situated in the
center of the vale.

I proposed building a strong log store-house at Cascade-Bay,
and making the landing place there more easy of access; which,
from the increased number of the inhabitants on the island, was
now become absolutely necessary; especially as landing there is
much oftener practicable than in Sydney-Bay: indeed, I should
have got this business done, but that it would have been a great
hindrance to cultivation, which I ever thought was the principal
object to attend to. The other buildings which I meant to erect,
were barracks for the soldiers, of 54 feet long by 16 feet wide;
a granary, 36 feet long by 20 feet wide, and a store-house, 60
feet long by 24 feet wide; all which, I hoped, would have been
completed by the ensuing December.

Respecting the flax, although we made repeated trials, yet,
having no person conversant in the preparation of it, I found it
could not at present be brought to an useful state: but I may
venture to say, that if proper flax-dressers could be sent to New
Zealand, to observe their method of manufacturing it, they might
render it a valuable commodity, both to furnish the inhabitants
with cloathing, and for other purposes.

It was my intention to have built an house and a shed on
Phillip-Island, and, after landing three or four months water on
it, to have sent six convicts with a boat to catch and cure fish;
this would have been a great resource for Norfolk-Island; but the
fish must have been cured from April to September, on account of
the fly.

I apprehend, from the goodness of the soil, that
Norfolk-Island is very capable of maintaining at least one
hundred families, allowing to each an hundred acres of ground,
and reserving two thousand acres for fuel: with industry, they
would have in a short time, all the necessaries of life, except
cloathing, and that must depend on the flax of the island, or the
growth of European flax.

The want of a safe harbour for vessels to lie in, is a very
great inconvenience, and renders it difficult to have access to
the island; indeed, vessels may load and unload, by going to the
lee-side, and embracing other favourable opportunities, but
unfortunately the vast quantity of coral rocks which cover the
bottom, render anchorage very unsafe.

However, should the settlement at Port Jackson be continued,
in the course of a few years these difficulties will scarcely be
thought on, when compared with the advantages arising from the
quantity of grain that there is every reason to suppose may be
drawn from this island, for the support of the inhabitants of New

-General behaviour of the convicts, and other
remarks_.--The few convicts that first landed with me, in
general behaved well; but, as their numbers increased, they
renewed their wicked practices: the most artful and daring thefts
were now almost daily committed, and the perpetrators could
seldom be discovered; and nothing but the certainty of meeting
with a very severe punishment, and the mustering them frequently
during the night in their huts could prevent these thefts in any
degree whatever: indeed, they were often troublesome, and some of
them were incorrigible, notwithstanding every encouragement was
held out to them, and the indulgencies they received were fully
sufficient to convince them that they would be treated according
to their deserts: some few of them were susceptible of the
advantages arising from industry and good behaviour; those of
this description had the satisfaction of enjoying a quantity of
Indian corn, potatoes, and other vegetables, which were a great
assistance to them at the time they were put to short allowance
of provisions; and some of them had cleared from one to three
acres of ground, which they proposed sowing with Indian corn and
potatoes: these formed a respectable set of convicts, compared to
the greater part, who were idle, miserable wretches.

When I first landed on the island, the convicts were kept at
day-work, having stated times for their dinners and other meals:
this method answered very well whilst there were few to look
after; but when their numbers increased, I had not people of
confidence to overlook them and keep them at work: I therefore
judged it would be more eligible to task them, taking the opinion
of those whom I thought most conversant in the different kinds of
work that were going forward.

The numbers of inhabitants I left on Norfolk Island were as follow:

Civil, military, and free 90
Belonging to the Sirius   80
Male convicts            191
Female convicts          100
Children                  37
Total                    498

The quantities of grain, potatoes, and live stock I left were
as follow:

Wheat,       from 250 to 300 bushels.
Barley                     6 bushels.
Indian corn       130 to 140 bushels.

Potatoes, one acre, would be ready to dig in May.

Hogs, large and small, belonging to the public, 26, besides 18
hogs, a quantity of poultry, 3 goats, and 1 ewe, my property; and
some stock belonging to individuals.

Before I take my final leave of this island, (where I remained
two years) I cannot help acknowledging the great assistance I
have received from the few officers I had with me; nor was this
propriety of conduct confined to the officers alone, as all the
marines and other free people were steady and regular in their
behaviour; and it gives me a sensible satisfaction to remark,
that, excepting on one or two occasions, I never had any reason
to be dissatisfied with any of the few free persons I had under
my command.

Exclusive of this general approbation of the good conduct of
the free people, I must particularise Mr. Cresswell, the officer
of marines; Mr. Stephen Dunavan, midshipman; and Mr. Thomas
Jamieson, surgeon's mate, of the Sirius, I feel the greatest
satisfaction in saying that a constant, uniform propriety of
conduct, and a readiness in forwarding the service, were ever
zealously shown by these gentlemen.

At noon on the 24th, the Supply made sail, and we arrived at
Port Jackson on the 4th of April.

When I left Port Jackson in February, 1788, the ground about
Sydney-Cove was covered with a thick forest, but on my arrival at
this time, I found it cleared to a considerable distance, and
some good buildings were erected. The governor, the
lieutenant-governor, the judge-advocate, and the greatest part of
the civil and military officers were comfortably lodged. The
governor's house is built of stone, and has a very good
appearance, being seventy feet in front. The
lieutenant-governor's house is built of brick, as are also those
belonging to the judge and the commissary: the rest of the houses
are built with logs and plaistered; and all the roofs are either
covered with shingles or thatched. The hospital is a good
temporary building: the soldiers were in barracks, and the
officers had comfortable huts, with gardens adjoining to them;
but unfortunately, these gardens afford but little, as there is
not more than two feet of soil over a bed of rocks, and this soil
is little better than black sand; and to this inconvenience must
be added, the depredations of rats and thieves.

At the distance of an hour's walk from Sydney-Cove, the soil
is better in some places, and these are occupied by the officers
and others, as their farms: there are also brick-kilns and a
pottery, both which articles they make very well, but a great
inconvenience arises in their not being able to glaze the

From the little I saw of the soil about Sydney-Cove, I think
it is very bad, most of the ground being covered with rocks, or
large stones, which are used for building, and when cut, greatly
resemble the Portland stone; they are easily worked, and harden
very much after being wrought. A little below Sydney-Cove, there
is another, called Farm-Cove, at the head of which there are
about fifteen acres of ground in cultivation, but the soil is
very indifferent.

Governor Phillip, it seems, had made several excursions, in
order to inform himself more fully about the nature of the soil,
and to find out a place more proper for cultivation, than the
land about the lower part of the harbour; and, at length, had
fixed on a situation at the head of it, about eleven miles from
Sydney-Cove. The soil here was found to be much better than at
Sydney-Cove, and a number of convicts were sent there in 1789,
with a captain's guard, in order to prevent any disputes with the
natives, and to preserve regularity amongst the convicts.

I accompanied Governor Phillip to this place, which is named
Rose-Hill, on the 9th: we left Sydney-Cove at eight in the
morning, and arrived at Rose-Hill before noon. About two miles
below this settlement, the harbour becomes quite narrow, being
not more than ten or twelve yards across, and the banks are about
six feet high: here, the country has the appearance of a park. In
rowing up this branch, we saw a flock of about thirty kangaroos
or paderong, but they were only visible during their leaps, as
the very long grass hid them from our view. We landed about half
a mile from the settlement, and walked up to it.

This settlement is on an elevated ground, which joins to a
fine crescent, as regular as if formed by art; it is probable
that this crescent, and the regular slopes which surround the
settlement, have been formed by very heavy rains. The soil is
loam, sand, and clay: the trees are not so large here as lower
down the harbour, but the large roots lying on the ground render
it difficult to clear. A fine stream of fresh water runs into the
head of the harbour, which, in the winter, and when heavy rains
fall, sometimes rises seven or eight feet, and becomes a rapid
torrent. A redoubt is constructed here, in which are very good
barracks for officers and soldiers: there is likewise a

On the opposite side of the brook, there is a farm-house,
where a servant of Governor Phillip's resides, who is charged
with the superintendence of the convicts and the cultivation of
the ground; to which charge he is very equal, and is of the
greatest service to the governor, as he has no other free person
whatever to overlook any piece of work carrying on by the
convicts. Near to this farm-house, there is a very good barn and
a granary. The convicts houses form a line at some distance, in
front of the barracks, with very good gardens before and behind
each house: indeed, the whole, joined to the pleasantness of the
situation, makes it a beautiful landscape.

In 1789, the quantity of ground sown with wheat here, and at
Sydney-Cove, was twenty-two acres; with barley, seventeen acres;
flax, Indian corn, and beans, three acres. The quantity of wheat
raised was two hundred bushels; of barley, sixty bushels; flax,
beans, and other seeds, ten bushels: the wheat is a fine full
grain. This year (1790) near one hundred acres will be cleared at
Rose-Hill, of which forty are to be sown with wheat.

After dinner, I accompanied the governor from Rose-Hill to
Prospect-Hill, which is about four miles distant: we walked
through a very pleasant tract of country, which, from the
distance the trees grew from each other, and the gentle hills and
dales, and rising slopes covered with grass, appeared like a vast
park. The soil from Rose-hill to Prospect-Hill is nearly alike,
being a loam and clay. It is remarkable, that although the
distance between these two places is only four miles, yet the
natives divide it into eight different districts.

Prospect-Hill is a small elevation, which commands a very
extensive prospect of the country to the southward: a range of
very high mountains bound the view to the westward: these
mountains, which lie nearly north and south, are about forty
miles from Prospect-Hill; and the intervening country is a thick
forest: the northernmost of these mountains is called
Richmond-Hill, at the foot of which the Hawkesbury takes its rise
from a bed of fresh water coal.

A river has been discovered by Captain Tench, of the marines,
which runs near the foot of Lansdown-Hills; its direction appears
to be north and south, but how far it runs to the southward
cannot be ascertained, though there is great reason to suppose it
runs a considerable way, as it does not empty itself into
Botany-Bay, it therefore appears probable that it may come into
the sea about Long-Nose, or Cape St. George, where there is an
appearance of a good harbour.

There were at this time three of the natives who lived at Port
Jackson, viz. a man about twenty-eight years old, a girl about
thirteen, and a boy about nine years old. The man was taken by
stratagem, by Lieutenant Bradley, who enticed him and another
native to the boat by holding up a fish: they were both secured,
a number of the natives being at the same time on the shore;
these threw a number of spears, and although they are only made
of wood, yet one of them went through four folds of the boat's
sail, and struck the apron of the boat's stern with such violence
as to split it. One of these natives made his escape presently
afterwards, but the other grew reconciled to his situation, and
lives with the governor: he is a very intelligent man, and much
information may, no doubt, be procured from him, when he can be
well understood. Mr. Collins, the judge-advocate, is very
assiduous in learning the language, in which he has made a great

This native has no less than five names, viz. "-Bannelon,
Wollewarre, Boinba, Bunde-bunda, Wogé trowey_," but he
likes best to be called by the second: he is a stout, well made
man, about five feet six inches high, and now that the dirt is
washed from his skin, we find his colour is a dark black: he is
large featured, and has a flat nose; his hair is the same as the
Asiatics, but very coarse and strong: he is very good-natured,
being seldom angry at any jokes that may be passed upon him, and
he readily imitates all the actions and gestures of every person
in the governor's family; he sits at table with the governor,
whom he calls "-Beanga_," or Father; and the governor calls
him "-Dooroow_," or Son: he is under no restraint, nor is he
the least aukward in eating; indeed, considering the state of
nature which he has been brought up in, he may be called a polite
man, as he performs every action of bowing, drinking healths,
returning thanks, etc. with the most scrupulous attention. He
is very fond of wine, but cannot bear the smell of spirits,
although they have often tried to deceive him, by mixing very
weak rum or brandy and water, instead of wine and water; but he
would instantly find out the deception, and on these occasions he
was angry: his appetite is very good, for he soon began to
perceive the difference between a full and a short allowance.

He walks about constantly with the governor, who, to make him
sensible of the confidence he placed in him, always took off a
small sword which he usually wore, and gave it to
Wolle-warrè, who put it on, and was not a little pleased
at this mark of confidence. His dress is a jacket, made of the
coarsest red kersey, and a pair of trowsers; but on Sundays, he
is drest in nankeen. The governor's reason for making him wear
the thick kersey is, that he may be so sensible of the cold as
not to be able to go without cloaths.

Wolle-warre has had a wife, who, it seems, died a short time
before he was taken: he sometimes mentions this circumstance, and
it occasions a momentary gloom; but this his natural gaiety soon
dissipates: he sings, when asked, but in general his songs are in
a mournful strain, and he keeps time by swinging his arms:
whenever asked to dance, he does it with great readiness; his
motions at first are very slow, and are regulated by a dismal
tune, which grows quicker as the dance advances, till at length
he throws himself into the most violent posture, shaking his
arms, and striking the ground with great force, which gives him
the appearance of madness. It is very probable that this part of
the dance is used as a sort of defiance, as all the natives which
were seen when we first arrived at Port Jackson, always joined
this sort of dance to their vociferations of "-woroo,
woroo_," go away.

To what I have already said, respecting this man, a few more
particulars will be added in the following vocabulary, which Mr.
Collins permitted me to copy.

The native boy lived with Mr. White, the surgeon, who, with
that humanity for which he is distinguished, cured both the boy
and girl of a confluent small-pox, which swept off hundreds of
the natives in the winter of 1788. This dreadful disorder, which,
there is no doubt, is a distemper natural to the country,
together with the difficulty of procuring a subsistance, renders
the situtation of these poor wretches truly miserable.

The girl lived with the chaplain's wife, and both she and the
boy were very tractable; but the girl at times would be out of
temper, and could not bear to be thwarted.

I shall now add a vocabulary of the language, which I procured
from Mr. Collins and Governor Phillip; both of whom had been very
assiduous in procuring words to compose it; and as all the
doubtful words are here rejected, it may be depended upon to be

[* This Vocabulary was much enlarged by Captain

Allocy, _To stay_.
Annegar, _To ask any thing_.
A-ra-goon, _A war shield_.
Ar-row-an, _Distant, or far off_.
Bòe, _or_ Bo-y, _Dead_.
Bourbillie remul, _Buried_.
*Bado-burra, _or_ Burra-bado, _To pour water_.
 [* It should be observed, that in speaking, Wolle-warre
frequently changes the position of his words, as in Bado-burra:
so when walking one night from Prospect-Hill to Rose-Hill, we
frequently stumbled against the roots, and he exclaimed
"Wèrè Wadè, and Wadè Werè,"
bad wood, or bad roots.]
 Bado-go-bally-vuida, _I am dry, or I want water to
Barong-boruch, _A belly-full_.
Boor emil diow, _To put on_.
Bo-me, _To breathe_.
Bo-gay, _To dive_.
Boorana, _Yesterday_.
Boora-Carremay, _A fine day_.
Beal, _or_ Bidgeree, _Good_.
Byalla, _To speak_.
Bomar, _A grave_.
Bourra, _A cloud, or the clouds_.
Bengalle, _Ornaments in general_.
Barrong, _The belly_.
Booroow, _The testicles_.
Boon-abbiey, _To kiss each other_.
Berille, _The finger-
Bib-be, _The ribs_.
Boot Boot, _The heart_.
Bur-ra, _A fish-book_.
Bur-boga, _To rise_.
Bir-ra, _The cheek_.
Bin-ning, _The leg_.
Bin-yang, _A bird_.
Bee-an-bing, _A quail_.
Ba-ra-goo-la, _The flood-tide_.

Birrang, _The stars_.
Be-anga, _A father_.
Boon-ya, _To kiss_.
Ban-ga-ray, _The red kanguroo_.
Bo-ra-ya, _To sing_.
Bur-ra-doo, _or_ Moona, _A louse_.
Ba-rin, _An apron worn by young females_.
Bin-ny, _With young_.
Bul-mie, _To clap hands in dancing_.
Ba-na-rang, _The blood_.
Barbuka, _To get up_.
Boming, _A bird called the red-bill_.
Bun-ya-dil, _To singe the beard off_.
Bolwara, _To stare, or open the eyes_.
Bur-ra-nè, _To-morrow_.
Baggy, _The skin_.
Boo-roo-an, _An island_.
Bò-ye, _Death, or a ghost_.
Cowull, _The male of animals_.
Car-re-nar-e-bille, _To cough_.
Cannadinga, _To burn_.
Can-no-can, _Any vegetable fit to eat_.
Cà-ma, _To call_.
Carre-mille-bado, _To soak, or wash in water_.
Coing-bibo-la, _The sun-rise_.
Coing-burra-go-lah, _The sun-set_.
Camurra, _A day_.
Chiang, _or_ Chang-ulah, _To chew_.
Cot-ban-jow, _Broken_.
Cot-bàniè, _or_ Cot-barry, _To cut_.
Carra-duin, _A fishing-line_.
Canno, _A belly-full_.
Caberra, _The head_.
Cad-lwar, _or_ Col-liang, _The neck_.
Corungun, _A nail_.
Carra-mah, _A gut_.
Camye, _A spear, or lance_.
Ca-la-ra, _A large fish-gig, with four prongs_.
Ca-rall, _The black cockatoo_.
Ca-ra-ga-rang, _The sea_.
Ca-ra-goo-la, _The cbb-tide_.
Cow-ee, _To come_.
Can-ning, _A cave in the rock_.
Can, _A snake, guana, or lizard_.
Ca-la-ba-ran, _A large sword, or scymetar_.
Ca-ra-goon, _A centipede_.
Cud-yal, _Smoak_.
Ca-ban, _An egg_.
Cal-loo-a, _To climb_.
Cur-ra-yura, _The sky_.
Cot-ban-la, _It is broke_.
Cot-ban, _To break_.
Diera, _A bone_.
Din, _and_ Din aillon, _Women_.
Derra-bangel-dion crelli bow, _To take off, or imitate_.
Dyennibbe, _Laughter_.
Dère-nignan, _To sneeze_.
Didgerry-goor, _I thank you_.
Didgerry goor Wogul Banne, _I thank you for a bit_.
Die, _Here_.
Diàm-o-wau, _Where are you?-
Dara, _The teeth_.
Diwarra, _The hair_.
Da-ma-na Beril, _The hand and fingers_.
Duralia, _A hearn_.
Doo-roy, _The grass_.
Doo-ra, _A musquito_.
Doo-ra-gy-a, _To spit_.
Door-a-lang, _To prick_.
Dir-gally, _To scratch_.
Dar-ra-Burra-Boorià, _To pick the teeth_.
Dooroow, _A son_.
Eo-ra, _Men or People_.
Era-mad-ye-winnia, _To snatch_.
Eranga, _T'other side of the hill_.
Eri, _Full_.
Elabi-la-bo, _To make water_.
E-roo-ka, _To sweat_.
E-li-mang, _A small shield, made of bark_.
Gall Gall, _Small-pox_.
Gnoowing, _The night-
Gna-oong, _The nose ornament_.
Gnia-na, _To sigh_.
Go-wally, _A shag, or cormorant_.
Goomun, _The fir-tree_.
Godie-by, _Rotten, or decayed_.
Go-roon, _A muscle_.
Gorey, _Juice_.
Gnia, _I myself!-
Ger-rub-ber, _Any thing that gives fire, as a gun,
Gorai, _The ear_.
Gor-rook, _The knee_.
Gading, _The arm_.
Gwo-meil, _Feathers_,
Gnal-loa, _To sit_.
Go-ril, _A parrot_.
Ga-ra-way, _A white cockatoo_.
Girra-girra, _A fishing-gull_.
Gwarra, _The wind_.
Gur-gy, _The fern-root-
Gon-yi, _A house or hut_.
Goor-ing, _A female child_.
Gwee-ang, _Fire_.
Gar-ree, _To cough_.
Go-mi-ra, _A hole_.
Goon-gan, _A barbed spear, for close fighting_.
Gur-go, _A meteor, or shooting star_.
Gong-ara, _Ornamental scars on the body_.
Gweè-rang, _Ornaments made of reeds, and strung round
the waist or neck_.
Gna-ra, _A knot in a line_.
Goora, _To drown_.
Gu-na-murra, _A stink, or bad smell_.
Gitte-Gittim, _To tickle_.
Go-roo-da, _To snore when asleep_.
Ilga, _To leap_.
Jamel Jamel, _A hawk_.
Kalga, _The mouth_.
Kamai, _A spear_.
Kibba, _A rock_.
Ka-ra-ma, _To steal_.
Mogo, _A stone hatchet_.
Mulla, _A man_.
Moola, _Sick, to vomit_.
Maugerry, _Fishing_.
Murray, _Every thing large_.
Murray-nowey, _The Sirius_.
Murray-cara-diera, _Swelled wrist_.
Mediey, _I do not know_.
Maracry, _or_ Mar-ry-ang, _The emu_.
Mullin-ow-ule, _To-morrow morning_.
Murray-yannadah, _Full moon_.
Marroway, _To creep_.
Manioo, _To pick up any thing_.
Morun-gle, _Thunder_.
Moor-rone, _A large fly that bites_.
Morungle-birrong mongle, _Struck with thunder and
Murong, _Sand_.
Man-ye-ro, _I do not know_.
Mi, _The eye_.
Murray-can-na dinga mi, _The effect of the hot burning sun on
the eye_.
Menoe, _The foot_.
Me-noe-wa, _The feet_.
Moo-tang, _A small fiz-gig_.
Mur-tin, _Milk_.
Med-yanq, _A sore_.
Ma-gra, _Fish_.
Mang-a, _Lightning_.
My-ang-a, _A fly_.
Mong, _An ant_.
Man-a-ro, _The navel_.
Moo-tang, _Living_.
Me-gal, _Tears_.
Ma-na-ran, _The teeth of the kanguroo stuck in the head with
gum as an ornament_.
Mawn, _A ghost or apparition_.
Moono, _The bill of a bird_.
Mo-ro, _A path or road_.
Min-ney, _To scrape_.
Myi-mogro, _To shut the eyes_.
Maur, _To take hold_.
Narrong, _Any thing small_.
Nowey, _A canoe_.
Narrong nowey, _The Supply_.
Narra-dew, _To hear_.
Noone, _Now_.
Nogur, _The nose_.
Naga, _The liver_.
Nar-ra-mee, _A net_.
Nan-ga-ra, _To sleep_.
Nabanq, _Womens breasts-
Nul-la, _The forehead_.
Na-ro-wang, _A paddle_.
Nang-oon, _A bone or piece of wood thrust through the septum of
the nose_.
Nam-mel, _A sinker for a fish-line_.
Narri-keebu, _Stand on the rock_.
Oôna, _The elbow_.
Pyalla-pya-bow, _To fight or beat_.
Pan-nie-jeminga, _To give one the hand_.
Patanga, _An oyster_.
Paddewah, _A fish called a flat-head_.
Parry-buga, _To-morrow_.
Paran-banie-diow, _Eating (the act of)_.
Pa-boo-nang, _A black ant_.
Parra-berry, _Empty_.
Par-rangle, _The throat_.
Pan-ne-ra, _The blood_.
Pow-book, _An owl_.
Pan-na, _Rain_.
Pa-ta-ga-rang, _The large grey kanguroo_.
Pil-lia, _To laugh_.
Pe-mall, _Earth or clay_.
Po-cul-bee, _The flag or iris of this country_.
Teura, _A musquito_.
Teura-dieny, _Musquito bite_.
Tag-go-rah-yago, _To shiver_.
Taboa-millie, _Painted white_.
Tonga-doro, _You must say_.
Talling, _or_ Ta-lang, _The tongue_.
Tamira, _The hand_.
Tarra, _The leg_.
Tarong, _The shoulder_.
Troo-gad-ya, _A large gull_.
Ta-ga-ra, _Cold_.
Tingo, _A dog_.
Tonga, _To weep_.
Tang o-ra, _To dance_.
Te-re-nang, _To sneeze_.
Ta-ra, _Teeth_.
Ter-ra-wan-a, _A magpie_.
Ta-lang-a, _To yawn_.
Ter-ral, _Feathers used as an ornament for the head_.
Taman, _A berry_.
Toon, _The tail of a bird, or any animal_.
Tan-naing, _Mine_. _(My property.)-
Ury-diow, _To sit nearer any one_.
Wering, _Female_.
Womerraa, _To run_.
Womerra-berra, _To jump_.
Wèrè, _Bad_.
Wadby, _To swim_.
Warre-wee, _To stand_.
Wanne-bow, _To throw away_.
Waltegal, _A large fish_.
Woolamie, _A fish called a light-horseman_.
Waré, _Where_.
Wogan-minnering, _Cutting off_.
Womar, _A throwing-stick_.
Wea-ja-minga, Wea-jow-inia. Wianga, _Relating to the giving of
any thing_.
Wal-lu-merun-wea, _Will you have any more?-
Walloo-bu-diown, _To turn when walking_.
Woroo-woroo! _Go away, or an exclamation of defiance_.
Willin, _The lips_.
Wallo, _The chin_.
Woo-da, _A club_.
Wee-de, _To drink or suck_.
Wan-aree, _The eyebrow_.
Wee-lang, _Lips_.
War-ra, _The breast of a man_.
Wa-gan, _A crow_.
Wir-gan, _A bird called fryar_.
Wad-dy, _A stick or tree_.
Wong-ara, _A male child_.
Wy-anga, _A mother_.
Wo-la-ba, _A young kanguroo_.
Waregal, _A large dog_.
Wy-a-jenuriga, _Give me_.
Wur-ra, _A rat_.
Wil-bing, _To fly, or the wing of a bird_.
Wa-ra-bee, _A cockel_.
Worgye, _To whistle_.
Wya-bo-in-ya, _Take this_.
We-ring, _The female of animals_.
Wa, _Where_.
Wong-ara jug-ga-me, _A child carried on the shoulder_.
Yenu, Yenmow, Yenminia, Yen, _The termination of the verb--to
Yu-ru-gurra, _Hungry_.
Yenna, _Gone_.
Yennibun, _Walking away_.
Yagoona, _To-day_.
Yannadah paragi, _New moon_.
Yery, _or_ Curna, _To throw_.
Yery-dioma, _To fall down_.
Ya-ban, _To sing_.
Yarre, _or_ Yerring, _A beard_.
Yer-ra, _A sword_.
Yen-our-yenna, _Go away_.
Yo-ra, _A number of people_.
Goang-un, _A spear about eight feet long, with four barbs on
each side_.--The natives make use of this spear when they
advance near their adversary, and the thrust, or rather the
stroke, is made at the side, as they raise the spear up, and have
a shield in the left-hand. A wound from this spear must be

The only colours we have as yet discovered they have any
knowledge of, are--Red, _Morjal_; White, _Taboa_;
Black, _Nand_; Green, _Boolga_.

The females of each tribe are distinguished by the word
"-Leon_," added to the name which distinguishes the chief:
it is supposed that the word "-Gal_," signifies
-tribe_, and the word preceding it is the word of
distinction; probably, it is the place where the tribe

The following instances may serve to confirm these

MEN.                     WOMEN.
Camera-gal               Cameragal-leon.
Cadi-gal.                Cadigal-leon.
Won-gal.                 Wongal-leon.
Gwea-gal.                Gwea-gal-leon.
Boora me di-gal.         Booramedigal-leon.
Norongera-gal.           Norongera-gal-leon.
Wallume-de-gal.          Wallume-degal-leon.
Borogegal-yurrey.        Borogegal-leon.
Gommerigal-tongara.      Gommerigal-leon.

We have every reason to believe, that the natives are divided
into tribes, and that the persons belonging to each tribe derive
their name from the chief. We have heard much of
-Camme-ro-gal_, who lives in the interior part of the
country, and is a great warrior. Wolare-warrè must have
had some severe conflicts with this chief, as he showed several
scars which proceeded from wounds that he had received from

The tribe of Camerra inhabit the north side of Port Jackson.
The tribe of Cadi inhabit the south side, extending from the
south head to Long-Cove; at which place the district of Wanne,
and the tribe of Wangal, commences, extending as far as
Par-ra-mata, or Rose-Hill. The tribe of Wallumede inhabit the
north shore opposite Warrane, or Sydney-Cove, and are called
-Walumetta_. I have already observed, that the space between
Rose-Hill and Prospect-Hill is distinguished by eight different
names, although the distance is only four miles.

Wolare-warrè has given us to understand, that there are
apparitions in the country which he calls "-Manè:-"
he describes them as coming up with a strange noise, and catching
hold of any one by the throat: he made use of many words on this
occasion, and pointed up to the sky: he also informed us, that
these apparitions singe the beards and the hair: this, he
describes as a very painful operation, rubbing his face after
every application of the brand.

They put their dead, for some time, in a fire, after which
they are laid at length in a grave, dug very clean out, the
bottom being first very carefully covered with long grass, or
fern; the body is then put in, and covered over with long grass,
and the grave is then filled with earth, the mould rising above
it as in England.

No signs of any religion have been observed among them, yet
they are not entirely ignorant of a future state, as they say the
bones of the dead are in the grave, and the body is in the
clouds; or, as those we have had with us may have been
misunderstood, they probably mean that the soul is in the clouds:
Wolare-warrè once asked the judge-advocate, if the white
men went to the clouds also. The sun, moon, and stars, they call
-Werè_ (bad): the native girl once went into very
violent convulsions on seeing a falling star, and said that every
body would be destroyed, although some who were about her
observed, that she particularly alluded to the "-Murray
nowey_," the Sirius.

The Emu, (Maroang) the Patagorang, and the Menagine, (a small
animal) are all named "-Goa-long_," which term is supposed
to mean an animal, as Wolarewarrè uses it in
contradistinction to a bird or a fish: on being asked, if the Emu
was a bird, (Binyan) he shook his head, and said,
"-Goa-long_." He calls Governor Phillip, _Beanga-
(father); and names himself, _Dooroow_ (son): the judge and
commissary he calls _Babunna_ (brother). He sings a great
deal, and with much variety: the following are some words which
were caught--"E eye at wangewah-wandeliah chiango wandego
mangenny wakey angoul barre boa lah barrema." He throws the spear
ninety yards with great force and exactness. In counting the
numerals, he cannot reckon beyond four; viz. One, Wogul, or
Ya-ole; Two, Bulla and Yablowxe; Three, Boorooi, or Brewè;
Four, Cal-una-long. On laying down a fifth object, he named it
with the rest, "-Marry-diolo_." He calls the four principal
winds by the following names:--The North, Boo-roo-way; The South,
Bain-marree; The West, Bow-wan; The East, Gonie-mah.

The natives sing an hymn or song of joy, from day-break until
sunrise. They procure fire with infinite labour, by fixing the
pointed end of a round piece of stick into a hole made in a flat
piece of wood, and twirling it round swiftly betwixt both hands,
sliding them at the same time upwards and downwards until the
operator is fatigued, when he is relieved by some of his
companions, who are all seated in a circle for that purpose, and
each takes his turn in the operation until fire is procured: this
being the process, it is no wonder that they are never seen
without a piece of lighted wood in their hand.

Chapter XVI


April 1790 to December 1790

-Lieutenant King sails for Batavia.--Meets with
a dangerous shoal.--Discovers Tench's-Island.--A description of
the inhabitants.--Prince William-Henry's Island
described.--Touches at Kercolang.--A description of the
inhabitants, their cloathing and utensils.--Passes through the
Streights of Salayer.--Arrival at Batavia.--Interview with the
governor.--Batavia described.--Situation and extent.--Manners and
customs of the inhabitants.--Government and police.--Annual
exports.--Departure from Batavia.--Mortality amongst the
sailors.--Arrival at the Isle of France.--An account of that
island.--Sails from the Isle of France.--Arrival in the English

Having received the dispatches for his Majesty's principal
Secretary of State, and for the Secretary of the Admiralty, from
Governor Phillip, together with his order for me to go on board
the Supply, and to proced in her to Batavia, and from thence, to
make the best of my way to England, with the above dispatches,
and Lieutenant Ball having also received his orders, I took my
leave of the governor, and at noon on the 17th of April, we set
sail; carrying with us the fervent prayers of those we left
behind, for our safety.

From this time till the 22d, we had variable weather, the wind
in general from the south-east. Lieutenant Ball was directed to
call at Norfolk-Island, if it did not occasion him too much loss
of time; but, as the winds seemed to hang to the eastward, there
was every probability of losing at least a fortnight; and, as the
Supply did not carry any thing which could be of the least
assistance to those on the island, he thought proper to proceed
on the voyage, and accordingly bore up in order to go to the
westward of the shoal seen by the Golden-Grove, in latitude
29° 25' south, and 159° 59' east longitude: Lieutenant
Shortland also saw another shoal, as hath already been mentioned,
which may probably be the same, if they exist: this, however,
seems to be a matter of doubt, as Lieutenant Ball, in July, 1789,
cruized in these and the adjacent latitudes and longitudes for a
fortnight, and could not see the least appearance either of an
island or shoals; although Mr. Blackburn, the master of the
Supply, who was at that time on board the Golden-Grove, is very
confident that a shoal was seen in that vessel.

We had very heavy gales of wind from east until the 28th, with
violent squalls, attended with rain: the air in general thick and
hazy, and a high hollow sea running. At one o'clock on the 28th,
we perceived a great alteration in the sea, which was become so
smooth, that at four o'clock it was, comparatively speaking,
smooth water: at half past five, the man who was stationed at the
mast-head, saw breakers in the south-east, which were found to be
a shoal, bearing from south-east by east to east-south-east,
about seven miles distant: it appeared to trend south-south-east
and north-north-west; and the north end seemed to break off
suddenly in a small bluff.

The man at the mast-head had seen this shoal a considerable
time before he spoke of it, and, when asked why he did not
mention it sooner, he said that he took it for the reflection of
the setting-sun; forgetting that the sun, if it had been visible,
set to the westward: this circumstance occasioned Lieutenant Ball
to name it "-Booby shoal:-" its latitude is 21° 24'
south, and the longitude, by the time-keeper, 159° 24' east
of Greenwich. Immediately after passing this shoal, we found the
same high hollow sea running as we had in the morning.

At noon on the 3d of May, our latitude was 12° 13' south,
and the longitude, by the time-keeper, 161° 33' east. We were
now drawing near the situation in which Lieutenant Shortland had
discovered land, and being surrounded by birds, and a number of
trees floating about the vessel, we were induced to suppose
ourselves not far distant from it. In the evening of the 4th we
sounded, but got no ground with 150 fathoms of line. The next
morning high land was seen, bearing from north-north-west to
west-north-west, seven or eight leagues distant; it seemed to
trend about north-north-east, and south-south-west. At noon, the
latitude was 11° 7' south, and the longitude 162° 34'
east: the northernmost land bore north by west, five leagues
distant: it appeared like a small island covered with trees; and
in the center of it there is a conspicuous mount, formed by some
very high trees: the land to the west-ward, which extends from
this island as far as north-west a quarter north, is low, and in
clumps like islands. The weather now was very hot and sultry,
with dark heavy clouds all round the horizon: we had also a great
deal of thunder and lightning, attended with heavy rain.

In the afternoon of the 6th, we perceived the northernmost
land to be two small islands, which appeared to trend
north-north-east and south-south-west; the main land lying a
little to the westward of them. The easternmost of these two
islands Lieutenant Ball named Sirius's-Island; it is situated in
10° 52' south latitude, and 162° 30' east longitude: the
other was named Massey's-Island. We observed by the land, that a
very strong current, or tide, set us fast to the northward. It is
unfortunate that the changeable state of the wind and weather did
not permit us to range this coast, by hauling in with the land,
as something might have probably been discovered, without
occasioning any loss of time. In the evening we had very heavy
squalls, attended with rain, thunder, and lightning.

At eight o'clock the next morning, we saw land, which had the
appearance of a large high island, lying along the shore:
Lieutenant Ball named it Smith's-Island; it is situated in 9°
44' south latitude, and 161° 54' east longitude. On the 8th,
at day-light, the land bore from west by south to south by west,
seven or eight leagues distant: Smith's Island then bearing
south-south-east ten leagues.

This land in general is very high, and appears well wooded:
there is the appearance of a number of openings, resembling bays
or harbours; but our distance from shore was too great to
ascertain any observation of that kind. At noon our latitude was
9° 00' south, and the longitude 161° 41' east; and the
land trending away to the north-west, it was evident that we had
rounded the east part of that island which Lieutenant Shortland
coasted on its south side, from the latitude of 10° 44' south
longitude 161° 41' east, to 6° 55' south latitude, and
156° 30' east longitude.

As Lieutenant Shortland made the land on the opposite side of
this island in latitude 10° 44' south, longitude 161° 30'
east, and the Supply being this day in latitude 9° 00' south,
longitude 161° 41' east; there remains a space between the
situation of the two vessels, which, reduced to bearings and
distances from these latitudes and longitudes, will give south
6° east; distance 104 miles: now, the Supply was ten leagues
off shore, and, admitting the Alexander (Lieutenant Shortland's
ship,) to have been four leagues, it will make the breadth of the
island 62 miles, and its length and bearings will be south
57° east, and north 57° west, 436 miles.

The eastern extremity of this land is an island about 18 miles
in circuit, lying at a small distance from the main island: I
have before observed that it was named Sirius-Island, between
which, and the Queen Charlotte's Islands, there cannot be many
leagues, supposing Captain Carteret's longitude to have been

The north-east coast of this island Lieutenant Ball named
"-Ball's Maiden Land_;" and the passage between Sirius and
Queen Charlotte's Islands, "-Supply's Passage_."

At day-light in the morning of the 9th, land was seen, bearing
from south to west, eleven leagues distant; it was very high, and
there appeared to be a number of openings in it. Our latitude at
noon on the 10th, was 7° 16' south, and the longitude
162° 23' east. We now daily found the vessel set considerably
to the northward and westward, and on the 16th she was set 48
miles west-north-west during the 24 hours.

A different kind of sea-fowl was seen about the vessel to any
we had hitherto met with; it was of the ganet kind; the back,
wings, and head being a glossy black, and the breast entirely

At ten o'clock in the morning of the 19th, we saw an island
bearing west by north six or seven leagues distant: the latitude
at noon, was 1° 44' south, and the longitude 150° 39'
east. With a fine breeze at east-south-east, we steered for the
island, as it lay directly in our course, and soon perceived that
it was inhabited, as we saw a number of people standing on the
south point, and a great many canoes were coming off to meet us;
but as the vessel approached them they paddled towards the shore;
yet they seemed desirous to have some communication with us, and
the vessel being hove to, in a short time they came near us, but
no invitation or intreaty could prevail on them to come

At length, two of the canoes, which had seven men in each, and
two others, with two men each, came close under the stern, but
none of them would venture on board, and it was with great
difficulty they were persuaded to come near enough to receive a
string of beads which were let down over the stern; after this,
they all paddled on shore.

During the time these canoes were near the vessel, the beach
on the island was covered with natives; and on the south point of
the island, a man stood alone, with a long pole in his hand,
which had something large at the end of it, and which he seemed
to use as a signal to those in the canoes. These canoes appeared
to be made out of a large tree, and were well shaped, with a hook
made of wood at each end, the use of which we could not possibly
guess: the largest of them appeared to be about 28 feet long.
Each canoe had a long out-rigger, to prevent them from

The natives who were in the canoes, were the stoutest and
healthiest looking men I ever beheld; their skin was perfectly
smooth and free from any disorder: they were quite naked, and of
a copper colour; their hair resembled that of the New-Hollanders.
Some of their beards reached as low as the navel, and there was
an appearance of much art being used in forming them into long
ringlets; so that it should seem as if the prevailing fashion on
this island was that of keeping the beard well combed, curled,
and oiled. Two or three of the men had something like a bead or
bone suspended to a string, which was fastened round the neck.
The size and very healthy appearance of these people excited our
admiration very much; indeed it is wonderful how so small a spot
of ground can support the vast number of inhabitants we saw on
the island, all of whom appeared equally strong and handsome as
those who were in the canoes.

The island cannot be more than two miles in circumference: it
is low, but entirely covered with trees, many of which are the
cocoa-nut; we likewise saw a number of large trees which bore a
very fine red blossom, but the red was so very conspicuous, that
I am inclined to think the leaves were of that colour. These
trees reached to the margin of a very fine sandy beach, which
entirely surrounds the island; a great number of canoes were
lying on the beach, and, from the number of natives we saw there,
besides what were in the canoes, there cannot be less than a
thousand inhabitants on the island. Lieutenant Ball named this
place _Tench's Island_, after Captain Watkin Tench of the
marines: it is situated in 1° 39' south latitude, and
150° 31' east longitude.

After lying-to near an hour, and finding we could have no
farther intercourse with the natives, without considerable loss
of time, we bore up and kept on our course, steering west by
north. At sun-set, we saw another island bearing west by north,
Tench's Island bearing east half north. The next morning at
day-light, the island seen the preceding evening, bore from south
by west, to west by south, about three leagues distant; on this,
we altered our course, in order to run along the shore. This
island is pretty high, and appears to be about 70 miles in
circumference, if I may judge from the length of its east side,
which I measured by angles. It is well wooded, and there were a
number of clear cultivated tracts of ground, on which something
was growing that had the appearance of Indian corn, or

As we ran along shore, we could not perceive any place of
shelter for a vessel on the east side of the island, but there
probably is on some part of it. The island is surrounded by a
sandy beach, on which the surf beats with some violence: a number
of canoes were lying on the beach, and some parts of the shore
were covered with the natives; but none of them attempted to come
off, although the vessel was not more than a mile and a half from
the shore. We saw several houses amongst the trees, which
appeared to be large and well constructed. This island has a
luxuriant and picturesque appearance, and there can scarcely be a
doubt but it is very fertile and well peopled. The natives were
quite naked, and seemed to be the same sort of people we had seen
at Tench's Island; and their canoes were apparently of the same

At ten o'clock in the forenoon, being abreast of the
south-east point of the island, we bore up and made sail,
steering west-north-west. Lieutenant Ball requesting me to name
this island, I called it _Prince William-Henry Island_, in
honour of his Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence. In making this
island from the eastward, a very high mount rises in the center
of it, which Lieutenant Ball named _Mount Phillip_, in
honour of Governor Phillip: it lies west-north-west from
Tench's-Island, and is situated in 1° 32' south latitude, and
149° 30' east longitude.

At midnight on the 22d, we had a perfect deluge of rain, but
it did not continue more than a quarter of an hour. We had now a
vast number of tropic birds and ganets round the vessel: the sea
was covered with trees of the largest size, which had both roots
and branches to them; there were also cocoa-nut trees,
sugar-cane, bamboo, and a variety of other drift wood: many of
the trees were so large, that we could plainly see them at the
distance of two leagues: most of the roots lay to the
west-north-west, from which circumstance, and the vessel being
considerably to the westward of account by the time-keeper, we
were induced to suppose that a strong current set in that
direction. We steered west-north-west until the 4th of June, with
moderate breezes from the eastward, and pleasant weather: the sea
was constantly covered with large entire trees, junks of wood,
bamboos, and a variety of other drift wood and rock weed. Our
latitude at noon on the 4th, was 4° 33' north, and the
longitude, by the time-keeper, 127° 58' east.

At day-light the next morning, we saw an island bearing
north-west, which is called _Kercolang_ in the charts;
finding we could not weather the south end, we bore up to go to
the northward of it. At noon, it bore from north 68° west to
south 41° west: our latitude was 4° 25' north, and the
longitude, by lunar observation, 126° 50' east. Another
island, called _Kerolang_ in the charts, bore from north to
north 14° east; having a remarkable hummock on the east end
of it.

At eight o'clock in the morning of the 6th, being close under
the east side of Kercolang, we saw a canoe with a matt sail
coming towards us: the natives soon came under the stern without
any signs of fear. There were twelve Malays in this canoe, who
were all cloathed: the outriggers of the canoe, which were long
and slight, would not permit them to come alongside, but a jacket
and a hatchet being given them, and signs made for them to go on
shore and bring something to eat, they left the vessel and went
towards the shore, where we followed them. Before they landed, a
still larger canoe, with fifteen Malays in it, went to the canoe
which had left us; and as we were not more than two miles from
the shore, Lieutenant Ball and myself went in the jolly-boat and
joined the two canoes; on this, two of the Malays jumped out of
the canoes into our boat, and went immediately to the oars: such
a step could not be misunderstood, it was saying, "we put
ourselves entirely in your power without any precaution."

When we came near the beach, observing the surf to break on
it, we made signs for the canoes to go on shore, and bring us
some cocoa-nuts and plantains, as we saw vast quantities on the
trees. They were very desirous for our boat to land; but that not
being agreed to, they left a native in the jolly-boat, and one of
our men went on shore in the canoe: he soon returned with several
canoes which were laden with cocoa-nuts, yams, plantains, sweet
potatoes, rice, a little flour, and several other articles, all
which we purchased for axes and other barter: soon afterwards we
returned on board, and were followed by upwards of an hundred
canoes. At noon, a breeze springing up from the northward, we
made sail, and many of the canoes followed us to a considerable

The latitude of the north end of Kercolang is 4° 28', and
the longitude of the center 126° 31' east. This island is
between eighty and one hundred miles in circumference, and is in
general of a very good height: the face of the country seems to
be steep hills and extensive vallies, and every part of it was
covered with trees and verdure: there were also some cultivated
grounds which had a very pleasant appearance. These Malays wore
no erid or cress, nor did we see any offensive weapons amongst
them, excepting two which were on the beach, who had something
like halberts in their hands, but whether they were of iron or
wood we could not discern. The houses stood on posts; they
appeared to be well built, and neatly thatched.

Their canoes were also neatly made, being hollowed out of
trees, with bamboo outriggers on each side to prevent them from
oversetting; a piece of wood is left at the stern, which projects
like a proa, to break the water before it comes to the bow: each
canoe has a mast, on which they hoist a square piece of matt as a
sail. Their fishing-hooks and lines are mostly European, and it
is possible that there is a Dutch resident on the island, as we
saw a small Dutch flag placed before a house to the northward of
the place where we went with the boat; though it is natural to
suppose, that if any European had been there, he would have come
to the boat, or that the natives would have made us understand
there was one on the island.

The cloathing these people in general wore, was made of a
coarse kind of callico, though some of them wore silk, and most
of them had something resembling a turban round their heads; a
few, indeed, wore a Chinese pointed hat. There can be no doubt
but the Dutch supply these people with cloathing and other
necessaries, which, of course, must be for some production of the
island. I showed one of the natives some cloves, and he gave me
to understand that they had the same. I do not think the Dutch
send very often to this island, from the extreme avidity the
natives showed in purchasing our hatchets and cloathing: they are
mild, and apparently a quiet people, and the confidence they
placed in us was sufficient to prove that strangers were not
unwelcome guests among them.

From the 6th to the 10th, we had fresh gales of wind at west,
with very heavy squalls and much rain, which often obliged us to
clew all up. During the last four days we only got eight leagues
on our course, and there being every appearance of a continuation
of westerly winds, (this being the south-west monsoon in the
China seas) with heavy squalls, or rather tornados of wind and
rain, which endangered the masts: on the 10th, Lieutenant Ball
relinquished the purpose of going through the streights of
-Macasser_, and adopted that of making the passage between
-Celebes_ and _Gilolo_, through the _Moluccas_ and
the streights of _Salayer_; accordingly, at six in the
morning, we bore up for the south point of _Lirog_, which
lay south-east by east twelve or fourteen leagues distant. At
day-light on the 12th, we saw the island of _Morotia_, which
bore from south 31° east, to south 4° east.

At noon, we were in 2° 36' south latitude, and 127°
51' east longitude: in a chart of Hamilton Moore's, there is an
island without a name laid down exactly in that situation; but,
as the weather was very clear, and no such land could be seen,
the existence of it is very doubtful. The weather was now
extremely pleasant, with light winds from south by west to
south-east. At noon on the 14th, Gilolo bore from south by west
half west, to east by north: there is a chain of small islands
laying the whole length of these bearings about two leagues from
Gilolo; between which and that island, there appears to be good
shelter. On the 16th, we were directly opposite three remarkable
conical hills; they are very high; the southernmost lies in
1° 30' north latitude, and 127° 5' east longitude. The
land near this situation is high and well wooded, with some
cultivated spots: the shore appears bold to. At midnight, we had
a perfect deluge of rain, attended with loud thunder and very
fierce lightning, which lasted two hours; after which, the
weather became serene and pleasant.

The next morning, the island of _Ternate_ bore
south-south-east, and a little to the northward of it there
appears to be a large and safe harbour, on the island of Gilolo,
which now bore east by south five or six leagues distant. Ternate
rises in a high conical mount; its latitude is 00° 50' north,
and the longitude 127° 4' east. A very pleasant little island
lies about two miles to the north-north west of Ternate, which,
in the charts, is called _Heri_; it is pretty high, and not
more than two miles in circumference. The cultivated spots on
this island, contrasted with the brown shade of the trees, and
the interspersed situation of the houses, give this little spot a
most picturesque appearance: it appeared, as well as Ternate, to
be in a perfect state of cultivation; and from the number of
houses we saw, they must both be well inhabited. The latitude, at
noon, was 1° 2' north, and the longitude 126° 49' west:
Heri then bore south-east by east; the peak of Ternate,
south-east half south; the south point of Tidere, south by east,
and Makian, south-south-east.

All these islands are very high; they rise in peaks, and are
well cultivated. We saw a vast number of fires on Ternate, which
probably were lighted for a signal. Besides the island of Makian,
which is not more than two miles in circumference, there are a
number of other small islots, which form a considerable group,
and they were all cultivated. A number of boats were passing from
one islot to another, with some Europeans in them. The weather
was excessive hot and sultry; the thermometer, when in the open
air and shade, being 91°.

On the 19th, we perceived a great ripling on the water, which
appeared to be a strong current, and we afterwards found it had
set the vessel considerably to the westward. At noon, the
north-west point of _Manere_ or _Batachina_ bore
east-north-east nine leagues distant; its latitude is 0° 16'
south, and the longitude 126° 41' east. At noon on the 20th,
an island a head, which we took to be _Pulo Oubi_, bore east
half south about twelve leagues distant, and _Stemo Sulla_,
south-south-west thirteen leagues: the latitude was 1° 17'
south, and the longitude 126° 22' east. Hitherto, we had
found the currents set us to the westward; but in the morning of
the 21st, a strong ripling of a current set the vessel
considerably to the east-south-east, which may easily be
accounted for: the passage between New Guinea and Aigeu was quite
open, and bore from us south-east, and I think that the current
we now felt is an out-set; and as we had experienced a southerly
current ever since we made the island of Morotia, it may be
presumed that there is an indraught between the Celebes and
Gilolo; and an out-set between Gilolo, New Guinea, and Aigeu,
which is called "-Pitt's Passage_."

In the afternoon, the boat was hoisted out in order to try the
current, when it was found to set east by south, at the rate of a
mile and an half an hour; however, the current among these
islands is by no means certain, as we found, on the 22d, a strong
current or tide setting to the north-west. A great number of very
large whales were seen, which moved exceeding slow, and came very
near the vessel. At noon, the center of _Burro_ bore south,
and the south point of _Sulla Bessi_, north 76° west.
Burro is a very high island, and may be seen at the distance of
twenty leagues with great ease.

As the following latitudes and longitudes were taken with
great exactness, they perhaps may not be unacceptable.

                               South latitude.  East longitude.
                                   °  '              °  '
East point of Burro                3  7            126 38
West point of ditto                3  4            125 41
North-east point of Sulla Mangol   2  0            126  3
South point of Sulla Bessi         2 29            125 57

In the afternoon of the 23d, being clear of the south point of
Burro, we found a strong south-east trade, with which we steered
south-south-west. We passed a great quantity of drift wood, and
some very large trees with both roots and branches to them, some
of which were so large as to be taken for vessels.

In the morning of the 25th, we saw two small islands bearing
south-east about six miles distant; we imagined them to be the
northernmost of the small islands, called _Touchaeilly_, in
the charts: soon afterwards, we saw land bearing south-west,
which we took to be _Bouton_, but we soon perceived it to be
three islands lying nearly north and south. At this time, our
longitude, by the time-keeper, was 123° 39' east, and the
latitude, by two altitudes, was 5° 36' south.

Concluding the islands we saw in the morning were those of St.
Matthew's, and the others _Touchaeilly_, we bore up in order
to run between the northernmost and middle of three islands in
sight. In our run from Burro to St. Matthew's Island, we found a
strong current setting to the south-east. St. Matthew's Islands
are situated in 5° 23' south latitude, and 123° 51' east
longitude. With a moderate breeze from the south-east, we steered
west-south-west between the Toucaheilly Islands; and at noon on
the 26th, we passed a sandy key, which had a tuft of green bushes
on its north end, and its south end runs off in a long spit for
three or four miles, on which the sea breaks very high. These
islands are covered with wood, and well cultivated.

At four o'clock in the afternoon we hove to, and soon
afterwards a small proa came alongside loaded with cocoa-nuts,
which we purchased. The people in this canoe gave us to
understand, that the island on our starboard hand was called
-Combado_, and that on the larboard _Toucambaso_. At
half past four, we made sail, and soon afterwards, a man, who was
stationed at the mast-head, said he saw a shoal a-head of the
vessel; on this we looked out, and saw a reef about six miles
distant, extending from the west-north-west as far as the eye
could reach in a south-east direction: on this, we hauled the
wind and lay under Combado during the night.

The next morning, we made sail and steered west-north-west,
looking out for the shoal and running along its eastern side
about four miles distant. This reef is very large, and its
eastern side is bound with rugged rocks, and when the water is
smooth there is no breaker on it. At four in the afternoon, we
rounded the shoal at two miles distance, and steered for the
south end of _Bouton_, which we passed early the next
morning, and soon afterwards passed the streights, steering west
half north. When you are to the eastward of Camborra, the
entrance of the streights of Bouton may be known by three small
islands which lie off the east point that forms the streights,
one of which is large, and the other two are small: off the large
one lie several rocks, but at no great distance. The only chart
we had on board, which took any notice of these islands and the
shoal, was one of Hamilton Moore's, which we found tolerably
correct, except in some instances where the islands are
misplaced, as _St. Matthew's Islands, Toucambessis_, the
south end of _Bouton_ and _Kercolang_, with some other
trifling differences; however, upon the whole, it may be called a
good chart.

At day-light, the island of Salayer bore from south 40°
west to north 80° east, and the entrance of the streights
north 70° west. On entering the streights, we found a very
strong ripling of the sea, which we were apprehensive were
overfalls; but we found it was a strong current setting to the
westward. At noon, being through the streights, we hauled up west
by south. The best passage through these streights is between the
two small islands, the southernmost of which lies close to
-Salayer_. The island of Salayer appears to be well
inhabited, and cultivated to advantage, as each piece of ground
was fenced in, and the houses appeared to be very good ones.

The course from the streights of _Salayer_ to
-Cambona_ is east by south eighty-four miles: they lie west
by north half north, and east by south half south, about five
miles through: the entrance to the westward is in 5° 45'
south latitude, and 120° 3' east longitude. This latitude was
determined by a good meridional altitude, and the longitude by
the time-keeper and lunar observations, so that there is a very
considerable mistake in Hamilton Moore's chart respecting the
position of these streights. At three in the afternoon, a man,
who was stationed at the mast-head, said he saw a great ripling,
and on looking over the side, the bottom was distinctly seen; on
this, we hauled off to the southward, and hove the lead, but got
no ground, and the vessel going very fast, we immediately lost
sight of the bottom, and soon afterwards steered west by south.
At the time we were on this bank, the south end of Salayer bore
south-south-east, and the north end, east.

In my opinion, ships going through the streights of Salayer
from the westward, should bring the north point of _Salayer-
to bear east, or east half north, with which course there could
be no risk from that bank. We now steered west by south, and
having run sixty-six miles in that direction from the streights
of Salayer, on the morning of the 29th, we saw some high land on
the Celebes, bearing north-east nine leagues distant; this must
be the land between the south-west point of Celebes, and the
islands called, by Captain Carteret, _Tonakiky_; so that the
end of Celebes from the streights of Salayer to the south-west
point cannot be more than twenty leagues, as Mr. Dalrymple has
already observed in a small pamphlet.

Lieutenant Ball directed the vessel to be kept
north-north-west, in order to make the land plainer; but the
charts we had on board differed so much in the position and
extent of the land, and some time might perhaps be lost in
looking for Tonakiky, to take a departure from, Mr. Ball
determined on bearing up and running in that parallel of latitude
which was likeliest to keep the vessel clear of danger, viz.
5° 45' or 5° 50' south. At noon, the observed latitude
was 5° 48' south, and the longitude 118° 44' east. At
half past two in the afternoon, having steered west twelve miles
since noon, we saw what we took for _Tonyn-'s Islands, or
-Sarras_, bearing north. Hamilton Moore's chart places the
south end of this shoal in 5° 58' south, but it cannot be
farther than 5° 40' south at most, as we were now in latitude
5° 48', and the island could only be seen from the mast-head,
bearing north: the longitude of the south end of these islands
and shoal (if there be any) is 118° 11' east.

On the 30th, at ten in the forenoon, we saw the great
-Solombo_ bearing north by west half west two leagues
distant. On sounding, we struck the ground with 32 fathoms, over
an oozy bottom. The next morning, the island of _Lubeck-
bore from south 14° west to south 55° west, five leagues
distant. This island is considerably misplaced in the charts. A
very good altitude was got at eight in the morning, for the
time-keeper, and a very good meridional altitude was also taken
for the latitude; which, with the bearings of Lubeck in the
morning and at noon, places it in 5° 50' south latitude, and
112° 22' east longitude.

On the 3d, at three o'clock in the afternoon, the isles of
-Cariman Java_ were seen, bearing south 79° west. During
the night, the weather was very squally, attended with much
thunder and lightning. The latitude of Cariman Java is 5° 56'
south, and the longitude 110° 12' east.

At half past three o'clock in the morning of the 5th, we saw a
small island bearing west half south, not more than a mile and a
half from the vessel; on this we hauled our wind to the
southward, and tacked occasionally until day-light. We sounded
with twenty-six fathoms, over a bottom of blue mud. This island
is called in the charts _Pulo Packit:_ it is very low and
covered with trees. There are two islands laid down in Dunn's and
Moore's charts, but we only saw one island, and a rocky reef:
this island is laid down in Dunn's chart in 6° 18° south,
but its real latitude is 5° 50' south: this mistake had very
near proved fatal to the Supply, but it being a moon-light night,
the danger was discovered, though at the distance of two miles
only. Ships bound to the westward, or to Batavia from Carimon
Java, should steer west half north, or west by north, to avoid
the shoal to the northward of Pulo Packit.

In the afternoon, seeing a brig at anchor under the land, we
bore up in order to speak her, and in standing in, had regular
soundings to seven fathoms. I went with Mr. Ball on board the
brig, where we learned that the point of _Pamonakan_ bore
south-south-west from us; on this, we returned on board the
Supply and made sail, and in the afternoon of the 6th, we
anchored in Batavia Road. Upwards of thirty Dutch ships were
lying there, besides a number of snows and Chinese junks.

The next morning, I waited on the general, at the request of
Lieutenant Ball, and settled the salute, which took place at five
in the evening, when the Supply saluted the fort with nine guns,
which were returned by an equal number.

On the 8th, Lieutenant Ball waited on the general, accompanied
by the Shebander and myself. As the general could not speak any
other language than Dutch, and the Shebander could not speak
sufficient English to explain himself, I was obliged to interpret
between Lieutenant Ball and the latter; and I beg here to remark,
that during this conversation, which was in the general's office,
we were not asked to sit down; indeed, had the general been
polite enough to have made the offer, there was not a second
chair in the room; so unusual a thing is it to be seated in the
general's presence, when talking to him on business.

After Lieutenant Ball had signified his business, and the
service he was sent on, a number of frivolous enquiries were made
respecting the setlement at New South Wales, and much
astonishment was expressed, that we came from that country and
could not tell _what became of the Bounty, Lieutenant Bligh's

No other answer could be got, than that the council were to be
requested to permit Lieutenant Ball to purchase whatever he
wanted, and to hire a vessel to carry what he might want to Port
Jackson: this being settled we took our leave. The Shebander drew
up a request, which Lieutenant Ball signed, and the next day it
was presented to the council, (at which the director-general
presided, on account of the general's indisposition) when every
thing was granted; but they refused to interfere in taking up a
vessel, or in purchasing provisions, saying, that those matters
were to be managed by Lieutenant Ball.

As every vessel here either belonged to the company, or were
too flimsy to go on such a voyage, it was for a short time
doubtful whether one could be procured: at length, the Shebander
hearing that a snow of 250 tons or upwards lay at a port called
-Samarre_, on the east side of Java, he offered her to
Lieutenant Ball; saying that he would purchase her and fit her
out completely, if Mr. Ball would contract with him to pay eighty
rix-dollars a ton for the voyage; the Shebander to take all
risques upon himself, with respect to the loss of the vessel. As
the necessity for a supply of provisions was very great, and as
there was no other vessel to be procured, Lieutenant Ball was
obliged to make the agreement, and the snow was sent for.
Provisions were easily purchased, and at a cheap rate: very
excellent beef and pork at six-pence per pound. Of flour, there
was little to be procured, as all the people here eat rice,
Europeans as well as natives.

Batavia has been so very well and so fully described in
Captain Cook's first voyage, that any attempt of mine to describe
this vast and splendid settlement may be deemed superfluous;
however, as these pages may probably fall into the hands of some
who have read no other account, I shall subjoin what few remarks
occurred to me during my stay there.

According to the best accounts I could obtain, the city and
its environs cover a space of eight square miles: it is situated
about half a mile from the sea-shore, and has communication with
it by a canal, which will admit vessels of eight feet draught of
water. The city stands on a flat, which extends forty leagues to
the foot of the nearest mountains. Two large rivers, which are
divided into a number of canals, run through all the principal
streets of the city, and on both sides of the different roads:
these canals are navigable for large boats; they are planted with
trees on each side, which are kept cut in the form of a fan.

The streets are all drawn at right angles, and are in general
wide, with very good pavements; along the sides of which a double
row of trees are planted, which greatly prevents the circulation
of air, and tends very much to increase the natural unhealthiness
of the place. Within the past four years, most of the canals
which contained putrid water have been filled up, and great
attention is now paid to removing dirt and other nuisances.

All the houses are well built; indeed, some of them are
magnificent buildings, and are finished with elegant neatness;
which, added to the great cleanliness observed by the
inhabitants, renders them very agreeable retreats from the
intense heat which is constant here.

No European can do without a carriage, the paint of which, and
his other equipage, denote the rank of the owner; to whom the
necessary respect must be paid by people of an inferior rank; for
a noncompliance with this custom, a fine is levied by the Fiscal.
The town is but indifferently defended, as the fortifications are
irregular and extensive, and the walls (which are painted) are
very low: it is surrounded with a deep and wide canal, but the
best defence of this settlement is its extreme unhealthiness. The
citadel, or castle, stands on the right of the city: in it are
deposited a vast quantity of cannon and other munitions of war:
the governor-general, and the rest of the company's servants,
have apartments in it, and here the governor and council meet
twice a week, to transact public business.

The police of this city is strictly attended to, and is
calculated to preserve great order and regularity; but it is
attended with some mortifying and degrading circumstances, which
Europeans find great difficulty and repugnance in complying with;
however, the inhabitants and the company's servants must observe
its rules with a scrupulous attention, not only to avoid paying
the fines, but also to avoid the resentment of those who have it
entirely in their power to advance or retard their promotion.

The suburbs are inhabited by the Chinese and Portuguese: the
houses of the former are very numerous, but they are low and
dirty. The number of Chinese resident in and about Batavia in
1788, was 200,000: it is these people who are the support of this
important settlement; and if they were obliged to abandon it by
any impolitic measure, it would soon lose its splendor. The
Chinese carry on every trade and occupation; the better sort are
very rich, but they are subject to great exactions from the
company, or their servants. They are suffered to farm the duties
of exportation and importation, for which they pay the company
12,000 rix-dollars in silver money per month. All goods belonging
to the company are exempt from duties, but those of every other
person pay eight per cent.

About three quarters of a mile from the city is the Chinese
burying-ground, consisting of fifteen or twenty acres: for the
annual rent of this ground they pay 10,000 rix-dollars, and, at
the end of every ten years, they repurchase it for a very great
sum, which in general is regulated by the governor and council. A
person of consequence assured me, that the Chinese pay a tax of
20,000 rix-dollars a year, for the privilege of wearing their
hair queued; and, besides what I have already mentioned, these
industrious people are subject to many more exactions.

The Chinese are subject to a set of officers (appointed by the
governor and council) who are Chinese, and are previously chosen
by that people: they are called captains and lieutenants, and
hear all complaints, and their sentence is decisive; but cases of
property, above a certain sum, and all felonies, are taken
cognizance of by the fiscal and court of justices. The police
established among them is so very good, that, except in cases of
property, the fiscal or justices are seldom troubled with a
Chinese criminal. They trade to every part of India, and the
number of large junks which arrive annually from China, is
between thirty and forty.

It is remarkable that the Chinese are the only strangers which
are not affected by the unhealthiness of this place: indeed, much
may be said in favour of their temperance and regular manner of
living, although one would imagine that the close manner in which
a number of them live together could not fail to produce
diseases, but it certainly does not.

The roads, or rather handsome avenues, which lead from the
different gates of the city, are lined with buildings, where
nature and art have been exhausted to render them elegant and
commodious beyond description: each house has a large garden, in
which a degree of elegance and convenience is observable, equal
to what there is in the magnificent piles which they surround.
These houses are inhabited by the principal people of Batavia,
where they pass most of their time, and those amongst them who
have no inducement to return to Europe, and who enjoy their
health, may spend their days very comfortably here.

The government of this island, and indeed of all the Dutch
possessions in India, is lodged in the governor-general, who is
assisted by a number of counsellors, called "counsellors of
India," or "-edele heerens:-" twelve of these counsellors
must reside at Batavia, but the number is not fixed; at this
time, there is one who governs at each of the following places,
viz. Cochin, Ceylon, Macasser, and at the Emperor's court at
-Jamarre_, or Java, where, I am told, 400 European cavalry
are kept, to _do honour_ to the emperor.

The council meet every Tuesday and Friday in the council-room
at the castle; the general presides, but, if prevented by ill
health or any other circumstance, the director-general supplies
his place, who, as well as the edele heerens, are received into
the castle, and conducted to the council-room with great pomp and
ceremony. Every thing relating to the civil and military
government, commerce, and every other concern of the company, is
transacted by this council, but the governor-general has a
plenary power to put into execution any measure he may judge
necessary for the good of the company.

The present governor-general, whose name is William Arnold
Alting, has been resident upwards of thirty years at Batavia,
eleven of which he has been governor-general: I am told his
private character is very amiable and respectable, but how any
man possessed of common feelings, can suffer such humiliations
from those around him, I cannot conceive. When any person
approaches the general to speak to him, his behaviour and address
must be the most abject imaginable, and the respect and profound
submission which every servant of the company, and every
inhabitant must necessarily assume on these occasions, are little
short of the adoration paid to the Divinity: this homage is
carried to so great a height, that when the general enters the
church, although the congregation may be at prayers, yet every
person is obliged to get up and face him until he is seated in
his pew, bowing as he passes.

The deference paid to the several ranks, is not confined to
carriages, but extends to the cloathing of individuals, as no
person under the rank of an _edele heeren_ is permitted to
wear velvet: there are a number of other distinctions in dress
equally ridiculous, but they seem to be wearing away: a few years
ago, the women were strictly forbid wearing any European dress,
and ordered to conform to the Malay custom.

At the time I was at Batavia, there were only five European
women on the island of Java, the rest being born of Malay or
Creole mothers; and it is really distressing to see how much they
affect the manners of their Malay slaves in chewing beetle, and
other actions equally disagreeable. Their dress is a loose white
or flowered muslin robe, which is open and large, reaching to the
wrists and neck: but if the adjustment of their garments does not
take up much time at the toilet, the arranging of their hair
makes sufficient amends for it: they have in general very thick
long black hair, which is gathered into a knot on the back part
of the head, and is so nicely combed that not a single hair is
out of its place; round this a wreath of diamonds is fixed, which
is more or less valuable, according to the circumstances of the
wearer. In the evenings, a large wreath of jessamine is also put
round the hair, which gives a very agreeable perfume. Not more
than two women in Batavia could speak any other language than
Dutch or Malay, the former of which they understand very
imperfectly, always preferring Malay.

The office of shebander is a principal one in this place, and
is a situation of much profit; no stranger can transact the least
business without his permission; the exports and imports are
entirely regulated by him; every boat which goes into the road
pays him a certain sum; he also regulates and comptrols the
Chinese in the receipt of duties: this post is very laborious,
but is also very lucrative.

Nineteen thousand pekul* of tin are brought every year from
-Palambam_, or Sumatra, to the company's stores on
-Onrust_, which is sent in their ships to China. The company
send annually from hence to Europe 20,000 pekul of pepper, for
which they pay on an average two stivers and an half per pound,
and sell it in Europe for fourteen stivers per pound: they also
export annually 200,000 pekul of coffee, at two stivers and an
half per pound, which is sold in Holland at ten stivers per

[* A pekul is equal to 130 pounds.]

Onrust is a very small island, about a quarter of a mile in
circumference, and situated about two leagues and an half from
Batavia: here the company's ships refit and heave down, there
being very good wharfs for that purpose, at which five ships may
heave down at one time; there are also large machines for
dismasting vessels. Small as this island is, there are generally
from five to six hundred people on it; of which number, one
hundred are European carpenters, but, excepting a few officers
and a few other Europeans, the rest are slaves. The _baas_,
or master carpenter, is the commandant of the island: an under
merchant is also resident here, to receive and take care of the
tin, pepper, and coffee, which is brought into the company's
stores here, from Sumatra and different parts of Borneo and Java.
Onrust is surrounded by guns, and there is a kind of citadel on
it; but as no troops are kept there, in the war, the carpenters
were trained to the use of great guns.

It is supposed that Onrust is more healthy than Batavia, and
it may be so; but when I say that twenty men are constantly
employed in making coffins for those who die on this island, it
cannot be supposed to have a very healthy scite.

During my stay at Batavia, I lived at the hotel, which was the
governor-general's house at the time Captain Cooke was here: it
is a large and spacious building, divided into two parts, one of
which is occupied by strangers, and the other by Dutch. Every
person, who is a stranger, is obliged to live at this hotel: the
terms are three rix-dollars a day, for which you have good
lodging, and a well furnished table is provided. Gratitude
induces me to say, that I received the greatest attention and
civility from many of the first people at Batavia, who, not
content with showing me every politeness in their power during my
stay there, extended their good offices to me after my

On the 21st of July, the _Snelheid_, a packet of 140
tons, belonging to the company, arrived at Onrust, and I made
application to the governor and council for a passage to Europe
in that vessel: on this, the captain of the packet was ordered to
receive me, for which I paid 190 rix-dollars into the company's
chest. The order to the captain specified, that in consideration
of that sum being paid, I was to have a passage to Europe in the
Snelheid, and to be accommodated and victualled as a sailor: I
therefore found myself necessitated to make a further agreement
with the captain for the use of half of his cabin, (Mr. Andrew
Millar, late commissary of stores and provisions at Port Jackson
having the other half) for which I was to pay him 300
rix-dollars, and my proportion of what provisions were laid in by
him, above what the company allowed.

Being informed that the packet would be dispatched in a few
days, I went to Onrust on the 31st, in order to be in readiness.
Lieutenant Ball expected to sail for Port Jackson on the 8th of
August, and the snow which he had taken up was to be dispatched
on the 24th.

The captain of the packet having received his final orders, we
sailed from Onrust on the 4th of August; and in the evening of
the 5th, were clear of the streights of Sunda.

It was now that the pestiferous air of Batavia began to show
itself; for the vessel had not been five days at sea before six
men were taken ill with the putrid fever; and very soon
afterwards, the captain, his two mates, and all the sailors,
except four, were incapable of getting out of their beds; and
what aggravated the horror of this situation was, that the
surgeon, who indeed knew very little of his profession, was so
ill that he could not even help himself.

In this dilemma, I found it absolutely necessary to use every
means for self-preservation; and having obtained the consent of
the captain (who was not yet delirious) and the chief mate, I
spoke to the only four men who were well, and represented to
them, that going below would subject them to the infection; I
assured them that I would never go below myself, except on
extraordinary occasions, when I should use every precaution
against the infection; and I further observed, that the
preservation of our lives and the vessel, with the recovery of
those who were sick, depended on their conforming to my orders;
and that I hoped, with God's assistance, not only to preserve
them in health, but to get the vessel into a port.

They promised me implicit obedience, and I began to make a
tent on the after part of the quarter deck, for us to lie under.
I had great difficulty to make them relinquish the drams of new
arrack, of which they got ten a day; but this was effected, and
in lieu of it, I gave to each man three large wine glasses of
port wine, with two tea-spoons full of bark in each glass:
fortunately, I had a small supply of those articles, as there
were not any medicines on board. Three of the sick men soon died
of the putrid fever, their faces being covered with purple spots:
I ordered them to be lashed up in their hammocks, and hove
overboard with their cloaths, making those who performed that
office, wash themselves very freely with vinegar, and fill their
noses with tobacco. The captain was now delirious, as were most
of those who were sick.

On the 12th, I obtained the captain and chief mate's consent
to bear up for the Isle of France, when we should get into the
latitude of it. The chief mate's complaint terminating in an
intermitting fever, I prevailed on him to lie under the tent; and
by a plentiful administration of bark and port wine, he became
able to keep a day watch.

On the 14th, my friend and companion Mr. Millar was taken ill,
and the captain and most of the sailors were dying, not having
had any medicine administered to them during their illness: three
or four among them, of a strong constitution, were in a state of
raving madness, uttering dreadful imprecations against the
doctor, so that I was obliged to order them to be lashed in their
hammocks, and they died a few days afterwards.

Being in 18° 46' south latitude, and 80° 59' east
longitude, after some persuasion, the chief mate consented to
bear up for the Isle of France; it may, indeed, be thought
strange that he should hesitate one moment in our present
distressing situation: however, going to the Isle of France did
not destroy the hopes he had formed, when he objected to bearing
up. Between the 12th and the 27th, five men died; and on the
28th, Mr. Millar departed this life: the whole were carried off
by a most malignant putrid fever.

On the 29th, we made the Island of Mauritius, and anchored the
same day at the entrance of the north-west harbour. The captain
and three sailors died as we were carrying them on shore.

Most providentially, we had a succession of the finest weather
and the fairest winds we could have wished, from the time we left
the streights of Sunda until our arrival at the Isle of France;
and another great consolation was, that the vessel was perfectly

From the direction of the wind being at south-east, all
vessels going to the north-west harbour, must luff close round
the gunner's quoin, and haul over for the island, taking care to
avoid the reefs with which the shore is lined, and on which the
surf breaks with great violence. A continuation of forts and
batteries extend from the harbour's mouth as far as it is
possible for any vessel to fetch; though, independent of these
forts, landing here must be attended with much danger, from the
constant surf which breaks on the reefs already mentioned; and as
the wind always blows out of the harbour, every vessel is obliged
to warp in. No vessel ought to touch at this island during the
hurricane months*, as the harbour cannot afford shelter for more
than six or eight vessels. In 1788, six large ships were wrecked
in this harbour.

[* October, November, and December.]

At this time there were lying in the harbour, _La
Thetis_, of 38 guns, commanded by Compte M'Namarra, Chef de
Division; _La Nymphe_, 38 guns, Le Compte de Forineaux, Chef
de Division; _La Medusa_, 38 guns, Le Compte de Rossilly;
three American vessels, and a great number of French merchant

The revolution of this island, which had taken place about
three weeks before our arrival, was attended with great excesses
by the people, who carried Le Compte M'Namarra to the gallows,
where he was near being executed. The governor, _Le Compte de
Conway_, had resigned his government to a Monsieur _De
Caussigny_, commandant of Bourbon, who arrived here only three
days before us. Monsieur de Conway waited the equipment of La
Nymphe frigate, in which ship he proposed returning to

The town of Port Louis is large, and covers a deal of ground,
but the houses are in general paltry buildings. Here are large
stores, and every thing necessary for the equipment of fleets.
The number of inhabitants on the island, exclusive of the
military, is about 8000; and blacks, 12,000.

Fresh provisions, especially butchers meat, are very scarce
here; what there is costs 20 sous per pound; but turtle is
procured from _St. Branden_, and sold at a much cheaper

The general object of cultivation on this island is the
indico, of which from four to five crops a year are procured: one
person sent to Europe 30,000 lb. in 1789, of a very superior
quality. Attempts have been made here to rear cochineal, as the
island abounds with the plant which the insects lie on, but a
small bird destroys the insect. The soil of this island is little
superior to that at Port Jackson. At the distance of three
leagues from the port, is _le gardin du Roi_, which is kept
with the utmost care: a gardener lives here at the King's
expence, who rears the plants, and distributes them, gratis, to
the colonists. This year the following plants were to be
distributed to those who chose to ask for them.

300 True acacias.
150 Bibeaux.
84 Avocayers.
10 Baobabs.
180 Bibaciers.
80 Bilembiers.
300 Badamiers.
17 Brindaonniers.
86 Cocoa-nut trees.
50 Camphor trees.
104 Caneficiers.
148 Caramboliers aigres.
50 Ditto doux.
10 Quince trees.
200 Dolbiers.
20 Foccias.
4163 Clove trees.
50 Illipes.
50 Jamiers.
12 Jaquiers, large kind.
8 Jambou--boles.
3000 Jambou--rosadiers.
92 Lataniers nains de la chine.
23 Longaniers.
20 Lit-chis, grosse espee.
36 Sapotes, negros de Moluquas.
30 Tata-mapacas of Madagascar.
3000 Small voakoas.
80 Mangostans.
56 Molavis.
1544 Nutmeg trees.
218 Sweet oranges.
4 Peach trees.
50 Perchers.
40 Rangoustans.
400 Rouffias.
40 Savonniers des Antillas.
80 Spirceas de la China.
300 Sagoutiers.
145 Wova-jourindis of Madagascar
40 Wouau guasailliers.

It should be observed, that 550 of the nutmeg trees were
reserved for _Cayenne, St. Domingo, Martinico_, and the

I cannot omit mentioning the great civilities I received from
Messieurs De Conway, M'Namarra, Fourneaux, Rossilly, and in short
all the respectable people here, who all did their utmost to
persuade me to take my passage in La Nymphe frigate: Monsieur de
Fourneaux very politely offered me half his cabin, and no
inducement was wanting to make me accept it; besides, there was a
probability of the fever not being totally eradicated in the
packet; but as I heard of a misunderstanding between England and
Spain; I thought it my duty to remain with that vessel. I mention
this circumstance for no other reason than to express my
gratitude to the above officers for their polite attention to me
during my short stay at this island.

The packet being thoroughly cleansed, and a fresh crew
entered, which was composed of all nations, we sailed on the 21st
of September, having only four sailors on board out of the
twenty-six, which came from Batavia, the rest being either dead,
or left at the hospital with little hopes of recovery.

Nothing material happened during our passage from the Isle of
France until our arrival at the Cape of Good Hope, on the 9th of
October. Here I found Lieutenant Riou waiting for orders from
England. As I understood that all vessels belonging to the Dutch
Company were strictly forbid stopping at any port, or having
communication with any vessels during their passage from the Cape
to Amsterdam, I wrote a letter to Mr. Van de Graff, the Dutch
governor, representing my being charged with dispatches, and
requesting that the captain might be permitted to heave the
vessel to, off the most convenient port in the English channel,
in order to land me with the dispatches: this request he very
readily granted, giving the captain an order for that purpose,
and furnishing me with a copy of it.

Five large French ships put in here loaded with slaves from
the east coast of Africa, and bound to the West-Indies. On the
20th of October, La Nymphe frigate arrived here from the Isle of
France, and the same day the packet sailed. On the 2d of
November, we passed the Island of St. Helena, with a strong gale
at south-east; and on the 7th, we saw the Island of Ascension. We
crossed the equator in 20° 18' longitude west of London. The
south-east trade carried us as far as 5° north latitude, when
we got the north-east trade, which did not come to the eastward
of north-east until we got near the western islands.

After a pleasant voyage of two months from the Cape of Good
Hope, I arrived in England on the 20th of December, having been
absent on the public service, in various stations, and in
different places, in the southern hemisphere, three years and
seven months.

* * * * *

Here ends Lieutenant King's _Journal_, which, as it gives
an authentic account of the first settlement of a new colony, in
a very distant region, must ever be interesting to those, who
delight in tracing the origin of nations. The following Narrative
was taken from the official dispatches of Governor Phillip, and
forms a continuation of the history of the people and country
under his charge, from the conclusion of his late Voyage to the I
test period.

Chapter XVII.


June 1790 to July 1790

-The Lady Juliana Transport arrives at Port
Jackson.--Loss of the Guardian.--A settlement made at
Sydney-Cove.--A state of the settlements at Sydney-Cove and
Rose-Hill.--A general return of male convicts, with their

The Lady Juliana transport, which sailed from England in
September, 1789, arrived at Port Jackson on the 3d of June, 1790,
bringing supplies from England, and also dispatches from the
Guardian at the Cape of Good Hope; which having sailed from
England in August, struck unhappily on the 23d day of December,
1789, in 44° south latitude, and 41° 30' east longitude,
on an island of ice.

By the unfortunate loss of the Guardian the colony was
deprived of those liberal supplies, which had been sent from
England, the want of which threw the settlement back so much,
that it will require a length of time to put it in the situation
it would have been in, had the Guardian arrived before Governor
Phillip was obliged to send away the Sirius, to give up labour,
and to destroy the greatest part of the live stock.

Nevertheless, the settlers had little to apprehend from the
natives; against whom, no one ever thought any defence necessary,
more than what out-houses and barracks afforded: indeed, at the
first landing, a barrier would have been very desirable; but at
that time, and for months afterwards, the slighest defence could
not have been made, without neglecting what was so absolutely and
immediately necessary, for securing the stores and provisions.
There is, however, little reason to think that the natives will
ever attack any building, and still less to suppose they will
attack a number of armed men: not that they want innate bravery,
but they are perfectly sensible of the great superiority of
fire-arms. Setting fire to the corn was what was most feared, but
this they had never attempted; and, as they avoided those places,
which were frequented by the colonists, it was seldom that any of
them were now seen near the settlement.

If the natives should find any cattle in the woods, they
undoubtedly would destroy them, which mischief is all that the
settler would have to apprehend. They naturally attack the
strangers, who go out to rob them of their spears, and of the few
articles they possess; and who do this too frequently; since the
punishments that the delinquents sometimes meet with are not
attended with the desired effect.

The situation of Port Jackson, between two harbours, so that
if a ship fall in with the coast in bad weather, a few miles
either to the northward or to the southward, she can find
immediate shelter, is a great advantage; and it perhaps will be
found hereafter, that the seat of government has not been
improperly placed. Governor Phillip observes, that they, as first
settlers, laboured under some inconvenience from not being able
to employ the convicts in agriculture on the spot where the
provisions and stores were landed; but this was the only
inconvenience, as having the convicts at some distance from the
military was attended with many advantages.

When the governor first arrived, he had little time to look
round him, as his instructions particularly pointed out, that he
was not to delay the disembarking of the people, with a view of
searching for a better situation than what Botany-Bay might
afford. He was obliged to look farther, but did not think himself
at liberty to continue his searches after he had been

Had he seen the country near the head of the harbour, he might
have been induced to have made the settlement there, but nothing
was known of that part of the country, until the creek which runs
up to Rose-hill was discovered, in a journey that the governor
made to the westward, three months after they landed; and
although he was then fully satisfied of the goodness of the soil,
and saw the advantages of that situation, most of the stores and
provisions were landed, and it required some little time to do
away the general opinion, that such a situation could not be
healthy, and that he was inclined to think himself, until he had
examined the country for some miles round, and was satisfied that
there was a free circulation of air, in the goodness of which,
few places equal it. The numbers of people, who had been settled
at Rose-Hill, on an average for eighteen months, exceeded one
hundred; and during that time they had only two deaths: a woman,
who had been subject to a dropsy, and a marine, who had been
there but a very short time before he died.

It is in that part of the country, that the governor proposed
employing the convicts in agriculture, and in the neighbourhood
of which, he proposed fixing the first settlers who might be sent

The impossibility of conveying stores and provisions for any
distance inland obliged the governor to mark out the first
township near Rose-Hill, where there is a considerable extent of
good land: the sea-coast does not offer any situation within
their reach at present, which is calculated for a town, whose
inhabitants are to be employed in agriculture.

In order to know in what time a man might be able to cultivate
a sufficient quantity of ground to support himself, the governor,
in November, 1789, ordered a hut to be built in a good situation,
an acre of ground to be cleared, and once turned up: it was then
put into the possession of a very industrious convict, who was
told, if he behaved well, he should have thirty acres. This man
had said, that the time for which he had been sentenced was
expired, and he wished to settle: he has been industrious, has
received some little assistance, and in June, 1790, informed the
governor, that if one acre more were cleared for him, he would be
able to support himself after next January: this was much
doubted, but it was thought he would do tolerably well, after
being supported for eighteen months. Others may prove more
intelligent, though they cannot well be more industrious.

The river Hawkesbury will, no doubt, offer some desirable
situations, and the great advantages of a navigable river are
obvious; but before a settlement can be made there, proper people
to conduct it must be found, and they must be better acquainted
with the country.

The Lady Juliana being the only vessel, which was at that time
in the country, Governor Phillip was obliged to send her to
Norfolk-Island with a part of the provisions; and had not that
ship been chartered for China, he proposed sending the Sirius's
officers and men to England in her; but this intention was laid
aside, as the master of her informed him, that it would be
attended with a loss of more than six thousand pounds to the
owners, and consequently might occasion an expence to government,
which would exceed what attended their remaining a few months
longer in the country: besides, he was not willing to break
through the charter-party, as other ships were coming out. As the
Lady Juliana was to touch at Norfolk-Island with provisions, and
one of the superintendants professed himself to understand the
cultivation and dressing of the flax-plant, the governor sent
thither most of the women who came out in that ship, and he
intended to send an equal number of male convicts, when other
ships should arrive.

Of the superintendants sent out in the Guardian, for the
purpose of instructing the convicts in agriculture, five only
arrived in the Lady Juliana, and of the five superintendants who
arrived, one only was a farmer; two said that they were used to
the farming business when seventeen and nineteen years of age,
but they were then unable, from the knowledge they formerly
obtained, to instruct the convicts, or direct a farm. The two
gardeners were said to be lost, having left the Guardian in a
small boat after the unfortunate accident, which deprived the
colony of her invaluable cargo.

The Neptune, Surprize, and Scarborough transports arrived at
Port Jackson the latter end of June, 1790, with about six hundred
casks of beef and pork, which were sent round from the Guardian,
and nineteen convicts, who had been transported in that ship.

In order to ascertain the time in which it is probable the
colony will be able to support itself, it will be necessary to
point out those circumstances, that may advance or retard the
settlement. It will depend on the numbers who are employed in
agriculture, and who, by their labour, are to provide for those
that make no provision for themselves.

Governor Phillip did not reckon on the little labour which may
be got from the women, though some were employed in the fields;
as the greatest part would always find employment in making their
own, and the men's cloathing, and in the necessary attention to
their children. The ground, which the military may cultivate,
will be for their own convenience. The providing of houses and
barracks for the additional number of officers and soldiers, the
rebuilding of those temporary ones, which were erected on their
first arrival, and which must be done in the course of another
year, as well as the building of more store-houses and huts for
the convicts as they arrive, employed a considerable number of
hands, and works of this kind will always be carrying on.

Temporary buildings on their first landing were absolutely
necessary; but they should be avoided in future; as, after three
or four years, the whole work is to be begun again; and the want
of lime greatly increases the labour of building with bricks, as
the builders are obliged to increase the thickness of the walls,
which cannot be carried to any height; at the same time, if very
heavy rains fall before the houses are covered in, they are
considerably damaged.

The annexed return will show in what manner the convicts are
employed at present; and the governor had increased the number of
those employed in clearing the land for cultivation, as far as it
would be possible to do it before January, 1791, except by
convalescents, from whom little labour could be expected. He
hoped next year, that a very considerable quantity of ground
would be sown with wheat and barley: but the settlement has never
had more than one person to superintend the clearing and
cultivating of ground for the public benefit, or who has ever
been the means of bringing a single bushel of grain into the
public granary. One or two others had been so employed for a
short time, but were removed, as wanting either industry or
probity; and if the person who has at present the entire
management of all the convicts, who are employed in clearing and
cultivating the land, should be lost, there would be no one in
the settlement to replace him.

It was originally supposed that a sufficient number of good
farmers might have been found amongst the convicts to have
superintended the labours of the rest; and men have been employed
who answer the purpose of preventing their straggling from their
work; but none of them were equal to the charge of directing the
labour of a number of convicts, with whom most of them were
connected by crimes, which they would not wish to have brought
forward. From their former habits of life, it may easily be
supposed, that few of the convicts would be good farmers.

From what has been said, it may be seen how impossible it was
to detach a body of convicts to any distance, if there had been
any necessity for it. The land at Rose-Hill is very good, and in
every respect well calculated for arable and pasture ground,
though it be loaded with timber, the removal of which requires
great labour and time; but this is the case with the whole
country, as far as had been seen, particular spots excepted. As
the good land could not at present be cultivated by the
colonists, it was reserved for the first settlers that should
come out.

The consequence of a failure of a crop, when the colony can no
longer expect supplies from Great-Britain, is obvious; and to
guard against such consequences, it would be of great use to have
a few settlers, to whom great encouragement should be given. The
fixing the first settlers in townships would, indeed, tend to
prevent that increase of live stock, which might be raised in
farms at a distance from villages, where the stock would be less
liable to suffer from the depredations, which may be expected
from the soldier and the convict, and against which there is no
effectual security.

The many untoward circumstances which the colony had hitherto
met with were done away; and at length there was reason to hope,
that after two years from July, 1790, they would want no farther
supply of flour, though various accidents might render a supply
necessary after that period. How long a regular supply of beef
and pork would be necessary depended on the quantity of live
stock which might be introduced into the settlement, and on its
increase, of which no judgment could be formed.

A town was now laid out at Rose-Hill, of which the principal
street was to be occupied by the convicts: the huts were building
at the distance of one hundred feet from each other, and each hut
was to contain ten convicts. In these huts they will live more
comfortably than they could possibly do if numbers were confined
together in larger buildings; and having good gardens to
cultivate, and frequent opportunities to exchange vegetables for
little necessaries which the stores do not furnish; these
accommodations will make them feel the benefits they may draw
from their industry.

Some few inconveniences, indeed, ensue from the convicts being
so much dispersed, but their being indulged with having their own
gardens is a spur to industry, which they would not have, if
employed in a public garden, though entirely for their own
benefits, as they never seemed to think it was their own; and it
was not observed, that many of those who had been for some months
in huts, and consequently were more at liberty than they would be
if numbers were confined together, had abused the confidence
placed in them, any farther than the robbing of a garden.

A GENERAL RETURN of MALE CONVICTS, with their respective employments,
on the 23d of July, 1790.


40 Making bricks and tiles.
50 Bringing in bricks, etc. for the new store-house.
19 Bricklayers and labourers employed in building a store-house
and huts at Rose-Hill.
8 Carpenters employed at the new store, and in building huts at
9 Men who can work with the axe, and who assist the
2 Sawyers.
9 Smiths.
10 Watchmen.
40 Receiving stores and provisions from the ships.
12 Employed on the roads--mostly convalescents.
18 Bringing in timber.
4 Stone-masons.
10 Employed in the boats.
3 Wheelwrights.
6 Employed in the stores.
38 Employed by the officers of the civil and military departments
at their farms. These men will be employed for the public when
the relief takes place.
2 Assistants to the provost marshal.
3 Gardeners and labourers employed by the governor.
3 Coopers.
6 Shoe-makers.
4 Taylors.
5 Bakers.
6 Attending the sick at the hospital.
3 Barbers.
3 Gardeners, and others, employed at the hospital.
3 Employed by the governor bringing in of wood, etc.
413 Under medical treatment.


2 Employed at the store.
3 Servants to the three superintendants.
1 Employed in taking care of the stock.
2 Employed at the hospital.
5 Men who work with the axe in building huts.
1 Baker.
1 Cook.
4 Boys variously employed.
1 Assistant to the provost marshal.
3 Thatchers.
1 Servant to the store-keepers.
1 Ditto to the assistant surgeon.
4 Overseers.
25 Sick.
113 Clearing and cultivating the ground.
12 Sawyers.

Chapter XVIII


August 1790 to October 1790

-An excursion into the country.--An interview
with the natives.--Governor Phillip wounded with a spear.--A
second interview with the natives.--Occurrences on that
occasion.--Five convicts effect their escape in a boat.--The
settlement visited by the natives.--Their customs.--Arrival of
the Supply from Batavia.-

Towards the latter end of August, 1790, several officers made
an excursion into the country, and going south-south-west
from-Prospect-Hill for twenty miles, they came to a run of water,
which they supposed to be the head of the Nepean river. They
described the country through which they passed to be good land
for ten miles, the rest ordinary ground, intersected by deep
ravines and a large marsh, which they supposed, formed a very
extensive piece of water, after heavy rains.

A number of convicts going out to search for sweet tea, some
of them separated from the rest, and were lost in the woods for
several days, and one of them was never heard of afterwards. It
is hardly possible to conceive the obstinacy and inattention of
many of these people, even in matters which concern only their
own safety.

In the morning of the 7th of September, Governor Phillip went
down the harbour to fix on a spot for raising a brick column,
which might point out the entrance to ships which were
unacquainted with the coast, as the flag-staff could not be seen
by vessels until they drew very near the land, and was also
liable to be blown down.

A rising ground at the distance of a cable's length from the
south head was chosen, and the stone necessary for the base of
the column being already cut, that work was immediately begun,
and the party were returning to Sydney, when the governor was
informed by some officers, who had landed in Manly-Bay, and who
were going on a shooting excursion, that they had seen
-Bannelong_, a native who had ran away from the settlement,
and who had enquired after all his friends, and received several
presents. It seems Bannelong, and _Colebe_, another native
who had escaped from the settlement, with near two hundred
others, were assembled in Manly-Bay to feast on a dead whale
which was lying on the beach. Bannelong sent a large piece of it
to the governor, as a present, which the sailors had in the boat:
he was very glad to see those he knew of the party, particularly
a native boy named _Nanbarre_, but seemed afraid of being
retaken, and would not permit any one to come so near as to lay
their hands on him.

As Governor Phillip had always been desirous of meeting with
this man, and had sought an opportunity from the day he left his
house, he returned to the look-out, and collecting every little
thing which was likely to please him, went to the spot where he
had been seen. Several natives appeared on the beach as the
governor's boat rowed into the bay, but on its nearer approach,
they retired amongst the trees.

It had ever been the governor's opinion, and what he had
observed of these people confirmed it, that the best means of
obtaining the confidence of a native was by example, and by
placing confidence in him; with this purpose, he left the
judge-advocate and Lieutenant Water-house, who had accompanied
him in the boat, and landed himself, followed only by a seaman
who had some beef and bread, with a few other articles which he
was desirous of giving to such of the natives as might join him:
after calling repeatedly on his old acquaintance by all his
names, he was answered by a native who appeared with several
others at a distance, and as he increased his distance from the
boat, the native approached nearer, and took a number of little
presents, on their being laid down at the distance of a few
paces; but he would not come near the governor, although in
answer to the question--"where was Banne-long?" he repeatedly
said he was the man; this, however, could not be believed, as he
was so much altered: at length a bottle was held up, and on his
being asked, what it was in his own language, he answered,
"_the King_;" for as he had always heard his Majesty's
health drank in the first glass after dinner at the governor's
table, and had been made to repeat the word before the drank his
own glass of wine, he supposed the liquor was named "the King;"
and though he afterwards knew it was called wine, yet he would
frequently call it King.

This convinced the governor that it could be no other than
Bannelong, and every method was tried to entice him to come near,
but he always retired on their approaching him nearer than he
wished, so that they were presently out of sight of the boat,
though at no great distance from it; but on eight or ten of the
natives placing themselves in a situation to prevent Bannelong
being carried off, had it been attempted, he came up, together
with Colebe, and held out his hand; but he was so changed, and
appeared so poor and miserable, that even then there was a doubt
whether he were the man, though Colebe was well known.

After some conversation, Governor Phillip went down to the
beach, and the two officers came on shore; the boat's crew, with
the arms, were still in the boat, for as the natives kept the
position they had taken, which showed they were under some
apprehensions, he was afraid of alarming them. Bannelong appeared
glad to see his old acquaintances; he was very chearful, and
repeatedly shook hands with them, asking for hatchets and
cloaths, which were promised to be brought him in two days: he
pointed to a small fire which was burning near them, and said he
should sleep there the two nights until the governor's return.
Knives, hats, and various other articles were given to him and
Colebe; and the latter, laughing, showed them that he had got the
iron from his leg by which he had been secured when at the
settlement: he also seemed glad to see his former acquaintances,
and made himself very merry at the manner of his friend
Bannelong's getting away from Sydney, by laying his head on his
hand, shutting his eyes, and saying, "Governor _nangorar_,"
(asleep) and imitating the manner in which his companion had ran

The governor and his party now began to retire towards the
beach, when they were joined by a stout, corpulent native who had
been for some time standing at a small distance; he approached
them under strong marks of fear, but this soon subsided on his
being treated in a friendly manner, and he became very
conversable: he showed them a wound he had received in his back
with a spear; Bannelong also was desirous of showing that he had
been wounded in various parts of the body since he left the
settlement; one of his wounds was made with a spear which went
through his left arm, and was pretty well healed, but another
dangerous one over the left eye was not in so good a state: these
wounds, he said, were received at Botany-Bay.

After a pretty long conversation, our party were going away,
but they were detained by Bannelong, who was still solicitous to
talk about the hatchets and cloaths he was to have sent him in
two days, and a native who had been standing for some time at the
distance of twenty or thirty yards, was pointed out by him in a
manner which showed he wished him to be taken notice of; on this,
the governor advanced towards him; and on the man's making signs
that he should not come near, and appearing to be afraid, he
threw his sword down, still advancing towards him, at the same
time opening his hands to show that he had no arms.

In the course of this interview, they had stopped near a spear
which was lying on the grass, and which Bannelong took up; it was
longer than common, and appeared to be a very curious one, being
barbed and pointed with hard wood; this exciting Governor
Phillip's curiosity, he asked Bannelong for it; but instead of
complying with this request, he took it where the stranger was
standing, threw it down, and taking a common short spear from a
native who, with several others, stood at some distance behind
him, he presented that and a club to the governor, which gave
reason to suppose that the spear which had been asked for did not
belong to him. As Governor Phillip advanced towards the man whose
fears he wished to remove, he took up the spear in question, and
fixing it in a throwing-stick, appeared to stand on his defence;
but as there was no reason to suppose he would throw it without
the least provocation, and when he was so near those with whom
our party were on such friendly terms, the governor made a sign
for him to lay it down, and continued to approach him, at the
same time repeating the words---weree weree_, which the
natives use when they wish any thing not to be done that
displeases them.

Notwithstanding this, the native, stepping back with his right
leg, threw the spear with great violence, and it struck against
Governor Phillip's collar bone, close to which it entered, and
the barb came out close to the third vertebrae of the back.
Immediately after throwing the spear, the native ran off, as did
Bannelong and Colebe, with those that were standing to the right
and left; and the latter, in their retreat, threw several spears,
which, however, did no farther mischief.

As bringing any arms on shore would probably have prevented an
interview taking place, the musquets had been left in the boat;
but the governor having a pistol in his pocket, he discharged it
as he went down to the beach, as several of the natives stopped
at no great distance, and the cockswain coming up at the same
instant, fired a musquet, though there was no reason to apprehend
the natives meant to molest them any farther.

The conduct of this savage may be supposed to do away any idea
that had been formed of the natives not abusing a confidence
placed in them; and yet, there is no great reason to draw that
inference from the accident just mentioned; for, it should be
remembered that the man who wounded Governor Phillip was a
stranger, and might fear their taking him away, as they had
carried off others; against which he might not think their
numbers a sufficient security; besides, he had not joined the
party, nor probably thought the friendship, which-subsisted
between them and others of a different tribe, any way binding on
him; for it is supposed the different tribes are in every respect
perfectly independant of each other. This man had stood for some
time peaceably and quietly, and the governor certainly was more
in his power before he went to call the officers out of the boat,
than at the time the spear was thrown; it is therefore most
likely that the action proceeded from a momentary impulse of
fear; but the behaviour of Bannelong on this occasion is not so
easily to be accounted for; he never attempted to interfere when
the man took the spear up, or said a single word to prevent him
from throwing it; he possibly did not think the spear would be
thrown, and the whole was but the business of a moment.

A few minutes before this affair happened, nineteen of the
natives had been counted round our party, and the position they
took showed their judgment: on the ground where Bannelong and
Colebe joined them, the trees stood at the distance of forty or
fifty feet from each other, and, had the natives kept together,
shelter might have been found from their spears behind a tree;
but whilst four of them remained in front, at the distance of
forty yards, four or five others placed themselves on the right,
and the same number on the left, at about the same distance;
others again were planted between them and the beach, at the
distance of ten or fifteen yards, which rendered it impossible
either to carry off their companions or to gain shelter from
their spears, if hostilities commenced; and though these people
do not always keep their spears in their hands, they are seldom
without their throwing-sticks, and generally have a spear lying
near them in the grass, which they move with their feet as they
change their ground: however, it is not likely that this
disposition was made with any bad intention, but merely as a
security for Bannelong and Colebe; indeed, these men directed the
manoeuvre and waited till it was made, before they came near
enough to shake hands.

It may naturally be supposed that many would be desirous of
punishing what was generally deemed an act of treachery, but
Governor Phillip did not see the transaction in that light, and
as soon as he arrived at Sydney, he gave the necessary directions
to prevent any of the natives being fired on, unless they were
the aggressors, by throwing spears; and, in order to prevent the
party who were out on a shooting excursion from meeting with an
attack of a similar nature, an officer and some soldiers were
sent after them: they returned the next day, and coming by the
place where the accident happened, some of the natives appeared
on an eminence; on their being asked who had wounded the
governor, they named a man, or a tribe, who resided to the
northward: the boy, Nanbarre, was their interpreter, and he said
the man's name was _Caregal_, and that he lived at, or near
Broken-Bay. Nanbarre was also directed to enquire after Bannelong
and Colebe, and those to whom the question was put, pointed to
some people at a distance.

One of these natives threw a spear to an officer who asked for
it, and this he did in such a manner that very particularly
marked the care he took it should not fall near any person.

It may be thought remarkable that, after what had happened,
the natives should appear in the fight of seventeen armed men;
and what was more extraordinary, the cockswains of the two boats
which lay at anchor all night near the beach, with several
soldiers in them, said, that after the party they landed were
gone off, the natives returned, made up some fires, and slept
there all night; but, as the officer who went to bring home the
party that were out a shooting, found by the marks on the sand,
when he was returning the next morning, that he had been followed
by three men and a dog, it is probable that they had others
looking out likewise, and had the boats approached the beach in
the night, they would have immediately fled into the woods.

It was Governor Phillip's intention, as soon as he should be
able to go out, to endeavour to find Bannelong, and, if possible,
to have the man given up who wounded him, or some of his tribe;
not with a view of inflicting any punishment, but of detaining
one or more of these people till they understood each other's

Some days after this affair, as several officers were going
down the harbour, they saw some natives, and amongst them
Bannelong and his wife; on this, the boat's head was put to the
rocks, and he came down, shook hands with several of the party,
and enquired if the governor was dead; they told him no; on which
he promised to come and see him; said he had beat the man who
wounded him, and whose name he told them was
-Wil-le-me-ring_, of the tribe of Kay-yee-my, the place were
the governor was wounded.

The native boy and girl were in the boat, and through them
this conversation was held: the girl pointed out one of the
natives who she said was her father: none of these people showed
any signs of fear, though they saw the officers were armed, and
the girl was very desirous of remaining with them; she was now of
an age to want to form a connection with the other sex, which she
had no opportunity of doing in the clergyman's family where she
lived, and very innocently told him, when she asked to go away,
that she wanted to be married. As it would be difficult to
prevent her getting away, if she was determined to go, it was
thought most prudent to consent to her leaving the settlement,
and she was told that she would be permitted to go, and to take
all her cloaths with her; and that whenever she chose to come and
see her friends, whatever she wished for should be given her; at
the same time, several reasons were urged, that were likely to
induce her to remain in her present situation a few months
longer, as she did not sufficiently understand the language to
explain their intentions towards the natives so sully as could
have been wished.

On the 16th of September, a shoal of fish appeared on the
coast, which extended as far as the eye could reach, and part of
them entering the harbour, as many were caught at two hauls with
the seine, as served the whole settlement: there were not less
than three thousand, which, on an average, weighed about five
pounds each. As a party were going to visit Bannelong, some fish
were sent him, which he received, and appeared free from any
apprehensions; and the same afternoon, the commissary and
Governor Phillip's orderly serjeant, for whom he had always
showed great friendship, went with an additional supply: they
found him on the rocks with his wife, who was fishing, and though
on their first approach he ran into the woods, yet as soon as he
knew them he returned, and joined them when they landed, bringing
down his wife, as he had done to those who visited him before,
and on these occasions, he showed that he was still fond of a
glass of wine.

Governor Phillip was so well recovered of his wound, as to be
able to go in a boat on the 17th, to the place where Bannelong
and his wife then resided: he found nine natives on the spot, who
informed him that Bannelong was out a fishing; the native girl
was in the boat, and her father being among the natives, a
hatchet and some fish were given him; in return for which, he
gave the governor a short spear that had been pointed with a
knife, which the natives now used when they could procure one, in
preference to the shell.

The party had just left these people, and were going farther
in quest of Bannelong, when they perceived four canoes coming
towards them, in one of which was the person they wanted; on this
they returned to the Cove. As soon as Bannelong had laid up his
canoe, he came to the boat, and held up both his hands, to show
that he had no arms: presently afterwards, the party landed, and
he joined them very readily, asked Governor Phillip where he was
wounded, and said that he had beat the man who wounded him, and
whose name he repeated: being told that the man would be killed
for this treacherous action, he desired it might be done. A
hatchet, some fishing-lines, and several other articles were
given him, and he wanted to have some presents that were brought
for his wife _Ba-rang-aroo_, but this being refused, he
readily went to fetch her: a petticoat, and several other little
presents were given to the lady, and a red jacket with a silver
epaulet, which Bannelong used to wear when at the settlement,
were now given him, which pleased him more than any thing

On being asked to dine with Governor Phillip the next day, he
readily consented, and promised to bring his wife: he likewise
pointed out a youth and two men to whom hatchets had been given,
and said he would bring them with him also.

Bannelong's wife, Ba-rang-aroo, appeared to be older than
himself, and had had two children by a former husband, both of
which were dead: this probably was the woman he had so often
mentioned when at the settlement, and whom he had taken as a wife
since he left it; she likewise had been twice wounded by spears,
one of which had passed through her thigh.

Though Bannelong probably might be glad that Governor Phillip
was not killed, yet there is not doubt but that the natives throw
their spears, and take a life in their quarrels, which are very
frequent, as readily as the lower class of people in England
strip to box, and think as little of the consequences.

Mau-go-ran, the father of the native girl who lived with the
clergyman, bad a bad wound on the back of his head, which he told
the surgeon who dressed it, was done by a spear: it seems a
dispute had taken place amongst these people, about sharing the
whale, in which several lives were lost, and this man got his
wound; and on the girl naming to her father a youth at
-Kay-yee-my_, who she said would marry her, he told her not
to go there, for they had quarrelled, and would throw spears, and
that they would also throw spears at any white man; indeed, if
this man's information could be depended on, the natives were
very angry at so many people being sent to Rose-hill; certain it
is, that wherever our colonists fix themselves, the natives are
obliged to leave that part of the country.

The weather being now very dry, the natives were employed in
burning the grass on the north shore opposite to Sydney, in order
to catch rats and other animals, whilst the women were employed
in fishing: this is their constant practice in dry weather.

Though Bannelong did not pay Governor Phillip a visit, as he
had promised, he readily joined those he saw in different parts
of the harbour, notwithstanding they were armed, and went in his
canoe to the longboat, though he saw several musquets in her: his
wife was along with him in the canoe, and he gave those in the
boat to understand that he would pay the governor a visit;
probably the fear of being detained had hitherto prevented him,
but whilst there was the least chance of his coming voluntarily,
Governor Phillip was not willing to take him a second time by
force, as it was likely he would soon be reconciled to pass a
considerable part of his time at Sydnev, when he found he could
be his own master, and go and come when he pleased.

On the 19th, Governor Phillip went to Rose-hill and returned
to Sydney in the evening. The corn looked better than could be
expected; but, the earth was so parched up by the dry weather
that they could not get the remainder of their Indian corn into
the ground until some rain fell. The weather for the last
fortnight had frequently been cloudy and unsettled, and some
light showers of rain had fallen at different times, but very
little compared to what the ground required, or what might have
been expected at this season. In the night of the 24th it began
to rain, and some smart showers fell the next day, which enabled
them to sow the remainder of their Indian corn; it was also of
great service to the wheat and the vegetables in the gardens.

The column intended as a mark for the entrance of the harbour
was now finished; it stands (as has already been observed,) on a
cliff, a cable's length from the south-head: it is a brick column
on a stone base, and rises to the height of thirty feet.

In the night of the 26th of September, five convicts took a
punt from Rose-Hill, in which they came down to the look-out,
where they exchanged the punt for a four-oared boat, and got off
undiscovered. These people certainly meant to go along the coast
to the northward, and to attempt getting to some of the Friendly
islands; but this project must be almost impossible, and there
was every reason to suppose they would perish in a very few

As Governor Phillip and a party were going to Rose-Hill
towards the latter end of September, a native was seen on one of
the points; and being asked where Bannelong was, he replied,
-Memilla_ (at Memill): on this, they rowed up to the island,
and when they drew near the rocks, Bannelong came down to the
boat, and brought his wife without the least appearance of fear,
though they were the only persons on the island. There was no
fish in the boat, but they were glad of some bread, and presently
afterwards the governor and his party left them, and from the
confidence Bannelong now placed in his visitors, there was no
doubt but he would soon come to the settlement as usual. On the
governor's return, two days after this meeting, Bannelong had
left the island. The governor again went to Rose-Hill on the 6th
of October, and on his return he was repeatedly called to by
Bannelong, who was on the north shore with several officers; and
the surgeon, in whom he placed great confidence, being of the
party, persuaded him to come over to the governor: he brought
three natives in his canoe, and they were all well pleased with
hatchets and fishing-lines which were given them. It seems
Bannelong's wife had opposed his coming, and finding her tears
had no effect, she flew into a violent passion, and broke a very
fine fiz-gig, for which she would probably have been very
severely chastised on her husband's return, but for the
interference of the surgeon, who carried these people back to
their cave on the north shore, where they intended to reside for
some time.

Bannelong appeared very much at his ease, and not under the
least apprehension of being detained; promising, when he went
away, to bring his wife over, which he did two days afterwards:
his sister and two men came likewise, and a third soon followed:
blankets, and some cloathing were given them, and each had a
belly-full of fish; Bannelong sat down to dinner with Governor
Phillip, and drank his wine and coffee as usual.

The governor bought a spear from one of his visitants, and
endeavoured to make them understand that spears, lines, birds, or
any thing they brought should always be purchased; at the same
time he promised Bannelong a shield, for which he was to bring a
spear in return, as accustoming these people to barter was judged
the most likely means of bringing them to reside amongst the
colonists. The next day, a large party came over for the shield,
but it was not finished: two men of this party were owned by the
native girl, who lived with the clergyman, as her brothers, and
for whom she procured two hatchets, which appeared to be the most
valuable articles that could be given them. When Bannelong came
for his present, those who accompanied him, after staying a short
time, went away, but he staid dinner, and left the place highly
delighted with his shield, which being made of sole leather and
covered with tin, was likely to resist the force of their

As it was late in the afternoon before Bannelong thought of
departing, his wife and sister, with two men, came over in their
canoes to fetch him, so that there was every appearance of these
people being perfectly reconciled, and no doubt could be
entertained but that they would visit the settlement as
frequently as could be wished.

Some days after this interview, a canoe with Bannelong's
sister and several young people coming to one of the points of
the cove, the girl who had now lived seventeen months with the
clergyman's wife, joined them, and was so desirous of going away
that it was consented to: the next day she was seen naked in a
canoe, but she put on a petticoat before she joined the clergyman
and some others who went to visit her; she appeared to be pleased
with having her liberty, and the boy, Nanbarre, who was of the
party that went to see her, now wished to stay with the natives
all night; he was left behind, but the next morning he returned
to the surgeon, with whom he lived, and having fared but badly,
did not seem inclined to go to them again.

The very little rain, which had fallen since the latter end of
June, had destroyed all their hopes of good crops, and which they
had every reason to expect till the beginning of September: at
present, there was the appearance of rain, though it was feared,
that it would come too late to be of any great service to the
corn, though it might save the few vegetables they had in the
gardens which were parched up. Some rain fell on the 14th and
15th of October, but it was barely sufficient to refresh the

The natives now visited the settlement daily, and Bannelong,
who had not been there for several days, came early in the
morning of the 17th, but took leave of Governor Phillip after
breakfast, saying, that he was going a great way off, and would
return, with two young men who were with him, after three days:
there was reason to suppose that he was going to fight.

If the natives of this country be less civilised than the
inhabitants of the neighbouring islands, they are much honester;
for they very seldom attempt to take any thing by stealth; and,
it is certain, that when a thief is caught, they beat him to
death with sticks. On the 18th, Governor Phillip was informed,
that Colebe, with two little girls and two young men who had
before been at the settlement, were waiting at the next cove to
see him; on this, he went to the place: a hatchet was, as usual,
desired and given, and Colebe promised to come to dinner the next

A convict had been missing some time, and was reported to have
been killed by the natives: those who could have given any
information of this man must have been with him, and consequently
expected punishment, if they were known, for having left their
huts contrary to orders; it was, therefore, impossible to fix the
report on any individual, and no information could be gained by
those who were sent to search the country for some miles round;
but two parties of the natives had been seen, one party
consisting of about forty, the other not more than half that
number: soon afterwards, Bannelong, with sixteen men and boys,
were met by a serjeant and three men who had been sent after the
convict that was missing; Bannelong pressed them very much to
return with him and kill a native who was well known from having
lost an eye, and who was supposed to be a leader of the tribe
that reside about Botany-Bay; but this request not being complied
with, the natives continued their route, and Colebe, who was of
the party, came to dine with the governor as he had promised,
Bannelong and several others accompanying him.

At dinner, Bannelong observed that his shield was a good one,
and said, that he had been to fight the man who had some time
before wounded him, and that his spear had gone through both the
shield and hand of his antagonist; he also said, that the people
he had been to fight with had killed the man who was lost:
however, admitting that to be the case, it is more than probable
that he had been found by the natives stealing their spears or
gum, and which the convicts continued to procure, and contrive to
secrete until ships arrive.

On the 18th of October, the Supply armed tender returned from
Batavia: they had lost a lieutenant, the gunner of the Sirius,
and several seamen at that unhealthy settlement. The commander of
the Supply had intended to go through the streights of Macasser;
but when to the westward of Kercolang, meeting with strong gales
from the westward, he bore away to the southward, running down
near the small islands which are on the western coast of Gillola;
and going to the westward of the island of Bouro, to the
southward of Bouton, and between Salayer and Celebes, had fine
weather and favourable winds.

Ships leaving the coast of New South Wales for Batavia,
between the months of April and September, should keep to the
southward, and go between New Guinea and Gillola; they then might
make their passage in seven or eight weeks, probably in less
time. The Supply was eighty days on her passage, and sixty-four
on her return.

On the 28th of October, two convicts suffered death for
robbing a hut, and dangerously wounding a man who endeavoured to
prevent their carrying away his property.

The settlement had now some heavy showers of rain, and the
weather continued showery for several days, but the long drought
had destroyed a very considerable part of the wheat and

The native girl, who had left the settlement, returned, after
being absent fourteen days; but though she appeared to have fared
badly, and had been beat by her friend Colebe, yet she would not
remain at Sydney more than two days, after which she returned to
her companions.

It now appeared, that Governor Phillip did not wrong the
natives in supposing that they treated their women with very
little tenderness; for Bannelong had beat his wife twice very
severely in a short time, and for which, as far as could be
learnt from the girl, he had very little reason: still she
appeared very fond of him, and he professed great affection for
her, but laughed when he was told that it was wrong to beat a
woman: he now visited the settlement daily, with his wife,
several children, and half a dozen of his friends, and Colebe was
generally one of the party.

Several of these people had recently a dispute, in which one
of them received two severe wounds in the head from a spear, and
two others were wounded in the head by hatchets; but the parties
appeared two days after the affray as good friends as ever.

It has already been observed, that the natives have some idea
of a future state, and that they believe in spirits; the
following circumstance leaves no doubt but that they likewise
believe in charms:--Bannelong's wife one day complaining of a
pain in the belly, went to the fire and sat down with her
husband, who, notwithstanding his beating her occasionally,
seemed to express great sorrow on seeing her ill, and after
blowing on his hand, he warmed it, and then applied it to the
part affected; beginning at the same time a song, which was
probably calculated for the occasion: a piece of flannel being
warmed and applied by a bye-stander, rendered the warming his
hand unnecessary, but he continued his song, always keeping his
mouth very near to the part affected, and frequently stopping to
blow on it, making a noise after blowing in imitation of the
barking of a dog; but though he blew several times, he only made
that noise once at every pause, and then continued his song, the
woman always making short responses whenever he ceased to blow
and bark.

How long this ceremony would have continued was uncertain, for
Governor Phillip sent for the doctor, and she was persuaded to
take a little tincture of rhubarb, which gave her relief, and so
put an end to the business.

Bannelong, with his wife and two children, who appeared to
have been adopted by him when their parents died, now lived in a
hut built for them on the eastern point of the cove; they were
frequently visited by many of the natives, some of whom daily
came to the barracks: all of them were very fond of bread, and
they now found the advantage of coming amongst the settlers.

The Supply immediately after her arrival began to refit, as
Governor Phillip was desirous of sending to Norfolk Island some
provisions, and many little articles which were wanted, and with
which he now had it in his power to supply them; but on stripping
the lower masts, the foremast was found to be so bad that it was
necessary to get it out, and when examined, it proved to be so
much decayed that they were obliged to cut several feet off the
head of the mast, and several feet from the heel: the tops,
likewise, were so much decayed, that they could not be repaired,
so that new ones were to be made.

It had hitherto been the opinion at Sydney, that the custom of
losing the front tooth amongst the natives was confined to the
men only, but a woman was lately seen who had lost the front
tooth, and two women were met with who had the septum of the nose
perforated; one of them was Barangaroo, who now visited the
settlement daily, in company with her husband, and seemed to be
pleased as though she thought herself drest when her nose was
occasionally ornamented with a small bone or a bit of stick: she
is very strait and exceeding well made; her features are good,
and though she goes entirely naked, yet there is such an air of
innocence about her that cloathing scarcely appears

These people are frequently ornamented, or, to speak more
properly, disfigured with broad white marks under the eyes and on
the breasts; but they seem to have another motive for using this
mode of ornament, besides a wish of appearing handsome, though as
yet it had not been discovered. The red earth is likewise
frequently used, generally about the nose and under the eyes.

Chapter XIX


November 1790 to December 1790

-Fruits in season described.--The manners of the
natives.--Disputes with them.--Arrival of a vessel from

The new moon, in the beginning of November, brought a few
hours thunder, and rain for a short time, which they still
continued greatly to want.

Several fruits peculiar to the country were now in season:
that which was supposed to be the fruit Captain Cook calls a
cherry, the natives call _mizooboore_; the taste of it is
insipid, and it differs little from another fruit similar in its
appearance, but something smaller, and which, as well as the
former, is found in great abundance: there is likewise a third
sort which differs as little in appearance and taste. Though
there is little variety either in the shape or taste of the
fruits just mentioned, yet, it is very remarkable that the trees
on which they grow are of very different kinds.

The fruits, or berries, just mentioned, have so insipid a
taste, that they are held in very little estimation by our
colonists; but that is not the case with the acid berry, which is
about the size of a currant, and grows on a tree, the leaves of
which resemble the broom: the acid of this fruit, even when ripe,
is very strong, and is, perhaps, the purest in the world: it is
pleasant to the taste, and Governor Phillip found it particularly
so when on a journey in hot weather: the surgeon held it in great
estimation as an antiscorbutic; and, with a large proportion of
sugar, it makes excellent tarts and jellies.

There is also another fruit, which, when ripe, is of a
transparent red colour, about the size of a currant, and shaped
like a heart: it has an agreeable flavour, leaving an astringency
on the palate, and cannot be otherwise than wholesome, as the
settlers had ate great quantities of it at times, without any
pernicious consequences.

There is likewise a nut, which had violent effects on those
who ate it unprepared: the natives soak it in water for seven or
eight days, changing the water every day; and at the expiration
of that time they roast it in the embers; but the kernel is taken
out of the hard shell with which it is enclosed, previous to its
being put into the water: it is nearly equal to the chesnut in

-Boorong_, the native girl who had lived with the
clergyman, returned to him again, after a week's absence: some
officers had been down the harbour, and she was very happy to
embrace that opportunity of getting from the party she had been
with. By her own account, she had joined the young man she wished
to marry, and had lived with him three days; but he had another
wife, who the girl said was jealous, and had beat her; indeed,
evident marks of this appeared about her head, which was so
bruised as to require the surgeon's attention: in return for this
unkind treatment, it seems her favourite had beat his wife.

But opportunities were not now wanting to show that the women
are in general treated very roughly; for Colebe brought his wife
to visit Governor Phillip, and though she was big with child, and
appeared to be within a very few days of her time, there were
several wounds on her head, which she said he had lately given
her: he seemed to be pleased that she could show her marks, and
took some pains to inform the governor that he had beat her with
a wooden sword.

Early in the morning of the 13th of November, sixteen of the
natives visited the settlement, and some fish being distributed
amongst them, they made a fire in the governor's yard, and sat
down to breakfast in great good humour: those that were
strangers, appeared highly delighted with the novelties that
surrounded them. Amongst the strangers, there was a woman whose
skin, when free from dirt and smoke, was of a bright copper
colour; her features were pleasing, and of that kind of turn,
that had she been in any European settlement, no one would have
doubted her being a Mulatto Jewess.

Bannelong, who had been for two days with some of his party at
Botany-Bay, came along with these people and brought his wife
with him: she appeared to be very ill, and had a fresh wound on
her head, which he gave Governor Phillip to understand she had
merited, for breaking a fiz-gig and a throwing stick. The
governor's reasoning with him on this subject had no effect; he
said she was bad, and therefore he had beat her; neither could it
be learned what inducement this woman could have to do an act
which she must have known would be followed by a severe beating;
for Bannelong either did not understand the questions put to him,
or was unwilling to answer them. When these people had finished
their breakfast, they all went to the hospital to get the womens'
heads dressed; for besides Bannelong's wife, a woman who was a
stranger, had received a blow on the head, which had laid her
scull bare.

After this business was over, most of them returned and sat
down in the yard at the back of Governor Phillip's house; but
Bannelong went into the house as usual, and finding the governor
writing, sat down by him: he appeared very much out of humour,
and frequently said that he was going to beat a woman with a
hatchet which he held in his hand: it was impossible to persuade
him to say he would not beat her, and after some time he got up,
saying that he could not dine with the governor, as he was going
to beat the woman.

Governor Phillip then insisted on going with him, to which he
made no objection, though he was given to understand that he
would not be suffered to beat any woman, and they set off for his
hut at the point. The governor took his orderly serjeant along
with him, and they were joined by the judge advocate.

Though Bannelong had frequently said he would kill the woman,
when Governor Phillip was endeavouring to persuade him not to
beat her, yet, it could not be believed that he had any such
intention; nor did they suppose there would be much trouble in
preventing his beating her; however, fearing he might strike her
a blow with the hatchet which must have been fatal, it was taken
from him before they got to the hut, and as he seemed unwilling
to part with it, the governor gave him his cane; but his
expressions and his countenance soon made them think even the
cane too much for him to be trusted with, and that was taken from
him also.

On their arrival at the hut, they found five men, two youths,
and several women and children: some of these people were on the
grass before the door of the hut, and though the governor fixed
his eyes on Bannelong, in order to find out the object of his
revenge, and whom he determined to protect, yet this furious
savage seized a wooden sword, and struck a young female, who was
either asleep, or seeing him coming had hid her face, over the
head, and repeated his blow before the weapon could be wrested
from him; he then got a hatchet, which was likewise taken

Reasoning with him was now out of the question; the savage
fury which took possession of him when he found himself kept from
the girl, who was lying senseless, is not to be described: he had
now got another wooden sword, but the judge-advocate and the
serjeant held him, and what passed being observed from the
Supply, Lieutenant Ball and the surgeon of the hospital, came
over to the spot armed, and the poor girl was put into the boat
without any opposition on the part of the natives, who had armed
themselves the moment they saw Governor Phillip and his party
interfere, and one of them repeatedly pressed him to give
Bannelong the hatchets and sword which had been taken from

None of these people, either men or women, (the two youths
excepted, who appeared to be much frightened,) showed the least
concern at the girl's fate, though they must have known, that
Bannelong intended to kill her, and they certainly armed in his

When the boat was gone off with the girl, our party returned
to the governor's house, several of the native men and boys
joining them, as well as Bannelong; and, after some time, when
his passion began to subside, Governor Phillip gave him to
understand, that he was exceedingly angry with him for attempting
to kill a woman, and tried to divert him from his purpose by
threats, telling him that if he did kill her, or even beat her
any more, he should lose his life; but threats had no greater
effect than entreaties, and all his answers showed that he
thought himself greatly injured by having his victim taken from
him; saying that she was his, that her father was the man who had
wounded him over the eye, that all their tribe were bad, and that
the governor should see he would kill her; and when the
judge-advocate reasoned with him, and told him that if he killed
the girl the governor would kill him, he marked with his finger
those parts of the head, breast, and arms, where he said he would
wound her, before he cut her head off: in this resolution he went
away, and the girl was removed in the evening from the Supply to
Governor Phillip's house, where a young man who lived with
Bannelong desired to remain with her, and, from the tenderness he
showed her when Bannelong was not present, was supposed to be her
husband; though he had not dared to open his lips, or even to
look dissatisfied, when her life was in danger.

Several of the natives came to see this girl, and (except the
supposed husband) they all appeared very desirous that she might
return to the hut, though they must have known that she would be
killed; and, what is not to be accounted for, the girl herself
appeared desirous of going.

After an absence of two days, Bannelong returned to the
governor's house, apparently in good humour, and said he would
not beat the girl; at the same time he gave them to understand,
that he had again beat his wife about the head, and that he had
received a severe blow on the shoulder from a club in return; on
this, Governor Phillip proposed their going to the hospital to
have his own shoulder and his wife's head drest, but this he
refused, saying, that White (the surgeon) would shoot him, and
that he durst not sleep in the house which had been built for
him, as the surgeon would shoot him in the night.

This story was not told without many threats on his part; and
during the recital, he twice went out to fetch a spear, which the
governor had made him leave in a back room, in order to show that
he was not afraid, and that he would use it if he saw the
surgeon; however, Governor Phillip soon convinced him that he was
not to be shot unless he killed the girl, or threw spears at the
white men. The moment Bannelong was satisfied that the surgeon
was still his friend, he said he would go to him for a plaister
for his shoulder, and another for his wife's head; but, as the
governor wished to be present when they first met, he sent for
the surgeon, whom Bannelong received as usual, gave him part of
what he was eating, and went with him to the hospital; after
which, he went to the surgeon's house, and the girl being there
to whom he had lately shown so much animosity, he took her by the
hand, and spoke to her in a friendly manner.

But this attention so exasperated his wife, and put her in
such a rage, that those who were present at the time could not,
without some difficulty, prevent her from knocking the girl on
the head with a club which she had taken from one of the men for
that purpose; nor did her husband seem inclined to prevent her
till he was spoke to, when he gave her a pretty smart slap on the
face; on this, his wife left them crying with passion, and came
over to the governor's house, where the girl was now brought for
greater security, and was followed by several men.

Governor Phillip had ordered the girl to be put into his maid
servant's room, with which Bannelong seemed pleased, and desired
him to let the young man who had remained with her at the
surgeon's, stay there likewise; in the mean time, his wife was
very noisy, and used many threats; she had got her husband's
spears, which she sat down upon, and would not give them up to a
soldier, whom the governor had ordered to take them from her,
until force was used; and when the soldier had them, Bannelong
wanted to take them from him, saying he would give them to the
governor: they were then delivered to him, and he immediately
gave them to Governor Phillip, making signs for them to be put
into the house: this, at a time when there was a guard of
soldiers drawn up in the yard, and when he was telling his
companions, that the soldiers would fire, showed that he placed
some confidence in the governor; though at the same time, he was
very violent, and appeared very much inclined to use his club
against those who prevented his going into the house; and one of
the natives who was generally his companion, seemed ready to
support him in any attempt he might be disposed to make.

On this they were given to understand, that if any of the
soldiers were struck, they would be put to death, and Governor
Phillip immediately ordered them all to be turned out of the
yard, except Bannelong and the young man he had desired might
remain with the girl: Bannelong's wife was turned away amongst
the rest, but this did not prevent his staying to dinner, and
behaving with the same indifference as if nothing had passed;
and, in the evening when he was going away, a scene took place
which was little expected: the young man who had been so desirous
of remaining with the girl, would now go away, and the girl
cried, and forced her way out of the room to go with Bannelong:
she was brought in again, and told if she went away she would be
beat, but Bannelong said he would not beat her, neither was his
wife angry with her now; and the young man pressed Governor
Phillip very much to let her go, saying Barangaroo would not beat
the girl, as her passion was over, and she was now very good.

As the information of Barangaroo's anger having so entirely
subsided, could only have been brought by a boy, who had returned
to the house in the afternoon, the governor was not the least
inclined to let the girl go away; but there was no possibility of
detaining her unless she was confined, and there appeared so much
sincerity in Bannelong's countenance, when he said she should not
be beat, that leave was given, and the moment the girl was
without the gate, she ran towards Bannelong's hut, without
waiting for those who were going along with her.

Governor Phillip himself was fully persuaded that Bannelong
would keep his word, but the general opinion was, that the girl
would be sacrificed; and in the evening, a considerable number of
natives being seen about the hut, gave rise to various stories;
but the next day, Bannelong came to dinner, and said, he had sent
the girl to her father, which was afterwards confirmed by

How Bannelong got this girl into his possession could not be
learnt; but it appeared she was the same girl whom he went to
look after when he ran away from the settlement: she appeared to
be about fifteen years of age, and when she went away, her wounds
were in a fair way of doing well: fortunately for her, the weapon
which had first presented itself when Bannelong beat her, was a
boy's wooden sword, and made of very light wood; but these people
pay little attention to wounds, and even those which by the
faculty are deemed dangerous, do not seem to require the common
attention of closing the lips of the wound and keeping it clean;
this shows that they must be of a most excellent habit of

Governor Phillip having occasion to go to Rose-Hill, Bannelong
said he would accompany him: accordingly they set out, and
stopped at the point, in order to take Barangaroo into the boat;
but she refused, and persuaded her husband not to go. On the
governor's return to Sydney, he was informed that this party had
been lamenting the loss of a brother, who had been killed by one
of the Cammeragals: the women were crying in the usual manner,
but their grief was not of long duration, and Bannelong went to
breakfast with some officers, who, hearing the womens' cries, had
gone to the hut to learn the cause; and as they were going down
the harbour to look after a small boat belonging to the hospital,
which had been lost, with five convicts, he desired them to land
him on the north shore, in order, it was supposed, to collect all
his friends, and revenge his brother's death.

However, he was seen soon afterwards with some of the
Cammeragals, who were collecting the wild fruits which were now
in season; so that he must have been misunderstood as to his
intention of fighting with the Cammeragals; nor can we account
for his being frequently with a tribe whom he always spoke of as
bad, and desired Governor Phillip to kill; and what was equally
mysterious, a man belonging to the Botany-Bay tribe had for more
than a fortnight slept at his hut, though he said the man was
bad, and spoke of him as his enemy.

The party who went in search of the boat found the wreck of
her, and one of the bodies; as the boat had been seen under sail
when it blew hard, it should seem that the men sent in her did
not know how to manage her, and were driven on the rocks. Several
natives assisted in saving the oars and other articles that were
driven ashore; and Colebe, who was on the spot, exerted himself
greatly on this occasion, and saved the seine, which was
entangled amongst the rocks: for these services, they were all
rewarded with blankets and some cloathing.

But, however well you may cloath these people, they generally
return naked the next day. Of all the cloaths and the
multiplicity of other articles which had been given to Bannelong,
very little now remained in his possession; his shield, and most
of his cloaths, were, by his own account, sent a great distance
off; but whether he had lost them, or given them away, was

In the evening of the 21st of November, Bannelong and his wife
came to Sydney, and he requested leave to sleep in Governor
Phillip's house, as there were a great number of people at
-Tubow-gule_, the point on which their hut stood. Bannelong
told the governor, that the Cammeragals had killed his
-friend_, or _relation_, for we are not clear that
these words in their language, which had been supposed to mean
Father or Brother, are made use of by the natives in that sense:
he said, they had burnt his body, which he seemed to lament; and
being told, that Governor Phillip would take the soldiers and
punish them, he prest him very much to go and kill them: indeed,
from the first day he was able to make himself understood, he was
desirous to have all the tribe of Cammeragal killed, yet he was
along with that tribe when Governor Phillip was wounded, and, as
hath already been observed, was seen with them since the loss of
his friend, or brother.

After Bannelong and his wife had supped they retired to sleep
in a back room, and he was particularly anxious for the governor
to lock the door and put the key in his pocket; from which
circumstance, it is probable he had other reasons for coming that
evening to sleep at the governor's house, besides that of having
a number of people at his own habitation.

When Governor Phillip's guests left him, the girl who lived
with the clergyman went away with them, and slept at their hut,
nor would she probably have returned till she was compelled by
hunger, or had received a beating; but being seen the next
morning in a canoe, fishing, she very readily returned with the
person who had been sent to look after her.

Many of the small streams of water in different parts of the
harbour were dried up, and at Sydney, the run of water was small,
but it afforded sufficient for the use of the settlement; nor was
there any reason to suppose they would ever want water. At
Rose-Hill, the settlers never can be under any apprehensions on
that head, and though from the stream being small in dry weather,
the water has an unpleasant taste, occasioned by a number of dead
trees falling into the brook, yet that may be prevented
hereafter: it will also be necessary, at some future period, to
make a dam across the creek, in order to prevent the tides making
the water brackish at the lower part of it: when that is done, it
will not be a difficult matter to carry a run of water at the
back of those houses which are situated at the greatest distance
from the brook.

A new store at Rose-Hill, which the workmen had been building
for some time past, was tiled in on the 25th of November, and a
barrack of the same dimensions (100 feet by 24 feet 6 inches) was
immediately begun. At the latter end of the month, the weather
was unsettled, with frequent showers of rain: most of the barley
was now ripe, and they began to house it. The 3d of December was
a day of constant rain, which continued during the night.

Governor Phillip had recently ordered a small hut to be built
for his own accommodation at Rose-Hill, and he was going to
remain there a few days, when several of the natives were
desirous of accompanying him, amongst whom were Bannelong and
Colebe: the governor got into his boat with three of them, and
Bannelong, going to fetch his cloak, was detained by his wife;
however, as they were going out of the cove, he appeared on the
rocks, and got into the boat notwithstanding her threats; but,
the moment the boat put off, she went to her canoe, which was a
new one, and after driving her paddles through the bottom, she
threw them into the water, and afterwards went off to their hut,
probably to do more damage. The husband had endeavoured to pacify
her, and promised several times not to be absent more than one
night; as it was likely that he would prefer remaining behind,
though he appeared unwilling to ask to be landed, it was proposed
to him, and after picking up the paddles which his wife had
thrown away, he was put on shore.

The governor then proceeded to Rose-Hill, with Colebe and two
other natives, none of whom ever opened their lips during this
altercation: indeed, none of these people have ever been seen to
interfere with what did not immediately concern themselves.

The three natives slept that night at Rose-Hill, and though
fed very plentifully, yet, the next morning, they were very
desirous of returning; on this, Governor Phillip sent the boat
down with them, on the return of which he fully expected to hear
that mistress Barangaroo's head was under the care of the
surgeon; but, to his great surprise, both she and her husband
came up in the boat the next morning, and Bannelong said he had
not beat her; but whether he was deterred by what had so
frequently been said to him on the subject, or from some other
cause, could not be known: however, a reconciliation had taken
place, and they both dined with the governor in great good
humour. Every thing this couple wished for was given them, and
they had both fish and _baggaray_; but after dinner was
over, the lady wanted to return, and Bannelong said she would cry
if she was not permitted to go; so that late in the afternoon,
the governor was obliged to send the boat down with them.

It is rather singular that none of the natives like Rose-Hill,
probably because fish is seldom procured there: both Arrabannu
and Bannelong, whilst they lived with Governor Phillip, always
appeared to dislike going there, and after the first day, would
be continually pressing him to return to Sydney.

Lieutenant Ball, who commanded the Supply, had been ill for
some time; and when Governor Phillip returned from Rose-Hill on
the 11th of December, the surgeon informed him that there were
little hopes of Mr. Ball's recovery: at the same time he was
told, that his game-keeper had been brought in so dangerously
wounded by a spear, that there was little probability of saving
his life.

It seems the game-keeper went out with three others, one of
whom was a serjeant; and in the heat of the day, they retired to
a hut which they had made with boughs, and went to sleep. One of
them waking, and hearing a noise in the bushes, supposed it to be
some animal; but on their coming out of the hut, four natives
jumped up from amongst the bushes and ran away: the game-keeper,
supposing one of them to be a man who had been at Sydney, as he
appeared to have been shaved and his hair cut, followed them
without his gun, (though the most positive orders had been given
for no one ever to join the natives unarmed) calling on them to
stop, and he would give them some bread; and observing that one
of those who followed him from the hut had a gun in his hand, he
bid him lay it down, saying, that the natives would not hurt

The game-keeper had now advanced forty or fifty yards before
his companions, and was not more than ten yards from one of the
natives, who stopped; and getting on a tree which had been burnt
down, and was lying on the ground, he surveyed those who
approached him: in a moment he found they were unarmed, so,
fixing his spear, he threw it at the man who was nearest to him:
the spear entered on the left side, and penetrated the lower lobe
of the lungs: it was barbed, and consequently could not be
extracted till a suppuration took place. Immediately after
throwing the spear, the native fled, and was soon out of sight of
the man who followed him.

As they were eleven miles from Sydney when this accident
happened, it was not without some difficulty that the unfortunate
game-keeper could be brought in after his strength failed him: he
was of the catholic persuasion, but on being brought to the
hospital, he desired to have the clergyman sent for, to whom he
confessed that he had been a bad man, and desired his prayers;
but, at the same time, he declared that he had never killed or
wounded any native, except once; when, having had a spear thrown
at him, he discharged his piece, which was loaded with small
shot, and possibly wounded the man who threw the spear.

This declaration, made at the time he requested the surgeon
not to attempt taking out the spear, until he had asked pardon of
his God, whom, he said, he had often offended, added to the
testimony of those who were with him, left no room to doubt that
the native had taken the advantage of their being unarmed,
without having received any kind of provocation.

The natives had been frequently told, that numbers of them
would be killed if they continued to throw spears; and both
Bannelong and the girl who lived with the clergyman had
repeatedly said, that the tribes which resided about Botany-Bay
and the inland parts near the head of that harbour, always killed
the white men; yet, as it was evident that they had generally
received some provocation on the part of our settlers, Governor
Phillip was unwilling to proceed to extremities whilst there was
a possibility of avoiding it: many of the natives had recently
visited the settlement; they had all been well received, and some
of their children frequently remained there for several days,
without their parents ever seeing them; and if any of them were
going where their children would be an incumbrance, they used to
leave them at Sydney.

Bannelong, Colebe, and two or three others, now lived at
Sydney three or four days in the week, and they all repeatedly
desired those natives might be killed who threw spears; at the
same time, Governor Phillip began to suspect, though very
unwillingly, that there was a great deal of art and cunning in
Bannelong; he had lately been at Botany-Bay, where, he said, they
danced, and that one of the tribe had sung a song, the subject of
which was, his house, the governor, and the white men at Sydney:
the people of that tribe, he said, would not throw any more
spears, as they and the Cammeragals were all friends, and were
good men; this was only a few days after he had said that he
liked his house at the point, because the Botany-Bay men and the
Cammeragals would not come to it on account of the white men; and
had, as usual, whenever those tribes were mentioned, requested
the governor to kill them all.

The game-keeper was well known to those natives who frequented
Sydney, and when they saw him at the hospital, they expressed
great marks of sorrow, all the women and several of the men
shedding tears. Colebe, who, it seems, understood the nature of
wounds, and their method of drawing teeth, said, that the spear
must remain for some time before it was drawn out, as it was
barbed: at the same time he made signs that the man would

It appeared rather extraordinary that the natives should
immediately know the man who wounded the game-keeper, and his
tribe; they said, his name was _Pemullaway_, of the tribe of
-Bejigal_, and both Colebe and Bannelong promised to bring
him to the settlement; but the former, after remaining at Sydney
that night and part of the next day, went off, as was supposed,
to Botany-Bay; and Governor Phillip going down the harbour, in
consequence of a number of natives being seen armed at the
look-out, found Colebe there, who returned to Sydney the next
day, did not seem inclined to give himself any trouble about
Pemullaway, but left the governor's house after dinner, to go, as
he said, to his wife, who was at Botany-Bay. Bannelong had not
appeared for some days; he was said to be gone to assist at the
ceremony of drawing the front tooth from some young men, and as
he went to the district in which the Cammeragals reside, there
can scarcely be a doubt but that the tooth is paid as a

The native girl who lived with the clergyman, had left his
house some time, and now resided with the Cammeragals: on going
away, she promised to return with the young man she wanted to
marry, and his present wife; from which circumstance it seems
pretty clear, that when a native can procure two women, the
custom of the country allows them to have two wives; and there is
some reason to suppose that most of their wives are taken by
force from the tribes with whom they are at variance, as the
females bear no proportion to the males.

It became absolutely necessary to put a stop to the natives
throwing spears, against which it was impossible to guard in
going through the woods, and Governor Phillip wished to do it
with as little severity as possible; yet he was well convinced
that nothing but a severe example, and the fear of having all the
tribes who resided near the settlement destroyed, would have the
desired effect: for this purpose, a party were sent out on the
14th of December, consisting of two captains, two lieutenants,
four noncommissioned officers, and forty privates: the surgeon,
and a surgeon's mate belonging to the Sirius, went with the
party, and the three persons who were with the game-keeper when
he was wounded, went as guides.

The governor's motive for sending so large a party was, that
if a number of the natives should be found together, they might
be deterred from making any resistance, or attempting to rescue
those who might be secured as prisoners.

The officer who commanded this party was directed to proceed
to the spot where the game-keeper had been wounded, and to search
for the natives in that part of the country; six of whom were to
be secured and brought in as prisoners; or if that was found
impracticable, six of them were to be put to death; spears, and
all other weapons which they happened to meet with, were to be
destroyed and left on the ground, that the natives might see it
was intended as a punishment inflicted on them; particular
attention was also to be paid to the women and children, who were
not to be injured on any account whatever; and, as Governor
Phillip wished to impress the natives with an idea that no deceit
was ever used, and that they might always depend on having
protection after it had been once offered; on this occasion, none
of the party were ever to hold up their hands, (which, amongst
the natives, is a signal that they come as friends) nor to answer
that sign of friendship if made to them.

It was more than probable that the man who threw the spear
would not be found, though Colebe had said he might easily be
known by the toes of his left foot having been bruised with a
club; and there was reason to fear that the innocent might
suffer; but the natives had lately behaved with a boldness and
insolence on several occasions, which it was absolutely necessary
to check, and the punishments inflicted on a few, would, in the
end, be an act of mercy to numbers.

A suppuration taking place in the game-keeper's wound, the
spear was taken out; it was armed with small pieces of red stone,
and had penetrated seven inches and an half into his body, though
the point was broke off by striking against a rib: from this
circumstance, some judgment may be formed of the force with which
these spears are thrown. They generally are armed for seven or
eight inches from the point, with small bits of sharp stone,
bone, or shells; and, since our settling amongst them, bits of
glass bottle: these are fixed on with the yellow gum, which is
softened by fire, and afterwards grows hard and firm, making a
very good cement; this the natives also use to stop the leaks in
their canoes.

The spear with which the game-keeper was wounded, being shown
to one of the natives, he immediately named the tribe to whom it
belonged; which shows that some of them arm their weapons
differently from others, and that they are all marked; this, as
they have no places to secure them in, effectually prevents their
robbing one another.

The party who had been sent out in search of the natives,
returned on the 17th of December, without being able to get near
any of them, as they all fled at their approach, and eluded their
pursuit. They found Colebe near the head of Botany-Bay, where he
was striking fish, and ran some risk of being shot.

The same afternoon, the vessel arrived which had been hired at
Batavia to bring provisions to the colony, having been
eighty-eight days on her passage, and buried sixteen of her

In the evening of the 22d, a party were again sent out towards
the head of Botany-Bay; they were to endeavour to secure some of
the natives, and had the same orders as were given before on that
head. They left the parade in the evening, and hopes were
entertained that they would be able to surprize some of the
natives at their fires; but they did not see a single inhabitant
during two days which they remained out.

Colebe had left his wife at Botany-Bay, and she came over to
Sydney on the 23d of December, bringing an infant with her not
more than two or three days old; the child was laid on a piece of
bark, and both the parents appeared to treat it with great
tenderness: they took up their residence for that night in
Governor Phillip's house, and a family, who accompanied Colebe's
wife, gave an opportunity of observing, that the marriage
ceremony in this country, whatever it may be, is not very
binding: this man belonged to the tribe who reside about
Botany-Bay, but he had occasionally lived at Sydney for some time
past, and a woman whose name was _Mawberry_, had been his
wife; but, it seems, he had broke her arm with beating her, and
had turned her away; and he had got another woman for a wife, who
came along with him, bringing also a child about three years of
age. Mawberry, his first wife, happened to be at the governor's
house when he came in, and did not seem pleased at the

This man, with his wife and child, after remaining at Governor
Phillip's two days, were going away; and, as usual, had bread and
fish given them for their journey; but, it should seem, that they
could not agree, for he took away his first wife, and left the
woman and child who came along with him behind. The poor woman
shed tears when Governor Phillip enquired into the matter, and,
after repeatedly using the word _yalloway_, which is a term
of execration, she said she would live with his servants, which
she was permitted to do.

Besides this person, Governor Phillip had a further addition
to his family of a young woman, who for some time had been
desirous of being received amongst his maid servants, and a youth
about fourteen years of age, both of whom appeared much pleased
with their situations.

The weather was so intensely hot on the 27th of December, that
the thermometer stood at 102° in the shade.

Chapter XX


December 1790 to February 1791

-The depredations of the natives.--Bannelong's
behaviour.--The Supply sails for Norfolk-Island.--The quantity of
provisions brought in the Waaksam-heid from Batavia.--The
appearance of a prodigious number of Bats.--The return of
Bannelong.--The manners of the natives further

Several of the natives who had been pretty constant visitors
at Sydney for some weeks, were detected stealing potatoes on the
28th of December; and, on the person they belonged to,
endeavouring to drive them out of his garden, a fiz-gig was
thrown at him.

These people had lately made a practice of threatening any
person whom they found in a hut alone, unless bread was given to
them; and one of those who were suspected in the present
instance, had, on several occasions, shown himself to be a daring
fellow, who did not seem to dread any consequences. As it was
necessary to prevent these depredations in future, a serjeant and
six privates were sent out in order to secure the three natives
who had been digging up the potatoes, and particularly the man
who threw the fiz-gig; but not to fire on them, unless they made
use of their spears or other offensive weapons.

Governor Phillip, accompanied by two or three officers,
followed the party to a place where the natives had retired and
made a fire; at which, the serjeant, who arrived there a few
minutes before, found two men, one of whom he laid hold of, and
the other was seized by the surgeon's mate of the Sirius, who
went with the party, as he knew the men they were in search of:
both these men, however, got away; and a club, which at first was
taken for a spear, being thrown by one of them, three musquets
were fired. Two women and a child were found at the fire, but as
it was then dark, it was in vain to look for the two men, though
one of them was supposed to be wounded. The women were brought
away, together with several sticks, which the natives use for
digging roots, and some other articles, in order to learn more
fully who were the aggressors.

The women, though alarmed at first, yet, when they got to
Governor Phillip's house, appeared under no concern, but slept
that night in a shed in the yard, as much at their ease as if
nothing had happened; though it was impossible for them to know
that the men fired at were not killed; and one of them was
husband to one of the women: the other woman was she who had been
left at the governor's house, when her husband took away a former

The fiz-gig, which had been thrown at the man in the garden,
being shown to these women, they said it belonged to a native who
has already been noticed as a daring fellow; indeed he was so
much so, that though Governor Phillip thought it necessary to
watch for an opportunity of checking his insolence, he could not
but admire his spirit. Some bread and fish being given to the
women the next morning, they went away, well pleased with their

On the 29th of December, Bannelong made his appearance at
Governor Phillip's house, after an absence of ten days, and
brought his wife with him: he said he had been with a great
number of the Cameragals, and they had drawn the front tooth from
several young men, and had raised those scars which the natives
regard as ornaments. The largest of these scars are made by
cutting two lines through the skin, parallel to each other, with
a sharp shell, and afterwards stripping off the intermediate
skin: this operation is repeated till the wound rises
considerably above the flesh, after which, it is suffered to heal
over. These scars, or ornaments, are not very common among the
women, yet some have them on the arms, back, and breasts.

Bannelong had a throwing-stick, which he took pains to show
had been cut for the purpose of knocking out the front tooth, and
there was some reason to think he had performed that office: it
seems, he was now on good terms with the Cameragals, as he said
they were all good men; and being asked if he had seen the man
who threw the spear at Governor Phillip, he said yes, and had
slept with him; nor was there any reason to suppose he had ever
beat, or even quarreled with him on that account.

Bannelong's wife, who had been with him on this excursion, was
painted in a different manner to what she had been seen before,
and it appeared to have been done with a good deal of attention:
her cheeks, nose, and upper lip, were rubbed over with red ochre,
on which, and under the eyes, some white clay was laid in spots;
the small of her back was likewise rubbed with red ochre, and she
seemed to be sensible that she was finer than common.

After dinner, this couple went away, and the girl who had been
desirous of living with the governor's servants, wanted to go
along with them, which she was permitted to do. This girl, who
might be about eighteen years old, stripped herself before she
went away, but kept her night-cap to sleep in, as her head had
been shaved when she was first taken into the governor's family:
she never had been under any kind of restraint, so that her going
away could only proceed from a preference to the manner of life
in which she had been brought up, and which is rather surprising,
as the women are certainly treated with great cruelty; this,
however, the custom of the country seems to have perfectly
reconciled them to.

Two colonists, who had been in a boat fishing, returned with a
piece of intelligence very little to the credit of Bannelong, who
had robbed them of what fish they had caught; and, as they had no
arms, and he had several spears in his canoe, along with his wife
and sister, they were deterred from making any resistance. In
consequence of the fishing-boat being robbed, orders were given
that no boat in future should go out of the cove unarmed, and the
natives were forbid ever going to the western point of the cove,
where they stole the potatoes and threw the fiz-gig.

Three convicts, who went into the woods contrary to orders,
were lost for several days; and when found, they were pretty
severely punished: this, however, did not prevent one of these
men from going out again, and he had now been so long absent,
that there was no doubt but that he perished from hunger: another
fell into the brook at Rose-Hill, and was drowned.

The number of deaths this year, 1790, were,

From sickness,              142
Lost in the woods,            4
Executed,                     4
Drowned,                      6
The total number of deaths, 156

On the 3d of January, 1791, several of the natives came to
Governor Phillip's house, and told him that the native who had
been fired at on the 28th of December, was wounded and would die;
it was explained to them, that the reason of his being fired at,
was, his attempting to wound a white man: on this, they did not
appear dissatisfied.

Bannelong and his wife came in soon afterwards, and Governor
Phillip charged him with taking the fish from the two colonists,
which he denied; saying he had been a great way off; but when the
two persons were sent for, and he found himself known, he entered
into a long conversation, the purport of which was, an endeavour
to justify himself; and this he did with an insolence that
explained itself very clearly: he frequently mentioned the man
who had been wounded, and threatened revenge; but appearing to
recollect himself, he offered the governor his hand, which not
being accepted, he grew violent, and seemed inclined to make use
of his stick. One of the centinels was now called in, as it was
much feared he would do some violent act, that would oblige
Governor Phillip to order him to be put to death; for his
behaviour was the height of savage insolence, and would have been
immediately punished in any other person; but this man had so
often made use of the word _be-ah-nah_, that they wished to
bring him to reason without proceeding to force; especially, as
it was suggested by an officer who was in the room, that he might
not be understood clearly, and the governor was very unwilling to
destroy the confidence Bannelong had for some time placed in him,
which the slightest punishment or confinement would have done: he
therefore told him to come near, for he was then standing at some
distance, but he refused and went away.

Bannelong had not left the governor with any intention of
returning; for, in passing the wheelwright's shop, the workmen
being at dinner, he stole a hatchet, with which, though pursued
he got clear off.

In the afternoon of the 3d, the surgeon and some others went
to the place where the wounded native was said to be, having
directions to bring him to the hospital, if there were any hopes
of his recovery.

When they got to the spot to which the native boy and girl,
who were in the boat, directed them, two natives appeared; one of
whom, having been concerned in stealing the potatoes, kept at a
distance; the other came near enough to converse with them, and
said, the man they were in search of was dead, in an adjoining
cove, whither they went and found his body. The ball had passed
through the shoulder, and had cut the subclavian artery: the body
was warm, and as his friends had left it covered with some boughs
and fern, it was probable they did not intend either to bury or
burn it. It proved to be the man who had thrown the fiz-gig; and
as there was a necessity for firing on him, the taking place of
the ball was rather to be wished for.

The woman who had been deserted by her husband, after
remaining eight or ten days at Governor Phillip's house, went
away on the 5th of January, and was reconciled to him again; his
first wife now lived with another man, but she frequently visited
Sydney, and was said to have granted favours to several of the

All the wheat and barley was now housed, except what was sown
very late, and yielded better than could have been expected after
the long drought. On the 18th, her Majesty's birthday was
celebrated with the customary marks of respect. The Supply,
having been put into thorough repair, sailed out of the cove on
the 19th, with provisions and stores for Norfolk Island; but the
wind coming round to the south-east, she was obliged to anchor,
and did not get out of the harbour till the 22d.

The game-keeper, who was wounded on the 9th of December, as
hath already been related, died on the 20th of January: his death
was sudden, as at one time he was thought to be in a very fair
way of recovery, being able to walk about. On opening the body,
it appeared that the lungs on the left side, which had been
wounded, were entirely wasted away: the pleura firmly adhered to
the ribs for some inches round the wound; several of the small
stones with which the spear had been armed, were found adhering
to the side, and the rib against which the spear had broke, was

A considerable quantity of ground was now cleared, and large
enclosures were made for cattle, which there was reason to hope
would be brought from the Cape of Good Hope, by the ships daily
expected to arrive with the remainder of the corps raised for the
service of this country, and the convicts from Ireland.

The person who had hitherto superintended the labour of the
convicts, died on the 28th of January. This man left England with
Governor Phillip, as a servant; but he had employed him in the
public service from their first landing, and few men, who may
hereafter be placed in his situation, will attain that ascendency
which he had over the convicts, or be able to go through so much
fatigue. He was replaced by a superintendant who came from
England in the last ships.

The Dutch vessel, which had been hired at Batavia to bring
provisions purchased for the Colony, and which arrived at Port
Jackson on the 17th of December, 1790, was cleared, and was ready
for sea by the 5th of February. The provisions brought in her
consisted of one hundred and seventy-one barrels of beef, one
hundred and seventy-two barrels of pork, thirty-nine barrels of
flour, one thousand pounds of sugar, and seventy thousand pounds
of rice: five pounds in the hundred were to be allowed as loss on
the rice; and after that deduction, there was a deficiency of
forty-two thousand nine hundred pounds; for which, the master of
the vessel would only allow the commissary at the rate of one
halfpenny a pound; or, if paid in butter, at the rate of one
pound of butter for eighteen pounds of rice: he had rice and
flour on board, which he called his own property; and as he was a
foreigner, and particularly circumstanced, the commissary was
ordered to accept the butter in lieu of the deficiency of

This vessel was hired by the officer, who commanded the Supply
armed tender, and who was obliged to accept her at three hundred
and fifty tons measurement, though she did not measure three
hundred tons: the freight for bringing the provisions was fixed
at twenty-eight thousand rix-dollars; bills for which had been
given at Batavia. The master on his arrival, said, that after
leaving Port Jackson, he should proceed to New Guinea in search
of spices, which that island was supposed to produce; he was also
to stop at Timur and several other settlements before he returned
to Batavia: at the same time, he offered the vessel for sale, or
to lett her on freight; but as he conjectured that the colony
wanted such a vessel, his demands were exorbitant. He first
valued her at sixty thousand rix-dollars, and before he was ready
to sail, he offered her for two and thirty thousand rix-dollars.
If she was hired, he talked of eleven pounds sterling per month;
but no attention being paid to any of these demands, he came down
to forty shillings sterling a ton per month, if let on freight to
carry the officers and seamen who had belonged to the Sirius to
England; that freight to be paid until the vessel should return
to Batavia. He was now ready to sail, and finding no attention
would be paid to any such proposals, he offered to sell the
vessel for thirty thousand rix-dollars, or to go to England on
freight at forty shillings per ton; the vessel to be continued in
pay for two months after her arrival at Portsmouth or Plymouth;
or to have twenty thousand rix-dollars for the voyage.

A considerable time had passed since Governor Phillip had
reason to expect the arrival of some ships from England, and he
wished to secure a vessel for sending home the officers and men
who had belonged to the Sirius, or to send for a farther supply
of provisions, should no ships arrive before the month of March:
the Dutch vessel was, therefore, hired at twenty shillings per

Two native youths who had frequently left Governor Phillip's
house, in order to have their front teeth drawn, had now been
absent several days for that purpose. They were seen in a bay
down the harbour on the 8th of February, where a considerable
number of the natives were assembled, it was supposed not less
than a hundred, including women and children. Most of the men
were painted, and it should seem that they were assembled for the
purpose of drawing the front teeth from several men and boys.
Soon afterwards, the two youths returned to the governor's; they
had their heads bound round with rushes, which were split, and
the white side was put outwards: several pieces of reed were
stuck through this fillet and came over the forehead; their arms
were likewise bound round and ornamented in the same manner, and
each had a black streak on his breast, which was broad at one
end, and terminated in a point. They had lost their front teeth,
and considering their manner of drawing teeth in this country, it
was not surprising to see that one of them had lost a piece of
his jaw-bone, which was driven out with the tooth.

Both these boys appeared to be in pain, but they would not own
it, and seemed to value themselves on having undergone the
operation; though why it is performed, or why the females lose a
part of the little finger, could not as yet be learnt.

The weather was very close and sultry, and the natives having
fired the country for several miles round, the wind, which blew
strong on the 12th, was heated to a very extraordinary degree,
particularly at Rose-Hill, where the country was on fire for
several miles to the northward and southward.

Great numbers of parroquets were picked up under the trees,
and the bats, which had been seen frequently flying about
Rose-Hill soon after the evening closed in, and were supposed to
go to the southward every night, and return to the northward
before the day broke, now appeared in immense numbers: thousands
of them were hanging on the branches of the trees, and many
dropped down, unable to bear the burning winds.

The head of this bat strongly resembles that of a fox, and the
wings of many of them extend three feet ten inches: Governor
Phillip saw one which measured upwards of four feet from the tip
of each wing. Some were taken alive, and would eat boiled rice,
or other food readily out of the hand, and in a few days were as
domestic as if they had been bred in the house: the governor had
one, a female, that would hang by one leg a whole day without
changing its position; and in that pendant situation, with its
breast neatly covered with one of its wings, it ate whatever was
offered it, lapping out of the hand like a cat. Their smell is
stronger than that of a fox; they are very fat, and are reckoned
by the natives excellent food. From the numbers which fell into
the brook at Rose-Hill, the water was tainted for several days,
and it was supposed that more than twenty thousand of them were
seen within the space of one mile.

The dry weather still continued, and many runs of water which
were considerable at this season the last year, were now dried
up; but the brook at Rose-Hill, though greatly reduced, was still
a run of water that would supply more inhabitants than that
settlement is likely to contain for many years; and in all the
ponds there was plenty of good water; nor had the dry weather
affected a spring that rises on the side of a hill, the water of
which is better than what the brook affords. At Sydney, the run
of water was now very small, but was sufficient for all culinary
purposes; and should it hereafter be found necessary, wells may
easily be made: a well at Governor Phillip's house was very
little affected by the drought.

The natives continued to visit Sydney after Bannelong stole
the hatchet, and behaved in a manner that gave every one reason
to think he never would return; this, however, was not the case;
for, after having frequently visited the fishing-boats, and made
many enquiries to know if Governor Phillip was angry, and would
shoot him, he ventured to go to the hospital, and seemed very
desirous of knowing if he might come to the governor's house; at
the same time, he named a man who, he said, had stolen the
hatchet, and denied having ever used any threats: however, not
being satisfied with the answers which were given to him, he went

But some days afterwards he came to the governor's, who,
happening to be in the yard when he came to the gate, ordered him
away. He was seen soon afterwards, and as he appeared very
desirous of being received again, and disclaimed any knowledge of
the hatchet, or any intention of revenging the death of the
native who had been shot, Governor Phillip appeared to believe
him, and he was permitted to come into the yard, which was always
open to the natives, and some bread and fish were given him; but
he was no longer permitted to enter the house; this was putting
him on a level with the other natives, and he appeared to feel
his degradation; but it did not prevent him from repeating his
visits very frequently.

-By-gone_, who has been mentioned as the daring fellow
who lived with Bannelong, and was in campany with the man who had
been shot, ventured to come to Rose-Hill; and as Governor Phillip
wished for a friendly intercourse to be kept up with the natives,
he was well received, and no notice was taken of past offences,
so that he soon became perfectly at his ease.

A second store-house of brick was now tiled in, and though the
crops in the ground had suffered from the very dry weather for
the last eight months, it had been favourable for the buildings.
The barrack at Rose-Hill was nearly ready to receive the men, and
one wing of the officers barracks was ready for tiling.

The Supply returned from Norfolk Island on the 26th of
February, with the officers and seamen who had remained there
after the loss of the Sirius; and the Dutch vessel being hired to
carry them to England, she began to prepare for the voyage.

In the night of the 27th, they had very heavy rain, which was
highly acceptable. On the 28th, it blew very fresh, and a fishing
boat, in working up the harbour, filled; fortunately, she was an
English cutter, and did not sink. A young woman, a little girl,
and two children, (all natives) were in the boat when the
accident happened: the young woman had the two children on her
shoulders in a moment, and swam on shore with them; the girl also
swam on shore, as did such of the boat's crew that could swim.
Several of the natives seeing this accident as the boat drove
towards the rocks, gave them every possible assistance, without
which, in all probability, one of the crew would have been
drowned. After clearing the boat, they collected the oars and
such articles as had been driven on shore in different places;
and in these friendly offices, Bannelong was very assiduous: this
behaviour gave Governor Phillip an opportunity of receiving him
in a more kindly manner than he had done since his bad

Though our colonists had never been able to learn the reason
for the females losing two joints of the little finger, they now
had an opportunity of seeing in what manner that operation is
performed. Colebe's wife brought her child to Governor Phillip's
house a few days after it was born, and as it was a female, both
the father and mother had been repeatedly told, that if the
finger was to be cut off, the governor wished to see the
operation. The child was now two months old, and a ligature was
applied round the little finger at the second joint; but two or
three days afterwards, when she brought the child again, the
ligature was either broke, or had been taken off: this being
mentioned to the mother, she took several hairs from the head of
an officer who was present, and bound them very tight round the
child's finger. After some time, a gangrene took place; and
though the child appeared uneasy when the finger was touched, it
did not cry, nor was any attention paid to it after the ligature
was applied.

It has already been observed, that this operation always took
place on the left hand of the females; but this child was an
exception, for it was the little finger on the right hand on
which the ligature was applied: this bandage was continued until
the finger was ready to drop off, when its parents carried it to
the surgeon, who, at their request, separated it with a

Making love in this country is always prefaced by a beating,
which the female seems to receive as a matter of course. The
native girl, who still resided occasionally at the clergyman's,
had been absent two days, when she returned with a bad wound on
the head, and some severe bruises on her shoulder; the girl whose
life Governor Phillip had saved, returned with her; she also had
a wound on her head, and one of her arms was much bruised by a
blow with a club: the story they told was, that two men who
frequently visited the settlement, wanted to sleep with them, and
on their refusing, had, as usual on such occasions, beat them
most unmercifully.

Bannelong, after an absence of several days, returned to the
settlement; and the services he had rendered the boat's crew when
they were in danger of being lost, being considered as an
atonement for his past offences, he was admitted into Governor
Phillip's house; in consequence of this reconciliation, the
number of visitors greatly increased, the governor's yard being
their head quarters.

Chapter XXI


April 1791 to May 1791

An excursion into the country.--Occurrences on the journey.--Surprising
dexterity of the natives in climbing trees.--Their superstition.--Their
method of curing wounds.--Their language.--Their manners and disposition.

On the 11th of April, 1791, Governor Phillip left Rose-Hill
with a party, intending to reach Hawkesbury-River, opposite
Richmond-Hill; and, if possible, to cross the river and get to
the mountains. Besides the governor, the party consisted of a
servant, and three convicts, who were good marksmen, eight
soldiers, two serjeants, one captain, Lieutenant Tench, and
Lieutenant Dawes; they took seven days provisions with them.

As a few hours heavy rain would raise the waters at the head
of the Hawkesbury, and render their return very difficult, if not
impracticable, the party were made so considerable, that they
might divide if it was possible to cross the river, which the
governor meant to do with only half a dozen persons; leaving the
remainder to prepare a raft of light wood, if any could be found,
or to assist their return, with lines carried for that

It was near eleven o'clock when the party set off, and, after
crossing Rose-Hill creek, they went to the northward, as Governor
Phillip wished to see if, after so long a drought, there was any
water in a ravine near to which he intended to place a settler,
the ground being good, lying well for cultivation, and having
plenty of water where the farm-house was intended to be fixed.
This track of good ground runs to the eastward, and was separated
from the cultivated land on the north side of Rose-Hill creek by
a small patch of brush-wood, and a narrow slip of poor sandy

Water being found in the bottom of the ravines, our party
shaped their course so as to cross a part of the country, with
which they were unacquainted, going north-west by the compass,
and counting their paces. Colebe, and Ballederry, the young man
who has been mentioned as living chiefly at Governor Phillip's
house, were desirous of joining this party; and, as much
information was expected from them, they were encouraged to go,
and they carried their own provisions.

After passing several deep ravines, and going round the heads
of others, over a barren country for an hour, the land grew
better, and was tolerable, till one o'clock, when it again grew
bad and rocky. The natives informed them that this part of the
country was inhabited by the _Bidjigals_, but that most of
the tribe were dead of the small-pox. Though the country they
passed over in their morning's walk was chiefly poor stony
ground, it was covered with timber, and was pleasing to the eye.
At half past one o'clock, the party came to a low piece of ground
where they found water, and which, in any future excursion, would
be a good sleeping place. The country continued a dry, arid soil,
and the surface was mostly covered with loose stones, till forty
minutes past three o'clock, when they came to some pools of good
water, which were very acceptable, as one of the party was taken
ill. Here they made fires and laid down for the night. In the
course of the day, they had seen numbers of Pattagorong, and
Baggaray; in one herd, it was supposed there could not be less
than forty.

Soon after the fires were lighted, the voice of a native was
heard in the woods, hunting his dog; and, as Colebe and
Ballederry were very desirous of having an interview with him,
though they said the tribe of _Bu-ru-be-ron-gal_, who were
bad men and their enemies, resided near the spot, they frequently
hallooed, and were answered by the stranger; and, as the voice
drew nearer, they desired our party would all lie down and keep
silence. A light was now seen in the woods, and our natives
advancing towards it, a pretty long conversation ensued between
them and the stranger, who approached them with great precaution:
a little boy who was with him carried the fire, which was a piece
of the bark of the tea-tree. This boy being sent forward first,
joined Colebe and Ballederry, who, having told the stranger their
names, the tribe to which they belonged, and received the like
information from him, they joined, and the stranger was now told
the names of the party who remained at the fire; at the same
time, some of them were desired to speak.

At Governor Phillip's approach, the boy ran away, and the man
did not appear perfectly at his ease when he saw four or five
persons near him, though none of them were armed. They were all
introduced to the stranger by name, and he was pressed to come to
their fire, which was forty or fifty yards distant; but this he
declined, saying he would go and fetch his family, and would
return in the morning. Colebe and Ballederry told this man that
their party were going to the river, which he pointed out as
lying in the direction they had taken.

When these natives first endeavoured to make themselves heard
by the stranger, they had advanced some little distance from the
rest, but as he approached them they retreated, and wanted the
serjeant, in whom they always placed great confidence, to take
his gun, and go with them, which was not permitted: this showed
that they, as well as the other native, thought there was some
danger in the meeting; and the caution with which the stranger
approached them was very great; by sending the boy before him
with the fire, he could see if those he was going to join were
armed or not, whilst the trees kept him from their view. This man
had a stone hatchet, a spear, and a throwing-stick, which one of
our natives was very desirous of his leaving; probably as a
pledge for his returning in the morning, but this he refused: he
was a young man, of the tribe of Bu-ru-be-ron-gal, and named
-Bur-ro-wai_; his hair was ornamented with the tails of
several small animals, and he had preserved all his teeth. On
Colebe being asked how this man lived, he said that he had no
canoe, but lived by the chace.

The next morning, (the 12th of April,) our party set off at
half past six o'clock, keeping their course north-west, through a
poor country, though covered with timber, till three quarters
past eight, when they saw the river, which, in this situation, is
about 300 feet wide: the banks are high, and the soil a light
sand, but producing fine strait timber: this sand, which in some
places does not appear to have any mixture of mould, extends
several hundred yards from the river. The party were now eighteen
miles and an half from Rose-Hill, which bore from them north
28° west.

The current in the river was running down, and they set off at
half past ten o'clock, to follow its windings, as it ran to the
eastward. The person who was charged with counting his paces, and
setting the objects to which they directed their march, had
hitherto gone first; but the long sedge, the dead branches which
had fallen from the trees, the nettles, and a weed resembling ivy
which entangled the feet, made walking on, or near the banks of
the river very fatiguing; he was therefore directed to follow the
party, and to take the bearings of those who went before him from
time to time, still counting his paces, that they might always
know their situation in the woods, and the direction it would be
necessary to take when they returned across the country.

They proceeded in an Indian file, the person who went first,
always falling into the rear whenever he found himself

Several good situations were seen on the opposite side of the
river as our party went along, and the ground appeared to be
good: they also passed some good spots on their side of the
river, and saw several places where the natives had slept on its
banks. Ducks were seen in great numbers, but the party seldom got
a shot.

In the afternoon, a creek obliged them to leave the banks of
the river, and go round its head, as it was too deep to cross:
having rounded the head of this creek, they found themselves on
the borders of a river not more than eighty feet wide; the banks
were low, and covered with a thick brush, which did not make
walking less laborious to those who went first. Their view was
now very contracted, the ground rising on the right so as to
confine the prospect to fifty or one hundred yards; and what they
could see was mostly a poor stony soil. In the afternoon, they
fell in with one of the native's hunting-huts, which Colebe and
Ballederry would have cut to pieces, had not Governor Phillip
prevented them; they said it belonged to their enemies, and they
were much displeased at not being permitted to destroy it.

The natives were known to eat a grub which is found in the
small gum-tree, and when our party came to the creek already
mentioned, a native fled on their approach, leaving his fire, and
some decayed wood he had drawn out of the creek, for the purpose
of procuring a large worm which is found in it, and which they
eat. The smell of this wood is so strong, that few Europeans are
able to bear it for any length of time; indeed, it cannot be
distinguished from the foulest privy.

At four o'clock the party halted and made fires for the night,
being all pretty well tired. Just before they stopped for the
night, several natives were heard, and Colebe and Ballederry
wanted to join them, but they went away in their canoes.

In the morning of the 13th, the party set off again, still
following the creek, which was now little larger than a good
ditch, and went through a very barren rocky country, until noon,
when, being at the head of the creek they crossed it, and, after
resting some time, they endeavoured to go to the north-west, in
order to fall in with the river which they had lost by going
round the creek in the afternoon of the preceding day; but they
were soon stopped by a deep ravine; and the surgeon going to a
rising ground on the left, saw the country open to the westward,
and thought he could distinguish Richmond-Hill; this led them all
to the spot, and, from the break in the mountain, and the
trending of the land, Governor Phillip imagined it to be
Richmond-Hill, which they saw, being the southern extremity of a
range of hills. It bore west by south, and appeared to be from
eleven to thirteen miles distant, as near as could be

The place from whence our party had this prospect, was called
-Tench's Prospect-Hill_, that officer being of the party,
and having from thence seen Richmond-Hill for the first time.

The spot where they had made the river on the 12th, being
little more than four miles distant, it was thought best to
return there, and from thence to trace the river to the westward
till they got opposite to Richmond-Hill. The Governor was well
aware of the difficulties they would have to encounter on the
banks of a river where walking was laborious, and every little
creek they met with would oblige them to follow it up the country
till they could cross it; but in a country like this, you may
travel many miles through the woods and not get sight of very
high land, though it may not be half a mile from you.

Our party set off, in order to get back to sleep near the head
of the creek, which they had crossed at noon, and which they soon
attained: it was flood-tide when they got there, and they found
the tide to rise about eighteen inches, making high water at nine
o'clock: this was on the night of the 13th. After crossing the
creek at half past seven o'clock the next morning, they shaped a
course that was likely to carry them to the river, without being
embarrassed with the bad walking on its banks, or the windings of
the creek, until they got near the spot, from whence they
proposed taking a fresh departure.

After crossing the creek, and some very rocky ground, they had
good walking over a country, full of timber and pleasing to the
eye; but the ground was poor, and the surface mostly covered with
stones. Here some ants nests were seen, composed of an amazing
number of small stones, which formed a circle of five or six feet
diameter, rising regularly in the center to the height of twenty
or thirty inches. An hour and a half s walking brought them to a
swamp, where they stopped to fire at some ducks, and then
crossing it, they continued their course nearly west 8° north
till eleven o'clock, when they came to a pool of good water. The
country was now sandy, and presently afterwards, they arrived on
the borders of the river, and soon got to the place where they
first stopped in the morning of the 12th.

Several canoes being seen, our two natives were very desirous
of speaking to the persons in them, and the party were all
desired to hide themselves in the grass until the canoes should
come abreast of them; Colebe and Ballederry also concealed
themselves, but the canoes stopping on the opposite shore before
they came near, one of our natives was told to call to them,
which he did, and was soon answered by an old man, who, after a
short conversation, came over in his canoe, being known to

This man joined the party without the least fear; and from the
questions that were put to him respecting the river, Colebe and
Ballederry concluded they had come this journey in order to
procure stone hatchets, as the natives get the stones whereof
they make their hatchets from that part of the river near
Richmond-Hill, which the old man said was a great way off, and
the road to it was very bad.

Colebe and Ballederry had at first supposed, that Governor
Phillip and his party came from the settlement to kill ducks and
patagorongs; but finding they did not stop at the places where
those animals were seen in any numbers, they were at a loss to
know why the journey was taken; and though they had hitherto
behaved exceedingly well, yet, as they now began to be tired of a
journey, which yielded them no sort of advantage, they
endeavoured to persuade the governor to return, saying, it was a
great way to the place where the stone hatchets were to be
procured, and that they must come in a boat.

On the party leaving this place, the old native returned to
his canoe, but he joined them soon afterwards, and gave Governor
Phillip two stone hatchets, two spears, and a throwing-stick:
this present was made in consequence of our two natives telling
him who all the party were. In return for the old man's present,
he had some bread, some fish-hooks, and a couple of small
hatchets given him. The spears were well made; one of them had a
single barb of wood fixed on with gum, the other had two large
barbs cut out of the solid wood, and it was as finely brought to
a point as if it had been made with the sharpest instrument. The
throwing-stick had a piece of hard stone fixed in gum instead of
the shell which is commonly used by the natives who live on the
sea coast: it is with these stones, which they bring to a very
sharp edge, that the natives make their spears.

The old native followed our party in his canoe as they kept
along the banks of the river, and another canoe, with a woman and
child, joined him: the old man observing that they did not keep
near enough the water's edge to have the least fatigue in
walking, came out of his canoe and took the lead, and he soon
brought them to a path made by the natives, where it was very
good walking, and which ran alongside the river. It was near four
o'clock when they stopped for the night, and were joined by a
young man and a lively little boy, who they soon found intended,
as well as the old man, to take up their residence with them,
though their families were on the opposite bank, and they had two
fires lighted.

Though our natives appeared to be on very friendly terms with
their new acquaintances, yet they certainly had no particular
affection for them, and spoke of them very lightly when they were
out of hearing; particularly Ballederry, who said the youngest
man of the two was bad: his name was _Yal-lah-mien-di_; they
supposed him to be the old man's son, and the child to be his
grandson. The old man called himself _Go-me-bee-re_, and
said the child's name was _Jim-bah_; they were of the tribe
of _Bu-ru-be-rong-al_.

Colebe and Ballederry, in describing that tribe on the second
day's journey, had called them _climbers of trees_, and men
who lived by hunting; certainly, no persons can better deserve
the appellation of climbers, if we may judge from what was seen
of Go-me-bee-re, who, for a biscuit, in a very few minutes cut
his notches in the bark of a tree and mounted it with surprising
agility, though an old man. These notches are cut in the bark
little more than an inch deep, which receives the ball of the
great toe; the first and second notches are cut from the ground;
the rest they cut as they ascend, and at such a distance from
each other, that when both their feet are in the notches, the
right foot is raised nearly as high as the middle of the left
thigh: when they are going to raise themselves a step, their
hatchet is held in the mouth, in order to have the use of both
their hands; and, when cutting the notch, the weight of the body
rests on the ball of the great toe: the fingers of the left hand
are also fixed in a notch cut on the side of the tree for that
purpose, if it is too large to admit their clasping it
sufficiently with the left arm to keep the body close to the

In this manner do these people climb trees, whose
circumference is ten or fifteen feet, or upwards, after an
opossum or a squirrel, though they rise to the height of sixty or
eighty feet before there is a single branch.

Governor Phillip had occasionally seen a few of the natives
climb the trees at Sydney and Rose-Hill, but this old man greatly
surpassed them. In the evening, the four natives and the child
took their places at the fire, and a scene ensued which shows
that these people are not a little superstitious.

Colebe had been wounded below the left breast with a fiz-gig,
and though it must have been done many years back, or the wound
must have been slight, as it was difficult to discover any scar,
yet it was supposed he felt some pain, though it probably might
be occasioned by the straps of his knapsack; however, the
youngest of the two strangers was applied to for relief.

He began the ceremony by taking a mouthful of water, which he
squirted on the part affected, and then applying his mouth, he
began to suck as long as he could without taking breath; this
seemed to make him sick, and when he rose up, (for his patient
was sitting on the ground) he walked about for a few minutes, and
then began to suck again, till it was again necessary for him to
take breath: this was repeated three times, and he seemed, by
drawing in his stomach, to feel the pain he had drawn from the
breast of his patient; and having picked up a bit of stick or
stone, which he did with so little caution that several of the
party saw him, he pretended to take something out of his mouth
and throw it into the river. He certainly did throw something
away, which must be what he picked up; but Colebe, after the
ceremony was over, said it was what he had sucked from his
breast, which some understood to be two barbs of a fiz-gig, as he
made use of the word _Bul-ler-doo-ul_; but Governor Phillip
was of opinion he meant two pains.

Before this business was finished, the doctor felt his
patient's back below the shoulder, and seemed to apply his
fingers as if he twitched something out; after which, he sat down
by the patient, and put his right arm round his back; the old
man, at the same time, sat down on the other side the patient,
with his face the contrary way, and clasped him round the breast
with his right arm; each of them had hold of one of the patient's
hands, in which situation they remained a few minutes.

Thus ended the ceremony, and Colebe said he was well. He gave
his worsted night cap and the best part of his supper to the
doctor as a fee; and being asked, if both the men were doctors,
he said, yes, and the child was a doctor also, so that it may be
presumed the power of healing wounds descends from father to

This affair being finished, most of the party fell asleep,
whilst the two doctors were amused by Colebe and Ballederry, with
an account of the buildings at Sydney and Rose-Hill, and in what
manner the colonists lived: in this history, names were as
particularly attended to as if their hearers had been intimately
acquainted with every person who was mentioned.

Though the tribe of Buruberongal, to which these men belonged,
live chiefly by hunting, the women are employed in fishing, and
our party were told, that they caught large mullet in the river.
Neither of these men had lost their front tooth, and the names
they gave to several parts of the body were such as the natives
about Sydney had never been heard to make use of. Ga-dia (the
penis), they called _Cud-da_; Go-rey (the ear), they called
-Ben-ne_; in the word _mi_ (the eye), they pronounced
the letter _I_ as an _E_; and in many other instances
their pronunciation varied, so that there is good reason to
believe several different languages are spoken by the natives of
this country, and this accounts for only one or two of those
words given in Captain Cook's vocabulary having ever been heard
amongst the natives who visited the settlement.

Having taken leave of their new friends the
-Car-ra-dy-gans_ (doctors), our party set off at a quarter
past seven o'clock in the morning of the 15th of April, and
followed the natives path along the banks of the river, walking
at a good pace till a quarter past eight o'clock, when they came
to a creek which was too wide to be crossed by cutting down a
tree, and was too deep to be forded; they were, therefore,
obliged to follow its windings till they supposed themselves at
the head of it, and then they endeavoured to regain the banks of
the river; but they presently found that they had only rounded a
small arm of this creek, the principal branch of which they
continued to trace with infinite fatigue for the remainder of the

It was high water in this creek at forty minutes past twelve
o'clock, and at half past three, they found it divide into two
branches, either of which might have been crossed on a tree; but
by this time the party were tired, and threatened with heavy
rain, which would make their night very uncomfortable, as they
had no tent; they therefore took up their residence at a spot
where a quantity of timber, from trees, which had already been
burnt down by the natives, promised them good fires with little

The rain went off after a few light showers, but our two
natives now began to grow quite impatient to return home. Colebe
talked about his wife, and said his child would cry; and
Ballederry lost all patience when the rain began, telling the
governor, that there were good houses at Sydney and Rose-Hill,
but that they had no house now, no fish, no melon (of which fruit
all the natives are very fond); and there is no doubt but they
would have left the party, had they been acquainted with the
country through which they had to return. It was most likely that
the greatest part of the next day would be spent in getting to
that part of the river which the creek had obliged them to quit,
so that two days would be taken up in getting to the opposite
side of a creek, not one hundred feet wide; it was, therefore,
determined to return to Rose-Hill, which bore from the sleeping
place south-east, sixteen miles distant.

The river which Governor Phillip had named the Nepean in a
former excursion, was then traced for some miles, and he expected
to have fallen in with it this journey, and to have traced it
down to where it empties itself into the Hawkesbury, which it is
supposed to do above Richmond-Hill: indeed, during the first day
of this excursion, he supposed it possible that the river they
were then tracing might be the Nepean, but what they saw of it
afterwards, left no doubt but that they had fallen in with the
Hawkesbury some miles below Richmond-Hill.

In the morning of the 16th of April, at half past seven
o'clock, Governor Phillip and his party set off on their return
to Rose-Hill; and, as soon as they were clear of the creek, they
went south 40° east, which, they supposed, would carry them
into the path leading from Rose-Hill to Prospect-Hill.--The face
of the country where they slept, and for several miles in their
road, was a poor soil, but finely formed, and covered with the
stately white gum-tree. At noon, they came to a hollow, in which
they found some very good water; here they stopped near an hour:
after passing this gully, and a rocky piece of ground, the soil
grew better, and they soon came to a brook of good water, which
they had occasion to cross twice; the soil was good, and covered
with long grass: they were now drawing near to Rose-Hill, where
they arrived a little before four o'clock.

The dry weather still continued, and though they had a few
showers, the quantity of rain which fell in the month of April,
was not sufficient to bring the dry ground into proper order for
sowing the grain; a few acres, however, of what was in the best
condition, were sown with wheat the last week in the month. This
long continuance of dry weather, not only hurt their crops of
corn very much, but the gardens likewise suffered greatly; many
being sown a second and a third time, as the seed never
vegetated, from the want of moisture in the soil; this was a
double misfortune, for vegetables were not only growing scarce,
but seed also.

The expected supply of provisions not arriving, Governor
Phillip was obliged to reduce the ratio of daily subsistence; but
this reduction did not extend to the women and children.

After saying that there were many of the convicts, who, if not
attended to, ate their week's allowance of provisions in two or
three days; it will be obvious that the labour hitherto drawn
from that class of people, must be greatly lessened by the
necessity the Governor was under of reducing even that allowance;
indeed, it was felt by every individual, for the daily ratio of
provisions issued from the public stores, was the same to the
convict as it was to the governor.

Two seamen, who had belonged to the Sirius, became settlers,
and were fixed on the creek leading to Rose-Hill, where they had
sixty acres of ground each allotted them, and they were to be
victualled from the public store for eighteen months. A person
who was sent from England to superintend the labour of the
convicts, also became a settler, and one hundred and forty acres
of land were allotted him on the creek: he was allowed the labour
of four convicts for a year, and himself and his daughter were to
be victualled from the public store for twelve months.

Several convicts, whose terms for which they were sentenced
were expired, were permitted to cultivate ground at the foot of
Prospect-Hill, and to those who became settlers, Governor Phillip
gave what live stock he could spare, as there was not any
belonging to the public in the settlement; nor were individuals
possessed of any considerable quantity of live stock, the
greatest part having been killed the last year, when they were
distressed for want of provisions; and those who were able to
cultivate a little maize, were glad to make use of it as a
substitute for bread.

Little more than twelve months back, hogs and poultry were in
great abundance, and were increasing very rapidly; but, at this
time, a hen that laid eggs sold for twenty shillings; pork sold
for a shilling per pound, but there was seldom any to sell; a
roasting-pig sold for ten shillings, and good tobacco for twenty
shillings per pound: tobacco, the growth of this country, which,
if properly cured, would probably equal the best Brazil tobacco,
sold in its green state, for ten shillings per pound.

Such was the state of the colony at this time.

All the maize was now got in, and, notwithstanding the
extraordinary drought for some time before, and long after it was
put into the ground, the crop was not a bad one, and the cobs
were remarkably large where the ground had been well

In the beginning of May, the officers and men of the New
South-Wales corps went into the new barrack at Rose-Hill. The
barrack for the soldiers had been finished some time, but one of
the wings, which was intended for the officers, could not be
compleated before the end of the month.

Those natives who had been most accustomed to live at the
settlement, would now leave it frequently for several days
together, as they found plenty of fish towards the head of the

The savage ferocity of these people shows itself whenever they
find themselves thwarted. Bannelong and Colebe with their wives,
dined at the governor's on the 8th of May, and came in as usual,
to have a glass of wine and a dish of coffee; after which they
left the house to go and sleep at Bannelong's hut on the point;
but, in the middle of the night, Governor Phillip was called up
by the cries of the young girl whom he had formerly rescued from
Bannelong: she, it seems, had gone to sleep in a shed at the back
of the governor's house, and Bannelong, Colebe, and two others
got over the paling, and were endeavouring to carry her off,
which the centinels prevented; and, as Governor Phillip did not
know at the moment, but that Bannelong and those who were with
him, had returned to sleep in the yard after he went to bed, and
before the gate was locked, they were permitted to escape; which,
indeed, could only have been prevented by ordering them to be put
to death.

One of these men was seen the next day, and, being taxed with
attempting to carry off the girl, he denied the charge; as the
natives always do when they are not caught in the fact. Bannelong
and Colebe were not seen for a week, and the latter appearing
first, when accused, said he was asleep at the time, and laid the
blame on Bannelong, who coming soon after, and not being able to
make any excuse, or to deny being in the yard, appeared sullen;
and when Governor Phillip told him that he was angry, and that
the soldiers should shoot him if he ever came again to take any
woman away, he very cooly replied, that then he would spear the
soldier; at the same time, he said he was very hungry; and, as no
advantage would have followed punishing him, he was ordered
something to eat, after the threat had been repeated of his being
shot, if ever he came again in the night.

It was probable, that the displeasure of Governor Phillip with
Bannelong would have a better effect than any corporal
punishment, which might only lead him to revenge himself on some
of those who frequently went into the woods unarmed; at the same
time, orders were given for the centinels to fire on any of the
natives who might be seen getting over the paling in the night,
and the sleeping of the women in the yard when their husbands
were not with them was discouraged,

The girl was asked if the natives were going to take her away
in order to beat her,--she said no, it was to force her to sleep
with them; at the same time these men had left their own wives at
their fires.

The Supply had now so far exceeded the time in which she
generally made the voyage to and from Norfolk-Island, that fears
were entertained for her safety, but they were removed by her
arrival on the 30th of May. As she was the only vessel in this
country, it was not without great concern that Governor Phillip
found the necessary repairs she wanted would require more time
than he could have wished her to remain in the harbour.

Chapter XXII


June 1791 to September 1791

-A second excursion into the country.--The first
grants of land to settlers.--A barter with the natives
established.--The arrival of several vessels from England.--A new
harbour discovered.--The names of the first

The weather continuing dry, two officers (Tench and Dawes,)
who were with Governor Phillip on his last excursion, and two
soldiers, set off in the beginning of June, 1791, to trace the
Hawkesbury, from the place where the former party were turned off
by the creek. They got opposite Richmond-Hill on the 5th day
after their departure, and were assisted in crossing the river by
a native, who lent his canoe to one of the soldiers that could
not swim; but they afterwards found the river so very shallow
near the fall, that the water did not reach above the ancles. It
has already been observed, that when the floods come down from
the mountains, the flat country near the head of the Hawkesbury
is, in many places, under water, and the river, in that part,
rises to a great height.

It now appeared that the Nepean does, as was supposed, empty
itself into the Hawkesbury; and, in Governor Phillip's opinion,
the fall and the sudden contraction of that noble river are very
sufficient reasons for confining its name from where it empties
itself into Broken-Bay up to the fall; and for continuing the
name given to the river (Nepean) which was discovered in going
westward from Prospect-Hill.

The buildings at Rose-Hill being carried on so far as to form
hereafter a regular town between Rose-Hill and the landing-place
in the creek, Governor Phillip named it _Parramatta_; the
name given by the natives to the spot on which the town was
building. Grants of land were now given to those who became
settlers; and those who had been permitted to clear ground in
their leisure hours, and on one day of the week which was allowed
them for that purpose, went on very well.

The grants which had already been made, were, to James Ruse,
thirty acres, which is called in the grant _Experiment
Farm-: to Philip Schaffer, who came from England as a
superintendant, one hundred and forty acres; called in the grant,
the _Vineyard-: to Robert Webb and William Reid, who were
seamen, lately belonging to the Sirius, sixty acres each, and
which were called in the grants, _Webb_ and _Reid's

On the 4th of June, the anniversary of his Majesty's birth-day
was celebrated, and, on this occasion, an addition was made to
the daily ratio of provisions; a pound of pork and a pound of
rice were given to each man, half that quantity to every woman,
and a quarter of a pound of pork, with half a pound of rice to
every child.

Some refreshing showers of rain had lately fallen, but not
sufficient to bring up the wheat that was sown in April and the
beginning of May; however, some came up well where the ground,
lying low, had a little moisture in it.

The Supply's main-mast being got out was found very rotten,
and that vessel wanted repairs which they found difficult to give

A soldier of the New South Wales corps, going from Parramatta
with some of his comrades for the purpose of procuring sweet tea,
left them to go after a pattegorong, and lost himself in the
woods: after roving about for some time, he saw a number of the
natives, who fled on seeing his gun, except one that had
frequently visited the settlement, and was known by the name of
-Botany-Bay Colebe_. This man joined the soldier, and was
followed by one of his companions; the soldier, to gain their
good-will, and in hopes of inducing them to show him the way to
Parramatta, offered them some of his cloaths, which were not
accepted; he made them understand where he wanted to go, but they
were on the point of leaving him till he offered his gun, which
the native, who was known at the settlement, took, and then
conducted him to Sydney; making him understand that Parramatta
was a great way off.

When they drew near to Sydney, Colebe returned the soldier his
gun, and, bidding him tell _Beanah_, (the governor) that he
was _Botany-Bay Colebe_, he left him, without even taking
what the soldier had first offered him as a present.

As the natives frequently caught more fish than was necessary
for their own immediate use, and such of them as had lived
amongst the colonists, were very fond of bread, rice, and
vegetables; some pains had been taken to make them carry the
surplus of what fish they caught near the head of the harbour, to
Parramatta, and exchange it for bread, etc. Several of them
had carried on this traffic lately, and Governor Phillip had
reason to hope that a pretty good fish-market would be
established the ensuing summer. Amongst those who thus bartered
their fish, was a young man that had lived some months with the
governor, but had left him from time to time in order to go a
fishing: his canoe was a new one, and the first he had ever been
master of, so that it may be supposed he set no small value on

Strict orders had been given, that the natives' canoes should
never be touched, and the interest which both the soldiers and
the convict had in inducing them to bring their fish, which they
exchanged for a very small quantity of bread or rice, would, it
might have been supposed, have secured them from insult; but this
barter had not been carried on many days, when the young man just
mentioned, came to Governor Phillip's hut at Parramatta in a
violent rage, said the white men had broke his canoe, and he
would kill them: he had his throwing-stick and several spears,
and his hair, face, arms, and breast were painted red, which is a
sign of great anger: it was with some difficulty that he was made
to promise not to kill a white man; which he at length did, on
the governor's telling him, that he would kill those who
destroyed his canoe. A short time afterwards, the villains were
discovered and punished: they were convicts, and the young native
saw the punishment inflicted, yet it was thought necessary to
tell him that one of the offenders had been hanged, with which he
appeared to be satisfied; but, whilst these men were under
examination, his behaviour showed, that he thought it belonged to
him to punish the injury he had received; and three weeks after
the loss of his canoe, when every one thought he was sufficiently
repaid for his misfortune by several little articles, which
Governor Phillip had given him, by his seeing the aggressor
punished, and by his supposing one of them had been put to death,
he took his revenge; which confirmed the general opinion, that
these people do not readily forgive an injury until they have
punished the aggressor.

A convict, who strayed some distance from the settlement, was
met by two young native men, a woman, and two children, who
passed by him, but immediately afterwards he was wounded in the
back with a spear; several spears were thrown at him, and he
received a second wound in the side; however, he got away; and as
it did not appear that the natives followed him to get his
cloaths, or attempted to take any thing from him, there was no
doubt but the canoe being destroyed was the cause of this attack;
especially as the same evening, when Governor Phillip was
returning from Parramatta to Sydney, he saw some natives
assembled round a fire, and asking them who it was that wounded
the white man, he was immediately answered, _Ballederry_;
(the owner of the canoe which had been destroyed) he was also
told the name of the young man who was with him, and of the women
and children.

Indeed, it is not a little extraordinary, that these people
always tell the names of those who have thrown a spear, or who
have stole any thing, if the question is asked them, though they
know that you intend to punish the offenders; and it cannot be
from a principle of strictly adhering to truth; for, should one
of them be charged with doing any thing wrong, he is sure to deny
it, and to lay the blame on another who is not present; and it is
not only surprising that they should always tell the name of the
offender, but that they do it openly; nay, often in the hearing
of women and children.

The destruction of this canoe was very unfortunate, as it was
likely to prevent the natives carrying up their fish to barter;
and no canoe was seen in the creek for some time afterwards.
Ballederry, the owner of the canoe, was one whom Governor Phillip
had hopes of attaching to himself, and intended bringing him to

Hawks and crows were now frequently seen in great numbers,
though, at times, several months would pass without one of either
species being seen. At Parramatta, after the wheat was sown, the
crows were very troublesome, and though frequently fired at, they
did great damage.

On the 21st of June, they had rain, which continued till the
morning of the 24th, and, at times, was very violent; indeed,
more rain fell in three days than had done in many months past,
so that the low grounds were thoroughly soaked.

On the 9th of July, our colonists had the pleasure of seeing
the signal made for a sail, and the next day, the Mary Ann
transport anchored in the cove, having on board one hundred and
forty-one women, and six children, all very healthy, some few
excepted, who had disorders which were contracted in England, and
only three persons died on the passage.

This vessel had passed through the Downs on the 25th of the
preceding February, and stopped eight days at St. Jago. By this
ship our colonists received some stores, and nine months
provisions for the women who came in her: they had also the
satisfaction of hearing that the Gorgon, whose arrival had been
expected for twelve months back, was safe, and was to sail for
the colony a week after the Mary Ann.

Two pounds of rice were now added to the weekly ratio of
provisions, the stores not admitting a greater addition; for
though an ample supply of provisions might reasonably be expected
by the middle of the ensuing month, yet their situation did not
admit their trusting to the various accidents, which had hitherto
been so very unfavourable to the colony: however, they were now
convinced, that from the plan proposed by government for
furnishing the settlement with provisions until it could support
itself, there was no reason to fear in future those
inconveniences which they had already laboured under.

In the night of the 16th of July, a serjeant, going the
rounds, found the door of the spirit cellar open, and the
centinel in the cellar, drawing off wine: this man, being ordered
for trial, offered himself as an evidence for the crown, and
charged two of his comrades with having frequently robbed the
store, of which there was not the least doubt: however, the only
evidence against these men being that of an accomplice, it was
not sufficient to convict them, and he saved his own life by
being admitted as an evidence for the crown. He was afterwards
tried by a batallion court-martial, (as being a marine, he could
not be tried by a general court-martial) and sentenced to receive
corporal punishment, and to be drummed out of the corps. The men
he had accused were the two who had been charged with robbing the
store at Rose-Hill, by one of those marines who suffered death
for robbing the store at Sydney in 1788, at which time, likewise,
they escaped, the only evidence against them being an accomplice
under sentence of death.

The rice which they received from Batavia was not of the best
kind, and was very full of dirt and wevil when landed; and the
wevil had now increased to such a degree that a very considerable
quantity of rice was destroyed: indeed, what remained had been
thought too bad to issue to the garrison, had the stores admited
of its being given to the hogs. Five pounds of this rice were
estimated as only equal to two pounds of flour, with respect to
the nourishment it afforded, and this estimation was deemed
pretty just.

It being the intention of government, that as the time for
which the convicts were sentenced, expired, they should be
permitted to become settlers; those who chose to accept this
bounty were received as such, and lands were granted them in the
following proportion; viz. Thirty acres to the single men, fifty
acres to those who were married, and ten acres more for every
child. It had been proposed to victual and cloath them from the
public store for twelve months, from the time they became
settlers; but to encourage those who first offered themselves,
Governor Phillip promised to cloath and support them for eighteen
months from the public stores: they were to have the necessary
tools and implements of husbandry, with seeds and grain to sow
the ground the first year; two young sow pigs were also to be
given to each settler, which was all the governor's stock would
afford, and it has already been observed, that they had no live
stock in the settlement belonging to the crown. On these
conditions, twenty-seven convicts were admitted settlers; twelve
of them were fixed at the foot of Prospect-Hill, four miles from
Parramatta, and fifteen, at some ponds, an eligible situation
about two miles to the northward of those settlers who were
placed on the creek leading to Parramatta.

In laying out the different allotments, an intermediate space,
equal to what was granted the settler, was retained between every
two allotments, for the benefit of the crown; and as this set
them at some distance from each other, and there being a wood
between every two settlers, in which the natives might conceal
themselves, if they were inclined to mischief, several musquets
were distributed amongst the settlers, and they took possession
of their allotments on the 18th of July, and began to erect their
huts: however, very few days elapsed before a large body of the
natives appeared in the grounds of one of the new settlers at
Prospect-Hill, who, alarmed at the sight of a number of natives,
(by his account more than a hundred) fired off his musquet and
retreated; this, of course, encouraged them, and they advanced,
and set fire to his hut, which was nearly finished.--On hearing
the report of a musquet, another settler took up his arms, and
running to the spot, fired on the natives, who retired to some

As soon as this affair was known at Parramatta, a party of
soldiers were detached, who, getting sight of about fifty of the
natives, obliged them to disperse.

This circumstance induced Governor Phillip to deviate from the
royal instructions, which pointed out in what manner the
allotments of land were to be made; and as the only means of
enabling the settlers to defend themselves against similar
accidents, he granted all those intermediate lands which had been
reserved for the use of the crown, to the settlers: by this
means, all the land would be cleared of timber, so that the
natives could find no shelter, and, in all probability, there
would be little danger from them in future: however, a
noncommissioned officer and three privates were detached to each
settlement, with orders to remain there until the lands were

In making this arrangement, no additional ground was given to
the settler, but their allotments were brought more into a
square, and the ground not occupied at present, would be granted
to others in future. When these settlers were placed at such a
distance from Parramatta, it was on account of the soil being
good, and that their live stock and gardens might not be so
liable to depredations as they would have been if nearer the

On the 1st of August, the Matilda transport anchored at
Sydney, with cloathing, provisions, and two hundred and five male
convicts. She sailed from England on the 27th of the preceding
March, in company with four others, and parted with them the
first night. Although this ship had made so good a passage, she
buried twenty-four convicts; twenty were sick, and many were in
so emaciated a state, that scarcely any labour could be expected
from them for some months. The Matilda had lost three days in
endeavouring to get into St. Jago; she lay nine days at the Cape
of Good Hope, and was two days at anchor on the Coast of New
South Wales, within an island in the latitude of 42° 15'
south, where the master found very good anchorage and shelter for
five or six vessels. This island, by the master's account, lies
twelve miles from the main.

Off Cape Dromedary, he saw a small island, which bore
south-west by west, seven miles from the cape; within which, he
was of opinion, two or three ships would find good shelter. An
ensign and twenty privates, of the corps raised for the service
of this country, came out in the Matilda, and a serjeant died on
the passage.

Governor Phillip intended to have sent the Matilda to Norfolk
Island, with the stores, provisions, and convicts she had brought
out, as soon as the sick were landed; but she being leaky, her
cargo was put on board the Mary Ann, with one hundred and
thirty-three male, and one female convict; and that vessel sailed
on the 8th of August. A noncommissioned officer, and eleven
privates of the New South Wales corps, were sent for the security
of the ship, and they were to remain on the island.

Ballederry, the young native who absented himself after
wounding a man, in revenge for some of the convicts having
destroyed his canoe, had lately made several enquiries by his
friends, whether Governor Phillip was still angry; and they were
always told in answer to those enquiries, that he was angry, and
that Ballederry should be killed for wounding a white man; yet
this did not deter him from coming into the cove in a canoe, and
the governor being informed of it, ordered a party of soldiers to
go and secure him; but Bannelong, who was present at the time,
seeing the soldiers go towards the point, gave him the alarm, and
he went off.

Governor Phillip was in the garden at the time Bannelong was
talking to the young man who was in his canoe going out of the
cove, and gave him to understand, that Ballederry should be
killed; on which, he immediately called to him, and said, the
governor was still very angry: Ballederry, on hearing this, went
off pretty briskly to the other side of the harbour, but, in
answer to the threats of punishment, spears were mentioned,
though he was then at so great a distance that the governor could
not distinguish whether it was himself or the soldiers which he
threatened: certain it is, that these people set little value on
their lives, and never fail to repay you in kind, whether you
praise or threaten; and whenever a blow is given them, be it
gentle or with force, they always return it in the same

The Atlantic transport, Lieutenant Bowen, who was one of the
agents to the transports, arrived on the 20th of August. This
ship sailed from Plymouth the 23d of March, in company with the
Salamander and the William and Ann, but she parted with the
former vessel on the 5th of July, and with the latter on the
12th. These vessels had been to Rio de Janeiro, where they
anchored the 28th of May, and sailed from thence on the 12th of
June, 1791.

The Atlantic's passage may be reckoned a very good one,
particularly from Rio de Janeiro to the South Cape, which was
only sixty-nine days. This vessel brought out a serjeant and
seventeen privates, belonging to the New South Wales corps; also
provisions, stores, and two hundred and two male convicts. One
soldier was lost in a gale of wind, and eighteen convicts died on
the passage: few of the convicts were sick when landed, but many
of them were very weak, and in a few days, forty were under
medical treatment.

Lieutenant Bowen had stood into a bay on this coast, which has
been mentioned as promising a good harbour, and of which he gave
the following particulars.--"The latitude where he made his
observation was 35° 12' south, the entrance from a mile to a
mile and a half wide; the southernmost point of which is an
island, almost connected with the main land; the north point is
pretty high, and rises perpendicularly out of the sea. It is the
southern extremity of a peninsula, that at first was taken for a
long low island: the entrance runs in west-north-west for about a
mile, and then turns suddenly round to the northward, forming a
very capacious bason, three or four miles wide, and five or six
miles in length. The soundings, as far as they could be examined,
were very regular, with a bottom of slimy sand; the depth, for a
considerable extent round the middle of the bay, is from thirteen
to fourteen fathoms. The west side, and the head of the bay, is a
white sandy beach; the eastern shore is bold and rocky. There is
a small ledge or shoal in the middle of the entrance, bearing
about south from the second point on the north shore, on which
there was conjectured to be twenty feet water*."

[* It does not appear that there is any shoal in the
entrance, as it has since been examined by the Master of the

The Salamander arrived on the 21st; she brought out twelve
privates belonging to the New South Wales corps, and one hundred
and fifty-four male convicts, with stores and provisions. Most of
the convicts on board this ship were in a weak emaciated state;
and they complained that they had not proper attention paid to
them, after parting company with the agent. The master of the
Salamander was ordered to proceed to Norfolk-Island, with the
convicts, stores, and provisions he had brought out; but
unfortunately it had not been foreseen that it might be expedient
to send some of these ships to land their cargoes at that place,
and it was therefore necessary to clear this vessel of the
greatest part of the stores, in order that they might be stowed
in such a manner as to permit the landing of the cargo, where,
there being no good anchorage, it must be done with the ship
under sail, and subject to blowing weather, where there was a
necessity of keeping her always in proper trim for working.

On the 23d of August a number of natives visited the
settlement, and six men, with seven or eight and twenty women and
children came to Governor Phillip's house; amongst whom some
bread was dividing, when he was informed that Ballederry was on
the opposite side of the cove, with a number of the natives, and
that he was armed, as were most of his companions.

Whether his coming in, after what had passed, proceeded from
an opinion that Governor Phillip would not punish him, or from
supposing himself safe whilst surrounded by so many of his
countrymen, it was thought necessary to order him to be seized,
as soon as those who were then in the yard eating what had been
given them should be gone; for, as Ballederry could not be taken
without their hearing the dispute, it was probable they would
suppose themselves in danger, and make use of their spears
against those who were treating them with kindness; in which case
some of them must have suffered; indeed, this was the more likely
to happen, as several of these men and women were strangers, who
had now come to Sydney for the first time.

This party were going to dance at Botany-Bay, and, having
finished their meal, and received some fish-hooks, they set off;
immediately after which, a party of soldiers were ordered out to
secure Ballederry; but before they got sight of him, the boy
Nanbarre had heard what was going forward and left the place: on
this, a serjeant with a party were sent after him; they came up
with several natives, who joined them in a friendly manner, and,
whilst they were talking to the serjeant, one of them attempted
to wrest a firelock from a soldier, and immediately afterwards a
spear was thrown, supposed to be by Ballederry. Two musquets were
then fired, by which a native was wounded in the leg; but
unfortunately it was neither the man who attempted to take the
musquet, nor the person who threw the spear.

Soon afterwards, the natives were said to be assembled near
the brick-fields; an officer was therefore ordered out with a
strong party to disperse them, and to make a severe example of
them, if any spears were thrown; but they never saw a native, for
the boy Nanbarre, true to his countrymen, on seeing the soldiers
form on the parade, ran into the woods, and stripping himself,
that he might not be known, joined the natives, and put them on
their guard; after which, he returned, and seeing the governor go
past with some officers, whilst he was hid in a bush, he
afterwards showed himself to an officer's servant, and asked
where the governor and the soldiers were going, and being told,
he laughed, and said they were too late, for the natives were all

Bannelong came in soon afterwards with his wife, and though he
was told that the soldiers were gone out to punish Ballederry for
wounding a white man, yet this intelligence did not prevent him
from eating a hearty dinner; and when he was going away, he left
a large bundle of spears, fiz-gigs, and various other articles
under Governor Phillip's care.

It might be supposed that the natives, after being fired at,
and one of them being wounded, would not have trusted themselves
again at the settlement for some time: this, however, was not the
case: they very well understood that nothing more was intended
than to punish the person who wounded the white man, and that
they would not have been fired on, had not a spear been thrown at
the party, who, they well knew, were looking for Ballederry; and,
on the 24th, more than twenty of them called at Governor
Phillip's house, in their way from Botany-Bay to the lower part
of the harbour, where most of them resided; and others went to
those with whom they were acquainted, with the same freedom as if
nothing had happened. On enquiry being made after the man who had
been wounded, they said he was gone to his tribe. Several of
these people remained at the settlement all night, and amongst
them were two strangers, who seemed as much at their ease as
those who were old acquaintances.

Bannelong's wife was now very near her time, which gave our
colonists an opportunity of seeing the preparations the women of
New South Wales make on these occasions: she had two nets hanging
from her neck, one of which being new, Governor Phillip was
desirous of obtaining, and it was given him, after she had taken
a large piece of the bark of the tea-tree out of it, nicely
folded up, and which was intended to lay her infant upon; this
seems to be the only preparation, which is made by lying-in women
in that country.

The bark of the tea-tree is thick in proportion to the size of
the tree, and is composed of a great number of layers of very
thin bark, in appearance not unlike the bark of the birch-tree;
but it is so very soft, that nothing this country affords can be
better calculated for the purpose for which it was intended:
Bannelong, however, desired to have a blanket for the child,
which was given him, and the next day, a net made in the English
manner, which appeared more acceptable to his wife than the one
she had parted with. He told Governor Phillip that his wife
intended doing him the honour of being brought to bed in his
house; but the governor at length persuaded him that she would be
better accommodated at the hospital.

The women do not appear to suffer any great inconvenience,
while in this state, and they all seem best pleased with having
boys: Bannelong often said his was to be a son.

A disorder had frequently been seen amongst the natives, which
had the same appearance as the itch, and yielded to the same
remedies; it was now so common, that nearly the whole of them
were infected with it, and several boys were cured at the
hospital by rubbing in of brimstone. Bannelong was a perfect
Lazarus, and though he was easily persuaded to go to the hospital
and rub himself, yet it was not possible to make him stay there
till he was cured.

On the 28th of August, the William and Ann transport anchored
in the cove. This vessel brought out stores and provisions, with
a serjeant and thirteen privates belonging to the New South Wales
corps, and several of their wives and children; also one hundred
and eighty male convicts: seven died on the passage, and
thirty-six were sick when they landed.

The continuance of the dry weather gave our colonists reason
to fear that their crops would suffer more this year than they
did the last: it was now the season for putting the maize into
the ground, which was so extremely dry that there was little
probability of its vegetating, if sown, before some rain fell:
the sun also began to have great power, and several ponds,
adjoining to which Governor Phillip had placed several settlers,
were losing their water very fast.

It has already been observed, that on some particular days,
the winds were heated to such a degree as to be almost
insupportable, which had always been imputed to the country round
the settlement being fired by the natives. Early in the morning
of the 31st of August, the wind was northerly, and heated as
though it came from the mouth of an oven, though no fires could
then be seen; however, as the day advanced, smoke appeared over
the hills, and in the evening, a considerable tract of country
was seen to be on fire; some natives were likewise burning the
ground on the north side of the harbour, opposite the settlement:
this firing of the country, which the natives constantly do when
the weather is dry, renders any observation made by the
thermometer very uncertain. But if the 31st of August was an
unpleasant day, the evening made ample amends, for it began to
rain, and continued raining until the next day at noon.

Although few of the convicts were sick when they were first
landed from the transports, yet many of them were extremely weak
from long confinement, and a few days carried numbers of them to
the hospital. The surgeon's returns, on the first of September,
were two hundred and eighty-five convicts under medical
treatment: several soldiers and seamen were likewise in the
hospital with a fever of a bad sort, which was supposed to be
brought on board by the convicts.

On the 4th of September, the Salamander sailed for
Norfolk-Island, with one hundred and sixty male convicts, some
stores, and provisions: two non-commissioned officers, and eleven
privates of the New South Wales corps went as a guard.

The Mary-Ann transport returned from Norfolk-Island on the
8th, having landed all the stores, provisions, and convicts safe;
but they had lost a boat in going off from the island: the
sailors, however, were all saved.

A number of emu's had been seen lately, and this appears to be
the season in which they breed, as a nest was found near some
fresh water, at the head of the harbour, containing fourteen
eggs. The nest was composed of fern, but it had more the
appearance of a quantity of fern collected for a person to sit
on, than a nest. Soon after taking these eggs, an old emu was
seen near Prospect-Hill with some young ones; several of the
settlers chased them, and the young birds were taken: they did
not appear to be more than a week old, and great pains were taken
to rear them, but they died, after being in Governor Phillip's
possession near five weeks. Thirteen of these old birds were seen
together in the course of this month, but it was a considerable
time since an emu had been shot.

The pattagorong and baggaray frequently supplied our colonists
with fresh meals, and Governor Phillip had three young ones,
which were likely to live: he has not the least doubt but these
animals are formed in the false belly, having frequently seen
them in that situation, when they were so small, that it did not
appear possible for them to be placed there by the female for the
purpose of gaining strength, which is the general opinion, and
for which purpose it is supposed nature has given them the false
belly; indeed, the idea of their being formed in the false belly,
and not in the womb, seems to be confirmed from the following
particulars, communicated to Governor Phillip by a person who had
a male and a female opossum in his possession near two years.

"On the 10th of May, I discovered the young one in the belly
of the female opossum, apparently not larger than the end of my
little finger. I do not exactly recollect when I had examined
before, but I am sure it could not have been long, as I made a
constant practice of searching for what I then found, but always
had much difficulty in introducing my finger, the female
contracting the orifice so extremely close. The belly of the
female had for some days been observed to be increasing in size,
and on the 15th of August, I saw a young one, for the first time,
the mouth, or opening of the false belly, being very much
dilated. In the first week of September, it was compleatly
haired, and it ventured out, getting on the mother's back, but on
the least alarm, it instantly returned to the false belly. On the
18th of September, I observed the young one eating sow-thistle,
and it continued on the mother's back, but at night it got into
the false belly. From the day I first saw the young one until
now, I have generally seen the mother licking it with her tongue,
and it is to be remarked, that she has driven the male away from
her since the 15th of August."

Notice has already been taken of those persons who became
settlers, and of the quantity of land allotted them; however, as
the subjoined table shows every particular respecting them in one
point of view, it may not, perhaps, be unacceptable.


Names.           When became       Quantity of  Place where.
                 Settlers.         land granted.

Philip Schaffer. Superintendant.   One hundred  and On the north side
                 30th March, 1791. forty acres. of the creek leading
                                                to Parramatta.
                 The following were
                 all marines or sailors.
Robert Webb.     Ditto             Sixty acres.
William Reid.    Ditto             Sixty acres.
Robert Watson.   5th April.        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
John Drummond.   5th April.        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
James Proctor.   5th April.        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Peter Hibbs.     5th April.        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Owen Cavenaugh.  5th April.        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
James Painter.   5th April.        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
William Mitchell.5th April.        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
William Hambly.  5th April.        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Charles Heritage.5th April.        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Samuel King.     5th April.        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
William Mitchell.                  Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Thomas Bramwell.                   Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Thomas Bishop.                     Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
John M'Carthey.                    Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Lawrence Richards.                 Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
John Munday.                       Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Thomas Chipp.                      Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
William Strong.                    Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
James M'Manus.                     Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Thomas O'Bryen.                    Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Richard Knight.                    Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Abraham Hand.                      Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
William Dempsey.                   Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Thomas Sculley.                    Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
John Barrisford.                   Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
James Redmond.                     Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
William Tonks.                     Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Thomas Halfpenny.                  Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
William Standley.                  Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
John Gowen.                        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Thomas Dukes.                      Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
James Williams.                    Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Daniel Standfield.                 Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
John Roberts.                      Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
William Simms.                     Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
John Foley.                        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Patrick Connell.                   Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
John Redman.                       Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
Thomas Spencer.                    Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.
John Scott.                        Sixty acres. Norfolk Island.


Names.           When became       Quantity of   Place where.
                 Settlers.         land granted.

James Ruse.      30th March, 1791. Thirty acres. Parramatta.
Charles Williams.18th July.        Thirty acres. South side of the
                                                 creek leading to
James Stuart.    18th July.        Twenty acres. South side of the
                                                 creek leading to
George Lisk.     18th July.        Thirty acres. Four miles to
                                                 the westward of
William Kilby.   18th July.        Fifty acres.  Four miles to
                                                 the westward of
William Butler.  18th July.        Fifty acres.  Ditto.
John Nicholls.   18th July.        Thirty acres. Ditto.
John Ramsay.     18th July.        Fifty acres.  At the ponds, two
                                                 miles to the
                                                 north-east of
Mathew Everingham.18th July.       Fifty acres.  Ditto.
John Summers.    18th July.        Thirty acres. Ditto.
John Richards.   18th July.        Thirty acres. Ditto.
William Field.   18th July.        Fifty acres.  Ditto.
Joseph Bishop.   18th July.        Fifty acres.  Ditto.
Curtis Brand.    18th July.        Thirty acres. Ditto.
John Silverthorn.18th July.        Thirty acres. Four miles to the
                                                 westward of Parramatta.
Thomas Martin.   18th July.        Thirty acres. Ditto.
Samuel Griffiths.18th July.        Thirty acres. Ditto.
James Castles.   18th July.        Thirty acres. Ditto.
Joseph Morley.   18th July.        Fifty acres.  Ditto.
William Hubbard. 18th July.        Fifty acres.  At the ponds, two miles
                                                 to the north-east of
John Anderson.   18th July.        Fifty acres.  Ditto.
William Elliott. 18th July.        Thirty acres. Ditto.
Joseph Marshall. 18th July.        Thirty acres. Ditto.
Edward Varndell. 18th July.        Thirty acres. Ditto.
Simon Burn.      17th August.      Fifty acres.  At the northern boundary
                                                 farms, two miles from
John Brown.      17th August.      Sixty acres.  Ditto.
William Moulds.  17th August.      Thirty acres. Ditto.
John Baffen.     17th August.      Fifty acres.  Ditto.
John Williams.   17th August.      Fifty acres.  Ditto.
Edward Pugh,     17th August.      Seventy acres.Four miles to the
                                                 westward of Parramatta.
William Parish.  17th August.      Sixty acres.  Ditto.
Robert Forrester.                  Ten acres.    Norfolk Island.
James White.                       Ten acres.    Norfolk Island.
William Cross.                     Ten acres.    Norfolk Island.
James Walbourne.                   Ten acres.    Norfolk Island.
Benjamin Fentum.                   Ten acres.    Norfolk Island.
Peter Woodcock.                    Ten acres.    Norfolk Island.
Edward Kimberly.                   Ten acres.    Norfolk Island.
John Welch.                        Ten acres.    Norfolk Island.
William Bell.                      Ten acres.    Norfolk Island.
John Turner.                       Ten acres.    Norfolk Island.
Thomas Kelley.                     Thirty acres. At the ponds, two miles
                                                 to the north-east of
William Parr.                      Fifty acres.  At the northern boundary
                                                 farms, two miles from
John Herbert.                      Sixty acres.  Four miles to the
                                                 westward of

Chapter XXIII


September 1791 to December 1791

-Arrival of the Gorgon, and several transports
at Port Jackson.--The number of convicts brought out in these
vessels.--A whale-fishery established on the Coast of New South

On the 21st of September, 1791, the Gorgon, Captain John
Parker, came into the harbour. She sailed from Spithead on the
15th of the preceding March, had stopped at Teneriff, St. Jago,
and the Cape of Good Hope; and having received on board as much
of the provisions and stores, which were of the Guardian's cargo,
as the ship could stow, together with three bulls, twenty-three
cows, four rams, sixty-two ewes, and one boar; she left the Cape
on the 30th of July.

Captain King returned in this ship, his Majesty having been
pleased to give him the rank of master and commander in the navy,
with a commission as Lieutenant-Governor of Norfolk Island, in
consideration of his useful services.

The chaplain of the New South Wales corps, and several who
were appointed to civil employments, came out likewise in the
Gorgon, and as she was to bring out stores and provisions, her
lower deck guns were left in England, and her complement reduced
to one hundred men. Of the cattle received on board the Gorgon,
at the Cape of Good Hope, three bulls, six cows, three rams, and
nine ewes died on the passage; one cow died soon after landing,
and the ewes were severely afflicted with the scab, but it was
hoped they would soon recover: the bulls all dying was an
unfortunate circumstance; however, our Colonists had a bull calf
and patience still left. Seed and a variety of fruit-trees in
good condition were likewise received by the Gorgon; and when she
left the Cape, five transports were preparing to leave it for
this colony.

Thirty male convicts were on board the Gorgon, and assisted in
working the ship, her complement as a store-ship being only one
hundred men, officers included. On the 26th of September, the
Queen transport, having Lieutenant Blow on board as an agent,
arrived from Ireland with provisions, and one hundred and
twenty-six male, and twenty-one female convicts: seven male
convicts and one female died on the passage.

The Active transport arrived the same day with provisions, and
one hundred and fifty-four male convicts: both these ships
brought a part of the Guardian's cargo from the Cape of Good
Hope, and detachments from the New South Wales corps.

The weather still continued showery, and the gardens began to
promise plenty of vegetables; the wheat also, which, it was
feared, would have been lost by the long continuance of dry
weather, improved greatly in appearance: nearly all the maize was
put into the ground, and the greater part of it was up. The
weather had lately been very unsettled, but better than what
Governor Phillip ever found it in the Brazils at this season of
the year.

The surgeon's return of sick was greatly increased since the
arrival of the last vessels; for though the number of sick
convicts were not considerable when landed from the ships, they
were, in general, greatly emaciated, and appeared starved, and
worn out with confinement. The return of sick on the 1st of
October was three hundred and four convicts. One soldier, fifteen
male, and one female convict, with three children, died in the
last month; and two convicts were lost in the woods.

The Albemarle transport, Lieutenant R. P. Young as agent,
arrived on the 13th, and the Britannia came in the next day: the
Albemarle brought out twenty-three soldiers and one woman of the
New South Wales corps, two hundred and fifty male, and six female
convicts, one free woman, a convict's wife and one child.
Thirty-two male convicts died on the passage, and forty-four were
sick on their arrival. The Britannia brought out thirteen
soldiers, one woman, and three children of the New South Wales
corps, and one hundred and twenty-nine male convicts. One soldier
and twenty-one convicts died on the passage, and thirty-eight
were sick when landed.

When these vessels came in, the Admiral Barrington transport
was off the port, but it blowing hard on the night of the 14th,
that ship was not in sight the next day.

The convicts on board the Albemarle, during the passage,
attempted to seize on the ship, and the ringleader, having
knocked down a centinel, and seized his sword, got on the
quarter-deck, and was going to kill the seaman at the helm; but
the master of the ship, hearing a noise, took up a blunderbuss,
which was loaded, and discharged it at the villain, who finding
himself wounded, dropped the sword and ran away. Many of the
convicts had got their irons off, and were rushing aft for the
quarter-deck; but, on seeing their leader wounded, they ran
forward and hid themselves, so that the whole business was put an
end to in a few minutes.

After a short conversation amongst the officers, two of the
ringleaders were hanged, and two seamen, who had furnished the
convicts with knives, and who were to have conducted the ship to
America after all the officers and ship's company, with the
soldiers, had been put to death, were landed at Madeira, in order
that they might be sent to England: they were both Americans, and
one of them had a superficial knowledge of navigation.

The Admiral Barrington arrived on the 16th of October. This
ship brought out a captain, three noncommissioned officers, and
twenty-four privates of the New South Wales corps, with two
hundred and sixty-four male convicts: four women came out with
their husbands, who were convicts, and two children. Ninety-seven
were sick on board this ship.

The whole number of convicts embarked on board the ten
transports, including thirty in the Gorgon, were one thousand six
hundred and ninety-five males, sixty-eight females, and eleven
children; of whom, one hundred and ninety-four males, four
females, and one child died on the passage.

What provisions were in the store, added to those which were
brought out in these transports, would not furnish many months
provisions for this colony; Governor Phillip, therefore, took the
Atlantic into the service as a naval transport.

The Lieutenant-Governor of Norfolk Island, Captain Paterson,
of the New South Wales corps, with part of his company,
twenty-nine marines who had been discharged to become settlers;
several convicts, whose time of transportation being expired,
were admitted as settlers, with thirty-three male, and twelve
female convicts, and a considerable quantity of stores and
provisions were embarked on board the Atlantic, for Norfolk
Island, under the direction of Lieutenant Bowen, as naval agent;
who, after landing what he had on board for the island, had
orders to proceed to Calcutta, where he was to load with
provisions for the colony.

The great number of spermaceti whales that had been seen on
the coast of New South Wales, induced the masters of those
vessels which were fitted out for that fishery, and intended,
after landing the convicts, to proceed to the north-west coast of
America, to try for a cargo here: indeed, the master of the
Britannia, a vessel belonging to Messieurs Enderbys, of London,
who have the merit of being the first that adventured to the
South Seas for whales, assured Governor Phillip, that he had seen
more spermaceti whales in his passage from the south cape to Port
Jackson, than he had ever seen on the Brazil coast, although he
had been six years on that fishery.

No time was lost by the masters of these ships in getting
ready for sea: the Britannia sailed on the 25th of October, in
company with the William and Ann: the Mary Ann and the Matilda
sailed the day before, and the Salamander sailed on the 1st of
November. The Britannia returned from her cruize on the 10th of
November, being the first ship which had ever fished for whales
on the coast of New South Wales.

The following letter from the Master of the Britannia, to
Messrs. Enderbys, his owners, we subjoin for the reader's
satisfaction, because it shows the first introduction of a
whale-fishery, on the coast of New South Wales.

-Ship Britannia, Sydney, Port-Jackson_,

-November 29, 1791_.

Messrs. Samuel Enderby and Sons,


I have the pleasure to inform you of our safe arrival in Port
Jackson, in New South Wales, October 13, after a passage of
fifty-five days from the Cape of Good Hope. We were only six
weeks from the Cape to Van Diemen's Land, but met with contrary
winds after we doubled Van Diemen's Land, which made our passage
longer than I expected. We parted company with our agent the next
day after we left the Cape of Good Hope, and never saw him again
till we arrived at Port-Jackson, both in one day. The Albemarle
and we sailed much alike. The Admiral Barrington arrived three
days after us. I am very well myself, thank God, and all the crew
are in high spirits. We lost in all on our passage from England
twenty-one convicts and one soldier. We had one birth on our
passage from the Cape. I tried to make and made the island of
Amsterdam, and made it in the longitude of 76° 4' 14" east
from Greenwich, by a good lunar observation: my intention was to
run close to it to discover whether the sealing business might
not have been carried on there; but the weather was so bad, and
thick weather coming on, I did not think it prudent to attempt
it, likewise to lose a night's run, and a fair wind blowing.

The day before we made it we saw two shoals of sperm-whales.
After we doubled the south-west cape of Van Diemen's Land, we saw
a large sperm whale off Maria's-Islands, but did not see any
more, being very thick weather and blowing hard, till within
fifteen leagues of the latitude of Port Jackson. Within three
leagues of the shore, we saw sperm whales in great plenty: we
sailed through different shoals of them from twelve o'clock in
the day till after sun-set, all round the horizon, as far as I
could see from the mast-head: in fact, I saw a very great
prospect in making our fishery upon this coast and establishing a
fishery here. Our people were in the highest spirits at so great
a sight, and I was determined, as soon as I got in and got clear
of my live lumber, to make all possible dispatch on the fishery
on this coast.

On our arrival here, I waited upon his Excellency Governor
Phillip, and delivered my letters to him. I had the mortification
to find he wanted to dispatch me with my convicts to
Norfolk-Island, and likewise wanted to purchase our vessel to
stay in the country, which I refused to do. I immediately told
him the secret of seeing the whales, thinking that would get me
off going to Norfolk-Island, that there was a prospect of
establishing a fishery here, and might be of service to the
colony, and left him. I waited upon him two hours afterwards with
a box directed to him: he took me into a private room, he told me
he had read my letters, and that he would render me every service
that lay in his power; that next morning he would dispatch every
long-boat in the fleet to take our convicts out, and take our
stores out immediately, which he did accordingly, and did every
thing to dispatch us on the fishery. Captain King used all his
interest in the business; he gave his kind respects to you.

The secret of seeing whales our sailors could not keep from
the rest of the whalers here, the news put them all to the stir,
but have the pleasure to say, we were the first ship ready for
sea; notwithstanding they had been some of them a month arrived
before us. We went out, in company with the William and Ann, the
eleventh day after our arrival. The next day after we went out,
we had very bad weather, and fell in with a very great number of
sperm whales.

At sun-rising in the morning, we could see them all round the
horizon. We run through them in different bodies till two o'clock
in the afternoon, when the weather abated a little, but a very
high sea running. I lowered away two boats, and Bunker followed
the example; in less than two hours we had seven whales killed,
but unfortunately a heavy gale came on from the south-west, and
took the ship aback with a squall, that the ship could only fetch
two of them, the rest we were obliged to cut from, and make the
best of our way on board to save the boats and crew. The William
and Ann saved one, and we took the other and rode by them all
night with a heavy gale of wind. Next morning it moderated, and
we took her in; she made us twelve barrels.

We saw large whales next day, but were not able to lower away
our boats; we saw whales every day for a week after, but the
weather being so bad, we could not attempt to lower a boat down:
we cruized fifteen days in all, having left our sixty shakes of
butts on shore with the Gorgon's cooper, to set up in our
absence, which Captain Parker was so kind as to let us have, and
wanting to purchase more casks of Mr. Calvert's ships, and having
no prospect of getting any good weather, I thought it most
prudent to come in and refit the ship, and compleat my casks and
fill my water, and by that time the weather would be more

The day after we came in, the Mary-Ann came in off a cruize,
having met with very bad weather, shipped a sea, and washed her
try-works overboard. He informed me, he left the Matilda in a
harbour to the northward, and that the Salamander had killed a
forty barrel whale, and lost her by bad weather. There is nothing
against making a voyage on this coast but the weather, which I
expect will be better next month; I think to make another month's
trial of it.

If a voyage can be got upon this coast, it will make it
shorter than going to Peru; and the governor has been very
attentive in sending greens for refreshment to our crew at
different times. Captain Parker has been kind, and has given me
every assistance that lay in his power; he carries our long-boat
home, as we cannot sell her here: he will dispose of her for you,
or leave her at Portsmouth: he will wait upon you on his arrival
in London. Captain Ball, of the Supply, who is the bearer of this
letter, has likewise been very kind, and rendered us every
service that lay in his power; he will wait upon you

The colony is all alive, expecting there will be a rendezvous
for the fishermen. We shall be ready to sail on Tuesday the 22d,
on a cruize. The Matilda has since arrived here; she saw the
Salamander four days ago: she had seen more whales, but durst not
lower their boats down: she has been into harbour twice. We have
the pleasure to say, we killed the first four whales on this

I have enclosed you the certificates for the convicts, and
receipts for the stores. Captain Nepean has paid every attention
to me, and has been so kind as to let us have a cooper: he dines
with me to-morrow. I am collecting you some beautiful birds, and
land animals, and other curiosities for you. The ship remains
tight and strong, and in good condition. I will write you by the
Gorgon man of war; she sails in about a month or six week's

I am, Sirs,

Your humble servant,


The Matilda and the Mary-Ann transports returned from their
fishing-cruize on the 10th of November. These vessels had run to
the southward in search of seals, and met with very bad weather,
but saw no fish. The Matilda had put into Jervis-Bay, which,
according to the master's account, is a very fine harbour, the
anchorage very good, and capable of receiving the largest ships.
These two vessels, after refitting, sailed again to try for fish
on this coast.

Our colonists began to reap the barley on the 22d of November,
and the wheat was getting ripe.

The Supply armed tender, after having been under repair from
the time she returned from Norfolk-Island, was found, on a
survey, to be in so bad a state, that the best repair which could
be given her in this country, would only render her serviceable
for six months longer; Governor Phillip, therefore, ordered her
to England, and she sailed on the 26th of November.

From the debilitated state in which many of the convicts were
landed from the last ships, the number of sick were greatly
increased; the surgeon's returns on the 27th, being upwards of
four hundred sick at Parramatta; and the same day medicines were
distributed to one hundred and ninety-two at Sydney. To the
number of sick at Parramatta, upwards of one hundred may be
added, who were so weak that they could not be put to any kind of
labour, not even to that of pulling grass for thatching the huts.
Forty-two convicts died in the month of November, and in these
people nature seemed fairly to be worn out; many of them were so
thoroughly exhausted that they expired without a groan, and
apparently without any kind of pain.

Showers of rain had been more frequent lately than for many
months past, but not in the abundance which the ground required;
and, from the extreme dryness of the weather, and from the ground
not being sufficiently worked before the maize was put into it, a
great number of acres were likely to be destroyed. This was one
of the many inconveniencies the settlement laboured under, from
the want of people to employ in agriculture, who would feel
themselves interested in the labour of those that were under
their direction, and who had some knowledge as farmers.

The following parcels of land were in cultivation at
Parramatta, in November, 1791.

351  2  5 in Maise.
 44  1  8 Wheat.
  6  1 30 Barley.
  1  0  0 Oats.
  2  0  3 Potatoes.
  4  2  0 Not cultivated, but cleared.
  4  2 15 Mostly planted with vines.
  6  0  0 The governor's garden, partly sown with maize and wheat.
 80  0  0 Garden-ground belonging to individuals.
 17  0  0 Land in cultivation by the New South Wales corps.
150  0  0 Cleared, and to be sowed with turnips.
 91  3  2 Ground in cultivation by settlers.
 28  0  0 Ground in cultivation by officers of the civil and military.
134  0  0 Inclosed, and the timber thinned for feeding cattle.

The above grounds were measured by David Burton, the public
gardener, who observes, that the soil in most places is
remarkably good, and only wants cultivation to be fit for any
use, for the ground that has been the longest in cultivation
bears the best crops.

Of the convicts who were received by the last ships, there
were great numbers of the worst of characters, particularly
amongst those who came from Ireland, and whose great ignorance
led them into schemes more destructive to themselves than they
were likely to be to the settlement. Some of these people had
formed an idea that they could go along the coast, and subsist on
oysters and other shell-fish, till they reached some of the
Chinese settlements: others had heard that there were a copper
coloured people only one hundred and fifty miles to the
northward, where they would be free. Full of these notions, three
parties set off; but, after straggling about for many days,
several of them were taken, and others returned to the
settlement. Governor Phillip was less inclined to inflict any
punishment on these people, than to punish those who had deceived
them by the information of "not being far from some of the
Chinese settlements, and near people who would receive them, and
where they would have every thing they wanted, and live very

These reasons most of them assigned for going into the woods,
and where some of them still remained, dreading a severe
punishment if they returned: a general pardon was therefore
promised to all those who came back within a certain time, as
several were supposed to be lurking in the woods near the
settlement; however, some of these wretches were so prepossessed
with the idea of being able to live in the woods and on the
sea-coast until they could reach a settlement, or find a people
who would maintain them without labour, that several who were
brought in when almost famished, and carried to the hospital,
went away again as soon as they were judged able to return to
their labour; and although what would be called a day's work in
England is very seldom done by any convict in the settlement, yet
some of them declared that they would sooner perish in the woods
than be obliged to work; and forty were now absent.

In order to give those who might be still lurking near the
settlement an opportunity of returning, all the convicts were
assembled, and a pardon was promised to all who returned within
five days; at the same time they were assured that very severe
punishment would be inflicted on any who were taken after the
expiration of that time, or who should in future attempt to leave
the settlement.

Several appeared sensible of the lenity shown them when their
irons were taken off, but some of them appeared capable of the
most desperate attempts, and even talked of seizing on the
soldiers arms; they were, however, informed, that no mercy would
be shown to any who were even seen near those that might make an
attempt of the kind.

All the whalers who came into the harbour to refit, sailed
again by the 1st of December, and the Albemarle and the Active
transports sailed on the 2d for Bombay, where they were to load
with cotton for England.

A new store was now covered in at Sydney, which was the best
that had been built in the colony; and was intended for the
convicts cloathing and the implements of husbandry: it has a
second floor, and is eighty feet in length by twenty-four feet in
breadth. A building of fifty-six feet by twenty-four was likewise
covered in at Parramatta, and was intended for a place of
worship, until a church could be built.

The idea of finding a Chinese settlement at no great distance
to the northward, still prevailed amongst the Irish convicts; and
on the 4th of December, two of them stole the surgeon's boat, but
they only got a few miles to the northward of the harbour when
they were obliged to run her on shore. Some officers who were out
a shooting, saw this boat on the beach, and stove a plank in her,
that she might not be carried away; they also saw the two men,
who ran into the woods; however, a convict who had been six weeks
in the woods, and was scarcely able to walk, gave himself up to
the officers, and, with their assistance, was able to return to

Many of those convicts who left the settlement, as has already
been related, came back; some were still missing, and several
were said to be killed by the natives. The miserable situation of
those who returned to the settlement, would, it was believed,
most effectually prevent any more excursions of the like

On the 5th of December, the Queen transport returned from
Norfolk-Island, with the lieutenant-governor of the territory,
who was relieved by Lieutenant-Governor King; a detachment of
marines who had been doing duty on the island; a party of the New
South Wale corps, who were relieved by Captain Paterson, and some
convicts, whose times for which they had been sentenced were

By the 7th, the Gorgon was nearly ready for sea, and the
detachment of marines who came from England in the first ships
was ordered to hold themselves ready to embark, except one
captain, three lieutenants, eight non-commissioned officers, and
fifty privates, who were to stay at Port Jackson until the
remainder of the New South Wales corps should arrive: those
marines who were desirous of becoming settlers, remained
likewise, to the number of thirty-one.

Governor Phillip had frequently been solicited by Bannelong,
to receive Ballederry, the native who wounded a convict in June,
1791, into favour again, but he always refused; however, on the
14th of December, he was informed that Ballederry was extremely
ill. The surgeon had been to see him, and found him in a fever;
and the first question he asked was, whether the Governor was
still angry, or if he would let him be brought to the hospital to
be cured. Bannelong had fetched the surgeon to Ballederry, and
returned with him to Governor Phillip; who saying he was not
angry, and telling him to bring his companion to the settlement,
he said he would; so, early the next morning, Ballederry was
brought in. At first, he seemed under great apprehensions, but
they presently subsided, on the governor taking him by the hand,
and promising that when he was recovered he should reside with
him again. Poor Ballederry appeared to be very ill, and went with
the surgeon to the hospital.

Of those convicts who were received from the last ships, one
hundred and fourteen males, and two females, died before the 15th
of December: the number of sick had considerably decreased
lately; the surgeon's list being now reduced from six hundred and
two to four hundred and three.

The Matilda and the Mary-Ann transports came into the harbour
on the 16th; these ships had been out but nine days. The Matilda
had been into Jervis-Bay, but had not seen any spermaceti whales.
The Mary-Ann fell in with one shoal; it was in the evening when
all the boats were absent from the ship: the master was in hopes
they should have the fish about them the next morning, but he had
the mortification to find that a current had driven the ship
fifty miles to the southward.

The Gorgon dropped down the harbour on the 17th of December,
Captain Parker intending to sail the next day. The detachment
under the command of Major Ross were embarked, agreeable to the
orders which had previously been given.

* * * * *

Here closes the Journal of Governor Phillip; which contained
the latest accounts from New South Wales; being received by the
Gorgon, that left Port Jackon in December, 1791.

The following Journal of Lieutenant Ball of the Supply, is
subjoined; because it contains an account of a voyage from Port
Jackson by the route of Cape Horn, which was made in a shorter
time than had ever been performed by any other vessel.

Chapter XXIV


November 1791 to April 1792

-The Supply leaves Port Jackson.--Receives some
damage in a storm.--Doubles Cape Horn.--Passes Staten's
land.--Anchors at Rio Janeiro.--Refreshments procured.--Departure
from Rio Janciro.--Proceeds towards England.--Arrives off the
Lizard.--Particulars respecting

Having received orders from Governor Phillip to get the Supply
ready for sea, I had every thing in readiness by the 25th of
November; and early the next morning, we weighed anchor, and
stood out of Sydney Cove, with a moderate breeze at
east-north-east, and pleasant weather.

I had a Kanguroo on board, which I had directions to carry to
Lord Grenville, as a present for his Majesty.

Governor Phillip, accompanied by Captain John Parker, of the
Gorgon, breakfasted on board the Supply the morning of our
departure; and soon afterwards they left us, and proceeded to the
look-out at Port Jackson.

At four o'clock in the afternoon, we lost sight of the land,
and stood to the southward, with a moderate breeze at north-east.
In the forenoon of the 29th, the wind shifted to the southward,
and blew a very strong gale, which brought us under low sail, but
at five o'clock the weather grew moderate.

A vast number of birds were about the ship, and a land bird,
of a singular kind, was caught: our latitude, at noon, was
38° 31' south, and the longitude 154° 23' east.

On the 2d of December, we saw a whale; our latitude, at noon,
was 44° 21' south, and the longitude, by lunar observation,
156° 20' east: the variation of the compass, 10° 00'
east. I now ordered the ship to be well cleaned every day between
decks, being firmly convinced that cleanliness conduces very much
to preserve the health of seaman. On the 4th, we had light,
variable winds, chiefly from the northward: the latitude, at
noon, was 47° 10' south, the longitude, by observed distances
of the sun and moon, 160° 20', and the variation of the
compass 11° 20' east.

In the afternoon, a thick fog came on, with light drizzling
rain, which continued till the forenoon of the 5th, when the fog
dispersed, and the weather cleared up. We saw some rock weed, and
a great number of blue petrels and albatrosses were about the
ship. In the afternoon, we passed more rock weed, and saw a
number of whales. On the 6th, we had a fresh gale from the
southward, and saw a vast number of petrels; albatrosses, etc.
were about the vessel: we passed a great quantity of rock-weed,
and perceiving the water to change colour, we hove to, and
sounded, but got no bottom with 120 fathoms of line. The wind
continued to blow strong from the southward, which brought on a
very high, irregular swell, and occasioned the ship to labour and
work very much: we still passed vast quantities of rock-weed, and
had a number of birds about the ship. The latitude, at noon on
the 8th, was 50° 44' south, and the longitude, by the
time-keeper, 172° 56' east. The ship laboured greatly, which
occasioned her to make water in her top-sides.

Great numbers of petrels, gulls, albatrosses, etc. were
daily seen about the ship, and a whale was seen in the afternoon
of the 10th. The wind continued to blow from the southward,
strong and in squalls, until the 12th, when it shifted to the
northward and westward. The latitude, at noon, was 53° 56'
south, and the longitude, by the time-keeper, 188° 49'

At two o'clock in the morning of the 13th, the ship was pooped
with a very heavy sea, which entirely stove in the two midship
windows of the stern, and filled the cabin with water, great part
of which ran down into the bread-room. In the afternoon of the
14th, a violent squall came on from the westward, which at six
o'clock increased to a perfect storm, with an exceeding high sea;
this occasioned me to keep the ship before it, and I found her
steer very well; indeed, much better than I could possibly have
expected in such a situation.

The weather continued squally, with hail and snow, until the
morning of the 16th, when the wind shifted to the southward, and
the weather grew more moderate. The latitude, at noon, was
52° 58' south, and the longitude 207° 09' east. On the
20th, we passed a large patch of sea-weed; several gulls and
divers sea-birds were at that time about the ship. Portable soup,
essence of malt, and sour krout were now served out to the ship's
company. The weather was thick and foggy, which prevented us from
getting any observation until the 22d, when our latitude, at
noon, was 53° 59' south, and the longitude, by the
time-keeper, 231° 36' east. A number of sheerwaters and
petrels were about the ship. We had frequent squalls, attended
with hail and snow.

On the 24th, the wind shifted to the eastward, and the weather
was more moderate, but on the 27th, it again got to the westward,
blowing strong, and in violent squalls, attended with snow and
hail. A great number of albatrosses, blue petrels, and
sheerwaters were about the ship; a high, irregular sea caused her
to labour much, and she made a deal of water in her topsides. The
latitude, at noon, was 57° 32' south, and 245° 42' east
longitude. On the 29th, the longitude, by the time-keeper, was
259° 16' east, and by account 256° 50' east; at the same
time the latitude was 56° 30' south. The wind was still to
the westward, attended with very heavy rain. In the morning of
the 31st, the wind blew strong from the northward. Great numbers
of gulls were about the ship, and we passed a deal of

During the 1st and 2d of January, 1792, the wind was variable,
frequently shifting from north-north-west to west-south-west and
south-east by east. At noon on the 3d, we were in 56° 15'
south latitude, and 281° 57' east longitude. The next
forenoon, we saw a seal, and had a number of albatrosses about
the ship: we now had strong gales from the north-east quarter,
attended with snow and sleet. A heavy squall came on in the
morning of the 5th, and in hauling down the main-top-mast
staysail, the brails broke, and the sail was blown in pieces, the
greatest part of which fell overboard before it could be got down
and stowed.

In the afternoon, we saw several gulls, a seal, and some
shell-drakes. At noon on the 6th, we saw Cape Horn, bearing
west-south-west half west, and the northernmost land in sight,
west half south, distant six or seven leagues. At that time, our
latitude was 56° 02' south, and the longitude 291° 45'
east. At eight o'clock in the morning of the 7th, we saw Staten
Land, bearing from north by west to north-west by west half west,
twelve or thirteen leagues distant: at noon, the north point bore
north, a little westerly, distant about eight leagues. In the
afternoon, several whales were seen near the ship, the body of
Staten Land then bore south-south-west. The wind, which for some
days had been to the southward, shifted, in the morning of the
8th, to north-west, with a moderate breeze and fine weather. In
the afternoon, we passed some pieces of sea-weed, amongst which
was a seal; we also saw another seal and some penguins: several
whales and large flocks of blue petrels were about the ship. The
next forenoon, we passed some sea-weed and a number of penguins;
on which we sounded, but got no ground with 100 fathoms of line.
Our latitude, at noon, was 52° 58' south, and longitude, by
the time-keeper, 296° 13' east. We sounded again in the
evening, but got no ground with 145 fathoms of line. At midnight,
we had a calm for about two hours, the weather thick and foggy,
with thunder and lightning to the southward.

Early in the morning, the fog cleared a little, and a light
breeze sprung up from the northward. Many seals and whales were
about the ship; and in the afternoon, we saw a number of
penguins. At eight o'clock in the evening we sounded, and had 96
fathoms of water, over a bottom of fine sand and mud. During the
night, we had moderate breezes from the southward, attended with
small rain. In the forenoon of the 11th, we saw a great number of
whales, and several penguins. During the afternoon and night, we
had strong gales from the southward, attended with frequent
squalls. The next forenoon, we saw several large patches of
sea-weed: the wind still continued to blow very strong from the
southward, which occasioned a high sea; and the ship rolling very
much, occasioned her to make a deal of water in her upper works.
In the morning of the 13th, the weather grew more moderate: we
saw a port Egmont hen, and several pieces of rock-weed. At noon
our latitude was 45° 46' south, and the longitude 302°
49' east.

On the 15th, the weather grew moderate, the wind to the
northward. Some observed distances of the sun and moon on the
16th, gave 305° 46' east longitude; the latitude at that time
was 42° 34' south. In the afternoon of the 17th, we had a
strong appearance of a current, and passed a large number of
whales. The next day, the water being discoloured, we sounded
with 160 fathoms of line, but got no ground. The wind still kept
to the northward, with moderate breezes and fine weather.

Essence of malt and vinegar were served to the ship's company
on the 24th, and every precaution was taken to preserve their
health. In the evening, we had much lightning to the northward:
the wind blew fresh from the north-east, and we had frequent
heavy squalls attended with rain. Towards noon on the 26th, the
wind grew light and variable: the latitude was 32° 20' south,
and the longitude 311° 02' east. In the evening, we had much
lightning to the northward: towards midnight, a fresh breeze
sprung up from the south-east.

The next forenoon, we saw a turtle and several flying-fish;
and at six o'clock in the afternoon, we saw a brig to the
northward, and soon afterwards spoke with her. At six o'clock in
the morning of the 28th, we saw the land bearing from north-west
to west-south-west. We sounded in 26 fathoms of water, over a
bottom of soft mud. At eight o'clock, some high level land bore
west half south, eight or nine leagues distant. I ordered the
jolly-boat to be hoisted out, and we tried the current, which was
found to set north-east by north, at the rate of half a mile an
hour, or nearly. At noon, we had clear soundings in 24, 22, 20,
and 18 fathoms over a bottom of fine brown sand and mud. At six
o'clock, we tacked, the extremes of the land bearing from
south-west to north by east; the nearest land about four miles
distant. During the night, we had regular soundings from 13 to 25

The next morning, we tacked and stood towards the land, with
light variable winds. At noon, the extremes of the land were from
north to south 50° west; the nearest land about ten miles
distant. In the afternoon, we saw a large turtle; and at three
o'clock, we sounded in 19 fathoms, over a muddy bottom. At six
o'clock, the nearest land bore north by west half west, about
three leagues distant. During the night, we had a light breeze
from the westward: we frequently sounded, and had from 17 to 23
fathoms water.

At noon on the 30th, the nearest land bore north 75° west,
eight or nine miles distant. We stood along shore, with a light
breeze at south-south-east; and at sun-set, the land bore from
north 32° west to south 50° west. The next morning, we
steered along the island of St. Catherine; and at four o'clock in
the afternoon, were abreast of the Fort of Santa Cruz.

I sent an officer on shore to the fort, and soon afterwards we
anchored in five fathoms water; the fort of Santa Cruz bearing
north-north-west, and the opposite fort north-east. We saluted
the fort with nine guns, which was returned by an equal number.
The next morning, we weighed, and anchored nearer to the
watering-place; mooring the ship with a cable each way,
(north-east and south-west) in three fathoms and a half, over a
muddy bottom. In this situation, the fort of Santa Cruz bore
north-north-east, the opposite fort, south-east; the point to the
southward of the watering-place south-west, and the
watering-place west, half a mile distant.

We erected a tent on shore for the cooper, who was busily
employed in repairing our casks, and the other hands were
employed in watering and other necessary duties.

As we had now made 310° 43' of east longitude, which is
equal to 20 h. 42 min. 52 sec. of time, we, of course, dropped
one day, and called the 5th of February, Saturday the 4th. This
afternoon I sent two boats on shore for various refreshments,
having nearly completed our water. In the morning of the 5th, the
cutter swamped at her moorings aftern; the oars and tiller washed
out of her, and were lost.

On the 7th, most of our business being finished, we unmoored;
and after standing a little farther out of the harbour, we
anchored with the small bower, in five and a quarter fathoms; the
Fort of Santa Cruz bearing north-north-west, and the opposite
fort, north-east. We completed our water and every other duty on
the 8th, and the next morning weighed and made sail. At eleven
o'clock, we saluted the fort with eleven guns, which was returned
by an equal number: at noon, we were abreast of Santa Cruz

With a light breeze from the northward, we were employed in
turning down the harbour; and at seven o'clock, we came to in
five fathoms, over a muddy bottom; the Island Averade bearing
north-east half north, and Santa Cruz Fort south-west by west.
Early the next morning, we weighed and stood out of the harbour,
and the wind being very light, the jolly-boat was sent a-head to
tow the vessel: in the afternoon, a moderate breeze came on from
the eastward.

At noon on the 11th, the land bore from south 57° west, to
north 82° west: the wind being variable, we tacked
occasionally. Our latitude was 27° 19' south, and the
longitude 48° 21' west. 'Till the 17th, we had light winds,
chiefly from the north-east quarter, and fine clear weather; the
wind then shifted to the westward, with frequent squalls and
heavy showers of rain. The latitude, at noon, was 29° 27'
south, and 41° 14' west longitude. On the 20th, we had the
ship well cleaned between decks, and thoroughly washed with
vinegar. The variation of the compass was 4° 40'

At noon on the 21st, a severe squall came on, attended with
thunder, and very heavy rain; the wind all round the compass:
this occasioned us to clew up the top-sails, and reef the
foresail; however, towards evening, the weather growing more
moderate we set the top-sails.

We opened a cask of beef on the 22d, which was marked R. H.
N° 72, and was received from the commissary at the
victualling-office, Port Jackson: it contained sixty-six double
pieces, which was four double pieces short of the number there
ought to have been.

During the 23d and 24th, we had light easterly winds, with
intervening calms, and dark cloudy weather, attended with rain.
On the 25th, in latitude 26° 13' south, and 31° 33' east
longitude, we found 1° 22' easterly variation; and on the
27th the variation was 00° 45' westerly; the latitude being
22° 32' south, and the longitude 29° 03' west. I ordered
the cables to be hauled up, the tier to be well cleaned, and
washed with vinegar. The wind now hauled to the westward, with a
moderate breeze and clear weather. On the 28th, the wind shifted
to the northward, and at one o'clock in the morning of the 29th,
a very severe squall came on from north-north-east, attended with
heavy rain: soon after day-light, the weather moderated.

We now had a settled easterly wind and fine weather, until the
morning of the 6th of March, when the wind blew strong and in
squalls, and continued very unsettled till the afternoon of the
7th, when it grew moderate. The latitude was 14° 26' south,
and the longitude 23° 02' west. On the 12th, we were in
02° 11' south latitude, and 25' 16" west longitude, and in
the afternoon we saw a sail to the northward; we bore up and
spoke her; she proved to be the Cleopatra, of Boston, bound to
Calcutta. I ordered the jolly-boat to be hoisted out and sent on
board her; at six o'clock the boat returned, we got her on board,
and made sail.

From the 16th to the 18th, we had squally unsettled weather,
attended with thunder, lightning, and heavy rain. Our latitude at
noon on the 20th, was 08° 45' north, the longitude 30°
16' west, and the variation by azimuth 7° 52' west: the wind
blew strong from the north-east, which occasioned a very high

On the 22d, John Miles was punished for sleeping on his watch,
neglect of duty, and contemptuous behaviour.

In the morning of the 28th, having a strong gale of wind at
east, we clewed up the sails, and kept the vessel before the sea,
whilst the masts were stayed, and the rigging set up; which being
completed, and the weather growing moderate, we made sail. During
the forenoon, we saw a deal of gulph weed. Our latitude was
20° 25' north, and the longitude 37° 06' west.

On the 1st of April, we mustered the ship's company, and read
the articles of war to them: our observation at noon, gave
29° 14' north latitude, the longitude was 39° 05' west,
and the variation of the compass 07° 45' west. On the 5th, we
had 11° 04' westerly variation; our latitude, at that time,
was 35° 39' north, and the longitude, by lunar observation,
36° 16' west. The trade wind had now left us, and we had
strong breezes generally from the north-west quarter. The
variation, by azimuth, on the 13th, was 22° 00' west; the
latitude at noon being 47° 09' north, and the longitude
17° 46' west.

In the morning of the 15th, we saw several vessels standing to
the westward, and at ten o'clock, spoke a sloop from Bristol,
bound to Saint Michael's. At six o'clock in the afternoon of the
17th, we sounded and struck the ground in sixty-five fathoms,
over a bottom of fine sand, mixed with black specks. Our latitude
at noon, on the 19th, was 49° 23', and the longitude, by
lunar observation, 6° 56' west. At four o'clock in the
morning of the 20th, we saw the land, bearing north-north-west,
and at noon the Lizard bore from north-north-east, to north-east
by east, five miles distant.

* * * * *

Transactions at Norfolk Island

The following particulars, respecting NORFOLK-ISLAND, which
comprehend the substance of Lieutenant-Governor King's latest
dispatches, being dated the 29th of December, 1791; and which
were received the 30th of November 1792, by the William and Anne
transport, that ought to have touched at Port Jackson, but was
forced by contrary winds to bear away for England.

The wheat harvest at Norfolk-Island was finished by the 10th
of December, 1791; when about one thousand bushels of wheat were
got in, and well thatched in stacks. The Indian corn had suffered
by a series of dry hot weather ever since the preceding July.

Lieutenant-Governor King finding great inconvenience from the
size and construction of the frame of a store-house, which was 80
feet long by 24 feet wide, as well as from its situation, it
being near the shore, determined to build one, 40 feet by 24, on
the Terrace, at Mount-George: he had also found it necessary to
build a goal, opposite the barrack-yard, and another at

A good road has been made to the landing rock in Cascade-Bay,
so that now, any thing may be landed with the greatest

Eighteen copper bolts, six copper sheets, two sixteen-inch
cables, two hundred weight of lead, one fish-tackle fall, twenty
pounds of chalk, three rudder chains, two top-chains, and
iron-work of various sorts, had been saved from the wreck of the
Sirius; the greatest part of these articles, Lieutenant-Governor
King proposed sending to Port Jackson.

Ten settlers, who lately belonged to the Sirius, were doing
exceedingly well, but there was reason to fear that great part of
the marine settlers, when the novelty of their situation was gone
off, would have neither ability nor inclination to improve the
portions of ground allotted them: they had already been extremely
troublesome, and the lieutenant-governor had been under the
necessity of imposing heavy fines on two; the first, for beating
the watch and using inflammatory language, and the second, for
cruelly beating a convict woman.

The convict settlers were all doing very well, and were quiet,
attentive, and orderly: they were increased to the number of
forty; the whole number of settlers on the island were eighty,
and it will be difficult to fix more until the ground is farther

A quantity of coral and other testaceous substances, with
different kinds of stones, were burnt forty-eight hours, and
produced a very fine white lime, much superior to any lime made
of chalk, and it proved a very tough cement.

Eighteen convicts, under the direction of an overseer, who is
a settler, were employed in making bricks. A bricklayer was much
wanted, as one who was sent in the Queen, died on the

Lieutenant-Governor King finding it necessary to discharge Mr.
Doridge, the superintendant of convicts at Queensborough, has
appointed Mr. D'arcy Wentworth to succeed him: Mr. Wentworth had
behaved with the greatest attention and propriety as
assistant-surgeon, which duty he still continued to discharge.
Mr. W. N. Chapman was appointed store-keeper at

A corporal and six privates were stationed in a house with a
good garden to it, on an eminence commanding Queensborough, and a
serjeant and ten men were fixed in a similar situation at
Phillipsburgh, and they were kept as separate from the convicts
as possible.

The lieutenant-governor had been under the necessity of
appointing a town-adjutant and inspector of out-posts, and he
named Lieutenant Abbott for these duties; he also established
rules and regulations for the observance of every person on the
island, and for keeping a night-patrole: a deputy provost-marshal
was also appointed.

The wreck of the Sirius went to pieces on the 1st of January,
1792, and every thing possible was saved out of her. The same
day, every person on the island went to a reduced allowance of
provisions, but the fish daily caught was sufficient to serve all
the inhabitants three times over.

Some of the settlers were permitted to employ the convicts as
their servants, on condition of maintaining them without the aid
of the public store; and some of the convicts were allowed to
work for themselves, on the same condition.

It will be absolutely necessary to establish a court of
justice, as corporal punishments have but little effect; although
robberies were confined only to a particular class of convicts,
and were by no means general.

By the 15th of January, two hundred and sixty bushels of
Indian corn were gathered in; a number of acres were then in
different states of growth, which were likely to yield about
three hundred bushels more. The wheat thrashed well, and yielded
plentifully. The granary was finished, and every endeavour was
used to keep the wevil out of it.

The End

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island" ***

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