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Title: A Source Book of Australian History
Author: Swinburne, Gwendolen H. [Compiler]
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 "A Source Book of Australian History" ***











I submit this volume to the public in the hope that it may increase the
amount of interest usually shown in Australian History by deepening the
general knowledge of the subject, and illustrating it by those vivid
details which arrest the attention and enable the student to visualize
past events.

The number of events described in a Source Book must necessarily be
smaller than that in histories of another type; but the aim is to place
the student in contact with the evidence of history in order that he may
become his own historian by drawing his own deductions from the
contemporary records. The greatest historian can find no materials
ulterior to such as are here presented, for there is nothing ulterior to
them but the deeds themselves. They are the records written by the men
who gave their life and health to lay the foundation of Australia's
greatness--by Phillip, weakening under the racking cares of the infant
state; by Sturt in the scorching desert, as the last duty of an
exhausting day. They are aglow with the heat of action; they are
inspiring in their quiet modesty and strength.

In order to give greater continuity to the volume, short introductions
have been placed at the head of each selection. It has been impossible
to quote in full all the documents of which use has been made, but
fuller information may be obtained by reference to the "source"
mentioned at the head of each selection. The editor or author of the
source and its date of publication are shown in order to facilitate
further research.

The Source Book has been compiled with attention to the requirements of
schools, and it is hoped that teachers in Australia will avail
themselves of the opportunity to introduce the study of history from
contemporary documents, and thus in this respect bring Australia into
line with the other countries where source books are already familiar.
The section on discovery and exploration may with advantage be used in
the study of geography.

My thanks are due to the proprietors of the "Times" for permission to
quote certain pages from "The Times History of the War in South Africa,"
and "The Times History of the War and Encyclopaedia," and also for the
"Dispatch from a Special Correspondent at the Dardanelles," printed in
the "Times," 7 May 1915.

It is with great pleasure that I acknowledge my indebtedness to
Professor Scott, of Melbourne University (at whose suggestion the work
was undertaken), for his interest and advice; and to Arthur Wadsworth,
Esq., Chief Librarian for the Parliament of the Commonwealth, for his
courteous assistance.





















































[Illustration: MAP OF AUSTRALIA]





+Source.+--Tasman's Journal (edited by Heeres), pp. 1, 11-16

     The Spaniard Torres was probably the first European to sight
     Australia (Cape Yorke); but Tasman was the first who consciously
     discovered the Great South Land. In his search for fresh fields for
     trade, he came upon Tasmania and New Zealand.

Journal or description drawn up by me, ABEL JAN TASMAN, of a Voyage made
from the town of Batavia in E. India for the discovery of the unknown
Southland, in the year of our Lord 1642, the 14th of August. May God
Almighty vouchsafe his Blessing on this work. AMEN.

_Note_.--Days reckoned from midnight to midnight. Longitude calculated
from meridian of Peak of Teneriffe.

_Item the 23rd Nov._--Good weather with a south-easterly wind and a
steady breeze; in the morning, we found our rudder broken at top in the
tiller hole; we therefore hauled to windward under reduced sail and
fitted a cross beam to either side. By estimation the west side of Nova
Guinea must be North of us.

_Item the 24th do._ Good weather and a clear sky. In the afternoon about
4 o'clock we saw land bearing East by North of us; at about 10 miles
distance by estimation. The land we sighted was very high. Towards
evening we also saw S.S.E. of us three high mountains, and to the N.E.
two more mountains, but less high than those to southward. This land
being the first we have met with in the South sea and not known to any
European nation, we have conferred on it the name of Anthoony Van
Diemenslandt, in honor of the Hon. Governor-General, our illustrious
master, who sent us to make this discovery; the islands circumjacent so
far as known to us, we have named after the Hon. Councillors of India.

_Item 28th do._ In the evening we came under the shore. There are under
the shore some small islands one of which looks like a lion.

_Item 29th do._ In the morning were still near the rock which looks like
a lion's head. Towards noon passed two rocks; the most westerly looks
like Pedra Branca, which lies on the coast of China, the most easterly,
looking like a high rugged tower, lies about 16 miles out from the
mainland. Ran through between these rocks and the land. We came before a
way which seemed likely to afford a good anchorage upon which we
resolved to run into it. We again made for the shore, the wind and
current having driven us so far out to sea that we could barely see the

_Item 1st Dec._ We resolved that it would be best and most expedient to
touch at the land, the sooner the better; both to get better acquainted
with the land and secure refreshment for our own behoof. About one hour
after sunset we dropped anchorage in a good harbour, for all of which it
behooves us to thank God Almighty with grateful hearts.

_Item 2nd do._ Early in the morning we sent our own pilot Major Francoys
Jacobz in command of our pinnace manned with 4 musketeers and 6 rowers,
all of them furnished with pikes and side arms together with the
cockboat of the _Zeehaen_, with one of her second mates and six
musketeers in it, to a bay situated N.W. of us at upwards of a mile's
distance in order to ascertain what facilities (as regards fresh water,
refreshments, timber and the like) may be available there. About three
hours before nightfall the boats came back, bringing various samples of
vegetables, which they had seen growing there in great abundance, some
of them in appearance not unlike a certain plant growing at the Cabo de
Bona Esperance, and fit to be used as pot-herbs; and another species
with long leaves and brackish taste strongly resembling persil de mer or
samphou. The pilot Major and second mate of the _Zeehaen_ made the
following report, to wit:

That they had rowed the space of upwards of a mile round the said point
where they had found high but level land, covered with vegetation and
not cultivated but growing naturally (by the will of God) abundance of
excellent timber and a gently sloping watercourse in a barren valley;
the said water though of good quality being difficult to procure,
because the watercourse is so shallow that the water could be dipped
with bowls only.

That they had heard certain human sounds, and also sounds resembling the
music of a small trump or a small gong not far from them though they had
seen no one.

That they had seen two trees about 2 or 2-1/2 fathoms in thickness
measuring from 60-65 feet from the ground to the lowermost branches,
which trees bore notches made with flint implements, the bark having
been removed for the purpose; these notches forming a kind of steps to
enable persons to get up the trees and rob birds' nests in their tops
were fully five feet apart; so that our men concluded that the natives
here must be of very tall stature or must be in possession of some sort
of artifice for getting up the said trees. In one of the trees these
notched steps were so fresh and new that they seemed to have been cut
less than four days ago.

That on the ground they discovered the footprints of animals, not unlike
those of a tiger's claws. They also brought on board a small quantity of
gum, of a seemingly very fine quality, which had exuded from trees, and
bore some resemblance to gum-lac.

That at one extremity on the point of the way they had seen large
numbers of gulls, wild ducks, and geese, but had perceived none further
inward though they had heard their cries, and had found no fish except
different kinds of mussels forming small clusters in various places.

That the land is pretty generally covered with trees, standing so far
apart that they allow a passage everywhere and a look-out to a great
distance, so that when landing, our men could always get sight of
natives or wild beasts unhindered by dense shrubbery or underwood, which
would prove a great advantage in exploring the country.

That in the interior they had in several places observed numerous trees
which had deep holes burnt into them at the upper end of the foot while
the earth had here and there been dug out with the fist so as to form a
fireplace; the surrounding soil having become as hard as flint through
the action of fire.

A short time before we got sight of our boats returning to the ships, we
now and then saw clouds of dense smoke rising up from the land (it was
nearly always north of us) and surmised this must be a signal given by
our men because they were so long coming back.

When our men came on board again, we inquired of them whether they had
been there and made a fire, to which they returned a negative answer;
adding, however, that at various times and points in the wood they had
also seen clouds of smoke ascending. So there can be no doubt there must
be men here of extraordinary stature.

_Item 3rd Dec._ In the afternoon we went to the S.E. side of this bay,
in the boats, having with us pilot Major Francoys Jacobz, Skipper Gerrit
Janz, Isack Gilseman, supercargo on board the _Zeehaen_, subcargo
Abraham Cooman and our master carpenter Pieter Jacobz; we carried with
us a pole with the Company's mark carved into it, and a Prince flag to
be set up there that those who shall come after us may become aware we
have been here, and have taken possession of the said land as our lawful
property. When we had rowed about half-way with our boats it began to
blow very stiffly, and the sea ran so high that the cockboat of the
_Zeehaen_ was compelled to pull back to the ships, while we ran on with
our pinnace.

When we had come close inshore in a small inlet the surf ran so high
that we could not get near the shore without running the risk of having
our pinnace dashed to pieces. We then ordered the carpenter aforesaid to
swim to the shore alone with the pole and the flag.

We made him plant the said pole with the flag at the top, into the
earth, about the centre of the bay near four tall trees easily
recognizable and standing in the form of a crescent, exactly before the
one standing lowest. This tree is burnt in just above ground and is in
reality taller than the other three, but it seems to be shorter because
it stands lower on the sloping ground. Our master carpenter, having in
the sight of myself Abel Janz Tasman, skipper Gerrit Janz and subcargo
Abraham Cooman performed the work entrusted to him, we pulled with our
pinnace as near the shore as we ventured to do; the carpenter aforesaid
thereupon swam back to the pinnace through the surf. This work having
been duly executed, we pulled back to the ships, leaving the
above-mentioned as a memorial for those who shall come after us, and for
the natives of this country who did not show themselves though we
suspect some of them were at no great distance and closely watching our

_Item 4th Dec._ In the evening we saw a round mountain bearing N.N.W.
of us at about 8 miles' distance.

_Item 5th do._ The high round mountain which we had seen the day before
bore now due W. of us at 6 miles' distance. At this point the land fell
off to the N.W. so that we could no longer steer near the coast here,
seeing that the wind was almost ahead. We therefore convened the Council
and the second mates, with whom after due deliberation we resolved, and
subsequently called out to the officer of the _Zeehaen_ that pursuant to
the resolution of the 11th ultimo, we should direct our course due east,
and on the said course run to the full longitude of 195°, or the
Salamonis Islands. Set our course due east in order to make further

[This course brought them to New Zealand.]


+Source.+--The Voyages and Adventures of Captain William Dampier
(published 1776). Vol. II, pp. 134-40

     Dampier was an Englishman who had joined a company of American
     buccaneers. They arrived in May 1698 on the Western coast of
     Australia, which was by this time fairly well known to the Dutch
     under the name of New Holland.

New Holland is a very large tract of land. It is not yet determined
whether it is an island or a main continent; but I am certain that it
joins neither to Asia, Africa nor America. This part of it that we saw
is all low even land, with sandy banks against the sea, only the points
are rocky, and so are some of the islands in this bay.

The land is of a dry sandy soil, destitute of water, except you make
wells; yet producing divers sorts of trees, but the woods are not thick,
nor the trees very big. Most of the trees that we saw are dragon-trees
as we supposed, and these too are the largest trees of any there.

They are about the bigness of our large apple-trees, and about the same
height, and the rind is blackish and somewhat rough. The leaves are of a
dark colour; the gum distils out of the knots or cracks that are in the
bodies of the trees. We compared it with some gum dragon, or dragon's
blood, that was on board, and it was of the same colour and taste. The
other sorts of trees were not known by any of us. There was pretty long
grass growing under the trees, but it was very thin. We saw no trees
that bore fruit or berries.

We saw no sort of animal, nor any track of beast, but once, and that
seemed to be the tread of a beast as big as a mastiff dog. Here are a
few small land-birds, but none bigger than a black-bird and but few sea

Neither is the sea very plentifully stored with fish, unless you reckon
the manatee and turtle as such. Of these creatures there is plenty, but
they are extraordinary shy, though the inhabitants cannot trouble them
much, having neither boats nor iron.

The inhabitants of this country are the miserablest people in the world.
The Hodmadods of Monomatapa, though a nasty people yet for wealth are
gentlemen to these, who have no houses and skin garments, sheep,
poultry, and fruits of the earth, ostrich eggs etc. as the Hodmadods
have; and setting aside their human shape, they differ but little from
brutes. They are tall, straight-bodied and thin, with small long limbs.
They have great heads, round foreheads and great brows. Their eyelids
are always half closed to keep the flies out of their eyes, being so
troublesome here, that no fanning will keep them from coming to one's
face, and without the assistance of both hands to keep them off, will
creep into one's nostrils and mouth too, if the lips are not shut very
close. So that from their infancy being thus annoyed with these insects,
they never open their eyes as other people; and therefore they cannot
see far, unless they hold up their heads, as if they were looking at
somewhat over them.

They have great bottle noses, pretty full lips, and wide mouths. The two
fore-teeth of their upper jaw are wanting in all of them, men and women,
old and young; whether they draw them out, I know not, neither have they
any beards. They are long-visaged, and of a very unpleasing aspect,
having no one graceful feature in their faces. Their hair is black,
short and curled, like that of the negroes, and not long and lank like
the common Indian. The colour of the skin, both of their faces and the
rest of their body, is coal black, like that of the negroes of Guinea.

They have no sort of clothes, but a piece of the rind of a tree tied
like a girdle about their waists, and a handful of long grass or three
or four small green boughs, full of leaves, thrust under their girdle to
cover their nakedness.

They have no houses, but lie in the open air, without any covering, the
earth their bed, and the heaven their canopy. Their only food is a small
sort of fish, which they get by making wares of stone, across little
coves, or branches of the sea; every tide bringing in the small fish,
and there leaving them for a prey to these people, who constantly attend
there to search for them at low water. This small fry I take to be the
top of their fishery; they have no instruments to catch great fish,
should they come; and such seldom stay to be left behind at low water;
nor could we catch any fish with our hooks and lines all the while we
lay there.

In other places at low water they seek for cockles, mussels, and
periwinkles; of these shell-fish there are fewer still, so that their
chief dependence is on what the sea leaves in their wares, which, be it
much or little, they gather up, and march to the place of their abode.
There the old people, that are not able to stir abroad, by reason of
their age, and the tender infants, wait their return: and what
providence has bestowed upon them, they presently broil on the coals,
and eat in common. Sometimes they get as many fish as make them a
splendid banquet; and at other times they scarce get every one a taste;
but be it little or much that they get, every one has his part, as well
the young and tender, and the old and feeble who are not able to go
abroad, as the strong and lusty.

How they get their fire I know not; but probably, as Indians do out of
wood. I have seen the Indians of Bon-Airy do it, and have myself tried
the experiment. They take a flat piece of wood that is pretty soft, and
make a small dent in one side of it, then they take another hard round
stick, about the bigness of one's little finger, and sharpening it at
one end like a pencil, they put the sharp end in the hole or dent of the
soft flat piece, and then rubbing or twirling the hard piece between the
palms of their hands, they drill the soft piece till it smokes, and at
last takes fire.

These people speak somewhat through the throat, but we could not
understand one word that they said. We anchored, as I said before,
January 5th, and seeing men walking on the shore, we presently sent a
canoe to get some acquaintance with them, for we were in hopes to get
some provisions among them. But the inhabitants, seeing our boat coming,
ran away and hid themselves. We searched afterwards three days in hopes
to find the houses, but found none, yet we saw many places where they
had made fires. At last being out of hopes to find their habitations, we
searched no further but left a great many toys ashore, in such places
that we thought that they would come. In all our search we found no
water, but old wells on the sandy bays.

At last we went over to the islands, and there we found a great many of
the natives; I do believe there were forty on one island, men women and
children. The men at our first coming ashore, threatened us with their
lances and swords, but they were frightened, by firing one gun, which we
fired purposely to scare them. The island was so small that they could
not hide themselves; but they were much disordered at our landing,
especially the women and children, for we went directly to their camp.
The lustiest of the women, snatching up their infants, ran away howling,
and the little children ran after, squeaking and bawling, but the men
stood still. Some of the women and such of the people as could not go
from us, lay still by a fire making a doleful noise, as if we had been
coming to devour them; but when they saw we did not intend to harm them,
they were pretty quiet, and the rest that fled from us at our first
coming, returned again. This, their place of dwelling, was only a fire,
with a few boughs before it, set up on that side the wind was of.

After we had been here a little while, the men began to be familiar, and
we cloathed some of them, designing to have some service of them for it;
for we found some wells of water here, and intended to carry two or
three barrels of it on board. But being somewhat troublesome to carry on
the canoes, we thought to have made these men carry it for us and
therefore we gave them some cloathes; to one an old pair of breeches; to
another a ragged shirt; to the third a jacket that was scarce worth
owning; which yet would have been very acceptable at some places where
we had been, and so we thought they might have with these people. We put
them on them, thinking that this finery would have brought them to work
heartily for us; and our water being filled in small long barrels, about
six gallons each, which were made purposely to carry water in, we
brought these, our new servants, to the wells and put a barrel on each
of their shoulders for them to carry to the canoe. But all the signs we
could make were to no purpose, for they stood like statues, without
motion, but grinned like so many monkeys, staring one upon another, for
these poor creatures seem not accustomed to carry burdens; and I believe
that one of our ships-boys of ten years old, would carry as much as one
of them; so we were forced to carry our water ourselves, and they very
fairly put the cloathes off again, and laid them down as if cloathes
were only to work in. I did not perceive that they had any great liking
to them at first, neither did they seem to admire anything that we had.

At our first coming, before we were acquainted with them, or they with
us, a company of them who lived on the main, came just against our ship,
and standing on a pretty bank, threatened us with their swords and
lances, by shaking them at us; at last the captain ordered the drum to
be beaten, which was done of a sudden with much vigour, purposely to
scare the poor creatures. They, hearing the noise ran away as fast as
they could drive, and when they ran away in haste, they would cry,
gurry, gurry, speaking deep in the throat. Those inhabitants also that
live on the main, would always run away from us; yet we took several of
them. For, as I have already observed, they had such bad eyes, that they
could not see us till we came close to them. We always gave them
victuals, and let them go again but the islanders, after our first time
of being among them, did not stir for us.


+Source.+--Cook's Journal (edited by Wharton, 1893), pp. 237-249,

     Captain Cook was the first Englishman to search for the Great South
     Land. After observing the transit of Venus, he made extensive
     explorations in New Zealand, and then sailed West, to seek the East
     Coast of New Holland.

_April 1770. Thursday 19th._ At 5, set the topsails close reef'd and 6,
saw land, extending from N.E. to W., distance 5 or 6 leagues, having 80
fathoms, fine sandy bottom. The Southernmost land we had in sight, which
bore from us W 3/4 S., I judged to lay in the latitude of 38° 0' S., and
in the Long. of 211° 7' W. from the Meridian of Greenwich. I have named
it Point Hicks, because Lieutenant Hicks was the first who discovered
this land. To the Southward of this Point we could see no land, and yet
it was clear in that quarter and by our Long. compared with that of
Tasman's, the body of Van Diemen's Land ought to have bore due South
from us. The Northernmost land in sight bore N. by E. 1/2 E., and a
small island lying close to a Point on the main bore W., distant 2
Leagues. This Point I have named Cape Howe; it may be known by the
trending of the Coast, which is N. on the one side, and S.W. on the

_Saturday, 28th._ At daylight in the morning we discovered a Bay which
appeared to be tolerably well sheltered from all winds, into which I
resolved to go with the ship, and with this view sent the Master in the
Pinnace to sound the entrance.

_Sunday, 29th._ Saw as we came in, on both points of the Bay, several of
the natives and a few huts; men, women, and children, on the S. shore
abreast of the ship, to which place I went in the boats in hopes of
speaking with them, accompanied by Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and Tupia.
As we approached the shore they all made off, except two men, who seemed
resolved to oppose our landing. As soon as I saw this I ordered the
boats to lay upon their oars, in order to speak to them; but this was to
little purpose, for neither us nor Tupia could understand one word they
said. We then threw them some nails, beads, etc., ashore, which they
took up, and seemed not ill-pleased with, in so much that I thought that
they beckoned us to come ashore, but in this we were mistaken, for as
soon as we put the boat in they again came to oppose us, upon which I
fired a musket between the two, which had no other effect than to make
them retire back, where bundles of their darts lay, and one of them took
up a stone and threw it at us, which caused my firing a second musket,
load with small shot; and although some of the shot struck the man yet
it had no other effect than making him lay hold on a target. Immediately
after this we landed, which we had no sooner done than they throw'd two
darts at us; this obliged me to fire a third shot, soon after which,
they both made off, but not in such haste but what we might have taken
one; but Mr. Banks being of opinion that the darts were poisoned, made
me cautious how I advanced into the woods. We found here a few small
huts made of the bark of trees, in one of which were four or five small
children with whom we left some strings of beads, etc. A quantity of
darts lay about the huts; these we took away with us. Three canoes lay
upon the beach, the worst, I think, I ever saw; they were about 12 or 14
feet long, made of one piece of the bark of a tree, drawn or tied up at
each end, and the middle kept open by means of stick by way of thwarts.
After searching for fresh water without success, except a little in a
small hole dug in the sand, we embarked and went over to the N. point of
the Bay, where in coming in we saw several people; but when we landed
now there was nobody to be seen. We found here some fresh water, which
came trinkling down and stood in pools among the rocks; but as this was
troublesome to come at I sent a party of men ashore in the morning to
the place where we first landed, to dig holes in the sand, by which
means and a small stream they found fresh water sufficient to water the
ship. The string of beads, etc., we had left with the children last
night were found lying in the huts this morning; probably the natives
were afraid to take them away.

_Tuesday, May 1st._ This morning a party of us went ashore to some huts
not far from the watering-place, where some of the natives are daily
seen; here we left several articles, such as cloth, looking glasses,
combs, beads, nails, etc.; after this we made an excursion into the
Country, which we found diversified with woods, lawns, and marshes. The
woods are free from underwood of every kind, and the trees are at such a
distance from one another, that the whole country, or at least a great
part of it, might be cultivated without having to cut down a single
tree. We found the soil everywhere, except in the marshes, to be a light
white sand, and produceth a quantity of good grass, which grows in
little tufts about as big as one can hold in one's hands, and pretty
close to one another; in this manner the surface of the ground is
coated. In the woods between the trees, Dr. Solander had a bare sight of
a small animal something like a rabbit, and we found the dung of an
animal which must feed upon grass, and which, we judge, could not be
less than a deer; we also saw the track of a dog, or some such like
animal. We met with some huts and places where the natives had been, and
at our first setting out one of them was seen; the others had, I
suppose, fled upon our approach. I saw some trees that had been cut down
by the natives with some sort of a blunt instrument, and several trees
that were barked, the bark of which had been cut by the same instrument;
in many of the trees, especially the Palms, were cut steps of about 3 or
4 feet asunder for the conveniency of climbing them. We found 2 sorts of
gum, one sort of which is like gum-dragon, and is the same, I suppose,
Tasman took for gum-lac; it is extracted from the largest tree in the

_Thursday, 3rd._ After this we took water, and went almost to the head
of the Inlet, where we landed and travelled some distance inland. We
found the face of the country much the same as I have before described,
but the land much richer, for instead of sand, I found in many places a
deep black soil, which we thought was capable of producing any kind of
grain. At present it produceth besides timber, as fine meadow as ever
was seen; however, we found it not all like this, some few places were
very rocky, but this, I believe to be uncommon.

_Sunday, 6th._ The great quantity of plants Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander
found in this place, occasioned my giving it the name of Botany Bay.
During our stay in this harbour I caused the English colours to be
displayed ashore every day, and an inscription to be cut out upon one of
the trees near the watering-place, setting forth the ship's name, date,
etc. Having seen everything the place afforded, we at daylight in the
morning, weighed with a light breeze at N.W. and put to sea, and the
wind soon after coming to the Southward, we steered along shore N.N.E.,
and at noon were about 2 or 3 miles from the land, and abreast of a bay,
wherein there appeared to be a safe anchorage, which I called Port
Jackson. It lies 3 leagues to the Northward of Botany Bay.


_Wednesday, 22nd Aug._ Gentle breezes at E. by S. and clear weather. We
had not steered above 3 or 4 miles along shore to the Westward before we
discovered the land ahead to be Islands detached by several Channels
from the main land; upon this we brought to, to wait for the Yawl, and
called the other boats on board, and after giving them proper
instructions sent them away again to lead us through the channel next
the main, and as soon as the yawl was on board, made sail after them
with the ship. Before and after we anchored we saw a number of people
upon this Island, armed in the same manner as all the others we have
seen, except one man, who had a bow, and a bundle of arrows, the first
we have seen upon this coast. From the appearance of the people we
expected they would have opposed our landing; but as we approached the
shore they all made off, and left us in peaceable possession of as much
of the island as served our purpose. After landing, I went upon the
highest hill, which, however, was of no great height, yet no less than
twice or thrice the height of the ship's mastheads; but I could see from
it no land between S.W. and W.S.W. so I did not doubt but there was a
passage. I could see plainly that the lands laying to the N.W. of this
passage were composed of a number of islands of various extent, both for
height and circuit, ranged one behind another as far to the Northward
and Westward as I could see, which could not be less than 12 or 14

Having satisfied myself of the great probability of a passage thro'
which I intend going with the ship, and therefore may land no more upon
this Eastern Coast of New Holland, and on the Western side I can make no
new discovery, the honor of which belongs to the Dutch Navigators, but
the Eastern Coast from the Lat. of 38° S. down to this place, I am
confident, was never seen or visited by any European before us; and
notwithstanding I had in the name of His Majesty taken possession of
several places upon this coast, I now once more hoisted English colours,
and in the name of His Majesty King George the Third, took possession of
the whole Eastern Coast from the above Lat. down to this place by the
name of New Wales, together with all the Bays, Harbours, Rivers, and
Islands, situated upon the said coast; after which we fired three
volleys of small arms, which were answered by the like number from the

This done, we set out for the ship, but were some time in getting on
board on account of a very rapid ebb tide, which set N.E. out of the


+Source.+--Voyage to Terra Australis (Matthew Flinders, 1814),
Introduction, pp. xcvi-xcvii, cxix-cxliii

     The first coastal explorations after the establishment of Sydney
     were conducted by Bass and Flinders. Together they discovered the
     Hunter River; Bass in a second voyage discovered Western Port; and
     again together they sailed through Bass Strait, proving Tasmania to
     be an island.

1795. On arriving at Port Jackson, in September it appeared that the
investigation of the coast had not been greatly extended beyond the
three harbours; and even in these some of the rivers were not altogether

In Mr. George Bass, surgeon of the _Reliance_, I had the happiness to
find a man whose ardour for discovery was not to be repressed by any
obstacle, nor deterred by danger; and with this friend a determination
was formed of completing the examination of the East Coast of New South
Wales, by all such opportunities as the duty of the ship and procurable
means could admit.

Projects of this nature, when originating in the minds of young men, are
usually termed romantic; and so far from any good being anticipated,
even prudence and friendship join in discouraging, if not in opposing
them. Thus it was in the present case; so that a little boat of eight
feet long, called _Tom Thumb_, with a crew composed of ourselves and a
boy, was the best equipment to be procured for the first outset. In the
month following the arrival of the ships, we proceeded round in this
boat, to Botany Bay; and ascending George's River, one of two which
falls into the Bay, explored its winding course about twenty miles
beyond where Governor Hunter's survey had been carried.

The sketch made of this river and presented to the Governor with the
favourable report of the land on its borders, induced His Excellency to
examine them himself shortly afterward; and was followed by establishing
there a new branch of the colony, under the name of Banks' Town.

1796. We sailed out of Port Jackson early in the morning of March 25,
and stood a little off to sea to be ready for the sea breeze.

The sea breeze, on the 27th, opposed our return; and learning from two
Indians that no water could be procured at Red Point, we accepted their
offer of piloting us to a river which, they said, lay a few miles
further southward, and where not only fresh water was abundant, but also
fish and wild ducks. These men were natives of Botany Bay, whence it was
that we understood a little of their language, whilst that of some
others was altogether unintelligible. Their river proved to be nothing
more than a small stream, which descended from a lagoon under Hat Hill,
and forced a passage for itself through the beach; so that we entered it
with difficulty even in _Tom Thumb_. Our two conductors then quitted the
boat to walk along the sandy shore abreast, with eight or ten strange
natives in company.

After rowing a mile up the stream, and finding it to become more
shallow, we began to entertain doubts of securing a retreat from these
people, should they be hostilely inclined; and they had the reputation
at Port Jackson of being exceedingly ferocious, if not cannibals. Our
muskets were not yet freed from rust and sand, and there was a pressing
necessity to procure fresh water before attempting to return northward.
Under these embarrassments we agreed upon a plan of action, and went on
shore directly to the natives. Mr. Bass employed some of them to assist
in repairing an oar which had been broken in our disaster, whilst I
spread the wet powder out in the sun. This met with no opposition, for
they knew not what the powder was; but when we proceeded to clean the
muskets, it excited so much alarm that it was necessary to desist.

On inquiring of the two friendly natives for water, they pointed upwards
to the lagoon; but after many evasions our barica was filled at a hole
not many yards distant.

The number of people had increased to near twenty, and others were still
coming, so that it was necessary to use all possible expedition in
getting out of their reach. But a new employment arose upon our hands;
we had clipped the hair and beards of the two Botany Bay natives at Red
Point; and they were showing themselves to the others, and persuading
them to follow their example. Whilst, therefore, the powder was drying,
I began with a large pair of scissors to execute my new office upon the
eldest of four or five chins presented to me; and as great nicety was
not required, the shearing of a dozen of them did not occupy me long.
Some of the more timid were alarmed at a formidable instrument coming so
near to their noses, and would scarcely be persuaded by their shaven
friends to allow the operation to be finished. But when their chins were
held up a second time, their fear of the instrument--the wild stare of
their eyes--and the smile which they forced, formed a compound upon the
rough savage countenance, not unworthy the pencil of a Hogarth. I was
almost tempted to try what effect a little snip would produce; but our
situation was too critical to admit of such experiments.

Everything being prepared for a retreat, the natives became vociferous
for the boat to go up to the lagoon; and it was not without stratagem
that we succeeded in getting down to the entrance of the stream, where
the depth of water placed us out of their reach.

In 1798 Mr. Bass sailed (in a whaleboat) with only six weeks'
provisions; but with the assistance of occasional supplies of petrels,
fish, seal's flesh, and a few geese and black swans, and by abstinence
he had been enabled to prolong his voyage beyond _eleven_ weeks. His
ardour and perseverance were crowned, in despite of the foul winds which
so much opposed him, with a degree of success not to have been
anticipated from such feeble means. In three hundred miles of coast from
Fort Jackson to the Ram Head he added a number of particulars which had
escaped Captain Cook; and will always escape any navigator in a first
discovery, unless he have the time and means of joining a close
examination by boats, to what may be seen from the ship.

Our previous knowledge of the coast scarcely extended beyond the Ram
Head; and there began the harvest in which Mr. Bass was ambitious to
place the first reaping-hook. The new coast was traced three hundred
miles; and instead of trending southwards to join itself to Van Diemen's
Land, as Captain Furneaux had supposed, he found it, beyond a certain
point, to take a direction nearly opposite, and to assume the appearance
of being exposed to the buffetings of an open sea. Mr. Bass, himself,
entertained no doubt of the existence of a wide strait, separating Van
Diemen's Land from New South Wales; and he yielded with the greatest
reluctance to the necessity of returning, before it was so fully
ascertained as to admit of no doubt in the minds of others. But he had
the satisfaction of placing at the end of his new coast, an extensive
and useful harbour, surrounded with a country superior to any other
known in the southern parts of New South Wales.

A voyage expressly undertaken for discovery in an open boat, and in
which six hundred miles of coast, mostly in a boisterous climate, was
explored, has not, perhaps, its equal in the annals of maritime history.
The public will award to its high-spirited and able conductor, alas! now
no more, an honorable place in the list of those whose ardour stands
most conspicuous for the promotion of useful knowledge.

1798. Mr. Bass had been returned a fortnight from his expedition in the
whaleboat; and he communicated all his notes and observations to be
added to my chart. There seemed to want no other proof of the existence
of a passage between New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, than that of
sailing positively through it; but however anxious I was to obtain this
proof, the gratification of my desire was required to be suspended by a
voyage to Norfolk Island in the _Reliance_.

In September following, His Excellency, Governor Hunter, had the
goodness to give me the _Norfolk_, a colonial sloop of twenty-five tons
with authority to penetrate behind Furneaux's Islands; and should a
strait be found, to pass through it, and return by the south end of Van
Diemen's Land. Twelve weeks were allowed for the performance of this
service, and provisions for that time were put on board; the rest of the
equipment was completed by the friendly care of Captain Waterhouse of
the _Reliance_.

I had the happiness to associate my friend Bass in this new expedition,
and to form an excellent crew of eight volunteers from the King's ships.


The south-west wind died away in the night; and at six next morning,
Dec. 9, we got under way with a light air at south-east. After rounding
the north-east point of the three-hummock land, our course westward was
pursued along its north side.

A large flock of gannets was observed at daylight, to issue out of the
Great Bight to the southward; and they were followed by such a number of
the sooty petrels as we had never seen equalled. There was a stream of
from fifty to eighty yards in depth, and of three hundred yards or more
in breadth; the birds were not scattered, but flying as compactly as a
free movement of their wings seemed to allow; and during a full hour and
a half, this stream of petrels continued to pass without interruption,
at a rate little inferior to the swiftness of the pigeon. On the lowest
computation, I think the number could not have been less than a hundred
millions; and we were thence led to believe that there must be, in the
large bight, one or more uninhabited islands of considerable size.

From the north-east point of the three-hummock land, the shore trended
W. 1° N. three miles; then S. 39° W. four miles, to a rocky point
forming the south-west extremity of what was then ascertained to be
Three-hummock Island. The channel which separates it from the land to
the west is, at least, two miles in width, and is deep; so that it was
difficult to conjecture how the Indians were able to get over to the
island. It was almost certain that they had no canoes at Port Dalrymple,
nor any means of reaching islands lying not more than two cable lengths
from the shore; and it therefore seemed improbable that they should
possess canoes here. The small size of Three-hummock Island rendered
the idea of fixed inhabitants inadmissible; and whichever way it was
considered, the presence of men there was a problem difficult to be

The coast on the west side of the channel lies nearly south, and rises
in height as it advances towards the cliffy head, set on the 6th p.m.
The north end of this island is a sloping rocky point; and the first
projection which opened round it, was at S. 32´ W., five or six miles.
Beyond this there was nothing like mainland to be seen; indeed, this
western land itself had very little the appearance of being such, either
in its form, or in its poor starved vegetation. So soon as we had passed
the north sloping point, a long swell was perceived to come from the
South-west, such as we had not been accustomed to for some time. It
broke heavily upon a small reef, lying a mile and a half from the point,
and upon all the western shores; but although it was likely to prove
troublesome, and perhaps dangerous, Mr. Bass and myself hailed it with
joy and mutual congratulation, as announcing the completion of our
long-wished-for discovery of a passage into the Southern Indian Ocean.

We had a fine breeze at east; and our course was directed for a small,
rocky island, which lies W. 1/2 N. 6 miles from the north point of the
barren land. This land appeared to be almost white with birds; and so
much excited our curiosity and hope of procuring a supply of food, that
Mr. Bass went on shore in the boat whilst I stood off and on, waiting
his return. No land could be seen to the northward, and the furthest
clearly distinguishable in the opposite direction was a steep island at
the distance of four leagues.

Mr. Bass returned at half past two, with a boat-load of seals and
albatrosses. He had been obliged to fight his way up the cliffs of the
islands with the seals, and when arrived at the top, to make a road with
his clubs amongst the albatrosses. These birds were sitting upon their
nests, and almost covered the surface of the ground, nor did they any
otherwise derange themselves for the new visitors, than to peck at their
legs as they passed by. This species of albatross is white on the neck
and breast, partly brown on the back and wings, and its size is less
than many others met with in that sea, particularly in the high southern
latitudes. The seals were of the usual size, and bore a reddish fur,
much inferior in quality to that of the seals at Furneaux's Islands.

Albatross Island, for so it was named, is near two miles in length, and
sufficiently high to be seen five or six leagues from a ship's deck: its
shores are mostly steep cliffs.

The north-west cape of Van Diemen's Land, or island as it might now be
termed, is a steep black head, which, from its appearance, I call Cape
Grim. It lies nearly due south, four miles from the centre of Trefoil,
in latitude 40° 44´; the longtitude will be 144° 43´ East, according to
the position of Albatross Island made in the _Investigator_. There are
two rocks close to Cape Grim, of the same description with itself. On
the north side of the Cape the shore is a low sandy beach, and trends
north-eastward three or four miles; but whether there be sufficient
depth for ships to pass between it and Barren Island, has not, I
believe, been yet ascertained. To the south of the Cape the black cliffs
extend seven or eight miles, when the shore falls back eastward to a
sandy bay of which little could be perceived.

1799. To the strait which had been the great object of research, and
whose discovery was now completed, Governor Hunter gave, at my
recommendation, the name of Bass Strait. This was no more than a just
tribute to my worthy friend and companion, for the extreme dangers and
fatigues he had undergone in first entering it in the whale-boat, and to
the correct judgment he had formed from various indications, of the
existence of a wide opening between Van Diemen's Land and New South


+Source.+--Voyage to Terra Australis (Matthew Flinders, 1814), pp.
36-37, 60-61, 211-220, 229-231

     In recognition of his services Captain Flinders was given command
     of the _Investigator_ in which to prosecute the exploration of
     Terra Australis. He sailed along the South coast and up the East,
     to Port Jackson: subsequently, he circumnavigated the continent and
     suggested its present name.

_October 16th_, 1801. At daybreak we expected to see the highland of the
Cape (of Good Hope), but the weather being hazy, it could not be
distinguished until eight o'clock.

At this time we had not a single person on the sick list, both officers
and men being fully in as good health as when we sailed from Spithead. I
had begun very early to put in execution the beneficial plan first
practised and made known by the great Captain Cook. It was in the
standing orders of the ship, that on every fine day the deck below and
the cockpits should be cleared, washed, aired with stoves, and sprinkled
with vinegar. On wet and dull days they were cleaned and aired without
washing. Care was taken to prevent the people from sleeping upon deck,
or lying down in their wet clothes; and once in every fortnight or three
weeks, as circumstances permitted, their beds, and the contents of their
lockers, chests, and bags, were exposed to the sun and air. On the
Thursday and Sunday mornings the ship's company was mustered, and every
man appeared clean shaved and dressed; and when the evenings were fine,
the drum and fife announced the forecastle to be the scene of dancing;
nor did I discourage other playful amusements which might occasionally
be more to the taste of the sailors, and were not unseasonable.

Within the tropics, lime juice and sugar were made to suffice as
antiscorbutics; on reaching a higher latitude, sour krout and vinegar
were substituted; the essence of malt was reserved for the passage to
New Holland, and for future occasions. On consulting with the surgeon, I
had thought it expedient to make some slight changes in the issuing of
the provisions. Oatmeal was boiled for breakfast four days in the week
instead of three; and when rice was issued after the expenditure of the
cheese, it was boiled on the other three days. Pease soup was prepared
for dinner four days a week as usual; and at other times two ounces of
portable broth, in cakes, to each man, with such additions of onions,
pepper, etc., as the different messes possessed, made a comfortable
addition to their salt meat. And neither in this passage, nor, I may
add, in any subsequent part of the voyage, were the officers or people
restricted to any allowance of fresh water. They drank freely at the
scuttled cask, and took away, under the inspection of the officer of the
watch, all that was requisite for culinary purposes; and very frequently
two casks of water in the week were given for washing their clothes.
With these regulations, joined to a due enforcement of discipline, I had
the satisfaction to see my people orderly and full of zeal for the
service in which we were engaged; and in such a state of health, that no
delay at the Cape was required beyond the necessary refitment of the
ship, and I still hoped to save a good part of the summer season upon
the south coast of Terra Australis.


On Dec. 30th our wooding and the watering of the ship were completed,
the rigging was refitted, the sails repaired and bent, and the ship
unmoored. Our friends, the natives, continued to visit us; and the old
man with several others being at the tents this morning, I ordered a
party of marines on shore to be exercised in their presence. The red
coats and white crossed belts were greatly admired, having some
resemblance to their own manner of ornamenting themselves; and the drum,
but particularly the fife, excited their astonishment, but when they saw
these beautiful red and white men with their bright muskets, drawn up in
a line, they absolutely screamed with delight; nor were their wild
gestures and vociferation to be silenced but by commencing the exercise,
to which they paid the most earnest and silent attention. Several of
them moved their hands involuntarily in accordance with the motions; and
the old man placed himself at the end of the rank, with a short staff in
his hand, which he shouldered, presented, grounded, as did the marines
their muskets, without, I believe, knowing what he did. Before firing,
the Indians were made acquainted with what was going to take place; so
that the volleys did not excite much terror.


_Monday, April 26th_, 1802. On coming within five miles of the shore at
eleven o'clock, we found it to be low and mostly sandy; and that the
bluff head, which had been taken for the north end of an island, was
part of a ridge of hills rising at Cape Schanck. We then bore away
westward, in order to trace the land round the head of the deep bight.

On the west side of the rocky point there was a small opening with
breaking water across it; however, on advancing a little more westward
the opening assumed a more interesting aspect, and I bore away to have a
nearer view. A large extent of water presently became visible within
side; and although the entrance seemed to be very narrow, and there were
in it strong ripplings like breakers, I was induced to steer in at
half-past one; the ship being close upon the wind, and every man ready
for tacking at a moment's warning; the soundings were irregular between
6 and 12 fathoms, until we got four miles within the entrance, when they
shoaled quick to 2-3/4.

The extensive harbour we had thus unexpectedly found I supposed must be
Western Port, although the narrowness of the entrance did by no means
correspond with the width given to it by Mr. Bass. It was the
information of Captain Baudin, who had coasted along from thence with
fine weather, and had found no inlet of any kind, which had induced this
supposition; and the very great extent of the place, agreeing with that
of Western Port, was in confirmation of it. This however was not Western
Port, as we found next morning; and I congratulated myself on having
made a new and useful discovery, but here again I was in error. This
place, as I afterwards learnt at Port Jackson, had been discovered ten
weeks before by Lieutenant John Murray, who had succeeded Captain Grant
in command of the _Lady Nelson_. He had given it the name of Port
Phillip, and to the rocky point on the east side of the entrance, that
of Point Nepean.

Before proceeding any higher with the ship, I wished to gain some
knowledge of the form and extent of this great piece of water; and
Arthur's seat being more than a thousand feet high and near the water
side, presented a favourable station for the purpose. After breakfast I
went away in a boat, accompanied by Mr. Brown and some other gentlemen,
for the Seat. I ascended the hill and to my surprise found the Port so
extensive, that even at this elevation its boundary to the northward
could not be distinguished. The western shore extended from the entrance
ten or eleven miles in a northern direction, to the extremity of what
from its appearance I called Indented Head; beyond it was a wide branch
of the port leading to the westward, and I suspected might have a
communication with the sea; for it was almost incredible that such a
vast piece of water should not have a larger outlet than that through
which we had come.

Another considerable piece of water was seen, at the distance of three
or four leagues; as it appeared to have a communication with the sea to
the south, I had no doubt of its being Mr. Bass' Western Port.

_Saturday, May 1st._ At day-dawn I set off with three of the boat's
crew, for the highest part of the back hills called Station Peak. One or
two miles before arriving at the feet of the hills, we entered a wood
where an emu and a kangaroo were seen at a distance; and the top of the
Peak was reached at ten o'clock. I saw the water of the Port as far as
N.75 E., so that the whole extent of the Port, north and south, is at
least thirty miles.

I left the ship's name on a scroll of paper, deposited in a small pile
of stones upon the top of the peak; and at three in the afternoon,
reached the tent, much fatigued, having walked more than twenty miles
without finding a drop of water.

_Sunday, 2nd May._ I find it very difficult to speak in general terms of
Port Phillip. On the one hand it is capable of receiving and sheltering
a larger fleet of ships than ever yet went to sea; whilst on the other,
the entrance on its whole width is scarcely two miles, and nearly half
of it is occupied by rocks lying off Point Nepean, and by shoals on the
opposite side. The depth in the remaining part varies from 6 to 12
fathoms; and this irregularity causes the strong tides, especially when
running against the wind, to make breakers, in which small vessels
should be careful of engaging themselves; and when a ship has passed the
entrance, the shoals are a great obstacle to a free passage up the Port.

No runs of fresh water were seen in my excursions; but Mr. Grimes,
Surveyor-General of New South Wales, afterwards found several, and in
particular a small river falling into the Northern head of the Port. The
country surrounding Port Phillip has a pleasing and in many parts a
fertile appearance; and the sides of some of the hills and several of
the valleys are fit for agricultural purposes. It is in great measure
country capable of supporting cattle, though better calculated for

Were a settlement to be made at Port Phillip, as doubtless there will be
sometime hereafter, the entrance could be easily defended; and it would
not be difficult to establish a friendly intercourse with the natives,
for they are acquainted with the effect of firearms, and desirous of
possessing many of our conveniences.

In the woods are the kangaroo, the emu or cassowary, paroquets, and a
variety of small birds; the mud banks are frequented by ducks and some
black swans, and the shores by the usual sea fowl common to New South
Wales. The range of the thermometer was between 61 and 67 and the
climate appeared to be as good and agreeable as could well be desired in
the month corresponding to November. In 1803, Colonel C. Collins of the
Marines was sent out from England to make a new settlement in this
country, but he quitted Port Phillip for the South end of Van Diemen's
Land, probably from not finding fresh water for a colony sufficiently
near to the entrance.


On the 4th of June the ship was dressed with colours, a royal salute
fired, and I went with the principal officers of the _Investigator_ to
pay my respects to His Excellency the Governor and Captain-General in
honour of His Majesty's birthday. On this occasion a splendid dinner was
given to the colony; and the number of ladies and civil, military, and
naval officers, was not less than forty, who met to celebrate the birth
of their beloved Sovereign in this distant part of the earth.

Captain Baudin arrived in the _Geographe_ on the 20th, and a boat was
sent from the _Investigator_ to assist in towing the ship up to the
cove, it was grievous to see the miserable condition to which both
officers and crew were reduced by scurvy; there being not more out of
170, according to the Commander's account, than twelve men capable of
doing their duty. The sick were received into the Colonial Hospital; and
both French ships furnished with everything in the power of the Colony
to supply. Before their arrival the necessity of augmenting the number
of cattle in the country had prevented the Governor from allowing us any
fresh meat; but some oxen belonging to Government were now killed for
the distressed strangers; and by returning an equal quantity of salt
meat, which was exceedingly scarce at this time, I obtained a quarter of
beef for my people. The distress of the French navigators had indeed
been great, but every means were used by the Governor and the principal
inhabitants of the colony, to make them forget both their sufferings and
the war which existed between the two nations.

_July._ His Excellency Governor King, had done me the honour to visit
the _Investigator_, and to accept of a dinner on board; on which
occasion he had been received with the marks of respect due to his rank
of Captain-General; and shortly afterwards, the Captains Baudin and
Hamelin, with Monsieur Peron and some other French officers, as also
Colonel Paterson, the Lieutenant-Governor, did me the same favour; when
they were received under a salute of 11 guns. The intelligence of peace
which had just been received contributed to enliven the party; and
rendered our meeting more particularly agreeable. I showed to Captain
Baudin my charts of the South Coast, containing the part first explored
by him, and distinctly marked as his discovery. He made no objection to
the justice of the limits therein pointed out; but found his portion to
be smaller than he had supposed, not having before been aware of the
extent of the discoveries previously made by Captain Grant.

After examining the Chart, he said, apparently as a reason for not
producing any of his own, that his charts were not constructed on board
the ship; but that he transmitted to Paris all his bearings and
observations, with a regular series of views of the land and from them
the charts were to be made at a future time.


Had I permitted myself any innovation upon the original term (Terra
Australis), it would have been to convert it into Australia, as being
more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other
great portions of the earth.


+Source.+--A Journal of a Tour of Discovery across the Blue Mountains,
N.S.W. (Blaxland, 1823), Introduction and pp. 1, 22, 29-34

     For many years the settlement in N.S.W. was confined to the coastal
     plains, owing to the impassability of the Blue Mountains. In 1813
     Gregory Blaxland, accompanied by Wentworth and Lawson, accomplished
     the passage, and opened vast plains for settlement.


_London, Feb. 10th 1823._

Dear Sir,

Feelings of gratitude for your kind attention to me in the early part of
life, have induced me to dedicate to you the following short Journal of
my passage over the Blue Mountains, in the colony of New South Wales,
under the persuasion that it will afford you pleasure at all times to
hear that any of your family have been instrumental in promoting the
prosperity of any country in which they may reside, however distant that
country may be from the immediate seat of our Government.

Devoid as it is of any higher pretensions than belong to it as a plain
unvarnished statement, it may not be deemed wholly uninteresting, when
it is considered what important alterations the result of the expedition
has produced in the immediate interests and prosperity of the Colony.
This appears in nothing more decidedly than the unlimited pasturage
already afforded to the very fine flocks of Merino Sheep, as well as the
extensive field opened for the exertions of the present, as well as
future generations. It has changed the aspect of the Colony, from a
confined insulated tract of land, to a rich and extensive continent.

This expedition, which has proved so completely successful, resulted
from two previous attempts. One of these was made by water, by His
Excellency the Governor, in person, whom I accompanied.

The other expedition was undertaken by myself, attended by three
European servants and two natives, with a horse to carry provisions and
other necessities. We returned sooner than I intended, owing to one man
being taken ill. This journey confirmed me in the opinion, that it was
practicable to find a passage over the mountains, and I resolved at some
future period to attempt it.

Soon after, I mentioned the circumstance to His Excellency the Governor,
who thought it reasonable, and expressed a wish that I should make the
attempt. Having made every requisite preparation, I applied to the two
gentlemen who accompanied me, to join in the expedition, and was
fortunate in obtaining their consent.

To these gentlemen I have to express my thanks for their company and to
acknowledge that without their assistance I should have had but little
chance of success.

The road which has since been made deviates but a few rods in some
places from the line cleared of the small trees and bushes, and marked
by us. Nor does it appear likely that any other line of road will ever
be discovered than at the difficult and narrow passes that we were
fortunate to discover, by improving which a good carriage road has now
been made across the mountains. Mount York is the Western summit of the
mountains, the vale Clwyd, the first valley at their feet from which a
mountain (afterwards named Mount Blaxland by His Excellency Governor
Macquarie) is about eight miles; which terminated our journey.

I remain, dear sir, most respectfully,
Your affectionate nephew,

On Tuesday, May 11, 1813, Mr. Gregory Blaxland, Mr. William Wentworth,
and Lieutenant Lawson, attended by four servants, with five dogs and
four horses, laden with provisions, ammunition, and other necessaries,
left Mr. Blaxland's farm at the South Creek, for the purpose of
endeavouring to effect a passage over the Blue Mountains, between the
Western River, and the River Grose.

On the following morning (May the 12th) as soon as the heavy dew was
off, which was about nine a.m., they proceeded to ascend the ridge at
the foot of which they had camped the preceding evening. After
travelling about a mile on the third day in a west and north-west
direction, they arrived at a large tract of forest land, rather hilly,
the grass and timber tolerably good. They computed it as two thousand
acres. Here they found a track marked by a European, by cutting the bark
of the trees. They had not proceeded above two miles, when they found
themselves stopped by a brushwood, much thicker than they had hitherto
met with. This induced them to alter their course, and to endeavour to
find another passage to the westward, but every ridge which they
explored proved to terminate in a deep rocky precipice, and they had no
alternative but to return to the thick brushwood, which appeared to be
the main ridge, with the determination to cut a way through for the
horses the next day.

On the next morning, leaving two men to take care of the horses and
provisions, they proceeded to cut a path through the thick brushwood, on
what they considered as the main ridge of the mountains, between the
Western River, and the River Grose. They now began to mark their track
by cutting the bark of the trees on two sides. Having cut their way for
about five miles, they returned in the evening to the spot on which they
had encamped the night before. The fifth day was spent in prosecuting
the same tedious operation, but, as much time was necessarily lost in
walking twice over the track cleared the day before, they were unable to
cut away more than two miles further. They found no food for the horses
the whole way.

On Sunday, they rested and arranged their future plans. They had reason,
however, to regret this suspension of their proceedings, as it gave the
men leisure to ruminate on their danger, and it was for some time
doubtful whether, on the next day, they could be persuaded to venture

On Wednesday, the 19th, the party moved forward, bearing chiefly west,
and west-south-east. They now began to ascend the second ridge of the
mountains, and from this elevation they obtained for the first time an
extensive view of the settlements below.

At a little distance from the spot at which they began the ascent, they
found a pyramidical heap of stones, the work, evidently, of some
European, one side of which the natives had opened, probably in the
expectation of finding some treasure deposited in it. This pile they
concluded to be the one erected by Mr. Bass, to mark the end of his
journey. That gentleman attempted some time ago to pass the Mountains,
and to penetrate into the interior, but having got thus far, he gave up
the undertaking as impracticable, reporting, on his return, that it was
impossible to find a passage even for a person on foot. Here, therefore,
the party had the satisfaction of believing that they had penetrated as
far as any European had been before them.

[This, however, proved to be Caley's Cairn.]

_May 21st._--Their progress the next day was nearly four miles. They
encamped in the middle of the day at the head of a well-watered swamp,
about five acres in extent; pursuing, as before, their operations in the
afternoon. In the beginning of the night the dogs ran off and barked
violently. At the same time something was distinctly heard to run
through the brushwood, which they supposed to be one of the horses got
loose; but they had reason to believe afterwards that they had been in
great danger--that the natives had followed their tracks, and advanced
on them in the night, intending to have speared them by the light of
their fire, but that the dogs drove them off.

On the top of this ridge they found about two acres of land clear of
trees, covered with loose stones and short coarse grass, such as grows
on some of the commons of England. Over this heath they proceeded about
a mile and a half, and encamped by the side of a fine stream of water,
with just wood enough on the banks to serve for firewood. From the
summit they had a fine view of all the settlements and country
eastwards, and of a great extent of country to the westward and
south-west. But their progress in both the latter directions was stopped
by an impassable barrier of rock, which appeared to divide the interior
from the coast as with a stone wall, rising perpendicularly out of the
side of the mountain. In the afternoon they left their little camp in
the charge of three of the men, and made an attempt to descend the
precipice by following some of the streams of water, or by getting down
at some of the projecting points where the rocks had fallen in; but they
were baffled in every instance. In some places the perpendicular height
of the rocks above the earth below could not be less than four hundred

On the 28th they proceeded about five miles and three-quarters. Not
being able to find water, they did not halt till five o'clock, when they
took up their station on the edge of the precipice. To their great
satisfaction they discovered, that what they had supposed to be sandy,
barren land below the mountain, was forest land, covered with good
grass, and with timber of an inferior quality. In the evening they
contrived to get their horses down the mountain by cutting a small
trench with a hoe, which kept them from slipping, where they again
tasted grass for the first time since they left the forest land on the
other side of the mountain. They were getting into miserable condition.
Water was found about two miles below the foot of the mountain. In this
day's route little timber was observed fit for building.

On the 29th, having got up the horses and laden them, they began to
descend the mountain at seven o'clock, through a pass in the rock about
thirty feet wide, which they had discovered the day before, when the
want of water put them on the alert. Part of the descent was so steep
that the horses could but just keep their footing, without a load, so
that, for some way the party were obliged to carry the packages
themselves. A cart-road might, however, easily be made by cutting a
slanting trench along the side of the mountain, which is here covered
with earth.

They reached the foot at nine o'clock a.m., and proceeded two miles,
mostly through open meadow land, clear of trees, the grass from two to
three feet high. They encamped on the bank of a fine stream of water.
The natives, as observed by the smoke of their fires, moved before them,
as yesterday. The dogs killed a kangaroo, which was very acceptable, as
the party had lived on salt meat since they caught the last. The timber
seen this day appeared rotten and unfit for building.

The climate here was found very much colder than that of the mountain or
of the settlements on the east side, where no signs of frost had made
its appearance when the party set out. During the night the ground was
covered with a thick frost, and a leg of the kangaroo was quite frozen.

They now conceived that they had sufficiently accomplished the design of
their undertaking, having surmounted all the difficulties which had
hitherto prevented the interior of the country from being explored, and
the Colony from being extended. They had partly cleared, or, at least,
marked out a road by which the passage of the mountain might easily be
effected. Their provisions were nearly exhausted, their clothes and
shoes were in very bad condition, and the whole party were ill with
bowel complaints. These considerations determined them, therefore, to
return home by the track they came. On Tuesday, the 1st of June, they
arrived at the foot of the mountain which they had descended, where they
encamped for the night.

The following day they began to ascend the mountain at seven o'clock,
and reached the summit at ten; they were obliged to carry the packages
themselves part of the ascent.

They encamped in the evening at one of their old stations. On the 3rd,
they reached another of their old stations. Here, during the night, they
heard a confused noise arising from the eastern settlements below,
which, after having been so long accustomed to the death-like stillness
of the interior, had a very striking effect. On the 4th, they arrived at
the end of their marked track, and encamped in the forest land where
they had cut the grass for their horses. One of the horses fell this day
with his load, quite exhausted, and was with difficulty got on, after
having his load put on the other horses. The next day, the 5th, was the
most unpleasant and fatiguing they had experienced. The track not being
marked, they had great difficulty in finding their way back to the
river, which they did not reach till four p.m. o'clock. They then once
more encamped for the night to refresh themselves and the horses. They
had no provisions now left except a little flour, but procured some from
the settlement on the other side of the river. On Sunday, the 6th of
June, they crossed the river after breakfast, and reached their homes
all in good health. The winter had not set in on this side of the
mountain, nor had there been any frost.


+Source.+--Hovell's Journal, 1837, pp. 25-27, 39-42, 72-73

     The country between Botany Bay and Bass Strait was unexplored until
     1824, when Messrs. Hume and Hovell set out to discover if it were
     suitable for settlement. They encountered difficulties among the
     Australian Alps, discovered the Hume (Murray) River and reached
     Port Phillip. Oct. 2nd, 1824--Jan. 16th, 1825.

_Sat., Nov. 6th._ They had now (it was noon) unexpectedly reached the
S.W. extremity of the ridge or spine, which here terminates in an abrupt
and very steep descent: the view from this spot consists of a valley
(immediately in their front, S.) extending in the direction S.W., and
varying from one to two miles in breadth. Along the centre of this
valley runs a small stream, and near by the stream is a broken
mountainous country: the view is closed by mountains, both of a
different form (peaked) and of an infinitely greater height than any
which they had yet seen. They now descended the table range, pursuing
the zig-zag course of one of the tributaries of the stream which they
had observed in the valley, taking its rise in these mountains, not far
below the spot at which they commence making their descent.

At six o'clock in the evening they arrive in the valley. At seven,
having still pursued their course along the same branch, they come to
the main stream. In effecting the descent from these mountains, they had
nearly lost one of the party, as well as a bullock; the animal had
fallen when it had reached about two-thirds down the mountain in
consequence of a stone slipping under its feet, and in its fall it had
forced down with it the man who was leading it. But their fall was
intercepted by a large tree, and the man as well as the animal was thus
prevented from being dashed to pieces. The man, however, unfortunately
was much hurt.

Never was the great superiority of bullocks to horses (in some respects)
for journeys of this description more observable than in the passage of
this difficult and dangerous ascent. The horses it had become
indispensable to unload, and to conduct each separately with great care;
but if one of the bullocks be led the rest follow; the horse is timid
and hurried in its action in places where there is danger; the bullock
is steady and cautious. If the latter slip in its ascent, or if the
acclivity be too steep for its usual mode of progression, the animal
kneels down, and scrambles up in this posture. If it be descending, and
it become placed in a similar predicament, it sits down, and turns its
head round towards the ascent, as if to balance its body. For the
crossing of unsound or boggy ground, the structure of its hoof is
particularly adapted, while the foot of the horse, on the contrary, is
ill suited for this purpose, and for which the fears and consequent
agitation of the animal renders it unfit.

(Bullocks ought, when used for these journeys, to be shod; their feet,
otherwise, are very liable to become disabled.)

_Tuesday, Nov. 16th._ Soon after sunrise they recommence their journey,
having proceeded three and a half miles S. (the land gradually sloping
as they advanced), arrive suddenly on the banks of a fine river. This
was named "The Hume."

This beautiful stream is found to be not less than 80 yards in breadth,
apparently of considerable depth; the current at three miles an hour;
the water, for so considerable a stream, clear.

The river itself is serpentine, the banks clothed with verdure to the
water's edge, their general height various, but seldom either more or
less than eight or nine feet, inclined or precipitous, as they happen by
the bending of the stream to be more or less exposed to the action of
the current. On each side of the river is a perpetual succession of
lagoons extending generally in length from one to two miles, and about a
quarter of a mile in breadth. These, which are situate alternately on
each side of the river, within those elbows and projections which are
formed by its windings, often for miles together, preclude any approach
to its banks. Each of these lagoons was furnished with an inlet from the
river and an outlet into it.

In general, the spaces between the lagoons and the river are thickly
wooded (the trees consisting principally of the blue gum of a large
growth), and are overgrown with vines of various descriptions, and the
fern, the peppermint, flax plant, and currajong. The fern, currajong,
and the flax flourish here in abundance, and the peppermint plant (which
they had not seen in any other part of the country) seems to surpass,
both in odour and taste the species that is generally produced in our

From the flax-plant the natives, as they afterwards discover, make
their fishing-lines and nets for carrying their travelling gear and

Unable to devise any means of crossing the river, and in hope of
discovering some practicable ford, they now commence their progress down
the stream, proceed three miles and a half, and then halt. At half-past
two they resume their route, but are soon compelled from the continual
succession of lagoon and swamp to return to some higher land, about two
miles from the river.

[Crossing the river with difficulty, they travelled southwards for four

_Thursday, Dec. 16th._--This morning they cross the river or creek
without difficulty, the water not taking the cattle more than chest
high. They now proceed S.W. by S. through the plains about six miles,
when they are struck with an appearance respecting which they cannot
decide whether it is that of burning grass or of distant water.

They now therefore, having altered their course to the south, at four
o'clock, have the gratification satisfactorily to determine, that the
appearance which had just created so much doubt is that of the latter
object, and which leaving the river a short distance, and directing
their march from S.W. to SS.W. they soon ascertain to be part of the
sea--the so long and ardently desired bourn of their labours. They now
again alter their course to south-west and travel six miles in that
direction along the shore, over excellent land, but clear of timber. On
the downs, or plains to-day they had seen several flocks of emus and
wild turkeys. The water near the shore was covered with waterfowl of
various descriptions, some of which were new to them, and by the time
they had halted for the night, they had procured an ample supply of
black swans and ducks. They stopped for the night at seven o'clock in a
small wood, at a mile from the beach, but where there was no fresh
water, having travelled to-day, they supposed, upwards of twenty miles.

_Friday, Dec. 17th._ They proceed this morning from the beach in a
direction about N.N.W. three or four miles in quest of water, when they
arrive on the banks of a creek, where they have the good fortune to find
abundance of good water and of grass. Here they remain the day, in order
to refresh the cattle, who are not a little in want of this timely
relief, more particularly as it is proposed to commence their return
to-morrow. This determination of so soon retracing their steps, though
it cost them much regret, had become indispensable, not only from the
extreme scantiness of their remaining supplies, and the certainty of the
many difficulties they would have to encounter, but still more so from
consideration that the mere circumstance of a fall of rain by swelling
the streams, might, in the weak and ill-provided state to which the
whole party were reduced, render their return altogether impracticable.
(Four weeks' flour at reduced allowance and a small quantity of tea and
sugar, but no animal food; independently of which, the ropes and other
material employed for crossing streams were now almost utterly unfit for


+Source.+--Expeditions in Australia (Sturt, 1833), Vol. I pp. 1-2, 29,
45, 73, 85-87.

     The reedy marshes in which the Lachlan and the Macquarie appeared
     to end blocked Western exploration until the protracted drought of
     the twenties convinced Sturt and Hume that they would be passable.
     Accordingly an expedition was formed which was to solve the long
     debated problem of the character of the interior.

The year 1826 was remarkable for the commencement of one of those
fearful droughts to which we have reason to believe the climate of New
South Wales is periodically subject. It continued the two following
years with unabated severity. The surface of the earth became so parched
up that minor vegetation ceased upon it. Culinary herbs were raised with
difficulty, and crops failed even in the most favourable situations.
Settlers drove their flocks and herds to distant tracts for pasture and
water, neither remaining for them in the located districts. The interior
suffered equally with the coast, and men at length began to despond
under so alarming a visitation. It almost appeared as if the Australian
sky were never again to be traversed by a cloud.

But, however severe for the colony the seasons had proved, or were
likely to prove, it was borne in mind at this critical moment that the
wet and swampy state of the interior had alone prevented Mr. Oxley from
penetrating further into it in 1818.

The immediate fitting out of an expedition was therefore decided upon,
for the express purpose of ascertaining the nature and extent of that
basin into which the Macquarie was supposed to fall, and whether
connection existed between it and the streams falling westerly. As I had
early taken a great interest in the geography of New South Wales, the
Governor was pleased to appoint me to the command of this expedition.

_Dec. 3._ The first part of our journey was over rich flats, timbered
sufficiently to afford a shade, on which the grass was luxuriant; but we
were obliged to seek open ground, in consequence of the frequent
stumbling of the cattle.

We issued, at length, upon a plain, the view across which was as dreary
as can be imagined; in many places without a tree, save a few old stumps
left by the natives when they fired the timber, some of which were still
smoking in different parts of it. Observing some lofty trees at the
extremity of the plain, we moved towards them, under an impression that
they indicated the river line. But on this exposed spot the sun's rays
fell with intense power upon us, and the dust was so minute and
penetrating, that I soon regretted having left the shady banks of the

_Dec. 31._ I had no inducement to proceed further into the interior. I
had been sufficiently disappointed in the termination of this excursion,
and the track before me was still less inviting. Nothing but a dense
forest, and a level country, existed between me and a distant hill. I
had learnt, by experience, that it was impossible to form any opinion of
the probable features of so singular a region as that in which I was
wandering, from previous appearances, or to expect the same result, as
in other countries, from similar causes. In a geographical point of
view, my journey had been more successful, and had enabled me to put to
rest for ever a question of much previous doubt. I had gained a
knowledge of more than 100 miles of the western interior, and had
ascertained that no sea, indeed, that little water existed on its
surface; and that, although it is flat generally, it still has
elevations of considerable magnitude upon it.

Although I had passed over much barren ground, I had likewise noticed
soil that was far from poor, and the vegetation upon which in ordinary
seasons would, I am convinced, have borne a very different aspect.

Yet, upon the whole, the space I traversed is unlikely to become the
haunts of civilized man, or will only become so in isolated spots, as a
chain of connection to a more fertile country; if such a country exist
to the westward.

[A report of better country to the North induced Sturt to turn in that

_Jan. 14._ Nothing could exceed in dreariness the appearance of the
tracks through which we journeyed on this and the two following days.
The creek on which we depended for a supply of water, gave such alarming
indications of a total failure that I at one time had serious thoughts
of abandoning my pursuit of it. We passed hollow after hollow that had
successively dried up, although originally of considerable depth; and,
when we at length found water, it was doubtful how far we could make use
of it. Sometimes in boiling, it left a sediment nearly equal to half its
body; at other times it was so bitter as to be quite unpalatable. That
on which we subsisted was scraped up from small puddles, heated by the
sun's rays; and so uncertain were we of finding water at the end of the
day's journey, that we were obliged to carry a supply on one of the
bullocks. There was scarcely a living creature, even of the feathered
race, to be seen to break the stillness of the forest. The native dogs
alone wandered about, though they had scarcely strength to avoid us; and
their melancholy howl, breaking in upon the ear at the dead of night,
only served to impress more fully on the mind the absolute loneliness of
the desert.

_Jan. 31._ We came upon a creek, but could not decide whether it was the
one for which we had been searching, or another. It had flooded-gum
growing upon its banks, and, on places apparently subject to flood, a
number of tall straight saplings were observed by us. We returned to the
camp, after a vain search for water, and were really at a loss what
direction next to pursue. The men kept the cattle pretty well together,
and, as we were not delayed by any preparations for breakfast, they were
saddled and loaded at an early hour. The circumstance of there having
been natives in the neighbourhood, of whom we had seen so few traces of
late, assured me that water was at hand, but in what direction it was
impossible to guess. As the path we had observed was leading northerly,
we took up that course, and had not proceeded more than a mile upon it,
when we suddenly found ourselves on the bank of a noble river. Such it
might in truth be called, where water was scarcely to be found. The
party drew up upon a bank that was from forty to forty-five feet above
the level of the stream. The channel of the river was from seventy to
eighty yards broad, and enclosed an unbroken sheet of water, evidently
very deep, and literally covered with pelicans and other wild fowl. Our
surprise and delight maybe better imagined than described. Our
difficulties seemed to be at an end, for here was a river that promised
to reward all our exertions, and which appeared every moment to increase
in importance, to our imagination. Coming from the N.E., and flowing to
the S.W., it had a capacity of channel that proved that we were as far
from its source as from its termination. The paths of the natives on
either side of it were like well-trodden roads; and the trees that
overhung it were of beautiful and gigantic growth.

Its banks were too precipitous to allow of our watering the cattle, but
the men eagerly descended to quench their thirst, which a powerful sun
had contributed to increase, nor shall I ever forget the looks of terror
and disappointment with which they called out to inform me that the
water was so salt as to be unfit to drink! This was, indeed, too true;
on tasting it, I found it extremely nauseous, and strongly impregnated
with salt, being apparently a mixture of sea and fresh water. Whence
this arose, whether from local causes, or from a communication with some
inland sea, I know not, but the discovery was certainly a blow for which
I was not prepared. Our hopes were annihilated at the moment of their
apparent realization. The cup of joy was dashed out of our hands before
we had time to raise it to our lips. Notwithstanding this
disappointment, we proceeded down the river, and halted at about five
miles, being influenced by the goodness of the feed to provide for the
cattle as well as circumstances would permit. They would not drink of
the river water, but stood covered in it for many hours, having their
noses alone exposed above the stream. Their condition gave me great
uneasiness. It was evident they could not long hold out under the
excessive thirst, and unless we should procure some fresh water, it
would be impossible for us to continue our journey.

Mr. Hume, with his usual perseverance, walked out when the camp was
formed; and at a little distance from it, ascended a ridge of pure sand,
crowned with cypresses. From this he descended to the westward, and, at
length, struck upon the river, where a reef of rocks crossed its channel
and formed a dry passage from one side to the other; but the bend which
the river must have taken appeared to him so singular, that he doubted
whether it was the same beside which we had been travelling during the
day. Curiosity led him to cross it, when he found a small pond of fresh
water on a tongue of land, and immediately afterwards, returned to
acquaint me with the welcome tidings. It was too late to move, but we
had the prospect of a comfortable breakfast in the morning.

On the 6th February we journeyed again through a barren scrub, although
on firmer ground, and passed numerous groups of huts. At about eight
miles from our last encampment, we came upon the river where its banks
were of considerable height. In riding along them Mr. Hume thought he
observed a current running, and he called to inform me of the
circumstance. On a closer examination we discovered some springs in the
very bed of the river, from which a considerable stream was gushing, and
from the incrustation around them, we had no difficulty in guessing at
their nature; in fact, they were brine springs, and I collected a
quantity of salt from the brink of them.

After such a discovery we could not hope to keep our position. No doubt
the current we had observed on first reaching the river was caused by
springs that had either escaped our notice, or were under water. Here
was at length a local cause for its saltness that destroyed at once the
anticipation and hope of our being near its termination, and,
consequently, the ardour with which we should have pressed on to decide
so interesting a point.

We calculated that we were forty miles from the camp, in a S.W.
direction, a fearful distance under our circumstances, since we could
not hope to obtain relief for two days. Independently, however, of the
state of the animals, our spirits were damped by the nature of the
country, and the change which had taken place in the soil, upon which it
was impossible that water could rest; while the general appearance of
the interior showed how much it suffered from drought. On the other
hand, although the waters of the river had become worse to the taste,
the river itself had increased in size and stretched away to the
westward, with all the uniformity of a magnificent canal, and gave every
promise of increasing importance; while the pelicans were in such
numbers upon it as to be quite dazzling to the eye. Considering,
however, that perseverance would only involve us in extricable
difficulties, and that it would also be useless to risk the horses,
since we had gained a distance to which the bullocks could not have been
brought I intimated my intention of giving up the further pursuit of the
river, though it was with extreme reluctance that I did so.

As soon as we had bathed and finished our scanty meal, I took the
bearings of D'Urban's Group, and found them to be S.58 E. about
thirty-three miles distant; and as we mounted our horses, I named the
river the "Darling," as a lasting memorial of the respect I bear the

I should be doing injustice to Mr. Hume and my men if I did not express
my conviction that they were extremely unwilling to yield to
circumstances, and that, had I determined on continuing the journey,
they would have followed me with cheerfulness, whatever the consequences
might have been.


+Source.+--Expeditions in Australia (Sturt, 1833), Vol. II, pp. 6, 8-69,
85-86, 111, 151-187, 204-217, 219.

     On his first expedition Sturt had proved that the interior was dry.
     He then attempted to find the destination of the Morumbidgee and
     the Darling. Travelling down the Morumbidgee he discovered the
     Murray and followed it to its termination, 1829.

_Dec. 27th._ M'Leay and I started at an early hour on an excursion of
deeper interest than any we had as yet undertaken; to examine the reeds,
not only for the purpose of ascertaining their extent, if possible, but
also to guide us in our future measures. We rode some miles along the
river side, but observed in it no signs either of increase or of
exhaustion. Everything tended to strengthen my conviction that we were
still far from the termination of the river. I was aware that my
resolves must be instant, decisive, and immediately acted upon, as on
firmness and promptitude at this crisis the success of the expedition
depended. About noon I checked my horse, and rather to the surprise of
my companion, intimated to him my intention of returning to the camp. He
naturally asked what I purposed doing. I told him that it appeared to me
more than probable that the Morumbidgee would hold its course good to
some fixed point, now that it had reached a meridian beyond the known
rivers of the interior. It was certain, from the denseness of the reeds,
and the breadth of the belts, that the teams could not be brought any
further, and that, taking everything into consideration, I had resolved
on a bold and desperate measure, that of building the whaleboat, and
sending home the drays.

Our appearance in camp so suddenly surprised the men not more than the
orders I gave. They all thought I had struck on some remarkable change
of country, and were anxious to know my ultimate views. It was not my
intention, however, immediately to satisfy their curiosity. I had to
study their characters as long as I could in order to select those best
qualified to accompany me on the desperate adventure for which I was

[Sturt accordingly built the whaleboat and embarked on the river.]

_Jan. 14th._ The men looked anxiously out ahead, for the singular change
in the river had impressed on them an idea that we were approaching its
termination, or near some adventure. On a sudden, the river took a
general southern direction, but, in its tortuous course, swept round to
every point of the compass with the greatest irregularity. We were
carried at a fearful rate down its gloomy and contracted banks, and, in
such a moment of excitement, had little time to pay attention to the
country through which we were passing. It was, however, observed that
chalybeate springs were numerous close to the water's edge. At 3 p.m.
Hopkinson called out that we were approaching a junction, and in less
than a minute afterwards we were hurried into a broad and noble river.

It is impossible for me to describe the effect of so instantaneous a
change upon us. The boats were allowed to drift along at pleasure, and
such was the force with which we had been shot out of the Morumbidgee
that we were carried nearly to the bank opposite its _embouchure_,
whilst we continued to gaze in silent astonishment at the capacious
channel we had entered; and when we looked for that by which we had been
led into it, we could hardly believe that the insignificant gap that
presented itself to us was, indeed, the termination of the beautiful and
noble stream whose course we had thus successfully followed. I can only
compare the relief we experienced to that which the seaman feels on
weathering the rock upon which he expected his vessel to have struck, to
the calm which succeeds moments of feverish anxiety, when the dread of
danger is succeeded by certainty of escape.

_Jan. 23rd._ Not having as yet given a name to our first discovery, I
laid it down as the Murray River in compliment to the distinguished
officer Sir George Murray, who then presided over the Colonial
Department, not only in compliance with the known wishes of His
Excellency, General Darling, but also in accordance with my own feelings
as a soldier.

[They continued their course down the Murray till Feb. 9.]

After pulling a mile or two we found a clear horizon before us to the
south. The hills still continued upon our left, but we could not see any
elevation over the expanse of reeds to our right. The river inclined to
the left, and swept the base of the hills that still continued on that
side. I consequently landed once more to survey the country.

I still retained a strong impression on my mind that some change was at
hand, and on this occasion I was not disappointed, but the view was one
for which I was not altogether prepared. We had at length arrived at the
termination of the Murray. Immediately below me was a beautiful lake,
which appeared to be a fitting reservoir for the noble stream that led
us to it; and which was now ruffled by the breeze that swept over it.
The ranges were more distinctly visible, stretching from south to north,
and were certainly distant forty miles. They had a regular unbroken
outline; declining gradually to the south, but terminating abruptly at a
lofty mountain northerly. I had no doubt on my mind of this being the
Mount Lofty of Captain Flinders; or that the range was that immediately
to the eastward of St. Vincent's Gulf. Between us and the ranges a
beautiful promontory shot into the lake, being a continuation of the
right bank of the Murray. Over this promontory the waters stretched to
the base of the ranges, and formed an extensive bay. To the S.W. a bold
headland showed itself; beyond which, to the westward, there was a clear
and open sea visible, through a strait formed by this headland and a
point projecting from the opposite shore. Even while gazing on this fine
scene, I could not but regret that the Murray had thus terminated; for I
immediately foresaw that, in all probability, we should be disappointed
in finding any practicable communication between the lake and the ocean,
as it was evident that the former was not much influenced by tides. We
pitched our tents on a low track of land that stretched away seemingly
for many miles directly behind us to the eastward. It was of the
richest soil, being of a black vegetable deposit, and although high
above the influence the lake had, it was evident, once formed a part of
its bed. Thirty-three days had now passed over our heads since we left
the depot upon the Morumbidgee, twenty-six of which had been passed upon
the Murray. We had, at length, arrived at the grand reservoir of those
waters whose course and fate had previously been involved in such

I took Fraser with me, and, accompanied by M'Leay, crossed the
sand-hummocks behind us, and descended to the sea-shore. I found that we
had struck the south coast deep in the bight of Encounter Bay. We had no
time for examination, but returned immediately to the camp, as I
intended to give the men an opportunity to go to the beach. They
accordingly went and bathed, and returned not only highly delighted at
this little act of good nature on my part, but loaded with cockles, a
bed of which they had managed to find among the sand. Clayton had tied
one end of his shirt up, and brought a bag full, and amused himself with
boiling cockles all night long.

I would fain have lingered on my way to examine, as far as circumstances
would permit, the beautiful country between the lake and the ranges; and
it was with heartfelt sorrow that I yielded to necessity. My men were,
indeed, very weak from poverty of diet and from great bodily fatigue.
Hopkinson, Mulholland, and Macnamee were miserably reduced.

It will be borne in mind that our difficulties were just about to
commence, when those of most other travellers have ceased; and that
instead of being assisted by the stream whose course we had followed, we
had now to contend against the united waters of the eastern ranges, with
diminished strength, and in some measure with disappointed feelings.

Under the most favourable circumstances, it was improbable that the men
would be enabled to pull for many days longer in succession since they
had not rested upon their oars for a single day, if I except our passage
across the lake, from the moment when we started from the depot; nor was
it possible for me to buoy them up with the hope even of a momentary
cessation of labour. We had calculated the time to which our supply of
provisions would last under the most favourable circumstances, and it
was only in the event of our pulling up against the current, day after
day, the same distance we had compassed with the current in our favour,
that we could hope they would last as long as we continued in the
Murray. But in the event of floods or any unforeseen delay, it was
impossible to calculate at what moment we might be driven to extremity.

On the other hand, it was sufficiently evident to me that the men were
too much exhausted to perform the task that was before them without
assistance, and that it would be necessary both for M'Leay and myself to
take our share of labour at the oars. The cheerfulness and satisfaction
that my young friend evinced at the opportunity that was thus afforded
him of making himself useful, and of relieving those under him from some
portion of their toil, at the same time that they increased my sincere
esteem for him, were nothing more than what I expected from one who had
endeavoured by every means in his power to contribute to the success of
that enterprise upon which he had embarked. But although I have said
thus much of the exhausted condition of the men, I would by no means be
understood to say that they flagged for a moment, or that a single
murmur escaped them. No reluctance was visible, no complaint was heard,
but there was that in their aspect and appearance which they could not
hide, and which I could not mistake. We re-entered the river on the 13th
under as fair prospects as we could have desired. The gale which had
blown with such violence in the morning gradually abated, and a steady
breeze enabled us to pass our first encampment, by availing ourselves of
it as long as daylight continued.

_Feb. 18th._ The breezes that had so much assisted us from the lake
upwards, had now lost their influence, or failed to reach to the
distance we had gained. Calms succeeded them, and obliged us to labour
continually at the oars. We lost ground fast, and it was astonishing to
remark how soon the men's spirits drooped again under their first
efforts. They fancied the boat pulled heavily and that her bottom was
foul, but such was not the case. The current was not so strong as when
we passed down, since the river had evidently fallen more than a foot,
and was so shallow in several places that we were obliged to haul the
boat over them. On these occasions we were necessarily obliged to get
out of her into the water, and had afterwards to sit still and to allow
the sun to dry our clothes upon us. The unemployed consequently envied
those at the oars, as they sat shivering in their dripping clothes.

I have omitted to mention one remarkable trait of the good disposition
of all the men while on the coast. Our sugar had held out to that point;
but it appeared when we examined the stores that six pounds alone
remained in the cask. This the men positively refused to touch. They
said that, divided, it would benefit nobody; that they hoped M'Leay and
I would use it, that it would last us for some time, and that they were
better able to submit to privations than we were. The feeling did them
infinite credit, and the circumstance is not forgotten by me. The little
supply the kindness of our men left to us was, however, soon exhausted,
and poor M'Leay preferred pure water to the bitter draught that
remained. I have been sometimes unable to refrain from smiling as I
watched the distorted countenances of my humble companions while
drinking their tea and eating their damper.

_March 17th._ We had been drawing nearer the Morumbidgee every day; and
the following afternoon, to our great joy, we turned our boat into the
gloomy and narrow channel of the tributary. Our feelings were almost as
strong when we re-entered it as they had been when we were launched from
it into that river, on whose waters we had continued for upwards of
fifty-five days; during which period, including the sweeps and bends it
made, we could not have travelled less than 1,500 miles.

Our daily journeys were short, and the head we made against the stream
but trifling. The men lost the proper and muscular jerk with which they
once made the waters foam and the oars bend. Their whole bodies swung
with an awkward and laboured motion. Their arms appeared to be
nerveless; their faces became haggard, their persons emaciated, their
spirits wholly sunk; nature was so completely overcome, that from mere
exhaustion they frequently fell asleep during their painful and almost
ceaseless exertions. It grieved me to the heart to see them in such a
state at the close of so perilous a service, and I began to reproach
Robert Harris that he did not move down the river to meet us; but, in
fact, he was not to blame. I became captious, and found fault where
there was no occasion, and lost the equilibrium of my temper in
contemplating the condition of my companions. No murmur, however,
escaped them, nor did a complaint reach me that was intended to
indicate that they had done all they could do. I frequently heard them
in their tent, when they thought I had dropped asleep, complaining of
severe pains, and of great exhaustion. "I must tell the Captain,
to-morrow," some of them would say, "that I can pull no longer."
To-morrow came, and they pulled on, as if reluctant to yield to
circumstances. Macnamee at length lost his senses. We first observed
this from his incoherent conversation, but eventually from his manner.
He related the most extraordinary tales and fidgetted about eternally
while in the boat. I felt it necessary, therefore, to relieve him from
the oars.

_April 12th._ I determined on sending Hopkinson and Mulholland, whose
devotion, intelligence and indefatigable spirits I well knew, forward to
the plain.

The joy this intimation spread was universal. Both Hopkinson and
Mulholland readily undertook the journey, and I, accordingly, prepared
orders for them to start by the earliest dawn.

Six days had passed since their departure; we remaining encamped. I had
calculated on seeing Hopkinson again in eight days, but as the morrow
would see us without food, I thought, as the men had had a little rest,
it would be better to advance towards relief than to await its arrival.

On the evening of the 18th, therefore, we buried our specimens and other
stores, intending to break up the camp in the morning. A singular bird,
which invariably passed it at an hour after sunset, and which, from the
heavy flight, appeared to be of unusual size, had so attracted my
notice, that in the evening M'Leay and I crossed the river in hope to
get a shot at it. We had, however, hardly landed on the other side, when
a loud shout called us back to witness the return of our comrades.

They were both of them in a state that beggars description. Their knees
and ankles were dreadfully swollen and their limbs so painful that as
soon as they arrived in the camp they sunk under their efforts, but they
met us with a smiling countenance and expressed their satisfaction at
having come so seasonably to our relief. They had, as I had foreseen,
found Robert Harris on the plain, which they reached on the evening of
the third day. They had started early the next morning on their return
with such supplies as they thought we might immediately want. Poor
Macnamee had in a great measure recovered, but for some days he was
sullen and silent; the sight of the drays gave him uncommon
satisfaction. Clayton gorged himself; but M'Leay, myself, and Fraser
could not at first relish the meat that was placed before us.


+Source.+--Life of Charles Sturt (Mrs. N.G. Sturt), pp. 230-232,
264-267, 279-280

     Observations of the migrations of birds convinced Sturt that there
     was good land in the interior of New South Wales, and in 1844 he
     set out to find it. His expedition failed because the season was
     exceptionally dry, and he was obliged to turn back before he had
     accomplished his object.

"If a line be drawn from Lat. 29° 30´ and Long. 140° N.W., and another
from Mount Arden due north, they will meet a little to the northward of
the tropic, and there I will be bound to say a fine country will be
discovered." On what date Sturt pledges himself to the discovery of this
fine country is not stated, but when later regretting his failure to
reach the tropic and to set at rest his hypothesis of the better country
to be found there, he briefly tells his reason for the supposition.

"Birds observed east of the Darling in the summer of 1828 in about lat.
29° 30´ S. and long. 144° had invariably migrated to the W.N.W.
Cockatoos and parrots, known while in the colony to frequent the richest
and best-watered valleys of the higher lands, would pass in countless
flights to that point of the compass. In South Australia, in lat. 35°
and long. 138°, I had also observed that several birds of the same kind
annually visited that Province from the north. I had seen the Psittacus
Novae Hollandiae and the shell paroquet following the shoreline of St.
Vincent's Gulf like flights of starlings in England. The different
flights at intervals of more than a quarter of an hour, all came from
the north, and followed in one and the same direction.

"Now although the casual appearance of a few strange birds should not
influence the judgement, yet from the regular migrations of the
feathered race, a reasonable inference may be drawn. Seeing then that
these two lines (viz., from Fort Bourke about lat. 30° and long. 144° to
the W.N.W., and from Mount Arden in lat. 35° long. 138° to the north)
if prolonged would meet a little to the northward of the tropic, I
formed the following conclusions:

"First, that the birds migrating on those lines would rest for a time at
a point where those lines met.

"Secondly, that the country to which they went would resemble that which
they had left, that birds which frequented rich valleys or high hills
would not settle down in deserts and flat country.

"Thirdly, that the intervening country, whether owing to deserts or
large sheets of water, was not such as these birds could inhabit.
Indeed, such large migrations from different parts to one particular,
argued no less strongly the existence of deserts or of sea to a certain
distance, than the probable richness of the country, to which as to a
common goal these migrations tended.

"On the late expedition, at the Depot in lat. 29-1/2° and long. 142°, I
found myself in the direct line of migration to the north-west; and to
that point of the compass, birds whom I knew to visit Van Diemen's Land
would, after watering, pass on. Cockatoos, after a few hours' rest,
would wing their way to the north-west, as also would various
water-birds, as well as pigeons, parrots, and paroquets, pursued by
birds of the Accipitrine class. From these indications I was led to look
still more for the realization of my hopes, if I could but force my way
to the necessary distance.

"I ran 170 miles without crossing a single water-course. I travelled
over salsolaceous plains, crossed sand-ridges, was turned from my
westward course by salt-water lakes; and at last, on October 19th, at
about 80 miles to the east of my former track, I found myself on the
brink of the Stony Desert. Coming suddenly on it I almost lost my
breath. If anything, it looked more forbidding than before. Herbless and
treeless, it filled more than half of the horizon. Not an object was
visible on which to steer, yet we held on our course by compass like a
ship at sea.

"Poor Browne was in excruciating pain from scurvy. Every day I expected
to find him unable to stir. My men were ill from exposure, scanty food,
and muddy water; my horses leg-weary and reduced to skeletons. I alone
stood unscathed, but I could not bear to leave my companion in that
heartless desert.

"Finding myself baffled to the north and to the west, seeing no hope of
rain, realizing that my retreat was too probably already cut off, I
reluctantly turned back to the depot, 443 miles distant, and only
through the help of Providence did we at length reach it."

Sturt, as he mounted to begin his retreat, was nearly induced to turn
again by "a flock of paroquets that flew shrieking from the north
towards Eyre's Creek. They proved that to the last we had followed with
unerring precision the line of migration."


My instructions directed me to gain the meridian of Mount Arden or that
of 138°, with a view to determine whether there were any chain of
mountains connected with the high lands seen by Mr. Eyre to the westward
of Lake Torrens, and running into the interior from south-west to
north-east. I was ordered to push to the westward and to make the south
the constant base of my operations. I was prohibited from descending to
the north-coast, but it was left optional with me to fall back on
Moreton Bay if I should be forced to the eastward. Whether I performed
the task thus assigned to me or wavered in the accomplishment of it;
whether I fell short of my duty, or yielded only to insuperable
difficulties, the world will be enabled to judge. That I found no fine
country is to be regretted; however, I was not sent to find a fine
country, but to solve a geographical problem. I trust I am not
presumptuous in saying that, from a geographical point of view, the
results of this expedition have been complete. If I did not gain the
heart of the continent, no one will refuse me the credit of having taken
a direct course for it. My distance from that hitherto mysterious spot
was less than 150 miles. In ten days I should have reached the goal; and
that task would have been accomplished had rain fallen when I was at my
farthest north. Had I found such a river as the Victoria, I would have
clung to it to the last; but those alone will really know the nature of
the country who shall follow me into it When I determined on turning
homewards, with mind depressed and strength weakened, it appeared to me
that I had done all that man could do. Now, under the influence of
restored health, I feel that I did far too little. I can only say that I
would not hesitate again to plunge into those dreary regions, that I
might be the first to place my foot in the centre of this vast
territory, and finally to raise the veil which still shrouds its
features, even though, like those of the veiled prophet, they should
wither the beholder.


+Source.+--Papers relating to the Burke and Wills Exploring Expedition,
1861. Published in the _Argus_, pp. 2-5, 19-20

     In the year 1860 an expedition was planned to travel from Melbourne
     to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The leader was Robert Burke, and though
     with Wills, Gray, and King he reached the Gulf, the return was
     fatal owing to the desertion of the Cooper's Creek Depot by the
     other members of the expedition.

In the course of his evidence before the Commission of Inquiry Mr. King,
the sole survivor, said:

The day before we arrived at Cooper's Creek we were allowed to consume
as much provisions as we chose, in expectations of finding supplies so
soon. We had only one pound of dry meat when we got there. If we had
found no provisions there, we should all have died. It was as much as
any of us could do to travel along the side of the creek. We had been so
weak, that for ten days before, we had scarcely been able to make much
distance, or to walk about. I seemed to be worse than either Mr. Burke
or Mr. Wills, but after we arrived at the Depot I improved much more
than they did. We had no difficulty in finding the provisions there. We
arrived in the moonlight at half-past seven o'clock at night, after
having pushed on thirty miles that day. Mr. Burke rode on one of the
camels, and I and Mr. Wills on the other. We had our revolvers with us,
and had been continually shooting at the crows and hawks. When we got to
the Depot Mr. Burke was a little ahead of Mr. Wills and myself. He had
often before said, "I think I can see their tents ahead," and made
several remarks like that until we arrived there. When we got near, he
said, "I suppose they have shifted to some other part of the creek." It
was Mr. Wills who first saw the tree-mark, and saw the things scattered
about the stockade. He saw the words, "Dig three feet to the
north-east," or north-west; I am not certain which. When he saw the date
at which they came to the camp, and the date at which they left, he said
at once, "They have left here to-day. If they had shifted to any other
part of the creek, they would not have marked this." We set to work
digging up the plant. We did not know where they had gone to, but
thought they had left some instructions. Mr. Burke was too much excited
to do anything, and Mr. Wills and myself dug up the plant. I got the
bottle there and Mr. Burke said: "Whatever instructions they have left
are in this bottle." I then opened it and handed it to him. When he had
read it, he informed us that the other party, except Paton, and that the
animals were in good working order, and that on account of no person
coming up to them, they had made a start for Camp 60, taking a course
S.E. for Bulloo. Mr. Burke then said it was madness to attempt to follow
them, as their men were in good order, and their camel too. He said we
could not expect to make forced marches, and catch them up. Had the
latter said they were in a weak state, as it appeared they were, we
should have tried at any rate to overtake them. We remained at the creek
a few days, and Mr. Burke and Mr. Wills had a consultation as to what
was best to be done.

We left no provisions behind us, but took everything with us. When we
had consumed all the sugar but 12 lb. we gave some balls of it to the
camel. For a few days our principal food was porridge, which we
preferred to anything else. We boiled it with water and sugar. In going
down towards Mount Hopeless, we found we could not carry all the things
we brought with us. We had to leave the camel-pads and such things. We
made two attempts to get to Mount Hopeless. After losing one camel we
remained at the creek some short time, till we recovered strength to
start for Cooper's Creek again. We had only the clothes we stood in, and
no bed-clothing but the camels' pads and two oilcloths. We had boots and
trousers, such as they were.


The following is the despatch of Mr. Burke, left at the Depot at
Cooper's Creek:

Depot No. 2, Cooper's Creek, Camp No. 65.--The return party from
Carpentaria, consisting of myself, Wills and King (Gray dead) arrived
here last night, and found that the depot party had only started on the
same day. We proceed on to-morrow slowly down the creek towards Adelaide
by Mount Hopeless, and shall endeavour to follow Gregory's track; but we
are very weak. The two camels are done up, and we shall not be able
travel faster than four or five miles a day. Gray died on the road from
exhaustion and fatigue. We have all suffered much from hunger. The
provisions left here will, I think, restore our strength. We have
discovered a practicable route to Carpentaria, the chief portion of
which lies on the 140th decree of east longitude. There is some good
country between this and the Stony Desert. From there to the tropic the
country is dry and stony. Between the tropic and Carpentaria a
considerable portion is rangy, but it is well watered and richly
grassed. We reached the shores of Carpentaria on 11th February, 1861.
Greatly disappointed at finding the party here gone.

(Signed) ROBERT O'HARA BURKE, Leader.

April 22nd, 1861.

P.S.--The camels cannot travel, and we cannot walk, or we should follow
the other party. We shall move very slowly down the creek.


Mr. Burke requested Mr. Wills to go up the creek as far as the Depot,
and to place a note in the plant there, stating that we were then living
on the creek, the former note having stated that we were on our road to
South Australia. He also was to bury there the field-books of the
journey to the Gulf.

Mr. Wills being returned, it was decided to go up the creek and live
with the natives, if possible, as Mr. Wills thought we should have but
little difficulty in obtaining provisions from them if we camped on the
opposite side of the creek to them. He said he knew where they had gone,
so we packed up and started. Coming to the gunyahs where we expected to
have found them, we were disappointed, and seeing a nardoo field close
by, halted, intending to make it our camp. For some time we were
employed gathering nardoo, and laying up a supply.

Mr. Wills and I used to collect and carry home a bag each day, and Mr.
Burke generally pounded sufficient for our dinner during our absence,
but Mr. Wills found himself getting very weak, and was shortly unable to
go out to gather nardoo as before, nor even strong enough to pound it,
so that in a few days he became almost helpless. Mr. Burke now proposed
that I should gather as much nardoo as possible in three days, and that
with this supply we should go in search of the natives--a plan which had
been urged upon us by Mr. Wills as the only chance of saving him and
ourselves as well, as he clearly saw that I was no longer able to
collect sufficient for our wants. Having collected the seed, as
proposed, and having pounded sufficient to last Mr. Wills for eight
days, and two days for ourselves, we placed water and firewood within
his reach and started. Before leaving him, however, Mr. Burke asked him
whether he still wished it, as under no other circumstances would he
leave him; and Mr. Wills again said that he looked on it as our only
chance. He then gave Mr. Burke a letter and his watch for his father,
and we buried the remainder of the field-books near the gunyah.

In travelling the first day, Mr. Burke seemed very weak and complained
of great pain in his legs and back. On the second day he seemed to be
better, and said that he thought he was getting stronger, but, on
starting, did not go two miles before he said he could go no further. I
persisted in his trying to go on, and managed to get him along several
times, until I saw that he was almost knocked up, when he said he could
not carry his swag, and threw all he had away. I also reduced mine,
taking nothing but a gun and some powder and shot and a small pouch and
some matches. On starting again we did not go far before Mr. Burke said
we should halt for the night, but, as the place was close to a large
sheet of water, and exposed to the wind, I prevailed to go a little
further, to the next reach of water where we camped.

We searched about and found a few small patches of nardoo, which I
collected and pounded, and with a crow, which I shot, made a good
evening's meal. From the time we halted, Mr. Burke seemed to be getting
worse, although he ate his supper. He said he felt convinced he could
not last many hours, and gave me his watch, which, he said, belonged to
the Committee; and a pocket-book, to give to Sir William Stawell, and in
which he wrote some notes. He then said to me: "I hope you will remain
with me here till I am quite dead--it is a comfort to know that some one
is by; but when I am dying, it is my wish that you should place the
pistol in my right hand, and that you leave me unburied as I lie." That
night he spoke very little, and the following morning I found him
speechless, or nearly so; and about eight o'clock he expired. I remained
a few hours there, but as I saw there was no use in remaining longer, I
went up the creek in search of the natives. I felt very lonely, and at
night usually slept in deserted wurleys, belonging to the natives. Two
days after leaving the spot where Mr. Burke died, I found some gunyahs,
where the natives had deposited a bag of nardoo, sufficient to last me a
fortnight, and three bundles containing various articles. I also shot a
crow that evening, but was in great dread that the natives would come
and deprive me of the nardoo.

I remained there two days to recover my strength, and then returned to
Mr. Wills. I took back three crows; but found him lying dead in his
gunyah, and the natives had been there and had taken away some of his
clothes. I buried the corpse with sand, and remained some days; but
finding that my stock of nardoo was running short, and being unable to
gather it, I tracked the natives who had been to the camp by their
foot-prints in the sand, and went some distance down the creek, shooting
crows and hawks on the road. The natives hearing the report of the gun,
came to meet me, and took me with them to their camp, giving me nardoo
and fish. They took the birds I had shot and cooked them for me, and
afterwards showed me a gunyah, where I was to sleep with three of the
single men.

They appeared to feel great compassion for me when they understood that
I was alone on the creek, and gave me plenty to eat. After being four
days with them, I saw that they were becoming tired of me, and they made
signs that they were going up the creek, and that I had better go
downwards; but I pretended not to understand them. The same day they
shifted camp, and I followed them; and on reaching their camp, I shot
some crows, which pleased them so much that they made me a breakwind in
the centre of their camp, and came and sat round me until such time as
the crows were cooked, when they assisted me to eat them. The same day
one of the women to whom I had given part of a crow, came and gave me a
ball of nardoo, saying that she would give me more only she had such a
sore arm that she was unable to pound. She showed me a sore on her arm,
and the thought struck me that I would boil some water in the billy and
wash her arm with a sponge. During the operation the whole tribe sat
round and were muttering one to another. Her husband sat down by her
side and she was crying all the time. After I had washed it, I touched
it with some nitrate of silver, when she began to yell and ran off,
crying out, "Mokow! Mokow!" ("Fire! fire!"). From this time, she and her
husband used to give me a small quantity of nardoo both night and
morning, and whenever the tribe were about going on a fishing excursion,
he used to give me notice to go with them. They also used to assist me
in making a wurley, or breakwind, whenever they shifted camp. I
generally shot a crow or a hawk, and gave it to them in return for these
little services.

From this time to when the relief party arrived--a period of about a
month--they treated me with uniform kindness, and looked upon me as one
of themselves. The day on which I was released, one of the tribe who had
been fishing came and told me that the white fellows were coming, and
the whole of the tribe who were then in camp sallied out in every
direction to meet the party, while the man who had brought the news took
me over the creek, where I shortly saw the party coming down.


+Source.+--Explorations in Australia (J.M. Stuart. Hardman, 1865). pp.
164-165, 406-411

     Stuart accompanied Sturt in 1844-5, and subsequently became an
     enthusiastic explorer. Three times he set out to travel from
     Adelaide to the Indian Ocean; the first time passing through the
     centre, and finally attaining his object in 1862. The Overland
     Telegraph line is laid along his track.


_Sunday, 22nd April._ Small Gum Creek, under Mount Stuart, Centre of
Australia. To-day I find from my observations of the sun, 111° 00' 30",
that I am now camped in the centre of Australia. I have marked a tree
and planted the British Flag there. There is a high mount about two
miles and a half to the N.N.E. I wish it had been in the centre; but on
it to-morrow, I will raise a cone of stones, and plant the flag there,
and name it "Central Mount Stuart." We have been in search of permanent
water to-day, but cannot find any. I hope from the top of Central Mount
Stuart to find something good to the N.W. Examined a large creek; can
find no surface water, but got some by scratching in the sand. It is a
large creek divided into many channels, but they are all filled with
sand; splendid grass all round this camp.

_Monday, 23rd April._ Centre. Took Kekwick and the flag, and went to the
top of the Mount, but found it to be much higher and more difficult of
ascent than I anticipated. After a deal of labour, slips and knocks, we
at last arrived on the top. The view to the north is over a large plain
of gums, mulga, and spinifex, with watercourses running through it. The
large gum creek that we crossed winds round this hill in a N.E.
direction; at about ten miles it is joined by another. After joining
they take a course more north, and I lost sight of them in the far
distant plain. To the N.N.E. is the termination of the hills; to the
N.E., E. and S.E. are broken ranges, and to the N.N.W. the ranges on the
west side of the plain terminate. To the N.W. are broken ranges; and to
the W. is a very high peak, between which, and this place to the S.W.
are a number of isolated hills. Built a large cone of stones, in the
centre of which I placed a pole with the British flag nailed to it. Near
the top of the cone I placed a small bottle, in which there is a slip of
paper, with our signatures to it, stating by whom it was raised. We then
gave three hearty cheers for the flag, the emblem of civil and religious
liberty, and may it be a sign to the natives that the dawn of liberty,
civilization, and Christianity is about to break upon them. We can see
no water from the top. Descended, but did not reach the camp till after
dark. This water still continues which makes me think there must
certainly be more higher up. I have named the range "John Range," after
my friend and well-wisher, John Chambers, Esq., brother to James
Chambers, Esq., one of the promoters of this expedition.


_Thursday, 24th July._ Thring Creek, entering the Marsh. Started at
7.40, course north. I have taken this course in order to make the
sea-coast, which I suppose to be distant about eight miles and a half,
as soon as possible; by this I hope to avoid the marsh. I shall travel
along the beach to the north of the Adelaide. I did not inform any of
the party except Thring and Auld, that I was so near to the sea, as I
wished to give them a surprise on reaching it. Proceeded through a light
soil, slightly elevated with a little ironstone on the surface, the
volcanic rock cropping out occasionally; also some flats of black
alluvial soil. The timber much smaller and more like scrub, showing that
we are nearing the sea.

At eight miles and a half came upon a broad valley of black alluvial
soil, covered with long grass; from this I can hear the wash of the sea.
On the other side of the valley, which is rather more than a quarter of
a mile wide, is growing a line of thick heavy bushes, very dense,
showing that to be the boundary of the beach. Crossed the valley and
entered the scrub, which was a complete network of vines. Stopped the
horses to clear a way, whilst I advanced a few yards on to the beach,
and was gratified and delighted to behold the water of the Indian Ocean
in Van Diemen's Gulf, before the party with the horses knew anything of
its proximity. Thring, who rode in advance of me, called out "The Sea!"
which so took them all by surprise, and they were so astonished that he
had to repeat the call before they fully understood what was meant. Then
they immediately gave three long and hearty cheers. The beach is covered
with a soft blue mud. It being ebb tide, I could see some distance;
found it would be impossible for me to take the horses along it; I
therefore kept them where I had halted them, and allowed half the party
to come on to the beach and gratify themselves by a sight of the sea,
while the other half remained to watch the horses until their return. I
dipped my feet, and washed my face and hands in the sea, as I promised
the late Governor, Sir Richard McDonnell, I would do if I reached it.
The mud has nearly covered all the shells; we got a few, however. I
could see no seaweed. There is a point of land some distance off,
bearing 70°. After all the party had had some time on the beach, at
which they were much pleased and gratified, they collected a few shells;
I returned to the valley, where I had my initials (J.M.D.S.) cut on a
large tree, as I did not intend, until I arrived at the mouth of the
Adelaide, to put up my flag. Proceeded along the valley; at one mile and
a half coming upon a small creek, with running water, and the valley
being covered with beautiful green grass, I have camped to give the
horses the benefit of it. Thus have I, through the instrumentality of
Divine Providence, been led to accomplish the great object of the
expedition, and take the whole party safely as witnesses to the fact,
and through one of the finest countries man could wish to behold, good
to the coast and with a stream of water within half a mile of the sea.
From Newcastle water to the sea-beach, the main body of the horses have
been only one night without water and then got it within the next day.
If this country is settled, it will be one of the finest colonies under
the Crown, suitable for the growth of any and everything--what a
splendid country for producing cotton! Judging from the number of the
pathways from the water to the beach, across the valley, the natives
must be very numerous; we have not seen any, although we have passed
many of their recent tracks and encampments. The cabbage and fan
palm-trees have been very plentiful during to-day's journey down to this
valley. This creek I named "Charles Creek," after the eldest son of John
Chambers, Esq.; it is one by which some large bodies of springs
discharge their surplus water into Van Diemen's Gulf; its banks are of
soft mud, and boggy. Wind, south. Latitude, 12° 13´ 30".

_Friday, 25th July._ Charles Creek, Van Diemen's Gulf. I have sent
Thring to the south-west to see if he can get round the marsh. If it is
firm ground I shall endeavour to make the mouth of the river by that
way. After a long search he has returned, and informs me that it is
impracticable, being too boggy for the horses. As the great object of
this expedition is now attained, and the mouth of the river already well
known, I do not think it advisable to waste the strength of my horses in
forcing them through, neither do I see what object I should gain by
doing so; they have still a very long and fatiguing journey in
recrossing the continent to Adelaide, and my health is so bad that I am
unable to bear a long day's ride. I shall, therefore, cross this creek
and see if I can get along by the sea-beach, or close to it. Started and
had great difficulty in getting the horses over, though we cut a large
quantity of grass, putting it on the banks and on logs of wood which
were put into it. We had a number bogged, and I was nearly losing one of
my best horses, and was obliged to have him pulled out with ropes; after
the loss of some time we succeeded in getting them all over safely. At
two miles came upon an open part of the beach, went on to it, and again
found the mud quite impassable for horses. Stopped the party, as this
travelling is too much for the horses, and, taking Thring with me, rode
two miles to see if the ground was any firmer in places; found it very
soft where the salt water had covered it, in others not so bad. Judging
from the number of the shells banked up in different places, the sea
must occasionally come over this. I saw at once that this would not do
for the weak state in which my horses were, and I therefore returned to
where I left the party, resolving to re-cross the continent to the City
of Adelaide. I now had an open place cleared, and selecting one of the
tallest trees, stripped it of its lower branches, and on its highest
branch fixed my flag, the Union Jack, with my name sewn in the centre of
it. When this was completed, the party gave three cheers, and Mr.
Kekwick then addressed me, congratulating me on having completed this
great and important undertaking, to which I replied. Mr. Waterhouse also
spoke a few words on the same subject, and concluded with three cheers
for the Queen, and three for the Prince of Wales. At one foot south from
the foot of the tree is buried, about eight inches below the ground, an
air-tight tin case, in which is a paper with the following notice:

"South Australian Great Northern Exploring Expedition. The exploring
party, under the command of John McDouall Stuart arrived at this spot on
the 25th day of July, 1862, having crossed the entire continent of
Australia from the Southern to the Indian Ocean, passing through the
centre. They left the City of Adelaide on the 26th day of October 1861,
and the most northern station of the colony on 21st day of January,
1862. To commemorate this happy event, they have raised this flag
bearing his name. All well. God Save the Queen!"

(Here follow the signatures of myself and party.)

As this bay has not been named, I have taken this opportunity of naming
it "Chambers Bay," in honour of Miss Chambers, who kindly presented me
with the flag which I have planted this day, and I hope this may be the
first sign of the dawn of approaching civilization.

Exactly this day nine months the party left North Adelaide. Before
leaving, between the hours of eleven and twelve o'clock, they had lunch
at Mr. Chambers' house; John Bentham Neals, Esq., being present,
proposed success to me, and wished I might plant the flag on the
north-west coast. At the same hour of the day, nine months after, the
nag was raised on the shores of Chambers Bay, Van Diemen Gulf. (On the
bark of the tree on which the flag is placed is cut--DIG ONE FOOT, S.)
We then bade farewell to the Indian Ocean, and returned to Charles
Creek, where we had again great difficulty in getting the horses
across, but it was at last accomplished without accident. We have passed
numerous and recent tracks of natives to-day; they are still burning the
country at some distance from the coast.

[_Note._ The memorandum left by Stuart on top of the Central Mountain
runs as follows:]

John McDouall Stuart and party consisting of two men and himself arrived
from Adelaide in the Centre of Australia on Saturday evening the twenty
first day of April 1860, and have built this cone of stones and raised
this flag to commemorate the event, on top of Mount Sturt; the centre is
about two miles South South West at a small gum creek where there is a
tree marked facing the south.


_21st April 1860,_

_Centre of Australia._

The name of the Central Mountain appears in the published journal as
_Stuart_. This is probably due to a mistake of the publisher's, which
remained uncorrected, as Stuart was very ill when his journal was


+Source.+--Explorations in Australia (John Forrest, 1875), pp. 83-94,
107-114, 121-135.

     In 1870 Forrest set out to explore the country along the Bight. It
     had previously been considered desert land, but the expedition
     discovered valuable country behind the cliffs.

We started from Perth on the afternoon of Wednesday, the 30th of March
1870. His Excellency the Governor accompanied us for about three miles
on the Albany Road. We had fifteen horses, and provisions sufficient for
the journey to Esperance Bay, a distance of about 450 miles, where it
was arranged further supplies would await us.

_May 18th._ Esperance Bay. After starting the party went in advance with
Billy to prepare camp at Israelite Bay. When we reached it, were
delighted to find the _Adur_ lying safely at anchor there; proceeding on
board found all well. Procured abundance of water by digging one foot
deep in the sand-hills, and good feed a short distance from camp.

Our friends on the _Adur_ were looking anxiously for us. We were two
days behind the appointed time, and they feared some evil had befallen
us, not taking into consideration the many delays incidental to such a
journey through strange and difficult country as we had made.

On the 24th of May we determined to celebrate the Queen's birthday. All
hands from the _Adur_ came ashore, and I drew them up in line under the
Union Jack, which was duly hoisted near the camp. We presented arms;
sang "God Save the Queen" vigorously, and fired a salute of twenty-one
guns, finishing with three cheers. I venture to record that our vocal
efforts were as sincerely and heartily made in the Australian wilderness
as any which rang that day in any part of Her Majesty's wide dominions.
We were all highly delighted--not only feeling that we had done our duty
as loyal subjects, but other celebrations in more civilized places were
forcibly recalled to memory.

_June 22nd._ Saddled up at dawn, and steering southerly over clear, open
grassy plains for twenty-eight miles, we reached the cliffs, and rested
an hour; after which we continued our journey and reached camp a little
after dark, finding all well.

_June 23rd._ Made preparations for a start for Eucla to-morrow, and put
everything in travelling order. During my absence, Osborn had got the
horses' feet in order, and the pack-saddles had been overhauled and
repairs generally made. In looking round the camp, Tommy Windich found
shoulder-blade of a horse and two small pieces of leather. They no doubt
belonged to Mr. Eyre's equipment, and, on reference to his journal, I
find he was here obliged to kill a horse for food.

I cut off part of the shoulder-blade, and have since given it, together
with the pieces of leather, to His Excellency Governor Weld.

_June 24th._ Started at 8.30 a.m. _en route_ for Eucla. Steering in a
N.N.E. direction for fifteen miles, reached the cliffs, and after
following along them two miles, found a large rock water-hole, but in an
almost inaccessible spot. While I was examining the cliffs near, to find
a place where we could get the horses up, Tommy heard a coo-ey, and
after answering it a good many times, we were surprised to see two
natives walking up towards us, unarmed. I approached and met them; they
did not appear at all frightened and at once began to eat the damper I
gave them. We could not understand anything they said. I beckoned them
to come along with us, which they at once did, and followed so closely
after as to tramp on my spurs. They pointed to water further ahead.
After walking about a mile, four more natives were seen running after
us, who, on joining, made a great noise, singing and appearing very
pleased. Shortly afterwards two more followed, making seven in all; all
entirely naked. We found the water alluded to, on the top of the cliffs,
but it being too late to get the horses up, we turned off to the
southward half a mile, and camped on a small grassy flat, without water
for the horses. The seven natives slept at our fire. We gave them as
much damper as they could eat. They had not the least particle of
clothing, and made pillows of each other's bodies, and resembled pigs
more than human beings.

_July 1st._ Descending the cliffs with difficulty, we followed along the
foot of them, which was beautifully grassed, and, after travelling
twelve miles, beheld the Eucla sand-hills. On my pointing them out,
every heart was full of joy, and, being away some distance, I heard the
long and continued hurrahs from the party! Eucla was all the
conversation! I never before remember witnessing such joy as was evinced
on this occasion by all the party. After travelling five miles further,
we camped close to the cliffs at a small water-hole. We might have
reached Eucla this evening, but I preferred doing so to-morrow, when we
could have the day before us to choose camp. We are now again in safety,
Eucla being only seven miles distant; after having travelled 166 miles
without finding permanent water--in fact, over 300 miles with only one
place where we procured permanent water. I trust we all recognized with
sincerity and thankfulness the guiding and protecting Father who had
brought us through in safety.

_July 2nd._ Made an early start and steered straight for the anchorage,
distant about five miles, having first ascended the range to have a view
of the country, which was very extensive. Far as the eye could reach to
the westward, the Roe Plains and Hampton Range were visible; while to
the eastward lay Wilson's Bluff and the Delissier sand-hills; and three
miles west of them we were delighted to behold the good schooner _Adur_,
riding safely at anchor in Eucla harbour, which formed by no means the
least pleasing feature of the scene to our little band of weary
travellers. Made at once for the vessel, and on reaching her, found all
well and glad to see us. She was anchored between the Red and Black
Beacons. The latter had been blown down, but shall be re-erected. There
being no water at the anchorage, moved on to the Delissier sand-hills,
where we found water by digging two and a half feet from the surface.
Camped on the west side of the sand-hills.

Landed barley, etc., from the boat. There was a good feed for the horses
under the Hampton Range, about a mile and a half distant.

_July 11th._ Osborn busy with the shoeing. Went with Billy to Wilson's
Bluff, and saw the boundary-post between South and Western Australia,
placed by Lieutenant Douglas.

_July 12th._ Erected the flagstaff with the Union Jack flying, and
nailed a copperplate to the staff, with the following engraved on it:

JULY 12TH, 1870.

_July 17th._ Was obliged to get up twice to bring back the horses, and
at 4 o'clock made a start. The horses were in a very exhausted state;
some having difficulty to keep up. About noon I could descry the land
turning to the southward, and saw, with great pleasure, we were fast
approaching the Head of the Great Australian Bight. Reached the
sand-patches at the extreme head of the Bight just as the sun was
setting, and found abundance of water by digging two feet deep in the
sand. Gave the horses as much as I considered safe for them to have at
one time. I have never seen horses in such a state before and hope never
to do so again. The horses, which four days ago were strong and in good
condition, now appeared only skeletons, eyes sunk, nostrils dilated, and
thoroughly exhausted. Since leaving Eucla to getting water at this spot,
a period of nearly ninety hours, they had only been allowed one gallon
of water each, which was given them from our water-drums. It is
wonderful how well they performed this journey; had they not started in
good condition they never could have done it. We all felt very tired.
During the last sixty hours I have only had about five hours' sleep, and
have been continually in a state of anxiety--besides which, all have had
to walk a great deal.

_July 18th._ This is a great day in my journal and journey. After
collecting the horses we followed along the beach half a mile, when I
struck N. for Peelunabie Well, and at half a mile struck a cart track
from Fowler's Bay to Peelunabie. After following it one mile and a
quarter, came to the well, and old sheep yards, and camped. Found better
water in the sand-hills than in the well. There is a board nailed on a
pole directing to the best water, with the following engraved on it: "G.
Mackie, April 5th, 1865, water--120 yards." Upon sighting the road this
morning, which I had told them we should do, a loud and continued
hurrahing came from all the party, who were overjoyed to find signs of
civilization again; while Billy, who was in advance with me, and whom I
had told to look out, as he would see a road directly, which he
immediately did, began giving me great praise for bringing them safely
through a long journey. I certainly felt very pleased and relieved from
anxiety, and, on reviewing the long line of march we had performed
through an uncivilized country, was very sensible of that protecting
Providence which had guided us safely through the undertaking.

Before I conclude I have the pleasing duty to record my entire
appreciation of every member of the party. I need not particularize as
one and all had the interest and welfare of the expedition at heart, and
on no occasion uttered a single murmur. Finally, sir, my best and most
sincere thanks are due to His Excellency Governor Weld for the very
efficient manner in which the expedition was equipped. It is chiefly
owing to the great zeal and desire of His Excellency that I should have
everything necessary, that the success of the enterprise is

I have, etc.

JOHN FORREST, Leader of Expedition.

The Hon. F.P. Barlee, Esq., Colonial Secretary, W.A.


+Source.+--Explorations in Australia (John Forrest, 1875), pp. 149-162,
188, 201, 257, 261

     Four years after his successful journey along the Bight, Forrest
     determined to explore the interior of Western Australia, and in so
     doing added greatly to the knowledge of that somewhat neglected

The success which had attended my previous expeditions, and the great
encouragement received from the Government and public of each colony,
made me wish to undertake another journey for the purpose of
ascertaining whether a route from Western Australia to the advanced
settlements of the Southern colony was practicable. I also hoped to
contribute, if possible, towards the solution of the problem, What is
the nature of the Interior? My first journey, when I succeeded in
penetrating for about 600 miles into the unknown desert of Central
Australia, had convinced me that, although there might, and doubtless
would, be considerable difficulties to be encountered, there were no
insuperable obstacles, except a probable failure in the supply of water.
That certainly was the most formidable of all the difficulties that
would no doubt have to be encountered; but on the previous journey the
scarcity of water had been endured, not without privation and suffering,
but without any very serious result.

Stuart's great feat of crossing the continent from south to north had
been followed by other successful efforts in the same direction. Another
result was the establishing a line of telegraph from Adelaide to Port
Darwin. This might, therefore, be considered the eastern boundary of the
unknown districts, and, moreover, was the point of departure for the
South Australian expeditions in a westerly direction. It was also the
limit I desired to reach, and reaching it, I should achieve the object I
had so much at heart.

On the 18th of March, 1874, the expedition quitted Perth. The 19th was
Sunday, and, according to practice, we rested. Every Sunday throughout
the journey I read Divine Service, and, except making the daily
observations, only work absolutely necessary was done. Whenever
possible, we rested on Sunday, taking, if we could, a pigeon, a parrot,
or other such game as might come in our way as special fare. Sunday's
dinner was an institution for which, even in those inhospitable wilds,
we had a great respect.

_June 13th._ About one o'clock Pierre saw a flock of emus coming to
water, and went off to get a shot. Kennedy followed with the rifle. I
climbed up on a small tree to watch them. I was surprised to hear
natives' voices, and, looking towards the hills, I saw from forty to
sixty natives running towards the camp, all plumed up and armed with
spears and shields. I was cool, and told Sweeny to bring out the
revolvers; descended from the tree and got my gun, and coo-ed to Pierre
and Kennedy, who came running. By this time they were within sixty
yards, and halted. One advanced to meet me, and stood twenty yards off:
I made friendly signs; he did not appear very hostile. All at once, one
from behind (probably a chief) came rushing forward, and made many
feints to throw spears. He went through many manoeuvres, and gave a
signal, when the whole number made a rush towards us, yelling and
shouting, with their spears shipped. When within thirty yards, I gave
the word to fire; we all fired as one man, only one report being heard.
I think the natives got a few shots, but they all ran up the hill and
there stood talking and haranguing and appearing very angry. We
re-loaded our guns, and got everything ready for a second attack, which
I was sure they would make. We were not long left in suspense. They all
descended from the hill and came on slowly towards us. When they were
about 150 yards off I fired my rifle, and we saw one of them fall, but
he got up again and was assisted away. On examining the spot we found
the ball had cut in two the two spears he was carrying; he also dropped
his wommera, which was covered with blood. We could follow the
blood-drops a long way over the stones. I am afraid he got a severe
wound. My brother and Windich being away we were short-handed. The
natives seem determined to take our lives and, therefore, I shall not
hesitate to fire on them should they attack us again. I thus decide, and
write in all humility, considering it a necessity, as the only way of
saving our lives. I write this at 4 p.m., just after the occurrence, so
that, should anything happen to us, my brother will know how and when it
occurred. 5 p.m.--The natives appear to have made off. We intend
sleeping in the thicket close to camp, and keeping a strict watch, so as
to be ready for them should they return to the attack this evening. At
7.30 my brother and Windich returned, and were surprised to hear of our
adventure. They had been over fifty miles from camp E.S.E., and had
passed over some good feeding country, but had not found a drop of
water. They and their horses had been over thirty hours without water.

_June 14th, Sunday._ The natives did not return to the attack last
night. In looking round camp we found the traces of blood where one of
the natives had been lying down. This must have been the foremost man,
who was in the act of throwing his spear, and who urged the others on.
Two therefore, at least, are wounded, and will have cause to remember
the time they made their murderous attack upon us. We worked all day
putting up a stone hut, ten by nine feet, and seven feet high, thatched
with boughs. We finished it; it will make us safe at night. Being a very
fair hut, it will be a great source of defence. Barometer 28.09;
thermometer 68° at 5 p.m. Hope to have rain, as without it we cannot

_July 3rd._ Soon after starting, found a little water in a gully and
gave our horses a drink. Ascended a spur of the range and had a good
view ahead, and was very pleased with the prospect. Steering N.E.
towards a large range about fifteen miles off, we found a great deal of
spinnifex, although the country generally was thickly wooded. I rode
Mission, who went along pretty well for about twelve miles, when
Williams gave in again, and Mission soon did the same. For the next six
miles to the range we had awful work, but managed with leading and
driving to reach the range; spinnifex all the way and also on the top of
it. I was very nearly knocked up myself, but ascended the range and had
a very extensive view. Far to the N. and E. the horizon was as level and
uniform as that of the sea; apparently spinnifex everywhere; no hills or
ranges could be seen for a distance of quite thirty miles.

The prospect was very cheerless and disheartening. Windich went on the
only horse not knocked up in order to find water for the horses. I
followed after his tracks, leading the two poor done-up horses. With
difficulty I could get them to walk. Over, and through the rough range I
managed to pull them along and found sufficient water to give them a
good drink, and camped on a small patch of rough grass in one of the
gorges. Spinnifex everywhere; it is a most fearful country. We cannot
proceed farther in this direction, and must return and meet the party,
which I hope to do to-morrow night. We can only crawl along having to
walk and lead the horses, or at least drag them. The party have been
following us, only getting a little water from gullies, and there is
very little to fall back on for over fifty miles. I will leave what I
intend doing until I meet them. I am nearly knocked up again to-night;
my boots have hurt my feet, but I am not yet disheartened.

[Forrest stayed in the Interior for nearly three more months.]

_Sept. 26th._ Got off early and followed the river (Hamilton) about two
miles when it took a bend to the north, and as it was rather boggy near
it, we left it, and steered about east and E.N.E. for about twenty miles
over most miserable country without any grass. We camped on a small
gully with a little water in it, and some old dry grass in a flat. The
horses were very tired, not having had anything to eat for the last two
or three days; and some showed signs of giving in; in fact, all weak and
knocked up, and we had to handle them very carefully. For the first
thirteen miles we passed many clay-pans full of water--water nearly
everywhere--after which there was very little; and the rain does not
appear to have been heavy to the east. The river is about a mile and a
half north of us, and we have not seen it for some miles. Latitude 27°
9' south. Hope to reach the telegraph line to-morrow.

_Sept. 27th, Sunday._ Continuing E.N.E. for two miles, came to the
Alberga, and following along its right bank, over many clay-pans with
water, about east for twelve miles, and then E.N.E. for three miles, and
reached the telegraph line, between Adelaide and Port Darwin, and
camped. Long and continued cheers came from our little band as they
beheld at last the goal to which we have been travelling for so long. I
felt rejoiced and relieved from anxiety; and on reflecting on the long
line of travel we had performed through an unknown country, almost a
wilderness, felt very thankful to that good Providence that had guarded
and guided us so safely through it. The telegraph line is most
substantially put up and well wired, and is very creditable at this
spot; large poles of bush timber, often rather crooked, and iron ones
here and there. I now gave up keeping watch, having kept it regularly
for the last six months. Marked a tree F. 104, being 104th camp from




+Source.+--Historical Records of Australia. Vol. I, pp. 9-32, 373

     In 1783 England recognized the Independence of her American
     Colonies, and thus lost the settlements to which she usually
     transported her criminals. By 1786 her gaols had become woefully
     overcrowded, and consequently it was decided to establish a penal
     colony at Botany Bay. Captain Phillip was selected as commanding
     officer of the expedition.



George the Third, etc., to our trusty and well-beloved Captain Arthur
Phillip, greeting:

We, reposing especial trust and confidence in your loyalty, courage and
experience in military affairs, do, by these presents, constitute and
appoint you to be Governor of our territory called New South Wales,
extending from the northern cape or extremity of the coast called Cape
York, in the latitude of 10° 37' south, to the southern extremity of the
said territory of New South Wales or South Cape, in the latitude of 43°
39' south, and of all the country inland to the westward as far as the
one hundred and thirty-fifth degree of longitude reckoning from the
meridian of Greenwich, including all the islands adjacent in the Pacific
Ocean, within the latitude aforesaid of 10° 37' south and 43° 39' south,
and of all towns, garrisons, castles, forts, and all other
fortifications or other military works which now are or may be hereafter
erected upon this said territory. You are therefore carefully and
diligently to discharge the duties of Governor in and over our said
territory by doing and performing all and all manner of things thereunto
belonging, and we do hereby strictly charge and command all our officers
and soldiers who shall be employed within our said territory, and all
others whom it may concern, to obey you as Governor thereof; and you
are to observe and follow such orders and directions from time to time
as you shall receive from us, or any other your superior officer
according to the rules and discipline of war, and likewise such orders
and directions as we shall send you under our signet or sign manual, or
by our High Treasurer or Commissioners of our Treasury for the time
being, or one of our principal Secretaries of State, in pursuance of the
trust we hereby repose in you.

Given at our Court at St. James's the twelfth day of October, 1786, in
the twenty-sixth year of our reign.

By His Majesty's command.



Instructions for our trusty and well-beloved Arthur Phillip, Esq., our
Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief in and over our territory of New
South Wales and its dependencies or to the Lieutenant Governor or
Commander-in-Chief of the said territory for the time being. Given at
our Court at St. James's the 25th day of April 1787 in the
twenty-seventh year of our reign.

You are to fit yourself with all convenient speed, and to hold yourself
in readiness to repair to your said command, and being arrived, to take
upon you the execution of the trust we have reposed in you, as soon as
conveniently may be, with all due solemnity to cause our said Commission
under our Great Seal of Great Britain constituting you our Governor and
Commander-in-Chief as aforesaid to be read and published.

And whereas we have ordered that about 600 male and 180 female convicts
now under sentence or order of transportation whose names are contained
in the list hereunto annexed should be removed out of the gaols and
other places of confinement in this our kingdom, and be put on board of
the several transport ships which have been taken up for their
reception, it is our Royal will and pleasure that as soon as the said
convicts, the several persons composing the civil establishments, and
the stores, provisions, etc., provided for their use, shall be put on
board the _Supply_, tender, and the transport ships named in the margin,
and be in readiness to depart, that you do take them under your
protection and proceed in the _Sirius_ with the said tender and
transports to the Port on the coast of New South Wales, situated in the
latitude of 33° 41' called by the name of Botany Bay, agreeably to the
instructions with which you will be furnished by the Commissioners of
our Admiralty, in pursuance of our Royal commands already signified to

According to the best information which we have obtained, Botany Bay
appears to be the most eligible situation upon the said coast for the
first establishment, possessing a commodious harbour and other
advantages which no part of the coast hitherto discovered affords. It is
therefore our will and pleasure that you do immediately upon your
landing, after taking measures for securing yourself and the people who
accompany you as much as possible from any attacks or interruptions of
the natives of that country, as well as for the preservation and safety
of the public stores, proceed to the cultivation of the land,
distributing the convicts for that purpose in such manner, and under
such Inspectors and Overseers, and under such regulations as may appear
to you to be necessary and best calculated for procuring supplies of
grain and ground provisions.

The assortment of tools and utensils which have been provided for the
use of the convicts and other persons who are to compose the intended
settlement are to be distributed according to your discretion, and
according to the employment assigned to the several persons. In the
distribution, however, you will use every proper degree of economy, and
be careful that the Commissary so transmit an account of the issues from
time to time to the Commissioners of our Treasury to enable them to
judge of the propriety or expediency of granting further supplies. The
clothing of the convicts and the provisions issued to them, and the
several civil and military establishments, must be accounted for in the
same manner.

The increase of the stock of animals must depend entirely upon the
measures you may adopt on the outset for their preservation; and as the
Settlement will be amply supplied with vegetable productions, and most
likely with fish, fresh provisions, excepting for the sick and
convalescents, may in a great degree be dispensed with. For these
reasons it will become you to be extremely cautious in permitting any
cattle, sheep, hogs, etc., intended for propagating the breed of such
animals to be slaughtered until a competent stock maybe acquired, to
admit of your supplying the settlement from it with animal food without
having further recourse to the places from whence such stock may have
originally been obtained.

It is our will and pleasure that the productions of all descriptions
acquired by the labour of the convicts should be considered as a public
stock, which we so far leave to your disposal that such parts thereof as
may be requisite for the subsistence of the said convicts and their
families, or the subsistence of the civil and military establishments of
the settlement may be applied by you to that use. The remainder of such
productions you will reserve as a provision for a further number of
convicts, which you may expect will shortly follow you from hence, to be
employed under your direction in the manner pointed out in these our
instructions to you.

From the natural increase of corn and other vegetable food from a common
industry, after the ground has once been cultivated, as well as of
animals, it cannot be expedient that all the convicts which accompany
you should be employed in attending only to the object of provisions.
And as it has been humbly represented to us that advantages may be
derived from the flax-plant which is found in the islands not far
distant from the intended settlement, not only as a means of acquiring
clothing for the convicts and other persons who may become settlers, but
from its superior excellence for a variety of maritime purposes, and as
it may ultimately become an article of export, it is, therefore, our
will and pleasure that you do particularly attend to its cultivation,
and that you do send home by every opportunity which may offer, samples
of this article, in order that a judgment may be formed whether it may
not be necessary to instruct you further upon this subject.

And whereas we are desirous that some further information should be
obtained of the several ports or harbours upon the coast, and the
islands contiguous thereto, within the limits of your government, you
are, whenever the _Sirius_ or the _Supply_ tender, can conveniently be
spared, to send one, or both of them, upon that service.

Norfolk Island, situated in the lat.----, and long.----[blanks in
manuscript] east from Greenwich about----, being represented as a spot
which may hereafter become useful, you are, as soon as circumstances
will admit of it, to send a small establishment thither to secure the
same to us, and prevent it being occupied by the subjects of any other
European power; and you will cause any remarks or observations which
you may obtain in consequence of this instruction to be transmitted to
our Principal Secretary of State for Plantation Affairs for our

You are to endeavour by every possible means to open an intercourse with
the natives and to conciliate their affections, enjoining all our
subjects to live in amity and kindness with them. And if any of our
subjects shall wantonly destroy them, or give them any unnecessary
interruption in the exercise of their several occupations, it is our
will and pleasure that you do cause such offenders to be brought to
punishment according to the degree of the offence. You will endeavour to
procure an account of the numbers inhabiting the neighbourhood of the
intended settlement, and report your opinion to one of our Secretaries
of State in what manner our intercourse with these people may be turned
to the advantage of this colony.

And it is further our royal will and pleasure that you do by all proper
methods enforce a due observance of religion and good order among the
inhabitants of the new settlement, and that you do take such steps for
the due celebration of public worship as circumstances will permit.

And whereas many of our subjects employed upon military service at the
said settlement and others who may resort thither upon their private
occupations, may hereafter be desirous of proceeding to the cultivation
and improvement of the land, and as we are disposed to afford them every
reasonable encouragement in such an undertaking: It is our will and
pleasure that you do, with all convenient speed, transmit a report of
the actual state and quality of the soil at and near the said intended
settlement, the probable and most effectual means of improving and
cultivating the same, and of the mode, and upon what terms and
conditions, according to the best of your judgment, the said lands
should be granted, that proper instructions and authorities may be given
to you for that purpose.

[Having fairly established the first settlement of white men on the
continent of Australia, Governor Phillip wrote an account of his work to
the Colonial Secretary.]


Sydney Cove, New South Wales, _May 15th, 1788._

My Lord,

I had the honour of informing your Lordship, by Captain Cox, who was
returning to Europe from Madras that I was ready to sail from the Cape
of Good Hope, and which I did, with the ships under my command, the 12th
of November. The 25th, being eighty leagues to the eastward of the Cape,
I left the _Sirius_, and went on board the _Supply_ tender, in hopes, by
leaving the convoy, to gain sufficient time to examine the country round
Botany Bay and fix on the most eligible situation for the colony before
the transports arrived.

The _Supply_, sailing very badly, had not permitted my gaining the
advantage hoped for, but I began to examine the bay as soon as we
anchored, and found that tho' extensive, it did not afford shelter to
ships from the easterly winds; the greater part of the Bay being so
shoal that ships of even a moderate draught of water are obliged to
anchor with the entrance of the bay open, and are exposed to a heavy sea
that rolls in when it blows hard from the eastward.

Several small runs of fresh water were found in different parts of the
bay, but I did not see any situation to which there was not some very
strong objection. The small creek that is in the northern part of the
bay runs a considerable way into the country, but it had only water for
a boat. The sides of this creek are frequently overflowed, and the
lowlands a swamp. The western branch runs up for a considerable
distance, but the officers I sent to examine it could not find any
water, except in very small drains.

The best situation that offered was near Point Sutherland, where there
was a small run of good water; but the ground near it, as well as a
considerable part of the higher ground, was spongy, and the ships could
not approach this part of the bay.

Several good situations offered for a small number of people, but none
that appeared calculated for our numbers, and where the stores and
provisions could be landed without a great loss of time. When I
considered the bay's being so very open, and the probability of the
swamps rendering the most eligible situation unhealthy, I judged it
advisable to examine Port Jackson; but that no time might be lost if I
did not succeed in finding a better harbour, and a proper situation for
the settlement, the ground near Point Sutherland was in the meantime to
be cleared and preparations made for landing under the direction of the

As the time in which I might be absent, if I went in the _Supply_, must
have been very uncertain, I went round with three boats, taking with me
Captain Hunter, and several officers, that by examining different parts
of the port at the same time less time might be lost.

We got into Port Jackson early in the afternoon, and had the
satisfaction of finding the finest harbour in the world, in which a
thousand sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security, and of
which a rough survey, made by Captain Hunter and the officers of the
_Sirius_ after the ships came round, may give your Lordship some idea.

The different coves were examined with all possible expedition. I fixed
on the one that had the best spring of water, and in which the ships can
anchor so close to the shore that at a very small expense quays may be
made at which the largest ships may unload.

This cove, which I honoured with the name of Sydney, is about a quarter
of a mile across at the entrance and half-a-mile in length.

We returned to Botany Bay the third day, where I received a very
unfavourable account of the ground that was clearing.

The ships immediately prepared to go round, and the 25th--seven days
after I arrived in the _Supply_--I sailed in her for Port Jackson,
leaving Captain Hunter to follow with the transports, it then blowing
too strong for them to work out of the bay. They joined me the next
evening, and all the transports were moored in the cove.

Two sail had appeared off Botany Bay the 24th, under French colours, and
anchored there before the _Sirius_ left it--the _Boussole_ and the
_Astrolabe_. These ships were commanded by Monsieur La Perouse, who
having expressed a desire of sending letters to Europe, I sent an
officer over, it being only eight miles, to tell him in what time it was
probable the ships might sail.

The clearing the ground for the people and for erecting storehouses was
begun as soon as the ships got round, a labour of which it will be
hardly possible to give your Lordship a just idea.

The necks of land that form the different coves, and near the water for
some distance, are in general so rocky that it is surprising that such
large trees should find sufficient nourishment, but the soil between the
rocks is good, and the summits of the rocks, as well as the whole
country round us, with few exceptions, are covered with trees, most of
which are so large that the removing them off the ground after they are
cut down is the greatest part of the labour; and the convicts, naturally
indolent, having none to attend them but overseers drawn from amongst
themselves, and who fear to exert any authority, makes this work go on
very slowly.

As there are only twelve convicts who are carpenters, as many as could
be procured from the ships have been hired to work on the hospital and
storehouses. The people were healthy when landed, but the scurvy has for
some time appeared amongst them, and now rages in a most extraordinary
manner. Only sixteen carpenters could be hired from the ships, and
several of the convict carpenters were sick. It was now the middle of
February; the rains began to fall very heavy, and pointed the necessity
of hutting the people; convicts were therefore appointed to assist the
detachment in this work.

The great labour in clearing the ground will not permit more than eight
acres to be sown this year with wheat and barley. At the same time the
immense number of ants and field mice will render our crops very

Part of the live stock brought from the Cape, small as it was, has been
lost, and our resource in fish is also uncertain. Some days great
quantities are caught, but never sufficient to save any part of the
provisions; and at times fish are scarce.

Your Lordship will, I presume, see the necessity of a regular supply of
provisions for four or five years, and of clothing, shoes and frocks in
the greatest proportion. The necessary implements for husbandry and for
clearing the ground brought out will, with difficulty, be made to serve
the time that is necessary for sending out a fresh supply.

The labour of the convicts shall be as is directed, for the public
stock, but it is necessary to permit a part of the convicts to work for
the officers, who, in our present situation, would otherwise find it
impossible to clear a sufficient quantity of ground to raise what is
absolutely necessary to support the little stock they have; and I am to
request that your Lordship will be pleased to direct me to what extent
that indulgence may be granted the officers of the garrison.

The _Sirius_ shall be sent to the northward to barter for stock, and
which shall be employed solely for the purposes of increasing the breed
of such cattle as she may procure. The _Supply_ is in no ways calculated
for this service, as in the least sea her decks are full of water.

The beginning of May the rainy season was once more supposed to be set
in, but after a week we had fine weather.

The three transports for China sailed the 5th, 6th, and 8th of May; and
the _Supply_ having been caulked sailed the 6th to Lord Howe Island, to
endeavour to procure turtle, in hopes of checking the scurvy with which
most of the people are affected, and near two hundred rendered incapable
of doing any work. It is not possible to send the _Sirius_ to the
northward, for she must then have her carpenters, and only three of
those hired from the transports now remain; and tho' the detachment
began to build barracks for the use of the men and huts for the officers
the 14th of February, and near a hundred convicts were given to assist
in this work, they are not yet finished, nor is the hospital or the
storehouse that is to receive the provisions still remaining on board
three transports, and on these works the carpenters of the _Sirius_ are
employed. I have before pointed out the great labour in clearing the
ground as one cause of our slow progress.

Your Lordship will, I hope, excuse the confused manner in which I have
in this letter given an account of what has passed since I left the Cape
of Good Hope. It has been written at different times, and my situation
at present does not permit me to begin so long a letter again, the
canvas house I am under being neither wind nor waterproof.

I have, etc.,


+Source.+--Historical Records of Australia. Vol. I, pp. 45-51

     The young colony was threatened by many dangers, but Governor
     Phillip with untiring energy and skill averted them, and with
     unusual foresight prophesied the future greatness of the country.


Sydney Cove, _July 9th, 1788._

My Dear Sir,

You will see by my letters to Lord Sydney that this colony must for some
years depend on supplies from England.

The _Sirius_ will be sent to the northward for live stock as soon as we
can spare her carpenters; and from what Monsieur la Perouse said to
Captain Hunter, one of the Isles des Navigateurs is the most likely to
furnish us with what we want. But though these Islands supply two or
three ships very abundantly, they will afford but very little towards
the support of this colony, the situation of which I have particularly
pointed out in my letter to Lord Sydney, and which I shall recapitulate
in this, as the ship by which I now write may arrive before either of
those that have my despatches on board.

The Lieutenant-Governor has about four acres of land in cultivation. I
have from eight to ten in wheat and barley. The officers will be able to
raise sufficient to support the little live stock they have, and which
is all that can be expected from them. All the corn raised this year and
the next will be saved for seed, and if necessity should oblige us to
use it, it would be only a few days' support for the colony; and from
the rats and other vermin the crops are very uncertain.

This country is subject to very heavy storms of thunder and lightning,
several trees having been set on fire, and some sheep and dogs killed in
the camp since we landed.

All the provisions we have to depend on until supplies arrive from
England are in two wooden buildings which are thatched. I am sensible of
the risk but have no remedy.

The greatest part of the stock brought from the Cape is dead, and from
the inattention of the men who had the care of the cattle, those
belonging to Government and two cows belonging to myself are lost. As
they have been missing three weeks, it is probable they are killed by
the natives. All my sheep are dead and a few only remain of those
purchased for Government. The loss of two cows and four bulls falls very
heavy. The horses do very well.

With respect to any resources that the Cape of Good Hope might afford, I
have only to observe that the strong westerly winds that prevailed all
the year between the Cape and the southern extremity of this country
would render a passage to the Cape very tedious if attempted to the
southward, and little less so if ships go to the northward. Batavia and
our own settlements are at a great distance; and when the transports are
sailed I shall have only the _Sirius_ to employ on a service of this
kind; and as I should not think myself at liberty to send either to the
Cape or the East Indies unless in a case of the greatest necessity, it
would in all probability then be too late. I mention these circumstances
just to show the real situation of the colony, and I make no doubt but
that supplies will arrive in time, and on which alone I depend. The
provisions sent to support this colony for two years being put on board
three ships, was running a very great risk, for had they separated and
afterwards been lost the consequence is obvious, for this country at
present does not furnish the smallest resource except in fish, and which
has lately been so scarce that the natives find great difficulty in
supporting themselves. Any accident of this kind will be guarded
against, of course; and soldiers or convicts when sent out will be put
on board the ships with provisions to serve them for two years after
they land; and in our present situation I hope few convicts will be sent
out for one year at least, except carpenters, masons, and bricklayers,
or farmers, who can support themselves and assist in supporting others.
Numbers of those now here are a burthen and incapable of any kind of
hard labour, and, unfortunately, we have not proper people to keep those
to their labour who are capable of being made useful.

Officers decline the least interference with the convicts, unless when
they are immediately employed for their (the officers) own conveniency
or when they are called out at the head of their men; the saying of a
few words to encourage the diligent when they saw them at work, and the
pointing out the idle when they could do it without going out of their
way, was all that was desired. The convicts were then employed in
clearing the ground on which the officers were encamped, and this they
refused; they did not suppose they were sent out to do more than
garrison duty, and these gentlemen (that is, the majority of the
officers) think the being obliged to sit as members of the Criminal
Court an hardship, and for which they are not paid, and likely think
themselves hardly dealt by, in that Government had not determined what
lands were to be given to them. But I presume an additional force will
be sent out when the necessity of making detachments in order to
cultivate lands in the more open country is known, and from four to six
hundred men, will, I think, be absolutely necessary.

If fifty farmers were sent out with their families they would do more in
one year in rendering this colony independent of the mother country _as
to provisions_ than a thousand convicts. There is some clear land which
is intended to be cultivated, at some distance from the camp, and I
intended to send out convicts for that purpose, under the direction of a
person that was going to India in the _Charlotte_, transport, but who
remained to settle in this country, and has been brought up a farmer,
but several of the convicts (three) have been lately killed by the
natives, and I have been obliged to defer it until a detachment can be

The natives are far more numerous than they were supposed to be. I think
they cannot be less than fifteen hundred in Botany Bay, Port Jackson,
and Broken Bay, including the intermediate coast. I have traced thirty
miles inland, and the having lately seen smoke on Lansdown Hills, which
are fifty miles inland, I think leaves no doubt but there are
inhabitants in the interior parts of the country.

Lists of what articles are most wanted will be sent by the Commissary,
and I am very sorry to say that not only a great part of the clothing,
particularly the women's, is very bad, but most of the axes, spades, and
shovels the worst that ever were seen. The provision is as good. Of the
seeds and corn sent from England part has been destroyed by the weevil;
the rest is in very good order.

The person I have appointed Provost-Marshal is likewise very useful in
superintending the carpentry; the person sent out by the contractor, who
assists the Commissary in the delivery of provisions, one that was clerk
of the _Sirius_, a master smith, and two farmers, are very useful
people, and I beg leave to recommend them to Government. The granting
them lands would draw their attention from their present occupations.

A convict who fled to the woods after committing a robbery returned
after being absent eighteen days, forced in by hunger; he had got some
small support from the people, and the few fish left by accident on the
beach after hauling the seine, and had endeavoured to live amongst the
natives, but they could but give him but little assistance; he says they
are now greatly distressed for food, and that he saw several dying with
hunger. It is possible that some of the natives at this time of year
might find it easier to support themselves on birds and such animals as
shelter themselves in the hollow trees, than on fish; but then, I think,
they would not go to the top of the mountains, where at present it must
be very cold. I intend going to Lansdown or Carmarthen Hills as soon as
the weather permits, if it is possible, and which will explain what is
at present a mystery to me--how people who have not the least idea of
cultivation can maintain themselves in the interior part of this
country. When I went to the westward, in hopes of being able to reach
the mountains, we carried six days' provisions, and proceeded five days
to the westward; returning we were very short of provisions, and our
guns only procured us two scanty meals.

I shall conclude with saying that I have no doubt but that the country
will hereafter prove a most valuable acquisition to Great Britain,
though at present no country can afford less support to the first
settlers, or be more disadvantageously placed for receiving support from
the mother country, on which it must for a time depend. It will require
patience and perseverance, neither of which will, I hope, be wanting on
the part of

Dear Sir,
Yours, etc.


After four years of strenuous labour Phillip was forced to leave the
work he had so well begun.


Sydney, _21st November, 1791._
My Lord,

I am honoured with your Lordship's letter of the 19th of February in
answer to mine to Lord Sydney, and beg leave to assure your Lordship
that I should not hesitate a moment in giving up my private affairs to
the public service; but from a complaint which so very frequently puts
it out of my power to use that exercise which my situation requires and
the present state of this colony, in which I believe every doubt
respecting its future independency as to the necessaries of life is
fully done away, I am induced to request permission to resign the
Government, that I may return to England in hopes of finding that relief
which this country does not afford.

I have, etc.


+Source.+--Historical Records of Australia. Vol. I, p. 122; Vol. II, pp.

     The New South Wales Corps was a body of soldiers forcibly recruited
     to guard the convicts at Port Jackson. The soldiers quickly passed
     from bullying the convicts to bullying the free population, and
     assumed a high-handed attitude towards the Governor himself.

Whitehall, _19th June 1789._

The discontents which have prevailed in the marine detachment, and the
desire expressed by most of the officers and men to return home as soon
as they shall have performed the tour of duty they had undertaken, have
led to the making arrangements for relieving them. With that view His
Majesty has ordered a corps to be raised for that particular service,
consisting of three hundred rank and file and a suitable number of
officers under a Major-Commandant. This corps is ordered to be in
readiness for embarkation on the 1st of October next, and will, it is
expected, soon after that time proceed upon the voyage.


_Dec. 24th, 1789._

The corps which I before informed you was to be raised to serve within
your Government, instead of the marines now doing duty there, has been
complete for some time past. A detachment from it, consisting of about
100 officers and men, has been put on board the convict ships for their
greater security against attempts which the convicts might meditate,
and the remainder, under the command of Major Grose, amounting as you
will see by the enclosed establishment to upwards of 200 more, will, I
expect, embark at Portsmouth on board His Majesty's ship the _Gorgon_,
in the course of a few days.


Sydney, New South Wales,
_10th Aug., 1796._

My Lord,

Having occasion in my letter, No. 9. by the ship _Marquis Cornwallis_,
to notice very particularly a paragraph in your Grace's letter of the
10th of June, 1795, which related to the conduct of the military serving
upon Norfolk Island in 1794, and which gave me occasion to mention
similar outrage having been committed by the soldiers here since my
arrival, I signified in that letter that I thought it might be improper
in me to suppress or keep from your Grace's knowledge that outrage, and
that it should be communicated at a future opportunity. I therefore
enclose for your Grace's information a paper, No. 1, containing the
particulars, stated in as brief a manner as possible. I forbear, my
Lord, to make any observations upon this violent and extraordinary
conduct on the part of the soldiers. I transmit only a statement of the
facts, leaving your Grace wholly uninfluenced by anything I might have
occasion to remark upon so daring a violation of the peace and order of
the settlement, as well as in defiance of those laws by which that peace
is to be preserved.

But as an alteration in the ration had at that time been ordered, I
think it necessary to observe that their temper at the moment was so
violent that they positively refused to take it unless they were served
all flour, instead of part flour and part corn, a desire which could not
be complied with without manifest injustice to others, and also insisted
upon being paid short-allowance money for the time they were on short
ration, which they say Governor Phillip had promised them. This last
demand I must request your Grace's instructions upon.

The paper No. 2 is the Public Order which I gave out immediately after
the outrage; No. 3 is a copy of my letter to the commanding officer of
the corps upon that occasion; and No. 4 is a paper which was intended
to quiet the minds of the inhabitants of the settlement, who might
naturally (if no steps were taken to punish the offenders in this case,
nor any particular notice be taken of the offence committed by them)
conceive themselves subject to such violence and oppression from the
military whenever any soldier might think fit to take offence at them.
These papers are all which I think it necessary to trouble your Grace
with upon this occasion, as the facts will best speak for themselves,
and prevent the possibility of a conjecture that any unfair
representation could have been intended.

I should feel myself deficient in that duty which I owe to His Majesty's
service in this part of the world were I not to take a liberty which I
have no reason to believe your Grace will be offended at--I mean, in
remarking that the manner in which this corps has, since employed upon
this service, been recruited, does in a great measure weaken the effect
or service which we would expect to derive from the assistance of the
military. Soldiers from the Savoy, and other characters who have been
considered as disgraceful to every other regiment in His Majesty's
service, have been thought fit and proper recruits for the New South
Wales Corps, which, in my humble opinion, my Lord, should have been
composed of the very best and most orderly dispositions. They are sent
here to guard and keep in obedience to the laws when force may be
requisite, a set of the worst, the most atrocious characters that ever
disgraced human nature; and yet we find amongst those safeguards men
capable of corrupting the heart of the best disposed, and often superior
in every species of infamy to the most expert in wickedness amongst the
convicts. Our stores, provisions, and granaries must be intrusted to the
care of these men; what security can we have in the hands of such
people? None, my Lord. Your Grace will see the impropriety of such
recruits being sent to this country, and mixed with a corps who have the
care of our most valuable concerns. Not to detain your Grace, I will beg
permission to observe that a corps of military to be permanently
established for the service of this colony, to which the dregs and
refuse of our native country are directed by its laws to be sent as a
punishment, cannot be attended with that advantage which may have been
expected from it.

This, I confess, my Lord, to be my opinion, and for this reason, that
they will make connections with infamous characters here, whatever
attention may be paid by their officers to prevent it; by this means
they will in time be corrupted and rendered unfit people for the trust
which we must repose in them. It might probably be thought expensive to
relieve them as other garrisons, once in three, four, or five years; but
I cannot help believing, my Lord, that the service would be much
benefited by such a measure; and two forty-four-gun ships armed _en
flute_ sailing at a proper season would complete the relief, and return
in from twelve to fourteen months, frequently less. The expense
attending this measure will probably be an objection; but, my Lord,
although the saving to be made by it may appear too remote to merit
immediate notice, yet I am convinced it would ultimately prove a saving,
and no inconsiderable one.

I have, etc.,

(Enclosure No. 1)


John Baughan who officiates as foreman of the carpenters working at
Sydney, and a private soldier of the New South Wales Corps, of the same
profession, had some dispute when formerly working together on an
occasion when Baughan had the direction. This dispute, it appeared, had
not subsided in the mind of the soldier, and probably was not wholly
forgot by the other. It, however, was more conspicuous in the soldier,
from the following circumstance:--One day when sentinel over a
storehouse, knowing that Baughan was at work in a house some distance
from his post, he set his arms down against the wall of the store, and
seeing a man whom he knew, standing on the outside of the building in
which Baughan was at work, entered into a conversation with him, of
which Baughan was the subject, and in which much abuse was bestowed
which it was meant that he, Baughan, should hear. Baughan went out at
the back door unperceived, and seeing the soldier without his arms, went
to his post, where he found the musquet, which he took up and carried to
the guardhouse and delivered to the sergeant of the guard. The soldier
was, of course, taken notice of and relieved, being without his arms.
The next day, 5th February, at half-past nine o'clock in the forenoon
the whole of the corps off duty at this place assembled, and in the
most public and tumultuous manner proceeded to the dwelling of John
Baughan, broke open his gates, doors and windows, entered his house,
chopped the corner-posts of it, broke his bedsteads and bedding, chairs,
window-frames, drawers, chests, and, in short, completely demolished
everything within his possession to a considerable amount, for the man
had by great labour and industry built himself a neat house and had it
well furnished.

Upon their first approach, having had a few minutes' notice, he armed
himself with a loaded gun and defended himself by threats for some time,
but their numbers were so many that they surrounded his paling which
enclosed the house, which some tore down, and entered on the opposite
side to that which he endeavoured to defend, came behind him, secured
and threw him down with his face to the ground, whilst one held an axe
over his neck, and swore if he offered to stir, he would chop the head
from his body. During the time he remained in this situation they
completed the ruin of his whole property, to the very great terror of
the man's wife, after which they went off cheering, as if something
meritorious had been effected, and marched in a body across the parade
before their commanding officer's house.

After so daring an attack in the open day, upon the dwelling-house of an
inhabitant, and in direct defiance of all law, civil or military, they
could only be considered as in a state of mutiny. I immediately issued
in Public Orders the papers No. 2.

(Enclosure No. 2)


_5th Feb., 1796._

The very riotous manner in which the soldiers have conducted themselves
this morning, and the very unwarrantable liberty they have thought
proper to take in destroying the dwelling-house of John Baughan, is so
flagrant a crime against the laws established in this colony that
nothing but the want of proof to substantiate who the principal actors
in this disgraceful business were, could possibly prevent their being
immediately tried for so glaring an offence against the peace of the

The Governor thinks it necessary to assure the soldiers that he
considers their conduct upon this occasion to have been disgraceful to
the character of a British soldier, and that he did hope to have found
men amongst them who would have had pride enough to have stood forward
and have pointed out the ringleaders of so mutinous a conduct, for in no
other light can it be considered than that of mutiny when the military
assemble in such numbers unknown to their officers, who are at all times
ready to listen to any complaints they may have to make, and to see that
agreeable to common justice they are redressed. If the soldiers expect
that the Governor or any of the officers in this settlement can
hereafter consider them as hereafter meriting the honourable appellation
of British troops, it must be by their bringing forward the ringleaders
or advisers of this disgraceful conduct, in order that the stigma may be
wiped away by such worthless characters being brought to trial for this
shameful conduct.

(Enclosure No. 3)


Sydney, _7th Feb. 1796._


Since I saw you this morning I have turned in my mind the subject of our
conversation, and I have in consequence changed my intention of speaking
to the soldiers myself. I see that it would be a condescension on my
part which their violent and unsoldierlike conduct does not entitle them
to from me. I stand in this colony as the Chief Magistrate, and the
representative of our Sovereign; anything, therefore, that could lessen
me in the eye of the public would be degrading the King's authority,
which shall never suffer in my person whilst I am capable of giving it
its full power and consequence. I never can or will listen to the
complaints of any set of men who feel themselves above preferring them
with moderation, and a decent submission to the laws and regulations of
the colony; they must not--they shall not--dictate laws and rules for
the government of this settlement; they were sent here by His Majesty to
support the civil power in the execution of its functions, but they seem
disposed to take all law into their own hands, and to direct it in
whatever way best may suit their own views.

Their violence upon the late occasion shall be laid before the King,
and the principal actors in it shall be pointedly marked, in order that
justice the most perfect be done to everyone concerned in it. I must
declare to you, sir, that the conduct of this part of the New South
Wales Corps has been, in my opinion the most violent and outrageous that
was ever heard of by any British regiment whatever, and I shall consider
every step they may go farther in aggravation as rebellion against His
Majesty's Government and authority, of which the most early notice shall
be taken, and those concerned be in due time obliged to answer for it
most probably with their lives. This is all I think it necessary to
trouble you with. Their conduct will be pointedly marked thro' all its
stages, and I will be firm and resolved in such steps as it may be
necessary for me to pursue, and of this you, as their commanding
Officer, will be pleas'd to inform them.

I am, etc.,


+Source.+--Historical Records of Australia. Vol. II, p. 128

     In 1795, while Great Britain was at war with France, a great
     rebellion broke out in Ireland. During its suppression many of the
     Irish were transported to Port Jackson, and caused much trouble and
     disaffection among the convicts there.


Sydney, New South Wales, _15 Feb. 1798._

My Lord Duke,

I have for some time been in doubt whether the representation I am about
to make to your Grace should be private or public, but on considering
that it might occasion the adoption of some measure interesting to the
concerns of this colony, I have preferred the latter mode.

In order that your Grace should have the earliest opportunity of taking
into consideration the subject I am about to introduce, I could have
wished to have been enabled to communicate it immediately.

To come without further preface to the point in question, I have to
inform your Grace that the Irish convicts are become so turbulent, so
dissatisfied with their situation here, so extremely insolent,
refractory, and troublesome, that, without the most rigid and severe
treatment it is impossible for us to receive any labour whatever from
them. Your Grace will see the inconvenience which so large a proportion
of that ignorant, obstinate, and depraved set of transports occasion in
this country by what I now state, and which has taken place since I
wrote my letter No. 30, herewith forwarded.

In addition to their natural vicious propensities they have conceived an
opinion that there is a colony of white people in some part of this
country in which they will receive all the comforts of life without the
necessity of labour. They have lately taken away two of our breeding
mares to carry them towards that part of the country and have made
several attempts to possess themselves of others. This, my Lord, is a
serious inconvenience to the colony. The loss of any part of our small
stock of these useful animals is a matter of peculiar concern.

A correspondence, it seems, has been carried on by these people from one
district to another, and plans have been projected for their escaping
from the colony, and a few have attempted by land, as well as by water,
and for the want of our having earlier information they have succeeded.
I have found it necessary to divide them as much as possible, to prevent
such schemes being formed; but by this separation they have a better
opportunity of irritating and inflaming the minds of those convicts who
before such acquaintance have been found of better disposition.

Having already mentioned in my letter, No. 30, the escape of those who
had taken away two of our boats, and the disappointment of another gang,
and similar attempt, I have now to inform your Grace of a far more
numerous gang, who had provided what they thought necessary for their
expedition, had fixed upon the place of general rendezvous, and were
furnished with a paper of written instructions how they were to travel
in point of direction from hence to this fancied paradise, or to China.
This paper of directions will warrant my suspicion that some wicked and
disaffected person or persons lurk somewhere in this colony, and I have
done all in my power to discover them, but hitherto without success.
Having received early information of the intention of this party, who
were said to have increased to about sixty, I planted a party of armed
constables, on whose vigilance I could depend, and they secured a gang
of these Defenders of about twenty and brought them to prison. The next
day I spoke to them, but observing a considerable degree of obstinacy
and ignorance about them, I conceived there could be no better argument
used to convince them of their misconduct than a severe corporal
punishment, which was inflicted, and they have since been strictly
looked after at their work. Some of those fellows had been provided with
a figure of a compass drawn upon paper which, with written instructions,
was to have assisted them as their guide. The ignorance of these deluded
people, my Lord, would scarcely be credited if such positive proof of it
were not before us, and yet (which seems to imply a kind of
contradiction) it is extraordinary with what art and cunning they form
their horrible plans of wickedness and villainy.

In their schemes of desertion from the colony, their own death, if they
succeed in getting away, is inevitable; but their minds have been worked
up to such a pitch of folly, rashness, and absurdity, that nothing but
experience will convince them; if we suffer them to escape into the
country they are lost, not only to us but to the world, for perish they

For the sake, therefore, of humanity, and a strong desire to save these
men, worthless as they are, from impending death, I ordered four of the
strongest and hardiest of their numbers to be selected by the people
themselves, and to prepare for a journey of discovery for the
satisfaction of their associates, in order that they might have an
opportunity of relating upon their return whatever they saw and met
with. I had, farther, for the safety and preservation of those four,
directed three people, long accustomed to the woods, and acquainted with
some of the mountain savages, to accompany them; these men had also a
little knowledge of the language of the savages, from having lived some
months amongst them, and they were instructed to lead them back when,
fatigued and exhausted with their journey over steep and rocky
mountains, through thick and extensive woods, and fording deep and rapid
rivers, they should feel disposed to abandon their journey. This plan
was no sooner settled than I received information that a party of these
miscreants had agreed with the four above-mentioned to meet them at a
certain place absolutely to murder the very persons intended to be their
guides, and to possess themselves of their arms and munitions and
provisions, in addition to what each was supplied with, and to take
their own route. These circumstances will, no doubt, appear to your
Grace wild and extravagant; but after having mentioned their ignorance
in the manner I have it may serve to convince your Grace that there are
improper persons in this colony who work upon that ignorance to a
dangerous degree. In consequence of the information of this design
against their guides, I ordered four soldiers to attend them to the foot
of the first mountain with orders how to act if any others attempted to
join them; none appeared, and the whole of them returned with the
soldiers, most completely sick of their journey.

Our flocks and our crops, my Lord, are all I feel any concern about;
strict, rigid, and just punishment shall constantly hang over these
delinquents, and this, I trust, they are already convinced of. I hope
the return of the above three, and the story they can tell, will serve
to make them more contented with their present lot, and open their eyes
to the comforts which in this country they may derive and enjoy, and
which are certainly superior to any they ever possessed in their own.

Strange as such instances of human ignorance and depravity are, I have
to inform your Grace that a small party of those very people, some short
time after, actually contrived to make their escape, and after
travelling for many weeks through the country, made shift to reach the
sea-coast, near Botany Bay, but in a part where no boat has ever been
seen. Providentially, however, a boat had lost her way in going to
George's River and found those unhappy deluded wretches, on a place
where they had been nine days, and where they must soon have perished
but for this miraculous event. They were brought back almost exhausted
from want of food, and from sad and powerful conviction have promised to
warn their countrymen against such wild excursions in future.

I will here take an opportunity of mentioning that those men who had
left a part of their crew upon an island to the southward, and had
returned and taken a larger boat at Broken Bay, and had been wrecked
upon the coast to the northward, built out of the ruins of their vessel
a small boat in which they reached the above Bay; but not being able to
possess themselves of another, fit for their purpose, were, for want of
food, driven to the necessity of travelling across the country; they
wrote to me, but it was impossible to listen to their feigned story;
they were armed and carried some appearance of an intention to defend
themselves; they, however, surrendered themselves up, and were tried and
severally pleaded guilty of the robberies wherewith they were charged,
and two out of the six suffered death--an awful example, which, I hope,
will have a proper effect and prevent such attempts in future. Several
of them assured me that they had seen the wreck of the first boat--which
I mentioned in my letter No. 30--and it is very probable the crew have

I have, etc.,



+Source.+--Historical Records of Australia. Vol. VI, pp. 208-213,

     As the free settlers became numerous and prosperous they became
     self-assertive, and the most energetic naturally fell foul of a
     tactless autocrat like Governor Bligh, who governed New South Wales
     as if all were of the same status.


Headquarters, Sydney, N.S.W.

_11th April, 1808._

My Lord,

A series of almost incredible circumstances have imposed upon me the
distressing task and responsibility of superseding the authority vested
in Governor Bligh by His Majesty's Commission, and of assuming the
Government of this colony until His Majesty's pleasure shall be
signified, or until the arrival of an officer authorized to relieve me
in the Command.

Whenever the facts that have influenced me throughout so solemn a
transaction shall be laid before my Gracious Sovereign, I humbly trust
His Majesty will approve of my conduct, and that it will be apparent I
had no alternative but to put Governor Bligh in arrest to prevent an
insurrection of the inhabitants, and to secure him and the persons he
confided in from being massacred by the incensed multitude, or, if the
Governor had escaped so dreadful an end, and retained his authority, to
see His Majesty's benevolent and paternal Government dishonour'd by
cruelties and merciless execution.

The event that I have the honour to report to your Lordship took place
on the 26th of last January, and although such a space of time has since
elapsed, I have found it impossible to prepare that arranged detail, and
that connected chain of evidence which so uncommon a subject has made it
my indispensable duty to transmit to your Lordship.

Why I have been unable to perform this task, I shall, as I proceed,
endeavour to explain, and I respectfully hope that the information and
the evidence which I now propose to forward will prove to your Lordship
that Governor Bligh has betrayed the high trust and Confidence reposed
in him by his Sovereign, and acted upon a predetermined plan to subvert
the Laws of his country, to terrify and influence the Courts of Justice,
and to bereave those persons who had the misfortune to be obnoxious to
him, of their fortunes, their liberty, and their lives.

In the accomplishment of this plan, one act of oppression was succeeded
in a progressive course by a greater, until a general sensation of alarm
and terror prevailed throughout the settlement. Several inhabitants were
dispossessed of their houses, and many others of respectable characters,
or who had become opulent by trade, were threatened with the Governor's
resentment if they presumed to build upon or alienate their own lands.

These measures and various other acts of violence were projected and
supported by the Governor and a junto of unprincipled men, amongst whom
it was well known and has since been proved, the notorious George
Crossley, sent to this colony for perjury, was the principal person, and
the one most confided in by the Governor.

Your Lordship will not be surprised that a Government conducted by the
aid of such a Minister should be hated and detested as well as feared.

All the inhabitants who were a little advanced in their circumstances
beyond the common mass dreaded the approach of the moment when their
turn would come to be sacrificed to the avarice, the resentment, or the
fury of the Governor and his friends.

But whilst they were trembling with apprehension for their own safety,
the eyes of the whole were suddenly turned from the contemplation of the
general danger to that of Mr. Macarthur, a gentleman who was many years
an officer in the New South Wales Corps, and who now possesses a large
property in this Country.

The extent of Mr. Macarthur's estate, the number of his flocks and
herds, it had been long seen, had made him extremely obnoxious to Gov'r
Bligh. Mr. Macarthur, sensible how much he had to dread from the
ill-will of an officer of the Gov'r's well-known character, endeavoured
to provide for his security by the most scrupulous circumspection and
prudence of conduct. Secluded in a profound retirement on his estate,
and unceasingly engaged in its management and the care and education of
his children, his name was never heard of in any public business; but
neither caution nor prudence could long shield him from the hostile
spirit of the Governor. The attack was first commenced upon his
reputation, and terminated in the imprisonment of his person in the
Common Gaol.

After a variety of introductory measures, which your Lordship will find
detailed in the copy of the proceedings of a Court of Criminal
Judicature, to which I shall hereafter refer, Mr. Macarthur surrendered
as a prisoner at its bar on the 25th of last January, charged with two
separate misdemeanours. When the members of the Court had been sworn in,
and they were proceeding to swear in Richard Atkins, Esq., the
Judge-Advocate, Mr. Macarthur presented a protest, in which he urged a
variety of objections against that officer's presiding at his trial. Mr.
Atkins endeavoured to prevail upon the Court not to receive or hear the
protest read; but the members being of opinion it ought to be heard,
directed Mr. Macarthur to proceed. The Judge-Advocate then retired from
his chair and waited until Mr. Macarthur had read the protest. When that
was done he advanced again, and declared Mr. Macarthur should be
immediately committed to Gaol.

The Court then interfered on behalf of Mr. Macarthur, and after a long
altercation the Judge-Advocate retired from the Court-House, leaving
behind him his papers.

These were immediately taken possession of and examined by the Members,
and those papers led to a discovery that the whole plan of the trial had
been arranged, and every question prepared that was to be asked the
evidence of the prosecution by the infamous Crossley.

A very awful impression was made upon the minds of the inhabitants, as I
have been informed, when they saw Mr. Macarthur taken to the gaol; many
respectable persons hastened to him; and when the Court assembled at 10
o'clock his two bonds men presented a copy of the Warrant for his
apprehension and a deposition from themselves.

The Court directly wrote to the Governor a letter expressive of their
concern and praying Mr. Macarthur might be restored to his bail. To this
letter no answer was given, and the Court having waited till 3 o'clock

When it was known that the Court had broken up without having procured
Mr. Macarthur's enlargement, the agitation of the town became greatly
increased, and information was brought to me at four o'clock by Mr.
Harris, Surgeon of the New South Wales Corps, that an insurrection of
the Inhabitants was to be feared. In a few minutes after I had received
this intelligence a Dragoon arrived with a letter from the Governor, in
which I was informed that six of the officers of the New South Wales
Corps had been charged with treasonable practices, and were summoned to
appear before the Governor and the Magistrates at nine o'clock the next
morning. I immediately set off in a carriage to the Town.

On my arrival at the Barracks I saw all the Civil and Military Officers
collected, and the most respectable inhabitants in conversation with
them. The common people were also to be seen in various groups in every
street murmuring and loudly complaining, whilst others were watching the
movements of Crossley and the Magistrates who frequently passed from the
Judge Advocate's to the Government House. At this moment it was also
known that the Governor was shut up in Council with the depraved and
desperate Crossley, Mr. Palmer, the Commissary, Mr. Campbell, a
Merchant, and Mr. Arndell (the latter three, Magistrates) and that Mr.
Gore (the Provost-Marshal) and Mr. Fulton (the Chaplain) were also at
Government House, all ready to sanction whatever Crossley proposed or
the Governor ordered.

The gentlemen who had assembled on my arrival earnestly entreated me to
adopt decisive measures for the safety of the inhabitants and to dispel
the great alarm, as it was understood throughout the town that the
Members of the Court of Criminal Judicature would be thrown into Gaol;
and it was expected after such a measure nothing could limit the excess
of the Governor's cruelties; the gentlemen also warmly urged me to bail
Mr. Macarthur, so that he might consult with them on the measures most
proper to recommend at so extraordinary a crisis.

As I had no doubt of the illegality of Mr. Macarthur's confinement, I
felt no difficulty in acceding to the request, and Mr. Macarthur being
released from the Gaol directly joined the Assembly of Officers and
inhabitants who were then at the Barracks.

In a short time after, a letter was presented to me imploring me
instantly to put Governor Bligh in arrest, and to assume the Command of
the Colony. This letter was also approved of by all the Officers of the
Corps present at Head-Quarters; and as the events I had myself witnessed
left me no cause to doubt the propriety and necessity of complying with
this requisition, I immediately ordered the Corps under Arms, and
directed four Officers to proceed to Government House and summon
Governor Bligh to resign his authority. The Corps quickly followed,
attended by the Civil Officers and a considerable number of respectable

The four officers who had carried the summons met me at the Governor's
door and reported that he was nowhere to be found, nor any information
to be obtained of him, although the strongest assurances had been given
that his person should be strictly guarded from insult or violence.

After a rigid search the Governor, however, was at last discovered, in a
situation too disgraceful to be mentioned, and which I solemnly declare
to your Lordship would have been most gratifying to my feelings had it
been possible to have concealed from the public. As soon as Governor
Bligh made his appearance, I assured him of his personal safety and of
every attention in my power to offer him.

Whilst the search was making for Governor Bligh I was entreated by the
Civil Officers and the Inhabitants to proclaim Martial Law, and this
request meeting my approbation, Martial Law was instantly proclaimed and
continued in force until the next day. As not a single act of disorder
or irregularity was committed during the interesting scene that I have
had the honour to describe to your Lordship, and as the most perfect
peace and tranquillity were restored throughout the whole settlement I
published a Proclamation the next morning, revoking the order of the
preceding evening and restoring the Civil Government.

I ordered the Court of Criminal Judicature to assemble that Mr.
Macarthur might be arraigned on the Indictment that was found amongst
the Judge-Advocate's papers, and that the trial might proceed on the
plan Crossley had suggested to secure his conviction. The evidences were
examined in the order Crossley had prescribed, and every question asked
that he had previously dictated. Your Lordship will discover from the
copy of the Trial that Mr. Macarthur was acquitted without being put on
his defence, and that a complete disclosure was made of the plans which
had been deliberately formed for the ruin and destruction of that

I respectfully trust this trial and the confessions of the Magistrates
and other confidential persons will convince your Lordship of the guilty
intentions of Governor Bligh, and how little he regarded the sacred
personage whom he represented by suffering himself to be guided by a
wretch like that man Crossley to persecute and oppress His Majesty's

I am now, my Lord, arrived at the most painful part of my task--an
explanation of the causes that have prevented me from preparing a better
arranged Statement of the transactions in which I have been engaged; and
it is with deep concern I find myself obliged to report to your Lordship
that the opposition from those persons from whom I had most reason to
expect support has been one of the principal obstacles I have had to

When the officers and inhabitants found themselves relieved from the
oppressions of Governor Bligh, the general joy that was felt displayed
itself in rejoicings, bonfires, illuminations, and in a manifestation of
the most perfect unanimity. Even the lowest class of the prisoners were
influenced by the same sentiments, and for a short time abandoned their
habits of plundering. The contemplation of this happy scene more than
repaid me for the increase of care, fatigue, and responsibility to which
I had submitted for the public benefit; but the unanimity in which I
felt so much pleasure I quickly discovered was not to be preserved
without a sacrifice of His Majesty's interests, and a departure from the
regulations that have been made to check the importation of Spirituous
Liquors into the Colony.

I shall no longer obtrude upon your Lordship on this occasion than to
solicit that whenever the representation of what has taken place here
shall be communicated to my Gracious Sovereign, your Lordship will have
the goodness to offer my humble assurances that I have sacrificed
comparative ease, and have taken upon myself so great a responsibility
rather than submit to be a witness of His Majesty's sacred name being
profaned and dishonoured by deeds of injustice and violence.

I have, etc.,




The Public Peace being happily and, I trust in Almighty God, permanently
established I hereby proclaim the Cessation of Martial Law. I have this
day appointed Magistrates and other Public Functionaries from amongst
the most respectable officers and inhabitants, which will, I hope,
secure the impartial Administration of Justice, according to the laws of
England, as secured to us by the Patent of Our Most Gracious Sovereign.

Words cannot too strongly convey my approbation of the behaviour of the
whole body of the People on the late memorable Event. By their manly,
firm and orderly conduct they have shown themselves deserving of that
Protection which I have felt it was my duty to give them, And which I
doubt not they will continue to merit.

In future no man shall have just cause to complain of Violence,
Injustice or Oppression; No free Man shall be taken, imprisoned, or
deprived of his Home, Land or Liberty, but by the Law; Justice shall be
impartially administered without regard to or respect of persons; and
every man shall enjoy the fruits of his industry in Security.


Your conduct has endeared you to every well-disposed inhabitant in this
Settlement, Persevere in the same honourable path And you will establish
the credit of the New South Wales Corps on a basis not to be shaken.

God Save the King.

By Command of His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor.



Head-Quarters, Sydney, 27th January, 1808.


Sydney, _28th January, 1808._

I am directed by His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor to acquaint you that
the late Magistrates and other persons (who it is proved you were in the
habit of consulting) have been examined on Oath before Committees
constituted under the Lieutenant-Governor's authority; that from the
confessions of those Persons it appears that you have been acting upon a
settled plan to subvert the Laws, to terrify and influence the Courts of
Justice, and to deprive every person who had the misfortune to be
obnoxious to you of their Property, Liberty, and Lives. The
Lieutenant-Governor feeling that an offence of such magnitude must be
productive of the most serious consequences, is impelled by sentiments
of Humanity to give you this early notice that you may consider and
seriously reflect on the measures which may be necessary for your

His Honour has further directed me to assure you that as soon as the
examinations are complete, you shall be furnished with a Copy, and that,
if you think proper, all the Evidences shall be re-examined in your
presence, and be directed to answer any questions you like to propose to
them. His Honour has also desired me to assure you that it will give him
the greatest satisfaction to contribute by every means in his power to
the Alleviation of the distress of your present situation, and to the
comfort and accommodation of you and your family.



The British Government called the chief actors in the mutiny before a
commission of inquiry. Johnston was dismissed from the army; MacArthur
was forbidden to return to New South Wales for eight years; and Bligh
was made a vice-admiral.


+Source.+--Historical Records of Australia. Vol. V, pp. 510 and 566

     The wool industry in Australia was founded by John MacArthur. Once
     established, the flocks increased rapidly in numbers and quality,
     and as it became possible to export wool, its manufacture was
     stimulated in the older countries. The annual value of Australia's
     wool export is now over £26,000,000.


Sydney, N.S.W., _20th July, 1805._

My Lord,

By Mr. MacArthur, who arrived the 9th Ult'o, I had the honour of
receiving your Lordship's Letters dated as per margin.

It will be my Duty and Interest to pay the strictest attention to His
Majesty's Commands and your Lordship's wishes in every point that can
advance the increase and improvement of the breed of sheep for which a
better foundation could not be laid, or the Success more ensured, than
the progressive increase of the Stock throughout the Colony. Mr.
MacArthur possesses at least a third of the Numbers, a considerable part
of which were reported at the last muster to bear Wool of the finest
kind, and the rest, as well as the other flocks, are continually
improving from the hairy Coverings of the original breed to wool of
different qualities, principally owing to the introduction of a few
Spanish Rams some years ago.

Soon after Mr. MacArthur's arrival we conversed together respecting the
Objects of his laudable and, I hope, successful pursuits for the general
benefit of the Colony, as well as for that of his Family, which he now
regards as attached to the soil. His having bought a Ship to be employed
in the Whale Fishery, I consider an object equally laudable and
beneficial, exclusive of his being able to export the Wool of his
increasing breed to England once in Eighteen Months or Two Years, and
returning with Articles of use and Comfort to sell the Inhabitants. Nor
ought I to doubt from his assurances, that every expected benefit may be
derived from his exertions, as he is certainly very equal to conduct and
promote the Object he has so earnestly and, I hope, successfully
embarked in. To attain which he does and will possess every local
advantage that a good Stock to begin with, a good Climate, and fine
natural pastorage can offer.

Taking your Lordship's Letter No. 18 as a data, respecting the Land to
be located to Mr. MacArthur, wherein you do me the honour to signify His
Majesty's Commands that "I will have a proper grant of Lands, fit for
the pasture of sheep, conveyed to the said John MacArthur Esquire, in
perpetuity, with the usual reserve of Quit-Rents to the Crown,
containing not less than Five Thousand Acres," and Your Lordship having
noticed that "It will be impossible for Mr. MacArthur to pursue this
plan unless he shall be indulged with a reasonable number of Convicts
(which he states to be not less than thirty) for the purpose of
attending his sheep, and that as Mr. MacArthur will take upon himself
the Charges of maintaining these Convicts, a saving will accrue to
Government; and that you doubt not I will provide him with such as shall
appear as most suitable to his Objects."

In order to expedite Mr. MacArthur's Object of exporting fine Wool to
England, I have directed One hundred of the finest woolled Ewes from
Government Stock to be chosen for this gentleman to add to his own, for
which he is to pay Grain into the Stores at the rate of Two Pounds
sterling for each Ewe. As I do not consider it an Object for Government
to interfere in this pursuit, Seeing that the greatest exertions will be
made by Mr. MacArthur, And notwithstanding every attention has been paid
to improve the Fleeces of Government Sheep, Yet that Stock will always
be a reserve for supplying present and future Settlers with proportions
thereof, which will at once save the Necessity of purchasing to Supply
New Settlers who have Claims, and preserve a residue for those deserving
characters who may be allowed the advantage of exchanging Grain for
Ewes, agreeable to my Lord Hobart's Acquiescence with my proposal on
that Subject.

The number of Male Convicts assigned to Mr. MacArthur for the Care of
his Stock, etc., previous to his return, was Sixteen; Since then they
have been increased to Thirty, exclusive of those hired and retained in
his service who have served their terms. Should Mr. MacArthur wish for
an increase, they shall be assigned him when more arrive from England;
but your Lordship will observe by the number and employment Return that
the Public Labour absolutely necessary to be carried on, and in which
Agriculture on the part of the Crown is nearly given up, will not allow
of more Men being assigned at present until more arrive.

I have, etc.,



A Report of the State of Mr. MacArthur's Flocks of Sheep, with some
observations on the Advantages which may be expected from the Growth of
fine Wool in New South Wales.

Paramatta, N.S.W., _2nd Oct., 1805._

The fine Woolled Sheep imported here from the Cape of Good Hope in the
Year 1797 were said to be of the Spanish Breed. The excellence of the
fleece of these Sheep combined with the consideration of their peculiar
form, bears strong evidence in favour of the Correctness of this Report,
tho' it is impossible to say whether they originally sprung from the
best kind of Sheep that is bred in Spain. Be this as it may nothing is
better established than that the Wool of this Breed of Sheep has
considerably improved in this Climate, and as Mr. MacArthur has had the
good fortune to bring out from England Four Rams and one Ewe, purchased
from His Majesty's Flock of Spanish Sheep, It is to be hoped that these
valuable animals will be the cause of a still further Melioration in the
Quality of our Wool. Indeed there appears no reason to fear but that the
Wool of this Country may by care and judicious Management be placed on
an equality with the very best that is grown in Spain. It has been Mr.
MacArthur's invariable practice to keep the Spanish Breed apart from all
others, and as fast as Spanish Rams have been reared they have been put
among the coarse-woolled Ewes. The result of this system has proved
extremely satisfactory, his Flocks now consist of more than Five
Thousand, of these Sixty are of the pure Spanish kind, and the whole are
much improved in the quality of the Wool; he is of Opinion the best
judge will be unable to discover any material difference between the
perfect and the mixed Breed in Seven years.

With respect to Constitution, Size, and Aptitude to fatten, he has tried
all the Breeds he could obtain in the Colony, and he has found the
Spanish surpass them all in every one of these qualities. In the
representations that Mr. MacArthur had the honour to make in England to
His Majesty's Ministers, he stated that he thought a Flock of Sheep
would double itself in Two Years and a half, longer experience induces
him to think it may be done in rather less time; but in the Estimate he
now proposes to make, he will govern himself by the same data on which
his original Calculations were made, for he is desirous rather to
repress too sanguine Expectations than to encourage such as may prove

Estimating the Sheep in New South Wales at Twenty Thousand, a plain
Arithmetical progression will prove that the present Stock may increase
in Twenty Years to Five Millions, and calculating two pounds and a half
of clear washed Wool to each Sheep, they would produce almost twice as
much Wool as England now purchases from Spain at an Annual expense of
One Million Eight Hundred Thousand pounds.

Should Great Britain still require a much larger supply, Sheep can be
easily multiplied to any Extent in the immeasurable Forest which
Surrounds us.

It is difficult for the Mind to embrace all the Advantages which must
flow from the Successful Progression of this great National Object; for
if we contemplate the progress of the Cotton Manufactory we shall see
that at the commencement of the Eighteenth Century the quantities of raw
cotton imported into England did not exceed Two Millions of Pounds
weight. At this period it amounts to more than Twenty Millions; and
altho' its price has considerably advanced, yet Manufactured Cotton
Goods have fallen full Two Hundred per cent. This prodigious diminution
in price is attributable to no other cause than the introduction of
Machinery, by which the expense of Manual Labour is comparatively
reduced to nothing.

Now, repeated experiments have demonstrated that the same Machinery is
equally applicable to every Branch of the Woollen Manufactory, and in
truth it would long since have been adopted, but for the popular Clamour
that thousands of Labourers would be thrown out of employment. "It
cannot be denied," say its Opponents, "that Machinery would reduce the
price of Woollen, as it has done that of Cotton Cloths, but the two
Cases bear no Analogy, for when Machinery was applied in the Manufacture
of Cotton the increased Quantity of the raw material furnished
abundance of Employment in some other branch to those whose Labour the
Machine superseded. Make but the same experiment in the Woollen
Manufactory, and its fatal effects upon the poor will soon be felt; for
as you cannot increase the quantity of Animal Wool now being brought
into the Market, any Invention that has a tendency to diminish Manual
Labour is, and must be, pernicious."

This reasoning has had great weight on the Minds of best informed Men;
but if we can by our united Efforts (as assuredly we can) raise in this
Colony any Quantity of fine Wool, all its force would be at once
demolished. Whatever the demands of Great Britain may be for that
Commodity, we certainly may supply it. The universal use of Machinery
might then be safely sanctioned, and the British Manufacturers would be
enabled so to reduce the price of Woollen Cloths, as would assure
throughout the world the most Monopoly that any people ever possessed.
We also should largely participate in the profits of this gainful Trade
and should enjoy the pleasing Consolation that our Labours were
contributing to the Support and Prosperity of that parent Country to
whom our debt of Gratitude can never be paid.



+Source.+--Historical Records of Australia. Vol. VII, pp. 245, 580-617

     A storm of protest was aroused among the free settlers by the
     action of Governor Macquarie in recognizing convicts as ordinary
     members of society directly their terms of imprisonment had
     expired. The free community became sharply divided into emancipists
     and anti-emancipists.


Sydney, N.S.W., _30 April, 1810._

My Lord,

I had the honour to address Your Lordship by Lieutenant-Colonel Foveaux
in a brief Despatch, under dates the eighth and twelfth of last Month;
but lest that Despatch may not get safe to Hand I shall in my present
one recapitulate the substance of my last, and furnish your Lordship
with a more detailed Account of my Proceedings.

I was very much surprised and concerned on my arrival here, at the
extraordinary and illiberal Policy I found had been adopted by all the
Persons who had preceded me in Office respecting those men who had been
originally sent out to this Country as Convicts, but who, by long habits
of Industry and total Reformation of Manners, had not only become
respectable, but by many degrees the most Useful Members of the
Community. Those persons have never been countenanced or received into
society. I have, nevertheless, taken upon Myself to adopt a new line of
conduct, Conceiving that Emancipation, when united with Rectitude and
long-tried good Conduct, should land a man back to that Rank in Society
which he had forfeited, and do away, in as far as the Case will admit,
all Retrospect of former bad Conduct. This appears to me to be the
greatest Inducement that can be held out towards the Reformation of the
Manners of the Inhabitants, and I think it is consistent with the
gracious and Humane Intentions of His Majesty and His Ministers in
favour of this class of people. I am aware it is a measure which must be
resorted to with great Caution and Delicacy; but I am hopeful that in
time it may be extended beyond the line within which I must restrict
myself for the present. The Number of Persons of this Description whom I
have yet admitted to my Table consist of only four. Namely: Mr. D'Arcy
Wentworth, Principal Surgeon; Mr. William Redfern, Assistant Surgeon;
Mr. Andrew Thompson, an opulent Farmer and Proprietor of Land; and Mr.
Simeon Lord, an opulent Merchant. Three of these Persons have acquired
Property to a large amount; they have long conducted themselves with the
greatest Propriety, and I find them at all times ready to come forward
in the most liberal manner to the assistance of the Government. In order
to mark my sense of the merits of Mr. Andrew Thompson, I have already
appointed him a Justice of the Peace and Magistrate of the Hawkesbury,
where he has a large property, and I intend to confer the same Marks of
Distinction on Mr. Wentworth and Mr. Simeon Lord when Vacancies in the
Magistracy at Sydney, where they both reside, may occur.

Before I conclude this Despatch, permit me to express my grateful
acknowledgements to your Lordship for the Appointment I have now the
Honour to Hold, and to assure your Lordship that, as far as my
judgement and Abilities extend, I shall exert them in the faithful
discharge of the Trust reposed in me, with the Hope that in the wide
field for improvement here, my Services may not be unimportant, and that
they will ultimately meet with the Approbation of my Sovereign and His
Majesty's Ministers, and thereby Confirm the Opinion you did me the
Honour to form in my Favour.

I have, etc.,



Sydney, N.S.W., _17th Nov., 1812._

My Lord,

Since my last Public Despatch under Date 28th Oct. 1811, Transmitted per
ship Friends, via Rio-de-Janeiro, I have been honoured with Your
Lordship's Several Despatches, under Dates 26th July 1811, and 4th, 5th
and 19th May, 1812; and also the several other Letters with their
respective Enclosures and Accompanying Documents from Your Lordship or
the Under-Secretary of State, as noted in the margin.

In the first Despatch I had the Honour of addressing to Lord Castlereagh
(Your Lordship's immediate Predecessor in Office) under date the 30th of
April, 1810, I stated my Reasons for restoring those Persons _who had
been Convicts_, to that Rank in Society, which they had lost, but which,
by long habits of Rectitude and Meritorious Conduct in this Colony they
were fully entitled to be restored to. I have found the greatest benefit
to result from the adoption of this System of Policy. Some Men who had
been Convicts have been appointed Magistrates by me; Some of the same
Description of Men have been honoured with His Majesty's Commission,
which in my Mind is alone a sufficient proof of the eligibility of these
persons for any Society. On all occasions I have found and experienced
very great assistance from those Persons in the Habitual and Zealous
discharge of the Several Duties attached to their respective Situations;
and they act at all times as if they conceived it to be their
indispensable and first Duty to assist the Government of the Country.
Altho' the principal Leaders, who headed the Faction which occasioned
so much mischief and Anarchy in this Country (previous to my arrival),
have left it, Yet the Seeds of it were so deeply sown that a
considerable part of that factious spirit still exists among some
discontented and disaffected Persons in this Colony, whose restless and
Vicious Minds cannot endure any Control or legitimate form of
Government. The only measure of mine which to my knowledge they have
dared to attempt to counteract, is this extension of just and humane
Indulgence to those Persons (who had formerly been Convicts), whom I
have brought forward and patronised by admitting them to my Society, but
whom the factious Persons herein alluded to found it advantageous to
their Interests and illiberal Prejudices to consider as Outcasts,
beneath their notice and for ever doomed to oblivion and Neglect.

It would therefore be highly gratifying and Satisfactory to Me, if Your
Lordship would have the goodness to honour me with a Communication of
His Royal Highness the Prince Regent's Sentiments on this Subject which
I consider as one of the greatest possible Interest and Importance to
the Welfare, Prosperity and Happiness of this rising Colony; which, as
it was originally settled for the Reception, Punishment, and eventual
Improvement of Convicts, appears to Me to require that their
Improvement, Welfare and Happiness should form the first and chief
Object of Attention in the important Duties entrusted to the Governor of

This Despatch will be delivered to your Lordship by Lieutenant Richard
Lundin of the 73rd Regiment, to whom I take the liberty of referring
Your Lordship for any particulars relative to the Colony that may have
escaped my recollection in my Public Despatches; and I further beg leave
to recommend him to your Lordship's Favour and Protection.

I have, etc.,



+Source.+--The State and Position of Western Australia, by Captain
Frederick Chidley Irwin of H.M. 63rd Regiment; late Commandant of the
Troops, and Acting Governor of the Colony, 1835, pp. 32-37, 42-46.

     The settlement of Western Australia was undertaken in 1825, with
     the purely philanthropic idea of relieving the overcrowded
     population of Great Britain. The early difficulties were due to the
     ignorance of conditions in the country, and the unsuitability of
     the emigrants. Mr. Peel was chief promoter of the scheme.

The reader's attention will now be drawn to some of the mis-statements
with respect to the colony, which have appeared in recent publications.
Under this head he would especially notice a work entitled "England and
America." At page 33, Vol. 2 of the work in question, there is said to
be, in Western Australia "abundance of good land and of land, too,
cleared and drained by nature." After adverting to the amount of capital
and live stock, and the number of labourers introduced by the first
settlers, it is asked, what has become of all that capital, and all
those labourers? Then comes the following passage: "Why this failure
with all the elements of success--plenty of good land, plenty of
capital, and enough labour? The explanation is easy: In this colony
there never has been a class of labourers. Those who went out as
labourers no sooner reached the colony than they were tempted by the
superabundance of good land to become landowners."

The writer proceeds to state, that Mr. Peel (who, as he had been
informed, had brought out a capital of £50,000 and 300 persons of the
labouring class) had been thus left without a servant to make his bed,
or to fetch him water from the river; and that, in the absence of his
people, his capital had perished. "The same thing," he adds, "happened
in many cases." Further on, it is stated that some of the labourers, who
had become independent landowners, died of hunger, at a period when a
large supply of food had reached the colony, and that they were starved
because where they had settled was not known to the Governor, nor even
to themselves--"such," says this writer, "was the dispersion of these
colonists, in consequence of superabundance of good land." It is added,
that the settlers who remained had petitioned for convicts, though one
of the chief inducements to settling in the colony was an undertaking,
on the part of the English Government, that none should be sent thither.

If this writer's statement be correct, that labourers on their arrival,
tempted by the superabundance of good land, did with impunity desert
their masters, leaving their property to perish, and did themselves
become landowners, it will be apparent, either that there were then no
laws in the colony, or that they were not in force. The reverse,
however, is the fact--there were laws, and they were enforced.

The following is No. 8 of the land regulations: "No grant of land will
be made to servants under indenture; nor shall persons receive grants
who shall appear to have come to the settlement at the expense of other
individuals without sufficient assurance of their having fulfilled the
condition of any agreement under which they may have come." The author
does not remember an instance of this regulation being relaxed; and it
is manifest that destruction of property and the ruin of the capitalist
must have been inevitable, had the Government not enforced it.

Equally without foundation is the statement that the indentured servant
could desert his master with impunity. The indenture was binding equally
on master and servant, and was strictly enforced by the colonial law. If
the master failed to give the wages, food, or whatever else might have
been stipulated for in the indenture, the servant, on establishing his
complaint before a magistrate, obtained his discharge. On the other
hand, if the master proved a breach of the indenture by the servant
unduly absenting himself, refusing to work, etc., the magistrate was
under obligation to imprison the servant. Also any person employing an
indentured servant, without permission of the master, was subject to a
very heavy fine.

Mr. Peel and his people were in this manner circumstanced. The author
has read many of their indentures; in all of these Mr. Peel was bound to
pay them daily wages (generally three shillings) out of which their food
and clothing were to be deducted. The capital imported by Mr. Peel,
though very considerable, was understood to consist chiefly of stores
and live-stock. However this may have been, he found it convenient after
a time, to grant most of his people permission to work for other
settlers, reserving a right to recall them when he chose; but allowing
them the alternative of their discharge, on their reimbursing him the
expense of their passage out. As his people could get higher wages when
working for others, they gladly accepted the permission. Occasional
misunderstandings took place between him and some of them, and it was
not till after the Governor, accompanied by the Law-Adviser of
Government, had more than once repaired in person to Mr. Peel's
location, that an adjustment of those differences was effected. The
author has known several servants of Mr. Peel to be imprisoned for
breaches of indenture. A number of them, however, were excellent men,
who would have conscientiously adhered to him, had he not given them the
option of working for others.

It is but justice here to acknowledge the great benefit conferred on the
settlement by Mr. Peel, in the introduction of men who were not only of
good conduct, but well acquainted with farming pursuits or with trades.
For himself, the author feels happy in having this opportunity to
express his sense of it, having had upwards of four years in his
service, a family brought out by Mr. Peel. The father of this family is
a man of intelligence and observation. Besides his own trade of brick
and tile-making, he has a complete knowledge of farming, gardening,
bricklaying, lime-burning, and brewing, in which various occupations he
employs himself. Such is his industry that he has been seen working for
hours in the garden by moonlight, after spending a long day at labour in
the field. His wife is a regular dairywoman. One of the sons is a
carpenter, and another a ploughman, besides having each a knowledge of
their father's trade; and the rest of the family, down to the youngest,
are training up habits of industry and labour.

Although, as has been shown, the conditions of the indentures were by
the colonial laws enforced, it will nevertheless be manifest, that no
law, in any country, can prevent an artful and unprincipled servant
(anxious to be rid of his engagement) from acting in so vexatious a
manner, that some masters, in preference to keeping such a one, would
forgo any benefit the indenture might offer. Such a course has been
adopted in the colony by some masters thus circumstanced. Those,
however, who had been careful to bring out men of good character, and to
whom they allowed an equitable compensation for their services, have
rarely had cause for complaint; and, on the contrary, have generally
been rewarded by the cheerful obedience of their servants.

The author is the more desirous of disproving the alleged lawless state
of society in the colony, as the implied reproach is totally unmerited
by the Governor, Sir James Stirling, who has been most indefatigable and
self-denying in his exertions for the public welfare; and it is equally
so by the magistracy, who have, from the outset, administered the laws
with vigour and impartiality.

With reference to the assertion that some individuals had perished with
hunger from not having been able to inform the Governor as to where they
had settled, the author can only say, that he did not hear of any such
circumstance while in the colony, and that he considers it very
improbable; as, with the exception of the people connected with Mr.
Peel, the settlers at the period alluded to were located on the Swan and
the Canning, by following down which rivers they could have reached in
the course of a single day the towns of Perth or Freemantle.

He has also to confess his ignorance of the colonists having, as stated,
petitioned for convicts--he knows that such a wish was not expressed in
their memorial drawn up in 1832, and laid before His Majesty's
Government by Sir James Stirling in person. The colonists having had
before their eyes, in the neighbouring penal settlements, the serious
evils inflicted on society by the employment of convicts (especially as
indoor servants) have firmly resisted the temptation to seek such a
remedy for their wants. The extreme difficulty, which it is notorious
respectable families there experience, to sufficiently guard the morals
of their offspring, and to secure their being brought up in the
necessary principles of virtue and integrity, is alone a consideration
which, it is believed, will keep the colonists in Western Australia
stedfast on that point. No mere worldly prosperity whatsoever can
compensate for the tremendous risk to which children in a penal
settlement are exposed, as many a heart-broken parent can testify.

It now remains for the author to offer a few observations

1. On the failures that occurred among the early settlers.

2. On the origin of the reports so widely circulated to the prejudice of
the country.

3. On the tardy progress of the colony, compared with what had been

The following extract from one of the earliest despatches of the
Governor (written in January 1830, and addressed to the Secretary of
State) will serve to preface these remarks, as it bears immediately on
the first point. Adverting to the circumstances under which the first
settlers came out, he thus proceeds: "There could not be a great number
with minds and bodies suited to encounter the struggle and distresses of
a new settlement. Many, if not all, have accordingly been more or less
disappointed on arrival, with either the state of things here, or their
own want of power to surmount the difficulties pressing round them. This
has been experienced, in the beginning, by every new colony; and might
have been expected to occur here, as well as elsewhere. The greater
part, incapable of succeeding in England, are not likely to prosper here
to the extent of their groundless and inconsiderate expectations. Many
of the settlers who have come should never have left in England a safe
and tranquil state of life; and, if it be possible to discourage one set
of people, and to encourage another, I would earnestly request that for
a few years, the helpless and inefficient may be kept from the
settlement; whilst, as to the active, industrious, and intelligent they
may be assured with confidence of a fair reward for their labours."

If, after what has been said, it be granted that Western Australia, as
far as natural advantages go, is well suited for the purpose of
colonization, still it will be apparent, from the principle on which the
colony was founded, that its success must be greatly dependent on the
capital and exertions of the settlers. The charge of maintaining a
military and a civil establishment being all His Majesty's Government
was pledged to, every other expense was to be borne by the emigrant;
such as his outfit, voyage, and settlement in the colony.

No arrangement prior to leaving England having been made by the
emigrants to ensure the advantages of co-operation on the part of their
friends at home, and among themselves in the colony, each depended on
his own energy and resources for his success; and the foregoing
description of many of the original settlers will account for the
disappointments that ensued in various instances.

Few who abandoned the settlement under such circumstances, were willing
to admit their failure was the result of their own want of exertion, or
their unfitness for the enterprise in which they had embarked;
accordingly, wherever they went, and in their letters home, the blame
was laid on the country. Thus many of the evil reports respecting it,
which were current at home and in the neighbouring colonies, may be
traced to this source.

A prevalent cause of distress among the early settlers arose from their
having generally brought out with them little ready money, compared with
their other property. This was chiefly owing to the Government
regulations admitting of land being assigned to those only who
introduced labourers, and various kinds of property required by farmers.
Many of the settlers, therefore, to the extent of their means, were in
this way amply provided; but having understood in England that money
would be of little use in a new country, numbers, without questioning
what they wished to be true, incautiously expended most of their means
in the property that would entitle them to obtain land in the colony.
However, when they had been some time in the settlement, they discovered
that there, as in other places, money was needful; and on wishing to
procure some by the sale of part of their property, they found it
difficult to do so without loss, in consequence of most other settlers
having brought out similar investments.

Another cause of depression, which has borne seriously on the settlers,
has been the occasional high price of the necessaries of life. With a
view of remedying this evil, cargoes of provisions have been repeatedly
imported by the Local Government--the actual cost alone being charged to
the settler. Even a shipload of bullocks and pigs was introduced from
Java. But, numbers of the bullocks and pigs getting loose, soon became
as wild and difficult to recapture as if they had been natives of the
woods, whither they had betaken themselves.

Experience has shown that the system of free grants, which was the first
adopted in Western Australia, is decidedly injurious to the prosperity
of a settlement, from the facility it affords to persons possessed of
comparatively little capital to acquire extensive tracts of land, the
greater part of which, for want of means, they cannot use for
agricultural or pastoral purposes. It also occasions the too wide
dispersion of the settlers; thus necessarily increasing the expense of
Government, and, at the same time, producing serious inconvenience to
the farmer.


+Source.+--A Letter from Sydney. E.G. Wakefield (Gouger, 1829), Appendix

     The failure of the first attempt to settle Western Australia gave
     rise to much thought upon the theory of colonization. The ideas
     most generally accepted were those of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who
     summarized his theory as follows:


It is suggested:

Article I.

THAT a payment in money of---- per acre, be required for all future
grants of land without exception.

Article II.

THAT all land now granted, and to be granted, throughout the colony, be
declared liable to a tax of---- per cent. upon the actual rent.

Article III.

THAT the proceeds of the tax upon rent, and of sales, form an EMIGRATION
FUND, to be employed in the conveyance of British labourers to the
colony free of cost.

Article IV.

THAT those to whom the administration of the Fund shall be entrusted, be
empowered to raise money on that security, as money is raised on the
security of parish and county rates in England.

Article V.

THAT the supply of labourers be as nearly as possible proportioned to
the demand for Labour at each Settlement; so that Capitalists shall
never suffer from an urgent want of Labourers, and that Labourers shall
never want well-paid employment.

Article VI.

THAT in the selection of Emigrants, an absolute preference be given to
young persons, but that no excess of males be conveyed to the colony
free of cost.

Article VII.

THAT Colonists providing a passage for emigrant Labourers, being young
persons, and equal numbers of both sexes, be entitled to a payment in
money from the Emigration Fund, equal to the actual contract price of a
passage for so many labouring persons.

Article VIII.

THAT Grants be absolute in fee, without any condition whatever, and
obtainable by deputy.

Article IX.

THAT any surplus of the proceeds of the tax upon rent and of sales, over
what is required for Emigration, be employed in relief of other taxes,
and for the general purposes of Colonial Government.


+Source.+--Six Months in the new Colony of South Australia (J. Horton
James, 1839), pp. 1, 28-37

     The settlement of South Australia was undertaken to test
     Wakefield's theory; but instead of turning their land to good
     account the colonists left it idle, hoping to sell at a high price.
     The result was disastrous.


The New Province, called South Australia, which, by an Act of the
Imperial Parliament, was erected into a free British colony on 15th
August, 1834, is situate on the South Coast of the Great Island
Continent of New Holland, in the Southern or Indian Ocean, extending
from 132° to 141° E. longitude, and from 38° to 26° S. latitude, and
contains nearly two hundred millions of acres. It is twelve thousand
miles distant from Great Britain.

This distance of twelve thousand miles ought to be performed by a fast
sailing ship in twelve weeks, at the rate of a thousand miles per week,
which is the fair average running of a good ship on distant voyages; but
it is better to allow something for light winds and calms near the
Equator, and to say in round numbers one hundred days in all, which is
rather more than fourteen weeks.

This is Port Adelaide! Port Misery would be a better name; for nothing
in any other part of the world can surpass it in everything that is
wretched and inconvenient, packages of goods and heaps of merchandise
are lying about in every direction as if they had cost nothing. Stacks
of what were once beautiful London bricks crumbling away like
gingerbread, and evidently at each returning tide half covered with the
flood; trusses of hay, now rotten, and Norway deals, scattered about as
if they had no owner--iron ploughs and rusty harrows--cases of
door-frames and windows that had once been glazed--heaps of the best
slates half tumbling down--winnowing-machines broken to pieces--blocks
of Roman cement, now hard as stone, wanting nothing but the staves and
hoops--Sydney cedar, and laths and shingles from Van Diemen's Land in
every direction; whilst on the high ground are to be seen pigs eating
through the flour-sacks, and kegs of raisins with not only the head out,
but half the contents; onions and potatoes apparently to be had for
picking up. The sight is disheartening. What with the sun and the
rain--the sand and the floods--the thieves with four legs and the
thieves with two--the passengers hug themselves at the recollection that
_they_ have brought no merchandise for sale, glad enough to be able to
take care of themselves. The sooner they get out of this horrid hole the
better, so they enquire if there is any coach to the town--they are
answered by a careless shake of the head, and so, like good settlers,
they determine to set off and walk, carrying their light parcels with
them, and leaving the heavy things with a friend who refuses to go any
further. They ask for a drink of water before starting--there is not
such a thing to be had; but the bullock carts are expected down every
minute with the usual supply! "What, no water?" exclaims our passenger.
"No, sir, but the Commissioners are sinking a well, though they have not
yet found any but salt water; but they are going to dig in another
place, shortly, we understand."

Away they start for the City of Adelaide, and after ten minutes of rough
walking through the loose sand, which is fatiguing enough, they gain the
firm and beaten road, with the cheerful hills before them, glad enough
to have overcome their morning troubles. Though very warm the walk is
agreeable, and out of a cloud of dust before them, they soon descry a
dray or two, each drawn by a long line of bullocks. They perceive by the
splashing of the water from the open bungs that the casks contain the
daily supply for the port, and the drivers very cheerfully give them
all a drink; this enables them to walk on with renewed spirits, over the
naked plain, and, tired and dusty, in about seven miles more they reach
another iron store, the property of the Commissioners, where they now
begin to see a few marquees and huts, and people walking about. They
step across the "Torrens," without knowing it, and enquire for the inn.
They are directed to the Southern Cross Hotel, then kept by a German Jew
of the name of Levy, considered the best house in this settlement, and
here we will leave them for the present, hungry, thirsty, and
fatigued--covered with dust and perspiration--and with feelings of shame
and disappointment at being so taken in!


"When things are at the worst, they mend," is a common saying, and a
true one; and so it was with our passengers. Though rough, dirty and
uncomfortable, they enjoyed the Jew's dinner or table d'hôte, though it
consisted merely of a baked leg of mutton at the top, with a baked
shoulder at bottom and a dish of small potatoes in the middle--nothing
else whatever--neither pie, pudding, or cheese; but they had given
themselves a good wash, and a change of linen, and a bottle of Barclay
and Perkins at dinner had now restored them to good humour.

They found that the company at the table was much better than the
dishes, and that they had all gone through the same miserable landing at
the Fort, and some of them had even suffered considerably by falling
down in the mud; so, as we draw comfort out of other men's misfortunes,
and it is better to laugh than weep, our newly-arrived emigrants began
to think the place was not so bad after all. They were, at any rate,
great travellers, and were determined to make light of troubles and
inconveniences, as all travellers do. They saw that the gentlemen at
table were a very nice set of fellows, and as they had evidently had to
rough it, much more formerly, than was necessary at the present day,
they should make up their minds to think well of everything--to look
only at the advantages of the Colony--and in their letters to any London
friends, they were resolved decidedly to recommend the place--but not a
word about the mud.

The Town of Adelaide, as depicted on the maps, is the very beau ideal of
all possible cities--there is an elegance and vastness of design about
it, that almost makes one blush for the comparative insignificance of
London and Stromboul; of Paris and Canton;--but on going to the spot,
like many other works of art and imagination, it resembles the picture
very slightly--it is altogether on too large a scale; and of all the
follies committed by the inexperience of the surveyor-general, who is,
nevertheless, in every other respect a most gentlemanlike, entertaining,
and intelligent person, next to its inland situation, this monstrous
extent of Adelaide will turn out to be the most fruitful of complaints.
You may lean against any tree in the City and exclaim, "This shadowy
desert, unfrequented woods, I better brook than flourishing peopled

And yet there are sprinkled up and down the place a few substantial
buildings; one belonging to the Company, on an enormous scale--another
good brick house to Mr. Hack--another to the enterprising Mr.
Gilles--one to Mr. Thomas, and a couple of new taverns. The rest of the
dwellings are made of very slight materials, and the number of canvas
tents and marquees give some parts of the settlement the appearance of a
camp. Most of the new-comers settle down on what is called the Park
Lands, where they are handy to the little rivulet, and they run up a
Robinson Crusoe sort of hut, with twigs and branches from the adjoining
forest, and the climate being fine and dry, they answer well enough as
temporary residences. The principal streets have been laid out in the
survey of the town 132 feet wide, which is nearly twice as wide as
Portland Place, and the squares are all on such a scale of magnitude,
that if there were any inhabitants in them, a cab would almost be
required to get across them.

Before any person has been ashore at Adelaide twenty-four hours, even
the greenest and most inexperienced put these two very natural
questions; First--Why did you make the plan of the future town so large?
Answer--Because the land was of no value, and it was a pity to be
crowded when there was so much room! And the Second question is--Why did
you select the town eight miles from the landing-place? Answer--Because
we preferred being away from the nasty sailors, and thought it better
not to be annoyed with the demoralizing influence of a Sea Port!

Unless this is promptly remedied, the "Wisdom of our ancestors" will not
become such a favourite saying in South Australia, as it is in the Old
Country, for the town, including the park lands, is already eight miles
round, with 3,000 inhabitants only. This, from persons who are all for
concentration, seems strange; and the consequence is as might have been
expected, that in the daytime persons are constantly losing themselves
in the midst of the city. Whilst at night it is impossible to move out
of the house without company, unless you have any desire to sleep under
a tree. This has happened to the oldest inhabitants, about whom many
droll stories have been told. Some of the highest officers in the
colony, after wandering about for hours in the dark, either running
against trees, or falling over logs, or into holes, have chosen rather
to give it up in despair, content to take a night's lodging beneath a
tree, than run the risk any longer of breaking their necks although in
the midst of the township, and when day-light appeared, not perhaps more
than a pistol-shot from their own hut. It is hardly possible that such a
blunder as this is, this Adelaide and Port Adelaide, can much longer be
tolerated by the respectable parties about proceeding to the Colony, and
there is not the remotest chance that the unnatural abortion can ever
come to good. Another town of more modest and moderate pretensions will
rise up in the land-locked basin of Port Lincoln, along the margin of
the deep water, consisting of 640 acres, divided into building lots of
one rood each, which will be enough for a population of 50,000 persons,
which is as many as the most sanguine friend of the Colony can
anticipate for a century to come. There, under the shelter of Boston
Island, or in Spalding Cove, the merchant may leave his office and walk
across a plank into the last ship that arrived from England, and all the
hundreds of bullocks now employed dragging up waggon loads of rubbish
and merchandise from Adelaide Swamp to Adelaide Township, may then be
dispensed with and go a-ploughing, as they ought to have done long
since, which will save £20,000 a year to the settlers in the item of
land carriage alone, and by being employed on the farms instead of on
the road the Colony will not require such frequent importations of farm
produce from Van Diemen's Land, to the great impoverishment of the
community. What, abandon Adelaide! I think I hear the carriers exclaim.
Oh no, let Adelaide remain as before, it will always answer well enough
for a country village, and stand a monument to the folly of the
projectors, but let the Governor and Civil Establishment move their
head-quarters without loss of time, to Port Lincoln, before more money
is thrown away. Every month that this measure is delayed it is made
more difficult and therefore should not be postponed at all. The buyers
of the 1,200 town acres would feel much disappointment at the measure,
as the market would be spoiled for the sale of their building lots, but
they would be rightly served for asking a monopoly price to respectable
new-comers, who ought to be enabled to obtain a town allotment for a
trifle of the Government.

In New South Wales they are sold by auction as applied for, and put up
at 20_s._ each, at which price they are generally knocked down; but with
a view to prevent any monopolizer buying them up, to the injury of the
_bona fide_ settler, every purchaser must sign a bond to the Government
in a penalty of £20, that he will build a house on the allotment, of a
certain value, within three years, or otherwise the land reverts
absolutely to the Crown, and the penalty is enforced too. This is as it
should be, and the evil working of the old system ought to have been
forseen, but at South Australia the Commissioners and Survey Department
disdained to copy anything from such a colony as Sydney and made the old
saying good about advice, that those who want it most like it least. Now
the late Governor, Captain Hindmarsh, was quite the opposite of this,
and was most diligent in seeking out the best way of doing everything,
and was not above learning even from those ignorant neighbours, New
South Wales and Van Diemen's Land. Here is a proof.


"Government House, _25th April, 1838._

"The Council being about to meet this morning to discuss a subject with
which Mr. Horton James is particularly well acquainted; the Governor
will thank Mr. James, if he would do him the favour to attend the
Council this morning about half-past nine o'clock, to give the Council
his opinion on the subject.

"T.H. JAMES, ESQ., Adelaide."

The character of the late Governor, Capt. Hindmarsh, pleased me
exceedingly, not only for the frankness of his manner towards strangers,
and the easy terms on which he admitted every respectable resident to
his table, but by his constant, steady, and unremitting attention to
business. Many difficulties of a new and serious nature would sometimes
suddenly involve him, during my residence in the colony, especially in
reference to the native blacks, who had been committing some violences
in the camp. The settlers were very violent and rash, calling loudly for
immediate and strong measures of retaliation, and going up in mobs to
Government House, thirsting for revenge against the natives. But the
Governor on all occasions acted with a praiseworthy and becoming
firmness, and would listen to nothing like reprisals on an unarmed and
naked population; and while he took the most upright, they turned out to
be the wisest and most successful measures he could have adopted for the
pacification of the place, which in a day or two became as quiet as
ever, and the danger so much talked of was disregarded and forgotten,
entirely owing to His Excellency's pacific treatment. Notwithstanding
his severe and inflexible adherence to these measures, in accordance to
his instructions, and in opposition to the murderous wishes of some of
the settlers, Captain Hindmarsh, after the hours of business, surrounded
by his amiable and accomplished family, was just the same as ever,
zealous, enthusiastic and humane, when speaking of the colony and its
black population; and gentle and sincere in his intercourse with his
friends; never exhibiting the slightest degree of reserve, parade or
affectation, but winning all hearts by his attention to his guests. It
is hard to say why such a suitable person was recalled. He seems to have
been sacrificed to clamour; but to accuse, and prove, are very
different, and in any enquiry that may be hereafter instituted, Captain
Hindmarsh will, I am sure, come off without reproach.


+Source.+--Batman's Journal, Victorian Pamphlets, Vol. cxxvii, pp.
10-13, 16-22

     Convictism in Tasmania caused great dissatisfaction among the free
     settlers; in 1835 John Batman crossed the Strait in search of fresh
     pastures. Melbourne stands on the site he selected for "the future

_May 29th._ Daylight had no sooner broke this morning--and never had its
cheerful return been so ardently longed for--than we were again greeted
by the sight of Port Phillip Heads, at a distance not apparently
exceeding eight miles. By 9 a.m. we were between the Heads, with the
tide running out, and nearly at low water; a heavy surf and the wind
light and baffling. We effected an entrance with difficulty at a part of
the bay where the width was about a mile and a quarter. We succeeded,
however, in entering one of the finest bays, or basins of water, well
sheltered, that we remember to have seen. Within the Bay the water was,
compared to our late tossing in the boiling and foaming waters outside,
as smooth as a mill-pond, and our little bark floated gently along like
a sleeping gull. I shall, however, take this opportunity to remark that
it will be desirable to enter its mouth only at the times of the tide
running in. We continued our course down the bay, and found the country
everywhere of the same richly-grassed character.

_May 30th._ Robinson Crusoe was never better pleased with the appearance
of the first ship which arrived, and rescued him _from_ his desolate
island, than I was with the vessel which proved the means of thus
opening to view a country capable of supporting a future nation, and
which, we trust, will be the means of relieving the Hobart Town country
of its over-stocked cattle, and the Mother Country of her surplus and
half-starved peasantry. Futurity must develop this prophecy! Further
travelling and examination only added to my pre-conceived estimate of
this extremely interesting and extensive territory; consisting of plains
or downs at least twenty miles long by a width of 10 miles, and the
distance may have been greater, but for the interruption of hills more
than ordinarily high, which broke the horizon in different directions.
One of these vistas, which I have at present in view, cannot form a less
area than 100,000 acres. Its general character presents that of
cultivated pasture for centuries past; the few trees appear as though
they owed their plantation to the hand of man. All the high hills are
covered with grass to their summits.

I discovered the fires of the natives or aboriginal inhabitants of this
marvellously fertile country, and felt delighted beyond expression that
the task of its discovery should have devolved upon myself.

_June 2nd._ My Sydney natives came on board this morning for the purpose
of assisting in packing up, and otherwise making preparations for our
contemplated expedition into the interior. As it continued to rain
heavily and a heavy bank of fog prevailed, and prevented our seeing any
distance, I proposed, rather than lose time to go with the vessel to the
river (Saltwater), and from thence take my departure for the bush. We
made the river by 3 p.m., and observed that the whole of the coast at
the head of the bay was clear of timber, and a constant plain covered
with grass.

Near the head of the river, on the point, was a plantation of she-oak.
We endeavoured to sail up the river, but found the water not more than a
fathom deep.... To-morrow, weather permitting, I intend taking my
departure up the river.

_June 3rd._ Everything being in readiness, we left the vessel about 9
a.m., and proceeded in a boat up the river for about five miles.... In
travelling further up we passed over several rich flats, about a mile
wide, by two or three miles long, destitute of trees, and covered
knee-deep with grass, from which hundreds of tons of good hay might be
made. The land was of the best description, equal to anything in the
world, nor does it appear subject to being flooded. For twenty-six miles
we continued following the course of this river, and found on both sides
of it, as far as the eye could stretch, fine open plains, with a few
trees of the oak species; one striking object was the absence of fresh
water all throughout this distance. Just before sundown as we were
preparing to camp on the bank of the river, I caught sight of a damp
place, and, on sending one of my men, Gumm, to make a hole with a stick
to the depth of two feet, we had in the course of an hour a plentiful
supply of good water.... I have named this place Gumm's Well.

_June 4th._ Recommenced our journey up the river at 8 a.m.; after
travelling four or five miles, I turned off to obtain a view of Mounts
Collicott, Cottrill, and Solomon.... We continued travelling over the
plains, and in eight miles again made the river. Having crossed the
river, we travelled over the richest land I had ever seen in my life;
marsh mallows with leaves as large as those of the cabbage tribe, and as
high as my head. We recrossed at a native ford, and we observed on a
wattle tree, which they had been stripping of the bark, scratches or
marks of figures, representing blacks in the act of fighting. These
figures I copied as near as I was able.

_June 6th._ We made an early breakfast and resumed our journey in order
to reach the camp of the blacks, the smoke of whose fires we had seen
yesterday. We travelled over land equal to any that we had seen, a deep
black diluvium with grass three or four feet high, and thinly-timbered.
After travelling eight miles we struck the trail of the natives which in
a short time led us to a branch of the tribe, consisting of one chief,
his wife, and three children--fine, plump, chubby, healthy-looking
urchins they were. To this distinguished royal chieftain of the prairies
I gave one pair of blankets, handkerchiefs, beads, and three
pocket-knives; upon the receipt of these presents, he undertook the part
of guide. We crossed a fresh water creek with good land on either bank.
Our new guide informed us that he would take us to his tribe, at the
same time naming many of their chiefs. After travelling about eight
miles, we were surprised to hear a number of voices calling after us,
and on looking round encountered six men, armed with spears fixed in
their wommeras. We stopped; and they at once threw aside their spears,
and came up to us in a most friendly manner possible. We all shook hands
and I gave them knives, tomahawks, etc., whereupon they took the lead,
and brought us back about a mile, to where we found huts, or gunyahs,
and a number of women and children. We sat down in the midst of these
sooty and sable aboriginal children of Australia; amongst whom we
ascertained were eight chiefs belonging to the country near Port
Phillip, over which we had travelled, and with which we had so much
reason to be pleased. The three principal chiefs were brothers. Two of
them were fully six feet high and tolerably good-looking; the third was
not so tall but much stouter than the others. The other five chiefs were
equally fine men. And a question, to myself, here arises, and the answer
as speedily follows, viz., now is the time for entering into and
effecting a purchase of their land. A full explanation, that my object
in visiting their shores was to purchase their land, they appeared to
understand; and the following negotiation or agreement was immediately
entered into. I purchased two large blocks or tracts of land, about
600,000 acres, more or less, and, in consideration therefor, I gave them
blankets, knives, looking-glasses, tomahawks, beads, scissors, flour,
etc. I also further agreed to pay them a tribute or rent yearly. The
parchment, or deed was signed this afternoon by the eight chiefs, each
of them, at the same time, handing me a portion of the soil; thus giving
me full possession of the tracts of land I had purchased.

This most extraordinary sale and purchase took place by the side of a
lovely stream of water, from whence my land commenced. A tree was here
marked in four different ways, to define the corner boundaries. Good
land, to any extent, either for stock or tillage, with good water was
here in abundance, ready for sheep, cattle, or the plough. Our
negotiation was terminated by my Sydney natives giving our
newly-acquired friends a grand corroborree at night, much to their
delight. The group consisted, altogether, of forty-five men, women, and

Sunday, _June 7th._ I awoke this morning with the agreeable
consciousness of my being able, like Alexander Selkirk, of school-boy
memory, to say: "I am monarch of all I survey; my right there is none to
dispute." With a view, however, of securing this right more permanently,
I busied myself with drawing up triplicates of the deeds of the land I
had purchased, and in delivering over to the natives more property. This
was done on the banks of the lovely little creek which I have named
Batman's Creek, as a memento of the novel and interesting transaction
occurring on its banks. After the purchase and payment at the conclusion
of the preliminaries, I had made preparation for departing, when two of
the principal chiefs approached, and laid their royal mantles at my
feet, begging my acceptance of them. Upon my acquiescing, the gifts were
placed around my neck and over my shoulders by the noble donors, who
seemed much pleased at their share in the transaction, and begged of me
to walk a pace or two in their (now my) princely vestments. I asked them
to accompany me to the vessel, to which request I received a rather
feeling reply, by their pointing, first to their children, and next to
their own naked feet, importing that they could not walk so fast as
ourselves, but would come down in a few day. In the course of the late
transaction, I had no difficulty in discovering their sacred and private
mark, so important in all their transactions, and universally respected.
I obtained a knowledge of this mark by means of one of my Sydney
natives, Bungit, who, going behind a tree, out of sight of the females
made the Sydney aboriginal mark. I afterwards took two others of my
natives, and the principal chief of Port Phillip to whom I showed the
mark on the tree, which he instantly recognized, and pointed, also, to
the knocking out of the front tooth. This mark is always made
simultaneously with the loss or extraction of the tooth. I requested
the chief through the interpretation of my Sydney natives, to give the
imprint of his mark. After a few minutes hesitation, he took a tomahawk
and did as he was desired, on the bark of a tree. A copy of this mark is
attached to the deed, as the signature and seal of their country.

About 10 a.m. I took my departure from these interesting people. The
principal chief could not be less than six feet four inches high, and
his proportions gigantic; his brother six feet two inches, also a fine
man. I recrossed Batman's Creek, and travelled over thinly-timbered
country of box, gum, wattle, and she-oak, with grass three of four feet
high. Travelling twelve miles down we came, subsequently, upon a
thinly-timbered forest of gum, wattle and oak. Here, for the first time,
the land became sandy, with a little gravel. The grass was ten inches
high, and resembled a field of wheat. We have not seen the slightest
appearance of frost. After leaving this forest, we came upon the river I
had gone up a few days before. Intending to come down on the opposite
side and hail the vessel, I crossed on the banks of the river, a large
marsh, one mile and a half broad by three or four long, of the richest
diluvium; not a tree was to be seen. Having crossed this marsh we passed
through a dense tea-tree scrub, very high, expecting to make the vessel
in the course of an hour or two, but, to our great surprise, when we got
through, we found ourselves on the banks of a much larger river than the
one we had originally gone up.

As it was now near sundown, and at least two days would be required to
head the river, I decided upon allowing two of my Sydney natives to swim
across it, and go to the vessel, distant about seven miles, to fetch the
boat. Bullet and Bungit started on this enterprise, and returned in
about three hours from the time of their departure. Their return with
the boat was most opportune as we had got on the point of junction of
the two rivers, where the tide had set in, and was already up to my
ankles. I first despatched the party with the dogs in the boat to the
opposite bank, and, on the return of the boat, myself and old Bull, who
had cut his foot, went in first-rate style, to the vessel. I hope my
travelling on foot will terminate, at least for some time. I had now
accomplished a most arduous undertaking, and, in order to secure the
fruits of my exertions I intend leaving Gumm, Dodds, Thomson, and three
of my Sydney natives--Bungit, Bullet, and old Bull--as overseers and
bailiffs of my newly acquired territory, and of the possession of which
nothing short of a premature disclosure of my discovery on the part of
my companions, can possibly deprive me. These people I intend leaving at
Indented Heads, as my head depot, with a supply of necessaries for at
least three months. The chiefs of the Port Phillip tribe made me a
present of three stone tomahawks, some spears, wommeras, boomerangs, and
other weapons of warfare.

_June 8th._ This morning the winds set in foul for Indented Heads, and,
having made several attempts to get out of the river, we gave it up as
hopeless. We went in the boat, up the large river coming from the east,
and after examination six miles up, I was pleased to find the water
quite fresh and very deep. This will be the place for the future


+Source.+--Report from the Select Committee of the House of Commons on
Transportation (Molesworth, 1838), pp. 8-10, 31-33, 43

     As Australia was shown to offer greater and greater attractions to
     free settlers the agitation against transportation increased. In
     1838 the British Government appointed a Select Committee to inquire
     into and report upon the whole system. Their verdict is given

To plant a colony, and to form a new society, has ever been an arduous
task. In addition to the natural difficulties arising from ignorance of
the nature of the soil, and of the climate of a new country, the first
settlers have generally had to contend with innumerable obstacles, which
only undaunted patience, firmness of mind, and constancy of purpose,
could overcome. But, whatever the amount of difficulties attendant on
the foundations of colonies, those difficulties were greatly augmented,
in New South Wales, by the character of the first settlers. The
offenders who were transported in the past century to America, were sent
to communities the bulk of whose population were men of thrift and
probity; the children of improvidence were dropped in by driblets
amongst the mass of a population already formed, and were absorbed and
assimilated as they were dropped in. They were scattered and separated
from each other; some acquired habits of honest industry, and all, if
not reformed by their punishment, were not certain to be demoralized by
it. In New South Wales, on the contrary, the community was composed of
the very dregs of society; of men, proved by experience to be unfit to
be at large in any society, and who were sent from the British gaols,
and turned loose to mix with one another in the desert, together with a
few task-masters, who were to set them to work in the open wilderness;
and with the military, who were to keep them from revolt. The
consequences of this strange assemblage were vice, immorality, frightful
disease, hunger, dreadful mortality among the settlers; the convicts
were decimated by pestilence on the voyage, and again decimated by
famine on their arrival; and the most hideous cruelty was practised
towards the unfortunate natives. Such is the early history of New South

After sentence of transportation has been passed, convicts are sent to
the hulks or gaols, where they remain till the period of their departure
arrives. On board convict vessels the convicts are under the sole
control of the surgeon-superintendent, who is furnished with
instructions, as to his conduct, from the Admiralty. The precautions
which have been taken against disease, and the better discipline now
preserved in these ships, have applied an effectual remedy to the
physical evils of the long voyage to Australia, and prevented the
mortality amongst the prisoners which prevailed to a fearful extent
during the earlier periods of transportation. Little diminution,
however, has taken place in those moral evils, which seem to be the
necessary consequences of the close contact and communication between so
many criminals, both during the period of confinement previous to
embarkation, and during the weariness of a long voyage.

As soon as a convict vessel reaches its place of destination, a report
is made by the surgeon-superintendent to the governor. A day is then
appointed for the colonial secretary or for his deputy to go on board to
muster the convicts, and to hear their complaints, if they have any to
make. The male convicts are subsequently removed to the convict
barracks; the females to the penitentiaries. In New South Wales,
however, regulations have lately been established, by which, in most
cases, female convicts are enabled to proceed at once from the ship to
private service. It is the duty of an officer, called the principal
superintendent of convicts, to classify the newly-arrived convicts, the
greater portion of whom are distributed amongst the settlers as
assigned servants; the remainder are either retained in the employment
of the government, or some few of them are sent to the penal

On the whole, your Committee may assert that, in the families of
well-conducted and respectable settlers, the condition of assigned
convicts is much the same as the condition of similar descriptions of
servants in this country; but this is by no means the case in the
establishment of all settlers. As the lot of a slave depends upon the
character of his master, so the condition of a convict depends upon the
temper and disposition of the settler to whom he is assigned. On this
account Sir George Arthur, late Governor of Van Diemen's Land, likened
the convict to a slave, and described him "as deprived of liberty,
exposed to all the caprice of the family to whose service he may happen
to be assigned, and subject to the most summary laws; his condition"
(said Sir George) "in no respect differs from that of the slave, except
that his master cannot apply corporal punishment by his own hands or
those of his overseer, and has a property in him for a limited period.
Idleness and insolence of expression, or of looks, anything betraying
the insurgent spirit, subject him to the chain-gang or the triangle, or
hard labour on the roads."

On the other hand, a convict, if ill-treated, may complain of his
master; and if he substantiate his charge the master is deprived of his
services; but for this purpose the convict must go before a bench,
sometimes a hundred miles distant, composed of magistrates, most of whom
are owners of convict labour. Legal redress is therefore rarely sought
for, and still more rarely obtained by the injured convict.

With regard to the general conduct of assigned agricultural labourers,
there was a considerable diversity of opinion. The evidence, however, of
Sir G. Arthur, appears to your Committee to be conclusive on this point,
with regard to which he wrote to the Secretary of State for the Colonies
in the following terms:

"You cannot, my Lord, have an idea of the vexations which accompany the
employment of convicts or of the vicissitudes attendant upon their
assignment. Their crimes and misconduct involve the settlers in daily
trouble, expense, and disappointment. The discipline and control of the
convicts in Van Diemen's Land is carried, perhaps, to a higher degree
than could have ever been contemplated. Many of the convicts have been
greatly reformed when in the service of considerate and judicious
masters; but, with all this abatement, there is so much peculation, so
much insubordination, insolence, disobedience of lawful orders, and so
much drunkenness, that reference to the magisterial authority is
constant, and always attended with loss of time and expense to the
settlers. There can be no doubt things appear better in the colony than
they really are; for, in numberless instances, masters are known to
submit to peculation rather than incur the additional expense of
prosecuting their servants. Two hundred felons, after having been for a
longtime under confinement in the gaols or hulks of England, and
subsequently pent up on board a transport, are placed in charge of the
masters or their agents to whom they have been assigned. The master has
then to take the convict to his home (either to the other extremity of
the island, a distance of 140 miles, or nearer, as the case may be), and
well would it be if he could get him quietly there, but the contrary is
of too frequent occurrence. Either with some money the convict has
secreted, or from the bounty of some old acquaintance, the assigned
servant, now relieved for the first time for some months from personal
restraint, eludes the vigilance of his new master, finds his way into a
public-house, and the first notice the settler has of his servant, for
whom he has travelled to Hobart Town, for whose clothing he has paid the
Government, for whose comfort he has, perhaps, made other little
advances, is, that he is lodged in the watch-house with loss of half his
clothing, or committed to gaol for felony."

The members of the anti-emancipist party in New South Wales attribute
the increase of crime in that colony partly to alleged relaxation of
convict discipline under Sir Richard Bourke; partly to the action of the
Jury Laws, which permit persons who have been convicts to become jurors;
and lastly, to the increasing number of emancipists.

The first-mentioned cause of the increase of crime in New South Wales
refers to the Quarter Session Act, passed in 1833; by that Act, the
summary jurisdiction of single magistrates over convicts, was somewhat
diminished, and a magistrate was prevented from inflicting more than 50
lashes for a single offence, instead of 150 which he might have given
before at three separate inflictions. These complaints do not seem to
your Committee to have the slightest foundation in fact, and Sir Richard
Bourke appears to have acted with wisdom, justice, and humanity in his
treatment of the convict population.

With regard to the second alleged cause of the increase of crime,
namely, the jury laws, your Committee need hardly repeat, that the
well-proven effect of transportation is to demoralize, not to reform an
offender; therefore, in a community like New South Wales, wherein so
large a proportion of the population are persons who have been convicts,
to permit such persons generally to sit upon juries must evidently have
an injurious effect. Your Committee, however, must observe, that under a
good system of punishment, an offender should, at the expiration of his
sentence, be considered to have atoned for his crimes, and he should be
permitted to commence a new career without any reference to his past

With regard to the last alleged cause of the increase of crime, namely,
the increasing number of emancipists; little doubt, your Committee
think, can be entertained of the pernicious consequences of annually
turning loose a number of unreclaimed offenders on so small a community
as that of New South Wales.

One of the supposed advantages of transportation is, that it prevents
this country from being burthened with criminal offenders, after the
expiration of their sentences. It is now, however, evident that
transportation does not tend to diminish the sum total of offences
committed in the British Dominions; it may, perhaps, relieve Great
Britain and Ireland from a portion of their burthen of crime; though,
from the little apprehension which transportation produces, that fact
may be reasonably doubted. On the other hand, it only transfers and
aggravates the burthen upon portions of the British Dominions, which,
like New South Wales, and Van Diemen's Land, are least able to bear it.

In 1836, the free population of New South Wales amounted to 49,255, of
whom about 17,000 had been convicts. In 1834, the free population of Van
Diemen's Land did not exceed 23,315, of whom about 3,000 were expirees.

Of the state of society in the towns of these colonies, a general idea
may be formed from a description of Sydney, according to the accounts
given of it, by the Chief Police Magistrate and by Mr. Justice Burton.
In 1836 Sydney covered an area of about 2,000 acres and contained about
20,000 inhabitants; of this number 3,500 were convicts, most of them in
assigned service, and about 7,000 had probably been prisoners of the
Crown. These, together with their associates amongst the free
population, were persons of violent and uncontrollable passions, which
most of them possessed no lawful means of gratifying; incorrigibly bad
characters, preferring a life of idleness and debauchery by means of
plunder to one of honest industry. Burglaries and robberies were
frequently perpetrated by convict servants in the town and its vicinity,
sometimes even in the middle of the day. No town offered so many
facilities for eluding the vigilance of the police as Sydney did. The
unoccupied bush near and within it afforded shelter to the offender and
hid him from pursuit. He might steal or hire a boat and in a few minutes
place an arm of the sea between himself and his pursuers. The want of
continuity in the buildings afforded great facilities for lying in wait
for opportunities of committing crime, for instant concealment on the
approach of the police, and for obtaining access to the backs of houses
and shops; and the drunkenness, idleness, and carelessness of a great
proportion of the inhabitants afforded innumerable opportunities and
temptations, both by day and night, for those who chose to live by
plunder. The greater portion of the shopkeepers and the middling class
had been convicts, for the tradesmen connected with the criminal
population have an advantage over free emigrants.

Those of the emancipists who were possessed of property had generally
acquired it by dishonest means, by keeping grog-shops, gambling-houses,
by receiving stolen goods, and by other nefarious practices; they led a
life of gross licentiousness; but their wealth and influence were such
that one-fourth of the jurors who served in the civil and criminal
courts during the years 1834, 1835, and 1836, belonged to their number.
More immorality prevailed in Sydney than in any other town of the same
size in the British Dominions; there, the vice of drunkenness had
attained its highest pitch; the quantity of spirits consumed in Sydney
was enormous; even throughout the whole of New South Wales the annual
average, for every human being in the colony had reached four gallons a
head. Such, according to the authorities already quoted, are the towns
to which transportation has given birth; and such are the inmates
furnished to them by the criminal tribunals of this country.

Your Committee having, in the preceding pages of their Report, discussed
the nature and effects of transportation, and what alterations can be
made in the existing system, now consider that they have submitted the
most unquestionable proofs that the two main characteristics of
transportation, as a punishment, are inefficiency in deterring from
crimes, and remarkable efficiency, not in reforming, but in still
further corrupting those who undergo the punishment; that these
qualities of inefficiency for good, and efficiency for evil, are
inherent in the system, which, therefore, is not susceptible of any
satisfactory improvement; and lastly, that there belongs to the system,
extrinsically from its strange character as a punishment, the yet more
curious and monstrous evil of calling into existence, and continually
extending, societies, or the germs of nations most thoroughly depraved,
as respects both the character and degree of their vicious propensities.
Your Committee, therefore, are of the opinion that the present system of
transportation should be abolished, and will now proceed to offer a few
observations as to the description of punishment which, in their
opinion, ought to be substituted in the stead of transportation.


+Source.+--Port Phillip Gazette

     In 1844 New South Wales (including the Port Phillip and Moreton Bay
     districts) was granted representative government, but the distance
     between Sydney and Melbourne and the disproportion of
     representatives made it a farce as far as Port Phillip was
     concerned. Melbourne proceeded to demonstrate to the British
     Government the necessity for Separation. Victoria was established
     as a separate colony in 1851.

_Jan. 3rd, 1848._ The Separation Despatch.--To such writers as cannot
comprehend the policy of the Russell administration, it is common to
decry everything which they have attempted, as stupid and impracticable;
but we, who deem ourselves wiser in our generation, view their conduct
in a very different light, and give them credit for no ordinary talent;
great energy, and more perseverance in our affairs, than can be, under
existing circumstances, ascribed to any Ministry in our day. They took
office at a period of great political excitement, and still they have
devoted much attention to Colonial interests; and they have
extraordinary claims upon our beloved Victoria, having granted us that
boon we long demanded in vain from former Ministers.

The Despatch officially announces that Earl Grey is to bring in a Bill
for the Separation of this, from the Middle District at last, and that
we will form a Colony of our own, under the new name of Victoria. The
Constitution of this Colony will to some extent be identified with those
of the other Australian Colonies.

At present, Earl Grey has put forth simply the general principles; the
details, he says, will form matter for serious consideration and anxious

We anticipate some of the Sydney papers will be coming out with a
cart-load of nonsense; running down Earl Grey's plan, but we will defend
it from their senseless and ignorant declamation.

Monday, _July 10th, 1848._ Political Gazette. The Elections.

Our readers must be aware that the writs for the election of members to
serve in the new Legislative Council of the Colony of New South Wales,
have been issued, and that his Worship the Mayor of Melbourne will hold
a meeting of the electors of the City of Melbourne, in front of the
Supreme Court House, La Trobe St. on Tuesday, 25th day of July, for the
nomination of a member to serve in said Council for the Electoral
District of Melbourne.

Wednesday, _July 19th, 1848._ The Elections.

The outrageous attempt to thrust Mr. Adam Bogue upon the District, as
one of our members for the Legislative Council, has displayed that we
are looked upon as a refuge for the destitute; and that the opinion of
Port Phillip in Sydney is, that any beardless boy without name,
character, or property may be raised upon our shoulders into an office
of great influence, and almost supreme importance.

We have the welfare of the district sincerely at heart, and we advise
the electors to return no members from Sydney. Let them nominate Port
Phillip men and Port Phillip residents whether they can go to Sydney or
not. We entreat the electors not to be made the instrument of
destruction to themselves; let them not elect Sydney members to plunder
Port Phillip.

Electors, place five Port Phillip men in nomination, and one half of
them may go up to Sydney, who would be worth a thousand Sydney Adam

Remember that the nomination will take place to-morrow, opposite the
Court House at noon. We have no wish to treat the pretensions of any
person who comes forward as a candidate for a public office with
disrespect; but we cannot regard the attempt of a young man of neither
standing nor capital to thrust himself into the Legislative Council on
Port Phillip influence, other than a piece of impertinence. We should,
however, have passed it unnoticed, had not this very same person
insulted every man in this Province so recently, by endeavouring to
throw Port Phillip out of the line of steam communication with
England--when Port Phillip wanted a friend he gave her a kick, and this
should have been the last district for Mr. Bogue to make an offer of his
services to.

Wednesday, _July 26th, 1848._ To-day's Election.

We approved of the principle of returning no members for the Legislative
Council (so far as the District was concerned) and we regret that an
attempt is about to be made to overthrow these proceedings, by returning
a Member for Melbourne in the person of J.F.L. Foster, Esq.

This is a question upon which, we are aware, some difference of opinion
exists; but, having commenced the principle, so far as the District is
concerned, we ought to carry it out; if we act otherwise it will be
thrown in the teeth of the citizens of Melbourne that they disfranchised
the District and then returned a Member on their own account to
represent their city.

There required, however, to be unanimity to accomplish this, and some of
the electors having proposed Mr. Foster as a fit and proper person to
represent the City; those who were in favour of carrying out the
principle already adopted at the District Meeting, had nothing left but
to bring forward an opponent to Mr. Foster, and in the person of the
Right Hon. Earl Grey has this opponent been found.

True, did the City wish to send a practical man, we are willing to
accede that Earl Grey is not in a position to sit and work for us in the
Council, but we wish, by electing a man who cannot act, at any rate for
eighteen months, to carry out the principle which the Electors of the
District have already agreed to be correct; we deem it then the duty of
every honest man in this community to give his vote to Earl Grey, not so
much out of respect for His Lordship, as to carry out a principle; a
principle to which we consider the honour of Melbourne to be pledged.

Mr. Foster is, no doubt, a very excellent kind of man, but having been
withdrawn by his friends, on the morning of the District Election, we
must look upon him as shelved for the present. Let us then return Earl
Grey as one member, and it may do us more good than we can well conceive
at present, as it will give His Lordship a practical illustration of our
helplessness, and thus hasten on Separation.

Hasten then, electors to the poll! and record your vote in favour of
Earl Grey and SEPARATION!!

The Poll commences at Nine o'clock this morning.

Saturday, _July 29th._ Domestic Gazette. Election of a Representative
for the City of Melbourne.--On Wednesday last, no little commotion was
created by the election of a member (nominally) to represent the
interests of the Citizens of Melbourne in the Legislative Council, but
the thinking portion of the community having arrived at the conclusion
that representation in the Legislative Council at Sydney, under existing
circumstances, was a farce, had determined, virtually, upon adopting a
similar course to that pursued at the nomination of Candidates for the
District, and the Right Hon. Earl Grey was consequently proposed as a
fit and proper person to represent our interests in the Legislative
Council, and this proposition, with two or three exceptions, met with
unanimous approval at the meeting. After the first hour's polling, it
was clear that Mr. Foster had no chance, and as this became more and
more apparent as the day advanced, some hundreds of voters who had
intended to support the favourite were deterred from doing so under a
conviction that their votes would not be required, and the unfavourable
state of the weather counteracted the desire to be present at the scene
of action. It was understood that the Mayor would, on the following day,
declare on whom the election had fallen, and at noon, many hundred
persons and, notwithstanding the still unfavourable state of the
weather, assembled outside the supreme Court House, and a few minutes
afterwards the excellent Band of the Total Abstinence Society, might be
seen wending their way to the spot, headed by Mr. J.P. Fawkner.

The Mayor addressed the Meeting as follows:--"Gentlemen, I have called
you together again for the purpose of declaring on whom the late
election has fallen, but previously to doing so I will read two
protests, one of which has been sent to a deputy returning officer, and
the other to myself." His worship then read the protests, which are as
follows:--"I, the undersigned burgher of Bourke Ward, do hereby protest
against the Returning Officer receiving any votes for the Right Hon.
Earl Grey, on the following grounds:--

"First, that Earl Grey as a Peer of the British Parliament cannot hold a
seat in a Colonial House of Legislative Representation.

"Second, That he cannot move Her Majesty in two distinct Legislatures.

"Third, That he is not qualified according to the Act.

"Fourth, That he is an absentee, and there is no one present to
represent him--to state that he will sit if elected.

(Signed) "Sidney Stephen, Barrister-at-law."

The Mayor remarked that these protests were very respectably signed, and
were deserving of attention, but although they were signed by numerous
lawyers he believed he was relieved of all difficulty on the subject by
being guided by the 96th clause of the Constitutional Act which rendered
it imperative that all complaints of this nature must be addressed in
the form of a petition to the Governor and must be addressed by one of
the candidates, or one-tenth of the whole of the electors. Several other
authorities were then referred to by His Worship, who expressed himself
thoroughly satisfied as to the course he ought to pursue, and announced
the following as the final state of the Poll in the Respective Wards.

        WARDS            GREY       FOSTER
     Gipps Ward     .  .   50  .  .   17
     La Trobe Ward  .  .  102  .  .   15
     Bourke Ward    .  .   43  .  .   32
     Lonsdale Ward  .  .  100  .  .   28
                          ___        ___
                          295         92

leaving a majority for Earl Grey of 203, who was declared amidst
enthusiastic cheering, to be duly elected as a member of the Legislative
Council for the Electoral District of the City of Melbourne.


+Source.+--A Lady's Visit to the Gold Diggings of Australia in 1852-53
(Mrs. Charles Clacy), pp. 19-29, 82-85

     Gold was discovered in Australia at a time when the people of every
     nation in Europe were demanding a greater share in their respective
     governments. Many who immigrated in search of gold took a leading
     part in making the Australian Governments democratic.

Melbourne, 1852.--The non-arrival of the Mail-steamer left us now no
other care save the all-important one of procuring food and shelter.
Scouts were accordingly despatched to the best hotels; they returned
with long faces--"full." The second-rate, and in fact every respectable
inn and boarding or lodging-house were tried, but with no better
success. Here and there, a solitary bed could be obtained, but for our
digging-party entire, which consisted of my brother, four shipmates, and
myself, no accommodation could be procured, and we wished, if possible,
to keep together. "It's a case," ejaculated one. At this moment the two
last searchers approached, their countenances not quite so woebegone as
before. "Well?" exclaimed we all in chorus, as we surrounded them, too
impatient to interrogate at greater length. Thank Heavens! they had been
successful! The housekeeper of a surgeon, who with his wife had just
gone up to Forest Creek, would receive us to board and lodge for thirty
shillings a week each: but as the accommodation was of the indifferent
order, it was not yet as _une affaire arrangée_. On farther inquiry, we
found the indifferent accommodation consisted in there being but one
small sleeping-room for the gentlemen, and myself to share the bed and
apartment of the temporary mistress. This was vastly superior to
gipsying in the dirty streets, so we lost no time in securing our new
berths; and ere very long, with appetites undiminished by these petty
anxieties, we did ample justice to the dinner which our really kindly
hostess quickly placed before us.

The first night on shore after so long a voyage could scarcely seem
otherwise than strange, one missed the eternal rocking at which so many
grumble on board ship. Dogs (Melbourne is full of them) kept up an
incessant barking; revolvers were cracking in all directions till
daybreak, giving one a pleasant idea of the state of society. The next
few days were busy ones for all, though rather dismal to me, as I was
confined almost entirely indoors, owing to the awful state of the
streets; for in the colonies, at this season of the year, one may go out
prepared for fine weather, with blue sky above, and dry underfoot, and
in less than an hour, should a _colonial_ shower come on, be unable to
cross some of the streets without a plank being placed from the middle
of the road to the pathway, or the alternative of walking in water up to
the knees.

Our party, on returning to the ship the day after our arrival, witnessed
the French-leave-taking of all her crew, who, during the absence of the
Captain, jumped overboard, and were quickly picked up and landed by the
various boats about. This desertion of the ships by the sailors is an
every-day occurrence; the diggings themselves, or the large amount they
could obtain for the run home from another master, offer too many
temptations. Consequently, our passengers had the amusement of hauling
up from the hold their different goods and chattels; and so great was
the confusion, that fully a week elapsed before they were all got to
shore. Meanwhile, we were getting initiated into colonial prices--money
did, indeed, take to itself wings and fly away. Fire-arms were at a
premium; one instance will suffice--my brother sold a six-barrelled
revolver for which he had given sixty shillings at Baker's, in Fleet
Street, for sixteen pounds, and the parting with it at that price was
looked upon as a great favour. Imagine boots, and they were very
second-rate ones, at four pounds a pair. One of our between-deck
passengers who had speculated with a small capital of forty pounds in
boots and cutlery, told me afterwards that he had disposed of them the
same evening he landed at a net profit of ninety pounds--no trifling
addition to a poor man's purse. Labour was at a very high price,
carpenters, boot and shoe makers, tailors, wheelwrights, joiners,
smiths, glaziers, and, in fact, all useful trades, were earning from
twenty to thirty shillings a day--the very men working on the roads
could get eleven shillings per diem, and many a gentleman in this
disarranged state of affairs, was glad to fling old habits aside and
turn his hand to whatever came readiest. I knew one in particular, whose
brother is at this moment serving as a Colonel in the army in India, a
man more fitted for a gay London life than a residence in the Colonies.
The diggings were too dirty and uncivilized for his taste, his capital
was quickly dwindling away beneath the expenses of the comfortable life
he led at one of the best hotels in town, so he turned to what as a boy
he had learnt as an amusement, and obtained an addition to his income,
of more than four hundred pounds a year as house carpenter. In the
morning you might see him trudging off to his work, and before night
might meet him at some ball or soirée among the elite of Melbourne.

I shall not attempt an elaborate description of the town of Melbourne,
or its neighbouring villages. The town is very well laid out; the
streets (which are all straight, running parallel with and across one
another) are very wide, but are incomplete, not lighted, and many are
unpaved. Owing to the want of lamps, few, except when full moon, dare
stir out after dark. Some of the shops are very fair; but the goods all
partake too largely of the flash order, for the purpose of suiting the
tastes of successful diggers, their wives, and families; it is ludicrous
to see them in the shops--men who before the gold-mines were discovered
toiled hard for their daily bread taking off half-a-dozen thick gold
rings from their fingers, and trying to pull on to their rough,
well-hardened hands the best white kids, to be worn at some wedding
party, whilst the wife, proud of the novel ornament, descants on the
folly of hiding them beneath such useless articles as gloves.

The walking inhabitants are of themselves a study; glance into the
streets--all nations, classes, and costumes are represented there.
Chinamen, with pigtails and loose trousers; aborigines, with a solitary
blanket flung over them; Vandemonian pick-pockets, with cunning eyes and
light fingers--all, in fact, from the successful digger in his blue
serge shirt, and with green veil still hanging round his wideawake, to
the fashionably attired, newly-arrived "gent" from London, who stares
round him in amazement and disgust. You may see, and hear too, some
thoroughly colonial scenes in the streets. Once, in the middle of the
day, when passing up Elizabeth Street, I heard the unmistakable sound of
a mob behind, and as it was gaining upon me, I turned into the enclosed
ground in front of the Roman Catholic Cathedral to keep out of the way
of the crowd. A man had been taken up for horse-stealing, and a rare
ruffianly set of both sexes were following the prisoner and the two
policemen who had him in charge. "If but six of ye were of my mind,"
shouted one, "it's this moment you'd release him." The crowd took the
hint, and to it they set with right good will, yelling, swearing, and
pushing with awful violence. The owner of the stolen horse got up a
counter demonstration, and every few yards the procession was delayed by
a trial of strength between the two parties. Ultimately, the police
conquered; but this is not always the case, and often lives are lost and
limbs broken in the struggle, so weak is the force maintained by the
colonial government for the preservation of order.


Of the history of the discovery of gold in Australia I believe few are
ignorant. The first supposed discovery took place some sixty years ago
at Port Jackson. A convict made known to Governor Phillip the existence
of an auriferous region near Sydney, and on the locality being examined
particles of real gold-dust were found. Every one was astonished, and
several other spots were tried without success. Suspicion was now
excited, and the affair underwent a thorough examination, which elicited
the following facts: The convict, in the hope of obtaining his pardon as
a reward, had filed a guinea and some brass buttons, which, judicially
mixed, made a tolerable pile of gold-dust, and this he carefully
distributed over a small tract of sandy land. In lieu of the expected
freedom, his ingenuity was rewarded with close confinement and other
punishments. Thus ended the first idea of a gold-field in these

Suddenly, in 1851, at the time that the approaching opening of the
Crystal Palace was the principal subject of attention in England, the
colonies of Australia were in a state of far greater excitement; as the
news spread like wildfire, far and wide, that gold was really there. To
Edward Hammon Hargreaves be given the honour of this discovery. This
gentleman was an old Australian settler, just returned from a trip to
California, where he had been struck by the similarity of the geological
formation of the mountain ranges in his adopted country to that of the
Sacramento district. On his return he immediately searched for the
precious metal; Ophir, the Turon, and Bathurst well repaid his labour.
Thus commenced the gold-diggings of New South Wales.

The good people of Victoria were rather jealous of the importance given
by these events to the other colony. Committees were formed and rewards
were offered for the discovery of a gold-field in Victoria. The
announcement of the Clunes diggings in July 1851 was the result; they
were situated on a tributary of the Lodden. On 8 September those of
Ballarat, and on the 10th those of Mount Alexander completely satisfied
the most sceptical as to the vast mineral wealth of the colony. Bendigo
soon was heard of, and gully after gully successfully attracted the
attention of the public by the display of their golden treasures.


+Source.+--The Gold Digger (Rev. David Mackenzie, M.A.), pp. 28-31

The excitement produced throughout the colonies, but especially in
Sydney and Melbourne, by the publication of the gold discovery, may be
inferred from the following facts: In one week upwards of 2,000 persons
were counted on the road to the Bathurst diggings, and only eleven
coming down. Hundreds of men, of all classes and conditions, threw up
their situations, and leaving their wives and families behind them,
started for the diggings. Whole crews ran away from their ships, which
were left to rot in our harbours, the men having willingly forfeited all
their wages, clothes, etc. Within one week the prices of the following
goods rose twenty-five per cent. in Sydney: flour, tea, sugar, rice,
tobacco, warm clothing, and boots. Throughout all the towns nothing was
saleable but provisions and diggers' tools and clothing. Every man who
could handle a pick or spade was off, or preparing to be off, for the
gold-fields. The roads were crowded with travellers, carriages, gigs,
drays, carts, and wheelbarrows; mixed up in one confused assemblage
might be seen magistrates, lawyers, physicians, clerks, tradesmen, and

The building of houses, bridges, etc., was suspended for want of
tradesmen, nearly all of them having gone to the diggings. Many houses
might be seen half-finished for want of men to proceed with the work,
though the owners or contractors were offering enormously high wages to
any that would complete the work. The fields were left unsown, flocks of
sheep were deserted by their shepherds. With one stockholder who has
twenty thousand sheep, there remained only two men. Masters were seen
driving their own drays; and ladies of respectability and ample means
were obliged to cook the family dinner. Servants and apprentices were
off in a body; and even the very "devils" bolted from the newspaper
offices; in short, the yellow fever seized on all classes of society. In
twenty-four hours prices of provisions doubled at Bathurst and the
neighbouring places. In all our steamers and trading vessels the rate of
passage was raised, in consequence of the necessary increase in the
wages of seamen. All the trades held their meetings, at which a new
tariff of charges was agreed upon; and even the publicans raised at
least twenty-five per cent. the prices of their wines, beer, and

Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand poured upon our shores shiploads of
adventurers, attracted by the golden news; and South Australia is now
almost drained of its labouring population, one of the consequences of
which is that the shares in the famous Burra Burra copper mines there
have fallen from £230 to £45, a fall which has entailed ruin on

In walking along the streets of Sydney or Melbourne you hear nothing
talked about but gold; you see nothing exhibited in shop windows but
specimens of gold, or some article of equipment for the gold-digger. In
every society gold is the interminable topic of conversation; and
throughout the colonies the only newspapers now read are those which
contain intelligence from our golden fields.

Soon after the discovery the Government of New South Wales, seeing that
it could not prevent the community from digging for gold on Crown lands,
quietly made virtue of necessity, and merely sought to legalize and
regulate the diggings by the following announcement, published in the
"Official Gazette":


Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney, _23rd May, 1851._

Licenses to Dig and Search for Gold.

With reference to the Proclamation issued on the 22nd May instant,
declaring the rights of the Crown in respect to Gold found in its
natural place of deposit within the territory of New South Wales, His
Excellency the Governor, with the advice of the Executive Council, has
been pleased to establish the following Provisional Regulations, under
which Licenses may be obtained, to search for, and remove the same:

1. From and after the first day of June next, no person will be
permitted to dig, search for, or remove gold on or from any land,
whether public or private, without first taking out and paying for a
License in the form annexed.

2. For the present, and pending further proof of the extent of the
Gold-field, the License fee has been fixed at £1 10_s._ per month, to be
paid in advance; but it is to be understood that the rate is subject to
future adjustment, as circumstances may render expedient.

3. The Licenses can be obtained on the spot, from the Commissioner who
has been appointed by His Excellency the Governor, to carry these
regulations into effect, and who is authorized to receive the fee
payable thereon.

4. No person will be eligible to obtain a License, or the renewal of a
License, unless he shall produce a certificate of discharge from his
last service, or prove to the satisfaction of the Commissioner that he
is not a person improperly absent from hired service.

5. Rules, adjusting the extent and position of land to be covered by
each License and for the prevention of confusion, and the interference
of one License with another will be the subject of early regulation.

6. With reference to lands alienated by the Crown, in fee simple, the
Commissioner will not be authorized for the present to issue Licenses
under the regulations to any persons but the proprietors, or persons
authorized by them in writing to apply for the same.

By his Excellency's command,



+Source.+--The Golden Colony (G.H. Wathen, 1855), pp. 49-53, 78-81

Even on the spot it is often very difficult to learn when, by whom, and
in what manner, a new gold district is first discovered. When the yield
of an old working begins to fail, the diggers throw out small
"prospecting" parties of twos and threes, to explore promising
localities. These "prospectors" may occasionally make important
discoveries; but far more frequently they are the result of chance, or
of the desultory efforts of shepherds and other servants of the settlers
resident in the particular locality. It sometimes happens that a digging
party, travelling from one district to another, camp for a night in a
valley which they may think looks very promising. Being delayed here,
perhaps, by the loss of their horse, or some other accident, they sink a
pit or "hole" in a "likely spot." At length some one strikes a rich
deposit. If so, it cannot long remain a secret. A few dozens or scores
are shortly at work on the adjacent ground; and if these too are
successful the news spreads like wild-fire, and within a week all the
roads and tracks leading to the spot are covered with diggers and their
carts, on the way to the new Dorado--the _newest_ being always by report
the _best_ and richest. In a few days the hills around the new working
are dotted over with white tents, the forest around them quickly
disappears, being felled for firewood. Government, on hearing of the
discovery, sends down a Commissioner with a body of horse and foot
police. These establish a camp on some central elevated position, and an
irregular wide street of tents springs up like magic in the valley
below. There are stores, large and small; butchers' shops; doctors'
little tents; and innumerable refreshment booths, where, under the guise
of selling lemonade and home-made beer, an extensive illicit trade is
carried on in vile, adulterated, and often poisonous spirits. The
blacksmith is always one of the first on the ground, and presently
extemporises a forge out of a few loose stones or turf-sods. Flags are
flying from the stores and shops, and give gaiety to the scene. The
Union Jack floats proudly above the Government camp on the hill, and
military sentinels are on duty before the gold-tent.

As the diggers reach the spot they pitch their tents on the lower slopes
of the hills or in the green flats. At night their watch-fires gleam far
and wide, and from a neighbouring height the place has the appearance of
a large town illuminated. A new goldfield is the favourite resort of
horse stealers, thieves, and miscreants of all kinds, who, lost in the
crowd and confusion, here find ample opportunities for carrying on their
nefarious practices. Their common haunts are the "sly grog-shops" which
spring up like weeds on all sides. Here they rendezvous, and concoct
those deeds of darkness which have given the colony such an unenviable

Horses are stolen and ridden off to Melbourne, Geelong, or to the
nearest goldfield and sold by auction. The roads leading to the new
diggings become infested with bushrangers; stories of being "stuck up"
(or robbed) are more and more frequent; till at length a cartload of
ruffians, heavily handcuffed, is seen moving towards the Government Camp
well guarded by mounted troopers. These are the bushrangers who have
been hunted down and just captured by the troopers. And now for a time
the roads are safe.

No life can be more independent and free than that of the Australian
digger; no travelling more agreeable than summer travelling in the Bush;
carrying about with you in your cart your tent, your larder, and all
your domestic appointments. In choosing a halting place for the night
you have the whole country open to you--no walls or hedges to shut you
in to a dusty turnpike road. You drink from the clear running creek; the
soft green turf is your carpet; your tent your bedroom. Your horse duly
hobbled, enjoys the fresh pasturage around. The nearest fallen tree
supplies you with fuel for your evening fire.

One of the most fruitful sources of discontent was the method of
collecting the gold revenue. When the first discoveries were made at
Ballarat, the Melbourne Government, following the example of that at
Sydney, issued regulations by which all miners were required to procure
a monthly license to dig for gold, and to pay 30_s._ for the same. But
how was this tax to be enforced among a migratory population, living in
tents scattered through a forest? The mode adopted was, to send out
armed bands of police, who, coming down suddenly on a gully or flat,
spread themselves over it demanding of everyone his license. A few
mounted troopers formed part of the force to cut off defaulters who
might attempt to fly. All who could not produce their license were
captured and marched off, probably some miles, to the nearest
magistrates, and, after some detention, were either fined £5, or
imprisoned for a month. Such a system naturally led to great discontent
and irritation. At some of the goldfields a curious plan was hit upon
for evading these inquisitorial visits. No sooner was a party of police
seen approaching than the diggers raised the cry of "Joe! Joe!" The cry
was taken up, and presently the whole length of the gully rang with the
shouts "Joe! Joe! Joe!" and of course all defaulters instantly made off
for the depths of the forest.

The dissatisfaction was exasperated by the method of collecting the
license fee. The collector did not call on the tax payer, but the latter
had to seek the collector. The digger was compelled to walk from his own
gully to the Commissioner's Camp--distant, perhaps, several miles--and
then often wait for hours under a fierce sun while a crowd of others,
who had arrived before him, were paying their 30_s._, or weighing their
half ounce of gold. Greater facilities were indeed subsequently offered
for the payment of the fee, but the mode of enforcing it continued the
same. The diggers complained loudly and unceasingly of these harsh and
un-English measures. "First you tax our labour," said they, "and then
you collect your tax at the point of the bayonet." The dislike of the
system was universal; disputes were frequent, and collisions between the
police and diggers sometimes occurred.

Another of the diggers' grievances was the extreme insecurity of life
and property on the mines. While the police force were snugly housed at
headquarters, in a peaceable and orderly neighbourhood, the populous and
remote gullies were the nightly scenes of deeds of robbery and violence.
Every evening men were knocked down and brutally treated or "stuck up"
and robbed. Every night horses were stolen, tents broken into, and
"holes" plundered of gold by the "night fossickers"--miscreants who
watched for the richest "holes" during the day, marked them, and
plundered them at night. In October 1852 at a place called Moonlight
Flat (near Forest Creek), these desperadoes had become so numerous and
shameless, and their outrages so frequent, that the miners rose _en
masse_ against them. A public meeting was convened; blue-shirted diggers
made stirring appeals to their auditory; a deputation was appointed to
proceed instantly to Melbourne to remonstrate with the Government, and
to implore it to adopt energetic measures for extirpating the "hordes of
ruffians" that infested their neighbourhood, and the persons of many of
whom were well known there.


+Source.+--The Golden Colony (G.H. Wathen, 1855), pp. 138, 143-150

     The combination of convictism in Tasmania and gold in Victoria and
     New South Wales produced bushranging on a large scale. Convicts now
     had a chance of living well if they escaped, and many took
     advantage of the opportunity.

If the Australian roads in winter may be well likened to those English
roads of 200 years ago, out of which the King's Coach had to be dug by
the rustics, so may the Australian Bushranger be regarded as the
legitimate representative of the traditionary highwayman who levied toll
at Highgate, or stopped the post-boy and captured the mailbags in Epping
Forest. The real, living bushranger is, however, more of a ruffian and
less of a hero than our ideal highwayman; for time, like distance,
softens down the harsh and the coarse, and gives dignity to the ignoble.

Never, perhaps, did a country offer so tempting a field to the public
robber as Victoria did during the first year or two after the gold
discovery. The interior was wild and uninhabited, abounding with lonely
forests. Travellers were numerous, and mostly carried money or gold; for
none were poor. The roadside public-houses were daily the scenes of
drunken revelry. The police were few and untrained; and the mixed and
scattered population at the several diggings offered a ready asylum in
case of pursuit. Add to all this that, separated from Victoria by a mere
strait, was the depot for the most accomplished villains of Great
Britain, and it needed no prophet to foresee that the roads of the new
gold country would very soon be swarming with thieves and desperadoes.

It is no uncommon occurrence in the Australian Colonies for a large
number of shearers or others collected in the hut in the country to be
"stuck up," that is, subdued and bound, by two or three determined
bushrangers. Fifteen or sixteen strong active men may be thus treated,
and have been, frequently. At first, one is ready to conclude either
that they must have a private understanding with the robbers or else be
the veriest poltroons. I thought so myself till I had an account of one
of these affairs from a man who had been one of a large party thus
"stuck up" by two very notorious bushrangers, the life and death of
whom, would furnish materials for a romance. Their names were Dalton
and Kelly, and they will long be famous in the annals of daring and
outrage in Van Diemen's Land.

Dalton was a stout, powerful man, and about thirty years of age at the
time of the rencontre I am about to describe. His accomplice Kelly, was
about twenty-three years old. They were both prisoners of the Crown in
Van Diemen's Land. Dalton was transported at an early age, and had for a
time been confined in the "Ocean Hell" of Norfolk Island, the gaol of
the double-damned convict; but was afterwards taken back to Van Diemen's
Land. From the same informant I learned some particulars of their
escape. They were confined in a penal establishment on a strait or an
arm of the sea, wide enough, it was thought, to preclude the possibility
of flight. Dalton, Kelly, and five or six other prisoners, however,
weary of a wretched life, determined to risk that life for liberty; and
having one day eluded the vigilance of their guards, attempted, though
their legs were weighed down with fetters, to swim to the opposite
shore. One after another their strength failed them; they sank and
disappeared till at length only Kelly and Dalton survived. Kelly's
strength was rapidly waning, when Dalton called out to him "Catch hold
of me, Kelly! I can swim another hour yet."

When at last they both got safe to land, Dalton exclaimed, "Well, thank
God, I shall have one comrade at any rate."

They now quickly freed themselves from their irons, procured arms, and,
knowing that they would certainly be hotly pursued they at once started
on a marauding expedition, visiting the neighbouring stations in
succession, and pillaging each; intending eventually, to make their way
across Bass's Straits to Victoria. Dalton was a very formidable fellow;
strong, active, and resolute, reckless of human life, and now rendered
desperate by despair. He was, too, a first-rate marksman, and could
"stick up a glass bottle."

What follows is an account given me by my informant. Kelly came up to
the hut, which was full of men. I was standing at the door at the time,
but did not know who the man was. When he came close he asked me if I
had heard that the bushrangers were out. I answered "Yes, I had." Then
he pointed his gun at me, and said "I'm one of them. Go into the hut." I
went in, but on turning round I saw one of my mates standing against the
hut in a corner, with another man standing over him, covering him with
his gun. The other was Dalton, Kelly's mate. After I had gone into the
hut, Kelly stood at the open doorway, with his gun pointed at those
inside, swearing he would murder the first man who moved an inch. There
were about fourteen men in the hut. Then he asked if there were any
prisoners among them. One man said that he was. Kelly then ordered him
to tie their arms together, one by one.

While doing so, one man complained that he was being tied too tight; but
this only drew forth another volley of oaths and threats from Kelly.
When all were secured, Kelly went out to assist Dalton who still stood
over the man whom he had pinned to the wall of the hut, threatening to
shoot him if he stirred. Kelly then tied up his hands while Dalton
continued covering him with the gun. He was then marched into the hut to
join the others. And now Dalton began walking up and down the hut
haranguing his prisoners. "He'd no doubt" he said "that some of them
might be good and honest men, and some scoundrels. That for his part, he
wouldn't hurt a hair of any good man's head, if he could help it. But he
had been forced to take to this sort of life. It wasn't his fault. He
had been lagged (transported) when only twelve years of age; had since
then over and over again tried to obtain his freedom by good conduct;
but they wouldn't give it him, and it was useless to try any more by
fair means. And he had now sworn to gain his freedom, or lose his life
in the attempt. He didn't want to hurt anyone. What he wanted was money;
and money he would have, come what, come might. He'd show them presently
whether he was game or not. He'd go into the master's house and bring
out, single-handed the man he wanted, no matter how many he might find
there. But let them beware. If any man dared to move or tried to escape
he swore he'd scatter his brains about the yard, and blow the roof off
his head."

Dalton now left the hut, and went to the house of the settler, their
master, which was close at hand. All this time the household knew
nothing of what had been passing in the hut. He entered, and went
straight up to the sitting-room, where several gentlemen and ladies
happened to be collected. He opened the door, and deliberately advanced
with his gun pointed at those within. But a lady, who chanced to be
behind the door, on seeing the levelled gun, slammed the door in the
robber's face. This was a timely diversion, and the signal for a
general scattering of those present.

The men in the hut were subsequently tried for collusion with the
bushrangers; but when asked how they could suffer two men to "stick up"
so many, one replied to the magistrate, that, with their permission, he
would himself "stick up" the whole Bench.

The free servants were acquitted; those of the party who were prisoners
of the Crown were sentenced to imprisonment; but on Government being
petitioned by their free mates, who protested the innocence of all, they
were liberated.

After this the two bushrangers boldly carried on their depredations,
roaming about from station to station, "sticking up" the men, and
robbing the masters; while a large party of the police were following on
their track. One day they came to a hut full of men, and, opening the
door, tried the old plan of intimidation by standing with loaded
double-barrelled pieces in the doorway, and threatening with deep oaths
to "drop" the first man of them, who moved hand or foot. But it happened
that several of the pursuing constables were within the hut. One of
them, named Buckmaster, rushed towards Dalton. The robber fired and the
constable fell dead. Dalton still stood unmoved in the doorway, with his
levelled gun, and calmly said "Ah, how d'ye like that? Now, then, I'm
ready for another!" This coolness saved them both and for a time they
escaped capture. But such an outrage on one of their officers roused the
Government. A large reward was offered for the capture of the two
bushrangers, and they were hunted through the island more hotly than

Driven to desperation, they seized upon a whaleboat; by threats pressed
four boatmen into their service, and actually compelled them to work the
boat across Bass's Straits to the opposite shores of Victoria. Here they
safely landed on the solitary coast of Western Port and made their way
up to Melbourne. News of the escape of these formidable and
blood-stained freebooters had been immediately transmitted to the
authorities of Victoria. As they had left Van Diemen's Land in an open
whaleboat, there was no doubt but that they would make for the Western
Port shores; and the Victoria police, stimulated by the hope of a large
reward, were keenly looking out for two persons answering to the
published description of the robbers. The boatmen who had conveyed them
across the Strait were seen and arrested at Dandenong, between Western
Port and the Capital; but no further trace of the bushrangers could be
obtained. The Melbourne newspapers furnish us with the conclusion of the

The following account of the capture of the chief of these desperadoes,
from the Melbourne "Argus" is more like a page from a romance than a
passage in real life. It is one more instance of what appears like a
special Providence laying its resistless hand on a murderer at the very
moment when he seemed to have secured his escape, and dragging him forth
to public justice. Within four hours after his capture, Dalton would
have been on board a ship bound for England.

"Between eleven and twelve o'clock on Friday night, Dalton entered a
coffee-shop in Bourke Street, in company with a man who had engaged to
put him on board the _Northumberland_ at daylight the next morning from
Sandridge, and for which he was to pay £4. This man, we understand, was
quite ignorant of the person he was bargaining with. Dalton asked the
proprietors of the shop, if they could change him some Van Diemen's Land
Notes for gold, as he was about to embark for England. They could not do
it, but a gentleman named Brice, formerly a cadet in the police force,
suspecting all was not right, said that he could, as he was a
gold-broker, if Dalton would only accompany him to his office. To this
Dalton consented, and placed three £20 and one £10 notes of the
Launcestoun Bank in his hands. They then left the shop together; the
night was extremely dark; the stranger, however, led the way, Dalton and
the boatman following close behind. After proceeding some little way,
they turned into Little Collins St. and by the back entrance, into the
yard of the Police Court. Here it was so dark that the outline of the
building could not be distinguished. The guide then showed them the door
of his alleged office which was no other then the clerk's room of the
Swanston St. watch-house. The man at the door was in plain clothes, and
within were several of the detective officers, and two
watch-housekeepers at the books, all, however, in private costume. Once
in, Mr. Brice stated that he had brought these men to the station on
suspicion of having come by the notes wrongfully.

"Dalton at this time must have known where he was, but made no
observation beyond affirming that they were his, and making some
remarks relative to his being brought there on so paltry an accusation.
During this he was smoking a cigar, and behaving himself in a careless
nonchalant manner. Meanwhile, the detectives were making use of their
eyes, and seeing if the descriptions they possessed corresponded with
the figures before them. The watch-house keeper finding that Mr. Brice
had no charge to prefer against him, returned Dalton his notes, who was
about to leave the office, when Detectives Williams, Murray, and Eason
pounced upon him, and fixed him in a corner. Dalton endeavoured to draw
a pistol from his belt, but was prevented and overpowered. Finding
himself mastered, he said, 'You have got the reward of £500. My name is
Dalton!' He then said if he had only seen the bars of the station-house
window, as he was entering, he would have sent a ball through his
conductor. He further said that he had been in the Police Court that
morning, and had recollected going up a flight of steps which he did not
see that night, as he had been led in the back way, and had he but seen
these steps, his guide would have been a dead man. He was then
handcuffed and searched, and two large horse-pistols heavily loaded and
capped, besides a small one, were taken from his belt; he was then
locked up."

Kelly, the other accomplice, was arrested the next day, and both were
sent back to Van Diemen's Land, tried, and executed.


+Source.+--Port Phillip Gazette, 21st January 1851

     The uselessness of protests against Transportation from the various
     states, proved the necessity for the whole of Australia to act
     together in external affairs. Thus the inauguration of the
     Anti-Transportation League was the first step towards Federation.


On Monday, the members and promotors of the Launceston Association for
securing the cessation of transportation, entertained at Public
breakfast the gentlemen delegated to represent the interests of the
Colony at the Australian Conference, which is about to be held in
Melbourne. A cold collation was prepared at the Cornwall, and about 100
gentlemen sat down, amongst whom were many magistrates and gentlemen
representing the most influential and respectable portions of the
northern and midland districts. Breakfast being concluded, the Chairman
rose, and said, it was a matter of pleasure to him to meet so large and
respectable a body of gentlemen, some of whom he had known for a quarter
of a century. They had not assembled to petition; it was a truth
deplorable and sad that petitions had hitherto been unavailing and they
were now met to force from Her Majesty's Government, relief from an evil
of which history presented no parallel. (Hear, hear.) Petition after
petition had been transmitted home, but the prayers of the Community had
been constantly rejected. It now remained to try other means.

The Rev. J. West rose and said he felt some embarrassment in addressing
that meeting. He, however, felt grateful for their recognition of his
appointment, and should rely on their indulgence during the few moments
he might address them. The colonists had been led up to a position from
which it was impossible to recede. Van Diemen's Land must obtain a share
in the general freedom, or for ever sink. They had petitioned for a
cessation of transportation; whilst there was a possibility of the other
colonies receiving a portion of the convicts annually sent from Britain,
they expected by the more general distribution to experience some
relief. But the resistance of the other colonies had removed the faint
anticipation, and shut up to us this last hope--to our union with them.
When it was proposed to solicit the co-operation of the adjacent
colonies, some persons prophesied a failure; it was thought by some,
improbable that the colonies would feel any interest in our fate. But
the heart of an Englishman is ever susceptible of pity; and when we
spoke of our wrongs they listened; and when we exposed the enormous
danger, they consulted their own safety, and came forward to our help.
Let us look well to our position. We have to change the policy and
contend against the power of a mighty Empire. In the effervescence and
excitement of public speaking it was not at all surprising that a threat
should sometimes be uttered; but many years must elapse before an appeal
to physical force would bear even the semblance of reason. We have, then
a mighty Empire to contend against--one which can laugh our threatening
to scorn. And what are the weapons we must employ? What, but the weapons
of truth? We must diffuse right information; we must expose our
wrongs--and we must appeal to the justice of the British Nation. Let
the evils and injuries under which this fair domain of the Crown now
suffers, be laid before the English people, and a cry will be heard from
Land's End to the opposite shore, "transportation shall cease because it
degrades the British name." (Cheers.) The injuries resulting from
transportation to the colony are various. A gentleman, however eminent
his station and virtues, going to a distant part of the world must
cautiously suppress the fact, that he came from Van Diemen's Land, or
even this quarter of the globe. (Hear, hear.) Yes, Sir, our sons, who
have quitted this colony in search of a home denied them in the land of
their birth, have been compelled to conceal the place from which they
came, and to drop into the box, by stealth, those letters which were to
relieve parental anxiety, and express their filial affection. And is
this to be for ever endured? Shall our own children never know the
pleasure and pride of patriotism? Shall we not ask all the colonies of
the Australian empire to aid us in our struggle? Shall we not confide in
the justice of Australasia?

When it is said that England cannot support 4,000 or 5,000 offenders the
question naturally occurs: What has she not done? Did not England for
her Continental wars incur a debt of £800,000,000: did she not give
£20,000,000 to free her West India slaves; did she not expend £7,000,000
to combat the famine of Ireland? Is not the proposed expenditure for the
National Executive of the present year an evidence of her boundless
opulence? And yet to save a trifling outlay compared with the injustice
now done, the representative of Her Majesty is compelled to carry about
under his skirts a parcel of convictism; to deposit these tokens of
imperial interest he is driven to have recourse to artifice, trickery
and falsehood. (Hear, hear.) As England glories in her past history, and
has found means to keep afloat that flag which has never been lowered;
so she must find means to carry on a nobler struggle with her own
poverty and crime. Hitherto, Van Diemen's Land has not been heard at
home; but if by the united voices of the other colonies, a sort of
telegraphic communication can be opened with Britain, if a speaking
trumpet be formed, we shall be heard. When he (Mr. West) heard that
Ministers had departed from their promise that transportation should
cease, he was astonished and desponding--he thought that if a promise so
solemnly given could be so recklessly broken, hope was delusion. But as
in the moral, so it is in the political world. The Divine Being
frequently ordains that good shall arise out of apparent evils; that a
tedious delay shall make the remedy more perfect. Had we been relieved
when Ministers promised; then, transportation to the other colonies
would have been continued, and its evils accumulate there. (Hear, hear.)
When it was proposed that all the colonies should receive a share of
convicts, all things considered, he, (the speaker) for one could not
have then objected to Van Diemen's Land being joined in the co-partnery.
Had such been the case a century might have elapsed before the reproach
of convictism had been removed from this hemisphere. But the refusal of
the other colonies occasioned by the injuries inflicted on this, has
roused us all into action, and now all declare that not a man, no, not
one--in fetters shall be landed in Australia. (Tremendous cheering.)

If an unfortunate offender becomes as a penitent desirous of amending
his life, and disposed to conform to the usages, and claims of honest
society, he will find no man here spitefully to remind him of his former
errors. But if he is brought wearing the badge of disgrace we will not
have him. We will say to the British Government "Until you can with
safety discharge him into your community, he shall not enter ours."
(Loud Cheers.) This is the righteous principle upon which we have taken
our stand. Whilst we were disputing among ourselves who should bear the
load, we were likely to be sacrificed by our ungenerous divisions. But
we have now a new principle; and a principle is a wedge--if sufficient
force is applied, every obstacle will be riven into shivers. We now say
that no man should be an involuntary gaoler, much less shall the
inhabitants of these colonies be the penal slaves and gaolers of the
British Empire. (Cheers.) We assert that a community should deal with
its own crime, at least so deal with it that in its disposal it shall
not injure those who never offended--so at least that the honest and
industrious labourer should not be brought into unfavourable comparison
and competition with the hardened criminal, so that, at all events our
sons shall not be driven from their homes to seek employment in distant
lands--to meet there suspicion and contempt. These are the wrongs of
which we complain--wrongs which could never have been perpetrated but in
oblivion of that first great Law, alike the basis of private and public
virtue: "do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you." The
Rev. gentleman resumed his seat amidst loud and prolonged cheering.

W.P. WESTON, ESQ.--It was with mingled feelings that he rose to address
that meeting; but when he ascertained that Mr. West was to accompany
him, he lost all fear, and at once accepted the invitation.

It had not been considered necessary to furnish them with written
instructions how to act; it was left entirely to their own judgement;
they had, as it were, a _carte blanche_; but he thought it advisable to
mention one or two points towards which he and his colleague would
direct public attention on the other side of the Straits. The first was,
that transportation as hitherto conducted, was altogether and entirely
rotten. He anticipated no very great difficulty in establishing that
point. The next was, that no country had a right to force its crime upon
a distant and unoffending one; it was a moral wrong. He was much struck
at a remark which appeared in the Public journals in Melbourne. It seems
to have been the custom of some persons to collect all the filth and
rubbish from their persons and during the night to force it upon the
premises of their neighbours. Now, these persons were designed
miscreants, the paragraph commenced "the miscreants have been at work
again." But he considered that the Government who would force a mass of
moral filth upon a small and helpless colony were miscreants in the very
worst sense of the term. (Hear, hear.) However severely the evils of
convictism may have been felt in this community, they will be felt at
Melbourne in a greater degree. Any evil may be counter-balanced and
perhaps removed, if it can only be seen. The convicts come to this land
under restraint and are completely at the disposal of the Government,
but after completing their education in a chain-gang, and filling up, as
it were, the measure of their iniquity they go over there where they are
unknown to the police and consequently their crimes escape detection.
The very worst characters amongst us proceed to the neighbouring
colonies as soon as an opportunity offers. This fact accounts for the
insecurity of property at Melbourne. A short time ago he was there and
not more than two or three days after his arrival the linen which had
been put out for washing, was stolen. Shortly after whilst the family
were sitting at tea, information was given that the bedroom window was
open and upon proceeding to ascertain the cause it was discovered that
a thief had effected an entrance and carried off whatever he could lay
his hands upon.

A letter lately received mentions that six gentlemen's horses in one
locality had been robbed and that Melbourne was full of thieves. (A
laugh.) No opportunity had previously offered of talking to the
Melbourne people upon the subject, they were so occupied in endeavours
to obtain separation from Sydney that every question was lost sight of;
but now the matter was settled he did not apprehend any difficultly in
establishing this point also.

We are a loyal people, and have given abundant proof of our loyalty; but
it is not an unalterable principle. There is an old Spanish
proverb--"The sweetest wine makes the sourest vinegar," and so it will
be with us.

But the British Government must, and will yield, for they will find it
will be to their interest, as well as their duty to grant the reasonable
request of the Australian Colonies. (Cheers.)

Three cheers were then given for the Chairman, and three more for the
Queen, and the meeting terminated.


The adjustment of the English land laws to Australian requirements was a
difficult task. The question was discussed in New South Wales in 1855,
but South Australia, under the leadership of Torrens, was the first to
effect reform (1859).


+Source.+--Speeches on the Reform of the Law of Real Property (Torrens,
1858), pp. 5-6, 8-11

     Extract from an address to the Electors of the City of Adelaide
     delivered in the Theatre on 31st January, 1857. (From the South
     Australian Register of February 2nd, 1857).

The next topic which I have put down to address you upon, is one with
respect to which I should have wished to have had time to arrange my
thoughts--it is the cheapening of the law of Conveyancing of real
property. (Applause.) Next to affording fair facilities for obtaining
possession of the waste lands of the Crown, and converting them into
cornfields and homesteads of independent yeomanry, it is the duty of
the State to afford a cheap and at the same time a secure mode of
conveying that property from man to man. (Hear, hear.) I have for years
felt that the law of England in that respect, which we brought with us,
required amendment. In looking also to the laws of other countries with
respect to the transfer, mortgage, or encumbrance of real property, I
have come to the conclusion that the law of England is inferior to most
of them with regard to cost and security of title. The old Conservative
feeling of England adheres with a sort of veneration to laws and usages
respecting title which originated under the feudal system, and is loath
to abandon them for a system adapted to the requirements of modern
civilization. I would illustrate my views by observing that, in ancient
times, before the Wars of the Roses, a baron, or even a yeoman, would
surround his residence with a moat to be crossed only by a drawbridge,
and instead of the convenient door of modern times, he would have a
portcullis, which he would raise or let fall to admit a friend, or
exclude a foe. A visitor, too, would have instead of gaining immediate
access, to sound a horn at an outer gate, and hold parley with a warder
upon a lofty tower, before he could gain admission. There could be no
doubt that all these ceremonies and parleyings were necessary in those
days, but it does not follow that we should carry them out in our times.
Were any person now, to surround his residence with a deep and broad
ditch, and observe those ceremonies when a visitor called upon him, we
would call him insane; yet, that is precisely what we do with regard to
the transfer of real estate, observing still the tortuous roundabout
methods of conveying, resorted to in those days for the purpose of
evading the oppressions of feudalism. Nay, the analogy is so strong,
that in our Law Courts, and Deeds we still use the same barbarous Norman
French jargon in which the parley was in those ancient days held at the
gate of the baronial residence. (Hear, and applause.) It is perhaps
presumptuous of a person who has not received a legal education, to
address his mind to this question; seeing, however, that the persons
who, by ability, and education, are best fit to cope with the subject,
are not willing, or, at least have not done so, I have taken the task
upon myself. (Hear, hear). With your permission, I will give you an
outline of the plan. The purchaser of land from the Crown shall receive
a title deed, a land grant, as at present to be executed in duplicate,
and one copy filed in the Registrar-General's office. When an original
purchaser sells the land to another, he shall transfer it by a simple
memorandum, which being brought to the office of the Registrar-General
the original land grant must be surrendered, and then the Registrar will
issue a new title to the second purchaser direct from the Crown. (Hear,
hear.) This will get over the difficulty of tracing title through all
manner of intricate transactions between purchasers, and instead of a
man having to carry about an immense bale of papers, he would have one
simple document, which would, nevertheless, be a title valid and
indisputable, because it would be an original land grant. (Great

     Speech delivered on 4th June, 1857, in the Legislative Assembly by
     the Hon. the Treasurer, Mr. Torrens, on the introduction of his
     Bill for amending the law relating to the Transfer of Real

Mr. Speaker, I do not attempt to remedy the evils complained of, by
amendment of the existing law; that I believe to be impossible: I
propose to abolish a system irremediably wrong in principle, and to
substitute a method which I believe will, when explained, commend itself
to the House as consistent with common sense, perfectly feasible, and
effectual for all purposes required.

The first and leading principle of the measure which I introduce, is
designed to cut off the very source of all costliness, insecurity,
litigation, by abolishing altogether the system of retrospective titles
and ordaining that as often as the fee simple is transferred, the
existing title must be surrendered to the Crown, and a fresh grant from
the Crown issued to the new proprietor.

The principle next in importance prescribes that registration _per se_
and alone shall give validity to transactions affecting land. Deposit of
duplicate of the instrument, together with the record of the transaction
by memorandum entered in the book of registration and endorsed on the
grant by the Registrar-General, to constitute registration. This method
is designed to give confidence and security to purchasers and
mortgagees, through the certainty that nothing affecting the title can
have existence beyond the transactions of which they have notice in the
memoranda endorsed on the grant.

My third principle aims at simplicity and economy by prescribing certain
stereotyped forms of instruments available to each occasion to be
supplied at the Registry Office, so that any man of ordinary sense and
education may transact his own business, without the necessity of
applying to a solicitor, except in complicated cases of settlements or
entails, which are unusual in this colony.

Many will admit that the system which I recommend might have been
introduced at the first founding of this colony, with facility and very
great advantage, but doubt its practicability now that titles have
become complicated. Admitting a difficulty, I deny that it is
insurmountable, or such as should cause us to hesitate in securing the
advantage of transfer by registration. I do not propose a scheme
involving violent or arbitrary interference with existing titles, but
would leave it optional with proprietors to avail themselves of it or
not. It will thus be gradual in its operation, yet will put titles in
such a train that the desired result will eventually be obtained.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot conclude without expressing my grateful sense of
the compliment which the House has paid me, in listening with such
marked attention to an address extended to an unusual length upon a
subject admitted to be dry and unexciting.

I propose, it is true, a sweeping measure of reform, yet not more
thorough than the nature of the case imperatively demands. In this view,
I am again borne out by the high authority of Lord Brougham, who, in a
speech which I have before quoted, thus expresses himself: "The present
system has grown out of ingenious devices to evade the oppressions of
feudal tyrants, but under it we are subject to the tyranny of the legal
profession, and burdens little less grievous. The reform, to be
effectual, must be thorough. _Delenda est Carthaga_ must be our motto."


+Source.+--Fifty Years in the Making of Australian History (Sir Henry
Parkes, 1892), pp. 70-71, 81-90, 148, 153

On July 3, 1855, I, (Sir Henry Parkes) moved for the "appointment of a
Select Committee to enquire into the state of agriculture, with special
reference to the raising of wheaten grain, and to the causes of
hindrance or failure in that pursuit, whether arising from the habits of
the people, the policy of the Government, or the physical character of
the country." To understand the interest that fairly attached to my
motion, we must review, or rather glance at, the state of the colony.
The colony still included the whole of Queensland, and embraced an area
of 978,315 square miles. Men of leading positions with seats in the
Legislature, described it for the most part, as incapable of tillage,
and only fit for grazing sheep and cattle, and for "nomadic tribes." A
population not numbering more than 277,579 souls imported largely its
breadstuffs from South America and other foreign countries. It is now
well known that in all divisions of the colony--north, south, or
west--there are as rich wheat lands as in any part of the world; but
then the mass of the population were densely ignorant of the true
character of the country, and those who knew better, were in too many
instances personally interested in keeping them ignorant. The stories
that were told of the fruitless endeavours of industrious men to obtain
patches of land for a freehold home under the Order-in-Council seem, to
the present generation, like cruel bits of romance.


On entering upon the subject under enquiry by the Committee, it is my
purpose to assume that the state of agriculture in general, and of wheat
culture in particular in the colony, is exceedingly unsatisfactory, and,
if not absolutely declining instead of progressing, is at least so with
reference to population. The causes of hindrance or failure of
agriculture generally, and of the raising of wheat, in particular, I
take to be the first and greatest, that for many years the policy of the
Government of the colony, whatever may have been its object, has
unquestionably tended not only to check the formation of new agriculture
establishments, but to depress existing ones.

While the agriculturist has been absolutely excluded from leasing any
portion of the public land, and thwarted, harassed and dispirited at
every turn in his efforts to obtain the submittal of such lands to sale,
and subjected to public competition at auction before suffered even then
to purchase, the grazier has been allowed to use them under a system of
leases, affording him the greatest possible facility of possession, and
at the lowest imaginable rental, namely, at the rate of 10_s._ per annum
for 640 acres, with the right, in an overwhelming majority of cases, to
purchase choice spots therefrom, without the slightest delay or trouble
and at the lowest legal price, namely, 20_s._ per acre, and absolutely
without competition.

Some of the difficulties above alluded to, as attending the purchase of
a farm from the Crown, by any other than the favoured pastoral class,
may be stated thus: The person seeking to do so must first make his
selection--a matter not very easy of attainment, for persons holding
land in a neighbourhood, instead of helping with information, almost
invariably place every possible obstacle in the way of the newcomer. The
selection made, the next step to be taken is to apply by letter to the
Surveyor-General to have it measured. Shortly thereafter, that officer
will reply and inform the writer that his application has been received
and submitted to the District Surveyor for his report as to whether the
land is fit for agriculture, etc., etc. and that when it is received the
Surveyor-General will communicate the result, intimating at the same
time that, should the District-Surveyor consider the land suitable for
agriculture, and should there be no other difficulty, such as its being
held under a squatting lease, or any of several others, it will be
submitted to sale by auction.

The applicant may now expect to hear no more of the land for three or
four months, when, if all goes on favourably, he will be informed that
the District-Surveyor, having reported satisfactorily, has received from
the Surveyor-General instructions to measure it. Now another wearying
delay of several months' duration will in all probability occur, before
the expiration of which, if the applicant is not a person possessed of
considerable determination of character, he will abandon, in despair,
all hope of ever becoming an Australian farmer, and help to swell one or
other of our overgrown towns, by accepting employment there. If,
however, he possess sufficient perseverance, he may visit the
District-Surveyor, and probably learn from him that the land cannot then
be measured, because the district under that officer is so very large,
that it would be highly inconvenient for him to move from one portion of
it to another to measure a single farm; that when several are applied
for in the same vicinity, he will proceed there; in the meantime he has
several months' work where he is, or the District-Surveyor may, after
expressing sympathy with the applicant's loss from delay, candidly
assure him that, in consequence of the great delay in receiving pay for
his public work, he is absolutely necessitated to accept private
employment in order to obtain sufficient cash to keep himself and party
of four men on, until the Government make him his remittance, now three
or four months due.

These and other preliminary difficulties the applicant must prepare to
encounter; but even when all are surmounted and the land measured there
will be two or three months' delay--in all probability eighteen months
or two years from the date of his first application--before it is
offered for sale. Then, at last, the applicant will obtain his land, if
he be fortunate enough to escape the determined opposition of some
wealthy person in the neighbourhood, or has money enough, and
determination enough to purchase it, that opposition notwithstanding.

If it is a fact that the agricultural interests of the country are
subjected to more climatic difficulties than are the pastoral interests,
I take it that that circumstance cannot, properly, be brought forward as
a reason why the agricultural interest should not, under our laws, have
a fair field and no favour, as compared with the pastoral interest, in
entering the market to borrow money in time of doubt and general want of
confidence in monetary matters. If the agriculturist, in borrowing money
to secure his crop, has to encounter a higher rate of interest than the
grazier has to encounter, in consequence of the risk of damage to his
crops from an unfavourable season being greater than the same in the
case of the produce of the grazier, surely there is no reason why he
should be compelled to submit to a still greater increase of interest,
to compensate the capitalist for the additional risk of the borrower's
insolvency before the crops are realised, especially when the grazier
is, through the aid of "The lien on Wool Act" exempted from paying for
such risk.

The effects of the policy of the Government, which I have described, may
be found, on the one hand, in the fact that the number of persons who
have been bred to agricultural pursuits, at present residing in the
towns of the colony, is, beyond example, excessive, showing our social
conditions in that regard to be in a most unsatisfactory state; and, on
the other hand, in the other fact, that the wholesale price of flour in
the colony is three times higher, per pound, than the wholesale price of
animal food, of the very best description--a state of things not to be
found in any other civilized country.

I am aware that the deficiency of agriculture, which is so remarkable
in this country, is attributed to the aridity of the climate by many
gentlemen whose experience entitles their opinions to respect; but, as I
have during the eighteen years last past annually cultivated and sown
with wheat a large quantity of land, in various parts of the Upper
Hunter District--a district generally considered to be unfavourable for
the purpose--and have, in that long period, only failed twice in
obtaining crops, and have reaped two self-sown, which in a great measure
compensated for even their loss. I can come to no other conclusion than
that, whatever may be the disadvantages of the climate they are not
sufficient to cause such neglect of agriculture as has occurred.

On the whole, I am confident that the difficulties placed in the way of
agriculture by the climate are as nothing compared with the overwhelming
obstacles furnished by the policy of the Legislature and Government of
the Colony.

Before concluding this communication, I cannot resist the opportunity it
affords to place on record my opinion, that even should all other means
fail of providing the country with an ample supply of agricultural
produce, a remedy may be found by allowing any person to enter upon and
occupy 80 acres of waste land, without competition or delay, and pay for
it at the upset price, four years thereafter; provided that he clears
and cultivates 10 acres the first year, and 10 additional acres in each
of the three succeeding years, and is at the end of the time residing on
the spot.


Yarrundi, Aug. 6th, 1855.

I also gave my general support to the Robertson Land Bill, which passed
through a determined opposition, and became law eventually, after the
violent expedient of "swamping the Upper House," which swamping,
however, had no practical or immediate effect, as the old members,
including the President, retired in a body when the new members
attempted to take their seats. By the Constitution, the first Council
was appointed for five years only, and the term was near its expiration
when this historical incident occurred. So nothing could be done with
the Bill, or anything else, until the next Council was appointed, whose
term was for life.

Sir John Robertson's Act did immense good. Its broad scope was to
enable men to select land for themselves in blocks from 40 to 320 acres,
at £1 per acre, without waiting for any surveyor or other Government
official, but subject to the conditions of a deposit of 5_s._ an acre,
actual residence and improvements to the value of £1 per acre in value.
The balance of the purchase-money was to remain for a time, not limited
by date, at 5% interest. It is no figure of speech to say that this law
unlocked the lands to the industrious settler, and notwithstanding the
abuses which too widely grew up, it was the means of bringing into
existence hundreds of comfortable homes in all parts of the colony where
the name of its author is held in grateful remembrance. It will have
been seen in a previous chapter what a network of difficulties
surrounded the man of small means who tried to obtain a rural home in
former years; and perhaps the highest tribute to the memory of Sir John
Robertson is that, after all the amendments which have been carried, the
chief principles of his Act are still imbedded in the law of the


+Source.+--Sessional Papers of the House of Lords, 1861, Vol. XI

     The Moreton Bay district was first colonised from Sydney as a penal
     settlement for doubly convicted criminals. But so soon as
     transportation to New South Wales ceased, remarkable progress was
     made in exploiting the vast natural resources of the colony of


Government House, Sydney. _Dec. 5, 1859._ (Received _Feb. 9, 1860._)

My Lord Duke,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Grace's Despatch,
No. 11, dated 18th August last, enclosing copies of the warrant
establishing Queensland as a colony separate from New South Wales, and
appointing Sir George Ferguson Bowen, K.C.M.G., Governor of the same;
also of the instructions issued to Sir George Bowen, and of the
Order-in-Council empowering him to make laws and to provide for the
administration of justice in the said colony.

Sir George Bowen arrived here by the mail steamer on the 15th ult.; he
remained with me at Sydney, making arrangements for the establishment of
the various departments of his Government, in which I gave him every
assistance in my power, and he sailed for Moreton Bay in Her Majesty's
ship "Cordelia" on the 3rd instant.

I enclose copies of the proclamation issued by me notifying the
separation of the two colonies. The Proclamation Sir George has taken
with him to Brisbane, and by its publication there the fact of its
separation will be made known to the inhabitants of Queensland, which
will from the date of that Proclamation, that is, 1st December, be in
every respect freed from the interference of the Government or
Legislature of New South Wales....

I have, etc.,

(Signed) W. Denison.

His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, etc., etc., etc.


Government House, Brisbane, Queensland.

_Jan. 6th, 1860._

(Received _March 12, 1860._)

My Lord Duke,

In my Despatch, No. 3, of the 28th November ultimo, I mentioned that
extensive districts within the colony of Queensland are well adapted for
the growth of the sugar cane among a variety of other produce.

2. Since I wrote the above Despatch, I have seen three specimens of the
sugar cane, which have been grown near the town of Maryborough. These
specimens, which were finer than any that were shown me at Mauritius,
were forwarded to Sir William Macarthur, a gentleman of large property,
well-known ability, and great experience in scientific and agricultural
pursuits; and who was Commissioner for New South Wales at the Paris
Exhibition of 1855. I have received permission to transmit to your Grace
the following extract from a letter containing Sir William Macarthur's
opinion of the samples submitted to him:--"I yesterday made several
trials of the juice of the sugar cane forwarded by Mr. Aldridge, of

"As I had to extract the juice by pounding the cane in a mortar, I only
experimented upon the largest and the smallest of the three forwarded.
As they appear to have excited some attention, I may mention that they
were quite ripe, of a bright, yellowish-brown colour, with the joints
from two to five inches apart, the largest being about ten feet long,
not quite eight inches in circumference, and weighing just eighteen
pounds. About three feet of the upper end, however, was too
short-jointed to yield abundantly, and hardly ripe.

"The walls of this cane were exceedingly thick, giving it great
stiffness, and solidity to resist storms of wind. It proved to be hardly
so juicy as I expected.

"I understood you to say that these canes had been produced in eight or
nine months from being planted, and without any particular care.

"Taking this for granted, there can be no question, I think, that with
sufficient capital, and under efficient management, the cultivation of
the cane for sugar ought to prove one of the most profitable
arrangements which offer themselves in Australia, I mean at Maryborough,
or other places equally well situated on the North-eastern coast. I have
for many years thought that sugar plantations to the northward of
Moreton Bay ought to be highly remunerative. The climate is favourable;
there is no lack of good land, and unlike the Mauritius, we never hear
of the ravages of hurricanes."

3. The opinion of so high an authority as Sir William Macarthur coupled
with a number of facts within my knowledge, leave no doubt in my mind
that, when Capital and Labour shall have been introduced, the
cultivation of sugar may be carried on in this colony, with at least
equal success as at Mauritius, and on a vastly more extensive scale than
in that island.

4. I beg to subjoin a short description of the district of Wide Bay, or
Maryborough (referred to above) condensed from a recent publication by a
writer of local knowledge and competent authority.

The back country is extensive, its capabilities are so well known we
need not dwell upon them. The soil on the branches of the River Mary and
its tributary creeks, and within easy approach to the same is excellent
and in large quantities. Its producing capabilities may be illustrated
by the following facts: In one piece of ground may be seen growing in
perfection the sugar cane, cotton plant, grasscloth plant, arrowroot,
tascan wheat, yams, sweet potatoes, cassava, custard apples, pine
apples, banana, guava, and many other tropical productions; alongside of
which may be seen turnips, wheat, barley, mangel-wurzel, English
potatoes, artichokes (Jerusalem), broad beans, maize, etc. At the same
place a crop of maize (which was estimated to yield from 80 to 100
bushels to the acre) is in a forward state of ripening, and from the
same piece of ground, three crops of maize have been gathered within the
twelve months. Where is there another river in Australia with
capabilities for the growth of such varied productions, each perfect of
its kind, and such facilities for shipping, by vessels of the largest
tonnage, the produce direct to any part of the world? Wheat has been
only grown in small patches--each time, however, with success. Cotton
was here produced in the same way from a few plants, and pronounced by
competent judges to be of the finest quality both in staple and texture.
Equally favourable results have been obtained with the other products
named above. The particulars of climate I give from a resident of the
township of Maryborough for a period of twelve years before the place
was surveyed, who declares his own health and the health of his wife and
children to have been excellent, and better than he or they ever had
before, that he has never experienced a hot wind in the place and that
the sudden changes of temperature as felt in Sydney are never felt in
this favoured locality: that the rain showers are regular and abundant,
more so than in any other place he has been in, in this colony; hence
the extraordinary growth of vegetables, etc. Eight months in the year,
not a finer climate can be found in the world, and the remaining four
summer months are not so oppressive in their effects as in the other
warm countries, from the temperature being more uniform, and the purity
of the atmosphere so great. The same gentleman declares that he has,
upon his occasional visits, experienced the heat in Sydney much more
oppressive. Great natural capabilities exist in the township of
Maryborough for the formation of dams at a trifling expense, which would
collect large bodies of water. Minerals consisting of gold, copper,
iron, and coal have been procured in several places in the district.
Timber exists of cedar, cowrie, and hoop pine, a white hardwood known as
fluidoza, gums, dye woods, and other most useful and valuable cabinet
woods, are to be found in great abundance. The dugong is found in large
numbers in Hervey's Bay, from which the famed oil is manufactured, also
the pearl oyster.

All these are sources from which wealth will be derived, and which will
afford employment to a large population. As to the aborigines of this
district it may be placed to their credit, that they are willing at
times to work, and even well. The steamer which trades to the place
every fortnight always takes from Frazer's Island a number of them to
discharge and load the vessel. They are also largely used in the town
for cutting wood, drawing water, bullock driving, horse riding, and
breaking up the ground in the gardens.

The population and trade of the town of Maryborough are rapidly
increasing. The source from which the business is at present entirely
derived is the pastoral or squatting interest, leaving all other
valuable and important interests to be yet developed, such as
agriculture, mining, fisheries, and the timber trade. A large
agricultural population may be expected to settle themselves down on the
river. Maryborough has been recently proclaimed as one of the great
towns wherein District Courts are to be held. The exports are wool,
tallow, etc., with great power of expansion.

6. I beg to suggest that a copy of this Despatch, together with a copy
of my Despatch of even date herewith, respecting the cultivation of
cotton in this colony, should be transmitted to the Royal Geographical

I have, etc.,

(Signed) G.F. BOWEN.
His Grace the Duke of Newcastle,
etc., etc., etc.

No. 10.


Government House, Brisbane,
Queensland, _April 7, 1860._

(Received _June 18, 1860._) (Answered, No. 22,
_July 19, 1860_, p. 84.)

My Lord Duke,

In continuation of my former Despatches No. 5 of the 19th and No. 8 of
the 23rd Dec., 1859, and No. 18 of the 4th February, ult., I have the
honour to enclose copies of the Addresses presented to me at the three
towns of Warwick, Drayton, and Toowoomba, which I visited during an
official tour of inspection, from which I have lately returned.

2. It will be satisfactory to the Queen and to Her Majesty's Government,
to receive these further proofs of the affectionate loyalty of the
people of this colony towards Her Majesty's throne and person and (I
may, perhaps, be permitted to add) of their confidence in the
arrangement made, under Her Majesty's favour, for their Government.

3. My recent journey extended through those districts of Queensland,
which have been longest settled and are mostly thickly inhabited. I was
everywhere received with cordial hospitality by the principal settlers,
and with loyal enthusiasm by all classes of the community. The numerous
cavalcades of hundreds of well-mounted horsemen, which came forth to
meet and escort the first representative of their Sovereign, presented
spectacles such as can be exhibited in only two countries in the
world--in England and in Australia.

4. As it was during your Grace's first administration of the Colonial
Department that the wishes of the Australian Colonists were crowned by
the concession of responsible Government, I will take leave to draw your
attention to a paragraph in one of the enclosures, which explains a
sentiment generally entertained by this people.

After stating that "the journey of his Excellency has been one continued
ovation from beginning to end"; that "all classes have vied in doing
honour to the representative of the Queen"; and that "all little
sectarian differences, petty jealousies, and presumed rival interests
have been merged in the laudable wish to give our first Governor a
hearty welcome"; the "Darling Downs Gazette" proceeds as follows: "Not
the least pleasing reflection that suggests itself when reviewing these
demonstrations of general joy is the confirmation of the fact, now so
long and in so many lands established, that those descended from the old
stock at home, to whom self-government has been a timely concession, not
a charter wrung from the Mother country by the force of arms, still
recognize and revere the grand old institutions, which have made England
the greatest power on earth."

14. I have described in a former Despatch, that rich pastoral District
of the tableland which is known as the "Darling Downs." The droughts
and the epidemic diseases which are frequently fatal to sheep and cattle
in other parts of Australia seem alike unknown in this favoured region.
Many large fortunes have been amassed there during the last 15 years.

15. While the impression created on my mind by the journey across the
Darling Downs was still fresh, I stated in my reply to the Drayton
address, that it had "filled me with surprise and admiration". Even
before I left England I knew by report the rich natural resources and
the picturesque beauty of this district, the scenery of which vividly
recalls to my mind the classic plains of Thessaly. But I confess that I
was not fully prepared for so wonderfully rapid an advance in all that
can promote and adorn civilization, an advance which has taken place
during the fourth part of an average lifetime. Not only have I seen vast
herds of horses and cattle, and countless flocks of sheep overspreading
the valleys and forests, which, within the memory of persons who have
yet scarcely attained to the age of manhood, were tenanted only by wild
animals, and by a few wandering tribes of savages; not only have I
travelled over roads beyond all comparison superior to the means of
communication which existed less than a century ago in many parts of the
United Kingdom; not only have I beheld flourishing towns arising in
spots where hardly 20 years back the foot of a white man had never yet
trodden the primeval wilderness; not only have I admired these and other
proofs of material progress, but I have also found in the houses of the
long chain of settlers who have entertained me with such cordial
hospitality, all the comforts, and most of the luxuries and refinements
of the houses of country gentlemen in England. The wonderful advance of
this portion of the colony during the last 10 years, is due to no sudden
and fortuitous discovery of the precious metals; it is derived wholly
from the blessing of Providence on the skill and energy of its
inhabitants, in subduing and replenishing the earth. Assuredly, I have
observed during the past week very remarkable illustrations of the
proverbial genius of the Anglo-Saxon race for the noble and truly
imperial art of colonization.

I have, etc.,

(Signed) G.F. BOWEN.

His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, etc., etc., etc.


+Source.+--Victorian Sessional Papers, 1877-8 Thirty Years of Colonial
Government (Bowen), Vol. II, pp. 80-83, 114-119

     Owing to the lack of the political traditions of the English
     Parliament friction was bound to rise between the Houses of the
     colonial Legislatures. A bill to provide temporarily for the
     payment of members had been passed several times by the Victorian
     Parliament, but the Council was opposed to making a permanent
     provision for the purpose. In 1877 Sir Graham Berry tacked the
     measure to the annual appropriation bill, which was consequently
     rejected by the Council.

Memorandum to His Excellency the Governor.

The Premier on behalf of himself and his colleagues, respectfully
advises the Governor to sign the message required by the 25th Clause of
the Constitution Act transmitting for the consideration of the
Legislative Assembly the accompanying additional estimates for the
service of the year 1877-8.

His Excellency will observe that it has been thought right by his
Responsible Advisers to include in these Additional Estimates provision
for reimbursing members of the Legislative Council and the Legislative
Assembly their expenses in relation to their attendance in Parliament at
the rate of £300 per annum each, from and after the present session of

(Signed) Graham Berry, Treasurer.

21st Nov. 1877.

The Governor acknowledges the receipt of the Memorandum submitted to him
by the Hon. the Premier on this day.

The Governor has in conformity with the advice of his Responsible
Ministers signed the message submitted to him by them, transmitting for
the consideration of the Legislative Assembly additional or further
estimates for the service of the year 1877-8.

(Signed) G.F. Bowen.

Government Offices, Melbourne.

_21st November 1877._

_January 12, 1878._

Address from the Legislative Council to His Excellency
the Governor.

ORDER OF ST. MICHAEL AND ST. GEORGE, and Commander-in-Chief
in and over the Colony of Victoria and its Dependencies and Vice-Admiral
of the same, etc.

May it please your Excellency,

We her Most Gracious Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the
members of the Legislative Council of Victoria, in Parliament assembled
beg leave to approach Your Excellency with renewed assurances of
unabated loyalty to Her Majesty's Throne and Person.

We desire to draw Your Excellency's attention to the answer given by the
Hon. the Post-Master General during the sitting of the Council on the
1st instant to the question put by one of our members, viz.:--Whether it
is the intention of the Ministry to afford this House the opportunity of
considering the propriety of renewing or discontinuing the payment of
members of Parliament by submitting the measure by Bill as heretofore.

The answer was as follows:--In reply to the Hon. Member the Cabinet
desire me to state that it is unusual and inexpedient to state the
intention of the Government otherwise than by the due presentation of
business to Parliament; but in this instance there is an additional
serious objection to the question of the hon. member. It deals with the
appropriation of revenue which is the exclusive privilege of the
Legislative Assembly, and it is highly undesirable that the Legislative
Council should interfere even by a question with appropriation, the
initiation of which is by message from the Crown, on the advice of the
responsible Ministers and is further controlled by the exclusive
privileges of the Assembly.

This being the opinion of Your Excellency's advisers, were we to
continue silent it might with some show of reason be inferred that we
were satisfied with the answer of the Government, and would accept their
dictum as representing the true position of the matter as between the
two Chambers.

We have thought it incumbent upon us to lay before Your Excellency the
following circumstances connected with the question of payment of
members:--In the session of 1860-1, a separate Bill for payment of
members was introduced into the Assembly, but was lost in the Council.
In the session 1861, Sir Henry Barkly, who was then Governor, was warned
by the Legislative Council of the inevitable consequences of a sum being
included in the annual Estimates of Expenditure for the compensation of
members of Parliament, and the objectionable item was not included in
the Estimates for the year when laid before the Assembly that session.

On five subsequent occasions separate Bills for the same object have
been sent up from the Legislative Assembly, three of which were
rejected, and the two last were passed by the Legislative Council, but
on both these occasions the principal supporters of the Bills distinctly
stated that their votes were given on the understanding that the
measures were to be tentative only, and limited in their duration.

The question at the present time is in exactly the same position as it
was when originated in 1861, and is still in the region of experimental
legislation. It is not a mere question of the appropriation of the
public revenue, but of public policy upon which an uniform usage has
been adopted in the colony, with the concurrence of both Houses, with
the marked co-operation of Her Majesty's Representative in 1861.

The usage, moreover, is in strict conformity with the Royal Instructions
which direct that "in the passing of all laws each different matter must
be provided for by a different law without intermixing such things as
have no proper relation to each other, and that no clause or clauses be
inserted in, or annexed to any Act which shall be foreign to what the
title of that Act imports."

We desire to inform Your Excellency that we claim the right to exercise
the same free and deliberate vote on any Bill which may be submitted to
us for providing compensation to members of Parliament as we have
exercised on all previous occasions and we submit that the inclusion of
a sum for that purpose in the Annual Appropriation Bill might make such
procedure the instrument of enabling one branch of the Legislature to
coerce the other.

23RD JAN. 1878. Telegraphic.

_23rd Jan. 1878._

In consequence of the rejection of the annual Appropriation Bill by the
Legislative Council, ministers have made large temporary reductions in
the public expenditure to economise funds for Police Gaols, and
protection of life and property to the latest possible moment, and that
is about until next May. A number of civil servants and minor officers
of the judicial department have necessarily been dispensed with
temporarily, but sufficient provision has been made for the
administration of Justice and maintenance of law and order. The
Government will do nothing contrary to law or Imperial interests.

Full Reports by Mail.


Melb. _14th Jan._

Appropriation Bill was rejected by Legislative Council consequent upon
clause for payment of members being inserted. Government in Council
dismissed at a moment's notice all County Court Judges, Police
Magistrates, Wardens, Coroners, many Heads of Departments. Further
sweeping changes announced. Great Alarm and Indignation. Trade

_25th Jan._

No political change. Many more dismissals.

_30th Jan._

Eminent Counsel declare Acts of Sir George Bowen in closing Courts
illegal. The country alarmed. Secretary of State urged to await letters
by mail and not act on exparte statements.

To the Right Hon. Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, Bart, M.P.

Government House, Melb. _April 12th, 1878._


On the 29th ultimo I forwarded to you a telegram announcing the happy
termination, through a fair compromise honourable to both sides, of the
protracted crisis and "deadlock" between the two Houses of Parliament,
which had caused so much excitement and agitation, and so much
suffering and loss in this community, and which was straining the
constitution of this Colony to a degree which it could not have endured
for long.

Ever since December constant efforts have been made to induce the
conflicting Houses to agree to an honourable compromise of their
differences. Personally I omitted no proper opportunity of recommending
mutual forbearance and mutual concessions. It was proposed on behalf of
the Ministry and the Assembly that the Council should agree to pass the
separate Bill sent up to them in December, and that the assembly should
simultaneously, or as nearly so as might be, appoint a Committee to
search for the Appropriation Bill which had been "laid aside" and should
then reenact that Bill without the item objected to by the Upper House.
The Ministers, a strong minority of the Councillors, the Assembly, and
the general public--all united in pressing the Council to accept this
arrangement, but there were many disappointing delays and failures in
the negotiations.

Finally, however, all difficulties were overcome, and both the separate
Bill continuing the reimbursement of the expense of members and the
annual Appropriation Act have become law.

General satisfaction has been felt and everywhere expressed at this
termination of the late dangerous and disastrous parliamentary
"deadlock," and the political and social animosities caused by it are
already fast subsiding. The country is tranquil and generally
prosperous. Before the commencement of the political crisis there had
been a partial depression in trade and depreciation in the value of
certain kinds of property, in consequence of a long drought succeeded by
very heavy floods, and from other temporary causes. These evils had been
aggravated by the sense of uncertainty rather than of insecurity
produced by the fierce and protracted political and social agitation and
antagonism of the last four months. But a young and strong community
like that of Victoria, full of life and energy, and of that general good
humour which flows from the habitual prosperity of all classes, rapidly
recovers from depression and discontent, however caused.

It has been very satisfactory to me to receive the assurances that
throughout the late financial deadlock, no public money has been
expended except in due form of law, and in strict accordance with
parliamentary usage. Those public works which had been legally provided
for by Railway and Loan Acts, or otherwise, have been carried on
without interruption; while by dint of strict economy and of the large
retrenchments in the civil service effected by the Ministry, the
administration of justice and of the several departments of the
Government has proceeded regularly and without intermission.

In a speech delivered in last October before the actual beginning of the
recent crisis, but in anticipation of its near approach, I recommended
the members of both Houses of Parliament and of both political parties
to lay to heart the subjoined passage in one of Mr. J.S. Mill's works:

"One of the most indispensable requisites in the practical conduct of
politics, especially in the management of free institutions, is
conciliation, a readiness to compromise, a willingness to concede
something to opponents, and to shape good measures so as to be as little
offensive as possible to persons of opposite views, and of this salutary
habit the mutual 'give and take' (as it has been called) between two
Houses is a perpetual school; useful as such even now, and its utility
would probably be more felt in a more democratic constitution of the
Legislature." Nor have I ever ceased to urge the adoption of such
principles as those laid down by Mr. Merivale when he wrote "Moderation
in success, self-denial in the exercise of power, habitual consideration
for the opinions and feelings of others, readiness to compromise
differences, love of justice and fair play, reluctance to push
principles to extremes, the moral courage which will dare to stand up
against a majority, the habit of constantly, and, as it were
instinctively postponing self to the public interest, and this whether
arising from moral choice or from the constraint imposed by public
opinion; these are the balancing qualities which prevent the misuse of
political freedom."

With regard to the opinions which I have formed concerning the proper
position and mutual relations of the two Houses of the Victorian
Parliament, it will be remembered that my opinions are identical with
those placed on record on that subject by the late Lord Canterbury, my
able and experienced predecessor in my present office. It will also be
recollected that I have steadily followed, during the crisis of 1877-8,
the precedents made, and the constitutional course pursued by Lord
Canterbury during the previous crisis of 1867-8. In acknowledging Lord
Canterbury's despatch of 18th July, 1868, reporting the termination of
the crisis of 1867-8, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies (the
Duke of Buckingham) wrote as follows:

"I have to express my approval of your firm adherence to your
constitutional position through these trying discussions; and I learn
with satisfaction the cessation of a state of affairs which has been
productive of so much inconvenience in the Colony."

Having pursued exactly the same course and acted on exactly the same
principles with my predecessor, I am confident that I shall receive
similar personal support. Moreover, I submit that it is of supreme
importance, on public grounds, that the people of the Australasian
Colonies should know that the actions and conduct of successive
Governors are not prompted by the personal views or idiosyncrasies of
individuals, but that they are guided by a consistent and uniform
policy, sanctioned by the authority of the Imperial Government.


+Source.+--New Guinea. By Charles Lyne (special representative of the
"Sydney Morning Herald"), pp. 1-28

     In 1882, the Queensland Government took alarm at certain rumours of
     the intention of Germany to annex New Guinea, but for a time the
     British Government refused to move. When the establishment of a
     protectorate was authorized, only the southeastern portion of the
     island was available, Germany having, in the meantime, annexed the
     northern part and the group of Islands known as New Britain.

Commodore Erskine in H.M.S. _Nelson_ arrived at Port Moresby on Sunday,
the 2nd of November, 1884, and the Union Jack now flies from the
flagstaff at the mission station, the Proclamation of a British
Protectorate having been made with much ceremony on Thursday Nov. 6.

On the Wednesday afternoon, the chiefs and a number of other natives
were brought on board the H.M.S. _Nelson_, and a grand assembly took
place, with a feast for the chiefs and an address from the Commodore, a
presentation of gifts attractive to the native eye, and the firing of
some of the ships' guns. The flags of various nations were hung over the
quarter-deck in the form of an awning, and the officers wore frock-coats
and swords. Most of the chiefs were destitute of clothing, the mop-like
hair and foreheads of some of them being bound round with bands of
small shells and the hair ornamented with tufts of feathers. Two or
three wore old shirts, and one, Boe Vagi, the chief of the Port Moresby
natives, who was appointed by the Commodore to be the head chief of the
Motu tribe, was dressed in a shirt, with a handkerchief round his loins,
a red felt hat on his head, and some green leaves through the lobe of
his left ear. Evidently he had been attired specially for the occasion,
as his usual dress is as scanty as that of his fellows. There were in
all about fifty of the chiefs, most of them being representatives of the
Motu tribe; and after having been permitted to look round the ship, they
were directed by the missionaries, Messrs. Lawes and Chalmers, to seat
themselves upon the deck. Then a great tub of boiled rice, sweetened
with brown sugar, was brought on deck, and basins of this mixture were
handed round to the chiefs who received them, and devoured the rice with
evident satisfaction. Ships' biscuits were also served out, and the
scene presented by the feasting savages, and by the grouping of the
_Nelson's_ officers and the parading of the bluejackets on the opposite
side of the deck--so that a photograph might be taken of the whole
assembly--was exceedingly interesting and picturesque.

When the feasting was over, Commodore Erskine came upon deck, and the
chief, Boe Vagi, having been invited by Mr. Lawes to come forward, the
Commodore addressed him, and his fellow chiefs, and said:

"I have asked you to come on board to-day in order that I may explain to
you about the ceremony which will take place to-morrow on shore. I have
been sent to this place to notify and proclaim that Her Majesty the
Queen has established a Protectorate over the southern shores of New
Guinea, and in token of that event I am directed to hoist the British
flag at Port Moresby, and at other places along the coast and islands.
To-morrow, then, I intend to hoist the English flag here, and to read a
Proclamation which will be duly translated to you. I desire, on behalf
of Her Majesty the Queen, to explain to you the meaning of the
ceremonial which you are about to witness. It is a proclamation that
from this time forth you are placed under the protection of Her
Majesty's Government; that evil-disposed men will not be able to occupy
your country, to seize your lands, or to take you away from your own
homes. I have been instructed to say to you that what you have seen
done here to-day on board Her Majesty's ship of war, and which will be
done again to-morrow on shore, is to give you the strongest assurance of
Her Majesty's gracious protection of you, and to warn bad and
evil-disposed men that if they attempt to do you harm, they will be
promptly punished by the officers of the Queen. Your lands will be
secured to you; your wives and children will be protected. Should any
injury be done to you, you will immediately inform Her Majesty's
officers, who will reside amongst you, and they will hear your
complaints, and do you justice. You will look upon all white persons
whom the Queen permits to reside amongst you as your friends, and Her
Majesty's subjects. The Queen will permit nobody to reside here who does
you injury. You will under no circumstances inflict punishment upon any
white person; but if such person has done you wrong you will tell Her
Majesty's officers of that wrong in order that the case may be fairly
inquired into. You must know that it is for your security, and to
prevent bloodshed, that the Queen sends me here to you, and will send
her officers to live amongst you. And now I hope that you clearly
understand that we are here amongst you as your friends. You will all
keep peace amongst yourselves, and if you have disputes with each other,
you will bring them before the Queen's officers who will settle them for
you without bloodshed. Should bad men come amongst you, bringing
firearms and gunpowder, and intoxicating liquors, you are not to buy
them, and are to give notice at once to the Queen's officers, so that
such men may be punished. Always keep in your minds that the Queen
guards and watches over you, looks upon you as her children, and will
not allow anyone to harm you, and will soon send her trusted officers to
carry out her gracious intentions in the establishment of this

At the Commodore's request Mr. Lawes read a translation of this address
in the Motu language, the chiefs listening attentively: then calling the
chief, Boe Vagi, forward, Commodore Erskine shook hands with him, and
introduced him to Mr. Romilly; and the Commodore's intimation of the
appointment of a High Commissioner for New Guinea and his explanation of
Mr. Romilly's position, were interpreted to the chiefs by Mr. Lawes.
This was followed by the appointment of Boe Vagi as head chief of the
Motu tribe. To make his appointment more distinct, he was presented
with an emblem of authority in the form of an ebony stick with a florin
let in at the top, the Queen's head being uppermost, and encircled by a
band of silver. Handing to Boe Vagi this stick, the Commodore said: "I
present him with this stick, which is to be an emblem to him of his
authority; and all the tribes who are represented by the chiefs here are
to look to the holder of this stick, Boe Vagi. This stick represents the
Queen's head, the Queen of England; and if at any time any of the people
of these tribes have any grievance or anything to say, they are, through
this man, the holder of this stick, Boe Vagi, to make it known to the
Queen's officers, in order that it may be inquired into. This stick is
to be the symbol of his authority, and all the tribes are to have
communication through him with the Queen's officer."

Directed then to descend to the main deck the chiefs walked one after
another into the Commodore's cabin, where each received a present
consisting of a tomahawk, a butcher's knife, a coloured shirt, or a
piece of coloured cloth, and some figs of twist tobacco. It was a
curious sight to see these chiefs, some of them very old men, but others
young, erect and muscular, filing in at one door, and after shaking
hands with the Commodore and receiving a present, leaving by the other;
and it was very amusing to notice how startled some of them were at
suddenly discovering themselves in a large pier-glass, which they had to
pass before leaving the cabin. The Commodore did not fail to point out
through Mr. Lawes to the chief who had burnt the village of another,
that for the future he would not be allowed to commit such an act, and
must through the Queen's officers seek redress for any grievance he
might have; and the man was evidently impressed by what was said to him.

At half-past six next morning the landing of officers and men of the
squadron for the purpose of publicly proclaiming the establishment of
the Protectorate, and hoisting the British flag, commenced. The general
order issued by the Commodore directed that the dress for officers
should be cocked hat, undress coat, and epaulettes; the dress for seamen
white frocks and hats, and that for marines white tunics and helmets.
There was, consequently, a very attractive display of uniforms, and
altogether it was an exceedingly interesting spectacle. The early hour
appointed for the landing permitted of the ceremony being performed at
a time when the heat, which was intense while the _Nelson_ was on the
coast, was not likely to be very trying to the men. The water of the
harbour lay placid as a lake, with the ships of war far out from the
shore, and here and there native canoes moving slowly along or resting
idly on the surface; and the hills and valleys were green and shaded
from the sun, and wore that refreshing appearance which is notable when
the trees and the grass have been bathed in dew, and when the sun's rays
are strong enough only to make the dewdrops sparkle, and to deepen the
shadows in the recesses where the sunlight has not yet penetrated.

The boats conveying the officers and men to the shore, each flying the
white ensign, imparted life and colour to the scene upon the water, and
nothing could be more picturesque and beautiful than the view on shore,
where the houses of the native villages bordering the beach, with their
brown occupants gazing in amazement on what was taking place before
them, were shaded by a grove of cocoanut palms, the refreshing dark
green fronds being rivalled only by the lighter green of the plantations
of the banana trees on the sides of the hills, which, rising high above
the village, were, notwithstanding the evidence of cultivation by the
natives, and the existence of the little mission settlement, dressed in
almost all their native loveliness, and robed in delicately-tinted
morning mists.

Inside the enclosed ground stood the mission house, and on a spot
commanding a view of almost the entire harbour was the flagstaff which
was now to display the flag hoisted with the authority of the Queen by
Commodore Erskine; and it was around this flagstaff that the troops were
drawn up in a hollow square, the men facing inwards, with the officers
to the front, and the Commodore and his suite standing with the
missionaries and Mr. Chester on the verandah of the mission house. The
native chiefs who had been on board the _Nelson_ were seated in a
picturesque group on the ground immediately in front of the Commodore;
and other natives and a few white spectators stood in a crowd at the
rear of the blue-jackets. The only representative of English women
present was Mrs. Lawes, wife of the Rev. W.G. Lawes, who was
accommodated with a chair, and sat near the Commodore and the officers
on either side of him.

Immediately the blue-jackets had landed they were marched up the hill
to the mission compound, but the marines remained upon the beach until
the Commodore landed, when they presented arms, and afterwards, with
bayonets fixed, marched with the band to join the bluejackets in front
of the mission house.

On the Commodore appearing before the troops they presented arms, and he
then read the following proclamation:


     "Proclamation on behalf of her Most Gracious Majesty Victoria, by
     the grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
     Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India,
     establishing a Protectorate of Her Most Gracious Majesty over a
     portion of New Guinea, and the Islands adjacent thereto.

"To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting:

"Whereas it has become essential, for the protection of the lives and
properties of the native inhabitants of New Guinea, and for the purpose
of preventing the occupation of portions of that country by persons
whose proceedings unsanctioned by any lawful authority might tend to
injustice, strife and bloodshed, and who, under the pretence of
legitimate trade and intercourse, might endanger the liberties, and
possess themselves of the lands of such native inhabitants, that a
British Protectorate should be established over a certain portion of
such country and the islands adjacent thereto.

"And whereas Her Majesty, having taken into her gracious consideration
the urgent necessity of her protection to such inhabitants has directed
me to proclaim such protection in a formal manner at this place: Now, I,
James Elphinstone Erskine, Captain in the Royal Navy, and Commodore of
the Australian Station, one of Her Majesty's naval aides-de-camp, do
hereby, in the name of Her Most Gracious Majesty, declare and proclaim
the establishment of such Protectorate over such portions of the coast
and the adjacent islands as is more particularly described in the
schedule hereunto annexed.

"And I hereby proclaim and declare that no acquisition of land
whensoever or howsoever acquired, within the limits of the Protectorate
hereby established, will be recognized by Her Majesty; And I do hereby,
on behalf of Her Majesty, command and enjoin all persons whom it may
concern to take notice of this Proclamation."


"All that portion of the southern shores of New Guinea commencing from
the boundary of that portion of the country claimed by the Government of
the Netherlands on the 141st meridian of east longitude to East Cape,
with all islands adjacent thereto south of East Cape to Kosman Island
inclusive, together with the islands in the Goschen Straits.

"Given on board Her Majesty's ship _Nelson_, at the harbour of Port
Moresby, on the 6th day of November 1884.



"God Save the Queen."

This was interpreted to the natives by the Rev. W.G. Lawes, who, at the
request of Commodore Erskine, had translated it into the Motu language,
and then, by direction of the Commodore, the Union Jack was slowly
raised to the truck of the flagstaff.

All this not a little astonished the natives, though some of those whose
homes were at Port Moresby had witnessed the firing of a _feu-de-joie_
before; but though the firing startled some of them it had, with the
general display, the effect of impressing them all with some sense of
the solemn importance of the ceremony that was being performed. The
firing party were then ordered to shoulder arms, and the Commodore,
addressing all present at the ceremony but the natives, said:

"Officers and men, Mr. Romilly and Gentlemen, This interesting and
important ceremony now formally concluded, it only remains for me, in
Her Majesty's name to express the fervent hope that under the blessing
of Almighty God the establishment of this Protectorate may conduce to
the peace, happiness and welfare of the people of this vast territory.
May the British flag which we have this day planted on these shores be
to the people of this portion of New Guinea the symbol of their freedom
and their liberty, and the Proclamation which I have just read, the
charter of their rights and privileges. May it be to them a Protectorate
in deed, as well as in name, protecting them alike from the encroachment
of foreigners and the aggressive or unlawful actions of any other
nationality; may the blessings of civilization and Christianity, the
seeds of which have been already sown by English hands in the persons of
the brave and good men present on this occasion, increase and multiply
exceedingly amongst them; and lastly, as the Union Jack which has on
several former occasions been hoisted on the shores of New Guinea and
the adjacent islands is on this day for the first time displayed and
hoisted on New Guinea under the authority and by the command of her Most
Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, I most fervently pray that the
establishment of a British Protectorate on these shores may tend to
insure the integrity and inviolability of the great Australian Colonies,
and promote the best interests of their people; and I trust that this
important step may be attended with the happiest results, and redound to
the honour of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, for whom I now invite
you to give three hearty cheers."

The call was right loyally responded to, and with Captain Bridge
leading, three British cheers rang out and echoed among the hills; and
then, with a royal salute, the troops once more presenting arms, the
ceremony was brought to a close.


+Source.+--National Australasian Convention Debates, pp. 3-5, 23-28, 322

     After self-government had been granted to the Australian colonies,
     the need for united action in certain matters became apparent.
     Under the leadership of Sir Henry Parkes a strong movement for
     federation was organized. His labour bore fruit in the meeting of
     the National Australasian Convention in 1891. At this assembly were
     passed the resolutions which form the foundation of the Federation

_March 3rd._ Mr. Munro rose to move:

That, the Honourable Sir Henry Parkes, G.C.M.G., Premier of New South
Wales, do take the chair as President of this National Australasian

He said: I think this is a fitting honour to confer upon the author of
the movement on the part of these Australian colonies, which resulted in
the Conference held in Melbourne last year. The hon. gentleman has
taken a deep interest in the subject of federation for a great number of
years, and we, moreover, meet in the colony of which he has the honour
to be Premier. I have no doubt that in the position of president he will
aid us with his council and advice, and that his occupancy of the chair
will reflect credit upon our proceedings.

Mr. Dibbs: We look to Sir Henry Parkes as, to some extent, the architect
of the structure we are about to build, and we, like the other gentlemen
present, look to our Premier for advice and explanation, and hope that
he will in due time place before us such a programme as will enable us
to proceed with the great work before us; I can assure the honourable
gentleman that we appreciate the compliment paid to the Colony through
our Premier, and personally I have great pleasure in supporting the
proposition which has been made.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The President elect, being conducted to the chair by the Hon. James
Munro, and the Hon. Sir Samuel Griffith, said:

Mr. Munro, Sir Samuel Griffith, and honourable gentlemen, I could not,
under any circumstances, do other than yield to your unanimous choice. I
am very conscious indeed of my disqualifications for the office of
President. It is hardly in my nature to observe that studied decorum
which is so shining a quality in the Chair. I have not been fitted for
that situation in life. I therefore feel how great the honour is to be
placed in that position on this great occasion and by this great body. I
shall trust to that generous unanimity which has prevailed in carrying
this motion to support me in discharging duties in the Chair, duties
which may become onerous; and I am quite sure I shall not trust in vain.
It becomes my duty to give this assurance, that so far as I know myself,
I will command myself to do the duties of this Chair so that there shall
be no cause of complaint. I will try to conduct the business as to
offend none, and, if possible, secure the good opinion which appears to
have been formed to-day. I thank the honourable gentlemen for the great
distinction you have conferred upon me, and I trust none of you will see
cause to regret the vote you have given.

_March 4th._ Sir Henry Parkes: I have the honor to move,

That in order to establish and secure an enduring foundation for the
structure of a federal government, the principles embodied in the
following resolutions be agreed to:--

1. That the powers and privileges and territorial rights of the several
existing colonies shall remain intact, except in respect to such
surrenders as may be agreed upon as necessary, and incidental to the
power and authority of the National Federal Government.

2. That the trade and intercourse between the federated colonies whether
by means of land carriage or coastal navigation shall be absolutely

3. That the power and authority to impose customs duties shall be
exclusively lodged in the Federal Government and Parliament, subject to
such disposal of the revenues thence derived as shall be agreed upon.

4. That the military and naval defence of Australia shall be intrusted
to Federal forces under one command.

I submit these resolutions as a groundwork on which a debate may be
raised on the whole question with which we have to deal. They certainly
give a fair expression of the outline of the constitution which we want,
as it exists in my own mind, and to that extent I at once acknowledge
the paternity of the motion I make. I venture to appeal to every colony,
and to every delegate representing every colony, to meet the work on
which we are about to begin, in a broad federal spirit. We cannot hope
for any just conclusion--we cannot hope reasonably for any amount of
valid success--unless we lose sight to a large extent of the local
interests which we represent at the same time that we represent the
great cause.

There can be no federation if we should happen, any of us, to insist
upon conditions which stand in the way of federation; there can be no
complete union of these governments, of these communities, of these
separate colonies, unless we can so far clear the way as to approach the
great question of creating a federal power as if the boundaries now
existing had no existence whatever. I cannot too fervently impress upon
my co-representatives from all parts of Australia the necessity of
keeping in view the one object of the better government of Australia,
the whole Australian people.

By my second condition I seek to define what seems to me an absolutely
necessary condition of anything like perfect federation, that is, that
Australia, as Australia, shall be free--free on the borders, free
everywhere, in its trade and intercourse between its own people; and
that there shall be no impediment of any kind--that there shall be no
barrier of any kind between one section of the Australian people and
another; but, that the trade and general communication of these people
shall flow on from one end of the continent to the other, with no one to
stay its progress or to call it to account; in other words, if this is
carried, it must necessarily take with it the shifting of the power of
legislation on all fiscal questions from the local or provincial
parliaments, to the great National Parliament sought to be created. Now
our country is fashioned by nature in a remarkable manner--in a manner
which distinguishes it from all other countries in the world for
unification for family life--if I may use that term in a national sense.
We are separated from the rest of the world by many leagues of sea--from
all the old countries of the world and from the greatest of the new
countries; but we are separated from all countries by a wide expanse of
sea, which leaves us with an immense territory, a fruitful territory, a
territory capable of sustaining its countless millions--leaves us
compact within ourselves; so that if a perfectly free people can arise
anywhere, it surely may arise in this favoured land of Australia.

Whatever our views may be on other points, I think we shall all be
agreed upon this; that for the defence of Australia to be economical, to
be efficient, to be equal to any emergency that may arise at any time,
it must be of a federal character, and must be under one command. I do
not mean that the naval and land forces shall be under one
commander-in-chief, but that they should be under one kindred
command--that the naval officer in command equally with the military
officer shall be a federal officer, and amenable to the national
government of Australia.

As to the wisdom of the great step we have now taken, for so many
eminent men from different parts of Australia meeting in this Chamber as
delegates from their colonies is in itself a great step--as to the
wisdom of that step we have the warning of every country in the world
which has used government by a confederation.

Here we find a people I suppose about 4,000,000 strong. They have
afforded in the great cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane
and Hobart abundant proof of their power of founding an empire. Go
beyond the cities; they have accomplished under responsible government
what appear to me, and what must appear to any stranger who knew the
country thirty-five years ago, marvels in the way of internal
improvements. Not only the railways, but the telegraphs, and everything
that conduces to the best ends of a civilized community, has been
achieved by this scattered people in a marvellous manner. But all
through this great, this noble, this successful effort, we have had
different sources of irritation, of bad neighbourhood, of turmoil, of
aggression, which, if they were to go on, must make these co-terminous
communities instead of being one people of one blood, one faith, one
jurisprudence, one in the very principles of civilization
themselves--instead of that must make us cavilling, disputatious,
foreign countries. The only way to stop that is for the whole
people--and remember that the whole people in the final result must be
the arbiters--to join in creating one great union government which shall
act for the whole. That government must, of course, be sufficiently
strong to act with effect, to act successfully, and it must be
sufficiently strong to carry the name and the fame of Australia with
unspotted beauty, and with uncrippled power throughout the world. One
great end, to my mind, of a federated Australia is, that it must of
necessity secure for Australia a place in the family of nations, which
it never can attain while it is split up into separate colonies with
antagonistic laws and with hardly anything in common.

I regret to say, Mr. President, that my strength is not such as will
enable me to keep on my feet many minutes longer. I have submitted these
resolutions--perhaps it is all the better--without any great effort in
their support. I trust I have indicated with a clearness sufficient what
the great object we aim at must be, and the means by which alone we can
hope to accomplish it. I do not doubt that the gentlemen present will
each of them address themselves to the subject, which, I think, the
resolutions have the merit of fairly launching, in a spirit of
patriotism, always keeping in view the welfare, the prosperity, the
united strength, and the ultimate glory of our common country.

_March 13th._ I am aware that outside these walls, at any rate, there is
a feeling that we ought to wait; that the time has not yet come. I can
only repeat what I have said in other places. If we miss this particular
opportunity, every year that rolls over us will make the difficulties
greater; these difficulties which our separate existence have imposed
will go on increasing. They can only have one crop of fruit; they can
only produce antipathy, disunion, aggression, reprisal, wide-spread
discontent, and, if they are suffered to go on, civil war. That is a
prospect which no man of just mind can contemplate--that these colonies,
sprung from the same stock, possessing the same great inheritance of
equal laws and all the riches of science which have been achieved and
stored up for us in the mother country--that we, side by side, instead
of living in brotherhood and amity, should live in constant irritation
and hostility. Either we must join hands, or we must hold out our hands
in defiance of each other. In the very nature of things we cannot be
divided and be one. In the very nature of things we cannot submit to
causes of irritation, causes of infliction, causes of dissatisfaction,
causes of exasperation, and still live in brotherhood. It is only by
joining hands in good faith as the people of one kindred; it is only by
giving and taking--by entertaining compromise as far as compromise can
be entertained without deadly injury to principle--it is only by doing
that, we can hope to found this union. If we unfortunately miss this
great occasion, and leave the work undone, it will be done in a few
years hence, and it will be done by younger hands, who will gain the
credit of having effected this bond of union, which will be in itself,
if rightly effected, of more value than any other achievement in the
history of this continent.

This is no time for glowing periods; it is no time for rhetorical
flights; but it is a time for hard and steady work in trying to do what
we are called here to do, and I would ask the honourable members to do
their utmost by a calm self-suppression, by a close attention to the
object which has brought us here, by mutual respect, mutual forbearance,
and disposition to compromise where compromise is possible, to assist
each other in bringing about this great work; and I would say that if we
do seize the occasion and succeed in doing the work, we shall have, not
now so vividly as hereafter, the blessing of this and succeeding
generations in what we have accomplished.


+Source.+--The Melbourne Argus, 10 May 1901


     Ten years after the great conference of 1891, the work of Sir Henry
     Parkes and his fellow federationists reached its culmination. The
     first truly Australian Parliament was opened by the Duke of
     Cornwall and York (King George V).

By the hand of royalty, in the presence of the greatest concourse of
people that Australia has seen in one building, and with splendid pomp
and ceremonial, the legislative machinery of the Commonwealth was
yesterday set in motion. The day was full of smiles and tears, the
smiles predominating. Rising gloomily, the dispersing clouds allowed the
bright sun to peep through, and when the great ceremony was in progress
in the Exhibition-building, the atmosphere was radiant, and illuminated
the vast spaces of the building and the great sea of faces with a bright
Australian glow.

A sight never to be forgotten was the assemblage which, in perfect
order, but with exalted feeling, awaited the arrival of the Duke and
Duchess in the great avenues which branch out from beneath the vast Dome
of the Exhibition-building. We have not in Australia any sense of the
historical prestige which attaches itself to a royal opening of the
British Parliament. There the stately function is magnificent in its
setting and pregnant in its associations, but it is in scarcely any
sense of the word a people's function.

Here, by a happy inspiration, the function was made, to the fullest
extent, a popular one. Twelve thousand seated in a vast
amphitheatre--free people, hopeful people, courageous people--entrusted
with the working out of their own destiny, and rejoicing in their
liberty, must be impressive by reason of their numbers alone.

But there was not wanting splendour of accessories. The mighty arches of
the dome, the spread of the great transepts, the grace of the
decorations, were in themselves inspiring; nor was even the sombre shade
of the mourning dressing, softened by splashes of purple here and there,
out of keeping with the event, typifying, as it did, our reverential
regard for the memory of a great Constitutional Ruler, the mightiest
Sovereign of the people the world has known.

Broadly speaking, what was represented in the noble assemblage was
worth. The worthiest of Australia were there--the men who hold their
distinguished positions because they have won them, and because they
deserve them. All that is best in politics, in commerce, in industry, in
the arts, in the Church, in the school, in the public service of
Australia was represented there, and every heart beat high with pride
and with hope.

Faint and far off, just about noon there came the sound of the National
Anthem, and there was a multitudinous murmur and stir, for here was the
actual event coming at last. Then near at hand came the blare of a
trumpet heralding the approach of the Imperial envoys, and a moment or
two after, with royal punctuality, the Duke and Duchess were on the
dais, and the strains of the National Anthem came pealing through the

The religious feelings of the occasion were stirred by the singing of
the grand "Old Hundredth" to the words of the metrical psalm, commencing
"All people that on earth do dwell." This was taken up by thousands of
the audience, and its swelling harmonies rose grandly to the dome. Lord
Hopetoun, setting aside all complicated questions of religious
precedence, himself read several prayers, in his clear, penetrating
voice, so pleasantly familiar in Victoria.

When the Duke stepped forward to deliver his speech to the two Houses, a
"Hush" ran round the assembly, and everyone listened intently, but the
sound of the ever-moving feet on the boarded floors went on. His Royal
Highness spoke deliberately, in a clear, strong voice, and the speech he
read was distinctly heard by thousands of those present. It was a
dignified, a graceful, a kindly, and a congratulatory speech, and it
expressed a confident belief that the new powers granted to Australia
will only strengthen the affection of the people for the throne and

At the final words, "I now declare the Parliament of the Commonwealth of
Australia open," the Duchess touched an electric button which gave the
signal outside for the hoisting of the Union Jack on all the State
schools of the Colony, and for the sending of a message to England
declaring the object of the journey of the Royal envoys accomplished.
Trumpets rang out the signal, and outside was heard the booming of
cannon in royal salute.

After a brief pause the Duke of Cornwall and York stepped forward once
more and read a special cable message of congratulation from His Majesty
the King. And now Australia asserted herself. She had been suppressing
her feelings to show that she knew how to behave with old-world decorum
in the presence of Royalty, but this message, direct from the King
himself, was too much--they simply had to cheer. And cheer they did. It
was done without order or without concert. It was taken up time after
time by sections of the audience; it ran round the aisles, and surged
through the galleries; a hearty, spontaneous, irrepressible Australian
cheer. It was not down in the programme, but it formed a most effective
part of it.

The final part of the ceremony, which altogether occupied about
three-quarters of an hour, was the swearing-in of members by the
Governor-General. He stood on the dais and read out the oath, whilst the
members, Bible in hand, followed him in sections. Then Lord Hopetoun
stepped to the front of the dais, and directing the audience by the
waving of his hat, called for three cheers for His Royal Highness the
Duke, which were given with splendid heartiness, and followed by another
round for the Duchess, after which the Duke and Duchess retired and the
great ceremony was over.


His Royal Highness read the following telegram from His Majesty the

"My thoughts are with you on the day of the important ceremony. Most
fervently do I wish Australia prosperity and great happiness."


The following telegram was despatched by His Royal Highness the Duke of
Cornwall and York to His Majesty the King immediately after the opening

"I have just delivered your message, and, in your name, declared open
the first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. I also read your
kind telegram of good wishes, which is deeply appreciated by your loving
Australian subjects, and was received with great enthusiasm. Splendid
and impressive ceremony, over 12,000 people in Exhibition-building."


When the newly-elected President of the Federal Senate and Speaker of
the House of Representatives were presented to His Excellency the
Governor-General at the Old Treasury buildings yesterday afternoon, Lord
Hopetoun intimated to them and to the members of the Commonwealth
Legislature who were present that he had received the subjoined message
from the Secretary of State for the Colonies:

"His Majesty's Government welcomes the new Parliament that to-day takes
its place among the great legislative bodies of the British Empire and
they feel confident that it will be a faithful interpreter of the
aspirations of a free and loyal people, and they trust that its
deliberations will promote the happiness, prosperity, and unity of the
whole continent of Australia."

The message was subsequently read in both Houses of the Federal
Parliament, and received with cheers.


+Source.+--The Times History of the War in South Africa, 1899-1902, Vol.
III, pp. 30-31, 34-35; Vol. IV, p. 428

     The clash of interests in South Africa between settlers of Dutch
     and of British origin gave rise to much ill-feeling, and in 1899
     Great Britain decided to annex the South African Colonies in order
     to protect the interests of her subjects. In the ensuing struggle
     the Colonies freely offered support, both moral and physical.

Of all the colonies the Australian ones were the most directly
interested in the South African controversy. In view of the vast and
increasing trade between Australia and the mother-country, the safety of
the Cape route must always be a question of the very highest importance
in the eyes of Australian statesmen. And apart from such considerations
of contingent self-interest, Australians had strong personal feelings
over the issue between Kruger and the Uitlanders. Australian miners
formed no small section of the population of the Rand. Australians were
under no illusions as to the idyllic character of the peasant-owners of
the Transvaal. As soon as the crisis became acute, public meetings were
held all over the Australian colonies to express sympathy with the
Uitlanders and to support the attitude of the Imperial Government. The
question of sending Australian contingents to join the Imperial forces
in the event of a war was discussed at an early stage. The idea of
active participation in the wars of the Empire was not altogether a new
one. As far back as 1867 Tasmania had sent a contingent to assist the
Imperial forces in the Maori war. More recently a body of New South
Wales troops took part in the Sudan campaign of 1885. A little active
service and much tedious waiting at Suakim was all they saw, and one
might have imagined that in Australia the result had been to damp any
inclination to repeat the performance. But the partial disappointment of
1885 made the Australians all the more eager to try again.

Between October 28 and November 5 the first Australian contingents
sailed amidst the most enthusiastic popular demonstrations. They were
officered and manned almost entirely by members of the various colonial
volunteer forces, and thus possessed the advantage of a certain amount
of initial training which was destined to stand them in good stead in
the field. It should never be forgotten that their success was mainly
due to the persistent effort of those officers, whether Imperial or
colonial, who during the past twenty years had given their services to
the development and organization of the colonial forces. It was the
existence of these forces that kept up the military spirit in the

Small as was the force contributed by the Empire (nearly 80,000 men) it
was none the less a material assistance, whose value can hardly be
overrated. It practically doubled the mounted force, and thus made
possible those sweeping movements by which Lord Roberts reached
Pretoria. Above all, it gave the Imperial Government a moral support
which enabled it to face with equanimity the almost universal hostility
of the European powers or the fanatical outcries of a few
anti-Imperialist partisans at home. Never, probably, in modern times has
there been a greater consensus of honest opinion in support of a great
national movement than that which backed up Britain's effort to maintain
her position in South Africa. It was simply that the free citizens of
free countries asked to be allowed to venture their lives for the sake
of a political ideal which was personally and intimately dear to each
one of them, and that, in spite of the paralysing absence of either
precedent or preparation, many thousands actually achieved their desire.
The war has not shown what the Empire can do, but it has revealed to
those who perhaps doubted before, what an Empire we can make if we but


Amongst varying fortunes and many indecisive actions, the defence of the
position at Elands River stands out as an achievement only made possible
by courage and grim determination.

For several weeks Colonel Hore, with a small garrison at Brakfontein on
the Elands River, had been keeping up the connection between Mafeking
and Zeerust, policing the district and forwarding on convoys to
Rustenburg. At the beginning of August the force which he had for this
purpose, as well as to guard a large store of supplies, consisted of 500
men, nearly all Imperial bushmen or Rhodesians, an old muzzle-loading
seven-pounder, and two maxims. By this time Lord Roberts had determined
that several isolated posts in the Western Transvaal, such as this one,
which were in constant danger of attack, must be evacuated, and on
August 1 ordered General Carrington to march to Elands River to cover
Hore's retirement. But De la Rey, with three detachments of his troops
under himself, Lemmer, and Steenekemp, each numbering about 300 men, and
each with a gun and a pom-pom, and a maxim, had arrived there before
him, and on the morning of August 4 had aroused Hore's camp by shell and
rifle fire from the north-west, east, and south-east. The camp was on a
small boulder-strewn kopje, in the centre of an amphitheatre about five
acres in extent, and half a mile east of the river. Most of the men were
on this central kopje, but two small hills on the bank of the river were
held by detachments under Captain Butters and Lieutenant Zouch. Luckily,
an attack had been expected, and stone sangars and shelters of ox-wagons
had been made and further protected by biscuit boxes and bags of flour
and sugar from the stores the men were guarding. Nevertheless the Boer
attack seemed to have every chance in its favour; their guns were in
safe positions 2,400 yards from the camp, and along the river banks they
could creep close up to the defenders. Hore's old seven-pounder, though
it succeeded in silencing a Boer gun, and killed a German gunner, was
very capricious in its working, and was obviously no match for the Boer
guns. The thousands of horses and oxen which were in the camp under no
sort of cover were nearly all killed on the first day by the Boer
shells; and the stench arising from these dead animals in the narrow
camp makes it almost marvellous that the men who escaped the Boer shells
were not killed by pestilence. Moreover, the only chance of getting
water was to take the water carts down to the river at night, and then
the drivers and escort were not always safe. To make matters worse, on
the second day of the siege Carrington's advance scouts, after appearing
on the rise to the west, were soon seen retiring again, so that rescue
from this side seemed now out of the question. When starting, Carrington
did not know that Hore was invested, so he carried very few rations. He
no doubt had a small force with him and was badly off for supplies; but
he had gained a ridge from which he commanded the way to Elands River,
and under the circumstances of Hore's pressing danger he was too quickly
discouraged from a more determined effort to bring out the garrison.
From the east another attempt was made to relieve Hore which proved
equally abortive.

On August 5 firing had been heard in the direction of Elands River, so
next day Baden-Powell marched with his own and Mahon's mounted troops
about half-way to Brakfontein. Here he heard guns firing in a westerly
direction, but as the sound seemed to grow fainter and fainter, he
assumed, without, however, waiting for the reports of his scouts, that
Carrington had succeeded in withdrawing Hore towards Mafeking.

After Carrington's retreat to Zeerust on August 5 and Baden-Powell's to
Rustenburg on the 6th, Lord Roberts had given up all hope of saving this
garrison. But on the 13th a runner from Colonel Hore had arrived at
Crocodile Pools, announcing that he had not surrendered. On hearing this
the Field Marshal ordered Kitchener to take part of his force to relieve
him. Kitchener started on the 16th. from Quaggafontein with Little's,
Broadwood's, and Smith-Dorrien's brigades. After Carrington had come up
and gone away again on August 5, the garrison, though apparently left to
their fate, would hear nothing of surrender, but made up their minds to
fight as long as they had ammunition and strength to use it. Luckily
they were well provided with food, and the Boers, as usual in their
sieges, were content to sit round and fire at them without seriously
attempting to rush the place as they should have done. The garrison also
kept up their spirits by sudden raids at night on adventurous Boers or
guns that came too near. Thus, as at Wepener, it became a game of
patience for the garrison, dissimilar only in this, that at Elands River
there was no promise of support to buoy up the garrison with hope.

However, on August 16, after eleven days' siege, De la Rey moved away on
the news of the approaching relief columns, and Lord Kitchener rode in
to set free the garrison.

This siege, like that of Wepener, was especially a Colonial triumph;
there the garrison had been chiefly Cape Colonials, here the majority
were Australians of Carrington's first Brigade, the rest being
Rhodesians, and it would be difficult to praise overmuch the
determination and fine spirit shown by these Colonials in their first
opportunity of distinguishing themselves as a corps. Every soldier who
saw the place afterwards expressed surprise that they could have held
out so long, and it is therefore the more creditable to them to have
done so when every hope of relief seemed entirely cut off; while, at a
time when surrenders and retreats were not sufficiently rare, the
example shown by these splendid men was even more important than the
position they held.


+Source.+--The Times History of the War and Encyclopaedia, Vol. I, p.
161; Vol. II, p. 31; Vol. III, p. 126

     The aggressive policy of Germany led to the outbreak in 1914 of the
     greatest war in history; for nearly every country in the world
     ultimately became involved in the struggle.

     Germany advised Austria to demand most humiliating concessions from
     Servia, and the resistance of Servia supported by Russia resulted
     in war between Germany and Austria on one side, and Servia, Russia,
     and her ally France on the other.

     For strategical reasons Germany determined to attack France through
     Belgium, declaring that the international treaty which bound her to
     respect Belgian neutrality was but a "Scrap of Paper." Great
     Britain, as one of the signatories to the treaty, protested
     against such a violation of good faith, but finding protestation
     vain declared war upon Germany on 4 August 1914.

     The whole Empire solidly supported the Mother Country and shared
     valiantly in all her achievements.


Important as were the offers of help, both of men and provisions, which
the self-governing Dominions and the Indian Empire made to the Mother
Country almost immediately after the outbreak of the war, the knowledge
that these great daughter-nations were morally convinced of the justice
of the British cause, was a factor of even more far-reaching importance.
Great as was the necessity of organizing and expanding the Imperial
forces, and thus creating an extra army or armies to reinforce the
British Expeditionary Force in France, urgent as was the need of taking
advantage of the prompt offers of help which came from all parts of the
Empire, the necessity of convincing the self-governing Dominions and the
Empire at large of the righteousness of the cause for which Great
Britain was fighting was more imperative still. For in the long run the
consciousness of the justice of the principles for which a people is
fighting, alone can ensure the massing of material force sufficient to
secure material victory.

Evidence that the case for Great Britain was fully understood and
thoroughly approved, not only by our own peoples, but by the bulk of the
neutral States of the world, was not long in presenting itself. The
Dominions as a whole had satisfied themselves that the British cause was
just, before Sir Edward Grey had made it plain by his speech of August
3rd that the British Government had done everything short of sacrificing
the honour of the country to avoid war. In the words of Sir Richard
McBride, the Premier of British Columbia, "Should it unfortunately
develop that Great Britain is compelled to engage in hostilities, Canada
will automatically be at war also"; while in Australia, Mr. Fisher, the
ex-Prime Minister, declared, "Should honour demand the Mother Country to
take part in hostilities, Australians will stand beside her to the last
man and the last shilling." These sentiments found expression in the
offers of help of men and material, which have been described in the
preceding chapter. To those offers the King replied by a message to the
Overseas Dominions:

"I desire to express to my people of the Overseas Dominions with what
appreciation and pride I have received the messages from their
respective Governments during the last few days.

"These spontaneous assurances of their fullest support recall to me the
generous, self-sacrificing help given by them in the past to the Mother

"I shall be strengthened in the discharge of the great responsibility
which rests upon me by the confident belief that in this time of trial
my Empire will stand united, calm, resolute, trusting in God.


THE SINKING OF THE _EMDEN_ (German cruiser)

Against us there were known to be some eight or nine German cruisers
abroad, all efficient for commerce-destroying purposes, and several with
very high speed, which it was recognized would require a great deal of

The _Emden_ was a small vessel of some 3,500 tons, with a speed of about
25 knots--quite fast enough to overhaul any British steamer she was
likely to encounter, and fast enough also to run away, if necessary. The
_Emden_ was generally heard of where she was least expected, and after
reaping her harvest of merchantmen, as unaccountably disappeared. In
something under six weeks she had captured nearly twenty steamers,
always contriving to pick up a collier among them, so that she was able
to keep her bunkers replenished....

As a variety of adventure, the _Emden_ steamed one evening into Madras
Roads, and threw shell into the outskirts of the town for the space of
half an hour or so--some oil tanks were set ablaze, and two or three
natives killed; Fort George returned the fire--probably without
effect--and the _Emden_ retired.

It may be assumed that the German captain received information by
wireless of the probable approach of colliers or other vessels, as he
was so very much on the spot; in any case, he was a courageous and
enterprising man, and a good sportsman; but we wanted very badly to
catch him. There are so many holes and corners in that part of the
world, where a vessel may lie for a time with little chance of
detection, and the _Emden's_ speed would have enabled her to reach some
such refuge very quickly.

The last act in the drama of the _Emden_ took place off the
Cocos-Keeling Islands in the Indian Ocean....

It was to this desolate spot in the Indian Ocean that Captain Von Muller
brought his ship, in the early days of November; with him was one of his
captures, the _Buresk_, which was full of coal. The object of this visit
of the _Emden_ was the destruction of the important wireless station
that is established on the islands, and on the morning of November 9th,
the officials were unpleasantly surprised by the landing of an armed
boat's crew from a cruiser, which had come to an anchor, and which they
first imagined to be H.M.S. _Minotaur_. They were quickly undeceived by
the German officer in charge of the party, who informed them that their
operations from the wireless station had greatly hampered the movements
of the cruiser. One detachment of the Germans then rounded up all the
officials and their servants, placing them under a strict guard, while a
second party prepared to blow up the wireless installation and to smash
the instrument rooms of the cable office. This they did most thoroughly,
but the officials seem to have kept their heads in the most praiseworthy
manner, as, just as soon as they discovered that the enemy was upon
them, they sent out distress signals by wireless, and warned adjacent
stations by cable that they were about to be smashed up.

The landing party now blew up the wireless mast and the store in which
spare cable and cable gear was kept; a third explosion wrecked the
wireless hut, and completed the destruction of the installation. The
dynamo rooms and workshops were destroyed with flogging hammers and
axes, everything breakable, including clocks, being smashed to atoms.
Their next proceeding was to cut the shore ends of the submarine cables,
and this was done in full view of the prisoners. There are three cables
from the Cocos--to Perth, to Batavia, and to Rodriguez--and the pleasure
of the prisoners can be imagined when they saw the Germans spend much
hard labour in destroying a dummy cable. Eventually the Perth cable and
the dummy were cut, the others being left, presumably because the
Germans did not know that they existed.

The party from the _Emden_ had landed at 7.30 a.m., and by 9.20 their
mission of destruction was accomplished. At this time a signal was blown
on the siren from the ship; the officer in command collected his men,
marched them down to the beach, and re-embarked. The telegraphists
report that they were fairly and courteously treated. On arrival the
_Emden_ was still using her now famous fourth funnel, a dummy, and this
it was that caused the telegraphists to mistake her in the first
instance for the _Minotaur_, which is a four-funnelled armoured cruiser.
As she steamed away in the bright light of the tropic morning for what
was so shortly to prove her last cruise, the _Emden_ hauled down, and
stowed away, her dummy.

The action that ensued between the _Sydney_ and the _Emden_ is here
given in the official despatch of Captain Glossop, dated from Colombo on
November 15th:

I have the honour to report that whilst on escort duty with the convoy
under the charge of Captain Silver, H.M.A.S. _Melbourne_, at 6.30 a.m.
on Monday, Nov. 9th, a wireless message from Cocos was heard reporting
that a foreign warship was off the entrance. I was ordered to raise
steam for full speed at 7.0 a.m. and proceeded thither. I worked up to
twenty knots, and at 9.15 a.m. sighted land ahead and almost immediately
the smoke of a ship, which proved to be the H.I.G.M.S. _Emden_ coming
out towards me at a great rate. At 9.40 a.m. fire was opened, she firing
the first shot. I kept my distance as much as possible to obtain the
advantage of my guns. Her fire was very accurate and rapid to begin
with, but seemed to slacken very quickly, all casualties occurring in
this ship almost immediately. First, the foremost funnel of her went,
secondly the foremast, and she was badly on fire aft, then the second
funnel went, and lastly the third funnel, and I saw she was making for
the beach on North Keeling Island, where she grounded at 11.20 a.m. I
gave her two more broadsides and left her, to pursue a merchant ship
which had come up during the action.

2. Although I had guns on this merchant ship at odd times during the
action, I had not fired, and as she was making off fast, I pursued and
overtook her at 12.10, firing a gun across her bows and hoisting
International Code Signal to stop, which she did. I sent an armed boat,
and found her to be the ss. _Buresk_, a captured British collier, with
18 Chinese crew, 1 English steward, 1 Norwegian cook, and a German prize
crew of 3 officers, 1 warrant officer, and 12 men. The ship
unfortunately was sinking, so I took all on board, fired four shells
into her, and returned to _Emden_, passing men swimming in the water,
for whom I left two boats I was towing from _Buresk_.

3. On arriving again off _Emden_, she still had her colours up at
mainmast head. I inquired by signal, International Code, "Will you
surrender?" and received a reply in Morse, "What signal? No signal
books." I then made in Morse, "Do you surrender?" and subsequently,
"Have you received my signal?" to neither of which did I get an answer.
The German officers on board gave me to understand that the captain
would never surrender, and therefore, though very reluctantly, I again
fired at her at 4.30 p.m., ceasing at 4.35, as she showed white flags
and hauled down her ensign by sending a man aloft.

4. I then left Emden and returned and picked up the _Buresk's_ two
boats, rescuing two sailors (5.0 p.m.) who had been in the water all
day. I returned and sent in one boat to _Emden_, manned by her own prize
crew from _Buresk_ and one officer, and stating I would return to their
assistance next morning.

5. I lay on and off all night, and communicated with Direction Island at
8.0 a.m., November 10th, to find that the _Emden's_ party, consisting of
three officers and forty men, one launch and two cutters, had seized and
provisioned a 70-ton schooner (the _Ayesha_), having four Maxims with
two belts to each. They left the previous night at six o'clock. The
wireless station was entirely destroyed, one cable cut, one damaged, and
one intact. I borrowed a doctor and two assistants, and proceeded as
fast as possible to _Emden's_ assistance.

6. I sent an officer on board to see the captain, and in view of the
large number of prisoners and wounded, and lack of accommodation, etc.,
in this ship, and the absolute impossibility of leaving them there, he
agreed that if I received his officers and men and all wounded, "then as
for such time as they remained in _Sydney_ they would cause no
interference with ship or fittings, and would be amenable to the ship's
discipline." I therefore set to work at once to tranship them--a most
difficult operation, the ship being on weather side of island, and the
send alongside very heavy. The conditions in the _Emden_ were
indescribable. I received the last from her at 5.0 p.m., then had to go
round to the lee side to pick up 20 more men who had managed to get
ashore from the ship.

7. Darkness came on before this could be accomplished, and the ship
again stood off and on all night, resuming operations at 5.0 a.m., on
November 11th, a cutter's crew having to land with stretchers to bring
wounded round to embarking point. A German officer, a doctor, died
ashore the previous day. The ship in the meantime ran over to Direction
Island to return their doctor and assistants, send cables, and was back
again at 10 a.m., embarked the remainder of wounded, and proceeded for
Colombo by 10.35 a.m., Wednesday, November 11th.

8. Total casualties in _Sydney_: killed, 3; severely wounded (since
dead), 1; severely wounded, 4; wounded, 4; slightly wounded, 4. In the
_Emden_ I can only approximately state the killed at 7 officers and 108
men from captain's statement. I had on board 11 officers, 9 warrant
officers and 191 men, of whom 3 officers and 53 men were wounded, and of
this number 1 officer and 3 men have since died of wounds.

9. The damage to Sydney's hull and fittings was surprisingly small; in
all about ten hits seem to have been made. The engine and boiler rooms
and funnels escaped entirely.

10. I have great pleasure in stating that the behaviour of the ship's
company was excellent in every way, and with such a large number of
young hands and people under training it is all the more gratifying.

It will be seen from Captain Glossop's despatch that he was on escort
duty with the convoy under the charge of Captain Silver of H.M.A.S.
_Melbourne_. This convoy was carrying Australian and New Zealand troops
to the scene of the great conflict in Europe. The act of self-denial on
the part of Captain Silver in sending the _Sydney_ to engage the
_Emden_, instead of taking that duty upon himself, certainly deserves to
be noted. This officer denied to himself and to the officers and men
under his command, the privilege of dealing with the notorious raider,
and in so doing he was actuated solely by his high sense of duty and the
responsibility that he owed to his country. In his judgment the _Sydney_
was the more suitable ship, so she was sent, and the _Melbourne_
remained with her convoy until the affair was concluded.


+Source.+-—Dispatch from a special Correspondent at the Dardanelles
printed in The Times, 7 May 1915

    Soon after the commencement of the war Turkey joined the Central
    Powers, and consequently the Australian Imperial Forces, having
    experienced a rigorous training in Egypt, were used to assist the
    Navy and other Allied troops in an attempt to force the Dardanelles.


Slowly through the night of April 24th our squadron, which was to land
the covering forces of the Australian contingent just north of Gaba
Tepe, steamed towards its destination....

At 1 a.m. the ships arrived off their appointed rendezvous, five miles
from the landing-place, and stopped. The soldiers were aroused from
their slumbers, and were served with a last hot meal. A visit to the
mess decks showed these Australians, the majority of whom were about to
go into action for the first time under the most trying circumstances,
possessed at 1 o'clock in the morning courage to be cheerful, quiet, and

At 1.20 a.m. the signal was given from the flagship to lower the boats,
which had been left swinging from the davits throughout the night. Our
steam pinnaces were also lowered to take them in tow....

On the quarter-deck, backed by the great 12 in. guns, this splendid body
of colonial troops were drawn up in serried ranks, fully equipped, and
receiving their last instructions from their officers, who, six months
ago, like their men, were leading a peaceful civilian life in Australia
and New Zealand, 5,000 miles away....

At 2.5 a.m. the signal was given for the troops to embark in the boats
which were lying alongside, and this was carried out with great
rapidity, in absolute silence, and without a hitch or an accident of any

The whole operation had been timed to allow the pinnaces and boats to
reach the beach just before daylight, so that the Turks, if they had
been forewarned, would not be able to see to fire before the Australians
had obtained a firm footing and, it was hoped, good cover on the

At 4.53 a.m. there suddenly came a very sharp burst of rifle fire from
the beach, and we knew our men were at last at grips with the enemy.
This fire lasted only for a few minutes, and then was drowned by a faint
British cheer wafted to us over the waters....

The first authentic news we received came with the return of our boats.
A steam pinnace came alongside with two recumbent forms on her deck and
a small figure, pale, but cheerful, and waving his hand astern. They
were one of our midshipmen, just sixteen years of age, shot through the
stomach, but regarding his injury more as a fitting consummation to a
glorious holiday ashore than a wound; and a chief stoker, and petty
officer, all three wounded by that first burst of musketry, which caused
many casualties in the boats just as they reached the beach.

From them we learned what had happened in those first wild moments. All
the tows had almost reached the beach, when a party of Turks, entrenched
almost on the shore, opened up a terrible fusillade from rifles and also
from a Maxim. Fortunately most of the bullets went high, but,
nevertheless, many men were hit as they sat huddled together forty or
fifty in a boat.

It was a trying moment, but the Australian volunteers rose as a man to
the occasion. They waited neither for orders, nor for the boats to reach
the beach, but, springing out into the sea, they waded ashore, and,
forming some sort of a rough line, rushed straight on the flashes of the
enemy's rifles. Their magazines were not charged, so they just went in
with cold steel, and I believe I am right in saying that the first
Ottoman Turk since the last Crusade received an Anglo-Saxon bayonet in
him at 5 minutes after 5 a.m. on April 25th. It was over in a minute.
The Turks in this first trench were bayoneted or ran away, and a Maxim
gun was captured.

Then the Australians found themselves facing an almost perpendicular
cliff of loose sandstone, covered with thick shrubbery, and somewhere
half-way up the enemy had a second trench strongly held, from which they
poured a terrible fire on the troops below, and the boats pulling back
to the destroyers for the second landing party.

Here was a tough proposition to tackle in the darkness, but these
Colonials are practical above all else, and they went about it in a
practical way. They stopped a few moments to pull themselves together,
and to get rid of their packs which no troops could carry in an attack,
and then charged their magazines. Then this race of athletes proceeded
to scale the cliffs without responding to the enemy's fire. They lost
some men but did not worry, and in less than a quarter of an hour the
Turks were out of their second position, either bayoneted or in full

This ridge under which the landing was made, stretches due north from
Gaba Tepe, and culminates in the height of Coja Chemen, which rises 950
feet above the sea level. The whole forms part of a confused triangle of
hills, valleys, ridges, and bluffs which stretches right across the
Gallipoli Peninsula to the Bay of Bassi Liman, above the Narrows. The
triangle is cut in two by the valley through which flows the stream
known as Bokali Deresi....

In the early part of the day very heavy casualties were suffered in the
boats which conveyed the troops from the destroyers, tugs, and
transports to the beach. As soon as it became light, the enemy's
sharpshooters, hidden everywhere, simply concentrated their fire on the

Throughout the whole of April 25th the landing of troops, stores, and
munitions had to be carried out under these conditions, but the gallant
sailors never failed their equally gallant comrades ashore. Every one,
from the youngest midshipman straight from Dartmouth and under fire for
the first time, to the senior officers in charge, did their duty

When the sun was fully risen and the haze had disappeared, we could see
that the Australians had actually established themselves on the top of
the ridge, and were evidently trying to work their way northwards along

The fighting was so confused, and took place amongst such broken ground
that it is extremely difficult to follow exactly what did happen
throughout the morning and afternoon of April the 25th. The role
assigned to the covering force was splendidly carried out up to a
certain point, and a firm footing was obtained on the crest of the ridge
which allowed the disembarkation of the remainder of the force to go on
uninterruptedly except for the never-ceasing sniping.

But then the Australians, whose blood was up, instead of entrenching
themselves and waiting developments, pushed northward and eastward
inland, in search of fresh enemies to tackle with the bayonet. The
ground is so broken and ill-defined that it was very difficult to select
a position to entrench, especially as after the troops imagined they had
cleared a section, they were continually being sniped from all sides.
Therefore they preferred to continue the advance.... The Turks only had
a comparatively weak force actually holding the beach, and they seemed
to have relied on the difficult nature of the ground, and their
scattered snipers, to delay the advance until they could bring up
reinforcements from the interior.

Some of the Australians who had pushed inland were counter-attacked and
almost outflanked by these oncoming reserves, and had to fall back after
suffering very heavy casualties.

It was then the turn of the Turks to counter-attack, and this they
continued to do throughout the afternoon, but the Australians never
yielded a foot of ground on the main ridge, and reinforcements were
continually poured up from the beach as fresh troops were disembarked
from the transports. The enemy's artillery fire, however, presented a
very difficult problem. As soon as the light became good, the Turks
enfiladed the beach with two field guns from Gaba Tepe, and with two
others from the north.... In vain did the warships endeavour to put them
out of action with their secondary armament. For some hours they could
not be accurately located, or else were so well protected that our
shells failed to do them any harm....

Later in the day the two guns to the north were silenced ... and a
cruiser moving in close to the shore, so plastered Gaba Tepe with a hail
of shell that the guns there were also silenced and have not attempted
to reply since.

As the enemy brought up reinforcements, towards dusk his attacks became
more and more vigorous, and he was supported by a powerful artillery
inland, which the ships' guns were powerless to deal with. The pressure
on the Australians and New Zealanders became heavier, and the line they
were occupying had to be contracted for the night. General Birdwood and
his staff went ashore in the afternoon, and devoted all their energies
to securing the position, so as to hold firmly to it until the following
morning, when it was hoped to get some field guns in position to deal
with the enemy's artillery.

Some idea of the difficulty to be faced may be gathered when it is
remembered that every round of ammunition, all water, and all supplies
had to be landed on a narrow beach and then carried up pathless hills,
valleys, and bluffs, several hundred feet high, to the firing line. The
whole of this mass of troops, concentrated on a very small area, and
unable to reply, were exposed to a relentless and incessant shrapnel
fire, which swept every yard of the ground, although, fortunately, a
great deal of it was badly aimed or burst too high. The reserves were
engaged in road-making and carrying supplies to the crest, and in
answering the calls for more ammunition.

A serious problem was getting away the wounded from the shore, where it
was impossible to keep them. All those who were unable to hobble to the
beach had to be carried down to the hills on stretchers, then hastily
dressed and carried to the boats. The boat and beach parties never
stopped working throughout the entire day and night.

The courage displayed by these wounded Australians will never be
forgotten. Hastily dressed and placed in trawlers, lighters, and ships'
boats they were towed to the ships.... I have, in fact, never seen the
like of those wounded Australians in war before, for as they were towed
amongst the ships, whilst accommodation was being found for them,
although many were shot to bits, and without hope of recovery, their
cheers resounded through the night, and you could just see, amidst a
mass of suffering humanity, arms being waved in greeting to the crews of
the warships. They were happy because they had been tried for the first
time in the war and had not been found wanting. They had been told to
occupy the heights and hold on, and this they had done for fifteen
mortal hours, under an incessant shell fire, without the moral and
material support of a single gun ashore, and subjected the whole time to
the violent counter-attacks of a brave enemy, led by skilled leaders,
whilst his snipers, hidden in caves and thickets and amongst the dense
scrub, made a deliberate practice of picking off every officer who
endeavoured to give a word of command or lead his men forward.

No finer feat of arms has been performed during the war than this sudden
landing in the dark, the storming of the heights, and above all, the
holding on to the position thus won whilst reinforcements were being
poured from the transports. These raw Colonial troops in those desperate
hours proved themselves worthy to fight side by side with the heroes of
Mons and the Aisne, Ypres, and Neuve Chapelle.


By Senator Pearce (Minister of State for Defence)

+Source.+--The Melbourne Argus, 25 April 1916

In an army a knowledge of its past achievements is a mighty factor in
its future success. Before this war Australia had practically no army
traditions, and it is to the meaning of the Gallipoli campaign in this
connection that I would direct attention to-day, twelve months after the
historic landing.

To the peoples of Europe the thought of war was ever present in the
popular mind; but to the Australian, born and bred in an atmosphere
untainted by war, living amid peaceful surroundings and desirous of
remaining on terms of friendship with the rest of mankind the word
itself has a jarring sound. Yet the German challenge to the Mother
Country finds 233,720 of her Australian sons who have voluntarily
wrenched themselves from their parents, wives, and friends, and from
comfortable and cheerful homes, to answer the call of their country to
fight the Empire's battles on distant shores.

Nor has the thunder of the cannon been necessary to inspire Australians
with a conception of their duty; and the explanation of it all is that
we have inherited to the full that spirit of our forebears which enabled
them, not so long ago, to tear themselves from homeland firesides to
shape careers in this great island continent, and to overcome with
indomitable pluck the awful hardships of a pioneering life.

For generations to come the story of the entry of the Australian troops
to the European battlefield will ring in the ears of English-speaking
nations. The chronicler of the future will provide many thrilling pages
of history, magnificent material for the moulding of the youthful
Australian character.

A distinguished military officer told us before the war that Australians
would require to be in the majority of two to one in meeting a foreign
foe on our own shores; but the furious onslaught that accompanied the
landing at Gallipoli, the bitter fighting and terrible trials of the
occupation, and the wonderful skill that made possible the bloodless
evacuation have shown us that the Australians carried out a feat of arms
not excelled by the most highly-trained regulars of any nation of the
world. The following messages are eloquent in their tribute to
Australian bravery:

"I heartily congratulate you upon the splendid conduct and bravery
displayed by the Australian troops in the operations at the Dardanelles,
who have indeed proved themselves worthy sons of the Empire."--His
Majesty the King, _April 1915_.

"The capture of the positions we hold will go down to history as a
magnificent feat of the Australians and New Zealanders."--General Sir
William Birdwood, _November 1915_.

"Happen what may, the Australians who have fought at Gallipoli will
bequeath a heritage of honour to their children's children."--General
Sir Ian Hamilton, _November 1915_.

These are examples of the praise which that feat of arms has won, and
such is the standing of military bearing which the improvised army of
Australian citizens has set up for the citizen army of Australia--a
standard which, we may rest assured, has not failed to impress our
enemies in computing the military value of our forces.

Every unit of the citizen army will now have its tradition. Every
soldier of the Australian army will have that inspiring example of the
Anzac heroes to live up to in his military work, and we can regard the
future with a calm confidence in the military prowess of our soldiers.

     The Allied troops evacuated the Gallipoli Peninsula in December
     1915, and the majority of the Australian Imperial Force was then
     transferred to the Western Front in France, where on fiercely
     fought fields such as Pozières, Messines, Cambrai, Amiens, and
     others too numerous to detail here, they won imperishable fame.




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