Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Diary, 1 January - 17 November 1847 /George Boyle White
From Jany.-1847- Diary of J. B. White, Surveyor
“ 'Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours;and ask them
what report they bore to heaven.”
I have read somewhere, “A day book is useful, because it helps us to grow a faith in God and Providence. - The whole history of the world does not teach us so much about these things, as the thoughts, judgements and feelings of a single individual for a twelve month." This paragraph accords with my present feelings and those of past years - In days gone by - a habit was acquired by the writer recording his feelings and observations of the world during every revolution on its axis- This was checked by the interference of a female connexion a lady so well described by Swollett - in the following lines- “She is one of those persons who find some diabolical enjoyment in being dreaded and detested by their fellow creatures”. The notes of some years were surreptitiously obtained and may now be spoken of as things that were -Thus the writer bears in mind the following advice - which he has read in one of the periodicals of the day-“ Everybody should keep a journal because one may learn more from himself than from the wisest books when by setting down our thoughts and feelings, in a manner [indecipherable] ourselves, we can see at the end of the years how many different faces we have.- Man is not always like himself- He who says he knows himself ,can answer for the truth of what he says only at the moment. Few know what they were yesterday “. Still fewer what they will be tomorrow“ -I believe this and believing it - have made up my mind - to continue the daily sketch of my feelings and failings- from the 1st.Jany 1847
In commencing this diary - I must do better than pay a passing tribute to the year that's awa' - It has been remarkable for two things both appertaining to the benefit of the Colonists - namely a change of Season - from parching drought - to genial moisture,- and a change of Governors - we have now as far as our present superviser will allow of our judging - a gentlemanly , frank, open hearted man- more addicted to pleasure than business - yet intent to do his duty - by insisting upon those heading the various branches of the Public services - doing theirs - the one that has left us - is a talented shrewd well-spoken man, and he knows it, Not well versed in the low cunning of his species - therefore wary of trusting any party - One as a servant, unflinching - as a master heartless- He who has sacrificed the interests of the Colony and every bona fida colonist - to pander to the taste for experimentalising in Colonisation,- which is a distinguishing mark of our Statesmen of the present day- Setting aside altogether the natural claims to protection that a subject has apon the present state,- he played with the property of the country to gain the golden opinions of powerful theorists in the other view of many industrious men - and the destitution of their families- I remember the following paragraph from Huneysides - “every Colony (said the Cozeyrean Deputies) whilst used in a proper measure, pays the honor and regard to its Mother state, but when treated with injury and violence, it becomes an alien. They are not sent out to be slaves , but to continue the equals of those that remained behind - Sir George perhaps never read this above - it was palpable to know that he did not act .
As to matters of faith- it appears to have been - a word scratched out of his political dictionary - for he thought of little of breaking the pledges of the Government - as an ordinary villain would think of breaking a mans head to pick his pocket - these breaches of faith generally arising from some such honest history, - for example letters doing away with one class of appointments then creating similar offices - for the sake of patronage, and to provide for the Lickspittles and toadies of his system - but Sir G - was no ordinary villain - he has left us with 40,000 pounds in his pocket - and what sort of feeling towards the British Government - a feeling of distrust - which will strengthen with our strength - until the time shall arise - when throwing off the leading threads of infancy - we must and will claim the right of governing ourselves.
I must however confine my remarks to self - 1846 - has not been so harassing to me as either of the three preceeding years - There has been sufficient of domestic broil - a fair share of sickness - more than a hard struggle to make both ends meet - with it and sundry other hardships too numerous to mention - which must necessarily occur when insufficient spirits - are yoked together and which would be glad to be ridded of its yokefellow at any price.-
So much for my Conjugal and domestic cares - My finances have improved - A reinstatement in office has placed me beyond starvation - that is if my creditors will allow me to [indecipherable] - and although I have an innate feeling of some calamity hanging over me - a sort of presentiment of evil - I walk forward and hunt it boldly -? What say you-?
January the first 1847.- Why I say. That in some 85 days you will know me better - very true - for that end I shall observe you closely - like most of your predecessors - You have commenced your career under the temperature of 105 in the shade , although poor old 1846 - in his latter days - was inclined to be merciful and gave us cool weather and fresh showers - You seem to have adopted the general principles of power - that of letting parties know that you have it , by making them feel it - but pray do not burn it up quite - The old feller commenced his reign by blowing and blustering - by roasting - boiling and destroying anything within his grasp - until - he was utterly detested by man, and was later become pale ,and sickened under his failures. But like most oppressors - when he found -his latter end approaching - he became frightened at the amount of mischief he had perpetrated - and determined that during the remainder of his days (I think this was in November) he would show his contrition by looking close and sorrowful - and shedding abundance of tears and peace offering to those who he had injured - I mention this to you young fellow that
that you might profit from the lesson - and learn how much more gratifying is the enjoyment arising out of the power whose end has been to shed happiness on all under it - than that whose only aim is a display - of authority - and a desire to be feared - rather than respected.
It was the custom of our forefathers - to welcome you amongst them - by feasting - dancing - and a muster of kindred - but the young Gentlemen - consider ourselves wiser - in our generation, and eschew such indecent ninth - while even yet the remains of the “Has Been“ is scarce covered by the Pale of time. He is gone - we are going - and in welcoming you - we are welcoming our own approach to the grave.
But after all the plan of laughing through life - is preferable to
crying through it. Who is there that would not be a disciple of Anacreon
- than a follower of Heractitus, let me be the man.- If there is such a
one in existence - and I will be bound to prove the profession nought but
a pretension.- whose paused work is notoriety whose object is
imposition.- laugh and grow fat is an old adage that I agree with but
cannot follow - Remember Shakespeare makes Caesar say-
"let me have men about me that are fat -
Sleek headed men and such that sleep a'nights; ,
clearly showing that our poet of nature -knew well the attributes of a fat - friend - an easy laughing good tempered fellow - with but little mind - perhaps none at all - While he draws the contrast anything but in favour of your Starveling -
“Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look:
He thinks too much such men are dangerous."
So that the casing of intellect (I would rather say discontent) is distinguished by a weasened - cadaverous bilious looking outside 'caused by the irritability of a restless spirit - dissatisfied with everything that does not massinate in itself. I must say the picture is not a favourable one 'would it were fatter.'
Facets of mirth on bands of sorrow is the prelude of a change - to-day we have endeavoured, to hit the happy medium and my friend the doctor and a few friends - just around the dinner table - to do justice to the good things left us by 1846 - and to offer our honour to 1847 - hoping he will do as well by us - The youngsters finished the evening by dancing- Elders of the family were happy looking on - while the doctor and I - like a pair of truly [indecipherable ] cronies - discussed brandy and water judiciously - to the memory of times gone by - and drank in the spirit of teetotalism, success to the future.
Saturday January 2nd 1847 being sultry - and now and then a puff -approaching - to our hot winds of old. I say of old for have had lots of their baleful influences this season, than for many past - The closeness of the atmosphere portended a change - and a slight thunder shower in the evening cooled the air and in some measure revived the vegetation - that [indecipherable] began to show itself overpowered by the heat. - A young visitor whom I had never expected to see again within these walls of Greenwood left us today - Few men of my a/c pass through this world without meeting many specimens of impertinence - but that of sending the party referred to here after what has occurred is in my opinion the height of it - From any other quarterdeck [indecipherable] would have astonished me, but I have seen that
there is nothing more indicative of a worthless person than worthless
actions - and nothing which human nature cares for and has perpetrated in
the shape of deceit - duplicity - [indecipherable] - dishonesty - and
lying - emanating from the orification of the visit would surprise me - I
could add a feminine accomplishment or two more - but they are well known
The doctor called in this evening - and we played cribbage and struck our [indecipherable] quietly - Mrs. W I regret to note has been suffering from a tiresome and harassing disorder her [indecipherable] for years and which - I may speak of in her case as “the lurking principle of death - She has been confined to her bed for more than two months - and is recovering but slowly - It is surprising to me and to everyone - that she has been able to hold up so well against the wasting influence of so powerful a disease; and in disabling her as it does from the duties of a wife and mother it is as sedatious to herself as it is trying to those about her.
Monday 3rd January -1847 The face of nature is looking more smiling under the influence of the genial showers of the night and the promise of coolness- held out by the cloudy appearance of the morning - Yesterday at noon everything was as it were in another bakeing - today we are comparatively cool.
The children went to church - and I have some idea of turning over a
new leaf - and attending divine worship regularly - In the district I am
considered an infidel - their idea - But when I see our pulpits filled by
men who put on the livery of God to serve the devil - I cannot bring my
mind to attend the church - when I see a man teaching the benefits of
religion - by his preaching and the practice of it by his example - I
shall revere the man - but if I hear him preaching well - and see him
afterwards acting like a villain - being a worshipper of Mammon - or a
Cattle dealer - a Cattle stealer or insinuating himself under the cloak
of holiness into the good graces of the mercy of his flock, and then
[indecipherable] them into some bargain by which he provides for himself
and family - [indecipherable] on reflection - think such a man as
Minister of God - and listen to his preaching as he would to one whose
actions tally with the precepts he inculcates- Some such excuse for not
attending the services of God is [indecipherable] on the part of the
Preacher - While He of our Aristocratic church is as feared as Lucifer -
honest, I believe him - but he selects his clay for the manufacture of
Angels - his
“Peity consists in pride;
To rule is to be sanctified."
With such materials no wonder we are not a religious community - Dr J came and dined in a friendly way- and we enjoyed ourselves- happy is the man that has but one friend. In the days of abundance with Sue I had many of these - the doctor has been the only one that buzz - like has stuck to me - the affluent - the Eaters - the drinkers, and the heartless, I am well rid of -
Monday 4 January 1847 - Arose early- this morning fine and cool but about noon the Sun asserted his empire and gave us more than enough of his company - At 10 rode up to the plains to see the Doctor engaged with pen, ink and paper busily searching out his day book- for the good marks ( I am afraid they are but few - that he may trouble them with a [indecipherable] Men that will have physic must pay the doctor- I hope they will but this I know they are generally very loth to do it though are glad of his professional aid in cases of emergency -
Went shopping - bought a colonial saddle for £2.12.6., two Gallons of brandy; and sundry other little articles for Robert. Saw the Contractor, paid Leary's boy five shillings which I am ashamed of having owed so long and then partook of dinner with TWK and his wife - the doctor joined us - and we enjoyed ourselves - We proposed spirits were more exuberant at the termination of the amusement than at its commencement - and plainly evidenced that if our host was an abstainer - his guests were not - I left for home early as all the peat folks of [Singleton are to be entertained this evening by a very worthy man - he much more to be esteemed for his uprightedness than for his education - feted as a man - and a much better one than one or two of his new toadies (for [indecipherable]) who tag to their cognomen the formidable letters J.P. Tempora mutantur et nos mutamus in illis.”
Tuesday 5 January 1847- Cloudy with rumbling thunder throughout the day - in the evening a pretty sharp - shower fell - employed myself in writing and planning - Learnt that the Grand Explorer past through here on the 27th. If any conclusion might be drawn from his crawling through the country like a “thief in the night” - it might be that he is as dissatisfied - with his labours - as the public appears to be - France is as pickled jade - as the blind lady - The Colonists have some idea of his capacity by his exploits - Go home my good friend and let the people of England hail you in the words of Shakespeare “Here comes my noble gull catcher”. - The doctor called in the evening he had been travelling - and according to his own tale had encountered a queer adventure or two - which may in some way or other have considerable influences over his future well doing- He left us to attend a wedding that is to take place -this evening at the village perhaps he is zealous to study a principal part in the ceremony - that when it comes to his turn to be a performer he may get through it respectably. It is strange how few of us know when we are well off.
Wednesday 6 January 1847 - Just such a day as yesterday the heat intolerable - the thunder grumbling and prowling as that low take that portends mischief - Some of the devils emissary are abroad - did not I think so - received a [indecipherable] from Pastor Hellier - to - the man whose character and conduct I portrayed some few days ago - in the picture of the wolf in sheeps clothing - A more sneaking - plausible, [indecipherable] converted the pulpit into a trap for prey - A sea for the unwary - Even - Milton may say "That neither man nor angels can discern Hypocrisy
"Hypocrisy the only evil that walks,
Invisible, except to God alone"
It is my intention to introduce into these daily lucatrations the best methods of making a fortune in Australia. A method hit upon by a cunning straight haired long visaged [indecipherable]in this disguise of a Presbyterian preacher a strange fact to choose( but a [indecipherable] one) in which he has succeeded in defrauding the Government - [indecipherable] as have admitted him into their [indecipherable] out of friendly feeling and respect to the cloth - and humbugging those that are last in the plundering - and have not sufficient sense to detect the cloven foot under a casack. [indecipherable] by the [indecipherable]I ever saw. I defy any one to look on it without thinking of Hell and the devil. No wonder that better men than myself have been deceived by one who appears to have received his degree directly from his master. The manner of his success shall be sketched on a future day.
Thursday 7 January 1847 - Sultry close weather, every one is complaining of opthalmia. As yet have fortunately escaped to this affliction a pestilence has been added in the shape of flies - one would almost imagine that we were about to be convinced of omnipotence by a series of plagues as the Egyptians - were yet I do not see why this should be extended to the brute creation - the horse and oxen for instance have not the curse of original sin upon them - Mrs Sory and family departed this day for home and left my number of consumers minus three- received one or two of those friendly hints from creditors - which assure you of their kind remembrances - God bless them , if they could contrive to forget me - I am sure I should not fret to death. The Dr dropped in and took a snack at dinner time and then left to attend a meeting for the purpose of a arranging a suitable reception for his Excellency the Governor, on his projected visit, in a month or so. It is strange that through life you will be able to judge of the insignificance or standing of a manor community - by its pushing or retiring habits. I should be sorry to call our town - a town of insignificance, but I know some little places - that cannot boast of more than half a dozen men who have had their legs under decent making - any - clamourous to do homage to the representative of Royalty and that clamour duplicating with parties - who are only sharing their gratitude for the fostering care taken of them by a kind Government in their younger days, - men who may say in the words of Barrington - "We are the true patriots be it understood for we came hither for our countrys good" There is something like gratitude after all and I do not see why then Majestys representative should not be as pleased to meet the reformed as they are in Heaven - where it is said there is more joy
joy over the sinner, that seperateth, than for ninety nine just men. I believe this to be the principle of the world of the present day - for while rogues and vagabonds are fed, clothed and protected from punishment - the honest industrious labourer may starve - but let him give up honesty and become a thief the philanthropist will at once take him under the shelter of his wings - he will receive the pity of his kind hearted fellow creatures for his villainy and food, and clothing that he may not again [indecipherable] this share of him `who walketh about seeking whom he may devour. Alas for the good old times. None but flats of the present day believe the old adage - "Honesty is the best policy"
Friday 8 January 1847 - The hottest day of the season. Sir Ts Mitchell now in the desert with its mouth open, panting for water (which by the bye is all humbug) is a sight that may be believed this day on a river bank - all nature is suffering from the intense heat and the scorching influence of the wind accompanying it - the moisture of weeks is absorbed by a day of this sort - and the agriculturist might well be tempted to hang himself - if he were not afraid of meeting with a warmer climate. Saw the doctor for a few moments only. I think he is trying to harden himself for times to come - to be driving about on such a day as this - perhaps he is preparing for the change. He spoke to me of some short time since - In vino veritas is sometimes too true. Had a communication from Ct. Half yearly account & - What happy fellows those must be never need dread such things.
Saturday 9 January 1847. A change of weather - cloudy
day and a pretty sharp shower fell after sunset - writing and
planning all day - Mrs W still poorly and the house anything but in order
in consequence - This sort of monotonous existence entirely bare of
incident is any thing but favourable to journalising - I spoke of
introducing a character or two - by way of filling up - I shall begin - I
think by shewing vice her own image - but as the subject is of the
opposite sex I'll say her worshipper - There are but a few remarkable
circumstances in the life of any of Adam`s descendents, that happen
without something strange recurring about the same time, that gives them
a sort of chronological standing in ones memory - this has been noted by
me in many instances of my own knowledge and the thinking of the one
association of the other immediately intrude themselves - I remember that
the introduction of my second boy into the world - was marked by an
extraordinary appearance of a black snake in our district - but I am
about to deal with the devil - who can assume any shape to gain his end -
from a snake to a parson, for he as Milton said "Considered every
creature which of all Most opportune might serve his wiles; and found the
Serpent the subtlest beast of all the field, but his reverence is not
nice - in choosing his tools - and uses either parson or snake as
occasion may serve - and I am about to follow - so good an example.
I think it was some time in the year 1837 old [indecipherable] in visiting this snug little farm of this, the earth - espied a small flock of (no matter what sheep or human-beings)grazing not many miles from Singleton - under no care or control - This will never do thought the old gentleman - for he with the eye of an experienced grazier saw at once that they were valuable stock to him. I must get some one to look after these or they will be lost to me. Just about this time, A reverend Doctor had declared himself - the sworn enemy of his best friend - the devil and
and had arrived from Europe with a batch of Presbyterian parsons to carry on the war with tooth and nail - Bible and balderdash - to expel by their power of lungs and example the old Gentleman from his chosen preserve. By chance the old fellow had got some inkling of this - for it is said he sleeps with one eye open and a thought at once struck him - by the bye said he - these fellows may just serve me better than their ostensible master and I’ll even try my luck with some of them. I have only to hold out inducements of wealth and to show them that the herding of cattle and the shepherding of sheep is much more profitable than the call of those with whom poverty - by weakness of spirit, and charity to all men is more recommendatory than worldly power and goods. Nine out of ten of these worthys will at once become my follower - and my good old friend the doctor (for he still speaks of him as a friend) will have rendered me more service - by his enmity - than he wishes - Yet perhaps after all he is a friend of mine at heart- and merely assumed the appearance of enmity to serve me the better.
Sunday- Cloudy and close - sprinkling with rain in the evening. As this is a day set aside for the service of our Creator - it is my wish that it should be kept so - I am not fond of outward shew in religious service - think a quiet self examination of the past preferable to all the pomp and vanities of Church going in carriages - This is a mere matter of opinion - the intention gives the value - the quiet way of showing it belongs to the man.
Monday 11th January 1847
Cloudy - a very heavy shower of rain about midnight- Cursing my daily pittance by putting on decent paper the harbour survey of Newcastle - Purchased a mare for the Government from Mr Maine - price - Ten pounds - As I have little more to record of the day I will continue my history “The old Gentleman he being resolved upon his line of action - commenced at once to carry it into effect and as he usually had great influence with church dignitaries he caused the principal to disperse his sucking parsons at once to their social chores - thinking that when once divided he would be then sure of his task - There was one individual amongst the numbers whom he had selected for charge of the Good Presbyterian souls of Single Town and as this man had brought some credentials with him in the shape of a [indecipherable] pamphlet - of printed certificates of character signed by a dozen or more Scotch parsons wherein they gave him credit for having all the requisites of an angel so that the reader considered that he had not been translated like Enoch of old - to Heaven to the bosom of his father and his God -
The person of the incumbent elect - may be brought to the minds eye of any one who has read Washington Irvings - incomparable tale of Ichabod Crane, especially if the copy be illustrated with an engraving (as mine is) of Ichabod teaching his young lady pupil sacred music. A thin visage with sunken eyes having an extraordinary sinister expression- and always an angry red inflamed appearance around the [indecipherable] These eyes were surmounted by a narrow forehead fringed with one of the roughest and dirtiest looking thatches - Seven beards dignitied by the name of human hair - I have read of dirty Dick and when I saw one parson in his pulpit - the story recurred to my mind
and a desire to keep a respectable distance from the evangelical person followed. Surely thinks Its myself - cleanliness is no portion of this parties creed. He appears to be a stranger to the elementary principles of soap and water - and is far too humane to think of disturbing the aborigines - that are in possession of his Head Quarters Fortunate fellow - and a brush never disturbs your business habits - or rural sports - Your wives and children are not turned out of their quiet and happy dwellings at a moments notice - You live in peaceful possession of the principal part of a being whose motto is live and let live. In other respects - Ichabod’s description would serve him - “ tall, exceedingly lank with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands unwashed with nails long and black as a chimney sweeps dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels and his whole frame most loosely hung together - an eye that could never look a man straight in the face and a thin scraggy neck - form these materials into a whole and you will [indecipherable] of our Minister. He certainly resembled more the vision of famine. If some scarecrow eloped from the cornfield - In the words of Burns I greet him-
“D’ye mind that day, when in a bizz
Wi’ reekit duds an reestit gizz-
Ye did present your smouty phiz
Mang better folk.
Tuesday 12th January- 1847 - Cloudy and small rain towards the evening - employed my time in writing and planning -
Wednesday 13th January - drizzling rain all day - rode to Watts at the Cockfighter to survey some three allotments which he has applied for by purchase - This man and his wife were some years ago (when Henry was born) servants of mine - they have now a family of seven children - and are doing well. By honest industry they are now better off than their first master - and this is the only instance of servants of mine having prospered - they owe it to their hard working and perseverance- may they enjoy their good fortune. Returned late to Singleton and slept at the doctors for the night was so dark and wet when I arrived there - that I did not continue on homewards - Learnt from Watts that Mr Kennedy and the exploring party ( quite a misnomer) had passed on their way to Sydney - this day week - I now think that the Colony has experienced sufficient of Sir T S Mitchells qualifications as an explorer. It is rather expensive work - and to advance large sums and get no equivalent is the best means of opening the eyes of the public to the humbug of appointing such a man to a service - that he is as much unfit for - as to be Archbishop of Canterbury - The latter in my opinion would suit him best - for it does not require much physical courage to carry on the duty - He certainly has been very successful in trying on his bunkum.
Thursday 14th January. Much such weather as yesterday the rain more continuous and falling heavier - it seems to be the precurser of a flood, the only thing in my opinion that will renew the fertility of the district - we have such a continuous drought for years that the ground is as parched and hard as if it were approaching a rock formation - The little rain that has fallen one day has been evaporated the next and in most instances has done more harm than good - Employed in making plans and descriptions for Sydney - I am fearful the rain will destroy my crop of grapes - I must console myself with the idea that if it injures me it will be of great benefit to those who intend putting in grain - and the plough will travel all the easier with the prospect of a return following the labour.
Friday 15th January 1847. Continuous rain - falling very heavily during the night - sent in some plans to Sydney and having pored over them until I find I am in want of some recreation I shall continue my sketch of the devils own parson. Notwithstanding the unsaintliness of the outer Tabernacle - the address of the man appeared earnest - and his subject to [indecipherable] direct from the heart - so that whatever unfavourable impression his person and dirty appearance may have made, the zeal and sanctity that he puts on created a feeling among his auditors - that although he might not have much ability he had a great share of seeming devotion and looked like one determined to do his duty and to serve his master faithfully.
This impression was much strengthened by the promptness with which he set about taking steps for the erection of a kirk - as he termed it. Ere a few days had passed every house in and within a few miles of the bishop had been visited on the begging mission for aid to carry on so desirable an object - In this business it was evident to parties who are capable of judging - that whatever might be his classics lore - he is devoid of the polish and manners of a man who had moved in a respectable or even decent class of life - Every art that cunning could suggest was employed to induce the close-fisted to contribute their mites - and to such as were not notorious for being over religious (for some parties are fond of notoriety even in the religion) he urged the proud acquiescent - the necessity of Education for the rising generation - and to the married his intention of applying himself - especially to this branch of his duty - This last manoeuvre had the desired effect - and a larger subscription was realized than was at first expected from so small a community. In a little time the ground for the site of the buildings, mind I say buildings - was procured and the priest or parson was to be seen daily in his shirt sleeves delving away at the foundation - as if he had mistaken his profession - and even more expert at clod crushing - than gospel expounding - This was the man for the people - a man who lent body and soul to the good work, a man right & Presbyterian true blue - who could either
rant in a tub, or as [indecipherable] has it
“Work like mad or drunk
For dance Religion as for punk
Whose honesty he well could swear for
Though not a bit of him knew wherefore”
but after all the sequel will prove he was not such a fool as he looked - and knew well what he was working for-
Saturday 16th January 1847- Incessant rain during the 24 hours - going on with my plan of Newcastle Harbour - the Dr. called in and dined- after dinner he and Henry went out to frighten the birds - I continued my work -Sundown the Dr. and the boys returned - more like scarecrows & mudlarks than anything else - Some conversation passed after tea relative to the dinner to be given to the Governor on his tour through the district and the parties who are to give it - The Doctor seems to think (or say) that HE is obliged to dine with any public body that may invite him - I certainly was never aware until now that it was compulsory on Her Majesty or His Majesty’s representative to feed with any herd of Sweeps - who out of curiosity may wish to see if [indecipherable] or their betters grubbed as they do. I know if I were in the Governor’s shoes I should choose my company for many reasons - but more especially the old one "That Evil communication corrupts good manners"
Sunday 17th January 1847 - Continued rain but lighter than that which fell yesterday - The Dr came in like a drowned rat - about dinner times - and remained until evening - Should be quite lost without him for he is the only conversable man of a respectable class in the neighbourhood - we have many scruffs - but poor devils that is not their fault they did not create themselves and as this is Sunday - I shall not find fault with God’s handiwork
Monday 18th January 1847- Still raining - sad weather for the grapes - I am fearful I shall lose them all - looking at my plans - Mrs White’s away to Mrs Dangars and Henry and the Dr. out shooting - The river is impassable and rising - I wish to see it well over the bank - the rain has done me all the mischief it can do, now let it do me some good - The Blue mountain parrots are very busy too - weeding among the vines and although we shoot lots of them it does not deter the others.
Tuesday 19th January - Heavy rain in the morning showery during the day - employed as yesterday - Mrs White away at the plains - Henry with her so that I have a quiet and comfortable house to myself - no one to wrangle with - The folks returned about dusk - Mrs W having made arrangements with the Cooper, he is to be here in the morning to clean and put the casks in order as we must make something of the grapes that are spoiling - even though it turns out vinegar.
Wednesday 20th January 1847 - Rain still hanging about - and a very heavy shower occurred about midday - the river is impassable and with such weather is likely to remain so - We are tormented by myriads of the blue mountains parrots- and they are more destructive among the grapes than any other bird we have - I am trying to get rid of them by shooting but it does not appear to lessen their numbers or to frighten them either.
Thursday 21st January 1847 - The rain appears to be over - As this is
the day that the citizens of Singleton are convened to cook up an address
to the representative of Royalty - who is expected to honour us on or
about the 5th of February - Went up to the town to be present at so
important an event - Found Mr G. at the doctor - who yesterday in
attempting to swim the river with his mare nearly lost the
[indecipherable] of his steeds and the animal to boot and had after all
to ride around by McDougal’s and cross by the boat - Such risks are
foolish when your horse is not to be depended on as a swimmer - Dined
with the doctor - fortified my stomach and spirits and then adjourned to
the meeting -found “[indecipherable]” in the chair and
several other more respectable men around him. The business commenced by
asking if any party had screwed up his courage sufficiently to produce an
address - for the ordeal of the inspection and criticism of the literate
present - and after that ordeal - should it not be found wanting - for
the hands of our (as yet) respected Governor - On the question being put
a blank appeared upon the faces of the present - each looked at his
neighbour and a “solemn silence” continued for a minute or
two - presently a small voice in a serious tone - very unlike the triumph
of the archangels aroused the meeting from its reverie by the
[indecipherable] words - “Gentlemen, I have prepared an address for
vice Royalty and shall beg very respectfully to be allowed to present it
to the wisdom of the company - and if no other gentleman be similarly
prepared and my composition be approved of I trust it will be adopted -
He looking to ascertain from whom the [indecipherable] had emanated -
which had so opportunely rescued us from the withering stares of
disloyalty - or perhaps incapacity - which would have attached itself to
the Singletonians - for not having [indecipherable] them - Who did or
could use his [indecipherable] or brain - to welcome for the first time
[indecipherable] inquisitorial visit the representatives of Majesty.
I [indecipherable]the speaker as a public Servant - an orator - and one or two other things - and then I thought to myself more credit would accrue to the Singletonians - if the [indecipherable]- had been the presentation of one of [indecipherable] of the independent citizens and thus of a paid servant of the Crown
It was however fortunate that the meeting had a straw to clutch at and the document was at once received and ordered to be read - then you should have seen the [indecipherable] of the meeting - Verily this schoolmaster appeared to be [indecipherable] - Adverbs were assigned, verbs were [indecipherable] of conjunctions [indecipherable] out of their place - prepositions anything put in it - the whole host of the parts of speech were in this [indecipherable] great list and construction was condensed - events tortured without [indecipherable] - Some of the parties were really too [indecipherable] and showed their leaning - "[indecipherable]like a pedant that keeps a School & the Church” The unfortunate address after having undergone such changes that its author disowned it and having been read ten different times - ten different ways - was after a discussion of four hours [indecipherable] patronised –Then
Then followed the proposition to give His Ex'y a dinner - A custom
universally adopted by our ancestors - that of giving dinners to those
whom they felt delighted to honor - a pleasant way of testifying respect
.- very ably [indecipherable] upon by Mustapha [indecipherable] - a Sub
[indecipherable] plan - and also an economical plan - for as the given
are partakers they usually take care to get their monies worth for it
must be understood that although such feasts are called public feasts,
they are public only to such as pay for them.
This was a much weightier affair than the former, pounds shillings and pence came into consideration, beside a more difficult point keeping the thing respectable - some hours of deliberation called on this and it was finally agreed upon that the date of the 22/6 would [indecipherable]in the eyes of the Stewards - any man eligible to dine with the Governor - the thanks of the meeting were forgotten to be given to Gurney the Goose - who seemed almost tired of the this close setting and really merited some consideration - I can scarcely excuse the Singletonians for this breach of etiquette to the worthy chairman - Considering the respectability of the citizens and the importance of the matter - About dark we then retired to our respective homes - well satisfied with our part of the day
We shall remember with advantages
"What feats we did this day" Beg Shakespeare's pardon.
Friday 22 January 1847 - The weather holding up again and all around
looking too luxuriant - this is a truism as applied to the weeds -
Finished some 150 gallons of - I’ll call it wine until it proves
itself to be vinegar - received [indecipherable] from the grand explorer
of his return to the [indecipherable]of man - and his resumption of
unmerited place - Oh if I only had the power of making him account for
the duty performed by himself at a £1000 per annum - an officer at
£350- and thirty men for the last fourteen months - taking into
consideration the outlay of some £2000 - I think I could open the
eyes of all the reviewers in England, Ireland and Scotland - the greater
batch from this latter country whose clannish propensities - invariably
show themselves in favor of any countryman who has used the grey goose
quill - be it for either truth or fiction. My chief is for a need for
colouring - all his laurels - as a warrior - have been reaped with a crow
quill or camels hair pencil - and because he managed to impose himself
upon great men - whose ignorance of the subject was in proportion to the
credit given to their opinion - he was pawned upon the Colony - in a
position - that it would have been well for the colonists - had they made
him a present of his salary - and dispensed with his services - a more
incompetent man - could scarcely have been selected by our home
authorities - as the Head of a Department requiring talent and ability -
and moral and physical courage- but I am told that it is through
patronage - and not by the fitness of the man for the place, that Heads
of Departments are selected at the Colonial Office - and from the sample
we have here I give credit to the assertion - but I must not forget
“ His authority bears a credent bulk,
That no particular scandal once can touch
But it confounds the breather”
I shall have more to say on this subject anon - I am sorry it is not in the hands of an abler man - with the same knowledge or experience I am possessed of - still with treat it with the best of my ability.
Saturday 23rd January, 1847 - Beautiful spring weather ([indecipherable] the paper) - working at my favourite place. Mrs. W bottling off wine - her son Henry drinking it. At noon the Dr. & Mrs. Gn. called in and talked, the latter on his way home. Now then to the history of our devil [indecipherable]. The [indecipherable] assiduity of this Gentleman could not have been better timed, for the people had been disgusted by a set of itinerant preachers who as a matter of duty was compelled to visit the district once a month. Yet no one ever saw them except the elite of the neighbourhood whose hospitality they considered [indecipherable] to receive. Twice out of thrice when parties had met together by this minister [indecipherable] appositively and had ridden miles for the worship of their God and out of respect to the cloth of this preacher (though they ill deserved it) they were disappointed and many had determined upon paying their homage quietly to the Almighty - rather than subject themselves and families to the [indecipherable] and neglect - a marked characteristic of the labourer of the Church of England at the period referred to.
This then was the crisis taken advantage of and the appearance of a
diligent priest was welcomed by us as water is by this parched and
thirsty [indecipherable]. Six days of the week was man to be seen working
at the foundations of
his either his Church, his School
or his Manse. On the Sabbath - he was holding forth with all the fervour
of religious zeal to an attentive though [indecipherable] congregation -
not successively but two or three different times at two or three
different places - but mind gentle readers the Church, the School, and
the Manse [indecipherable] then but in the prospective.
Sunday, 24th January 1847 - delightful day. Packed the children off to
church and sat myself down quietly to mull over the actions of the week.
I had made up my mind at the beginning of the year to attend divine
worship reputedly more as an example for my children and servants than
from any respect I bear to the Ministers of the Church - although my
father I have heard was a staunch Episcopalian - so will I be when I take
to it again - Man pays for his whines –
“The Gods are just, and of our pleasant view
Make Instruments to scourge us”
I feel I have been justly punished for leaving the Church of my Father
- and though the scourge has been applied in the shape of a priest of the
Church Kirk, which I felt inclined to adopt, I deserve
it. The man whom I trusted robbed me, in the disguise of a parson and has
proved himself - one of the greatest sharpers I ever met with -
and a professed robber - bears no comparison to a
systematic swindler. The Doctor dined here and also Mrs. Long and family
- the former left soon after dinner to see his patients - and I had no
patience with him.
Monday, 25th January 1847. Fine morning - but heavy showers I never recollect so much rain falling at this season of the year. I am heartily tired of it. We might soon carry and an umbrella as an appendage.
Tuesday, 26th January 1857. Cloudy weather - with slight showers
during the day. This is the 59th anniversary of the Colony. Who would
think that only fifty nine years ago this was a wilderness - supplying
food only to a few savages - and that now 180,000 civilized beings draw
their sustenance from the soil. Immeasurable flocks and herds are to be
found in every known part of it - and yet philanthropists blame us for
robbing - as they say - the aborigine of his birth right. Surely the
accusation is unjust. The past disposer of events never called this vast
island into existence for the sake of savages - Kangaroos Opossums and
Emus and the results prove that He did not do so - for they are now
giving way to a more useful and intelligent class of beings. A regatta
celebrating this day in Sydney - which is kept as a holiday - and devoted
to mirth and fun by our creative brew of both sexes. An accident in the
shape of drowning practically caused it to be remembered by some family
as a day of grief. I trust this
day may be an exception.
The Dr. dined with me - and I accompanied him to [indecipherable], the
hospitable proprietors of which returned home on Sunday last. This being
a day of joy to us occupants of this land of promise be it for good or
evil, stayed later than usual and became considerably elevated - while
discussing the merits of our adopted country - but more especially of the
merits of its water - when qualified - with a fair proportion of what
shall I say something even lighter than the pure element.
“Blue Spirits and Whites, red spirits and Grey,
Mingle, Mingle, Mingle, those who mingle may”
and mingle they did until ‘Puck’ became the predominant geniusd of the evening.
Wednesday, 27th January 1847. Fine weather, and the sky seemed to promise fair - but its promises here are just so much to be depended upon as the promises of friends in prosperity employed any day in arranging filling up and repairing old plans.
Thursday, 28th January 1847. Fine weather, the day a counter-part of yesterday - in weather, employment and all the etceteras which we men of the bush find it necessary to summons to our aid - as an excuse for passing the time badly.
Friday, 29th January 1847. Beautiful weather. One or two days wet, one
or two days genial - Vegetation running riot - to the cattle and sheep a
pleasant prospect - to the
settler cultivator a poor one
that is in one sense of the word - for although plenty can never be
considered a curse, yet too much of an article decreases its value, and
obliges the grower to dispose of the bounty of providence in a way that
renders the word bounty doubtful - writing and repairing plans.
Saturday, 30th January, 1857 - Very cloudy and throughout the latter part of the day heavy rains. Went up to Singleton to get my lantern fitted up. Accompanied by the doctor - and was fairly drenched by the time we got there. Went into the [indecipherable] Bourke then present there too little. F. Little I Bocker F Calaghan Esquire and Capt. O’Connell - all hurrying up the country to welcome the Governor to their several districts - [indecipherable] rather more than usual - and talked in propositions - learnt that the grand explorer is once more bound to the land of his father - I hear. Only wish him - as the Scotch lass shy of her Highland Laddie "safe at home". On my return [indecipherable] heard Green in from the Station.
Sunday 31st. January 1847. Cloudy and now and then light sprinklings of rain. After dinner started in company with Mr. J for Maitland - soon after passing Mount Misery - the rain began to fall in torrents and the roads assumed the appearance of water courses rather than roads - at Black Creek the water was running rapidly - at Anvil Creek they were level with the dam, at Lochinvar over it - the road between the fences was for nearly four miles - a river knee deep - we had a fine soaking journey of it and reached Maitland about 11 P.M. It is a comfortable thing to get under a good roof after such a trip. Put up at the Northumberland and after a good supper with a glass of grog or two medicinally to provide against the effects of the wetting and turned in feeling fairly tired we certainly had the prayers of the congregation today for we travelled by land and by water.
Monday 1st. February 1847 Unsettled weather - alternating sun shine
and showers - the latter drenching a man well through - the former drying
him again. Saw Mr. John Turner, Nicholson the lawyer and tried to explain
the nature and hopelessness of the case in which he is employed.
Certainly no unfortunate man has ever been placed in a more awkward
position than myself and that by my friends. Remember Goldsmith’s
“And what is friendship but a name
A charm that lulls to sleep
A shade that follows wealth and fame
And leaves the wretch to weep.”
Pit 'tis true, at least I have found it so. Called on the Captain and arranged the matters between us in this way - gave him a P.N. for £16 at three months - dated the 14th inst. And another for the £16.7 at 6 mths of the same date - these I shall be able to pay when due, I wish I could as surely look forward to a settlement of all other claims against me. In this evening returned to [indecipherable] but the the P.M. of the [indecipherable] ‘what was’ but unfortunately for himself and family not ‘what is’. Conversed pretty freely on the acts and duties of our Superiors, it would have done their hearts good to hear us and they might have profitted by the lessons in good government coming from [indecipherable] of our superior ability and experience on a subject. Yet so little known to those placed in power, and so well known to those who never had power but who fancy if they had, wouldn’t they astonish this world. Yea verily and surprise themselves. Felt some slight symptoms of Opthaluica.’
Tuesday 2nd February 1847. This morning our Governor Genl. Fitzroy is
expected to arrive at Newcastle by the Steamer on an initiatory or
inquisitorial visit to the district. Arose at dawn of day. The weather
anything but promising. Heavy clouds hanging all around with ominous
streaks of light or rays of sun shine breaking through them. A nautical
man would describe the sun as filling up his shrouds and backstays for a
gale of wind.
5/30AM Mounted up my horse and started for Newcastle encountered a shower or so - enough to keep me comfortably moist on the road but this was nothing to the pleasure of being phlebotomised by the myriads of mosquitoes that arose
arose in succession from the swampy lands around me seeming as if
determined upon devouring both self and horse. I have never before
experienced anything like it during my sojourns in the colony. The horse
poor brute was more pitted by the annoyance than myself. After undergoing
for three or four hours a torture that I think purgatory can scarcely
equal, reached Newcastle about 9 A.M. Our Queen Lady’s
representative having arrived some few minutes previously- That he had
done so became palpable to me on sighting the Newcastle Inn for its
balcony was decorated with our National Ensign in all its shades from the
blue to the white while three or four portly figures lolled over, or
against, the balustrades with princely negligence, the foreground was
occupied by a gaping mass of humanity - surprised to find that the
representative of Royalty was so much like a unit of their body. Found
that there was no room for me at the inn I have been in the habit of
patronising so domiciled at the Miners Arms - and having divested my
person of the dirt of the road. Mingled with the many that were in
attendance to pay their respects to the Governor. Then came the Song
“ What a coil’s here
Serving of beeks and jutting out of bums”
I remember when a boy being highly amused by the pomp and vanities
which I once witnessed and have since considered as necessarily attached
to the movements of a first chop mandarin of that Empire - whose Emperor
considers himself of both sexes - and is styled brother of the Sun and
Sister of the Moon, but now of a maturer age, on reconsidering what I
then put down as absurdities, only fit to be laughed at - I find that
juvenile ignorance of the ways of the world is the only excuse I have to
offer for the conclusion as I see that we enlightened Britishers - have
as many forms to observe which either facts or common sense even term
fooleries as those that are ridiculed by us, in our [indecipherable] of
the Celestial Face - Well I made my bow and passed out - fairly convinced
that our Governor was highly amused at the extraordinary position in
which some of us put ourselves - both in bowing and speaking - and then
fled like the pig in the fable, that although it was fun to him it was
misery to many who had never had the opportunity of studying the
obsequious bow, or manners of a courtier.
While many of the Gentlemen were following the Governor in his visit to the curiosities of the place I lunched with a very worthy person with whom I have been acquainted for years - and was highly delighted at the return of the party - to hear that vice Royalty had expressed itself highly gratified with the public buildings - the place and the people - but that he looked forward to a still greater and more substantial gratification - that of discussing the merits of a good dinner with them at 7P.M. As I slept at Newcastle the night I learnt this was duly performed and that if keeping it up bravely be a sign of loyalty there cannot be more devoted subjects in the colony than our
friends of the Freeport.
Wednesday 3rd February, 1847 - Heavy showers of rain during the whole of the day. At 9 A.M. The Governor left Newcastle for Maitland by the Inmar Steam Boat - a number of the town folks in attendance. Waited on Messrs Cummins, Wilton and others connected with the local Benevolent Society and [indecipherable] out the ground given by the Gov.r for a site for the building. Then left for Maitland - the [indecipherable] as troublesome as ever - the rain falling in torrents - and every small gully and creek running like a mill race. Reached my journey’s end about 3.30 P.M. Stayed at I.W.Kiddies and [indecipherable] with the warden of the district - everything about the place in a bustle - the Governor had arrived fairly drenched. One or two spills had taken place in the procession- a large feed was prepared - and the first question put to a stranger by the parties interested - that is the Maitlanders and those in its vicinity, was do you dine with the Governor today. As an individual I preferred a mutton chop alone. Some very noisy customers tumbled in after the dinner and I was glad enough to get away to bed.
Thursday 4th February, 1847- The weather looking unsettled but kept
fine through the day - The Governor riding through both Maitland
–to see what was to be seen - The dinner was the principal topic of
the day - and many seedy-looking countenances were to be seen strolling
about the Town in search of something to allay the everlasting thirst
caused by dining with a Governor and speaking in public - At the
[indecipherable] of the [indecipherable] I [indecipherable] two and
twenty with bottles on the table minus their contents, while soda water
and brandy was in constant demand by those whose pockets could not stand
the aforesaid cooling beverage. Pop, pop, pop was the sound that met your
ear, like the practices of a light infantry battalion on a Field Day -
and a voice exclaiming waiter put in a [indecipherable] of brandy was now
and then to be heard between the reports.
A large dinner took place at the Warden’s - the Gov.r and suite were there, and everybody else that would [indecipherable] all parts of the district - this was tapered off by a dance - where the only thing wanted was [indecipherable] and music - Arthur Bradley’s feast was nothing to it, and many yet unborn will hereafter learn that they owe their existence to the visit of a Governor and the hospitality of Warden - who although known to be close is not close by nature. Dined at Russells - slept at the Northumberland.
Friday 5th February, 1847 - A delightful day - our Inn in a dreadful bustle for the Governor proceeds on his journey and all is preparation. At 9/30 A.M. he started accompanied by His Suite - the Police Magistrate - Self and domestics. H.Exc.G is a sharp rider and kept us moving - avoided the bad part of the road by diverging through Cobbs - Wentworths and
and other private property. There is no doubt that H.ExcG. should have been taken by the High Road but as the Police Magistrate very justly remarked - he appears to be too kind hearted a man to harass unnecessarily - stopped at Kesterton and beered - the scramble for the bush put one something in mind of what I have witnessed at a general election - when such of the electors - as are honoured by the position of [indecipherable] cattle and are yoked to the member’s coach - stop at a roadside public house to regale our black Creek Magistrate - met us here accompanied by a Mr [indecipherable]- and we proceeded on at a brisk pace to the residence of the former, here a tasty luncheon awaited us - which after a wash we attacked in good earnest- especially the liquids. This occupied an hour or more - when H.Exc.G expressed a wish to see the horses of the Establishment - and appeared to me more at home and in his glory while viewing the stables than I have yet seen him. Our host possesses some splendid imported horses - especially of the Arab breed - and another hour seemed to be delightfully spent in inspecting the stud - Then once more to horse and away we went helter skelter accompanied by the I.[indecipherable] until we arrived at Coorinda - there other refreshments were laid out - of which we slightly partook - and once more made way. Again we were brought up at a Mr -------, I forget his name - but he is known as the Silent Magistrate and considered very useful where two are required on the Bench - to give a nod of affirmation to the active man - however this is not a fault of his better halfs - for I am satisfied from what little I saw of her she has tongue enough for a family of a dozen - and no shortage of confidence either. The music of her voice charmed us for fifteen minutes - all the time we remained there. I scarcely think His Exc.G has [indecipherable] - for when the interesting children were introduced to put their monkey paws - into that of near Royalty - I could not detect any pleasurable sensation in the features of Sir Charles - and he quite forgot to say as he should have done if he had studied soft [indecipherable] - “That they were very interesting nice little dears” - and then to himself “ God forgive me for lying.” On the road once more - our pace that of a hunt. At 3/30 came in sight of the road - and the people of Singleton - awaiting the approach of the Governor - a minute more - we were close to them - then arose from Earth to Sky three British cheers - just such a welcome as loyal subjects should give to a Governor who I am sure, for the sake of his sovereign will strive to make us a happy contented community and will do all that we ask him consistent with reason - and good government -welcome over, away we floundered “through mud and through mire” and more than one had a glorious roll in the softest lap of Mother Earth No matter be it Priest or Layman it did [indecipherable] no harm - although the outside man might look the worse for the tumble - Clear of
the mud - away we scampered - leaving Mount Misery on our left and
shaping our course - for the hospitable mansion of the Member for
Northumberland - where another spread was in waiting - Briareus like - we
had mouths for all the good things that wooed us - and if His Excellency
had not exactly fifty heads - he had a very long and hungry tail which
nothing but substantials would appease - This ceremony over, and
champaigne, having in some of us smothered real pain - we weighed this
time in sailing order for the City of Singleton - The Governor leading
the ban - and others according to their weight of metal took their
position in the line - thus we spun on - at my avenue- the slight point
that I formed separated, or as a Doctor would say, fluffed off from the
main body - and while His Excellency was viewing - our Public buildings -
and Public men - I took the liberty of having a good wash - clean shirt
and slight rest preparatory to the fatigues of the evening- of which I
have now to speak.
The awful hour of 8 P.M. had arrived and many of us were about to be placed in the position for the first time in our lives - of eating our dinner at a table with, and in the presence of, a real living, downright flesh and blood representative of a Queen. Well it is said Marriage and hanging - by destiny, and why not eating too - in the instance I think it did for many of us got nothing to eat - and less to drink. The Stewards were waiting outside the reception room door in order that they might usher His Excellency - with all proper aspect to the place set apart for him at the dinner table - and there they might have waited - for His Excellency and suite had been already smuggled in by a back door - and the best of the seats appropriated- before even the stewards were undeceived - there was certainly a great want of arrangement throughout the whole affair nevertheless the dinner - went off excellently even to such as could command food eating, good attendance and good wine - neither of which requisites to a good dinner - were procurable where I was stationed - catch me acting steward unasked again - it may be mighty pleasant - the prospect of seeing others eat
drink ing and this was our portion of the feast at my end
of the table - but I assure you I did not enjoy it.
The eating part done - then came the toasting and respondent for the Ladies - who really appeared too happy - in being allowed to speak of the dear creatures - at 11/30 - Sir Charles - having had quite enough to do for the day and looking somewhat tired - left us - impressed with a very favourable opinion of his kindheartedness - Gentlemanly and Manly deportment, and assured that as far as good feelings
towards us Colonists - he
was is as superior to the
last party who visited us in the capacity of Governor - as the European
is to the Aboriginal Native. Got home about midnight after a wet and
dirty walk - found the place deserted - had I known as much, I should
have found out my people at the plains.
Saturday 6th February 1847. Fine morning. The Governor started for
Merton - with three cheers - and the hearty good wishes of all here
some most of the Gentlemen of the district - accompanied
him - some little distance on his route. My folks found their way home
about noon, it appears that Henry - had drank H Excy’s. health too
often - and was unable to drive home last evening. This great event is at
last over - the excitement is past - and there will now be some rest for
the wicked and I must turn too - and run over the Country as fast as I
can. Sir [indecipherable] has leave of absence - I hear - for 12 months -
before this was merely a rumour, now my information is authentic. His
appointment is a subject that I could write much upon - I shall defer
doing so - at present. The Dr. called in the afternoon - also Mr. Ferrit
and Mark Green - and I promised to accompany the former to Church in the
morning, if fine.
Sunday 7th February 1847 Mizzling rain the early part of the forenoon - which prevented my carrying out the resolve of yesterday into effect. At noon it cleared up, had a visit from Mrs Long - she and Mrs. Dangar and Mr. Thos. Perry - they all remained to tea but the latter who was on his way to Glendon Brook.
Monday 8th February 1847 Another fine day employed in making wine - of such of the grapes as are not destroyed by this extraordinary wet season. We had the prospect of as splendid a crop as ever as I remember to have seen - had not the rains interfered with it. I wish to God I could get my tents made I have been waiting until I am really tired of waiting. In the afternoon rode up with the Dr. for a Change - ordered wine barrels - at [indecipherable] and settled Mr. Holden’s account - remained the evening chattering first at the Manse and then at the Doctors - and got back home about 10 P.M.
Tuesday 9th February 1847 Threatening weather but fine, still picking grapes - and making wine if it can be so called - learnt from a friend that the Revd. Mr. Mc.Crocodile is thinking of suing for a sum of money that he says is due to him. I wish he may get it. Of him however as I said before the Manse, the Church and the School were then but in prospective - but the foundation of these buildings were soon laid and every body wished them well. In the meantime His Reverence was looking about him to find out the peculiarities, tempers - and soft places of his parishioners. One he honoured by considering his house his own - another by borrowing his horse his gig or saddle in truth he was regularly upon the parish as modesty was not amongst his virtues - he was rather an expensive acquaintance to his parish for his system appeared to be an approach to this social.
Parties had implied that Mr Crocodile’s wants would be limited in the Manse [indecipherable] to a snug little cottage but what was their surprise to find that after having built to a proper height - above the first windows - two bricklayers appeared to be going on and upon enquiry it was found that the parson intended to do something for posterity and that he really had ordered a two story building which when completed would cost 1400 pounds- while the finishing of the Church would come to but 800 pounds. This anomaly was accounted for in this way - that the Manse and School were combined. It now became necessary to make the Manse [indecipherable] that the incumbent should strive to procure a salary from the Government - and this is done by a number of persons appointing an individual as their minister and giving him a document to that effect, there must however be at least one hundred to commend - the lowest stipend - and these should be all adults. In our populous city it became difficult to manage this small number without including school boys and others - but as the Minister [indecipherable] to think [indecipherable] in cheating a Government -school boys were made to sign the document - the form was gone through, the stipend procured - well - thought Lucifer - this is a fellow after my own heart - had I made him myself - he could not have turned out a greater rogue.
Wednesday 10th February, 1847 - The weather threatening with rain and then rumbling thunder - purchased two nice three year old colts - unbroken for the Government Service bred by Henry Ground - paid eleven pounds for each. Still making wine - the Dr. called in the afternoon and waited a few minutes only - promised to dine with him tomorrow. There is a tide in the affairs of men - I have no doubt of it - that some people do what they will - cannot go ahead - I find or begin to think that I am one of these unfortunates - something is always going wrong. I cannot now get the stuff up for my tent - that ought to have been pitched and away a month ago.
Thursday 11th February, 1847 - Heavy rain throughout the twenty-four
hours. Writing and planning until 2 P.M. The Dr. drove up in his Gig I
had made up my mind to remain at home or of returning from the dinner
party by water but his having come this far - I could not even allow him
to return alone. - so after having had some dinner here we bowled off
together. Notwithstanding the weather some conviction spirits - assembled
- and we polished the bones of an animal or two - be it flesh or fowl and
John Barleycorn suffered. Many subjects passed as did some brandy and
water - a game of which was played then came scandal or deprivation
rather - A parson appeared on the board some of his sayings were spoken
of that did not appear to have been extracts
of from the
gospel - or a sample of Christian ethics-
I think the fellow the most contemptible low character I have ever met with - and perhaps the only way of treating his lies is with contempt - he is a wretch that in a community of this sort has done more mischief - than if he had ten lives he could eradicate - a damnable imposter, and a vagabond. Had the Dr. somewhat vexed and had better remained at home - for I should regret to annoy him - he has been the only friend to whom I owe anything, yet I think he should not have allowed this jewel of a Minister to villify me while he had a hand and the other a nasal organ. This subject caused me a dark, wet dirty walk home.
Saturday 13th February, 1847. The rain has eased but the sky remains overcast. In mind and temper I am not much better than yesterday - planned a little and but very little - attempted to write but could not - in fact my head is cram’d with schemes of retaliation that may be clear of legal interferences and yet after all it is not worthwhile - this [indecipherable] of - (the devil I should say) would be gratified if he could exasperate me to a breach of this [indecipherable]. At [indecipherable], and your [indecipherable] will be complete.
Sunday 14 February 1847. Very fine but too warm to last - this afternoon was enlivened by a thunderstorm - this cooled the atmosphere and the evening was much more pleasant. After dinner the family went to [indecipherable] and I shortly followed them - joined Dangars after dinner table - drank many happy returns to his youngest son’s birth day - this being his second anniversary and enjoyed ourselves amazingly - the Dr. was of the party - he left early but we did not return until past ten - when it was so dark that I really wonder how we got home without accident. I must say that it is anything but prudent when children are of the party to remain out so late.
Monday 15th February 1847. The day is exceedingly fine - learnt that H Excy. the Govr. had passed down on Saturday - in consequence of the serious illness of his lady. He slept at Glendon on that evening - and returned to Maitland yesterday. Writing and planning - Mrs W making wine or vinegar from spoilt grapes. I once had hopes that this season’s fruit would have assisted me - but like most of my worldly anticipations the hope has been fallacious.
Tuesday 16th February 1847. A Cloudy gloomy day but close and sultry Rogers paid me a visit - poor fellow it is a pity to see a man of some professional ability - victimised by a bodily infirmity - his deafness has marred his fortune - and causes him to appear stupid. I do not wonder at any poor devil so afflicted seeking consolation - [indecipherable] excitement - Rogers has done so but is now and has been for the three years past - a strict tee-totaller - he is barely getting his bread. The Dr. called in and dined - shot some quail but could not be prevailed upon to stay for tea. Rogers remained the night: and [indecipherable] business [indecipherable] - this may put this down as a lost day - it is strange that although I have a wife and two families depending upon me I do not feel that necessity of exertion that I ought to feel - this listlessness has grown up, and is a weed flowering over the remains of shifted affection and it seems to me to be now of so strong a growth that no energy will eradicate it.
Wednesday 17th. February - 1847. This day the Counterpart of yesterday - Rogers left in the morning - Mrs. White and family all at the plains - At noon rode up myself to settle some [indecipherable] matters and to see if I can get stuff to finish the tent. Mr. G - in from the station with a lot of cattle for sale. I am afraid he has brought his pigs to a [indecipherable] and that Mrs. W having stayed too long was obliged by the darkness to remain all night - it shows the partiality of females for gossiping - when they will even risk their own necks and their children’s for it - the fact I myself remained later than I ought to have done but some subject relative to the [indecipherable] of the very [indecipherable] Mr. Mc Crocodile was the topic of the evening and remained to testify to the great good he had done in the neighbourhood - especially to himself. I will not say at whose cost.
Thursday 18th. February 1847. The weather appears to have set in at last. At noon Roberts and the Cook who were sentenced by the Singleton Bench on the 4th instant to 14 days solitary confinement - the former for perjury or something akin to it the latter for insolence and disobedience of orders - were liberated. The Cook I at once discharged as a useless vagabond - and I returned Roberts to Government - his character by the incidents is most notorious - as a Soldier, he seemed [indecipherable] as a Convict he has been punished five times [indecipherable] some of these heavy punishments, and [indecipherable] only as would be awarded to some out and out crimes. [indecipherable] I hope I found in the Lock up for being away without a pass, in consequence of the good character I gave of him to the Magistrate, he was admonished and let go. I found Mark G. selling the Cattle their sale averaged some 15/shillings per head - anything but an encouraging price to Cattle holders - In returning from the plain I had a glorious tumble - horse and all - but luckily escaped with a bruise or two - this was caused by my horse shying which he followed up by capering until he capered himself into
into a hole and tumbled on his beam end as a sailor would say bruising
my leg and giving my head a pretty fair bump, it is fortunate that the
Knowledge box is thick or it would have broken - the sound seemed to
declare it empty as well.
Friday 14th February 1847.
The weather very fine - Feeling rather stiff from the effects of my last night’s tumble - also a sprained thumb. As I have little else of moment to record - I shall continue the Ministers history. The Revd. Mr. Mc Crocodile it appears was the luminary of a numerous family - owing their origin to a border grazier. People usually not famed for [indecipherable] of honesty, but I have no doubt these parties were as honest as borderers generally are, at least if we may judge from the fine feelings - the Knowledge of [indecipherable] and [indecipherable] of their progeny - founded upon a principle something like Rob Roy’s
get [indecipherable] who have the
And those may get - that forget who can”
The lower classes of the Scotch and Irish are particularly famed for having an itching (especially the former) to place one of their sons in the ministry and accordingly select the most clever of their offspring for the purpose - with the Scotch of this class the word clever is [indecipherable] connected with the word cunning and say here - being highly gifted that way - was selected by his parents as the object upon which they were to lavish all their spare means and even [indecipherable] some of the more worthy branches that the to be Revd. Irving might wag his [indecipherable] in a pupil. Mc Crocodile had a large portion of gratitude - as long as he could shew it at the expense of any other persons than himself and owing a good deal to his honest parents - and the brothers and sisters that had been [indecipherable] enough to advance his ecclesiastical penchants - now says he that I have succeeded in humbugging the Govt. and the People to build me a Manse and Church and to grant me a Stipend. He even sends home for my brothers and sisters, I am in Credit with my parishioners - and shall probably he able to build a fortune for the Youngsters on the credulity of such as have been [indecipherable] enough to use their influence and their money to place me here.
Old Nick was balancing all these ideas - as they filtered from the brain of our very Revd. [indecipherable]. The Manse was occupied - something like a school was established, the Kirk was opened - then came the inauguration service. Numbers 32 to 40! “Now the Children of Reuben and the Children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle.” The Reverend priest expostulated on the value of a grazing Country - with powerful and descriptive language - evincing all the ardour of a man who was intimately acquainted with - and enamoured of his subject, he spoke of the value of a well bred herd and a fine station - he warmed on the question, he touched on breeding - he spoke of bulls - in words approaching to reverence, until some began to fancy that they were listening to a [indecipherable] Brahmin
a that the Egyptians worship of old was about to be
revived - that our parson had become the worshipper of a bull - in fact
that the bull with his fair proportion of ladies has become to him
the representative of deity. Had you seen the extravagant joy old Nick while listening to the oratory of his adopted son and servant - you would have felt satisfied that the old gentleman was highly gratified - indeed he was heard humming - “This day my Son have I begotten thee”
Saturday 20 February 1847
Very fine but sultry, it seems as if our
is about to begin. I have been any thing but well all the week,
nervousness, dyspepsia; hypochondria and other blessings ‘that
flesh is heir to’ have been hanging about me and rendered me unfit
for anything - I once thought I had a mind - I now begin to doubt it -
for I cannot determine upon any line of action - [indecipherable] as the
Poet says - the lurking Principle of death.’ In its germ - but
whether it will punish by a combined attack - or worry by ‘slow
approaches’ are left to a power of which we may hope we have an
idea, but that idea can be but an idea of uncertainty. Whatever may be
the means of changing our state - various as they are. I pray to it to
save me from despondency and its consequent evils. [indecipherable] True
it is that I mans own indiscretions - Sometimes accelerates his passage
into another state (would I feign would say) and I can not acquit myself
of having by too free a living - exposed my constitution to the insidious
attacks of disease in all its horrid forms - “The meats, and
drinks, which on the Earth shall bring
Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew
Before thee shall appear.”
“Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs,
Intestine stone, and ulcer, colic pangs,
Demoniac phrenzy, moping melancholy.
And moon struck madness [indecipherable] atrophy,
Marasmus, and wide wasting pestilence
Dropsies and asthmas, and joint racking rheums.
A pretty fair muster of fleshly blessings.
Sunday 21st February 1847
Just yesterday’s weather- after breakfast Henry and his uncle Mark left us for the [indecipherable] - As like as this day is to its predecessor so are my feelings to the feelings of yesterday, cross [indecipherable] lazy, desponding, fitful - blue devilled without determination of courage to shake off all these [indecipherable] evils. I slink through the working hours in a half-dreamy miserable mood - avoided by all about the house and despised by myself. If I allow this devil to possess me in this way I am lost - now is the time by a vigorous effort to shake him off to say “ Avaunt thee Satan” and I must do it or be forever lost. The Dr. dined with us and when about leaving who should pop in but Blanford and O’Rourke - this brightened up our party- a little enlivened previously by the elixir of by what more shall I ask it life or death perhaps - it deserves both - for while it creates a temporary life it is laying the foundation of certain death. I shall renounce it gradually. Went to bed rather later.
Monday 22nd February, 1847 - Sultry and close - Blanford and O’Rourke left this after breakfast on their journey up the country - picked the remainder of the grapes and made the last cask of wine of the season - and now I have to speak of some of my usual luck - found that the largest cask of wine (Burgundy) made of my best and oldest grapes had leaked through a worm hole- all but some six or eight gallons out of 120 - That the vessels should be in good order I employed a cooper to examine and make them all staunch - the consequence was, we did not examine them every day as we should have done and the wine is lost - worth about £15. This occurrence has not a little disgusted me - In the evening trudged up to Singleton to drown cares - stopped all night at the Drs.
Tuesday February 23rd, 1847 - Still very sultry - returned to Greenwood with the Doctor at about 11 A.M. -Not very well - was about to drive Mrs. W. to the plains but was prevented by some one dropping in - Was rather pleased at the prevention - Not so my better half - She wished the party elsewhere - I won’t say at the debil - though it’s very probable.
Wednesday 24th February, 1847- Close sultry weather continuing - Arranging plans and papers - saw no one - a little blue devilled as usual. [indecipherable] wife complaining.
Thursday 25th February, 1847 - In the morning rode up to the plains on business - called at the Courthouse for a copy of the indents - Saw Robinson and Mr. R. glad to find that Mrs. R. ’s mother is improving in health - Poor old lady I was fearful a short time since that I should never have the pleasure of her conversation again - I have now hopes - a sensible conversable woman is a rarity hereabouts - The Doctor seems to think Mrs. Smith in a dangerous way - the symptoms are those of violent inflammatory fever which he is fearful will turn to typhus - Refers here also the dr. the former remained the night.
Friday 26th February, 1847 - Uncommonly sultry - cutting and carting in the lucerne - The Dr. here early - poor Mrs. Smith is still suffering from increasing fever Mrs. W. is down with the unfortunate creature - for her husband, it appears, not aware of the dangerous nature of the disease - and the unfavourable symptoms it exhibits in this case - left her yesterday for the Paterson - with the intention of returning with his wife’s sister - his absence seems to irritate the
the invalid whose senses are already wandering - The Dr. remained here during the whole day and night and evinced his idea of the danger of his patient by unremitting attention. About 11 P.M. the symptoms became so alarming that the attendants ran up here saying that the woman was dying - walked down with Mrs. W. found her raving and quite delirious. Must say I was greatly shocked to see the change that two or three days had made in a young woman of two and twenty - death appeared to be stamped upon her countenance- very much flushed by the hectic of fever - yet extremely delicate and beautiful. I left Mrs. W. with her for I could render no assistance - how true is the text 'in the midst of life we are in death'. The Dr. doubts much that she will be alive in the morning.
Saturday 27th February, 1847- Intolerably close and sultry - received
one of those memento’s of friendship - from I. Eales - called a
lawyer’s letter - claiming for some £90 - he might as well
have asked me to send him the moon. I wish I could send him his God -
Gold - for I saw not so “Heart buried in the rubbish of the
world” as to keep his due from him - if I had it - but he thinks
otherwise - I will do him the credit of saying that when he assisted me,
if was not for the purpose of an after persecution - that I owe to a
long, long friend of mine - a reed in friendship - in character, and
worse than a reed - in stability - In the morning Mrs. W. came up from
the hut of misery and sickness - but the sufferer although unconscious,
is yet alive. I trust she will recover for where there is life there is
hope - but parties who have had a larger experience in the sick chambers
than I ever wish to have - shake their heads ominously - In the afternoon
drove Mrs. W. down - to the scene of human misery, saw but very little
change in the poor creature whom every one pronounces as doomed.
The Dr. very attentive - rode up with him to the plains - and dined. Mr. H. Dwyer there - shewed him the memento above referred to and he promised to write the party - I doubt whether it will have any effect - returned home at sundown - the Dr. with me - after seeing Mrs. Smith - late in the evening - say near midnight - I asked him of his hopes - he shook his head and pronounced her days to be numbered - Mrs. D. had been there during the day and was greatly shocked to see the ravages that a few hours illness had made - she kindly proffered every assistance. The inmates of Mount Misery also called on a mission of curiosity - strange that such a feeling should extend itself to the bed of death - I have seen some human depravity in my time - but never saw so much concentrated in one female - as is bottled up in the Mistress of Middle Hall.
Sunday 28th February, 1847. The most sultry, close, disagreeable day
of the season - but by some, perhaps by many, it will be remembered - not
for its heat - but from its having heralded death into their homes - for
its having deprived them of their nearest and dearest ties that earthly
affliction can form
“I have now to contemplate
The various kinds of grief
And death’s dread character”
Early this morning poor Neves and his family arrived with Smith from the Paterson - the former to witness with the setting sun the death of his eldest and favourite daughter - the latter to behold the sufferings and final struggles of an affectionate and devoted wife - Death in any shape causes a melancholy - in the circle he visits, but the shade is deepened when he attacks the Young and the beautiful
“Give Death his due, the wretched and the old;
E’en let him sweep his rubbish to the grave
Wretched and old thou giv’st him
Young and gay He takes.”
Here his victim had scarcely reached the bloom of womanhood - a young mother, an exemplary wife, an affectionate daughter - nothing [indecipherable] could appease him, this never satisfied man- has overwhelmed with grief - a poor old man and his family - has placed in bereavement - a husband - who will now be able to appreciate the value of a wife by her loss - and made three children - I may call them infants, nonetheless
Thy ways O God are inscrutable, and it is but for us weak mortals - to call thy judgement on decrees into question- The poor woman has been called (taken) from this world of misery and sin, her sufferings are over, they were sharp but short. It is the suffering and grief of her surviving friends that wants our pity - she has passed to another and a better world and if those blessed spirits that have escaped from their tenement of clay - are permitted to look down upon and commiserate the sufferings and griefs - of their relatives and friends, who are yet of the earth earthy - she is now employed in alleviating and soothing the brows which her sudden departure from amongst them has given rise to-Time will aid her kindly spirit in this work of love - and the violence of sorrow will soon be sobered down - by the Christians hope of meeting again
in another and a better world through
“Place of birth a solemn angel tells,
To simple shepherds keeping watch by night;
A virgin is his mother but his sire
The power of the Most High.”
Monday 1st March, 1847. Extremely sultry, the rain appears to have
passed away altogether and we have all the heat that we naturally
expected to have had during the past season, but which the rain and dull
weather took the place of now added to that which we usually have at this
time of the year- I had intended to take a run up to Muscle Brook- for I
have heard from the Warden that I am to be instructed to do something
connected to their road- but I have not received those instructions and
consequently did not go. It is surprising to me the fancy that females
have for the gloomy and the horrible- Mrs W. is the Mistress of the
Ceremonies- of the funeral- of the poor young creature- who yesterday
left this world for a better- and the place resembles the workshop of an
undertaker- black stuff of some sort- being worked up into habiliments of
woe- meets the eye in every room of the house- with now and then a
woe-begone countenance trying on a dress- that no doubt will make it
appear very interesting, when on the morrow they attend the senseless
remains to its last home- and assist-
“O’er putrid earth to scratch a little dust
And save the world a nuisance.”
I must say I have never approved of the outward and visible shews of mourning- I like a decent grief kept to one’s self- but public sorrow and public pageantry is to me alike detestable-A friend of mine would have been happy, and in her glory had she wedded an undertaker- or his mute.
Tuesday 2nd March, 1847- Still sultry, close, unhealthy weather- the
house and everyone about it woe-begone - preparing to consign to its
mother earth- the remains-of Mrs. Smith. The Greenwood folks take great
interest- in the husbands- and poor children- indeed all the family- in
the first place because Smith was in better times- a Servant of mine for
some ten years- and in the second place the girls father (a very good
man) was my overseer for some time- and he lived with us, and a sister of
hers is yet living with us- it is therefore a matter of duty, as well as
of charity- to afford that assistance in distress which good and steady
conduct in subordinates should ever command. At 11A.M. the Dr. called -
as I had arranged to accompany him to the funeral of the deceased- This
moved onwards at 11/30- to the last resting place of the Monarch and the
beggar, of the Prince and the gentleman; of the peer and the blackguard-
and all those grades that mark the pomps- and the vanities, and the
villanies of mankind- the Grave- when the earthly remains- once reaches
girl adieu to distinctions
“ Not all the heralds rake from coffin’d clay-
can save it from the worms and its attendant corruption”
The sad procession wended its way slowly- and warningly on- only six days ago- the tenant of the coffin- was attending to her daily occupation- if not exactly in the pride of health- in the bloom of youth- without any fear or thought- of the malady that terminated in death- six days ago, her husband, her poor old father, the brothers, her sisters, and her friends- little thought
thought what the week would compass- how true is the scripture
“sufficient for the day is the evil thereof” - Now they are bearing her remains to the village church yard- as Gray thus described-
“ Beneath those rugged oaks, this Gum trees shade
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell forever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.”
But oh how unlike our English village cemetery- is the spot where this- poor child of nature is to be laid- Where is the “rugged elm, the yew trees shade?”
Alas their place is occupied by the stricken oak- and the white unseemly gum- and not even a fence to protect the mould’ring heaps- from the desecration of pigs or the levelling of cattle- Surely
not as the last resting place of a Christian should
be in a Christian land, - should not be as this is. Philosophers
may think it of no moment- but I feel assured that travellers do, and
will judge of the character of the people of a Country- much more
favourably- if they find they respect and care for the remains of their
Arrived at this uncared for, unprotected spot- we were met at the tumbling down fence by the deputy of the minister- who under the shade of an umbrella-
commenced led the way to the grave- reading
–that most beautiful portion of the Service for the dead- “I
am the resurrection and the life saith the Lord” etc. the heat of
the day- I imagine- caused a considerable abbreviation in what the living
might well afford to the departed, the whole service for the burial of
the dead- a minute or two sufficed to bring us- to the words
“earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust-“ the sand fell heavily on the coffin lid- an ebullition of feeling from the mourners followed- and all was finished- but the filling up of the last earthly habitation so much dreaded by us all . A minute more completed that- and the quick were separated from the dead.
There cannot possibly be- a more impressing
than the above- to one who turns over in his mind- the terms upon which
man holds existence - no preacher on the subject can command the
feelings- of the audience in the way the stern reality of the fact-
startles- the beholders- there is no eloquent well- turned sentence
required here- to interest the feelings-consciousness at once conveys to
the mind- through the senses of sight and perception- the change that a
few short hours may bring about to us all. An hour and the healthiest
of us may be a “ Thing over which the Raven flaps-
his funeral wing”.
I am moralising too fast for one- who considers pure religion this, as expressed
by in the Epistle of James C.7 v.27- “To
visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself
unspotted from the world,” I do not accord with the outward and
visible signs- so often devoid of inward and spiritual grace- I have seen
many- “Pray to the Gods, but would have mortals hear” still I
could interfere with no party in their converse with their creator.
I have been rambling on,
here- it is time I dismissed
the subject- although it is good for us sometimes to be sorrowful- to the
poor girl I shall say farewell for ever- bearing in mind that whom the
Gods love die young- and let her weeping relatives remember-“ That
whom the Lord loveth he chastiseth” - May she rest in peace.
Wednesday 3rd March, 1847. I think the weather is trying the degrees
of comparison, hot, hotter, hottest - but not only that, it is close into
the bargain. I do not know what will be the result of my inactivity -
perhaps the loss of bread - never mind, my position cannot be worse than
it is - a reckless mismanagement absorbs all I earn - and if I had 10,000
a year, my helpmate would kindly run me in debt - a man might put up with
that - if there were some shew of affection - or even if
the his foibles were humoured - but it appears in this
house the chief study is to annoy - its master, while the carriage of its
mistress is delightfully “conjugal and cold”- so cold indeed
that it is enough to freeze one. Times have changed - I recollect when it
was outrageously warm - but that was before the unfortunate occurrence
took place that rendered me for ever miserable. The Grave is the
only might be a remedy - but that appears to sever only the
contented and happy. I have no hopes, and despondency is leading me to
beggary - perhaps the only thing that will sharpen the senses of an
obstinate ill tempered being. Richard Butler came to day for the sum of
Thirty £30 which he placed in my hands some months back to purchase
land - it appears he has altered his mind. Gave him two orders - dated
the 14th inst. At a [indecipherable] one for £20 the other for
£10. The Dr. called in for a few moments and Henry returned from
the Miramice Station.
Thursday 4 March 1847. Still sultry. Something of a hot wind as well -
blue devilled and unwell, as I have been for some time, the disease, an
extraordinary difference in the tastes and feelings of the two parties -
that should hold but one opinion. At midday the Doctor called in, he, as
well as the Greenwood people are
is to dine - with the
Member for Northumberland - so he agreed to give me a lift there in his
gig. At 4 P.M. N.D. called in and ascertained that we were to be at
[indecipherable] by 6 P.M. - and sure enough - we kept our tryst -
who could not with a good dinner, champagne - and all the et ceteras. Met
the worthy J.P. Sugarbag and his niece - did ample justice to the good
things - especially the liquids, as came out in our after arguments on
the transportation question and other excitable subjects.
We all wanted to talk at times - but the faculty took the lead and the
devil could not stop him - he sermonised with the eloquence of a fifty
parson power and kept the course all to himself - such was his slapping
pace, that he lost the thread of his discourse - and had not some of his
auditors picked it up - we should have been led into a dozen other
matters nearly as interesting - without the speakers discovering that he
had lost himself, and tired the listeners. Washed down the chatter with
some coffee - after that we had some singing from the ladies and some
roaring and other villainous noises from the male creatures - any passer
by - might
have imagine d from the noise
that he was in the vicinity of a donkey yard - and his imagination might
not be for wrong. About 2 A.M. of the 5th found myself getting home - in
bad company among a set of fellows that did not certainly belong to the
Friday March 5th 1847. Hot as ever - Hypochondriasis is taking
possession of me - if inaptitude for business and inability to perform
the duties - I owe to the public - be a symptom; if listlessness, -
languor, - and a distaste
of to my profession - denote
it, then am I victimised, and nothing but a vigorous determination on my
part will save me from the usual effects - of the dangerous and
Let me see - I left Mr. Crocodile - in the position of one,
“Who’ad compass’d all they pray’d, and swore
And fought, and preach’d, and plunder’d for.”
that is nearly, and old luck - highly delighted - at the aptness of his Apostle elect.
Now - then, as there was ostensibly some Church property - it became necessary to appoint guardians of it. The usual mode of doing this is to call together the subscribers - and let them chose from among them - always elders, and such as they consider worthy of the Trust. In raising means to build the Church &ce - it was represented as an universal Church - but in appointing the guardians of the Church property - it appeared to be exclusively Scotch. No such meeting was held - but the Trustees were nominated? How is this to be explained and who are they?
th for this; It seems the parson - was one of
those choices that outwardly stood up for the principle of the necessity
of vesting the property of the Church in the hands of some of the
congregation - but not for the necessity of appointing the officers -
from by the voice of his people, he considered this to
be a privilege of his order - and forthwith acted upon his impression
“He’d ne’er admit us to our shares
of ruling Church - or state affairs”
and so that although the Church was admitted to have Trustees - they were virtually the parson’s trustees - men selected by himself for their non interfering qualities - their pliancy to the opinions of their pastor, in fact non entities -men having neither ideas or opinions or brains of their own; - under whom the Church property became in reality the parsons property - and he very soon took advantage of the position.
The chosen - no doubt, were very fit men for the parsons purpose –
“master be one of them:
It is an honourable kind of thievery,”
or rather a pious fraud - might be the pastors
nomenclature for the job to the goose that sat (or set) to hatch his
eggs! - O Kilman what have you to answer for. Done wholly, I am afraid ye
are done wholly; Kelsoplace, Kelso - place, is it not a disgrace. - As
for the laird of Mount Misery as his punishment is here - so will it be
hereafter, ask his wife to explain the sentence - and
read Bobby Burns’ lines
“Curst be the man the veriest slave in life
The crouching vassal to the tyrant wife &ce”
and pity the sorrows of poor Sir John - there are others - but they have but money to this reverence - secured on the Church property - and the only interest such a party might be expected to take in the question - is that to be paid either quarterly or half yearly according to agreement - I shall finish by singing a song - ‘rogues or fools all, rogues or fools all.’ –
Saturday 6th March 1847. The Heat still continuing, making hay of the
lucerne - otherwise - very little stirring. Mr. Horne called bringing
with him a summons from John Eales Esqre. This looks as if my good
friends - are determined to
put class me among the
Honorable the Army of Martyrs - N’importe - it will be all one some
of these days.
Sunday 7th March 1847. No change in the weather. The Dr. dined with us
- as also our widow and her family - Said our prayers and behaved like
good Christians –
Monday 8th March 1847. Burnt up - the only thing one feels inclined to do in such weather is to drink grog and grumble - it is too oppressive for out of door labour, too close for indoor labour - perhaps one might be able to dose through such a day - I find that it effects the intellectual as much as it does the corporeal man - the senses even appear to be in a dreamy condition. Went up to the plains in the evening - played cribbage with the Dr. and was well beaten.
Tuesday 9th March 1847. While we are enjoying a temperature sufficient
to [indecipherable] harden - us mortals - for the worst future -
according to the comfortable creed of the Christians - I shall say no
more of the weather. Mister Morgan - found his way into the Lock up - the
heat of the
week day had such an effect upon him, that
the Constables for fear he might get worse - provided him quarters
for him - in the Singleton Safe. - As this is a cool
place I have hope that the patient will recover.
Wednesday 10th March 1847. Sent my men to Muscle Brook with the
intention of proceeding there myself in the morning. Received a note from
Mr. Brown, relative to the Cattle Station purchased by Mr. Callen from
my the Trustees of my Estate - also referring to a sum
of sixty pounds - which he states is still due to him - It is most
provoking - to think - how every thing of mine has been sacrificed to no
purpose -; that I may slave away for years - and not be able to appease
those who were the principal cause of the sacrifice. Walked up to
Singleton - saw Mr. B and explained to him - the predicament I stand in -
found him very reasonable and kind - Gave him document he required of me
respecting the Cattle Station - and told him that when it laid in my
power - I would pay the sum my estate is indebted to him.
Thursday 11th March. 1847. Prepared to start for Muscle Brook. Much vexed - at not being able to find the paper relating to Mr G Bowmans property of Skilliton - for I had promised to mark some disputed line - which I cannot do without it, searched every paper I have, unsuccessfully - lost the whole day in this way. Morgan still in the lock up - as there were no JPs in
in attendance - this is not right - the worthies who pride themselves so much - upon the honor - of the addition to their name of the badge of power - and sometimes the badge of servility - J.P. ought, if they accept it - do their duty. Some poor wretches will perhaps have undeservedly another week in the lock up - through this want of arrangement - and surely there is enough of them.
Friday 12th March 1847. Blowing great guns - and as hot as a blast from a glass furnace. Started for Muscle Brook to meet the District Councillor relative to their road - very nearly getting a discharge from my creditors - by the fall of a tree - within a foot of crushing both self and horse. It would have been no great harm - but for the youngster. Reached there about 7 p.m. more knocked up by the day than the ride. Stopped at [indecipherable].
Saturday 13th march 1847. Hot as usual. On Sunday last I wrote to Mr. G. Bowman [indecipherable] saying I would meet him at Muscle Brook any time between Wednesday the 10th inst. and Monday the 15th and no inquiry has yet been made for me - and still the party appeared anxious to have the line determined between the Skilliton property and his recent purchase - waited until after 2 p.m. then started for Merton. Met the Revd. Mr. Mc Crocodile on the road riding as if the devil was after him. Thought I saw the shadow of a shade close to his elbow as he flitted by me - no doubt whispering into his ear some evangelical doctrine. Relative to herds with a new and quicker method of causing them to increase - almost as honest as that of Jacobs. Reached Merton at 5 p.m. - was cordially received by the proprietor and his intelligent lady. Spent a very pleasant evening - and made my quarters good for the night.
Sunday 14th March 1847. Arose early, reconnoitred the premises, the situation of the house is one of the best I have seen in the district. It commands a view of the ranges forming the basin of the Goulbourn. At the distance of about three miles W by N you see Captain Pikes establishment in an elevated and commanding position - which even at this distance appears to be a large scale. In the east you have a view of Ogilvie, Sugarloaf - about ENE - a spur of which the house appears to stand on - and is in itself a leading mark for any party wishing to make the hospitable homestead of mine host. About the SW by S. is the escarpment of the [indecipherable] range - the range itself throwing its most northerly height over the settled country of Jerrys Plains - a fine park- like tract of land much cut up by the periodical droughts to which this part of the world is subject. After breakfast accompanied Mr. O. to the village temporary Church - I term it village - but I must say it is in embryo yet. The Clergyman of Muscle Brook visits here once a month to impart religious instruction to some half a dozen adults - twice as many children - and now and then an inquisitive visitor - something like myself perhaps - I ought to be classed among the former only that I look upon myself as a stray sheep and not as belonging to
to the fold which chance has brought me into. I counted a congregation
of twenty - man, woman, child, and visitors. Some of these were old
servants of mine - Sanford, his wife, Mackintosh, Tate and his children,
are of the Merton villagers, and if some of the material has not improved
considerably since I knew it, there is villainy enough for the foundation
of a second Rome. The clergyman gave us a knotty and controversial point
for his text from the 6th Chapter of John 44 v. - a discourse on ethics
would have been more appropriate but I imagine the preacher to be of the
old Church principle - and one who thinks the less
people comprehend the more they [indecipherable] - and possibly it is so.
After service rode some 15 or a dozen miles over the alluvial flats
bordering the river, the grass is luxuriant, the timber but lightly
spread over them in small clumps as if the work of art rather than
nature. It is the most park like - splendid looking portion of the
Hunter, all it wants is a season or a contract for rain [indecipherable]
. On continuing, spent a most quiet respectable like remnant of the
sabbath. To see the consideration and intelligence of the hostess, was a
treat seldom to be met with in our Australian wilds - qualities rather
depreciated by those who consider all knowledge necessary for a cattleman
to be that connected with wool, sheep, cattle, horses
Monday 15th March 1847. Sultry - the flies a horrible nuisance - arose
early - saw the still at work from which I have gained more practical
information than if I had pored over an elaborate work on the subject -
if I am to continue a vine grower I must become a distiller too - for it
seems to me to constitute the principle profit of the vineyard. After
breakfast was introduced into the cellar - a place dug out of the earth,
bricked and arched at the expenses of some £850 - as I intend
making a plan of this work, I shall say nothing more here, than that it
is splendidly planned and finished, and is in every way worthy of its
projector. The Merton wine is without comparison - the best Colonial
Article I have yet tasted. I am no judge, but in my opinion we need not
import either Hock or Sauternes - which we can grow here. Dr. M. called
in and I left with him for Muscle Brook - having arranged this matter
that took me to Merton. A pretty sharp ride brought me to
[indecipherable] here. Was invited to dine with the Clergyman. Spent a
social and pleasant afternoon - in fact we have no such people in our
vicinity as I have met with the last two or three days - parties who have
some idea of the elegancies of life and do not merely exist for
[indecipherable] employment. The meaning of the word refinement is
unknown to the Singleton circle of self constituted respectables, my
Tuesday March 16th 1847. After breakfasting, awaited the convenience of District Councillor Howland - to whom it was arranged that I should point out the road upon which the Govt. has authorised the Council to expend the £500 - voted by the Legislature for the repairs of the High Road in the district. Left Muscle Brook about 10 a.m. - rode along the marked tree line - had some difficulty on finding it in places - for it was marked in 1836 - succeeded however in getting along pretty fairly - the Councillor quite surprised to see so really a level and direct line - when for years they have gone out of the way to go over what is called the big mile. Stopped and lunched at Watsons - after a tedious ride reached home about 8 p.m.
Wednesday March 17th. St. Patrick for ever. This with all Irishness is
a holiday - that usually ends with a broken head or some bones - and so
far I agree with the holiday part in honour of our National Saint - but
not the accompaniment. On this afternoon Mrs. W. went up to the plains
and returned in this evening with Mr. G., who has just arrived in from
Mirannia - unwittingly he and I
taked talked the day out
- which has been to me otherwise exceedingly dark and I may add miserable
- for I am eaten up with smoking melancholy - when alone - and a
presentiment of coming evil - an evil which I must invoke my patron Saint
to rid me of - I may fairly say - ‘O save me or I
Thursday March 18th 1847. Light sprinkling showers during the night - completed my tent, and made it all snug - attended the Bench to say a word or so for Morgan - if it were not for his drinkers scrapes, he would have been this day a free subject; he is in however for a fortnight - this last of breaks among my men makes them quite useless to me - Mr G and I dined with the Dr. in the evening he returned with us to Greenwood and we spent the evening cosily over a game of cribbage and some grog.
Friday 19th March 1847. Threatening rain but still is all. Busily engaged cleaning up the Garden, writing, planning and preparing for the bushes. I have brought the History of our Kirk up to a period when it may be considered as fairly established. No patron Saint has ever set his wits to work to raise the wind, to ride his hobby horse with half the assiduity that Mc. Crocodile had put forth under the control and spiritual inspiration of St. Nick - alas!! In fact the parson had other ideas (although not a Presbyterian custom) of getting his clever associates the Trustees to Christianise the building by giving it the nomenclature of St. Nick - in honor of his spiritual adviser - Yet, on reconsidering the subject. He thought he might serve his masters better by returning to the starched devotional [indecipherable] so outwardly indicative of the Sect - and that it would rebound more to his glory as a professional Stiggins otherwise Shepherd - to support the ways of the institution from which he held office - and to cry down all sufficient [indecipherable] and [indecipherable] ideas by which the present generation wish to show themselves wiser than their forefathers.
forefathers - he perhaps remembered Butlers lines
“For all imposters, when they’re known
are past their labour and undone”
About this time the younglings - who had left their Kail and [indecipherable] at home to commence the world under the auspices of a Minister were added to the population of Singleton - and the congregation of St. [indecipherable]. They were the only two of them a boy and girl
that were fit to leave the Mother’s wing - and in
a foreign land to nestle under that of our. “Able pastor and
precious powerful preaching matter”. The lad was a burly ill
looking clown - who had been taken from his wheelwright apprenticeship
(and thereby spoilt) to assist the worthy priest on carrying out such
schemes as his sacerdotal position - prevented him from bearing an active
part in - but it was arranged that like the Siamese twins - although to
the visible eye - they occupied two bodies - they had but one soul (if
that) the more of lore was to plot - the spoilt mechanic was to set the
produce of this Ministerial arrangement - was to be equally divided - and
Sir Nick’s - original thought, was about to be put in play. The
girl was a [indecipherable] like lassie - a good armful - the observer on
looking at the brothers, and then at her, might probably exclaim with
Shakespear - “Heaven shield the Mother play’d their
father fair!” for it is not common to find a green gage - amongst
sloes. His Reverence however turned her to account.
He considered as she is described by Burns “That woman is but
worlds fear” and
fast faith he used her as such.
It was in some way necessary to carry out his [indecipherable] views that
he should become more intimate with the married folks of the district -
and select such as might answer his new system of pluckology - besides
through the medium of the young lady he had the means of finding out the
gulled and the gullable. It is said the devil often tempts mankind in the
shape of a fair woman - and the parson could not have followed an abler
general or have produced a more tempting bait - to play his parishioners
on, She was like Moore’s description of Nora Creina - and to all
appearances as artless.
Oh! My Nora’s gown for me,
That floats as wild as mountain breezes,
Leaving every beauty free
To sink or swell as Heaven pleases –
Yes my Nora Creina, dear! My simple graceful Nora Creina!
Nature’s dress Is loveliness - the dress you wear my Nora Creina - I am afraid I shall have to
show you paint the reverse
of the model - and shew that evening sometimes assumes Nature’s
garb, that she may deceive the reader. The Doctor called in the evening -
was talkative - and remained very late.
Saturday March 20th 1847. Too fine - [indecipherable] day - every body we know here, the Russells - the Simpsons & Mr Green went out to the Station. In the evening Mr. Dangar dropped in and remained to tea - Mr Robinson and his wife - Mr D tells me that Eales seemed determined to proceed in the case referred to some days back. I can only say - if he does he will ruin me, and get nothing himself, whereas - I feel that when I once get afloat - (if ever) I ought to pay Eales’s claim - for the debt was a kindness - performed at a time when my ostensible friends were ruining me. N D has also been very kind - he has proffered aid - there can be no motive in his doing this at a time when he knows - that I have nothing to lose - I have every right to think and speak well of those who have continued friendly to me - through the season of difficulty and every day oppression - and I have no reason to allow the private feeling of the public - or of an individual to bias me - where my own
own judgement and experience tells me - that it is my duty to extol such actions - although the party conferring such favours - is not noted for generosity - possibly, it may be that - he is not noted for being [indecipherable] generous. I remember the following advice some where, “Be charitable and subscribe to all sorts of institutions - its buying in the funds of public opinion, which give better interest than any that I know of. But never think of giving half a Crown without there’s somebody to see it.” This I am sorry to say is the Charity of Nine tenths of the world.
Sunday 21st March 1847. Fine - but Hot. My fine Church going resolves have all been upset for the want of a preacher. Our Episcopal incumbent - is away upon sick leave - poor Man I really am afraid - his days are heavily numbered. I may say in the language of Sterne ‘he will never preach again’ - but Sterne was talking of a soldier so I think I have altered the word from March to preach to suit the subject. I remember my uncle Toby’s ebullition of feeling that followed the remark of poor Tim, and the solicitude of the recording Angel to expunge from his book of doom - an expression which conveyed disrespect to the great Author of our being - though unintentional on the part of the utterer - and called forth by those sacred emotions of a heart that could feel for the woes of another. The Doctor - Mc[indecipherable] and family dined here - they all left early - this is not generally the case - in England - if you give a man a decent dinner, he repays you - by his company and enlivening conversation for the rest of the day. Here the purpose of a visit appears to be - a feed - for no sooner is every thing gobbled up - than one is left in quietness - to digest his dinner - the only thing that his guest have left him to digest.
Monday 22nd. March 1847. Fine and hot. [indecipherable] all day. Hear that Sir John had found his way home - accompanied by the Boy Commissioner - who I suppose is on his road to take leave of his worthy progenitor. I think the Colonists might make a good bargain by giving the devil one to take the other. If I have time - I intend to sketching a thorough humbug in another shape - after I have finished the portrait of the Revd Mc Crocodile.
Tuesday 23rd March 1847. Hot and fine - doing little or nothing -
Smith returned from Maitland - brought my bush boxes back.
Wednesday 24th March 1847. We are much in want of rain - every thing is burnt up. What moisture we had in the ground is evaporated - by the hot Sun - of last month. In the afternoon Mrs D. dropped in - took pot luck - and remained until she was sent for.
Thursday 25. March 1847. I may say - of the day - ditto to the above.
There is however a little grumbling in the air, and it looks as if it
were raining somewhere - though not here. It is even gratifying to know,
that some mortals - are so blessed - as to have a stimulus to exertion -
shape hope of a return for their anxiety and
labour. In this place - we are beyond hope. I am still an idler, mores
the blame to me - instead of turning my attention to the duties of past
times - and circumstances that it is folly to think of - went up to the
plains in the evening.
Friday 26th March 1847. Cloudy - and cooler than of late. The doctor
here in the morning. A meeting of the Presbytery of Maitland has taken
place at the Singleton Church, to determine whether the Very Revd. Mr.
Hetherington - the incumbent of that Kirk is to accept the call given to
him by the holy Brotherhood of Port Phillip. The important question has
been decided in the affirmative - to the sorrow of his numerous and
respectable congregation. A Testimonial of course will be got up - and a
letter of recommendation and congratulation to the Port Phillipians - on
their success with the hope that they will treat him as he deserves
([image of hanged man]). In the postscript - however, there ought to be -
perhaps there will be a caution - to this effect - “Gentlemen -
take care of your Cattle - for the preacher is more of a herdsman than a
shepherd - and has strongly exerted himself to procure a large
congregation of quadrupeds - which has in some measure caused a jealousy
among the bipeds - and
although on a great number of his
supporters are of the hee! haw! tribe - it is but natural that they
should Kick at the disinterested preference shewn to the horned animal
and this want of gratitude be evinced by the parson in
leaving them a prey to St. Nicholas - no doubt say they - we were kicked
and he took us in.
Saturday 27 March 1847. Still cool pleasant weather - but no rain. In the afternoon we had some blustering - and a dust storm all round us. I shall be very glad when I once get underweigh for the bush.
Sunday 28 March 1847. Beautiful day -; a preaching by the Revd. Mr. Ross - took place at Singleton; also at the Established Church - Mr C having returned from Sydney - poor man any thing but fit for duty. I did not know of this until after Church–time and so lost the chance of attending. The Dr. called and after dinner I rode to Mr Dangars - where we spent a very pleasant and social evening. Read Sir Johns name among the passengers of the Walmer Castle for England cleared out yesterday. I wish him a speedy and a safe passage - and a long long sojourn in his native land.
Monday 29th March 1847. The weather becoming perceptibly cooler. In the afternoon drove up to Singleton - to get a pole now fitted to the outrigger shaft of the day cart - drank tea at Robinson’s and afterwards met Bob Shallow, [indecipherable] of the Wolombi, and one of her Majesty’s J.P.s of that ilk. Bob is a character, not a bad one. In his younger days he was something of a snob - in its literal sense - and he bears the expression of it in his countenance - borrow the Bishops apron - and set Bob upon a stall - under some breeches makers window - and you have a sketch for Wilkie “A Cobbler I am to” I don’t know that the Bishop himself would not make a better disciple of St Crispin than a descendant of the Apostles. I have a great dislike to Churchmen as Politicians; and I am sorry to say that most of them prefer shewing their knowledge of the Science of Politics to that of Divinity - especially if they can acquire power by the display - did not reach home until late.
Tuesday 30th March, 1847.The weather changeable. A heavy thunderstorm visited us about midday accompanied by abundance of rain and hail- this will do some good for it was much wanted. In the afternoon Mrs W visited the plains inquisitorially- in her absence Charlie’s boy of the [indecipherable] called-money hunting- he remained the night but appeared too knocked up to be even companionable. There is no doubt that he is a very poor fellow, but I have always thought that there was not much in him, and that he owed his respectable standing more to honesty than ability- with a great deal of hospitality- a slight spicing of toadyism to great men. I saw a large proportion of perseverance- he is taken all in all an enviable compound of humanity.
Wednesday 31 March, 1847. Since the thunder yesterday it has been much cooler. Our visitor left before breakfast- About Noon Rogers called- he is on his way to Camden- to make a plan of that property- poor fellow- I hope he will not do it unless he is properly remunerated- For some years he has taken the pledge and kept it- Still there is something wanting about him- and cunning men will take advantage of his professional ability for he is able to perform his work well- although in conversation he sometimes wanders from the thread of the argument on the topic- to some other quite unconnected with the subject- in fact he is simple and unable to look to his own interest. The evening was cool enough for a fire. The Dr. dropped in –but soon left and I sat up playing cribbage with Rogers until 11 P.M.
Thursday April 1st, 1847. Fine and cool- The youngsters all alive making fools of their equals- and imposing upon their elders- even some of the latter seem delighted at the chance the day gives them of imposing upon good natured credulity- although the 1st of April is not exclusive privileged here in NSWales any other day answers as well- opportunity and a pluckable pigeon presenting themselves. Rogers left for Sydney . Mr N Bell called relative to the Castle Forbes property- for information which I was unable to afford him. It appears that he has the agency of the Estate- I may mention- to give an idea of the change in value of land- during the last ten years- that this property which brought in 1837- £20 per acre- might be had now for two shillings. Sent Henry out to Mirannie with Clark the Dr’s servant- to bring in some cattle- the Dr, having rented a paddock from H D ,is anxious to stock it.
Friday April 2nd, 1847. Good Friday- delightful day- Awoke from dreaming of parties who have been my evil genius- I had hoped never to think of such a day again- and I fancy that even to dream of it portends some disaster. It personified gluttony, cant, hypocrisy, deceit, sensuality and deep villainy- comprised in the shape of two individuals- of the Dr Good breed- One of them “a rich bankers squaw” whose beauty like another Helens- is only to be equalled by the stability of her affections- let the ----- pass- she is good enough for her mammoth of iniquity . Just after breakfast
breakfast the Doctor called- rather early for him, much to the
annoyance of a lady who shall remain nameless- for she was about to pay a
professional visit- to one of his patients. The Doctor laughed at the
idea and went on his way to have a days quail shooting. I am sorry I did
not go with him as I have spent a miserable and lonely day. I do not know
a man more to be pitied than one who is merely looked upon in his home ,
as a provider- as a bill payer who never experiences any of the little
attentions of kindness and affection- which ought to endear him to the
but which and is the charm of Home]- Where these
are not, it is no home- and he will be driven to seek his joys
else-where. I recollect the following lines in some where
“ Abroad too kind, at home ‘tis stedfast hate
And one eternal tempest of [indecipherable] “
But surely man has a remedy in such a case.
Saturday April 3rd, 1847- Nothing worth noting-[indecipherable]
Sunday April 4th, 1847- Easter Sunday- The weather beautiful- the
devout and assiduous Presbyterian Preacher of Singleton- delivered his
farewell sermon- to a highly respectable congregation- prior to his
leaving his charge for a more lucrative flock at Port Phillip. In the
words of an old friend of mine Dr S- who dropped in to dinner & ,- he
“ pour passer les temps” strolled into the sanctuary- and
found the gifted “holder forth” - delivering a most pathetic
discourse to about forty of the elect- strangers, included. There was, he
says, an assumption of feeling on the part of the Rev.d Worthy- to which
all who have witnessed his ministry - will accord its full value- one or
two ladies were considerably affected- and sported their cambric- or in
the words of my guest snivelled, most audibly and interestingly, the
whole scene reminded him of the words of our poet
“ Play me another piece of nice dissembling
And let it look like perfect honour.”-
Acting, consummate acting, the whole,- and although the matter has been a farce from the beginning to the end- both Church and parson- it has been rather an expensive one- the small community has had to pay rarely for their puppet and his boss and have been laughed at and made a convenience of by their Punchinello into the bargain. After dinner Dr.[indecipherable] called and found the “t’other’ medics and self discussing with olden times- the merits of some colonial wine- versus imported brandy- we wanted a third party as we were divided- in opinion- to give weight, or decide the question- but to do this it was necessary to try the articles- once or twice, more, until we found that we had tried it too often- so we deferred giving judgment until
until we three meet again.
Monday April 5th, 1847. The weather delightfully cool. Five and thirty years ago I would have given something for such an Easter Monday- Greenwich fair and Greenwich Hill- being at that time- the attraction to all holiday folks- residing within a reasonable distance. Then London poured out her ten thousands, whether the march of refinement has altered the tastes of the generation that is rising to replace us -deponent knoweth not- for Twenty- two years have whitened this head- in a foreign land. To him the remembrance of home is but as a dream- that sometimes calls forth a desire- that he may once again- visit the scenes of childhood. It is however necessary to repress a wish- there is no chance of realising. Still I may reasonably expect another twenty years of sojourn on this planet- and in that period many changes may occur- bringing forth their fair proportion of good and evil. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof- [indecipherable] inhibitions of a peep into futurity. I see the folks around here have dubbed it a holiday- and cricketing and other harmless and manly sports appear to be claiming the day as their own- long may it be so - for the customs of our forefathers- will remind us of their breeding- and our own- and by introducing them to our children we are supplying the connecting link- that must ever remind them, however they may glory in the sobriquet of “Cornstalks”- they have a far higher claim to the respect of the world as the offspring of Britains.
Tuesday April 6th, 1847. The day very fine. Mrs W. superintending the murder of her pigs- the people - all but Williams- very considerably drunk- I think I may term this Temperance Tuesday- for the place was more like a hostelry than the residence of a family - from the number of drunken blackguards about the place- however as it is useless to reason with men in such a state- I shall defer mentioning the matter until tomorrow. In the evening Henry came in from Mirannie, but without any cattle- this I expected from the short notice- parties cannot do impossibilities.
Wednesday April 7th, 1847. Cooler than usual- Finished pig killing- Mrs. W busily engaged curing Pork and sausage making- I think it is Corporal Trim- who speaks so sentimentally- of love and sausage making- and I in some sort agree with him- that they are queer combinations- and no doubt a man feels himself in an awkward predicament if he happens to be courting a woman while so engaged. The sausages by themselves are not to be sneezed at- that is when home made - and you are certain that you are not making your stomach a receptacle for defunct cats and dogs- or worse vermin.
Thursday, April 8th, 1847. Very close and portending thunder- Tried the young horse in the outrigger and I think he will answer well- although the horse breaker is fearful that he will become a stumbler. I think he will grow out of it- remained the evening at the Drs. I am quite ashamed of being so long on the move- without moving- but without means it is impossible to get everything in readiness- at a moments notice- I hope to make a move in a day or two- hired two men for the purpose.
Friday April 9th, 1847. Very sultry and close- Summer instead of winter seems to be approaching- Mrs W visited Morpeth and returned long after dark- the Dr. here and remained yarning until long after all decent people were snoring- or dreaming- some sort of a church meeting took place to instal a poor unlucky [indecipherable] –in a bed- which his predecessor in office - has pressed- onto the substance of a stone- or picked out the flocks- in such a way as to leave but a threadbare ticket - God help us- when we are competent- to detect the villainy of the Priesthood- and have cause to think- that the devil oftener uses the cassock to deceive mankind than any other garb- and God help the cause of Christianity
Saturday April 10th, 1847. Close disagreeable weather- striving to get
all things ready for a start- Blake the carpenter here mending the fence
etc. In the afternoon Mrs W and I went up to the plains- the night turned
out rainy and very dark- Mrs W and the children went home at the risk of
breaking their necks- I slept at the Drs. Saw Mrs D. on the plains in the
evening but as all prudent women should do - she left before
Sunday, April 11th, 1847- Fine but still sultry- While our fat friend of the Manse- was acting parson,- and chanting one of those doleful ditties - called psalms- or hymns, I don’t know which- I ordered my horse, but desired the groom not to bring him out, least he should take fright at the lamenting of the godly- Surely the parties- kicking up such a bobbery can have but little ear for the agreeable- or else they cannot give their Creator credit as a judge of the “Concord of Sweet Sounds” - I should feel inclined to indict the body- as a nuisance but that I know they mean well. The discord over I was enabled to start for home- reached it- found all quiet- the people having reached home safely. God knows how in a night as dark as pitch. It must have been by miracles- had my wife been one of fortunes favorites her neck would have been broken or had the children been heirs to anything but the ills of the world- they might have
have been saved the trouble of enjoying the provision made for them- by the industry or avarices of their progenitors- well after all I am satisfied that whatever is, is right. The Dr. called for a few moments in the evening.
Monday April 12th, 1847. Sultry close weather- getting ready for the bush by piecemeal- it is most difficult to get the tradesmen here to do anything off hand- I should have been from home a week ago- if these fellows had done their work - I wish I was once off------.
Tuesday April 13th, 1847. Sultry and thunder hanging about- went up to the plains to get the requisites for my trip- a thunder shower ducked me well- but I am sorry to say- that it was only just enough for that purpose- and consequently not enough to do any good to vegetation. When we did not want rain we had enough to destroy our grape crops- now we want it we can get none.
Wednesday April 14th 1847. Close sultry day - this weather has given
me a nasty troublesome cold. The Dr. here; in the afternoon - the Revd.
Mr. Blane called. It appears that the Presbytery of Maitland have been
installing the Revd. Mr. White in office. I trust he will be as great an
his the Church as his predecessor.
There never was a more precious piece of humbug - or a greater set of
humbugs - than the constituents of these worthies - in all now -
amounting to about Seven as ignorant fellows - as it could be possible to
pick out of any community of Scotchmen, who to give them their due are
usually men of some education, but these men have neither Education, or
common sense and have been hitherto the tools of the parsons and all the
respectable of the community have left them in their glory.
Thursday - April 15th 1847. Similar weather. Am I ever going to leave home. In the afternoon Mr. Cullen dropped in and helped to wile away an hour or two. Mrs. W - on a cruise to the plains. In the evening all alone - and as desponding as usual.
Friday April 16th. 1847. Sultry unsettled weather, a fair supply
rations &ce arrived from Mr. Nowlands the Contractors - which sets me
up again. In the afternoon the Dr. called in and soon after Mrs. G. As
for myself I drove the Young horses up to the Plains and he goes
beautifully - stayed away but a short time. H.D I hear is at Muscle Brook
- the Dr. tells me he is not so well as he ought to be - but sickness or
nothing else will cause him to neglect business. I wish I could speak so
favourably of myself.
Saturday April 17th 1847. Unsettled weather, and times, discharged John Williams - more from his quarrelsome disposition towards his fellow servants than anything else and also because the Mistress has a down upon him, as he himself avers - he is also a drunken rascal when he can get it. Miss Helena brought a bevy of girls home with her - and kept the house in an uproar all the evening.
Sunday April 18th 1847. Miserably dry. The Dr. and Mrs. Long at
Greenwood - Cannibalism exemplified - preying upon our species - dined
off a goose. The Dr. touched slightly with the blues - swears he will
become a worshipper of Father Matthew
“When the devil was sick the devil a monk would be
When the devil was well - the devil a monk was he.”
Produced the gin bottle - and another medicinal compound called brandy -
“Blue spirits and white. Red spirits and grey.”
I Mingle Mingle Mingle those that Mingle may”.
The bottle imps - turned all the sober resolves into ridicule, the blues were expelled and as we listened to the insinuating ‘voices of the [indecipherable]’ we became different men - not intellects - appeared to resume their wanted brilliancy and evening found us - instead of the dull vapid beings - of the morning - regenerated - our conversational powers resumed, and like men who had wisely
resolved considered the text of “Live to day for
tomorrow you die.
Monday April 19th 1847. The weather unsettled but no rain. Mr Lindesay called after service. No other visitor for the day - and nothing to record. In the evening drove the two horses up to Singleton.
Tuesday April 20th 1847.Thundering and cloudy but no rain. Everything ready for the bush. In the afternoon Captain Russell J.P. called - spoilt a bottle of wine, and then went on. In the afternoon drove the young horses to [indecipherable]field- found my guest of the morning domiciled there for the night. The member appeared to wish to have him to himself, so that after laughing with him and his good lady - for five minutes or so returned home - found Nick Green there - in from Mirannie on business - he seems to be getting tired of his agency for the family.
Wednesday April 21st The weather still unsettled. This is the grand
of licensing day - of the Singleton victuallers. The
wisdom of the Bench - has to determine in favour of Monopoly or Free
Trade. The monopolists carried the day last year. Most of our J.
P.’s are owners of licensed houses - and are therefore precluded
from having a voice on the subject; so that the arbitration depends -
upon one or two parties who are very needy and under considerable
obligation to the present monopolists - whose interests they seem
inclined to protect against public opinion - ‘We wont have any more
public houses says the Doctor; we wont have any more public houses says
the Dr.’s brother; We must put down Monopolies - say the People -
to day will decide whether ignorance and prejudice - will dare to oppose
the rights of the many for the advancement of a few.
Thursday - April 22nd 1847. A Cool gloomy day - rendering such as are inclined that was - as miserable as the weather. Mrs. W has been ailing for some days past - the Singleton Benevolent Asylum is this evening to give a Ball in aid of the friends of the institution - and it is amusing to find the effect it has upon the sick, the lame and the lazy. The former; especially of the feminine gender - are restored to their pristine health - as if by a Miracle - the lame are learning to dance, and the latter are practicing Scotch Reels - an employment if at all useful - or in any way assisting them to their bread - would be considered as hard work - and therefore derogatory - to such as prefer starvation to labour. It is said Charity begins at home. I am afraid in this instance the proverb will not apply - for many I know - are depriving their families and selves of the necessaries of life - that they may be tricked out - and figure a way - under the excuse of the necessity of supporting an association of so much importance to the Public generally - from the benefit it affords to the needy.
If this were really the feeling - I should applaud it - but I fear it
is only a cloak to cover the real one, of namely a desire to see and be
seen - to dance - to show off, and damn the expense. At the appointed
hour much against my grain - I accompanied the feminines to the
exhibition of the hoppinglots - there was a fair sample of Eves flesh -
daintily drest and all but crying out - come taste me and exhibiting
quite enough to whet the appetite of a cruiger or even that of the more
fastidious - Chorus from sweet sisters to full blown Forty - whisked
about the room in all the surges of the voluptuous waltz and the chaste
[indecipherable] - indeed the voluntary principle of all things in common
- appeared to be in favour among the benevolent - and the lasses flew
from the arms of one partner to those of another - with all the ardour -
a changeable articles - may be expected to evince
for something fresh.
Upon the whole the evening passed off very agreeably - every thing was well got up - even the dresses of the ladies - and the sun of Friday morning found many wishing for another Joshua - to pin him to his station - or put him in the stocks for an hour or two. Mr. G and his wife were there - she looked anything but well - and was badly dressed. My better half was obliged by illness to leave before Midnight - in fact before I had begun to enjoy myself. The Member and his lady - patronised - the affair - perhaps they will stand sponsors to all the results of the meeting - among the juveniles - this last maybe a more serious matter - than even they, who feel inclined to uphold breeding in all its branches - anticipated.
Friday - April 23rd 1847. Have told my tale of some six hours of the day - At sun rise went to bed and to sleep at the Dr.s - awoke at 10 AM - and found it raining - this continued throughout the day - in such a way as to prevent Mrs. W from returning to Greenwood. At 5 P.M - put the horses too and left the plains for home - reached it had tea and went to bed well tired from last nights debauch - and determined to eschew all such meetings in future.
Saturday - April 24th 1847. Showery in the morning, the latter part of
the day fine. After breakfast sent Henry for his mother, she soon
returned full of aches and pains - looking the picture of misery - and
causing one to wish,
‘Oh that the desert were my dwelling place –‘
but I suppose, that as I have like King Richard, ‘set my life upon the caste,’ I must even make the best of a bad bargain.
In the afternoon Mark Green and his wife called - Mrs W’s toothache - became much worse, after a little the pain subsided - and enabled the poor creature to see her friends and to treat them with the hospitality she ever evinces to those who have become connected with her through me. Pride can be called no failing of hers. She is as humble as she is intellectual. In speaking to at dinner time of her exceeding civility - she graciously promised in future to do all she could to better my condition. and that of the family - by strict attention to economy and all those little delicate observances - which mark the attentive wife and frugal housekeeper. This exceeding stretch of complaisancy determined me to sleep alone, that I might ponder over the extraordinary change - feeling myself something in the position of the man - who found a rib stone pippin grow on a crab tree. Perhaps the lady is right, ‘the sooner I am ruined the better.’ Mr G. and his wife left about 3 P.M. highly delighted with the kind reception of their good natured sister in law.
Sunday April 25th, 1847. Fine. Upon the principle of the better day the better deed- and something of a sailor’s superstitious feeling - having first started my party- I left Greenwood to take the Field once more and God who sees all hearts only knows how grateful I am to him and how glad I am to be enabled to do so- if it were not for the children- it would be a matter of no regret- if I had set eyes upon it for the last time- and every other thing connected with it but them, I feel that there is no other association that I can call to mind- which at all endears it to me- but the reverse- it reminds me of duplicity- blighted affection- and the obligation I am under to provide for them - who value me only as the lion does the jackal, for what they can make out of me- a heartless, selfish, unfeeling crew. For the first time for many years I assumed the ribbons, and turned [indecipherable], Henry riding my horse. Made for the Paterson by the Tyreman flats- a devil of a place to get over with vehicles- by some perseverance - and a good deal of assistance from Neves our fellow traveller- we accomplished the journey without accident although the horses were unaccustomed
to the deep creeks and sharp pinches they met with. We reached the
tents about dusk. I must say I am pleased to be once more master of a
peaceful, quiet home
although as for. A man may be more
comfortable under a few yards of canvas than many think- and I feel
disposed to try it for some months.
Monday 26th April, 1847. Delightful morning- having despatched a man for a lock chain- Neves was to leave for me at Mr. Boydell’s- struck the tents- and again moved towards the Wallarobba pass. As my road laid through Trevallyn, as a matter of courtesy asked the proprietor permission to pass- this he kindly accorded- and afforded me a great treat by taking me over his garden- few places that I know shew their improvements as this does. The spot appropriated as a garden and nursery occupies some acres-of a most genial soil- more suited to the purpose than any I know of and the progress of the trees and shrubs amply repays this industry of the party to whom it belongs. Ten years ago I saw this place- a garden just planted- the orange and apple trees are now breaking down with fruit and looking as healthy as it is possible for them to look. At 2 reached [indecipherable]wick- where we pitched our tents- called on Cory –dined there and stayed the night.
Tuesday 27th April, 1847. Very fine. It was my intention to have proceeded onward but the horses had got out of the paddock and were not forthcoming until after twelve o’clock- it was then too late to start, so made up my mind to stay the remainder of the day- Cory who had started for Hinton in the morning returned home bringing the coroner with him- a gentleman who from his merry propensities seems to laugh at mortality for he must see enough in various shapes of what we are all doomed to- to make one [indecipherable] to see a lugubrious personage- rather than the representative of laughter and fun.
Wednesday, 28th April- Fine- after breakfast started the equipment on towards the Wallarobba pass - and after taking leave of my friends- followed them- the road onwards - brought to my mind circumstances almost too painful for memory to dwell on- years have passed away since I was encamped between Vineyard Cottage and the pass- it was there- a lady- whom I now despise as much as I then respected her courted for her sister- and laid the foundations of misery to two persons- who are still existing - to curse the selfishness that prompted- her interference in matters- that would never have occurred- but for her meddling- Eighteen years have nearly passed away since then- Affections have been blighted- Friends have proved foes- the duplicity
duplicity of human nature- has been impressed on my mind more by the desertion of one or two parties whom I loved and trusted than the thousands of recorded facts- that the history of our species presents to us. It is absurd to revive recollections that are painful, but busy memory will be relive(d) when she views the loss of former happy days, and man must writhe and put up with it. Called at the Grange . Changes have occurred since I was last there. The once jovial hospitable master is now a “clod of the valley” part and parcel of his own estate. His helpmate is what she ever was- a busy bustling woman- striving to kill the time that she is doomed to pass- until she is laid by the side of the old man. I see no change in her- she stalks about the house like a walking ghost, the sad but not silent relick of stout-hearted [indecipherable]. On overtaking my dray found it fast in Wallarobba Creek where I was obliged to encamp for the night
Thursday 29th April, 1847. A beautiful morning.- headed on for the City of Dungog- called on F Perry- pitched upon my encamping ground. At noon my traps arrived-got the Tent in order. Saw some of the parties respecting the roads I am instructed to lay out. I do not think they will undertake to clear these lines- if not it will be useless me marking them.
Friday 30th April, 1847. Weather very fine employed the most of the day writing official letters more particularly that relative to monthly delays the [indecipherable] of that very efficient office Colin Thompson. The afternoon and evening was occupied by visitors.
Saturday 1st May, 1847. Just such a day as May Day should be but we have no maypoles or garlands here nor a happy frolicking peasantry to dance around them. Writing and planning all day. In the evening the Rev. Mr. Spencer called with Perry- passed it away in social chat. His Reverence is a parson after my own heart without hypocrisy or humbug- one that is aware that he has the passions and feelings of human behaviour- and does not strive to appear unnaturally godly- Went up and supped with Perry.
Sunday May 2nd, 1847. Fine - went to hear my friend the parson preach- his congregation was larger and more respectable than I expected to see at Dungog - his discourse was very good. After church lunched with Perry and the parson- visited the Doctor and walked on to dine with Mr. Brown. Mrs B. is a fine comely affable woman - She gave us a good dinner and her conversation and that of her husband was equally affable. Spent a very pleasant day returned to the Tents about 10 PM.
Monday, May 3rd 1847. Delightful weather - busily engaged writing all
day - making up for lost time. In the evening Percy dropped in - and
kept me alive. I had intended sticking closely to the shop but I am afraid in the neighbourhood of the City I shall not be allowed to do much after sundown.
Tuesday May 4th. Cloudy but fine. Similarly engaged to yesterday - in the evening a young gentleman gave me his company and amused me with his exploits in horsemanship, his knowledge of horses, his qualities as a Superintendent he has until I wished him any where but here. I do not know a greater bore than a man who makes himself the subject of conversation and can talk of nothing else.
Wednesday May 5th 1847. The weather fine. Wisely engaged all day - writing - at sun down finished my letters for money and despatched a batch of them to the post. Soon after sun down Perry came in and chatted away the evening - he is a fine young fellow - much superior to friend Tom in intellect without any of his nonsense. This is a stupid miserable hole with very little of respectability about. I shall not be sorry when I have done here.
Thursday 6th May 1847. Cloudy but fine. Employed all the day in marking allotments and had some really rough work through brush, stinging nettles and thorney vine. Came home - half frayed - dined with Perry off a goose met Mr. Brown then also a Mr. Williams a talkative well-informed man. Mr. B. had a severe cold and left us early - while Mr.W. who has been an old sailor and I travelled from Bombay to Madras, from Madras to Calcutta, from Calcutta to China, in fact all over the Eastern world. It is a source of great pleasure to meet a sensible travelled person to me who has roamed a little an interchange of opinion on climates, countries and their capabilities is often instructive.
Friday 7th May 1847. Fine; similarly employed and undergoing a similar purgatory to that passed through yesterday. This is Bench day in Dungog but only one J.P. shewed his sunny face to the unenlightened [indecipherable] of the Village. However they appear to be so peaceable that the very letters are almost a superfluity to the respectable name of any of the residents of the vicinity. Dungog on this plan is a large Town, and on the ground it only wants people, money and a productive country around it to correspond with the intention of its projection. There is nothing more absurd than these paltry townships accepting always their paltry newspaper correspondents.
Saturday the 8th of May 1847. Fine. In the morning sent Mr. [indecipherable] to select an R.C. Burial ground. Pitched upon a nice [indecipherable] spot. A corner where ghosts might hold covenish meetings in the chaste moonlight without fear of alarming their brethren. Got clogged by the clay . Settled this matter. Traced Mr. Rusden’s line of Road into the City of Dungog (heavens what a name) some of John
John Thompsons classics. I imagine in his younger days he has had the
story of Gog and Magog impressed upon his brain and as the testator
saints of his native city of [indecipherable] he
determined to immortalise them and himself in the determination of
Dungog. I have been fairly vexed with Henry - he is the most thoughtless,
careless, lazy, overgrown scamp I ever met with. God knows what will
become of him unless he changes. Today I went near scolding he with his
brothers with the following lines –
“For a man may speak, and here to the end,
If his wife he sought, if his wife he sought;
And a man may spare and aye he bare,
If his wife he sought, if his wife he sought.
and really I believe them to be true.
Sunday 9th May 1847. A delightful day. The stillness of the place around and the people passing in their clean clothing made me aware of the Sabbath. After breakfast sat myself on the grass - with Young’s Night thoughts and read myself into a train of grave thoughts on the subjects therein - so ably descanted on. A future state - death - suicide - and others equally calculated to call up reflections of a sombre cast - and to make one ponder on futurity without much assistance from the history of the past, excepting such as Faith in his creed may give him. I remembered I had to reply to a letter form Major Christie on some church land matter. This occupied me the greatest part of the day - but finished and despatched my answer by sun down.
In the evening was aroused by the screaming of a woman whom it after
appeared was getting a little wholesome discipline from her lord and
master - in many instances I think summary jurisdiction of the above
description - moderately applied - would be conducive to matrimonial
harmony and do away with much of that constant jarring and nagging which
uneducated females inflict upon husbands whom they know do not like to
lift their hand to a woman and consequently impose upon his good nature.
Were I legislator I would pass a law that a slight whipping in such cases
might be advisable after the fashion of the older schools - a
slight fair birchen argument that would break no bones
and command respect where respect is due. There is nothing I am satisfied
makes married people more tired of each other than the unceremonious way
of squabbling and contradicting that I have witnessed - I might perhaps
say experienced. However I feel just what I have described - but had that
sort of conduct been stopped long ago by a vigorous measure, I have no
doubt some the respect for each other and for each
other’s failings would be of a better character than it is to day,
with some folks of my acquaintance.
Monday 10 May 1847. Delightful weather. Employed staking out the village of Dungog. Changed an order for £2 at Mr. Shanklings store. There are two stores and two homes in the village - at one of the latter grogged with F P. A number of parties came tumbling in and the topic of conversation was
was the new line of road - appointed to meet Mr. Kerge tomorrow on the subject. F.P. came to the Tent - and stopped chatting until bed time. I like him much he has been very kind. I prefer him to the Justice.
Tuesday 18 May 1847. Very fine - but frosty in the morning. Mr. Kerge came and breakfasted with me - looked over the plan of the district. I am rather inclined to take the road down the opposite side of the Town - it would be the nearest line and less difficulties in the way than any other. The greatest objection is crossing the river twice. Mr. Kerge seems to think that it would be better to keep this side - passing below the junction of Merewether with Wallacatta Creek. I will look at both. Still it appears to me that the labour of marking the line will be thrown away for the district is too poor to clear it. Writing until 4 p.m. when I went up to dine with F.P.. In the evening several parties came in and I am fearful that prompted by gin and water I talked more than a man with his wits about him should do amongst strangers.
Wednesday 12 May 1847. Fine but very cold in the mornings. Busily
engaged writing. About 11 a.m. C.S.B. called on business which occupied
me about an hour. Soon after F.W.P. and young Mr. Cook payed me a visit,
the former is going to Stroud and I had an idea of accompanying him, but
as I have some letters to get ready for to nights post, stuck to my work.
Making John Thompsons splendid monthly report - damn it and him too. The
ass - it is a pity that he is not sent to the bush to learn what duty is
before he assumes
of a to himself the authority of
calling abler men than himself, to order. I believe the Survey Department
is the only one where men are promoted for their physical incapacity -
say imbecility. I have almost forgotten the history of the Kirk, but I
will resume it in a day or two.
Thursday 13 May 1847. The day fine. At 10 a.m. Mr. Brown came by
appointment to look at the Township Bush land, also the boundary line of
the City. Took the opportunity of pointing out the resting places
selected by the Catholics - and so when it came to that, there is little
fear of religious squabbling. I suggested that it would not be amiss to
take a portion adjoining for the good Presbyterian bodies of Dungog - he
agreed to this. So I measured the Acre, and a similar portion for the
Episcopalians and the Wesleyans. Each Scot has now his land and to spare.
It is therefore to be hoped that no more of the disputes in consigning
Clay to Clay - which have occurred
and will again
disgrace any sectarian Minister claiming his Office from the founder of
Christianity. I have heard of dogs quarrelling over bones. New South
Wales has shewn the rest of the world, parsons quarrelling over them -
perhaps the following couplet might explain
“Like dogs that snarl about a bone
And play together where they’ve none”
- the burial fee is the source of the contention as to the remnant of
the Christian. It might be boiled down if it would produce any thing for
the benefit of the good old lady, Mother Church who I must admit is
getting much more decent in her appropriation and begging than she was
want to be
when in those days when she kept peoples
consciences noble,or plebian, and shared the spoils with the Salt of the
Friday 14th May 1847. The morning fine, and warmer than it has been for some days past. As soon as breakfast was over struck the encampment, and moved it upwards to the crossing place from Tilligra to Callingalla. I had intended it to go on the upper crossing place of Tilligra but the man mistook my directions. However it turns out to be of no consequence. While the party was crossing, stopped and dined with C.S.B. and spent an hour or two socially - the lady improves much upon acquaintance and the gentleman is as hospitable as ever. After discussion he rode on with me to the encampment. It is evident there is something to be done in road lining. I consider the people of the district have submitted to be fenced out of all decent way as they have been. Saw in the provincial paper a very fulsome address to the very Revrd. Irving McCrocodile - this puts me in mind that I have the history of our kirk to continue from page 38 -Sir priest having introduced his family amongst us became in some respect a family man - not that he lived at home more - or that his expenses were greater - but that he turned out cleaner and more decent like, so that through the [indecipherable] of the lassie before described and some little soft [indecipherable] for he was even competent to give some slick a letter or two in that art, he secured the interests of all the womankind of the neighbourhood, following yonder his patrons tactics throughout.
This important point was no sooner affected than it became buzzed
about that as he had in some degree learnt to keep himself clean, or that
his sisters now kept him clean. What a pity it was that he should preach
without a gown. How much it would add to his pulpit appearance, how much
more it would evince his piety and sincerity so highly praised by the
Minister of Tunderforth Manse. Do you know such a place, a capital
authority if he is capable of judging. A bustle at once appears in the
district an enormous bustle!. Mrs. Mcardle was to be seen handicapping it
about. Another lady who shall be nameless appeared equally interested in
clothing the parson, while Lady Cockey of Mount Misery, and Middle Creek
volunteered her trashbag, and her services to collect. Finally it was
agreed that the glorious trio should form a Committee of the Lady
Bountiful of the district - which receive
subscriptions that the person of this man of peaceful and early elocution
(Ye Gods who is this Mr. Blackwood that says so) may exhibit his
peaceful symmetry in the pulpit in a black silk gown,
being all round with tassels - greatly to the edification and spiritual
good of his fair and delighted auditors. When women once take a thing in
their heads I will do them the justice to say they will accomplish it by
hook or by crook. A fortnight or less shewed their zeal in the shape of
Twenty pounds, another fortnight the greatly desired gown. I remember
when a boy hearing of a hog in armour and evincing an anxiety to see the
wonder but I do not think that my curiosity
was then so much on the qui vive- as it now was to see an equally
awkward animal in a disguise for which the one was just as fit as the
other. An account of its addition to his evangelical appearance will take
“ we ne’er shall look upon his like again.”
Saturday 15th day of May, 1847- rain prevented me from doing Field
duty- writing and planning- during a space between the drops- in looking
around me- perceived a small fenced square which upon approach I found to
be a grave- the grave of one of Hectors children ( a party who lived here
some short time since, but who now returned to England) and this is the
only memento xx that such folks were xx that now remains in the colony.
Your little fellow, he may be truly said to be planted in the wilderness-
There is a small headstone from which I read the following lines-
evincing the Christians Hope of the Parents:-
“Ere sin could blight or Sorrow fade-
Death came with fostering care
The opening bud to Heaven conveyed
To bloom forever there.”
Simple as they are and simple as the circumstance is- it called forth a train of feelings and ideas- on a subject that requires solitude to think on- Death- and the Hereafter- The spot has once been a garden but is now deserted- like its poor little tenant. A willow has been planted over the head, and a rose tree at the foot of the grave, but they are alike forgotten- no, not forgotten, only untended- as Parents never forget those who are taken from them at the age represented by the epitaph- and they alike cling to the hope of meeting again- may it be so. Circumstances oblige an earthly
our need bids us look forward to a meeting in another and better
Sunday 16 May 1847- Showery all day- planning in the morning- I had heard that some fair geological specimens of shells were to be found up the Dogtrap Creek- so started- found very little worth going for- and had trouble for nothing- Sandstone and schiststone being the principal features of the Country thereabout- there is however abundant grass about and no fear of cattle starving this winter- before I leave here I must remark on the change that has taken place since I was last here on a tour of duty.
Monday- 17th May- 1847- Showery- Running a trial line from Smith’s fall about One Hundred and fifty yards below the confluence of the William and Chichester, towards the City of Dungog- found a fair level- all the distances drawn and nothing to obstruct road-making- finished at sundown- found on return to the encampment that my horse had been all but drowned- through getting his hinder and forefeet locked together when in the river drinking- fortunately he was heard struggling and has escaped with some trifling excoriations.
Tuesday 18 May 1847- Fine clear day- proceeded up the Chichester to measure the Hundred Acres of land on the application of a Robert Summerville- had a rough and tiresome days work principally over a hilly miserable country- did not reach the Tent until Sundown- found a note from Mr Brown wishing to
wishing me to await at the tent for him until 10AM- as he wants to look at some land up the river having another for the selection of 6 lots there.
Wednesday 19 May 1847- very fine but rather cold-about 10AM Mr Forster
called to ride down the new line with me but as Mr Brown had made an
appointment to meet me, was prevented accompanying him- Waited until 11AM
and as Mr B. did not come struck tents and ordered them into Dungog-
intending to continue the line thereto- On my way to the stake of Monday,
met Mr Brown and returned with him, rode over Mann’s Grant - and
other lines and got back to Mr Browns by sundown- stopped there and dined
and fancied I must have unknowingly taken a strong diuretic as I found
myself a complete watering machine- a circumstance very rare with me- if
alw always so I might be valuable in our dry
district amongst the orange trees- left my horse for he is something
lamed- and walked to the Tent about 10PM
Thursday 20 May 1847- This is the day of the Dungog meeting to see if there is any probability of the road which they have applied for being cleared- attended them with my instructions and plans. At noon eight persons had assembled- C L Brown Esq.re was voted into the Chair and the business gone into and speedily completed- plenty of promise but little chance of performance- I do not remember in my duties ever having met a more apathetic set of people than the Dungogians- but it is easily accounted for, they are for the most part the tenants of large grantees- where property is mortgaged, and who are satisfied to get the interest out of their property in any way- so that there is little chance of the place going ahead- until the tenants have something more than an unequal interest in the land. –dined with Perry, on my return home found the Tailor (my servant) away on the spree- determined to get rid of him tomorrow, for as a servant he is next to useless.
Friday 21st May 1847. Employed all day in writing and planning- the Tailor still away- In the evening went up for a few moments to Perrys - on my return found that he had returned- told him I required his services no longer- gave him a discharge and got rid of him for although a very fair tailor, he is useless in any other way- and too old for my work. This is the Court day of the City of Dungog- and all the Importants are busily engaged investigating some charges brought against the Chief Constable by a Miss Kelly of the Manning River.
Saturday May 22nd 1847-Threatening rain, busily engaged writing letters and planning- received a letter from the Sur. Gen. respecting the monthly returns which I must answer- and do my best to be particularly civil and cutting and at the same time not to go beyond my position- as a subordinate- John Morrisons brain is prolific enough but its productions are abortions- however you have only to look at the originator and you have an excuse before you of the unhealthiness of his offspring- Wrote officially on the road line- and do not intend marking it until ordered.
Sunday May 23rd 1847- Unsettled gloomy weather - writing and planning all day - in the afternoon Perry came down for an hour or two. Dungog I must say is a dismal place Brown and Perry have been civil - the other gentry of the district (if there are any I have kept aloof - perhaps it is as well - I am in no ways indebted to them for their civility.
Monday May 24th 1847. This is her Majesty’s birth day. God bless
her - may she see many of them - for although I have not adorned much in
the service of my country, I hope I am a loyal subject. Settled with Mc
Evoy - the balance due to him being 2 pounds 5 shillings. Went along
Rusdens Road line - to see where to strike off from it,
for with the Clarence Town line - lost my compass stand,
and was nearly three hours before I found it. Bad luck seems to have left
home with me, for I have scarcely left the tent yet without being baffled
or losing something. Returned home about sun down. Sent for my horse to
Tuesday 25th Rain all the early part of the morning. About 9 AM it cleared up. Struck the tents to proceed to the Church land in the neighbourhood of Malaba. While I took one of the men to work for a line of road onwards - to Clarence Town. Examined what is termed the postmans track and deem it a fair and easy line - but a bridge must be thrown across the Wallarobba Creek. This part of the Country ‘Kerge’s and Smeathman’s farms’ which were thickly brushed when I was last here, presents a changed aspect - it is now studded with huts - the brush is removed, and extensive cultivated flat meets the eye and bids fair to support its share of the population, now congregating upon it. It was dark before the Tents were pitched - for last nights rain had made the road so greasy - that the men were obliged to unload at Tabbit or Mackays Creek, and then the horses could scarcely get the empty dray over - this made us late - about 7 encamped on Smeathmans Grant - within Walker’s American fenced paddock.
Wednesday 26th May 1847. Showery. This morning the horses were all
away - and could not be found until after Noon. Employed planning the
Church land into Allotments, and
afternoon went in search of a starting point - found
Kerg’s boundary line - but not a corner. The line dividing Kerges
from Walkers land is yet unfenced - but the frontage of both the farms is
cleared. It is strange, but there is scarcely a proprietor residing in
the district - the lands being all apportioned out in clearing leases - a
sort of rent principle.
Thursday May 27th 1847. Unsettled weather. After breakfast started - for the Church land - carrying with me a connecting line from Smeathmans South boundary, - crossed the Williams at a rough rocky spot - a perpendicular bank of Shale - of about 100 feet forms here, the left bank. In crossing, I nearly put my foot on one of our fresh water crayfish - secured him - these crustacea - are not plentiful. I have found them only in Rivers having rocky beds - and near the sources of rocky streams they are quite a delicacy for the table. Had considerable difficulty in tracing the old lines - so much so - that some of the work had to be done twice - this made us late - at 4/30 P.M. - it commenced raining heavily - made the best of the way to the Tent - had some difficulty in marking out a crossing place of the River - but after a thorough soaking - and something between a walk and a wade, or a little of both made the encampment about 6/30. I do not wish my friend John Thompson - any greater harm - than just such another days work.
Friday May 28th 1847 - Raining heavily most of this day - employed myself in planning from Old notes - to discover possible where the error of yesterday lies. I am afraid in the carelessness of Henry, in miscounting. I am sorry to say he is very careless in all he does. I do not know how to account for his predilection for low company - he is always with the men - and does not appear at all anxious to improve himself. Surely at Sixteen years of age - a youngster if he has any spirit or ability - ought to begin to shew it. Unless he takes some greater interest in the profession, he will never make a Surveyor, and I must see and put him to some thing else - and with a stranger who will keep him strictly, and in his place.
Saturday May 29th 1847. Raining all night - and a promise of the like all day. This is Royal Oak day - a day of many strange retrospective associations to me. On this day 1814. - I remember passing through the New Forest in Hampshire, a light hearted School boy - pulling Oak apples - from those trees that may have withstood the catastrophe of Wm. Rufus and Wat Tyler. I was then on my way to Gibraltar with Captain Green. On this day 1815 - Mark Green was born - from that day lost my Mother - Shortly after came the Battle of Waterloo - and shortly I began to know something of the cares and troubles of the world - which have stuck to me like burrs ever since. but I forget - this is a journal not an autobiography. At Noon it appeared as if about to clear up - went out with the men commenced work, no sooner had I done so - than the rain recommenced in such a way as obliged me to desist - and return to the encampment. Employed the remainder of the day in sketching in the features of the Country on the Williams River plots - so as to make them as complete as possible. It is a great annoyance to be weather bound in such a position - but there in no help for it.
Sunday May 30th 1847. The rain continuing through the day - writing and overhauling papers. Some understanding occurred about Noon between the dogs of the encampment - and the pigs of the neighbourhood which ended in the latter coming off second best - and a complaint being lodged to us against the brutality of the canine species by a two legged sister of the suffering Sow. On promising that the aggressors should be placed in ‘durance vile’ the lady of the Sisterhood, ‘pachydermata’ was appeased - and indeed gracious for ‘Revenge is sweet especially to woman.’ - this momentous affair was arranged - and I was made welcome to all the lady’s Pork. - even with the hair upon it - provided the dogs were kept from tasting it. To this I agreed - barring having anything to do - with the delicate offer of the fair Milesian.
Monday 31st May 1847. Slight patches of Blue sky chequered here and there with overcharged clouds - which now and then favoured the wayfarer with a shower bath - after Nature’s own fashion. Employed all the day road lining - was ducked and dried half a dozen times - succeeded however in getting a good level for the distance marked - which considering that it was dark when we reached the tents - was little enough, say four miles.
Tuesday 1st June 1847 - Neither wet nor dry - but very disagreeable examining the Country for a road - marked a portion of the line from the crossing place of the Wallarobba Creek to the South boundary line of the Smeathmans Grant - was fairly tired, without completing half the work which ought to have been done with a fair day.
Wednesday 2nd June 1847. Set in fair - traced Mr Kerges South boundary
line across the Williams River - for the purpose of connecting the laying
out of the Church lands opposite into allotments. Saw a Mr. Gordon upon
the land who seems to take some interest in the subdivisions- brought
away until Sun down - and then made our way to the tents - I think a
Surveyor may be said to
‘Pace the round eternal
To climb Life’s worn heavy wheel, which draws up nothing New’ –
It is however as well to remember - that ‘Patience and
perseverance are Resignation are the pillars of human
peace on Earth’ - and just whittle and work away.
Thursday 3rd June 1847 - Continuing fair. Finishing the Church Allotments - and a precious job it was. The brush and the nettles caused me to swear and grumble more than either Church or State is worth - and it was dark ere we finished - then we had the pleasure of making our way over the river - in a progressive cross legged motion - over a very ticklish log - with a chance as a geologist would term it
say of being
submerged - that is to say - soused head over ears in the cold deep
stream of the Williams -, and a quietus to him that cannot swim - reached
the encampment at 7 PM tingling all over from the effects of the nettles
and the thorns of the Brush. I remember when a boy feeling a tingling now
and then, but it was confined to the nether part of the body - which
perhaps suffered deservedly - but it is unpleasant at my time of life to
have these things brought to mind - by sufferings - even worse than those
inflicted by the Pedagogues of Olden times - by the posterior application
of good wholesome birch. The march of intellect - has condoned the rod -
and it would be sacrilege now a days to blister the bum of any little boy
or girl - as it was the custom of our forefathers - to do when they
deserved it. More is the pity. The loss is with the rising
Friday, 4th June 1847. A fine morning - broke up the encampment and
started for Clarence Town. I forgot to mention that Fred Percy called at
the tents yesterday - on his way to Sydney. This used to be a gala day
some years ago - for it was the birthday of old George the 3rd - and it
is the birthday of
the a party who shall be nameless -
36 or 37 years have rolled over the head - of one - who in coming into
this world of trouble - has completed the misery of ‘two
lives’ - not I believe intentionally, but for want of that
attention in Education and bringing up - which is the duty of every
parent to afford their offspring, if possible; however, in this call -
the parents neglect - ruined the temper and happiness - and rendered self
willed - a being otherwise formed from kindness, and to dispense
happiness in a household - “Love can exist with marriage”
says Byron, “ and marriage also can exist without”. I am
sorry to bear witness to this as well. I shall say nothing more. I would
wish the person many happy returns of the day, but while I exist such
never can be. Mr. Williams called at the tent and asked me to tea - went
with Henry and passed a pleasant evening.
Saturday 5th June 1847. Very fine. Tents pitched at Clarence Town. Since I was here last two barns and a steam mill have been erected, also a decent cottage and store by Mr. Williams, in other respects the city has not gone ahead, and is a miserable place. Went round the Town in search of starting points - found all the marks destroyed, excepting a stump in two noted as a stand by. Saw Mr. Kempster relative to the allotments put up by him - also Mr. Farquahar - and the representative of the Roman Catholics who I required to select a retiring spot for his sect.
Sunday 6th June 1847. Fine bracing weather - everything appears very
quiet in this city of Clarence Town - even in this, the Lords day, there
is no holding forth - no ranting - no gospel expounding by men who make
the Sabbath their day of business - and put on the livery of God that
they may serve themselves and the devil better. Indeed I do not mean to
insinuate that many of the Ministers of the Gospel are not what they
profess - for I believe there are really
very some good
zealous persons amongst them - but I mean boldly to say that two thirds
of the profession that have met in the Colony - are imposters - the
wolves in sheeps clothing - against which the inspired writers warn us
children of a perverse generation. Clarence Town has not as yet a
sufficient flock to attract the notice of the devourers consequently the
people are friendly with each other. No sectarianism or religious
bickering has sown the seed of hatred and illiberility towards the
differences of opinion existing between men and their Maker - each person
who enjoys his own without calling in question that of his neighbour. How
long will this quiet continue after the introduction of some three or
four Christian teachers having different ideas of the route to Heaven.
Experience will not call this a difficult question but rather than offend
or answer it directly - she will refer you to any of our small Johns in
communities so blessed - where you may if you please observe for yourself
- dined with a Mr. W. and family - was very civilly entertained - but
unfortunately felt extremely diuretic in a place where to get out was
impossible - this is indeed a nicety of human life.
Monday 7th June 1847. Delightful day - the horses have been away since
we came here, but were kindly brought back by John Sheil - a youngster
who in his own terms was but a slip of a boy when I was last here.
According to appointment went over the lines to enquire into and strive
to arrange a dispute between a Messrs. McLean and Campbell, purchasers of
some Church allotments - found the marked lines - agreeing with the
occupancies but not with the descriptions - an awkward error appears to
have been made in these last - the farm, Campbells, is fifteen chains
wide according to their marked lines - and but ten by the title. He has
fallen and cleared up to these lines and is not willing to lose his
labour. The reverse is McLeans case. His land is described as fifteen
chains wide and is marked ten - the lines are also wrong in other
respects. I can do nothing but represent the circumstances to Sydney -
the Survey of all these Church lands has been conducted very loosely.
Clarence Town I find has its aristocracy. The Knight of the Shirt Collar
called upon me this evening but he had been seeing other friends - he
felt very much inclined to stand upon his head but on trial found that he
could neither stand upon his head or feet -
but he put
me much in mind of those a tumbling toy - no sooner down
than up. He was anxious to impress on me that he wished to do the thing
candid - that he had the heart of a man and wanted my opinion of the
Revenue of trees - planted as an reproach to the miranda of his Cottage -
as also of the Turpentine walks leading to the Motto - at the posterior
of his garden. I promised to gratify the animal - and with much trouble
ridded myself of the nuisance.
Tuesday 8th June 1847. Fine weather. Hearing that Mr. Keefe was in the Town called upon him and asked him to ride with me towards Minton as I am anxious to avail myself of his knowledge of this part of the country in marking the road line. This he kindly did - found what I consider a very fair pass to the dividing range - if this answers the trouble is over. I returned about sundown - dined at Watters Hole with Keefe. In the evening a few of the choice spirits of the City dropped in - and with them my friend of Shirt Collar celebrity - met one or two intelligent parties - chatted until 10 or 11 p.m. and made for the tent.
Wednesday 9th June 1847. Frosty and fine. Accompanied Mr. Kerge
towards Dungog - chipped the road line after him as he told - found but
very little difference between his
road line and that
marked by me. Mr. Farquhar accompanied us he is anxious I perceive to get
the road line by his store, and to his punt. What will the rest of
Clarence Town say to his? Why say as I do - I will make no road line in
your Township - merely your Street lines - and in the year 2000 or
thereabout - your Baillies or Town Councillors will improve your leading
thoroughfares. Surveyed the line in front O’Neils paddock - and
reached home after dark.
Thursday 10th June 1847. Cold and frosty. Employed in the Town all day
- drew an order for £2/10- in favour of Mr. Watters - gave John
11/-. I find as much or more trouble in restoring the lead marks than in
an original survey and although some one hundred and twenty allotments
have been disposed of there is but three or four enclosed and those
altogether. Such has been the system of land sharking -
and that most of the lands here belong to that
respectable class - of what shall I say biped or fish, and most assuredly
- have they burnt their fingers - May it occur oftener where such
privateers are the sufferers.
Friday 11th June, 1847- Blowing fresh and cold. Working about Clarence Town- laying out the brush etc. This is anything but pleasant- the stinging nettles are so annoying, aided by the thorny vines that a man may as well undergo a flaying- as a days work among them. I was a good deal vexed on Henry’s inattention to his work- and his eternal chatter, so much so that I turned him from the chain and followed it myself. I am afraid that he will never do much good- he is so indolent. I have not seen him take up an improving book of his own accord since he left home. In the evening Mr Williams called in- the sky threatening storm and rain. We yarned away until well on to morning- travelled over India and China to Penang and Malacca, and through Torres Straits- the pleasure that an old soldier feels in fighting over his battles by the fireside- is equalled I may say by the engagements of an old sailor in retelling his adventures “ by flood and field”- to someone who understands the dangers and risks, the fun and frolic- of deck afloat or ashore- for the terms will apply to him in both positions- Well it is a merry life- although some times a hard one- for as the old story says “ Though we’ve troubles at sea we have pleasures ashore.” There is not that everlasting monotony, that “facing the round eternal” of such a profession as mine, that would almost make me “thank” a misery for change though sad. Midnight rainy and blowing in squalls.
Saturday 12th June 1847. Heavy rain and looking dirty. The weather
cleared about noon –but too late for any field work. Writing and
planning- all the afternoon, but the morning was too wet and too
miserable for work. So amused myself in reading Wellington’s
despatches - assuredly they evince a Master Mind- his time on this earth
is drawing to a close now when his Name shall appear in British History-
amongst those of Her Illustrious dead- Englands brightest star will have
and but the name will be a watchword for
generations to come- a beacon to her warriors and statesmen
with equal to this motto, whether it be in war, or in
council- indecision or straightforwardness- “Go thou and do
Sunday 13th June 1847. Cloudy but fine- Employed the day in writing and planning- in the evening had a visit from Wlms, his wife, a young lady visitor and the children- they were taking a social evening walk- a pleasure which in my younger days I looked forward to enjoy- should I ever become the head of a family- but it was a Phantom of “Loves young dream” never to be realised- My rib cannot ride, cannot walk , nor can it do anything else when it suits its own convenience. Mrs W. was surprised that my wife never accompanied me on these trips- for she said- she would indeed! And so would nine women out of ten- who had an affection for their protection- but the odd one has fallen to my lot and only looks upon me as a matrimonial [indecipherable]- the want of food and clothing might convey an idea that such a thing had passed from the Earth- Nothing else, I’m sure would - drank tea with Mr Farquhar and afterwards walked over to Wms’ where Henry was doing the agreeable- and chatted away a long evening and contemplated the pleasures of a social family party with a degree of envy, shall I say, no, hopelessness- of ever seeing anything like it at my fireside.
Monday 14th June 1847- Wild winter weather . Started towards Stony Creek to bring the “line of road” into Clarence Town. In one of my absent moods- continued on Holmes track instead of the right road- and lost half the day. Some time after noon Mr Kerge and the Dungog C. Constable passed me on their way to Maitland. It was after dark before I returned to the Tents- for although I can say I worked hard I accomplished little or nothing and may note this as a tiresome and unprofitable day.
Tuesday 15th June 1847- Fine weather and working in the brush to bring
the Dungog line of road into Clarence Town. I find there is a very fair
ford near the NE point of the township just within the brush over which
there was 2 and 1/2 feet of water at ebb tide- and have two and thirty
years passed away since “Belgium’s capital had gather’d
Her beauty and her chivalry,”
“ But hark!. That heavy sound breaks in once more”
As if the clouds its echo would repeat
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before!
Arm! Arm! It is- it is- the cannons opening roar.”
Indeed they have, and the actors in that dread but glorious battle to which the above lines describe the prelude- have all but a few passed away- and the generation that remembers it- are fast passing away. I am one of the number, as a boy I remember about a fortnight before the battle- scaring the household- hoops- leave St. James’ Park in all the pride and panoply of war headed by- and the brave Sir Thos. Picton- he, poor fellow never saw Home again- nor did one half of the brave fellows that left that morning- “ With colours flying, dreams a-rolling, March my boys, there’s no controlling a long Farewell”- an everlasting one it proved to be to very many of them.
Wednesday 16th June 1847- The weather exceedingly mild and fine for the time of year. Measured Mr. Farquhar’s land and also the Scotch School allotment- wished to mark-out the burial grounds but could find no-one to select them. There is little superstition in the Colony - or I should think that this reluctance to choose the spot originated in the fear of being the first occupant.
Thursday 17th June 1847- A more propitious morning than this day
seventeen years today- the sun is shining brightly- the birds are all
alive to the genial warmth and everything in nature looks smiling- It was
not so on the morning that dwells so vividly on my memory- the rain
poured in torrents- which slackened at intervals- as the gusts of wind
gained an ascendancy- and groaned forth their might- in that hollow
sepulchral tone- that on a winter’s day causes one to appreciate a
comfortable shelter- and stormy and comfortless as that day was- it has
been equalled through a longer period by a series of continued storm and
which originated in the union of two
uncongenial spirits- which this unpromising day, seventeen years ago
consummated . At the time I had not much faith in omens, in lucky or
unlucky days- but this I know, the 17th of June is noted as one of my
unfortunate days- it would have been better for myself and for another
and probably for several others- had I been in Jerricho- or any other
part of the globe- than acting a prominent part in a farce
farce which took place on the morning referred to - there was something about love, honour, and obey - which turned out to be all humbug - or a misunderstanding. I fancy the words must have been, hate - waste your substance - keep who I please, and defy you - words - having a very different purport to those I thought I heard uttered and which have been carried out to the letter. As this is a gloomy subject - took it into my head to measure the burial grounds of Clarence Town - little caring if it should be my lot to take the first tenement. Moved the encampment on to Stoney Creek.
Friday 18th June 1847 - Peace to the Names of the Heroes of Waterloo - who fell this day thirty two years - and many happy returns of the day to the yet Survivors - Wellington amongst them. In course of Nature these are passing away fast - and the anniversary dinner meeting - must bring a melancholy shade with it - when many jovial brave souls of the preceding year - are found absent from muster. A Tree fell across the Mens Tent this morning which had it happened in the night time - would have provided a tenant or two for the Churchyards measured yesterday. Employed marking and Surveying the line of Road from Clarence Town towards Minton.
Saturday 19th June 1847 - A Splendid day. In the morning moved the
encampment on to Stills Creek - and carried on the examination and trace
of the road Southerly. Must say I am ashamed of having acted brutally to
one of the horses. Sampson a fine Colt that was broken in just before I
and has been working remarkably well until
the last day or two, or rather, previous to the spell at Clarence Town.
He has however all at once become sulky and will not attempt to
[indecipherable] at the most trifling pinch or Creek - this occurred to
day, and I was so exasperated at the temper of the beast - that I flogged
him, and allowed the men to flog him in such way - that upon cooling - I
regretted the want of temper in myself that allowed brutality. I can give
it no softer name to become paramount. I am also aware that such
treatment is more likely to confirm vice or ill temper, than to
Sunday 20th June 1847 - Threatening rain - a few drops falling now and
then - but upon the whole the day may be put down fine. Having little
else to do - employed myself writing descriptions &ce. In the
afternoon had a passing visit from a Man of Self-importance -
better known here perhaps as the County Guy - not that he is any relation
to the celebrated Fawkes of that name. I
this for fear he might be taken for one of the family. Oh ho - he is only
notorious for dress, and an anxiety to be
considered a man of some importance. I am afraid his distinguishing properties - are likely to be of a questionable kind. In the evening took a walk with Henry - tried to shoot a Wanga Wanga but failed.
Monday 21st June 1847 - A Blustering Blowing morning ushered in the Shortest day of the hemisphere. Arose early - and went in search of a Wanga or blue pidgeon, - but unsuccessfully - put the Horse Sampson in the dray - but he is still sulky - took him out and lunged him - he afterwards appeared more reconciled to his work. Carrying on the road line over the summit of Torrences, on the dividing range - from one of the heights of which saw Morpeth and its Church distinctly - much resembling one of these [indecipherable] toy Towns - which can be purchased for a shilling - and yet simple as it looks - from this height - there is a great deal in that little place. I will not say of what - At him who ponders on the virtues - the passions - the vices - on other constituents of human nature - draw up a catalogue to his own fancy. At the distance from which I viewed it - it seems as yet too unimportant to attract the notice of the Great Enemy of mankind. I consider whether they have commissioned any parsons yet. Returned late to the Tents, tired and knocked up.
Tuesday 22nd June 1847 - Fine bracing weather. Soon after breakfast
struck the Tents - and moved towards Seaham. On my way called at the
Carmichaels –who reside at Porphyry point - so called from the rock
- outcropping here through the conglomerate - vast improvements have been
made since I was last here, some eight years ago - both this, and the
property North of it - were then in a state of nature - they are now snug
homesteads with considerable clearings around them - these clearings have
opened a splendid view of the river - this alone makes these properties
desirable - had I to settle again - it should be on a navigable stream -
on just such a beautiful river as the Williams is hereabouts. About Noon
encamped at Seaham - in sight of Mr Warrens fence. I was younger when I
first encamped - in this spot - nearly 20 years ago. Called upon Mr. W -
found him just about to dine - he asked me to join him - this I did with
much pleasure - and remained until 10 P.M. highly delighted with the
hospitality and conversational powers of mine host. Mr. W is one of the
most intelligent men that the Colony can boast of - he has been
successful as a Settler, and he deserves it - and more than that -
Success has not altered him a jot - he is the same kind, gentlemanly,
quiet unobtrusive person - I ever remember him to have been - quite a
credit to his country - but few Scotch
of his Country
men in this Colony - resemble Sandy W.
Wednesday 23rd June 1847 - delightful weather - Busily engaged writing - and planning - copying into the Field Book &ce and in the afternoon visited Mr. Carmichael’s - was shewn his vine-yard and cellar - his system of pruning - and draining. Mr. C is an intelligent Educated man - and was formerly head master of Sydney College - he has however turned his attention
to farming and vine growing - and I think from his talent and energy - he will carry it out successfully. I find that he is trying the German system of long & short spur pruning - it may answer here where his vines are sheltered - but it would not do in our exposed district. We had a party of Young ladies in the evening - the daughter of an old friend of mine amongst them - she has grown a fine lassie - dancing and supper finished this day and ushered in another - until I was glad to sneak away under my canvas covering.
Thursday 24th June 1847 - Frosty in the morning - the location fine and bracing - Employed myself planning - writing some letters and descriptions. At 3 P.M. went to dine with my old acquaintance Mr. W - Henry with me - did justice to his most excellent wine as a Colonial produce, it is a credit to the grower and the best in the Colony. Spent a pleasant social evening - the conversation powers of mine host are of the first order - and it is a treat to be a listener in his company. Mr. W. lent me Mr Lowe’s Pamphlet against the squatting system - just circulated. Some short time ago Mr L. - was a strong and clever advocate for the squatters - but he has seen the folly of his former opinions - and is thus publicly recanting. I perhaps do not agree with him in everything - but I think that the Home Govt, are playing with the interest of those parties who purchased land, (in an infamous manner) - I also think that they could not consistently reduce the price of land - unless they remunerated such as purchased from the Government at the Minimum price - but perhaps - it is the only way in which they should settle the squatting question - and do away at once with the monopoly which it threatens. I extract the following from Mr L’s. production as a precis of the Govt Land Regulation - since 1825 to the present time.
“The price which the squatter is to pay for his privileges is
3/5ths of a penny for a sheep, or allowing three acres for a sheep, 1/5th
of a penny per acre. The last ‘free grants’, as they are
ironically called, reserved an annual quit rent of 2d - per acre. Thus
does a Government which is so niggard of its land that it will not part
with the fee simple of the most barren rock for less than one Pound per
acre, while that law still remains in force - alienate millions of
fertile acres at one tenth of the rent which it reserved on its free
grants. If this is the case with regard to grantees, what shall be said
of those who purchased lands, and by their outlay brought to the
Colony much of the
ir very labour which the Squatters
are now employing-. They were led to purchase by the promise of Convict
labor - that labor has been withdrawn; by the hope of immigration - that
immigration has been checked; by the reasonable expectation that the
systematic settlement of the Country would go on - that settlement has
been arrested and now thus deluded and defrauded, they see the Govt.
which impoverished them by its avarice, prepare to ruin
ruin them by its prodigality. By raising the price to £1 an acre, the Govt. deterred any one from looking for land in the South Water - by giving it away almost for nothing they will render it a drag and depreciate its value for generations. The Govt. first induces its subjects to purchase by false representations and then enters into the market against them and beats down the value of the commodity which it has sold to nothing. Such is the treatment the men have received by whose exertions the Colony has been made what it is. This is a fair and a true sketch of the Govt. and faith of a Colony 16,000 miles from the parent stock. Mr. W. informs me that Port Phillip is declared a separate Colony - divide and govern appears to be the present method.
Friday 25th June 1847. Frosty but portending change - some light showers during the day. Working in the Township of Seaham and marking out Burial grounds for all hands. These make a dozen I have marked since I left home, enough for all the population of the country.
Saturday 26th June 1847. Very cold but fine bracing weather - borrowed a boat from Mr. Carmichael and crossed the river to divide a portion of the Church land into small farms - found a good deal of difficulty in finding and tracing the lines of the previous measurement which appears to have been a regular piece of patchwork, a sort of military survey that takes credit more for light and shade than accuracy in feet and inches - employed until after dark and not to much advantage.
Sunday 27th June 1847. In the morning the ground covered with hoar
frost - the atmosphere as clear as a bell - and the weather invigorating.
Soon after breakfast had a visit from old pottery and the proprietor of
Porphyry point. The former was as facetious as ever at the expense of
hunch and local news. Amongst the latter he told me that all Sydney is in
commotion in consequence of some strange doings in the Commercial Bank.
The Accountant it is said is deficient some £9000 and various
rumours are afloat relative to others and higher officers of the
Establishment - I trust without foundation. For although I think the
Coml. Bank and its originator has had a great deal to do in the view of
the oldest and best settlers of the colony - and although I owe the
latter but little for his clemency in winding up my affairs - still I
should be sorry for the sake of his family if there is any foundation for
the report. From these good wishes, I except his helpmeet - a thing
“Whom nature cast in hideous mould,
Whom having made the trembled to behold.’
Only think of Macbeth, leathern visaged shrivelled hags - and you have her picture, the mind worse than the body. At noon rode over to Caswells - some three miles from hence where I had invited myself to dine. I met a large assemblage in his household and family - I think some 14 or 15 - with a kind welcome and good cheer. Caswell is a deserving and indefatigable settler - a credit to the Navy - in which he has the honor of holding a Lieutenant’s commission -
if promotion in that service
went by desert it ought to be an Admiral. Yarned away with him until too late to leave, and agreed to remain the night.
Monday 28th June 1847. Hard frost - after breakfast said adieu to my worthy friend - and family. I was much pleased with the unostentatious and humble way in which a prayer was read before the morning meal - calling for the omnipotent’s protection through the day on all Christians - and others - this was done by mine hosts oldest daughter a fine intelligent young woman - with good temper bearing in her countenance - who ever has the good fortune to get her as a wife will get a good tempered domestic companionable woman the greatest blessing God can bestow. Saw Mr. Warren on my return to the encampment - looked at his vine pruning - and then walked over to see an old friend Dr. Scott - he was from home - so returned to the tent and finished the day writing up my work etc.
Tuesday 29th June 1847. Hard frost, only think of the thermometer standing at 24 in Highton Hall - who says after this that Jack Frost does not nip our noses even in N.S. Wales. Busily employed in writing and planning. The Managing Director of the Coml. Bk. has been suspended in consequence of his account being overdrawn many thousand pounds. I hope this is an exaggeration - that he is involved - I have no doubt - from the thoughtless extravagance I have witnessed in his household - coupled with want of management and ostentations - but poor man that is no fault of his. Such a Pandora with her box of wits as he has to do with would ruin a saint - and requires more than mortal courage to resist. For the sake of his family I think he will retain his birth - if he does - I shall be something gratified at the check he has received - it will be a stopper to the pride and assumption of the feminines - and a salutary lesson to the Manager. In the evening warmed my toes at Jarvis Town - drank some excellent red wine - of the Champagne order - and profitted for an hour or two by listening to the good sense and enlivening humour of mine host brightened by the sparkling juice of his own vineyard.
Wednesday 30th June 1847. Not so cold as yesterday and looking like a change. In the morning borrowed a boat and crossed the river to the Church land. Henry through some blundering left me behind and gave me a walk of about three miles - worked until sundown - finished all I intend doing here at present. I am almost tired of being away from home although in the proper sense of the word I have no such thing.
Thursday 1st July 1847. Blowing fresh in squalls and feeling as if
rain would succeed. In accordance with appointment I met the Dominic of
the point to examine country between this and Hinton - had a long walk -
a good deal shortened by the company and conversation of the Schoolmaster
- who is really a clever man - with more knowledge of his species and the
world than men of his calling are want to
be have. On
such topics they are usually distinguished for their ignorance and
dogmation - but my companion is classical and mathematical, as well as a
good natural philosopher - from associating with
one of so much intelligence a party may revive recollections which for want of such an interchange of ideas have been forgotten - or lain dormant in the mind. I am glad to be able to say that his opinion accorded with mine - on points of high importance to our present - and future existence - the opinion of an educated reasoning man - who thinks for himself and uses his reason for the purposes that God gave it to him - is rarely to be found - dined with Carmichael. Saw his geological cabinet. Spent a pleasant rational evening and found that mine host has been the friend and intimate of very many of the first intellects of the generation - Jeremy Bentham amongst them - whom another age will do more justice to than the present. It was nearly midnight when I reached the Tents.
Friday 2nd July 1847. Cold and blustering blowing a gale of wind with now and then rain - had some difficulty in getting pabula - or I should have moved to day. Finished what I had to do in the City of Seaham - measured the Presbyterian School allotment. Get away tomorrow.
Saturday 3rd July 1847. Still blowing fresh and threatening rain. After breakfast struck the tents and moved westerly - previous to starting myself saw A.W., got some good vine cuttings from him namely the Black Muscadille - also some from Porphyry point - the Black Spanish - highly spoken of by the late Mr. Fideles - a German Superintendent of Mr. Windeyers, who seemed to be considered as a good authority in this neighborhood. At 2/30 encamped in the wilderness of Butterwick - rode on and reconnoitred the spot where I commenced the road trace on the 21st ultimo. On my return found the Tent pitched near a large ant bed - which obliged us to remove it - and vexed me at the carelessness or stupidity of the men and Henry for it caused me to lose the whole afternoon - looked about me until evening.
Sunday 4th July 1847. Blowing fresh - and now and then a squall with slight rain. My provisions being out I am desirous of finishing here and so (I hope I may never do worse) went on with the road trace. From a commanding point of the estate got a fair round of angles - on points - which will enable me to connect the work with the general map.
Monday 5th July 1847. Fine clear day. Finished the road line to
Hinton. Moved the encampment into Maitland. Met my old friend Cheswell
on the road - promised to write him respecting the road
for which he applied at the Sessions some years back - but which has
never been marked.
Tuesday 6th July 1847. Fine dry weather. With much difficulty moved my fellows out of Maitland. They had been imbibing not a little, and seem inclined for a spar. Was detained myself until late - in consequence of Mr. Rees doing something to the dog cart - also the shoeing of the horses. I think it must have been 3 am before I got clear off - and it was 10 before I got home. Saw Mr. Dawson on the road who kindly invited me to stay the night. Had some idea of taking advantage of the offer for the night was very dark –
dark. I persevered however and got home - not
by my horse, for as I walked to keep myself warm he bolted from me, and I
found him standing at the gate - waiting for some one to open it.
Wednesday 7 July 1847. Delightful weather. No man can leave his home
for three months - without anticipating slight changes - and expecting to
hear news - and find
many things some difference in the
domestic arrangements of his household. The House Servant has left -
Neves and his family are occupying the Store - again one less - since my
journey and nearly two. I felt grieved in having some months since (the
28th of February last) to mention the death of his eldest daughter - poor
man his next eldest (Matilda) who was in the first bloom of womanhood and
fair health when I left home has since been consigned to the grave and
the worm. This is the third girl he has buried here - there is still one
remaining. I hope I may be mistaken - but I am afraid she will shortly
follow her sister - indeed I hear she has been all but doing so in my
absence - for “Death is working in the dark, and beckons the world
to riot on the Isle, unfaded ere it falls”. I do not know that a
more severe trial can await a parent than the loss of children as they
arrive at maturity. The funeral of Matilda Neves took place upon the 1st
of same. I note it from a strange presentiment that I have another
similar record yet to make. Mrs. N. has engaged a gardener, his wife and
two boys and I am glad to say that most of my anticipated work
‘vine pruning’ is accomplished. The [indecipherable]
defalcation appears to have created some surprise but no commiserations -
I am however of opinion that he will be carried through it by parties
deserving as much blame, or more, than the principal.
Thursday 8th July 1847. Slight rain during the day and heavy all night - the dray arrived home. The Dr. called. I am happy to [indecipherable] him in the totaller. Found a number of official letters - principally about Thompsons abortion - ‘Monthly returns’. I must write on the subject - but prudently and cautiously.
Friday 9th July 1847. A most miserable blustering day with rain in squalls - all but sufficient to blow this rattletrap of a place down. ‘The wind it whittled’, we may fairly say - but was any thing but musical. As to attempting to work, or sleep, it was out of the question. Shakespear must have experienced something such as breezes when he wrote “Blow winds and creek your cheeks”. I think the gale must have passed over an iceberg from its temperature - I know it made me fancy myself an icicle, not an agreeable fancy either.
Saturday 10th July 1847. The weather more moderate but still cold and gloomy. Instructing the gardener in pruning vines. Willy Laverack here - he is becoming a fine lad - for although very like his esteemable mamma in face - he is less like than any other of the family in manners - indeed he behaves himself decently & respectably. I should be happy to see others, either of the paternity, Maternity or Fraternity do so.
Sunday 11 July 1847. A Gloomy disagreeable day - after dinner took ride to Neotsfield to see the Member for Northumberland - on reaching there found that he with his better half had left for Greenwood, returned home in company with Dr. S. found the parties socially domiciled - passed the evening in friendly converse - and no scandal - our principal topic being the affairs of the Commercial Bank - A day or two will solve the problem and if reports are true we may say “Oh what a falling off was there”.
Monday July 12th 1847. The weather continuing very dry. Mr. H.D. started for Sydney I employed myself in superintending vine planting and cutting. It was my intention to have gone up to the city- but there are so many small bills to pay- that I am afraid to face it. Economy is not a virtue in my house hold- as long as credit is to be had- goods will be had- and never mind the settling day.
Tuesday July 13th, 1847.Wstly gales- the air cold and bleak nothing very particular in the way of news- Employed vine pruning etc. This is the day of the meeting of the shareholders of the Com.BkCo. Sydney and will determine the position of L.D. If he is dismissed his character will be tainted- if retained a suspicion will ever hang over him and he will have to bear some of the [indecipherable] he has so recklessly heaped on others.
Wednesday July 14th ‘47. Cold and wintery- vine pruning and cutting. In the evening rode up with the Dr. to the plains- received a letter from C.V. the Half Year by account- the deuce take such things- they bring to mind the vexations and troubles of this world. It was late when I returned home.
Thursday July 15th, 1847. Just such weather as yesterday- gardening.
Friday July 16th 1847. Threatening rain but eventually a westerly gale bristled up enough to blow one away- getting on with vine planting. There is as yet no Sydney news- but I hear I.L. has left home in a hurry.
Saturday July 17th, 1847. The Gale has somewhat subsided and the
something like that of approaching
spring- if we had rain- vegetation would soon commence but in the dry
state of the soil there is no hope for the tillers of the Earth in this
Sunday July 18th 1847- Quite a spring morning. Beattick here with
Helena- roaming about the garden dreaming of the future and thinking of
the past. In a reverie of this sort was surprised by a visit from the two
L’s - old friends and worthy ones. They have just returned from
Sydney and from them I hear that more than my worst prognostics - in the
case of the Managing director have come to pass- they are considerable
sufferers- and the elder of the two- terms it most distinctly a
case robbery- systematically carried on for
years past. Sufferers are apt to judge harshly- and in proportion to the
amount of loss sustained ( £2500) - the feelings become
exacerbated- some four months ago- when V.L. dined here last I gave him
my idea of the character of the man, which he [indecipherable]
Now his opinion accords with mine. After all it is a hazardous position to be entrusted with money - in days of need and before we condemn another we must weigh well the amount of temptation. I respected L.D. in former days- I despised him in the days of his prosperity and arrogance- I pity him in his fall and look upon his changed estate- more in sorrow than in anger. The Brothers dined here as did the Doctor. In the evening accompanied them up to the city- and as I remained late- stopped with the Doctor for the night.
Monday July 19th 1847. Fine weather - not very well. The account of the Bank meeting, as reported in the papers- is anything but favourable to L.D. He is dismissed from his situation, his conduct is spoken of as even more dishonest than that of Townend (who admits to having embezzled £ 9500, or thereabouts) from the circumstance of the one being in an office of trust, the other not. God help us all, how little we know what is in store for us in the world.
Tuesday 20th July, 1847. Nothing but Westerly gales . By the English
news we learn of the death of Sir Geo. Gipps- I have spoken of him
before, as a clever, able man- a good subordinate statesman but void of
faith- he has passed away. I owe him nothing but my forgiveness- for my
ruin- he has it. I hope that he is as well off in the world of spirits,
as he was in this land of dreams. Received a memento from Mr Carr the
Com.l Bank solicitor informing me that conjointly with the late Rob Leoss
Esq. I was bondsman to the amount of £1500 for the deposed managing
director- and desiring that I should be prepared to pay the amount of the
bond- I can only say that I regret that I am not in a position to comply
with the delicate request- perhaps the more modern expression- of I wish
you may get it- will convey a better idea of my good wishes towards the
concern- than of my ability to
accept take the well
Wednesday 21st July 1847. Blowing a Gale of wind- I thought the house would have been blown away during the night- or rather morning- these westerly winds are the curse of the country. Planting vines, doing all that man can do- to establish a vineyard- but I am afraid we want the good will of Omnipotence and therefore that our labour is in vain.
Thursday 22nd July, 1847. Blowing great guns- the howling of the wind gives one the blue devils- I have plenty to do- but with the constant sough of the wind- I defy one of my fidgety temperament to collect his thoughts- or to control them- while the whew-h-whew-h-whew-h is ringing in his ears. The Dr. dropped in and dined- amused us- with an account of the defection of Mother Clark- and her case- before the Worshipful intelligence of the district.
Friday 23-July 1847. Gale increasing- and appears as if it was never to end- it has blown me nearly into a shaving, not being a very substantial article before. The deuce take it I will go to sleep (if I can) until it is over.
Saturday July 24th 1847. Still blowing hard towards evening-the gale subsided after giving us a week of the most disagreeable weather I ever remember. The labours of the vineyards are still going on- shall I or my family ever reap any benefit from them? The month is all but over and C.V. has not as yet made his appearance- this part of the country is no favourite of his- nor are the people, I am sure from his long absence.
Sunday July 25th 1847. The mildest day we have had for some time- I am sorry to say that we do not deserve the countenance of the Almighty- here we are within a mile and a half of a Church and yet we never visit it. This is indeed being worse than the heathen- for nothing can be required from him to whom nothing is given- The family ought really to attend the service of the Church whatever my opinion may be of Colonial ministers generally- it is no excuse for absence from divine worship- and if father and mother were not a thriftless set- one or the other- if not both- would be there every sabbath.
Monday July 26th, 1847. Mild moderate weather- gardening & writing letters- and getting up a review of the service in which I have been (unfortunately for myself) engaged in since the year 1828- perhaps it will do me no good- but there are many things connected with deserving public exposure.
Tuesday July 27th 1847. Mild dry weather - the worse for us- rain is much wanted and is every season getting scarcer, the little we have comes when it is least required- witness the vintage of last year. Jane Neves has walked up to the store- and left Mrs W to do the housework herself- a sample of Colonial gratitude- This girl was made more a companion of than a servant- and I am scarcely sorry for her bad conduct- it will be a lesson to keep such people in their place.
Wednesday July 28th 1847. Still fine weather- This is poor little Maria’s third anniversary- the innocent prattler is as happy as a queen- may she know no more trouble through life than such as she has yet experienced. Mother and daughter up spending the day at Singleton- Father alone- blue devilled- heightened by a visit from a limb of the law- My friend Mr Eales is persisting with his Execution - but blood is not to be had from a stone - nor shall I strive to do so. In the evening a Mr McCaulk - with young Caswell - and a lot of horses- came here for quarters - which readily afforded - Mr McCaulk with the horses is bound for Bathurst - and Yass - I do not envy him the journey. It is a bad time for removing stock.
Thursday July 29th 1847. Breezing up again- the westerly winds seem determined to give us a benefit- writing and planning - in the evening up at the plains. The Dr’s case it appears did not come on today - None of the erudition of the district could afford time to attend to Bench duties.
Friday 30th July 1847. Cold - bleak - and gloomy. Working away at the vineyard. I ought to be in my office, but really I am getting such a dislike to the surveying and the office altogether, originating from disgust at the treatment given to old officers by drivellers and imbeciles - that I do not think I can ever feel an interest in the work again. The Dr. called in the evening and chatted away an hour or two - but no brother here yet.
Saturday 31st July 1847. Just such a day as yesterday - pitched my Tent for service - discharged John Thompson and hired a new Tent man (Matthew Warren) the former was a very fair servant in the bush, but quite useless at home - too free and easy, and inclined to drink. In the afternoon went up to the plains to settle my accounts and purchase some necessaries for my journey. I am sorry to remark - that there appears no bounds - to the extravagance of the household - since my credit is re established - I wish from my heart that it was done away with altogether. This day I have paid away orders to the amount of £84 nearly - for the most part for frivolities. Midnight - left the Dr. for home.
Sunday August 1st 1847. The promise of rain has passed away and the day looking as smiling as a maiden who has found a sweetheart. The doctor drop’t in and dined here, but left about sun set as usual. If it were not for his company & that of the Morefield folks - we should be as isolated here as the Gentlemen in the moon - it is to be accounted for in this way - we have so many snobs amongst us, astonished by the letter J.P. after their names - that they have actually forgotten that their male progenitors - wielded the birch or pounded a mortar - and really fancy they are manufactured out of a superior clay - to their betters wanting - the tail - a decent aristocracy is a blessing - but our half and half I weeps are a nuisance.
Monday August 2nd 1847. Mild weather but promising wind - preparing
for the bush - in the afternoon took Helena up to the plains - and
purchased such articles as I require for the trip. The Dr. not dining, on
my return met Lamack on the sand hill - I thought he was in Sydney. He
asked me to come and see him - I would gladly do so but for the fury - he
is fact to. He speaks of L.D’s case as a bad one, and
speaks as if says he was is likely to
suffer - considerably. I regret these things - not that the accession to
wealth of say of [indecipherable] relatives would benefit my children in
a pecuniary point of view - but respectability - might be claimed, which
appears to be leaving us all fast.
Tuesday August 3rd 1847. Threatening rain - Morgan Blandford took up his quarters here for the night and left early this morning - sharp showers from 9 until noon - when it cleared up with a westerly squall. These winds are a nuisance, heard that Helena was not very well.
Wednesday 4th August 1847. Blowing fresh from the west - this is one of my memorable days. It was my step Father’s birth day - it is the anniversary of my daughter Honoria’s death and can scarcely pass by without bringing with it some reminiscences - of pleasure and of pain. This morning the Dr. has pronounced Helena’s illness to be the scarletina, her Mother as miserable - as misery can be - is off in a tangent to see her while I - with something of the pretensions of a stoic - am awaiting anxiously to know the amount of danger. In the afternoon Mc.G. came in from the station - the Dr. called for a minute or two - to allay my fears - by saying that the fever on Helena - had presented itself in its mildest form - and that some few days God willing would see her well again - Mark and I talked away until midnight crept upon us unawares. Mrs. N. up at her sisters.
Thursday 5th August 1847. Blowing from the westward. Until Helena is better - cannot leave home. Mr. R.G. went up to the plains - employed myself about the garden, and in writing letters. At noon Mr. R.G. returned and dined here - accompanied me up to see Helena - found her much better than I had anticipated - the Dr. was not at home - so returned at once to Greenwood. Soon after tea while Mr. G. and I were in social converse - he fell suddenly from his chair - in a fit of apoplexy - started Henry for the doctor - before he arrived the patient had recovered but utterly unconscious of what had occurred. The Dr. physicked - the circumstance alarmed me for the time and gives one a pretty fair idea of the tenure upon which we mortally hold our existence. The Dr. today - gained his cause.
Friday 6 August 1847. Blowing hard and dry. Mr. C.G. much better - but lying up for the day to recruit - Noon Mrs. W. - from the plains. In the evening the Dr. called to see his patient - from him I learn that Helena is better and doing as well as possible.
Saturday 7th August 1847. Weather more moderate. Mrs. W. up at the plains with Helena. Blue devilled - and unfit to live - if it were not for the children I would get out of the Hell upon Earth. At noon [indecipherable] dropped in and stopped to dine upon short commons. Mr. C.G. started for the station.
Sunday 8th August 1847. Delightful spring day. In the morning sauntering about - moralizing upon the vicissitudes of life - and the ups and downs that have occurred in the family connexion. Every one whose fate is linked with Mudies daughters –is ruined - there must be a fault somewhere. The four - have had English - Irish and Scotch to deal with but it is the same to all - beggary & misery - is likely to attend them to their grave. Poring over some portion of St. Johns Revelations but I must say it is beyond my comprehension. After dinner went to Dangars, but found he had just started for Sydney - remained there to tea - reached home about 9 p.m.
Monday August 9th 1847. Blowing a westerly gale - the winds this winter have been enough to distract one - busily engaged writing - the D.L.G. seems inclined to stir me up to insubordination - the mans a fool - and not worth taking notice of - still he has the power of annoying - abler men than himself - Ministerial jobbery - will lay the foundation of alienation of England’s Colonies. Why does not the Nation pay her military men if they deserve it, instead of appointing them to situations for which they are not only unfit but incompetent - and thereby robbing the civilians and making slaves of the more competent subordinates of the Public Service. While such a system exists the review of the Government will be conducted in a careless and slovenly manner.
Tuesday August 10th. Gale continuing. Henry took the horses to Mc D’s paddock. In the afternoon Mrs. W. went to bring Helena home - whom I am happy to say has recovered from the fever - which she has had in its most favorable form. After tea Dr. N. dropped in - stayed only a few minutes - informed me of the return of Leichart - owing to sickness - squabbling among the party - and loss of Cattle. I am sorry for this - as it will be a victory to as great an imposter - as ever the Colony - was obliged to pay for humbugging the literati of England.
Wednesday August 11th 1847. The weather delightful, let it last another fortnight this way - and the crops of this season - will have passed away. Started the dray and my traps with orders to reach Muscle Brook tomorrow evening. Agreed with Fitzgerald for 12 mo/- from the 13th September next - so that I am provided with a gardener for some time.
Thursday August 12th 1847. Delightful day. Soon after Breakfast made a
start from home - for the up country. Called on the Dr. and prevailed on
him to accompany me some short distance on the road. Found that my dray
had not been able to pass the public house at [indecipherable] where the
men managed as a matter of course to lose their horses - until shortly
before I arrived there - remained
there an hour or so
with the Dr. talking over various private matters. At 2 p.m. proceeded on
- overtook the dray at the Big Hill - and after sundown encamped for the
night near a station of Mr. G. Bowman’s - better known as the Pig
holes. Retributive Justice is this day to exert her authority -
desolation will be brought home to him who has made desolate the false
friend - the unprincipled man - the tyrant when in power will be humbled.
Pride will have a fall. Hippocrisy will be unmasked. The everlasting
humbug of a self important individual is by this time made apparent to
the world, who could not see it as long as the party was in a position to
serve the turn of the worshippers of Mammon. The cidevant managing
direction. Household Gods are their by before this sold
by the Sheriff - and he has experienced what he has so often, without
occasions, authorised. God help him.
Friday 13th August 1847. A number of drunken fellows were about my tent in the early hours of the morning. I suppose them to be Mr. Bowman’s people on the spree. In the morning the horses were not to be found - but thinking that it would not be long before they made their appearance walked into Muswell Brook. On my way met Mr. Comr. Hunter in his gig - with three or four race horses following - bound for the Maitland races. These are the Gentlemen that have an easy time of it. I wonder how they fill up their monthly returns. Saw Howland relative to rations. Called on Mr. Kerr. In the evening learnt that no tidings of the horses - had reached the Tent - and as it was too late to return there took up my quarters at the Royal Hotel for the night - fell in with Drs. G. & W. - the former a clever man - the latter a flighty sporting character more cut out for a whipper in or dog fancier than the faculty; but as these are the qualifications most sought for at Govt. House he is likely to be a rising man - indeed he has been the Huntsman, the racer, the flogger and the physicker of the district for some years.
Saturday 14th August 1847. Very frosty and cold in the morning - but warm in the middle of the day. After breakfast walked out to the encampment - but nothing had been seen of the horses - several false reports - had given trouble to no purpose - and in the evening the men returned without them. This is very annoying and I have an idea that Bowman’s people have planted them.
Sunday 15th August 1847. Milder than yesterday. After breakfast sent Benton on the road home to enquire if the horses had returned - and the other men and Henry in different direction to search for them. A good for nothing fellow called here about noon and said he had seen the horses about three miles from here on the road side - sent Matthew away - it turned out to be a lie. In the evening the men returned - but no horses - employed all the day in writing - planning - and tent keeping - certainly not a proper way of spending the Sabbath - but needs must when the devil drives.
Monday 16th August. Mild beautiful but dry weather. I made up my mind to stop here a week - commenced planning and writing. The mail driver in passing informed me that the horses were found - and would be at the encampment in a quarter of an hour - packed up - and started for Muswell Bk. and Aberdeen. Reached the former about noon, got some rations from the Contractors. Saw Mr. & Mrs. King of Irrawang - they are on their way to Mr. Bingles and were at Greenwood yesterday. Made Aberdeen about sun set - pitched the Tents.
Tuesday 17 August 1847. Delightful morning. I staked out Section Two of the township and set the purchasers at rest as to their locations. When this was done, struck the Tents and proceeded upwards - passed through Scone at noon - reached Cressfield at 2/30. Little not at home. Saw Mrs. L. Pitched the Tents in the paddocks. While doing this the Lord of the Manor returned, went up and dined with him - his better half very sore and bitter on the conduct of the cidevant Banker - they lose considerably by him.
Wednesday 18 August 1847. The weather too delightful - employed myself during the day in writing and planning - the fact is I hurt my foot in walking some days ago and it has festered and is very sore - so that I must give it a little rest. When I last saw Cresfield it was in a state of dilapidation - it is now renovated - and much improved shewing what a little taste and money can compass when combined. The proprietor is an old acquaintance, one that does not wear “his heart pinned upon his sleeve for Crows to pick at” but a man of a thousand in this world of two fans and false friends. Burns says - an honest man is the noblest work of God - such as are anxious to see that worth let them come and book upon Archie and profit by the sight of a good man and an honest man. His other half has also been known to me from infancy - for her I can say she is a fortunate woman - and if she does not exercise the privilege of the sex too much (talking) and studies her treasure is no doubt an excellent wife - domiciled at Gresfield for the day.
Thursday 19th August 1847. In the early part of the day overhauling papers and planning. At 2 p.m. rode up to Forsyths to see about the position of 50 acres of land applied for by his overseer named Walsh. Found it to be some miles above this. Sent Henry back with orders to remove the Camp upwards - and remained with Forsyth for the night - at Mundowa the native name of his place - Forsyth is a reading - dreaming - intelligent man - whose life is passing away in seclusion - and who appears to care little for the vanities and frivolities of civilized life - his books and his vines are his world - he is one after my own heart - if I were without incumbrance and as well off I should consider myself a happy being.
Friday 20th August 1847. Delightful weather - in the morning Henry
made his appearance - with the traps moved onwards - and as water is
scarce in this neighbourhood encamped about half a mile beyond Abbotts
land. While the encampment was forming Henry and I visited Wingen -
better known as the burning Mountain. The fire is creeping slowly
but I think that it has been twenty years
in travelling as many yards. My foot is very sore and renders me nearly
incapable of exertion.
Saturday 21st August 1847. Spring weather as yesterday. Started
accompanied by Walsh to measure the land he has applied for - finished
and connected it with Livingstone’s Grant. The locality is fine but
I cannot say much in favour of the ground. Suffered a good deal from my
foot and I fear I must lay up if I wish it to get well. In the evening
had a visit from Mr. Northey - was advised by him for some time gratis
and by his own account it was a fortunate day
when the Govt. gave him a free passage to the Colony.
Sunday 22nd August 1847. Beautiful spring morning - if the ground had any moisture in it vegetation would now go on swimmingly - as it is - it is useless - and something like bestowing pearls on a hungry man. I must say providence like fortune is a fickle jade - especially in Australia - when we wanted fine weather to ripen the grapes - we had everlasting rain. When we want rain for our bread crops we have eternal fine weather. Thank God for all things - is my maxim], but I am afraid I cannot do so without grumbling. Employed in writing and planning. About noon Forsyth paid me a visit and wished to examine Wingen. As the water is very bad here made up my mind to remove the Tents to the encamping place of Tuesday last - while Forsyth and I prosecuted our research about Wingen. He is of opinion that the fire is caused by the ignition of a vein of coals - perhaps so - but I think rather - by iron pyrites and sulphur combining and forming sulphuric acid. Sulphuric acid and magnesian earths will I believe ignite - or cause the sort of smouldering fire which is the characteristic of Wingen. There is no doubt in my mind that this has been going on for ages - from the steps around caused by the falling of the ground under which the fire has been active - but this fall has been so long since - that vegetation has resumed possession of the surface on the highest steps - and the space shewing symptoms of recent action does not exceed Twenty acres. On my return found a specimen indicating copper and pointed out to my companion several portions of rock bearing vivid impressions of sea shells. Strange ups and downs have been here, no doubt. In the evening domiciled at Forsyths and the days excursion served us with material for the evening chat.
Monday August 23rd 1847. The weather beautifully clear. After breakfast left Forsyths and made the best of my way to the encampment. Employed myself the day in writing and planning. In the evening dined with Dr. Little.
Tuesday 24th August 1847. Fine day. This has been through life a most
unfortunate day to me. It ushered me into a
of trouble and vexation. It was the first day on which I met my better
half - now nineteen years ago. Two thirds of the allotted days of such
are passed with me and what has it been but toil, trouble, and annoyance
- the position of the labourer who toils for his daily bread is as
elyssium compared with mine - debt is screwing me to death - want is
likely to be an attendant on my old age - and I have but to hope that the
remaining one third may be rather shortened by the Author of Being - than
by any other casualty - for like Cassius - I think “that feast of
tyranny, that I do bear I can shake off at pleasure”. Went up the
middle Brook to measure some land applied for by Llewellyn. The spot
Forty acres is one the most curious spots I have seen - about 25 acres
naturally fenced in by perpendicular rocks - with just an entrance of one
or two chains wide - a capital cattle stealer’s stock yard. I
imagine the place is wanted to command a run for stock. It was very late
before I reached home - cold and tired. Little heard me and came down to
insist upon my going up - with him . I did so, but too jaded to be
Wednesday August 25th. Dry fine morning. Having arranged with Forsyth
to climb and get angles from Dynanirrigan a remarkable high rock diving
from of the dry Ck. from the Kingdon ponds.
Started from the Tents early and accomplished a troublesome assent by
Eleven a.m. There is a chasm dividing the southern point of the rock from
the main point - which my companion informed me had never been passed -
we attempted it successfully - but at considerable risk as the fall would
be some 500 feet - and the white man’s foot pressed for the first
time the conglomerate of Dynanirrigan. It was 4 p.m. before we finished -
returned and dined with Forsyth and made home about 7.
Thursday August 26th 1847. Fine and dry. Intended to connect Little’s N. boundary line - with the survey of the dry creek. Sent Henry to trace the boundary from the N.E. corner to the dry Creek - but the stupid fellow misunderstood me and only followed it across - so that when I went to meet him at the point arranged I was baulked - and very angry - for he is so careless and thinks of nothing but his dogs. This caused me to lose a great part of the day - and I had to return to the tents - and plan and write. This is poor Boyle’s birth day. I hope he will not turn out so thoughtless as his elder brother.
Friday August 27th 1847. Fine and dry. Since Monday last we have had hot days - and hard frosts in the night - strange weather for this time of year. Finished to day what I should have done yesterday, thanks to Henry - prevented his going out with me as a punishment for negligence. He had better be at home, than an hindrance to my duties. In the evening drank tea with Dr. Little.
Saturday August 28th 1847. Fine and dry - with frosty nights. In the morning proceeded up the Middle Ck. to measure and connect a forty acre portion of land applied for by Llewellyn. Hudson let my horse go - and had a good run after the brute. This obliged me to do Hudson’s work - when I spoke of his carelessness he was inclined to be saucy - and asked to be turned in. As this is inconvenient just now, declined his request - but shall remember it, when I can replace him. It was late when I returned to the tents. In the evening drank tea with Dr. L. I must say the Dr. and his good lady, have been very hospitable and kind during my sojourn here.
Sunday August 29th 1847. Fine and dry. After breakfast broke up the
encampment - and ordered them to form again at Satun now Dr.
Carlyle’s place - there are pleasant associations with this parcel
and regret that the poor Dr. has passed away. He was a fine gentlemanly
good hearted creature - and had but few equals as a companion. Dr. L.
accompanied me down - for we had made up our minds to dine with his
brother. Frank. I have known more than 20 years - among the settlers of
the present day he
has been is a prince of good fellows.
The Dr. returned to Gresfield in the evening but I took a bed at mine
hosts - and we talked over times past and the fall of our friends - once
much respected by us both.
Monday 30th August 1847. Eternal drought - will choke us yet I am afraid I shall never have a wet jacket again. The folks of Tullory seem to take times easy it was 10 a.m. before we breakfasted - soon after - accompanied my host to examine a piece of land which he is desirous of laying out into allotments, this I have promised to do for him, and if he can command Two pounds an acre for it surely it is better than keeping it for grazing purposes. Visited the Town of Scone - it is much the same as when I saw it last - a few tents congregated here and there - something like plums in a School pudding - and very little shewing life - or energy. I do not appear to be wanted. At 4 p.m. returned to dine at Littles. After the meal who should come there but Bingle and his eldest daughter. We met as grimly as two rival Tom Cats - and should have parted equally so - but that I insisted upon our shaking hands - think probably I was in the wrong from the first and said so. Men in difficulty are apt to be irritable and judge hastily. Still upon the whole I do not think he behaved like a friend and shall never again consider him more than an acquaintance. But I am better able now to define the meaning of the word friendship - than I was seven years ago. On leaving he invited mine host and self to dine tomorrow.
Tuesday 31st August 1847. Dry, dry, dry and - and no signs of any
thing else. After breakfast employed myself surveying the Kingdon Ponds
up - to mark out the land for L. - this occupied me until 3 p.m. when
returned and started for Spurnsbury (alias [indecipherable]) think of my
getting adrift on the way and making Yarrundi - this comes of turning
coachman. Got to J.B’s about Four the place much altered and
improved - the upper story - put on since I saw it - is a little
pagodaish - still there is no doubt of the comfort and room it gives.
Mrs. B. is grown like an apple dumpling - her daughters are both fine
good natured girls -
and but the Captain appears to be
drying up fast –Little dined with us and we laughed - argued -
abused each others countries and extraction until fairly tired and the
clock striking 12 told us it was time to go to bed.
Wednesday 1st September 1847. Beautifully fine - but dry - if they have such a day as this at home abundant slaughter will take place amongst the poor partridges - this is the day will try the guns, and the shots. Intended to have returned to the tents after breakfast but was prevailed upon to throw away the day. This place however is not to me what it used to be, the feminines are kind, the old lady as crummy as ever, but there is a constraint on John that is unnatural to him, a strife to be good natured - without the will. I must say he appears to be breaking - and has lost the buoyancy that used to make him so agreeable when he liked. When our feelings are changed towards persons whom we once considered worthy of esteem - what different beings they appear to us.
Thursday 2nd September 1847. The old words fine and dry. After breakfast left B’s for the Tents - and employed myself in writing, planning, etc. About 3 in the afternoon I found that a sudden sickness come over me, which increased until I was really very unwell. B. called in the evening - he complained of a shivering and cold - Miss Betty’s trifle - has something to do with this - no conjunction with the ‘Spurnsbury” as B. unfairly has named his wine. At sun down put my feet in hot water, turned in - determined upon physicking on the morrow if not better. Dr. L. started for Sydney yesterday - I hear.
Friday September 3rd. Dry & fine. Breakfasted upon salts - suffering under an attack of bile and indigestion. L. kindly sent his gig for me, but as I thought I should be able to write a little sent my compliments that I would make my way up in the evening - remained very sick and useless all day. Walked to Invermain. Mrs. A.L. there dined sparingly - and slept the night.
Saturday 4 September 1847. Dry and fine. Still ailing. After breakfast walked to the Tent - found the Revd. Gentleman of the Village there. He came to call upon me - and is to all appearance and by all accounts what his calling demands he should be. Received an invite to dine with him on Monday. Got through one or two letters. In addition to my other bodily sufferings I have a rascally sore toe - that cripples me. In the evening returned to L’s with a skeleton sketch of his allotments - talked it over in the evening. The Young Lt. and Henry had been visiting B. - the elder of the L’s is the finest specimen of a manly youth I have ever met with.
Monday 5th September 1847. Dry and fine. At L’s sick and lame - very lazy and getting blind. When these all come, it is time for one to be moving - every day finds me more weary of existence - but loath to leave it. I had promised to dine at B’s to day - but my horse was let out and could not walk. Forsyth calling in determined and on making my quarters good for the day - dined - had some rational conversation - upon various knotty points - the squatting reputations amongst them. The bona fide settlers who have been plucked and plundered and cheated by the Govt. to their hearts content are agrieved by the concessions made to the squatters - and will be further pillaged of the labour which they imported to the Colony to please a set of men who have first illegally taken possession of Crown property then laid a claim to fixity of tenure - and finally gained considerable concessions - by falsehood, misrepresentation and political malversation. Such however is the position of the pioneers of the Country - foolishly some of them have been tampered with - to join their opponents - but let the Settler have any political point to gain - will the squatter assist him
in attaining, no! Rather the reverse. A year or two will shew fairly the precarious position of both unless labour is introduced into the Country by some means. Remained the night at Invermain.
Monday 6th September 1847. Dry weather continuing. Employed the early part of the day in marking out allotments on Little ’s land - was very lame and suffering a good deal from a gathering in one of my toes. F.L. was with me. At 4 adjourned to the Parsons and met his large and interesting family even to the third generation. The parson has something to do with squatting, that is his sons and son in law are squatters - and with good reason seem satisfied with the new regulations regarding them. Spent a pleasant evening - the son in law appears to be an intelligent clever man. Returned to the tent about 10/30 p.m. Forgot to say that I met Baker for a minute or so this morning - a casual nod of recognition passed between us but little more.
Tuesday 7th September 1847. Dry and getting warmer. My foot very sore. Accompanied by Little - continued the marking of the allotments - but owing to some error in starting got on but slowly. At 4/30 returned to the tents - for the worthiful warden there - who accompanied us on to Invermain to dinner. His Worship is a cold blooded animal with the most perfect command of countenance, but clever, intelligent, sarcastic and without a particle of feeling, startling selfishness aside. The conversation of the evening was varied, the moving of the Scone Bench, the Squatting System, the respectability of the Magisterial Body and other equally interesting subjects passed in review - and at a late hour we settled in our blankets - to sleep - perchance to dream.
Wednesday 8th September 1847. No rain yet - very foot sore obliged to lay up for the day. Wrote to Boyden annexing a P.N. at six months - and an order for £15 on C.N. - this is an old debt. I wish to Heaven they were all arranged. I feel them an incubus - a clog upon activity. No other man is so miserable - as the man who cannot hold up his head for fear of encountering the frown of a creditor - death is decidedly preferable to such an existence. This was a gala day with the Educational folks at Scone. The School Children were to be examined - and in turn - to examine plum pudding, cake and other rarities - more interesting to them than the first part of the performance. Soon after noon the carriages, gigs, casts etc. of the aristocracy of the neighbourhood rolled in from all quarters - to be astonished at the proficiency of the juveniles - in explaining the number of sides to a round plum pudding - to the difference of great A from a Bulls foot - and that C.A.T. did not spell dog. Yet after all I believe the grand attraction of the Corrobbiri was let out by the savoury smell of mince pies - and other condiments, that came direct from the Kitchen of the parson
greatly to the joy of the grown up children of both sexes assembled to
evince their gratification of the improving talent of the rising
generation in being able to distinguish good things from bad - and to
give a fair sample of their own judgement - in
valuing the former as fast as eating and drinking could convey to the
commonality - their power of intellect. I have no doubt after this - as
“That happiness with Man the splendid Sinner,
Since Eve ate apples much depends on dinner.”
Domiciled at the Tent, Henry at [indecipherable].
Thursday 9th September 1847. Fine and dry. Finished the Nevermien Allotments. At Noon the proprietor came down and insisted on my returning with him to dinner - much against my grain as I want to be busy . Henry followed us and said that he had learnt much from the Parson - that Bs. Place had been broken into and robbed last night. As B is away determined to ride over there after our meal. Went to the Tent for the purpose but the night was too far advanced to go without disturbing the family - occupied my stretcher.
Friday 10th September Was aroused at daylight by the welcome sound of
rain pattering on the Tent rose merrily to see it - for I had thought
never to see the like again. After breakfast rode over to Bingles to
enquire into the extent of the robbery - found it to be as I anticipated
some hungry thief who merely came to keep his hand in, and to pick up
[indecipherable] - some of the servants no doubt - for he
they knew the ins and outs of the Kitchen. Learnt from
Mrs B - that her Lord - was excessively wroth with me for not coming - or
sending word on Sunday. I admit this was wrong - but a man cannot do
impossibilities - had I feel we cannot be friends again - and almost
regret we met at all. Bade adieu to Mrs B - probably a long one - poor
creature she has had her troubled to contend with. Soon after Noon the
rain ceased - and we have had our hopes excited to no purpose. Writing
and planning all day. In the evening N.L. called for me accompanied him
to the house - set up yarning with his father until near midnight.
Saturday 11 September 1847. Cold raw day - the appearance of rain clean blown away. Was a long time waiting for the horses to be found. When they did come - took leave of my hospitable host - broke up the encampment and started
started for Aberdeen a city in embryo - just now represented by an Inn and a mill - the latter going to ruin - arrived about sundown pitched the Tents - for the night.
Sunday 12 September 1847 - Dry weather has again set in - soon after
rising saw a couple of wood ducks - perched high up in one of the Gum
trees near the tent - higher than ever I saw ducks perch before. Shot one
of them as a sort of provision for Sundays dinner - perhaps Saints would
say - what a desecration of the Lord’s day - but I disagree with
them - for I think it was a gift sent purposely - and I availed myself of
the bounty of the All powerful - and thanked Him to. In the afternoon had
a visit from a learned lady - the Governess of some four children - about
4 years of age each - she informed me that she was teaching them Latin -
‘God help them’ - and wished for my opinion as to whether the
past participle in some verb might not be used in an active sense - I
surprised her by saying - such knowledge had passed away from me - when
the fear of the birch passed away; that I did not approve of teaching
Latin to such brats - and that their time would be much better spend in
learning something likely to be useful to them in after life. Soon after
this Mr W called and asked me to tea - found him a pleasant intelligent
man - his wife a very pretty and more intelligent woman - without any of
that affectation and nonsense which pretty women of the present day think
they have a right to inflict upon their visitors. But I said she was
intelligent - very few pretty women are, their vanity makes them
otherwise. All I can say is the evening passed agreeably and although I
cannot say that I do not exactly covet my neighbours
wife - I almost envy him - the smiling good natured sensible countenance
- which appeared to beam upon him with affectionate regard - promised to
breakfast there in the morning.
Monday 13th September 1847 Dry as usual. True to my appointment
breakfasted - off - of ham eggs - fried potatoes -
by and coffee - prepared by my interesting hostess of yesterday.
How delicious a meal of the sort is - when surrounded by good natured and
beautiful faces. The appearance of Hebe - in all her charms could not be
more healthful and smiling than the lady in question - and the children
are worthy of their mother. After laying out two sections of the Township
- moved to Muscle Brook found the Bench sitting on a Cedar Case between
Howland and Geo Lewis - and was highly amused by the eccentricities of
the Chairman - he appeared to have half a dozen parts to sustain - Judge
- Advocate - Accused - and the questions appeared seemed
to have been studied - before Court sat. Whether he was - Justice or
puzzled me- this I clearly observed- that he was Keeper of the conscience of the J.P. on his right hand whose voice unfortunately for equity counted as a mans not a magistrates- one of the trio- was a clever intelligent person and not so easily guided as the Bench Block above described. The chairman shewed a little of the [indecipherable] ape - upon occasions of dissent- the case was adjourned. I have seen mountebanks in my younger days but never looked for them on the judgement seat- I must add that a government that places power and the property and liberty of the people in such hands- is not deserving of respect- our Col.Sec is the man who dispenses the honours of office to such asses. His country will not have to eventually thank him for it. After this display of justice made for the Tent- had some trouble in reaching it- for my horse a little wickedly inclined- buckjumped and threw me a stunning jab - and then bolted- it was an hour or two before I caught the brute- Found the tents pitched near Edingladrie.
Tuesday 14th September 1847- dry- Commenced marking the Muswell Brook and Merton Road . Henry in an absent mood forgot the ball and socket of the instrument and had an extra walk of six miles for his dreaming- Saw Mr R Carter gazetted as a magistrate. I wonder what sweep will disgrace the list next.- disgrace did I say- that is impossible for it embraces nearly all the blackguards- fools and tools of the Colony- there are some very respectable names amongst them that ought to remember the old adage “evil communication disrupts good manners.” Got a fortnights rations from Mr and Mrs Nowland.
Wednesday 15th September 1847. Still dry- employed in surveying the Merton Road to Muscle Brook- Afternoon visited the town, saw the contractor- got cash £ 1 from him of which gave to Burton six shillings- Saw the Revd. Mr Gore for a few moments- left the city at 4 pm. Henry amused himself in the evening catching eels rather successfully. At 10pm went to bed tired not only of the troubles of the day- but of this wretched vagabondaging life. Sent in the monthly return for July and August.
Thursday 16 September 1847- Fine but dry- employed as yesterday- moved
the encampment onto the crossing place at Pickering- I shall finish this
job tomorrow if I live- and if not someone else may do it- I am wearied
“ Pacing the round eternal, of dragging life’s heavy worn wheel which brings up
nothing new”- I am striving to amuse myself by reading and extracting from Dialogues et Entretiens Philosophiques par Voltaire. I find them excessively entertaining, abounding in too much truth to be read by the generality of mankind
Friday 17th September 1847- dry and fine. In the morning had a look around- found abundance of coal near the Pickering crossing place- struck the tents and moved towards Merton- finished the survey of the road to the township- and then made a call upon Captn Ogilvie the warden to consult with him as directed, respecting the most available line between Muswell Brook and Merton- Unfortunately he was from home, so that I had my ride for nothing- directed my course to Jerry’s Plains and in getting across the [indecipherable] Hills, my dray horse became sulky and we were five hours in advancing as many hundred yards- in fact I think the men, Hudson especially- were as much to blame as the horse- cross purposes appearing to be the order of the day. Found that the Instrument stand had been dropped- on the road- Henry returned to look for it unsuccessfully- Sent Burton back with directions, to retrace our steps on the morrow. The sun had set by this time, so that we hastened on to overtake the dray- about 7.P.M.- quite dark found it stuck in a gully and the driver the only person with it.
Matthew and Hudson, it appears, (damn their impudence) had gone on to search for water. As the horses were completely knocked up determined upon a bivouac for the night-At near midnight Hudson returned with the Gig and some water- the poor brutes of horses having had an additional journey of twelve miles- to slake the thirst of this enduring gentleman- who after an absence from water of twelve hours- coolly said- that it was better the horses should work than that he should die from want.
Saturday 18th September- 1847- Beautiful morning- Arose with the sun from my frassy bed and after a sharp shake to get rid of the aches in my bones- began to think of the procedure for the day. First hauled Hudson over the coals for his conduct of yesterday which he took very coolly and insolently and then made up my mind to await the return of Burton. On looking around found that we were not two hundred yards from the river and in sight of Mr. Geo. Blaxlands cultivated land and house. So much for these scoundrels of mine going on to Bowmans crossing place for water. About 11AM Burton returned with the stand- Moved onwards therefore- had some little jibbing with the horses again but eventually conquered them. Near Bowmans crossing place met Mr Ogilvie- in search of me-he kindly wished me to return with him but having made arrangements to return home tomorrow- excused myself. Had some luncheon at the crossing place and then made for Jerry’s Plains. Reached there before sundown- saw Mr Alcorn and others- relative to the road, and encamped for the night on the river bank.
Sunday 19th September 1847- A shower or two during the night- gave us
hope of a change of weather - but no such luck- it cleared up and looked
as bright - about 8AM as a maid on her marriage morning. Jerry’s
Plains is much altered- it used to be an open plain abounding in water
holes. It is now fenced in and looking dry and arid. The houses of the
several landowners are scattered something like chessmen on a
draughtboard- in unstudied confusion- while the road for the public
benefit is carried over the most irregular and broken land that can be
possibly brought into the most
and therefore not the shortest distance between two points. After
breakfast left for home- reached Singleton just when the good folks of
the City were leaving church. Stopped and lunched with the Dr. Yarned
with Robinson and accompanied the former home- about 3PM. Mrs W. had been
ill- laid up for a fortnight but is improving. C.V is expected up this
evening. Will he come? No.
Monday September 20th 1847- Hot and dry. May give up writing these words and leave persons to imagine that every day is hot and dry- when the contrary is not noted. The garden is looking wretched- some of the vines are attempting a move- but I do not remember when things looked so unpromising as they do now. What is to become of us all? In the evening the dray arrived home.
Tuesday September 21st 1847- Plenty of official letters since my sojourn from home- One from the Col. Secretary requiring an explanation on the correspondence between myself and Perry- relative to Mr Thompsons monthly return system- Must be careful in replying to this. Mrs. D and C. here in the evening.
Wednesday 22nd September 1847. Some signs of rain- in the shape of a few drops which disappointed us- went up to the plains in the evening and remained late.
Thursday 23rd September 1847- Cloudy but sultry- the early part of the day- the night frosty and cold- some of the early vines have suffered in consequence- Employed planning and writing.
Friday 24th September 1847. The weather the same as yesterday. In the evening the long-promised visit of C.V. was made good- he arrived by the mail- and I shall be glad to see him.
Saturday 25th September, 1847. Cold gloomy day- After noon C.V. and his brother came in and stopped until 9 P.M. The former is looking better than I have seen him look for some time. He seems to think our prospect a gloomy one- in fact he says- every visit of his makes him think worse and worse of Patrick’s plains- I wish I was away from such a dry miserable spot- Strange the change that has taken place in the climate since I have been here. Read as a present from Dr. Rutherford 6 vol. of the E. Encyclopaedia
Monday 26th September, 1847.
Nothing very particular to note. The weather is gloomy, the vines are gloomy- our pockets are low, our faces are long- and likely to be longer. Still let us live while we can. C.V. and the doctor dined at Greenwood- a good fat turkey with garnishings- satisfied the cravings of the animal- functions of our ethereal nature. C.V. gives but a poor account of the prospects of the most deserving of the community- the operatives- namely those whose labour-and money has made the country what it is- mainly an arena for the speculatives- to make the most of the industry of others.
Monday 27th September, 1847. dry- writing a letter in reply to that of the Col. Sec. respecting my official correspondence with the Sur. Genl. It is a vexatious piece of business and likely to give me trouble. So much comes of incompetence governing- a useful public department- but so it is and I truly believe that our present Col Secy, who is de facto our Governor, selects such material, that he may provide by patronage- for the exigencies- of the Government- in case of need- Sundown, strolled up to the City- wiled away an hour or two- unprofitably, and made home about 10.30 PM.
Tuesday 28th September 1847. Strange cold weather for the season.
Writing this despatch of mine - which requires some consideration - for
perhaps my bread and that of my children depends upon - the turn that may
be given to what I consider to be a respectful exposition of the nuisance
of an absurdity originating in imbecility - fostered by ignorance in
power. At 4 p.m. rode up to see our member and family - the former
appears to be a little soured. Spent a social evening -
little somewhat cribsticked and returned home about 10 p.m.
Wednesday, 29th September 1847. Busily engaged the early part of the
day. In the afternoon walked up to Singleton - to ride with the Dr. the
deuce take him he kept us waiting. Long after the appointed time he came
crawling home from the Parsons sale - (for as our incumbent is about to
leave the district his household goods are put up to public competition)
but whether the spirit had descended upon him in the shape of a cloven
tongue, I won’t venture to say
but although he cut
his words rather short. Mr. [indecipherable] joined the discussion table
- the evening passed convivially - and about midnight I reached home.
Poor C.V. was much annoyed at his brother not coming in time for
Thursday 30th September 1847. Blowing hard and hot as usual. Watering orange trees. Writing official letters etc.
Friday, October 1st 1847. A new month - may bring us better prospects - but I am fearful of giving an opinion on the subject. C.V. seems determined to straighten my means - I think justly - yet without some slight assistance I can not hope to go ahead - for all just now with me is outlay and no return. He called into tea this evening and remained until 10/30 p.m.
Saturday October 2nd 1847. A slight shower or two - during the day - busily engaged in writing and planning. About noon the Dr. and his brother called on the way to RARs on the Wolombi - the former borrowed my horse. I should scarcely regret their being soaked on the way - although I have too much respect for, and goodwill to C.V. to wish him any harm.
Sunday October 3rd 1847. fine and dry - the hopes of rain held out to us yesterday have passed away - busily engaged writing most of the day. In the afternoon the Dr. returned from Rodds. In the evening Mr. Bingle called in - and remained the night. The Littles at the plains.
Monday October 4th 1847. Soon after breakfast Bingle left here for Sydney - he seems to be bothered or involved in some squatting law suit. I pity any man in such a predicament. C.V. Called on his way to Duttons. Finished my Sydney despatch - whether for good or for evil - deponent knoweth not.
Tuesday October 5th 1847. Writing and planning. Notwithstanding the drought and cold nights the vines are struggling forth - and giving a fair promise of fruit - we may expect rain time enough to spoil it as was the case last year. In the evening C.V. dropped in - played a game or two at cribbage, was beaten and returned home.
Wednesday 6th October 1847. Blowing disagreeable weather - engaged in office work. In the evening Mr. and Mrs. D. pays us a visit and remained to tea.
Thursday, 7th October 1847. Fine - Matthew Warren my tent and tent and house servant - felt inclined to be master - he was away without leave half of yesterday - and when spoken to was saucy - ordered him to court. He refused to go without a summons or a warrant. The Magistrate sent a constable for him and on hearing my complaint sentenced him fourteen days to the cell and cancelled the agreement by my wish. Maddon I think to be the prime mover in all this - dined with C.V. the Dr. came in after, and said the Mount Misery paddocks were burning and the fences likely to
to be destroyed. The Meddle Ck. Falls were on the plains. God help poor John - something like myself he has his share of thoughtless consumers - to provide for - as we remained up late - took my quarters at the Dr.s for the night.
Friday 8th October 1847. Thundering weather but no rain - stopped and dined with the Dr. - had a visit from our Village Padre - who is a fine jovial person and improves upon acquaintance. After we had dined I had a message from him requesting my company - walked to his cabin - had a glass of grog or perhaps two - talked of Old Ireland - its capabilities and its miseries. He wants to look out for some land for him - which I have promised to do. Tracked home about 10 p.m.
Saturday 9th October 1847. Little or nothing doing, all is at a stand
for want of rain. C.V. called about noon and remained the evening. He is
much surprised at the expenditure of Greenwood - proposed a plan for the
settlement of the old pressing debts. God knows I am sick of the troubles
of the world - and would seek another if the grand peut etre could be
satisfactorily explained. As I have before remarked no return is yet made
expen outlay in forming a vineyard - and much
extravagance with in the household. My better half is always either sick
or sleeping - and thinks more of providing for others than of her own
family. Discharged Hudson, passed him on to Sydney.
Sunday 10th October 1847. An exceedingly warm day. A new Minister of the Episcopal order officiates for the first time at Singleton - had some idea of going to hear him - but as it would appear more like curiosity than devotion gave up the thought. C.V. and the Dr. dropped into dinner - the latter has promised his brother to become a tea totaller if he will pay his debts. I would gladly embrace such an offer myself.
Monday 11th October 1847. Very sultry. According to promise C.V. came here at noon to accompany me to Maitland - every thing ready. While taking luncheon a thunderstorm came on, which caused us to postpone the trip until tomorrow - he is fearful of a wetting - and as the Qr. Sessions will hardly terminate before Wednesday it will be to me a saving of time and expense. The thunder shower turned out a very slight one, although it looked black enough seaward. At 6 p.m. Bingle came in - he said that it rained heavily at Lochinvar where he took shelter during the storm - but that the rain was very partial as the road was quite dry at Black Creek. Bingle here for the night. C.V. left about 9 p.m.
Tuesday October 12th 1847. Dull looking morning - the usual precursor
of a warm day - which it eventually turned out. Bingle started for home.
At noon C.V. came - and after an early dinner we started for Maitland -
which we reached about Sundown - both of us pretty well tired
with from our [indecipherable] exertions -
as for one of the horses took a great deal of driving.
In the evening Scott & Iliffe joined our party - and a friendly
evening discussion on took place on the merits of
settling and squatting. C.V. deprecated the latter - and had the best of
Wednesday October 13th 1847. Again sultry. At day light C.V. left for Sydney. After breakfast I attended the Quarter Sessions on the road case Crothers v. Milsom - road ordered.
Thursday October 14th 1847. Rain during the night and promising more. In the morning sent Mr. Doyle for the purpose of pointing out how far the road had been surveyed towards the falls at West Maitland - as some coast business depended upon my evidence. In the morning received a God send in the shape of Ten pounds - owed to me for a year or so by Loders Estate. At 2 p.m. started for home and reached it before sundown.
Friday October 15th 1847. Cloudy but no rain. What is to become of us - the country is in a most deplorable state for want of it.
Saturday October 16th 1847. Sultry again. Notwithstanding the drought and the heat the vines are growing well. Engaged two parties to repair the old well which has fallen in at the bottom - they seem to think that they can manage it - but there is no believing them.
Sunday October 17th 1847. Sultry - spent a quiet day alone. Mrs. W. in the evening visited Neossfield.
Monday 18 October 1847. Thundering times but no rain. I am anxiously looking out for a reply to my letter on the monthly returns. In fact until I do so I can not bring my mind to any real work. I have a presentiment of misfortune and trouble. The wild horse - alias Mother Ross - was brought in to day from Dangar’s paddock with a foal (male) at her heels.
Tuesday 19 October 1847. Sultry and close - doing nothing here but well sinking - would it were my grave.
Wednesday 20 October 1847. The Dr. here for a few minutes during the day - also a Mr. Rankin who came upon the subject of the Mirannie purchased property - explained my circumstances to him and referred him to C.V. I must say I have little faith in obtaining assistance from the latter - if every man possessed his principle there would be little credit, and less trouble in the world. So far so good.
Thursday 21st October 1847. Unsettled weather with high winds and at times very warm - received notes from Mr. Holden and from Mr. Moon - saying that their last notes were dishonoured - and requiring me to retire them at once. There is too much scheming in C.V’s arrangements to please me - nor do I consider his finessing honest - perhaps it is my ignorance of business habits that I have not funds to meet these orders at present I am aware - perhaps I am £20 - overdrawn - I have had £70 in his hands - without hearing any grumbling about it - but if he will not trust me - I do not see any reason why I should trust him. In the evening the Dr. was here - accompanied him to Singleton - saw Moore - for he was kind - but not Holden for he was peremptory - played cards until the morning - if it were not for very shame - I would mention the guests.
Friday 22 October 1847. Very warm. In the afternoon the Dr. here accompanied him to see a patient - and then to Mr. Dangar - spent a pleasant evening - on my return found Mr. & Mrs. King of Irrawang domiciled at Greenwood.
Saturday 23rd October 1847. Cloudy and threatening rain. My whole day taken up with my guests. In the afternoon the Doctor called in for an hour or so - and he and King had an argument on Chemistry - very temperately carried on and amusing to the hearers. At 6 p.m. rain commenced to fall slightly and continued so until midnight.
Sunday 24th October 1847. Delightful steady rain until after noon - the only refreshing fall we have had since February last. Dr. R. came to dinner - so that with out pottery guests we mustered a strong party. Leiby’s Chemistry, Squires Geology and other philosophical subjects formed our dessert - and the laird of Irrawang has more than a superficial knowledge of these subjects - with a slight contempt for the -ological lore - which he classes with palmistry. The rain seems to be passing away - a week of it would do good.
Monday 25 October 1847. Cloudy but the rain is gone. Mr. King and his better half left for Kelmans homeward bound. The well sinkers getting on with their work. Matthew Warren wishing to hire again - I am not very anxious about it - Mrs. W. up at Singleton.
Tuesday October 26th 1847. Busy day at Singleton - the Court of
requests - setting. At noon the Dr. called, and informed me of the
agreeable news of my friend Eales having applied for the compulsory
sequestration of my Estate. Stern oppressing iron grip has not yet
quitted his hold
of me. John the Lawsons boy - alias the
one man settler - appears to be determined to persecute me - egged on by
his convict friend Nicholson and a greater scoundrel - the eternal Reid
the longest length of unhanged villainy in the Colony - well let the
malicious brute do his worst.
worst - I have ever remarked that if a man lowers himself by becoming
an acquaintance of men, scoundrels, or villains by common repute - he is
likely to be treated scurvily by them. Mine was the position of a
drowning man catching at a straw - nevertheless
persecution from a swindler serves one right. Terry Hughes, Hoskings,
John Eales and Cory Reid - are all masters of the Profession even in the
Convict Colony of Australia.
Wednesday October 27th 1847. Sultry - Mine I must say is aught but an enviable position - wrote to C.V. on the position of my affairs - and requested his advice - nothing can be more annoying than suspense - if a man is to be hanged there is nothing like doing it at once - putting the matter off from day to day is refined cruelty.
Thursday 28th October 1847. Very close. In the morning received a notice by Mr. Kingsmill’s son of the kindly intention of John the Tanners scrub, in the shape of a summons through our immaculate Judge Roper - to give him a morning call on or about the 17th [indecipherable] - and answer such polite enquiries - as may be put by the worthy official touching my goods and chattels - and to enlighten the extreme ignorance of the aforesaid scrub - the complainant. Afternoon walked up to the plains. A busy day with the J.Ps our Mc. Dined with the Dr. and advised in my matters, arranged to see him tomorrow - and reached home about 10 p.m.
Friday 29th October 1847. Sultry - Early this morning a Sheriff’s attachment of goods and chattels was served - it amused me as being something similar to taking the breeches of a highlander. After breakfast rode over to Mr. Dangars to study the law in my case made and provided. Read Callaghans and other Acts of the Legislature on the subject - fixed that a letter of license from 3/4ths of my Creditors - in no statue will defeat - the noble tanners scrub, if it can be managed. Dined with the Revd. Father Stevens on pickled salmon and other mortifiers of the flesh - the shape of Ale, wine and Grog - heavy thunder - very dark - but no rain - midnight took up my quarters with Dr. V.
Saturday 30th October. Sultry - very fidgetty all day but there was no Sydney post last night - and consequently no news. The Dr. drove me home - and stayed to dinner. In the evening rode up to Neotsfield to report progress - stayed there until near midnight found on my return home some letters from Sydney, but none bearing upon my private matters - the steamers have been very irregular lately - my usual luck in matters of vexation. “Thank God for all things.”
Sunday 31st October 1847. Close and sultry - thus ends a most unpropitious month. Fidgetty and blue devilled all day - who could be otherwise - under such circumstances - a most self-willed uncompromising wife: pestered by lawyers and creditors - not a single real friend - starvation staring a man in the face - and no nerve or inducement to prevent it. Years and years ago I was told a violent death awaited me. I verily believe it - circumstances combined are tending to bring matters to a close. “He that cuts off twenty years of life, cuts off so many years of fearing death”. Not that I fear death, it is the misery of living that I would avoid. Sundown sent up to the post - the mail did not arrive until too late for the delivery of the letters - and I have another night to pass of weary suspense.
Monday 1st November. Dry as usual. In the morning received letters from Sydney - a kind note from Captn. Percy - a business communication from C.V. - gloomy November I may say for me - gave the necessary replies by return of Post. In the afternoon drove the Doctor to Neotsfield and saw H.D. - returned before Sun down - and walked part of the way up to the plains. This break up renders me unfit to live - unfit for anything but death. My children are the sole cause of my clinging to existence - I have no other - no domestic feeling of kindness or affection - no friends - and some enemies even where nature should make it otherwise.
Tuesday 2nd November 1847. The morning cooler than usual. At 10 a.m. went up to the plains to meet H.D. prior to his up country journey - some business detained him for he did not come - wrote a note to Mr. D. - for him to pick up in his way - Mr. G. is from the station - poor fellow I am afraid that he is suffering from the effects of the fit - before noticed - there is in his measure an approach to fatuity which reminds me of another member of the family now no more. God forbid it should become confirmed - ten times rather would I see him dead. He used to be a good performer both on the violin and flute - he strives to play now - but can do neither and is quite unconscious of it - verily we are a fortunate family - beggary threatening the branch - dementia another.
Wednesday 3rd November 1847. Excessively hot - thunder at intervals but no rain. Mr. G. up at the plains - had a visit from Mr. Craddock relative to his account - acquainted him of the present nature of my affairs. In the afternoon Mr. G. returned with the doctor, the latter is quite of my opinion in regard to the former - and says that he has written to his brother upon the subject. When he, Mr. G., came back he said that he saw the Laird of Mount Misery, whom we all know to be in Sydney - and that he had shaken hands with him - and other incongruities equally absurd.
Thursday 4th November 1847. Very sultry. The morning ushered in with a
matrimonial breeze -
in a arising out of the
inconsistency of one day fretting and another day punishing children. Mr.
G. present - but left at once for Singleton - his I am afraid is a sad
case - the Dr. seems to think that structural disease of the Brain is
going on - he is not now “much fit to bustle in a world, or make
Friends to his fortune for his merits sake.” As for myself I passed
a gloomy sour day - I can never pretend in my pecuniary affairs - but my
rib joins in with all conjugal kindness to add her quota to the
wretchedness of a desponding mind - Mr. G. returned and dined - soon
after a Mr. Brunelle called asked him in to taste our wine. Thunder with
slight rain - to my surprise Mr. G. left with the above gentleman on his
way to Mirannie.
Friday 5th November 1847. Arose early from my solitary stretcher - for
I find a double bed very uncomfortable
which with an
unaccommodating posture - I do not like the office of a warming pan. Rain
had fallen during the night. The mistress of the house is just at present
labouring on under a silk worm mania - and every thing about the place is
neglected to obtain probably about ten shillings worth of silk - at the
outside. This is Guy Fawkes day - one of much importance in the squib and
cracker time way in my younger time - however the taste
of juveniles for fire works etc. appears to have worn out - formerly we
used to risk birch for fun and frolic - now there is no such thing.
Saturday 6th November. Fine morning. The well sinkers finished their job - and I estimate the whole cost of the work to be £15 - settled with them. About noon the Dr. called and dined - took a squint at the vines and returned home. I went with him. Mr. Doyle called at his place from whom he purchased a very pretty white mare for about £17. Mr. Heddie up from Maitland. About 9th Dr. was sent for to Mr. Dangar - the youngest boy being ill - in fact all the children both about here and in Sydney are suffering from an epidemical disease or influenza and many deaths are occurring in consequence. Walked home the evening bitter cold for the season.
Sunday November 7th 1847. Very fine. The morning dawned upon a lecture from that solace of man’s woes, a wife - who prematurely aroused about 8 a.m. from the arms of the sleeping God - expatiated upon the sinfulness of disturbing arrivals of the sloth tribe from their only worldly employment, sleep, sleep, sleep, but I have no
taste for music and of all others dislike the snore, snore, snore of anyone, especially that of the “conjugal and cold” –of which for the last ten years I have had more than my share. In more halcyon times, that is in bachelor days - one is apt to imagine a foretaste of connubial joys- to think with pleasure of the delightful converse- he will have with his “dearer life, the partner of his soul,” What a realization of his hope should he pick up an [indecipherable] - and only hear the sound of her voice when “ shrill-tongued Fulvia scolds.” I once heard of a man who selected his wife for her horsemanship- but after marriage she found out - it disagreed with her- Of another whose lady was chosen for her delight in reading- but who never listened to reading, or read a book- after she had secured the grand object of her imposition- a husband- Of another who was passionately fond of walking- with the object of her choice- until they became one- when nothing but the house on fire could move her on her legs- Such is the habitual humbug of the fairer portion of creation- that something like horse dealers, they think every ruse admissible in obtaining a protector- perhaps they are right- for the animal they bargain for is often not so noble a one as the horse- and frequently turns out either an ass or a dupe- I speak from experience.
Some know an individual who picked out a girl whom he thought had every requisite to make a happy home and a kind wife- he was disappointed- the party married only for a provision- his home became the common home of his wife’s family- his friends were driven from it- remonstrance was useless- eventually in addition to his own children- he had a sister of his wifes with children added to his charge- and yet was seldom treated with civility or common kindness- although this extra burthen was thrust upon him at a time when difficulties were pressing upon the unfortunate man in battalions. There is no doubt that if a man is lucky in his choice, that married life is the happiest state of existence- but if otherwise- and the chances are nine to ten- that it is so- I would advise any friend of mine to busy himself rather than put his neck in the yoke. In my own case- separation will be the only cure for vexation- the lady is very delightful when she has her own friends about her- if not she is sour krout itself - all this evening she was busied with her new protegees- the silk worm- and I was left alone in my glory- at 10/30- retired to my verandah room heartily wishing that she was in reality amongst the worms.
Monday 8th November 1847. Fine day- awoke early- after a feverish and
fretful night- harassed by dreams of those whom it is unnatural in me to
wish to forget- I mean old Mrs Green- I would rather say-my mother- but
that she has been only that to me in bringing me to this world of
trouble. Our interview
methought was stormy and annoying- my labour of years was again about to be snatched at for the benefit of her produce by a second marriage-law was threatened- and we parted as we met, unfriendly- I am not superstitious but I hope it is no precursor of evil- received a letter from C.V. intimating that he had seen Eales’ lawyer- and that it was not the wish of his client to drive me into the Insolvent Court- Also saying that matters would be arranged- by the 17th. This is very kind of Mr Vallack - yet I do not see why one party should be preferred and Mr. Eales
should be paid when others must wait- rather than
any after clap I would prefer taking the law for it. At Greenwood the
matrimonial atmosphere was very gloomy- Dr V here twice-Mrs W. on a visit
to [indecipherable]field - otherwise all the day amongst the worms- would
it were so.
Tuesday November 9th, 1847. Old Lord Mayors Day- or London Lord Mayors Day rather, and a very disagreeable day it turned out - blowing and scorching by turns. In the evening enough to freeze one. In the early part of the morning received a claim from Mr Bos- the miller- a man has a right to pay for his bread. In the evening little Maria complaining- the Mama, as a matter of course sent for the Dr. but as this prevailing influenza is his harvest time- he was away-As for myself I must put up with my fate- that is to pay for all the advantages of domestic life- without having one of them- there is very little inducement for me to strive for my family- I had better be a beggar without them- than a prince with them, going on as at present.
Wednesday November 10th, 1847. A fine dry morning- I used not to be a dreamer, but last night I dreamt of the one man settler and thought we had a friendly meeting and that I was on board of one of our Men of War of A.D. 1700-or thereabouts- if I can form an idea from what I imagine I saw- and everything is as plainly impressed on my mind as if I really had seen it- surely the better part of me must have been away visiting last night and has given some faint idea of its trip- to its tenement that portion - of the Earth earthy. I have no doubt but that these sort of delusions- originate in anxiety and annoyance- perhaps portend some great change and are preparing us for it- well if so it is fortunate-“ I’d thank a misery for change though sad” –it could scarcely be for the worse- Nothing in fact can be worse than to be mixed up with a heartless good for nothing set.
Thursday November 11th 1847. Strange weather, the thermometer ranging
throughout the 24 hours 40 to 120 - sickness is in every house- The Baby
Maria- is getting alarmingly worse and the doctor pronounces inflammation
of the lungs to be added to the influenza- whom the Gods love die young-
is an ancient law- and I believe it- for whom, even with prospects of
independence passes through life without more suffering than enjoyment-
for my part- I could never appreciate the Beneficence that called us into
a state of being- made up of struggles, shifts, subterfuge and
annoyances. I am very much inclined to think with the Brains that the
source of existence is composed
[indecipherable] of good
and evil, the former a dormant principle, the latter exceedingly active.
The doctor here all night.
Friday November 12th, 1847. Gloomy disagreeable weather. This month in England has the credit of causing more suicides from its gloom than any other portion of the year. I think it bids fair for the memorable distinction even in New South Wales. Maria is very bad- the Dr. is dubious- the Mother is frantic- and the house is miserable. Mr Scott called and mentioned the report of the murder of Berudock the elder- by those sable angels - the harmless- ill used aborigines. Our good friend Vallack is indefatigable in his attentions to the suffering child- and if she is taken it will be no fault of his- he remained all night.
Saturday November 13th 1847. Most sultry and oppressive - the sirocco is suffocating. None of the levanters of the Mediterranean can equal it - it is these sudden changes that have caused the general sickness now hanging over the Colony- and will make this anything but a healthy climate- when the country becomes thickly populated. The Baby remains in status quo- neither better or worse- her life is on a hair- and not a sign by which we could hope for the better. The Dr. was here twice to day- warm baths have been tried- and all remedies- the only chance of recovery is in her strength.
Sunday November 14th, 1847. Sultry close weather, an appearance of thunder in the sky. Mrs Long here with her children- the Baby still in a dying state. After church time the doctor called –and dined here-The influenza is about to give him benefit- this made him very cross- and he left here in a huff about 4 P.M. owing to some remark I made to Mrs W about the servants. A warm bath has been applied to Maria and has caused the only favourable symptoms observed since her illness- profuse perspiration has followed- and in all probability a turn for the better has occurred- poor little creature- her sojourn amongst us may be longer than I expected yesterday. I looked to her departure with grief and guessed at the prospects she has in the world- I can scarcely say- whether it is not selfish to wish to retain her- Gods will be done-Wrote to C.V. respecting my affairs.
Monday November 15th 1847. Strange weather at times- hot enough to
grill one - then cold enough to freeze a body. Heard of the death of Mr
Abbot- by aneurism of the aorta - a disease of the heart. I mention this
not from his importance but from his being a healthy robust man in the
prime of life, and the prevalence of this disease in the Colony and
because it behoves everyone here to remember the sentence
“ This day thy soul will be required of thee” for so it may be. The Dr seems to think that the diseases originate in the rarifaction of the atmosphere- and the consequent absence of the natural pressure- on all parts of our corpus- feasible enough- if this infernal drought continues- we shall be all falling abroad as a lout countryman would say- The Dr. here, the Child Maria is improving. Mr G in from Mirannie- he appears to be more collected than on his last visit- Yet there is evidently something wrong- something quite childish about him at times. The Dr remained here the night
Tuesday November 16th, 1847. A similar day to yesterday. I could not get the idea out of my head all night of my being about to evaporate through the agency of aneurism- perhaps it is a comfortable way of going out- but it does not give much time to take leave of my friends, however that would not trouble me much.- I do not believe- I have one in the world, except those that are living by me- and theirs is cupboard love. Mr G here and the Dr, the latter suffering from influenza- the child is improving and I think out of danger, but inflammation of the lungs is not to be trifled with- she must be taken care of. Mrs W. is now complaining. Surely I have Job’s or the Devils luck.
Wednesday 17th November, 1847. Gloomy miserable times made more gloomy by the hellish heat and drought- dispensed to us by the author of all good. This is the day that Eales application for my Insolvency is to be decided upon- and consequently the future subsistence of self and family- I have said before that competency with my present intimate associate in life would not evoke happiness- in all probability the utmost destitution could not make my state worse. I am the Jackass of the family –valued for the quality of provision- let those cease and I shall be no longer necessary. I can scarcely wonder at the father deserting such children- or a husband deserting such wives- Self and self will is the ruling passion- and domestic comfort- and every other thing upon which it depends- is sacrificed to it. The Baby is recovering gradually- but is very weak. In the evening Mrs Carr and the young [indecipherable] called to see her.
Transcribed by Lynne Palmer, Robin Matthews, Judy Gimbert, Donna Gallacher, Judy Dawson for the State Library of New South Wales]