Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
David Burn - journal of a voyage from London to Hobart in the barque Calcutta, 31 July-22 Nov. 1841, and journal, 1 Aug. 1844-19 Feb. 1845
Passages By Sea
Per Aurora, Steamer, Greenock to Belfast - 100
1840 Augt. Per Shannon, Steamer, Dublin to Plymouth - 300
1840 Sepr. Per Aria due Steamer Plymouth to Portsmouth - 150
1841 Augt. Per City of Glasgow Steamer Southhampton to Weymouth - 50
1841 Augt. 16.th Per Calcutta, Barque, London to Teneriffe & Hobart arrived 22.d Nov. - 16, 000
1844 July 31. Per London, Ship, Hobart to Sydney arrived 11.th Augt - 700
1844 Sepr. 6. Per Tamar and Maitland Steamer from Sydney to Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Port Stephens, Morpeth and back - 500
See the Last Page - 75, 550
- 93, 350
1844 Dcer. 19.th to Norfolk Island and back 29.th Dec. r - 2, 000
Mr. Simes of the Victoria Theatre, Sydney, to attract attention to his Benefit issued a gagging hand bill headed Diamond Ring lost, in the Theater, for which the Public might enter and search by payment at the doors.
Lines To Be Spoken By Way of Corollary
Ladies and Gents! - Some gent has lost a Diamond ring or pin! Psha! - Bunkum! - All an artful dodge of Simes to take you in. The rogue has such a craving itch to play to crowded houses, This Diamond is but a pitch to draw the girls and spouses. And, ‘pon my life, his ruse has proved a very brilliant hit, “As Witness By These Presents, All,” - Box, Gallery, and Pit! Thanks sterling friends, I feel you know the currency you’re ater, I hope the Diamond you seek will prove of purest water. To Simes ‘t has been a precious gem, of most approved device, a Ruby - Emerald - in short a pearl of matchless price. And Since his Diamond Robbery you’re twigged mum! “That’s the ticket.” My bow I make, with a grateful heart, and wish that you may get it!
Sydney 16 Feb. 1845.
Saturday: July 31.st - After several weeks of harassing fatigue Catherine and I started from our temporary lodging 49 York Road, Lambeth, bidding adieu to our dear friend Bannister and Mr.s Adamson. Called at the Polytechnic and had our photographic miniatures taken. Set off by the 2 P. M. train for Bath. Arrived there at 6.30. Found M.r & Mrs. Roberts waiting us, but Adelaide Fenton gone to the Isle of Wight. Drove around bath and visited John Fentons houses.
Sunday 1.st August Called and saw Major, Mrs. and 2 Stripes Champs in Henrietta Street. Left by the Mail at 12 and reached Southhampton at 8. P. M. too late for the I. of W. steamers. Mr. Roberts ordered a fly for Portsmouth. Whilst changing horses at Fareham, encountered James Gibson and spouse on their way to join the Emu. Slept and stopped at the Quebec Hotel.
Monday 2.d Aug.t Started by the 7 A. M. Steamer for Ryde. Breakfasted at the Eagle Hotel. Called at Rosebank Cottage, Dover Street, where we had a most guarded interview with Adelaide in the presence of her janitresses. Departed in a
Fly for Cowes, via Newport and Carisbrooke, visiting the Castle and inspecting the scenery. Lunched at the Vine, Cowes and crossed to Southhampton by the 4 P.M. Steamer. Embarked in the City of Glasgow, Steamer, for Plymouth and bid adieu to Mr. Roberts. Got away at 8 instead of 6, with an inadequate supply of coals and came to all night in Yarmouth Roads. I, and Mr. Oughton Purser of the Hastings, in great tribulation.
Tuesday 3.d Aug.t Got under weigh at 9 A.M. and by 4 P.M. had rounded the Bill of Portland when it came on to blow hard with heavy rain. The poor old broken Steamer labouring so hard that we remonstrated, in a body, with the Captain who bore it and landed us at Weymouth. Raining Cats and dogs. Mr. Oughton and we posted to Dorchester, supping and sleeping at the Antelope.
Wednesday 4th Aug.t Roused out at 3 A.M and in three quarters of an hour were perched outside the Vivid Coach for Exeter, a drizzling morning but cleared up to a charming day. Breakfasted at the New London Inn Exeter, and continued our course in another Vivid to Plymouth.
Passed through Totness and a lovely country which we were too much exhausted to be capable of enjoying and reached our destination, beaten to a stand still, at 6. P.M. Found Jemima had safely proceeded us. Bid adieu to Mr. Oughton and were cordially welcomed by Mr. and Mrs. Holman as well as our old host Miss Perkins.
Thursday 5th Aug.t Little done. Misty day - called upon Captain Lennon in the evening, he was gone to bed.
Friday 6th Aug.t Writing farewell letters. Called upon Cap.t Lennon and was joyfully and heartily welcomed. Passed most of our time at Holman’s.
Saturday: 7th Aug.t - The Lennons called but we were out. Ordered sundries from Mr. Holman, and purchased some Nankeen Jackets, Trowsers, [indecipherable] at Mr. May. Dined at Mr. Holmans.
Sunday 8th Aug.t Mr. Welsh met Cath. And Jemima at Church - dined with us, and in company with the Holmans called upon Capt. Maurice; crossed afterwards at Cremyll Ferry - visiting Marker and Mount Edgecumb, and thence back to Mr. Holman’s.
Monday 9th Aug.t Met Mrs. Chalmers to my great surprise upon the Hoe looking out for the ship - escorted her to Mr. Linden the agents. Afterwards introduced
her to Mrs. Burn and Jem.a. Dined and enjoyed ourselves greatly at Capt. Lennon’s. Called to invite Mrs. Chalmers to breakfast with us in the morning.
Tuesday 10th Aug.t Catherine started to fetch up Mrs. Chalmers , found the ship arrived, a fact of which Capt. Lennon had come, in the interim, to appraise us. Went to the agents and paid my passage money to Mr. John Richardson (£210). Met Mr. & Mrs. Macpherson. Went with Capt. And Mrs. C. to the Photographic rooms and had our miniatures taken, mine for Baumister - [indecipherable]. Baumister’s likeness by post a capital one. Welsh dined with us, and we passed the evening at Holman’s.
Wednesday 11th Aug.t Got the traps ready and, with Holman, started for the Barbican. Found several of the Lady passengers had tried to get off, but had returned on account of the heavy sea. We, with Mr. Welsh and Mrs. Williams persevered and got on board after a sound wetting. Set to work to arrange my Cabin. At 6. P.M. Capt. Lennon most kindly brought off Cath. And Jem.a and soon after Chalmers came on board purposing to sail, but the wind backed round.
Thursday 12th Aug.t Engaged all day arranging our cabins. Landed in the evening with Martha. Called
at Holmans and came off about 9 P.M. A brilliant display of fireworks in the town.
Friday: 13th August:- Engaged the greater portion of the day writing letters. Did not quit the ship. Mrs. Holman, Johnny & Mrs. Brown dined w. us.
Saturday: 14th Aug.t:- Mr. and Mrs. Holman on board early. H. M. Ship Hastings sailed at 9. A.M. for the Mediterranean. At noon the Emu came into the sound. Went on board with Capt. Chalmers - a sorry ship. Saw James Gibson - who called on board here, leaving his wife, meanwhile in the boat - broke my shins in my anxiety to do the polite. Landed in the afternoon with Messrs. Hawkes and Welsh. Bid adieu to the fine old sailor Lennon. Supped at Holmans and got off by midnight.
Monday 16th Aug.t Got under weigh about 6. A.M. Sent the sailor ashore at 9 with letters for Baumister, Capt. Wood, Mrs. Bethune, and Miss Patterson. Stood to sea on the Starboard tack until noon, when she was put about, heading N. by W. Catherine did not turn out. Charlotte ill - and Martha and Mary both sick. Ship doing little good, but beating every other vessel. Tacked ship again at 3 and 8. Nothing particular.
Tuesday 17th Aug.t A mizzling morning, but cleared up at noon. Making long tacks, and beating every vessel. Cath.e in bed. Charlotte better. Finished copying the first act of Regulus. Miss Julia Sorrells 15th birth day.
Wednesday 18th Aug.t At 4 a.m. the wind lulled until it fell
dead calm. A beautiful morning. Towards noon a light breeze from the N.
sprung up accompanied by slight showers and hazy weather. Occupied
copying and finishing the 2.d Act of Regulus. A general muster at dinner.
Doing little towards the onward progress of our passage.
Lat. 48°40’ N. Long. 5°39’ W. Course W. N. W. Winds - N. Distance ship run - Therm.r 62 1/2
Thursday 19th Aug.t This morning at 7. a.m. a Barque in our
wake (neither Ida, Cape Packet, Victoria, nor any of our Plymouth
consorts, from all of whom we have parted company) about a mile distant.
We gradually dropped her and by 3. P.M. she was out of sight. A mizzling
uncomfortable day. Copied portion 3.d Act Regulus. Won 3/6 at pool of
Lat 48°31’ Long. 8°22’ Course W. N. W. Wind N. - Dist.ce 122 miles Thermr. 63
Friday 20th Aug.t About 7.30 A.M. The wind hauled aft and settled at N.E. A moderate breeze and clear weather. Set [indecipherable] and lower stunsail, main top mt. and top gallant do, and going thro’ the water cheerily between 7 and 8 knots. Finished copying the third
Act of Regulus - Poor Catherine very sea sick and laid on her back.
This day twelve months I left Castletown.
Lat 47°9’ Long 9°40’ Wind N.W. Course S.W. by S. Dist 102 Thermr. 62°
Saturday 21st Aug.t: Rather sick from bile; copied part of the
4th Act of Regulus. Passed close to a Danish Schooner at noon who chalked
his longitude 10°10’. Several sail in sight. Ship keeping her
course. Saturday night duly observed.
Lat: 44°37’ Long: 10°40’ Wind: N.W. Course S.W. Dist.ce 158 Therm. 64
Sunday 22nd Aug.t: At 11. A.M. Capt. Chalmers read prayers.
Wind drew ahead and ship broke off three or four points - towards evening
she came up again. Several vessels outward and inward bound in sight -
gave everything the go by. Whales and porpoises seen.
Lat: 42°53’ Long: 10°20’ Winds various Course S. & E. Dist.ce 105 Therm. 65.
Monday 23d. Aug.t Wind fell during the morning watch, and
gradually hauled aft until it settled at N. E. at 7.30 when it again
freshened to a moderate breeze with drizzling weather. A barque in sight
steering a westerly course - we with stunsails low and aloft on both
sides. Copied the remainder of 4th Act of Regulus. Captain Chalmers and I
spun several yarns. Ship moving along like a trump, - no mistake in her
sailing qualities. Very easy in her motions.
Lat: 41°3’ Long: 10°37’ Winds various Course S. [indecipherable] W. Dist.ce 111 Therm. 64
Tuesday 24 Aug: A spanking breeze during the night-; carrying
fore course, topsail, lower stunsails, main topsail and top mast
stunsails, main top gallant sail and top gallant stun sails, and main
royal;- rolling a good deal, but easily - a sleepless night to most of
our passengers. Copied part of the 5th Act of Regulus. Nothing in
Lat: 37°56’N Long: 12°40’W Wind N.E. Course S.W. 1/2 [indecipherable] Dist: 212 Ther: 66
Wednesday 25 Aug: For the last four and twenty hours bowling
along, at a slightly diminished speed, under the same sail as yesterday.
Finished copying Regulus. Nothing new and nothing in sight. Won 3/. Lots
of singing fore and aft.
Lat 35°N Long. 13°46’W Wind N.
S.W. 1/2 S Dist: 184 Ther: 69°.
Thursday 26 Aug: Under the same sail but with a more moderate
breeze than yesterday. Drew out one of the agreements. Macphersons 47th
Birth day, kept with all the honours. Temperature considerably on the
Lat. 32°30’N Long: 14°39’W Wind N.E. Course S.W. 1/2 S Dist: 158 Ther: 701/2
Friday 27 Aug: Employed during the morning in arranging the
cabin, and assorting the warm weather traps. Made matters much more ship
shape and comfortable. A steady breeze speeding us along about six knots.
Got the agreement signed - Wrote to Bannister, Hook, Wood, Manning,
Lennon and Adamson. Under the expectation of making the land during the
Lat: 30°3’N Long: 15°12’W Wind. N.N.E. Course S.W. by S. Dist: 149 Ther:
Saturday 28 Aug: Hove to at 4A.M. - In half an hour day broke
and the bold shore of Teneriffe became visible. Filled and rattled away
with a shoring breeze. At 6.30 we got under the lee of the land and were
instantly becalmed. The sun broke out rather hazily, but lit up the deep
fissures of the barren looking roc, which presented a strong contrast of
light and shade, the ridges being clearly defined against the blue
horizon with all the sharp regularity of a set scene in a theatre.
We lay off the Signal Mount which gave notice of our approach by displaying a blue and white, and blue flag. Santa Cruz peered out at the foot of the far famed peak in faint and shadowy tracery - the towers of the churches being the most conspicuous points of the picture.
The volcanic origin of the island is quite distinguishable in its every hummock - The hills rising to sharp pinnacles, the bases of which are cultivated to the utmost attention. Many of these nooks present a most inviting aspect. The vines and the orange trees hinting of enjoyments to be hereafter compassed. At 10. a sail hove in sight, which, like ourselves, came up with a rattling breeze that left her under the Signal hill - She showed a French pennant and ensign and loomed like a 30 gun corvette. Rifles were in requisition to practise at bottles, and Mr. Welsh nearly lost his life his gun having exploded whilst loading and carrying
the iron ramrod through the head of the driver. He had also a narrow
escape the previous Sunday having nearly slipped overboard in hurling a
bottle. Knocking about with a foul wind and a mere catspaw at it. Little
prospect of searching the anchorage about 10 or 12 miles off - Johnny
Crapaud in no better plight. Yesterday, being Chalmers birthday his
health was drunk with all the honours. A promontory, immediately under
the Signal Mount, reminded me somewhat of the Giants Causeway, presenting
a series of basaltic pillars.
About 7.P.M. came to in 19 fathoms off the 1st fort, half a mile from the shore. The Corvette which turned out to be the Arethuse under the command of Prince Joinville’s (Belle Poule) 1st Lieut., we beat disgracefully she not reaching the anchorage for 5 or 6 hours after us. So much for the vaunted French Naval proficiency which must ever sing small to the glorious and unmatchable stave “Rule Brittania”. Several of our passengers landed - none of us, however, did so.
Sunday 29 Aug: The Captain, Mrs. Chalmers, Macphersons, Elliots, Holman, Mrs. Williams Viz. landed at 8A.M. just as the Arethuse saluted the Spanish flag, which was returned with 20 most irregular guns. We then went to the Square, on the right side of which is the Governors house. From thence we proceeded to the lower Church, a building of considerable
extent, and boasting a large tower of some height. There are a good
many images of [indecipherable] saints and popish worthies in the several
sanctuaries, well designed and happily executed, but the main attractions
of the edifice are the two Colours taken from the British at the time of
Nelson’s unfortunate attempts. These much prized relics are greatly
worn, but there is much talk of their being placed in glass cases. The
islanders, not without reason, are exceedingly vain at their successful
opposition to one who never before or afterwards knew what it was to be
From the Church we made our way to Richardson’s hotel where we ordered dinner - Chalmers, [indecipherable], and I then called upon Mr. Bartlett the British Consul. I took a great fancy to a little Spanish boy, and asked him if he would go with me - He smiled and said yes if his mother would let him. Having arranged with Chalmers and the mothers consent, it was definitely arranged that he would go. We went to Mass at the other Church where we saw several very fine Spanish Donna’s, habited in the graceful costume of their nation, and using their intelligent fans in the way that Spanish women only can use them. Macpherson and I, then visited the Mole
Battery, an outwork of stone, mounting several very fine brass 24
pounders, but the materials of which it is constructed are such as to
cause more havoc, by splintering, than to afford security to its
garrison. In fact a few British line of battle ships would speedily
render it a mass of untenable ruins. On my return to the hotel I found my
Spanish boy, whose name is Francisco, waiting my arrival. They were both
weeping bitterly at the prospect of separation, but both had decided upon
I requested Mr. Richardson to assure the mother that I would take the greatest care of him and do all in my power to benefit and improve his condition. We had an excellent dinner, at which two Englishmen Messers. Dykes and Lavers were present. The latter paid Miss Turrell great and marked attention which seemed to go down like sack and sugar. Had a yarn with an Englishman as to the advantages likely to result by carrying Vine Dressers from Teneriffe to New South Wales. Went with Messrs. Elliot, Mac and Holman to the stores of Bruce Hamilton [indecipherable] where we purchased 3 qt. casks of the best Teneriffe. Left my English letters in their hand - and made the tour of the Square where we had liquoreens and ices
in two of the fashionable casas. Saw several of the Spanish [indecipherable] rob[indecipherable]s and went on board.
Monday 30 Aug: Anchor aweigh and ship under sail by 7.A.M. with a light flow of wind from the land which suddenly died away forcing us to anchor again and furl sails. My little page, who is about 10 years of age, came off to the ship with Mr. Richardson, crying his little heart out at parting with his mother. I went ashore and purchased him some shoes and shirts, and on my return I found that he had been very desirous to reland and bid his parent one more adieu, but, as she could not bear the pangs of another farewell, he did not go. I think I never witnessed more intense agony than the poor little fellow displayed. He sat upon the gangway, his eyes rivetted to the shore and his little throat almost choked by the violence of his emotions. After dinner the anchor was again weighed and sail made, but after a second, ineffectual, attempt, we were again forced to bring up. Mr. Lavers who had slept on board the preceeding night now returned with his friend Dykes, bringing Miss T. a beautiful bouquet. At 11. a light air once more sprung up and the anchor was once more lifted
It, however, proved vain - a kedge was next got out, and afterwards a warp to a brig, but all without success. Like the Flying Dutchman with the cape we fruitlessly strove to weather the anchorage, in our endeavours to accomplish which feat we got entangled with the small craft, and altho’ we threatened to inflict prodigious damage, we nevertheless happily brought up in the very midst of them at 4.A.M of Tuesday without a single casualty. The crew dreadfully exhausted and the passengers much discomposed.
Tuesday 31 Aug: At 7.A.M. the anchor was again raised - a line made to the brig Teneriffe, and the kedge laid out to Seaward. These efforts backed by the aid of a heavy Spanish launch, and 16 islanders had, at length, the desired effect. By nine the ship canted Seaward, and a stiff breeze from the Eastward springing up she was not long in clearing the anchorage. We were still compelled to put about, in order that Mr. Richardson and some Spaniards might be taken on board the launch, and that we might pick up our own jolly boat. In shipping from the kedge, the buoy unfortunately sunk, and we lost both anchor and haursen. As we hauled in shore the breeze again slackened. So much
that the ship refused to stay and some difficulty was experienced in
wearing her off shore. That attempt was, fortunately, eventually
successful. The breeze once more awoke, Mr. Richardson and his men took
their leave, amid the oft repeated messages of Francisco’s filial
love, and by 10. we were flying from the pleasant island at the rate of 8
or 9 knots. Teneriffe appears, at first sight, but one map of barren
inhospitable rock, its volcanic origin being written in the most forcible
characters of its Almighty Creator.
There are, nevertheless, many spots of great fertility and beauty, and the fruits and vegetables of [indecipherable] & [indecipherable] and a more tropical clime are good and abundant. It need not be told that wine is the chief product and article of commerce of all the Canary groups. Tho’ not highly esteemed in England, it is still, when pure, a good sound wine, in some instances not much inferior to Madeira. The island contains a very large and very poor population, who are continually emigrating to Havanna and Carracas. In the former place Francisco has a brother. The natives are represented as being patient, faithful, industrious, and active, and might prove of very great service to our Colonies where labour is so extensively required. Santa Cruz, the Capital, is a remarkably clean, neat, town - free from
the thousand and one disgusting sights and smells of Funchal and
Bahia. It contains about 12.000 inhabitants The Governor is a Spanish
General, and the troops are almost exclusively, if not entirely, island
militia. The grand Square is a nicely paved quadrangle, with stone seats
all around - A symbolical trophy of the achievements of the Roman
Catholic Saints graces its one extremity, whilst a gigantic Crucifix
adorns its opposite. The only public amusement is an occasional wretched
theatre, not now open. The fair Teneriffeans have the reputation of being
much given to intrigue, and it must be honestly confessed that there are
many of them well qualified to provoke the desire.
The villia Qratava, on the other side of the island is described as much more populous than Sta. Cruz. In this neighbourhood, the famous Dragon tree, said to be the oldest growing timber in the world, still exists. For valetudinarians, especially such as labour under pulmonary affections, Teneriffe is reputed to be more beneficial than Madeira. In any case it is an island well worth seeing, and I only regret our short visit precluded us the possibility of doing so. We stole rapidly along the shore, catching a faint glimpse of Canary, and a shadowy outline of
the mighty Peak, until the haze of evening once more veiled land and
its pleasures from our eyes. Poor little Francisco behaved wonderfully
well, experiencing the kindest sympathy from both crew and passengers. My
expenses at Teneriffe were 30/. to F’s mother - 16/. for his shoes
and shirts - 20/. at the hotel - 22/. for fruit - 10/. for sundries, and
£11 for wine - Total - £15.18/..-.
Lat: - Long: - Wind. - Course. - Dist. - Therm:
Wednesday 1st September - Last night I threw myself on my bed
about 6 and being much fatigued fell so fast asleep that I was only
aroused to strip and turn in. I again sunk into such lethargic repose
that we were both nearly missing our matutinal repast. The Cook took
Francisco under his wing, having berthed with his mate. After breakfast,
Capt. Chalmers and Fraser, one of the sailors, cut out some trousers for
him. A fine snoring breeze during the past four and twenty hours of which
every advantage has been taken, with stunsails low and aloft on both
sides. Got the two long guns in their places and the others ready to
receive any intruders. Fraser’s uncle commanded the Nimrod to gun
sloop. Obtained half a gallon of gin and a like quantity of brandy from
the Captain. The chain stowed away and the anchor scoured. Won five
shillings at Backgammon pool.
Lat: 25°49’N. Long: 17°14’W. Wind. N. E Course S. W. Dist. 157 Ther: 73
Thursday 2 Sep: A very fine run during the night. Francisco
bent his new toggery, vastly to his own delight and the amusement of
others. After breakfast we found ourselves, for the first time, among the
flying fish, the pretty, harmless, creatures whirring from out the course
of the careering barky. Commenced copying Moray. Francisco attended at
table and wonderfully well. Macpherson and I commenced a match of 101
games of Backgammon.
Lat: 23°19’ Long: 18°59 Wind: N. E. Course. SW1/2W. Dist. 179 Ther 75°
Friday 3 Sept: Nothing worth note. Breeze sinking fast. At noon
experienced a good deal of head sea, and consequent motion. The breeze
gradually drew ahead of our lar[indecipherable] bow. In all steering
sails except fore topmast stunsail. By no means well and very weak. Took
2 blue pills.
Lat: 20°54N. Long: 20°12’W. Wind. N. E. Course. S. W Dist. 161 Ther. 781/2
Saturday 4 Sep: The wind drew aft again during the morning
watch, and stunsails were set low and aloft on both sides. Hot, muggy,
weather - a fair sample of the Siera Leone climate off which delectable
coast we now are. Copied half 2. Act of Moray. A poor swallow took refuge
on board and was twice caught. Mac won the backgammon match by three
Lat: 19°5’N. Long: 20°54’W. Wind E. N. E. Course SW by S. Dist. 113 Ther. 81
Sunday 5 Sep: On the [indecipherable] list. Taking blue pill
for bile. Had prayers at 11. Lots of flying fish and shoals of albacore.
Hooks and harpoon in requisition but without effect. Salmon and champagne
at dinner. A very dull breeze.
Lat: 17°25N. Long: 20°59W. Wind. N by E Course. S. by W. Dist. 101. Ther. 801/2
Monday 6 Sep: Moderate breeze, with cloudy weather. Off the
Cape de Vers. At dinner I remarked to the Capt. that it was rather
singular we should see nothing. Scarcely had the observation escaped my
lips, ere “Sail” was sung out. The vessel in sight showed to
be a brigantine going large to the Westwd. In some three quarters of an
hour after first seen she jibed her mainsail, hauling up a point or two,
an in half an hour more, on about 5.30 P. M. she hauled to the N. dead
upon the wind and toward us. “Have you a fowling piece.” said
the Capt. quietly. “Two or three” “You had better get
them ready, then” “Are you serious?” “Perfectly
so. That fellow is a rogue depend upon it, and there is no harm in being
prepared.” I gave Mr. Welsh the hint and we hastened to get our
Armoury in proper trim.
The Brigantine continued his approach and showed his colours of which we took no notice. Meanwhile, the alarm spread among the ladies and children and a most distressing scene ensued. The children screaming with affright, and wives embracing their husbands with apprehensive horror. The great guns were cast loose, loaded, and pointed - round, grape and various ammunitions was got on deck, muskets were charged and cutlasses laid in order. Some of the ladies, my poor girl, who behaved admirably,
were doing their utmost to soothe the terrified children, whom they
sought to remove to a place of safety. I was nearly entirely occupied in
clearing out my three pieces. It was an almost hopeless task - my long
rifle would not give fire, and I abandoned it for my fowling piece which
proved alike obstinate. Both had hung in my bed room in the York Road,
unhandled for the last three years. My Carbine rifle answered instantly
to the touch.
Having loaded it and my pistols I hurried to the poop deck, just in time to see the cause of all our uneasiness fill and bear down upon a ship which we had just descried dead to leeward. We were, by this time, tolerably prepared for his reception, and when our gallant, excellent, captain saw him haul his wind, he threw his hat on deck and jumped upon it for very disappointment.
I returned to my cabin and after a great deal of labour and difficulty succeeded in rendering my rifle and fowling piece beautifully efficient. We were still dubious whether or not our interesting friend might return in the course of the night and favour us with affectionate inquiries. Some of our ladies and gents kept the first and middle watches, but as for myself and my dear little woman we turned in about the usual time. To prevent the rascal from harassing the other ship, Capt. Chalmers manfully kept the Calcutta away a point or two, in order that both might close. The night, however, passed quietly.
Lat: 15°30N. Lomg: 20°58W. Wind. NE by N. Course. S. by W. Dist: 115 Ther. 801/2
Tuesday 7 Sep: At day light the Brigantine was no longer to be
seen. The strange Ship was, however, some 6 or 8 miles to leeward, on our
starboard bow. A foreigner and by the cut of her flying gib, Mr. Hawkes
and I tooke her for the French Corvette Arethuse. A general discharge of
our firearms took place. This ensured a very good display of rifle
practice. A sweepstakes of 2/6 each ensued, which was won by the Captain
breaking the bottle towing astern. A general washing of arms followed. By
the bye, I had nearly omitted to state that when the rogue bore down upon
us the men were breaking out goods in the after hold, so that the main
deck was all in a litter. We had some dolphins about, but could not take
any. The Boatswain got drunk struck the carpenter, fought the cook, and
was sadly belaboured by the Captain - and rightly so.
Lat: 14°36N. Long: 21°4W. Wind E.SE. Course. S.S.W. Dist. 55 Ther. 83
Wednesday 8 Sep: The strange ship some 6 miles off on our
larboard bow at 8 A. M. Captain hauled up a couple of points towards her,
the wind free, a steady breeze. At noon we were near enough to exchange
colours. She showed that honourable banner the Danish Ensign. I had
nearly forgotten to remark that in the dismay of Monday night Francesco
gave the most amiable proofs of his good disposition the poor little
fellow kissing Mrs. Chalmers hand, and doing his utmost to show his
sympathy and his desire to console. The Dane keeping way with us hawk for
hawk. Mr. Hawkes at 6 P. M. descried a sail on our starbd. bow from the
main top gallant yard.
Lat: 13°4N. Long: 21°6W. Wind. N. N.E. Course. S. S.W. Dist. 93 Ther. 84
Thursday 9 Sep: The past four and twenty hours most propitious.
We have been howling along delightfully with stunsails low and aloft on
both sides. We ran our Danish Consort out of sight. About 4 P. M. lost
the trade, as usual, in a squall with rain.
Lat: 10°44’N. Long: 20°51W. Wind N. N. E. Course. S. Dist: 141 Ther 81°/
Friday 10 Sep: Not “progressing” much altho’
laying our course. Our Danish friend again crept up during the light
airs, astern at 8, but nearly abeam and to windwd. at noon , at which
time we spoke the Swedish Brig “Fritz” from Monte Video bound
to the Cape de Verds.
Lat. 9°51N. Long. 20°25W. Winds various. Courses. S. & S by W. Dist 60. Ther 81
Saturday 11 Sep: Lost sight of the Dane during the night.
Variable winds and light. Won a match at backgammon with Macpherson.
Several of the passengers complaining.
Lat 8°46N. Long. 19°W. Wind S. W by S. Course S. by E. Dist. 107 Ther 81
Sunday 12 Sep: About 10 A. M. the cry of “Shark” excited the sporting to fever heat. The hook was speedily out abaft, and the Sea Wolf (some six feet long) in the hands of the Philistines. Prayers read at 11. and an albacore caught at 12. Some of him was cooked for dinner and pronounced excellent. During dinner we were aroused by the cry of
“Whirlwind.” Hurrying upon deck I beheld a most
magnificent and extraordinary spectacle. Within a diameter of some fifty
or seventy yards the sea was whirled about with frightful rapidity, the
column not remaining stationary but ploughing the ocean and leaving a
prodigious wake. Its gradual approach towards the ship afforded another
opportunity to admire and appreciate the cool self possession of our
excellent commander . Tacks, sheets, braces and halyards were let fly and
sail got off the ship. The tornado rapidly came on and we awaited the
assault with as much curiosity as anxiety, but after approaching us
closely it passed on the starboard side, clear ahead - leaving us in a
deluge of rain. On a former voyage, the ship encountered one which
carried away every tack and sheet fore and aft . A Brig seen in our wake
in the evening. Considerable rain.
Lat 7°27N. Long 18°34W. Wind Various Course. Various Dist. 84 The. 81.
Monday 13 Sep: The Brig no where. A rainy unpleasant day and
very little pleasure any where. Symptoms of bellicose propensities in
petto. Peace my motto, and patience my attempted practice. Beat Mac, a
second match at backgammon for 2/6 - best of 51 games.
Lat. 5°42’N Long. 17°54’W. Winds various Course various Dist 112 Ther. 791/2
Tuesday 14 Sep: Variable winds but fine weather, busy copying
Moray. Won a third match with Mac. Nothing worth note. Tacking ship and
standing alternately to the E. and W.
Lat. 4°34’N. Long. 16°31W. Wind Various Course Various Dist 100. Ther. 82
Wednesday 15 Sep: Thirty days from Plymouth. Our Breakft. hour
changed to 9. - Dinner to 2. Finished copying Moray. Tacking ship with
foul wind. Fine weather, altho’ we passed a miserable, noisy,
night. A brig in company. About 8. P. M. a sudden shift of partial wind
brought us up with her. The ladies were somewhat timid of so new an
approach in the dark, but the wind separated us.
Lat. 3°59’N. Long.15°34’W. Wind Vari- Course Vari- Dist. 67 Ther. 801/2
Thursday 16 Sep: We spoke the brig, a very great beauty of
about 180 tons, at 7.30 A. M. She proved to be the “Tar”
bound for Launceston, out 29 days from Bristol. We forereached but she
went to windward in the light airs. A second brig on our weather beam.
She crossed our bows at 4.15. P. M. and we were enabled to read
“Robert Schofield” on her stern. The Tar, caught one of those
partial flaws and went away eight or ten miles dead to windward.
Lat. 3°30’N. Long. 16°10W. Wind. Vari- Course Vari- Dist. 40 Ther. 80
Commenced writing out De Rullecourt.
Friday 17 Sep: Blowing hard during the night with occasional,
heavy, squalls, and making a very indifferent course. The Robert
Schofield 10 or 12 miles leeward and the Tar 7 or 8 ahead at 7 A. M.
Stiff breezes all day - more like 47°S. than 3°N. - complete
equinoctial gales, but little or no sea. At sundown Robert Schofield
invisible - Tar 6 or 7 miles on our weather quarter. Mac won a 2/6 match,
and Mr. Welsh another last night.
Lat. 2°58’N. Long. 17°16W. Wind. Vari- Course Vari- Dist 80. Ther. 79°
Saturday 18 Sep: Hard breezes and squalls throughout the night
- neither brig visible this morning. Poor Cocky got out of his cage
yesterday and was within an ace of losing the number of his mess. Won my
match with Chalmers. Fraser detected pilfering wine and put in irons.
Lat. 2°0’N. Long. 19°56’W. Wind S. W. by S. Course W. S. W. Dist. 171. Ther. 75.°
Sunday 19 Sep: Wind more moderate and steady. Prayers read at
11. Nothing of import. Crossed the equater about 8 P. M. with the regular
S. E. trade from nearly S.-
Lat. 0°35N. Long. 22°16W. Wind S.S.E. Course S.W. ½ W. Dist. 165 Ther 78
Monday 20 Sep: Fine steady trade with all the beautiful weather
of the southern tropics. Miss Turrells bird escaped the cage.
Lat. 1°3’S. Long. 23°55W. Wind S. by E. Course S.W. by W. Dist. 140 Ther 79°
Tuesday 21 Sep: Nothing of importance to got down.
Lat. 2°56’S. Long. 25°36W. Wind S. S. E. Course S.W. ½ W. Dist. 152 Ther. 79½°
Wednesday 22 Sep: Felt very weak in the limbs and otherwise
indisposed. Took some blue pill and calomel. The anchors removed to the
waist, from the bows.
Lat. 5°5’S. Long. 26°35’W. Wind S. E. by S. Course S.W. by S. Dist. 143 Ther. 78.°
Thursday 23 Sep: Reading Gil Blas. The Dr. hurt himself
severely by a fall agaist the after hatch.
Lat. 7°20S. Long. 27°10W. Wind Vari- Course Vari Dist. 140 Ther 78.°
Friday 24 Sep: In a monotonous state of passive transition.
Lat. 9°59’S. Long. 27°41’W. Wind Vari Course Vari Dist. 163 Ther 78°
Saturday 25 Sep: Had an awful run of ill luck at Backgammon.
Mac wiped off two matches, and Chalmers won 3 gammons and 3 games without
my achieving even a single hit.
Lat. 12°10’S. Long. 28°10’W. Wind S. S. E. Course S. by E. Dist. 134 Ther. 77.
Sunday 26 Sep: A beautiful day with light airs. The past week
barren of incident, but favourable to our onward progress. Read prayers
at 11. Finished Gil Blas.
Lat. 14°3’S. Long 27°48’W. Wind SS. E. Course S by E. Dist. 116 Ther. 76½
Monday 27 Sep: Very ill all day with a sick headache. In fact,
neither I nor Catherine have hitherto recovered the over exertions
previous to leaving London nor the excessive fatigue of travelling
thereafter. Took some blue pill and Calomel. Doing little good.
Lat. 15°12’S. Long. 28°9’W. Wind. S. E. by E Course S. by W. Dist. 73 Ther 75
Tuesday 28 Sep: Little wind and a very indifferent course. My
old Hat Brush, (my Fathers) my companion in all my wanderings, fell out
of my cabin window. At 6 P. M. Francesco descried a sail on our larbd.
quarter. And about 8. P. M. the Capt. saw another, seemingly a homeward
bound ship on our larbd. bow. Glorious sunset.
Lat. 16°27’S. Long. 29°15W. Wind S. E. Course SW by S. Dist. 101 Ther 75
Wednesday 29 Sep: Misfortunes rarely come single, the leg of my
spectacles broken. A lovely morning, the clear blue horizon as sharp as a
chisel. Nothing in sight. I had a fine rat hunt in the Quarter Gallery
where the ferret killed one and I stuck another.
Lat. 17°46’S. Long. 29°43’W. Wind S. E. Course S by W. Dist 84 Ther 75
Thursday 30Sep: A stiffish trade wind and tolerably muggy day.
Occupied to day and yesterday transcribing Rullecourt. Francesco descried
a sail to windward.
Lat. 19°29’S. Long. 30°W. wind S. E. Course S. by W. Dist. 105 Ther. 72½
Friday 1.st October: Jogging on quietly to the Southward. No
occurrence worth note. Saw Cape Pigeons & an albatross.
Lat. 22°3’S. Long. 30°7’W. Wind S. E. Course S by W. Dist. 155 Ther 72½
Saturday 2.d Oct: No event to chronicle.
Lat. 24°29’S. Long. 30°44’W. Wind E. S. E. Course S. by W. Dist. 151 Ther 71°
Sunday 3.d Oct: Prayers, as usual, at 11. About 7 P. M. wind
drew aft and set foretopmast stunsail. Stiff breeze.
Lat. 27°14’S. Long. 31°22W. Wind E. S. E. Course S. by W. Dist. 169 Ther 71.
Monday 4 Oct: A snoring breeze throughout the night, going 11
knots at times. Fore top and main top gallant stunsails set.
Lat. 30°3’S. Long 30°19W. Wind. Vari- Course Vari Dist. 178 Ther. 68 ½
Exchanged colours with a large Dutch Ship at about 6 P. M.
Tuesday 5 Oct: A fine breeze during the night. Drizzly morning.
No sight to be had of our Dutch escort. The weather becoming cold and
Lat 31°12’S. Long. 26°38’W. Wind N. Course E. S. E. Dist. 202. Ther 66½°
Wednesday 6 Oct: Last night, between 5 and 6 the wind suddenly
veered to the Southward accompanied with heavy rain. It ultimately
settled at S. S. W. and to day brought us fine clear pleasant weather.
Mr. Welsh murdering the beautiful and innocent Cape Pigeons.
Lat. 31°46’S. Long. 23°34’W. Wind. S. S. W Course E. S. E. Dist. 162 Ther 63½
Thursday 7 Oct: A fine clear day, but a disagreeable heavy
southerly swell, precluding the possibility of reading or writing
comfortably. Mr. Welsh slaughtering and hooking Cape Pigeons.
Lat. - Long. - Wing - Course - Dist. - Ther. -
Friday 8 Oct: Fine, dry, bracing day, the swell considerably
less but the wind scant. Steward on the Doctors list.
Lat. 33°11’S. Long 17°34W. Wind S.W. Course S. E. by E. Dist 145. Ther 59°
Saturday 9 Oct: Yesterday evening, we bent a new foretopmast
staysail, maintopsail, and main top gallant sail. Wind light and during
the middle watch we were taken aback. At 9 A. M. got the ship on the
larboard tack, heading S. S. W., with very clean charming weather.
Finished transcribing Rullecourt.
Lat. 32°28’S. Long. 16°19’W. Wind vari - Course vari - Dist 77. Ther 62°
Sunday 10 Oct. A shy muster at prayers. Mr. Welsh unwell. A
fine clear day, moderate breeze but close hauled and little appearance of
a change. Two whales seen blowing.
Lat. 34°26’S. Long 16°24’W. Wind - Course S. Dist 118. Ther 66°.
Monday 11 Oct: Fine clear day. Still bothered with an
indifferent if not entirely foul wind. Very near to Tristan
D’Acuna. Commenced transcribing Loreda.
Lat. 36°26’S. Long 15°48’W. Wind - Course S. Dist 124. Ther 58½
Tuesday: 12 Octor. Light airs during the past four and twenty
hours. Three or four Nelly’s caught this morning. Two sail in
sight, one a barque, the other (supposed) a schooner.
Lat. 37°48S’ Long. 15°51’W. Wind vari - Course vari - Dist. 82. Ther 60
Wednesday 13 Oct: Making almost no way during the night. A
light breeze, however, sprung up towards morning, which drew more aft and
freshened considerably at noon. Our first seen consort of yesterday
(conjectured to be the Dutch Ship with which we exchanged Colours 4th
inst.) on our weather beam, about ten miles distant. The supposed
schooner which proved to be a barque run out of sight.
Lat. 38°36’S Long 14°55’W. Wind NE Course SE by E. Dist 73 Ther [indecipherable]
Thursday 14 Oct. One of the most wretched days of rain and heavy weather. The decks leaking and the water trilling down upon my face and breast. Ill, moreover, with bile and headache. Took a dose of Castor oil. No possibility of descrying either of our consorts. Being, by account, within 100 miles of Gough’s Island at noon we altered our course to S. E. at 8 P. M. in order that we might run to leeward of it. Played at Backgammon and won 2 matches out of 3 from Mr. Welsh. No observation. Wind N. N. E Course E. S. E. Dist. 179 Ther 58/2
Friday 15 Oct. Passed to the S. of Goughs Island during the
night. A fair but foggy morning. Still suffering from bile and headache.
Took a s[indecipherable]litz, and, as well as Catherine lay in bed until
noon. A fine slapping breeze.
Lat 41°3’S - Long 7°50’W - Wind N. Course E by S. Dist 205. Ther 55½°
Saturday 17 Oct: Another day of timid nebulosity and
unmitigated discomfort, alleviated, however, by the very consolatory fact
of having “progressed” upwards of 200 miles towards our point
of destination, with a still favourable and snoring breeze and stunsail
Lat 41°4’S. Long, no obs. - Wind N. Course E by S. Dist 200 Ther 55.°
Sunday 17 Oct: Blowing hard during the night with heavy rain.
In stunsails and top gallant sails. At 8 A. M. wind shifted, in a squall,
to W. by N. and fell light. Sun struggling to break through, but all in
vain, and ship tumbling, about a good deal in the heavy swell and light
wind. Prayers read as usual. Fresh [indecipherable] and steady. At 5 P.
M. sun shining brightly, stunsails set low and aloft. One of the men had
his fingers severely jammed in clearing the starbd. Main royal sheet.
Lat: 41°6’S - Long. 1°19’East - Wind W by N. Course E by S. Dist 216 - Ther 58°
Monday 18 Oct: Our noble barky rolled away at a gallant rate
during the night. Early in the middle watch she shift a sea on the
larboard beam which achieved the summary ablution of Mrs. Elliots and
Miss Burn’s cabins, and in its passage aft, broke into our quarter
gallery smashing the window glass to atoms (and it was a quarter of an
inch thick) and washing my worship out of my cosy bed. Everything was
afloat, and upon a voyage of discovery. After a great deal of “most
admired disorder” we made fend until daylight, and it proving a
most delightful day, and all hands at work to clear the wreck, we were
speedily refitted without material damage.
Lat. 40°36’S. Long. 5°28’E. Wind W. S. W. - Course S by E - Dist 193 Ther 55°
Tuesday 19 Oct: Another day of superlative beauty, the morning
of which was dedicated to the slumber consequent upon the fatigue arising
from Neptunes most unceremonious intrusion of the proceeding evening. The
Ships company were actively engaged sweating up the rigging and setting
every thing in apple pye order, whilst Macpherson stole one match
of Backgammon from me and made a hole in another.
Lat. 40°45’S. Long. 8°35’E Wind N. N. E. Course S. by E. Dist 142. Ther 56
Wednesday 20 Oct: The good ship let no grass grow at her heels
during the night, and at 7 A. M. the wind shifted, a fine strong breeze
to the S. of W. with clear, serene, but cold weather. Passed the morning
in transcribing a portion of Loreda.
Lat. 40°48’S. Long 12°24’E. Wind S. S. W. Course E. S. E. - Dist. 175 - Ther 55.°
Thursday 21 Oct: The Twenty First October! A day never to be
forgotten by England or Englishmen. Whilst a particle of British spirit
remains. Whilst Britannia retains even a fragment of that naval empire
which her heroic Nelson died, six and thirty years since, to perpetuate.
Honour to his memory, and peace to his ashes! A very fine day, and
magnificent breeze gradually increasing towards the first dog watch, when
stunsails and main royal were taken in. A considerable sea on, and the
ship careering at the rate of some eleven knots. Miss Turrells dress got
jammed in the wheel ropes, and we nearly lost our stunsail boom s in the
anxiety to extricate her. Gave the crew half a gallon of gin in memory of
Lat. 40°42’S - Long. 16°29E - Wind N. N. W. Course E. S. E. Dist 185. Ther 57½°
Friday 22 Oct: Last night, at the commencement of the second
dog watch, the wind had increased so considerably that it was found
expedient (a heavy sea running) to ease the ship, which was, accordingly
put under, fore and fore topsail, main top and main top gallant sail. She
rolling greatly but easily - in fact, a more lively, tight, or easier sea
boat could not be found. At 8. A. M. fine weather, moderate sea, and sail
once more made. At noon it began to rain which continued during the day.
Passed the spot laid down in the islands - Denia and
Lat: 40°48’S - Long 21°0’E - Wind W. S. W. - Course E. S. E. - Dist 204 - Ther 59½
Saturday 23 Oct: Last night it became overcast and indicated
calm, - The wind shifted, in a squall of rain, to the S. During the
middle watch, it blew a hurricane for half an hour, moderating and
becoming fair towards morning. Several Nelly’s and an Albatross
were caught. Fine afternoon.
Lat: 40°38S - Long: 24°47E - Wind SW. - Course SE. by E - Dist 172 - Ther 57
Sunday 24 Oct: Nearly calm all night, but a breeze sprung up in
the morning. Prayers as usual. Reef in foretopsail to make it stand well.
Fraser again in irons for grossly insulting the Captain. A fine pleasant
Lat. 40°34’S - Long: 26°42’E - Wind E by N. Course S.E by S. Dist 89. Ther 5[indecipherable]
Monday 25 Oct: It came on to blow a stiff breeze towards
sunset, which increased to a gale during the first watch. The Watch spoke
somewhat improperly to the Captain about releasing Fraser, on the score
that the punishment was more severe upon them then him. My poor wife got
so terrified at even the semblance of insubordination that she had a
hysterical fit of long duration. Thank God, she slept it off entirely,
and is as well as a severe nights pitching will allow. Both topsails
double reefed at 4. A. M. - but sail again made at 10.
Lat: 41°30’S - Long 30°51E - Wind N. W. Course E. S. E. Dist 195 - Ther 60°
Tuesday 26 Oct: A sort of half calm and heavy swell during the
afternoon. At 3 A. M. it came on to blow in very heavy squalls. At 4
double reefed fore top sail, and shortly after it blew tremendously. Got
in the main and maintopsail - the masts playing like salmon rods,
everything made snug - two hands at the wheel. It did one good to hear
our excellent Captain give his orders, with coolness, [indecipherable]
and precision. All the ladies in the Ruddy looking out. Chalmers is a man
and a seaman every inch. It moderated at 8. and continued fine throughout
Lat. 41°29S. - Long 34°21E - Wind S.W. - Course S. E. by E - Dist 158 - Ther 58°
Wednesday 27 Oct: Last night the wind hauled round to the
Southward, falling nearly calm during the middle watch. Towards morning
it again shifted, taking up its position in the Eastern quarter. A fine,
dry, but cold day, with a heavy North Westerly swell. Copied a portion of
Lat: 41°40’S - Long. 36°52’E. Wind E. Course S. E. by S. - Dist. 113 - Ther. 57°
Thursday: 28 Oct: Streaming in torrents, with heavy squalls,
during the middle watch. At 4 A. M. double reefed both top sails, furled
the mainsail and made all snug. A heavy swell all day, and scant wind.
Lat: 42°30’S. - Long 39°34’E - Wind E - Course SE by S. Dist 127 - Ther 55°.
Friday 29 Oct: Nearly calm, with heavy swell, during the
greater part of the first and middle watches. Afterwards a fine breeze
sprung up, and we had again the pleasure of seeing stunsails low and
aloft. A charming day and clear sky.
Lat: 43°8’S - Long 42°16’E - Wind W. N. W Course E. S. E. Dist. 127 - Ther 56°.
Saturday 30 Oct: Towards the first dog watch, the wind drew
gradually more ahead, setting in the N. E. board a fines= strong breeze.
Ship nearly close hauled, but careering merrily along. Had a comfortable
nights rest. Finished transcribing Loreda. A cold but pleasant day.
Lat. 43°21’S - Long. 46°35’E. - Wind NE. - Course E. S. E. Dist 190 - Ther 53°
Sunday: 31: Oct: Captain Chalmers read prayers as usual, but to a somewhat thin congregation. Two or three more Sundays and the passage of the Calcutta will have become very nearly spun. I can never hope to sail with a better, or kinder, or every way excellent Captain, or a more liberally supplied Ship, nevertheless I shall not bid her adieu with the same regret as I did poor Dixon and the good old John. On the contrary I shall hail the day we let go our anchor as one that sets me free from disagreeables I heartily trust never more to encounter. We have had a fine run during the past four and twenty hours. The ship nearly run over a sleeping albatross which she actually struck out of her way.
Monday 1st November: Still speeding on in gallant style.
Stunsails low and aloft - for the earnestly desired shores of Tasmania.
We were rolled about tremendously, during the night, but a fair wind and
plenty of it rendered such an event perfectly endurable. It was
excessively cold, the thermometer standing at 49° at breakfast time.
Fine clear weather.
Lat 43°16’S - Long 55°54E - Wind W. N. W. Course E. S. E. Dist 201. Ther 53°
Tuesday 2: Nov: We have been bowling along at a great rate
during the past four and twenty hours, being much more rapid than the
four and twenty proceeding, although appearances were altogether
otherwise. Yesterday we were stated to have done 200 and to day 239
miles, but we had excellent observations to day, and the work of the two
days should decidedly [indecipherable]. It has been a delightful day, and
we have been shipping through the water with a light breeze and smooth
Lat. 43°36’S. Long: 61°25’E. Wind WSW. Course E. S. E. Dist 239. Ther 53°
Wednesday: 3: Nov: Winds, waves, and currents are all
propitious, speeding us merrily onwards towards our destined goal.
Months, nay, weeks, have disappeared from the calculation, the
probability of reaching Sullivans Cove in eighteen days being the subject
of this forenoons discussion. The sooner the better for forced society is
of all things the most unpleasant. It blew hard for a short while this
morning at 9 both topsails were doublereefed, however, it soon cleared
away - out reefs and the good ship once more went staggering along.
Lat. 43°41’S. Long. 65°34’E. Wind W. S. W. Course E. S. E. Dist 180. Ther 57°
Thursday: 4: Nov: It blew a brisk gale during the whole of the
last four and twenty hours, with, at the latter portion, a considerable
sea, which caused her to roll and lurch so furiously that sleep was
banished from almost every eye. We were carrying, , and that gallantly,
whole topsails and courses, at a time when less competent, or less
confident men would have had their second reef points tied. She is a
noble barky, easy and admirable at every point of sailing. Lots of
Lat: 43°28’S. Long: 71°14’E. Wind S. W. Course E. S. E. Dist. 245. Ther 54°.
Friday: 5: Nov: Day, once of triumph and honest ‘gratulation, but, now, nearly blotted from the anniversalial calendar, since Whiggery and Irish mendicity trampled poor old England, under the cloven foot of “liberal” propery! Early in the morning watch, it came on to blow hard from the S. W. and by the time the good ship was reduced to a close reef fore, double reefed main top sail, and fore course it had increased to a strong gale, before which she shuddered most gallantly occasionally covering herself with vast volumes of foam. A high sea running, and every poct and dead light scoured. Water, nevertheless,
finding its way into sundry cabins, and purifying their nooks and
crannies. On deck nearly all day, the ship pursuing her rampant course
with wonderful steadiness. I have often been hove to in a less severe
gale, but Chalmers is a firm and persevering, as he is prudent and
considerate. Poor Francesco, greatly recovered from the effects of his
ugly fall of yesterday, and much refreshed in his new berth.
Lat. 43°11’S. Long: 75°22’E. Wind S. W. Course E. by S. Dist. 180. Ther 53°.
Saturday: 6: Nov: The heart of the gale was broken, and the
barometer rising about midnight, however, there was a considerable sea,
and strong breeze. This prevented the giving her canvass, in consequence
of which she tumbled about so much that sleep became impossible. At 4. A.
M. the mainsail once more set, and every indication of fine weather. At 6
I fell fast asleep, continuing that “blest restorative until 11 -
about which time we had a heavy fall of hail. Turned out, and being in
utter darkness, I hit the lamp. Breakfasted at noon. The ship under
simple reefed topsails and courses. This is the ninth anniversary of my
union with my beloved Catherine, with whom I earnestly hope to spend many
more. We have done a fine weeks work, nearly 1500 miles.
Lat: 42°52’S. Long: 79°31’E. Wind S. W. Course E. S. E. Dist: 184. Ther 53°
Sunday: 7: Nov: Prayers, at six bells, as usual, but, having
had little or no sleep, in consequence of the violent rolling and
lurching, during several past nights, I turned into Catherines hammock
when she lurched out, snoozing very delightfully till 8 bells. It blew
very hard, in puffs, throughout the middle watch, and at its expiration,
a considerable sea washed on board at the starboard quarter. The wind
drew gradually more aft as the morning advanced, coming away in heavy
squalls which caused her to roll gunnel under. Simple reefed fore top
sail, jib, foresail, maintop, and maintop gallant sail set. A dull, cool,
Lat: 43°2’S. Long: 84°1’E. Wind W. by N. Course SE. by E. Dist: 198. Ther 56°
Monday: 8: Nov: Another night of lurching and rolling, and
consequently, too me, a sleepless one. The wind dead aft - no matter, it
sends her boring and snoring along, ay -
“Right gloriously fast before the breeze,
“The good Calcutta ploughs the Southern seas -
“Like snowy Albatross she breasts the foam,
“And bears us, joying, to our distant home!”
For the remainder of the above celebrated poem tide the much admired Burn upon Falconer.
Lat: 43°16’S. Long: 88°34’E. Wind N. W. Course E. S. E. Dist. 201. Ther 57°
Tuesday: 9: Nov: Main royal yard on deck. Under close reefed topsails, and fore course. Wind right aft, and blowing a strong breeze all night - plenty of rolling and lurching. At 9 A. M. out all reefs maintopsail, set main top gallant sail and larbd. lower stunsail. Long 93°18’E. Wind W. Course E by S. Dist 208. Ther 57°.
Wednesday: 10: Nov: At midnight it came to blow a strong
breeze, which continued to increase throughout the middle and morning
watches, until, at 8 A. M., it had reached a furious gale, the barometer
varying at 28 6/10 [indecipherable]. The fore course split at the leach
and was under the necessity of being unbent. Still, the good barky went
careering along, at some nine or ten knots, under close reefed fore, and
double reefed main top sail.
The gale continuing to wax more and more severe, Captain Chalmers deemed it prudent to heave to, at a little after noon, which was happily and skilfully done under double reefed main top sail and storm mizen. The bobstay was carried away, and the hook of one of the retrieving [indecipherable] having parted, John Barnes, one of the seamen, the [indecipherable] Miller of the ship, was hove over the wheel and severely hurt. Another of the seamen, George Aldesberry, an impudent, growling, disoriented, fellow was placed in irons for insolence,
and insubordination. Poor Charlotte had an ugly fall which inflicted
considerable injury upon her head, indeed, it was a day of discomfort and
mishap, and a severer gale than any that I have encountered since I was
hove to, in the good brig Juno, off Macquarie Harbour for the space of
one week, anno 1830. We were too much occupied to take observation,
although the Sun was shining very brightly every now and then. From the
ships speed we must have made upwards of 200 miles Easting since
yesterday at noon. At 6 P. M. the barometer had risen to 29 1/10
[indecipherable], the sun shining brilliantly with every indication of
Lat: by Acct. 43°26’S. Long: 98°14’E. Dist: 216. Ther 54°
Thursday: 11: Nov: The barometer having risen to nearly 29 3/10 [indecipherable] and the strength of the gale having somewhat abated, our gallant Commander, last night at 11 P. M gave orders for the snug barky, which had lain to and behaved admirably for nearly twelve hours, to run again, which she commenced doing a little before midnight under close reefed fore, and double reefed maintopsail. The only casualties sustained were the splitting the fore course, which parted at the lee due and ran up the lee [indecipherable], principally in consequence of the bad material used by the long shore sail makers.
The main top sail runner was also slightly stranded, and the bobstay
carried away, in the act of rounding to, no doubt. The two latter
injuries were made good after breakfast, and, foresail having been bent
at an early hour. Making the most of circumstances under courses,
topsails, and fore topmast staysail. Still considerable indications of
wind, but little sea, clear weather, and steady breeze. Out dead lights,
and clear cabins. Our ladies as gay as yesterday they were doleful. Tears
Lat: 43°26’S. Long: 100°55’E. Wind N. W. Course E by S. Dist 118. Ther 55°.
Friday: 12: Nov: Yesterday after dinner, a paper was produced, the concoction, I believe, of Mr. Holman. Whatever the contents, it was read and approved by several of the passengers. After making sundry rounds, it fell into the hands of Mr. Welsh, who perused it with various significant nods and winks. Mr. Burnett feeling annoyed at such unhandsome conduct commented severely and justly thereupon. This embroiled him and Mr. Welsh who gave him the lie and demeaned himself with unwarrantable violence. My daughter had the impudence to interfere between them, and when I desired her to know her place and desist, the learned gentleman stepped between parent and child, like the bully and ruffian that he is, charging me with cruelty and unnatural conduct, because,
foresooth, I disapproved of her impropriety in receiving too
particular attentions from himself, thereby exposing herself to
animalversion and misconstrucation. My alleged barbarity by the way
consisted, after fruitless remonstrances, in marking my sense of her
unfilial conduct by keeping her actions under surveillance and abstaining
from intercourse with her - a line of conduct I adopted in the hope of
suffering the matter to die a natural death, and ceasing to know Mr.
Welsh after landing.
It was natural I should feel doubtful of a man who I say paying attention to one of my servants, who had experienced a rebuff from another, and who lost no opportunity to slander in the most unmanly way a defenceless female, because she properly resented some gross and impertinent familiarities. The slander of such a fellow, however, is credit - his approbation dishonor. We have made a fine run the last four and twenty hours. The weather appears to feel the influence of the approaching new moon, being calm and serene with a fine rattling breeze.
Lat: 43°37’S. Long: 105°24’E. Wind w. Course E by S. Dist 198. Ther 56°.
Saturday: 13: Nov: Mr. welsh, the honourable Attorney
General of Van Diemen’s Land, having been rebuffed by a fellow
passenger a defenceless female, to whom he offered impertinence, lost no
opportunity to traduce her, prayed she might come under his
official claws, and denounce her as one who had “The Devil
in her mouth - Beelzebub in her eye, and in her countenance all the
fiends of hell” - and this female throughout the entire passage has
demeaned herself with the most scrupulous propriety.
Jemima, having conciliated Capt. Chalmers, Mrs. Macpherson, and Catherine, made the most ample concessions to myself, the past has been forgiven and forgotten, and I look forward to the future with cheerful hope. Mr. Welsh, also, in the presence of Mr. Macpherson, made me the most full and honourable amends, so that sweet peace is once more triumphant. A sweepstakes upon sighting the land was arranged after dinner. I took 4 chances, at 2/6 - drawing Monday A. M. for myself - Catherine Wednesday A. M. - Jemima a blank - and Francesco Friday A. M. A fund of some little excitement.
Lat: 43°35’S. Long: 109°48’E. Wind: W. Course E ½ S. Dist 192. Ther 57°.
Sunday: 14: Nov: “Saturday night at Sea” was more
socially kept last night, than upon any previous occasion. A feeling of
unanimity and goodwill appeared to pervade all bosoms, and songs were
cheerfully given by those who had hitherto merely listened in a sort of
half constrained silence. The sweepstakes tickets became matters of
speculation - Cunningham selling his own chance to Mrs. Holman for 2/6 -
and purchasing Mrs. Macphersons for 5/. Bowling along with stunsails low
and aloft. A fine day with occasional showers.
Lat: 43°42’S. Long: 113°53’E. Wind w. Course E. Dist 180. Ther 54°
Monday: 15: Nov: Variable, and chilly weather with heavy
squalls of rain during the past four and twenty hours, with the wind
shifting to the North and South of West. Still making rapid strides
towards the goal of our hopes - and many hopes and fears pass through the
minds of Macphersons and ourselves. May we find all friends well, and the
gloom that has overshadowed Tasmania pat, on passing away. God grant us a
Lat: 43°29’S. Long 118°26’E. Wind W. S. W. Course E. Dist 200. Ther 56°
Tuesday: 16: Nov: During the past four and twenty hours it has
blown hard, with heavy squalls of hail and rain. At 2. A. M the strength
of the wind amounted to a severe gale, and she was rolling and lurching
in a manner that precluded sleep. Still the glass was gradually rising,
owing to the wind veering to the South. The sea, comparatively speaking,
was smooth, and slashed through it at a great rate, her speed
occasionally exceeding eleven knots. My poor wife was (unnecessarily)
terrified to death, and I was repeatedly out to consult the barometer in
order to appease her. Towards daylight it became somewhat more
At noon we were under fore course, close reefed fore and double reefed main top sail. Neither of us turned out till noon. At 1 P. M. a sea struck the cutter on the larboard quarter, tearing it with all its gear and a portion of the poop rail away. The boat, a very fine one, was irretrievably lost, her masts, some oars, and the wreck of the davits being all that was saved. Capt. Chalmers declares he would almost as soon have lost a topmast.
Lat: 42°55’S. Long: 123°54’E. Wind W. S. W. Course E. Dist 234. Ther 55°
Wednesday: 17: Nov: Strong breezes with considerable sea until
the latter part of the first morning watch of which the good barky most
gallantly assailed herself, speeding along at a great rate under fore
course, close reefed fore, and double reefed main topsail. At 9, out
reefs and set main sail and main top gallant sail. The barometer risen as
high as fair, with every indication of serene weather. Very cold for the
Lat: 43°31’S. Long: 127°28’E. Wind W. S. W. Course E by S. Dist 160. Ther 57°
Thursday: 18: Nov: Yesterdayy afternoon the Capt. succeeded in
obtaining several lunar observations, the mean of which placed us twenty
eight miles behind the Chronometrical account. The larboard anchor was
unstowed and got ready for bending. The wind fell light with mizzling
rain, so that the evening passed away in an uncomfortable manner. Mr.
Welsh played a match of double or nothing with me - won - and thereby
settled our a/c. The breeze freshened in the first watch continuing
steady throughout the night.
Lat: 43°39’S. Long: 131°13 E. Wind W. Course E. Dist. 163. Ther 57°
Friday: 19: Nov: The “waste of water” which have so
long flowed between us and our adopted land are once more rapidly
diminishing. Active preparations for debarkation are everywhere evident.
The ship getting ready her anchors - passengers packing up their dirty
cloaths, and arranging their various traps. We have careered gallantly
during the last four and twenty hours - and a few days - I may say, hours
- will in all human probability behold us treading the fertile soil of
Tasmania. Everything augurs well for Francesco winning the sweepstakes,
and, as if to make assurance doubly sure, Captain Chalmers has most
generously presented him with his chances. He had a new jacket finished
yesterday which set the dear little fellow in raptures. He is an
admirable, amiable boy.
Lat: 43°43’S. Long: 135°44’E. Wind W. N. W. Course E. Dist 192. Ther 56°
Saturday: 20: Nov: In all probability our lat Saturday at sea for some time to come. The good ship Calcutta seems to have roused her land tacks
on board, and aided, doubtless, by the kindly Tasmanian spirits, who
have got hold of the tow rope, is speeding to repose her, after the angry
buffets of the Indian Ocean, in the sweet and beautiful Sullivans Cove.
Oh the hopes - the fears - the doubts - and the anxieties that oppress
us. However, we are all in the hands of a kind and merciful God who
tempers the wind to the shorn lamb. Let us endure patiently - a few hours
will resolve many perplexities. Packing, in all its branches, in active
Lat: 43°50’S. Long: 140°22’E. Wind W. N. W. Course E. Dist 200. Ther 57°
Sunday: 21: Nov: Our last Saturday night was kept up with unwonted spirit. The health of Captain and Mrs. Chalmers, prefaced by a lengthened oration from Mr. Welsh, was drank with loud huzzars. At the suggestion of Mr. Welsh I gave Hawkes’ and at my own that of our very good Dr., which were cordially responded to. The ship made good way during the night, and the morning was fine, with occasional slight showers. Prayers
were read somewhat earlier than usual to insure the Captain an
opportunity of taking the sun, at noon, the South West Cape was distant
65 miles by Chronometrical, and 85 miles by the lunar observations of
Thursday. If the wind holds we should see the land this evening.
Lat: 43°31’S Long: 144°42’E Wind W. Course E. 1/2 N. Dist 188 Ther 54° In the last 30 days run 5458 miles. Average 182 miles per day.
Sunday: in continuation: at 2. P. M. heavy clouds were observed, banking up on the horizon ahead and rather to leeward. Both the Captain and I felt confident they imaged land. He took several lunars at this time. At 3 we went upon the forecastle, and were satisfied we beheld the loom of the land. At 4. 30’ the Mate announced it in sight, and many were convinced of the fact. Francesco, received the money for Capt. Chalmers ticket, which, from the first moment, I had asserted would prove the winning one. At 5, roaring out, and bending the chains. Sundry long faces pulled in the cuddy, a longer passage being, no doubt, desirable to some persons. At 6 South West Cape descried, and at Midnight off the New Stone.
Monday: 22: Nov: There was a pretty general muster with
daylight. At 4. A. M. we were opposite the entrance of D’Entre
casteaux Channel, with a fine working breeze. At 5 we were abreast of the
Friars, and running beautifully - catching Barracouta. At 9 we opened
Adventure Bay, its seaward extremity distinguished by that remarkable
promontory of irregular basalt called the Fluted Cape. The landscape is
very romantic, and the country looked both green and well.
Again we beheld the glorious masses of light and shade flung by the golden sun upon the mighty depths of the primeval forest. At 10 we rounded Cape Frederic Henry whose bold sides show many deep indentures, being studded with caverns which in Europe would all be famed for some peculiar attraction. At 11.30 Lawrence, the pilot, boarded us, conveying the tidings that the Derwent had arrived last Tuesday - that Moriarty was at Launceston. [indecipherable] Officer in town - the Whale fishing season a failure - but that crops were likely to be good. At 12 off the entrance to Browns River with light winds, and occasional calms - and at 4 P. M. anchor gone in Sullivans Cove after an
extraordinary passage of 31 days from the meridian of the Cape of Good Hope, and the very good one of 98 days from Plymouth.
On the 22.d day of November 1841 I landed at Hobart Town, a man of
some standing and wealth. A year had barely lapsed over my head ere I was
plundered to a very considerable extent by an unworthy relative. I
struggled boldly and vigorously to retrieve myself, but, alas, a general
and unparalleled depression had fallen upon the whole Colony marring my
best endeavours and blighting my every hope. To this storm I was
compelled to bend and on the 7.th of March 1844 Insolvency set its seal
to my ruin. With the few fragments left [indecipherable] my beloved wife
rented a small farm at Sandy Bay, in the expectation, with garden and
dairy produce, of earning an honest livelihood.
To give a succinct narration of our trials, privations, and sensations would be from the purpose of a diary - however keen the pangs I can safely [indecipherable] they were patiently borne and resolutely overcome - the loss of worldly wealth only sufficing the more convincingly to demonstrate the inappreciable treasure which he who has a good wife is blest with. Circumstances rendering it advisable for me to visit the sister colony of New South Wales, I embarked on board the fine ship London (612 tons) [indecipherable]. T. Attwood, for Sydney, of which my old and valued friend Dr. Maher was Surgeon. At an early period of the day I tore myself from my dear devoted wife - they who part when the sum of prosperity gilds their prospects endure a keen and bitter pang - but they only who sunder when fortune lowers, when youth is on the wane and the sere and yellow has begun to cast its shadow oer matured life. When the future prospects of that life, too, are darkened by an impervious
gloom - they only who have thus rudely been torn from the true and
tender friend whose years of devoted truth has proved the source of all
their joys, they only can feel what I endured by a separation of
whose limit all was so cold and uncertain. At 3. P. M. of Wednesday the
31.st July the anchor was a weigh and the stately London majestically
gliding down the waters of the Derwent. In less than half an hour she
passed by the dwelling of all dearest to me on earth. I looked, and,
watching the ship that bore away her beloved husband, beheld the fond
companion of twelve eventful, happy years. The vessel glided rapidly
through the waters and ere long the place and the person alike were
withdrawn from my earnest gaze. May God, in his mercy, watch over, guard,
and guide her. As night set in we entered Storm Bay. Our passengers were
- Mr. Hopkins, Miss Hopkins, Mrs. Nesbit, Mr. Geo. Kemp, Mr. Scott, Mr.
Cumberland, and Dr. [indecipherable].
Thursday - 1st Aug.t Working off the coast of Maria Island with the wind dead on end. The schooner Water Lily of and for Sydney in the like predicament. At 11. A. M. got the ship about on the starboard tack. As usually the case with Sea Logs this Journal ends at noon.
Friday: 2d:- Laying along the coast, and standing off and on. Put about on the larboard tack at 6. P. M. the wind a strong working breeze at N. by W. We had rubba, Mess.rs Kemp and Burn engaging Mess.rs Buck and Scott from whom they gained 4 6.° rubbers. Turned in a little after 9. Got on the starboard tack at 4. A. M. At 7 we found the Water Lily stretching seawards, about 10 miles on our lee bow. At noon the Schouten Islands bore N. by the compass on our starboard beam, distant about 5 or 7 miles, Maria Island on the larboard bow distant about 3 miles, Water Lily scarce distinguishable some 12 miles off on the lee quarter. Furled top gallant
sails and brailed up main course - took a reef in fore and mizzen top sails. Ship gradually coming up, and wind drawing round to the eastwards. The London is a remarkably fine, easy, ship, and under circumstances of a less painful and solitary character I should make myself more than happy on board of her.
Saturday: 3d:- Strong breezes and thick weather during the past four and twenty hours, the ship under reefed main course, double reefed fore and mizzen top sails, reefed mizzen, and single reefed main top sail, top gallant sails furled. Standing off and on every four hours, the Water Lily still in sight to leeward under a press of canvass and going hawk for hawk with us. The land looming heavily thro the drizzling atmosphere. Mr. Kemp and I won a conquering sixpence last night. Barometer high - 30 - Latitude at noon - 42°15S
Sunday: 4th:- Rain and strong breezes with a jumping sea. Ship under snug sail. Caught 3 or 4 birds whose skins were stript and converted into dog canes. At 8. P. M. the weather very dirty, close reefed topsails. Won the conquering sixpence from the Dr. and Mr. Kemp. From three A. M. until 6. it blew a strong gale, which gradually fell light. At noon we were some 7 or 8 miles to the Southward of the Schouten’s, Maria Island on Starboard quarter, and our friend, the Water Lily, some 6 miles distant on our [indecipherable] beam. V. D. L. would appear to be most unwilling to part with me, or perhaps, my own dear wifey is binding us in her prayers. The force of the gale being [indecipherable] the ships head has gradually broken off, and now having wore round on the Starboard tack we begin to have faint indications of a fair wind and speedy departure from these Probationary Shores. Ship heading N. E. by N.
Monday 5th Light airs and calms during the past four and twenty hours scarce sufficient to impart steerage way to the ship. At 9 p.m. the Water Lily had contrived to sneak close up to us in the lea beam. Animated with a desire to astound us by his superiority he evinced an inclination to cross our bows. The attempt, however, proved futile and he was compelled to drop astern, where we shall leave him, some three miles distant at noon. The atmosphere beautifully clear and serene, but the good ship London, like some of her inmates, sadly at a loss to raise the winds - thermt. 57 ° Barom 29 9/10ths.
Tuesday 7th Towards dinner time, that is to say about 4 p.m. a westerly breeze began to spring up, lulling the sails to sleep and spreeding the good ship on her onwards course. The air gradually encreased to a stiff breeze, until at 10 p.m. she was soaring thro’ the water with stemsails low and alfot, on either side, between 9 and 10 knots. We have bidden adieu to the Water Lily whose approach we purpose heralding. Dr Inshes and I won the conquering sixpence. We have made 160 miles of Northing during the past 24 hours. Lat 39°- 26 Strong 14° 3330 E ther 58 ½ Barom 29° 54° [indecipherable]
Wednesday 7th The breeze continuing to freshen and blowing in heavy squalls. At 2.30 carried away the larboard swinging boom and at 5 the larboard foretop mast stemsail boom parted at the boom iron - furled the main top gallant sail, the ship running eleven knots, a vast number of birds around caused, no doubt, by our proximity to Bass’s straits, the entrance of which we were crossing. Ship rolling very heavily. Beautiful, clear weather. Mr. Kemp and I won the best of three rubbers. Changed partners and Mr. Scott and I were victorious. At 9 p.m. blowing
very hard, ship rolling heavily. At midnight the strength of the breeze still encreasing hauled ship more up towards the land, steering N.W. At 4 a.m. reduced sails to foretop mast staysail, reefed courses, close reefed foretop sail, double reefed main top sail, and main try sail. At daylight land visible in the N.W. boards. Thought to be Mount Dromedary, and afterwards the entrances to Twofold Bay. One week since I parted from my dearest Kathleen and my temporary refugium. What shall be our destiny? Be it what it may, may it not long prove a divided one. God Almighty, Help, support and comfort her. Getting into smoother water and coasting “the promised land of Australia”. At 10 out reefs and set top gallant sails. Run 220 miles during the past 24 hours. Land first seen Mount Dromedary. Lat. 36.4° Long. 150°52. Course N.W. by N. Thermt. 54 ½ Baromt. 29°53.
Thursday 8th Fetching slowly along the coast with light winds,
our speed varying from four to seven knots. Mr. Scott and I lost the 1st
rubber. Dr. Inches and I lost the 2nd but Mr. Scott and I retrieved the
third. At 7 a.m. off Jervis Bay the headland of which greatly resembles
the South Foreland, I have seen it delineated in a very pretty picture in
the Oxford Street Pantheon. The surge lashing most magnificently on the
bold perpendicular cliffs, the base coast sufficiently near to command
good views of the Pigeon House and other remarkable heights. At 11 a.m. a
small cutter passed under our lees standing to the southward. At same
time a Brigantine, supposed to be our little friend the Water Lily, was
descried some nine or ten miles broad off on our lee bow, hauling in for
the show. Wind becoming very light towds noon at which time we were fifty
three miles from Port Jackson. Lat 34°44 Long 151°5 On course
Therm 63 1/2° Barom. 29°41
Friday 9th Afflicted with the doldrums the greater part of the day. Lost 1/6d at our customary game. Rain began to fall towards 10 p.m. and continued throughout the night. Port Jackson lights visible at 5 a.m. Heavy fog as the dawn advanced and the mere flow of winds that occasionally bellyed out the canvass unfavourable. No hopes of gaining our port. No observation, sun obscured and all hands confined to the cabin. 2 Schrs in sight. Thermometer 57° Barometer 29°25.
Saturday 10th Turning to windwards along the coast with light airs and sometimes calms. The Waterlily or some other schooner hugging the shore, about eight miles ahead. Lost 2/- at Whist so, save sixpence, all my early winnings have been disgorged. Standing off and on all night and at noon lying well up from the land. A whaling Brigantine passed out to sea and a brig, presumed to be the Lady Gray, to leywards of us boating in. Every prospect of a late arrival should we get to anchor this day at all. Ther. 60 1/2° Barom 29.50
With the above, sea time ends. At 1 p.m. Mr. Jackson, pilot, came on board. Waterlily got in last night and Greenlow on Wednesday. Lady Gray arrived and the brig in company supposed to be the Alfred from Mannila. Disappointment is the lot of all - our good Capt. who expected to carry on the 80th night to India, found they had embarked today. The Pilot made an attempt to board us last night at 12, but we kept too much off shore. Passed up between the Heads at 3 p.m. with light and partial winds. Immense improvements everywhere discernible. Mr. Kemp left us after dinner. Came to anchor at 6.30 above the Sow and Pigs. Lost the last of my winnings. Wrote to my dearest wife per Calypso, via Launceston.
Sunday 11th See end of this Book
Monday 12th Rose before 7 and upon going to the window which looked upon the Barrack Square I beheld the 80th regt. mustering, in heavy marching order, for their last parade in Sydney. There is a degree of solemn interest connected with any ordinary event when we know that that event is to occur for the last time, which impresses itself forcibly, if not painfully, on the human heart. Even an irksome task, which we know we are about to perform for the last time, acquires a sudden and irresistible degree of interest - and wherefore, because it awakens dormant sympathies, conjuring, with magic touch, a thousand byegone memories, resuscitating the ephemeral shadows of departed joys - the multitudinous hopes and fears and cares that by turns have excited, alarmed, or oppressed us, giving us a phantasmagoric glimpse of the anxious future - visions all, which probe the heart as this momentary self review enforces the moral truth of the utter vanity of all earthly objects.
It was a beautiful morning, the atmosphere of the severest blue, the
beams of the early morning seen were just tinging the house tops when the
warning drum summoned the troops to fall in. The streets of Sydney were
alive with inhabitants, flocking to behold the scene, and of the
spectators a large proportion were of those islanders ever prompt
“to follow the drum”, the sons and daughters of the Emerald
Isle. Much sympathy had been excited by this embarkation - the 80th had
been several years in the Colony, of course had formed many ties in it
and now most of those friendly and endearing ties were about to be
ruptured and for ever.
Under any circumstances an embarkation is a painful sight, the glittering array of the soldiery, their martial bearing and stirring tones of the music being but flimsy veils to the grief that is caused and suffered. Under the present circumstances the regretful sensations were dominant. The proud display of manhood in its prime and glory evoked sentiments of sorrow and regret, for as the eye glanced along the serried ranks, the knowledge of the death dealing clime to which the gallant band were hurrying compelled the fateful question “How many of those who now march forth in all the pomp and circumstances of glorious war will survive the next twelve months of an Indian war? How many.” Imagination
gives fearful response. Of the gallant 28th, who some few months since quitted Australia’s shores, inn all the bravery of youth and hope, how many have succumbed to the pestilential destroyer. The sodden plains of India give fearful reply. For a soldier a natural death appears almost unnatural, but to die by hundreds, not in the fair field of honourable strife, but victims of a fell insidious disease - this is a grief to which humanity can never be reconciled - a pang that makes the bravest shudder.
At eight o’clock Sir Maurice O’Connell and his staff entered the Barrack Yard and after a brief inspection the gates were thrown open and with Colours flying, and their fine band playing the “British Grenadiers”, the 80th regt. marched forth, bidding their once familiar quarters “a long farewell”. The drums and pipes next took up “The Girl I left behind me” but the notes fell in faint and wailing tones upon the ear. This passed 1100 choice men, embarking in four very middling ships - viz. the Headquarters of the “Royal Saxon”, the remainder in the “Briton”, “Lloyds” and “Enmore”. A detachment of the 58th were marched into their vacated places, and Sydney was kept during the early part of the day in a state of Military excitment.
Put my bill into the Australasian Bank for acceptance. Took out a baggage sufferance and went off with Mr. Hopkins to the ship and landed our traps. Paid 2/6 for my share 5/- for the Steward. Met Mr. I.P. Deane and Mr. Smith, formerly Wharfinger at Hobart. Guests at Mrs. Atkinsons - Mr. Milner, Mr & Mrs Marshall, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Keura (a Swiss) and Miss Falloon, a lady from Westmeath, who knows Abraham and George Boyd. She very kindly mended my coat and we had a great deal of chat. Took a stroll thro’ the town and had sixpenny worth of superfluous hair removed.
[The following paragraph was crossed out]
The first event of importance this day was the execution of two miscreants for a savage and cold blooded murder of a tradesman named Noble whom they assassinated in his own house in open day. The forcible deprivation of existence appears to afford
the Sydney populace all the excitement of a spectacle. The gaol is situated upon a rising ground some short distance from Hyde Park, and on the outside of its walls the fatal engine of death was erected. thitherwards as the hour of nine drew nigh the City poured its thousands - a vitiated crowd hurrying to witness the convulsive agonies of their doomed fellows, many going to see the sight and speculate upon the “game” of the sufferer. In these exhibits Hobart Town may claim the palm of civilisation because but few spectators, and those of the lowest grade, are found to frequent them, and because the criminals are executed within the prison walls, where but a portion of their persons is visible and that portion concealed from view the moment the bolt is withdrawn. The hour, too, is earlier and the scene ended. The felons of this morning died, the one greatly subdued, the other in a state of reckless hardihood.
After breakfast Mr Klein and Mr Marshall accompanied me in a saunter. We first called at the Court House and afterwds at the Atty General’s where I ascertained Miss Plunkett’s address. Next door to the Atty Genl’s a Mr. Burdikin, a [indecipherable] expatriated, has a splendid, three story mansion, probably one of the finest in Sydney. At the north end of Macquarie Street, facing the cove, a very beautiful building of hewn and carved free stone is in progress of erection for the purpose of the Australian Library - the design of the edifice being greatly blemished by the constant occurrence of strongly marked ironstone joints. Still the building displays an elevated and munificent taste.
Proceeding by a circuitous avenue bordering the harbour we reached Fort Macquarie a stone battery erected upon a ledge or rocks which forms one of the tongues of the cove. In each of three angles a traverse 24 pr is
mounted - in the North face there are platforms and embrasures for
three 24 prs which are mounted - there is also a saluting platform for
four 24 prs which are mounted. Besides these there are three 12 pr
carronades and 2 trap field pieces. I fear in the event of action the
stone splinters would effect sad favor with the garrison. We pursued our
course around the Govt. Domain skirting the waters of a bay of great
pictorial beauty, passing thence thro’ the Gov. gardens, and
reposing under the shadow of a great rock from which the umbragious
canopy of a native fig tree depends sheltering the wayfarer alike from
sun or rain and enveloping him in a screen of living green.
At his feet flash the wavelets of the pellucid bay and before him is spread the frequent villas of the North shore whilst the magnificent new Vice Regal palaces, of Elizabethan Architecture, and the turreted stables of the Governor, fill up the immediate foreground. The general character of the shrubs is the same as the Tasmanian, but there are many others there unknown, such, for instance, as the White Cedar and the Bamboo.
Leaving the gardens we next approached the fine bronze statue of Sir Richard Bourke which occupies a conspicuous position, surveying as it were the city over which he so happily and successfully ruled - a fact of which the inscription on the pedestal bears grateful and glowing tribute. Passing into Hyde Park we contemplate St. Mary’s, the Roman Catholic Church, a large structure of fine free stone. Its dimensions are considerable and further additions are in progress. The interior is finished off with the Cedar of the Colony, large octagonal columns of that timber supporting the roof. There is a spacious gallery which contains a splendid organ, and on the outside a small temporary tower is filled with a choice peal of bells possessing a compass from low to high D. Immediately continuous to St. Mary’s are the Prisoners Barracks, the Colonial Hospital, St. James’ Cathedral and the Court House, all buildings
devoid of architectural pretension. After some little difficulty I found out the Misses Plunkett. They were delighted to see me. The younger had just risen from a ten months sick bed and looked very delicate, their nephew, Francis Shiels, Surveyor to the City Corporation. Saw Blankenberg in the street. Called at the Bank and found my bill ready - drew £10. Went and looked at some Colonial tweeds - ordered a [indecipherable] and pair of trousers from Mr. Hayes George St. Had a long yarn with the ladies and learnt from Miss Falloon that she knew Mrs Stanley for whose whereabouts she furnished me a cue. Mrs. Marshall very low spirited - bears a great resemblance, on a smaller scale, to Mrs. Andrew. The Hopkins came in after tea, going to Parramatta in the morning. Miss H. invited me to accompany them.
Wednesday 14th We had an early breakfast and proceeded by Clarence and King Streets to Darling Harbour where we embarked at 9 on board the river Parramatta Steamer, a very fine iron boat of great symmetry and speed. The day was remarkably clear and serene and we bore up the river in gallant style, opening the numerous bays, inlets and creeks in rapid succession. The general outline of the scenery on the Parramatta River is of a picturesque character, not indeed attractive because the banks are as painfully sterile as the imagination can well conceive, but pleasing because water is ever so and the grouping of rocks, trees and shrubs are the fringe which set it off. Nothing can be more agreeable than the constant succession of deep aqueous bights, extending far as the eye can see and leading one knows not where. About three miles up we pass Cockatoo Island where third class convicts are kept, and where there are some siloes for the preservation of corn. The Iron Creek runs on the left and Lowes Inlet on the right. A mile of so higher up we reach Bedlam Ferry, so called from an Asylum for lunatics erected on
the right bank. The next stage brings us to Kissing Point famed for
its Orange groves - a short distance beyond on the opposite shore is the
mansion and salt works of Mr. Blaxland. Above this, the channel rapidly
narrows, until we gain the villa of Hannibal Macarthur in the immediate
vicinity of Parramatta. The ground are tolerably pretty, the prevailing
sterility being somewhat subdued. A short way beyond this the
Girls’ School of Industry, a large but not very tasteful structure
of brick perched upon the overhanging bank.
A few yards further and we gain the landing place, grandiloquently titled The Queen’s Wharf. Here there is a large steam flour mill and a four storey extensive Warehouse looking building commenced, as an inscription informs us, in 1822 and finished in 1824. This served for barracks, but the red breasts were flown and had left it alone in its glory. There is also a salt work and another “The Cumberland Steam Mills”. The old 2 spired church is in the centre of the town and a new one is roofed but not finished. A handsome stone Police Office has been lately erected and there are many goodly houses of recent construction. The Govt. House and demesne has been substantially enclosed by a stone wall.
Public houses abound and the population is estimated at 8000, but there is no animation, the place seems dead, bereft alike of animal or vegetable life. Each man’s countenance served for an index of the fallen fortunes of New South Wales - Alas! When will the tide turn? We dined at old Mrs. Walkers, Black Bull, a rural inn of the good old English stamp. Mine hostess complained bitterly of the evil days, avouching she scarce took enough for common expenses - a sad difference from the time I last visited her some sixteen years before. Here we encountered an old Tasmanian, Charles Bethel Lyons, the brother of Sir Edmund. Charles was ever a thoughtless dog missing many opportunities in N.S.W. He is
now Coroner for Parramatta - practises as an Attorney - declares himself free of debt, and is consequently rich. Long may he continue so. At 4 we embarked in the Experiment, which conveyed us a few miles down when wee were transshipped to the Kangaroo, a steamer which tried and failed in an opposition warfare last year on the Derwent to which she came down and from which she was forced to return discomfited. The upward passage occupied an hour and forty minutes, the distance being 18 miles. The homeward one was performed in two hours, we arriving in Darling Harbour at 6. On the whole a most agreeable day was spent, all parties being very attentive, Miss Hopkins, a very nice girl, particularly so. I found the brother (Mr. Driver) of the first Mrs. G.F. Read on board the Emu. The [indecipherable] arrived from London 1st May, bringing intelligence of O’Connell’s imprisonment. The Ceylon arrived from the same port yesterday.
Thursday 15th Our close vicinity to the Barracks causes us to arouse betimes, the morning tatoo giving us early summons. After breakfast, called upon Dr. Inches at the Club to invite him and Captn. Attwood to dinner on Saturday. The Club is rather a slovenly looking one and said to be very exclusive. A poor little girl was ridden over by a cowardly ruffian in the disguise of a gentleman, but fortunately she sustained no great injury. Inches accompanied Mr. Klein and I to the Barrack yard to hear the 99th’s splendid band. Mr. Hayes sent home my [indecipherable] for which I paid 35 shillings and my trousers 15 shillings. Paid Inches £5 which he had kindly advanced for my passage in the London. Went to Mr. Armstrong’s Castlereagh Street to see a sale of horses. Met Mr. Scott there. A very fine Lincoln Stallion 5 years old fetched £25, some other remarkably beautiful sires were offered in vain. A superb one imported at a cost of £850 was withdrawn at £125. A number of paltry animals which in V. D. L. would have brought from 20 shillings to 30 shillings realised from £4 to £10.
After dinner went with Mr. Hopkins and his two daughters to the
Demesne; we were in hopes of hearing the Band, but a strong and
disagreeable wind, in Sydney parlance, a Brickfielder, had arisen,
scattering the red dust in immense volumes; in consequence no musicians
appeared and we retraced our course homewards. Mr. Hopkins entered into
the subject of my proposed book on the Colonies of which he expressed a
favourable opinion and offered several good hints.
In the evening I looked into the Theatre for half an hour. It is named the Victoria and is situated about the middle of Pitt Street. Its exterior is devoid of any architectural feature, the interior, however, is light and ever elegant, a very deep horse shoe in form, the pit and centre boxes retiring far backwards from the stage - the proscenium and ceiling are divided by gold and mouldings and painted panels emblematical of naught which my imagination co.d decipher. There is a pit, dress and upper circle of boxes, with a gallery.
The house is lit by
four 8 gas burners covered with
ground glass shades, disposed around the two circles of boxes, and two
chandeliers of 4 burners each over either stage door. There is
accommodation for from 12. to 1600 spectators - the prices of admission
are 2/6_ 2/. 1/. & 6. Half prices extending to the boxes alone. The
demeanour of the auditory is quite as good as that of any British Theatre
and there is by no means the ragged vagabondism visible.
Like similar establishments in other countries the upper circle is the place of resort for unfortunate women, as they are conventionally styled in dress and bearing their conduct [indecipherable] a better spirit than that which pervades the same grade in the British Metropolis. There is neither the same gross wantoness so offensive to every well regulated mind, nor is the spectator who wishes quietly to regard the business of the stage, harassed by importunate elicitations, a modesty of demeanour whatever else exercising a wholesome decorum. The house was but thinly attended a large concourse having been there the preceding evening. With regard to the performances or rather the performer,
as it would be idle waste of time to break a butterfly upon the wheel, I shall content myself with remarking that they are more contemptible than the most paltry troop of English strollers I ever beheld. The men low, vulgar, looking fellows, the ladies neither pleasing nor pretty, and utterly unconversant with the commonest principles of their art. In this respect the Hobart Town Thespians are a long way before them, many being genuine artists.
Friday: 16th:- A lowering morning - Capt. Lachlan Macallister breakfasted with us. Mr. Marshall and Mr. Owen congregated in mine and Mr. Kleins room and a rare dissertation on men and things ensued. Went to Band parade at guard mounting - thence to Campbell’s Wharf and on board the ship St. Vincent. Met Capt. Munro; formerly of the Super, who expressed much pleasure and requested my address. Came home and commenced a long letter to my dearest Kate. After dinner accompanied Mrs. M. on a purchase of Berlin Wool. A rainy afternoon. The Hopkins’ out. Mrs. M. told us her age was 30 that of her spouse 28 - they had been married four years had two children, both dead. Mrs. Atkinson enlisted Mr. Wentworth in my favour and got promise of a ticket to the Mayors grand Fancy Ball. A Mr. Aldridge was this evening added to the number in our bed chamber.
Saturday: 17th:- After breakfast, I went to the Post Office where I had the delight of receiving a precious letter, eight pages of the outpourings of devoted truth and tenderness of the best of wives. In tracing the warm and fond affection breathed in every sentence my own expressions appear sold and measured - and yet, God knows how far, how very far, it is from being so. Change of scene and character may impart a less glowing tone to my epistle, but Kathleen dwells not more intensely on the memory of her absent husband than that husband turns with anxious tenderness and overflowing love to her. She is stationary and alone where all is familiar to both whilst he is in a busy house amid strangers and
scenes where all is new and where the feelings of the heart must needs
be held in a state of subjection. Dear Cocky I was rejoiced to hear of
his welfare. Would my poor girl had less fatigue, and less care to weigh
her down. Occupied in swelling my voluminous epistle in reply to that of
my beloved. Called after dinner upon the Misses Plunkett. They were
either at dinner or otherwise engaged, consequently did not see them.
Hunted in vain for Dr. Kinchela in order to learn something of Mrs.
Stanley. He had left Sydney for Liverpool. On my way back looked into the
Market which is exceedingly well arranged and convenient.
It is situated in George Street and consists of four long buildings intersected laterally and longitudinally by well paved streets - each building is covered by three roofs, the centre one being considerably more elevated than the side ones, the space between these roofs being left open for the purpose of ventilation - the central roof is upheld by numerous pillars which form, as it were, the natural points of division for the stalls which are clean, spacious and airy, and, at night, well lit with gas. The beautiful display of the finest vegetables, fruit and flowers is both gratifying to the eye and suggestive of some little titillation to the palate. Moreover, meat, poultry, eggs, bacon, butter, cheese, [indecipherable] all of first rate quality and in ample abundance are every where to be seen. The Sydney Market is, indeed, exceedingly well organized, a credit and ornament not merely to such a City, but to one of much longer standing and far higher pretension.
Sunday: 18th:- Went into the Barrack Yard and saw the troops muster and march off to Dr. Cowpers Church - Lieut. Masters was among the 58th. Mr. Klein and I went to St. James’ the pro. tem. Cathedral, and Church of the Aristocracy. It is a neat, plain, building with a gallery supported by 12 columns running all round, lit, for evening service, by oil lamps. Here the Governor has his seat, and here the Bishop officiates.
In Sydney the modern beggarly system of a voluntary (?)
offertory appears to be universally prevalent, and with the most
impartial disregard to sect. Capt. Attwood, and Mr. Scott were in St.
James’, and Mr. & Mrs. Marshall, accompanied by Capt. Young of
the St. Vincent, also attended. A heavy shower fell during service, and
as the Sydney ladies cherish the system of lengthy garments which they
are too genteel to gather up, verily, like the little [indecipherable] of
Cruikshanks Omnibus celebrity, they sweep the dirty red earth puddle in
great perfection, painting their feet and slender ankles (to go
further) in the accustomed manner adopted by Indian Warriors previous to
Some few who were not quite so scrupulous of displaying a well turned limb escaped the street pollution which so lavishly beplastered others. The leader of this long robed fashion must, I opine, have rejoiced in a rare pain of supporters not to say a word of the pedals. The day continued wet, damp, and very dirty - notwithstanding, Messrs. Marshall and Klein accompanied me in a walk thro’ the Govt. Demesne. The more frequently one visits this delightful promenade the more one is charmed with it - the walks are kept scrupulously clean, and, unlike the regardless penitentiary ways of Tasmania, the comfort and convenience of the public is attended to, numerous benches inviting the pedestrian to a temporary and placid repose an accommodation one would vainly seek for in the South.
Attended evening service at the Baptist Chapel along with Mr. Hopkins and Mrs. Nesbitt. This is a neat edifice situated in Bathurst Street. It contains sittings for about 600 persons, and is well lit with gas. Mr. Saunders the Officiating Minister stands high in estimation and appears to be a gentleman of superior intelligence. He gave us a most eloquent discourse on the 11th. verse of the 16th. Psalm, the induction to which struck me as beautifully rhetorical - the imagery simple but graphic, yet touching the heart, - flowing like a fine river thro’ a flowery mead. Mr. F. Shields called during my absence.
Monday: 19th:- Breakfast over, Mr. Hopkins and I called over at
Govt. House where I had the honour of an interview with Sir Geo. Gipps
who received me in the most affable and gracious manner, promising to
afford me ever facility in the acquisition of statistical information. He
made many inquiries into the present condition of V. D. L. both monetary
and commercial, and was very aprceable. I forwarded him afterwards a copy
of my Plays. Mr. Hopkins afterwards very kindly introduced me to a Mr.
Lloyd who likewise tendered assistance.
I was next introduced by Mr. H. to Mr. Fairfax one of the proprietors of the Sydney Herald. This gent most obligingly placed my name upon the Strangers list of the Australian Library for three months, making me also acquainted with his partner Mr. Kemp who showed me over their extensive premises and presented me a couple of works of reference which I returned with copies of my Plays - South Briton - and Lennon’s Narrative. Delivered the note Mr. Wentworth was so kind as write to the Mayor requesting him to favour me with a Ticket to his Fancy Ball. After that called upon Miss Plunkett who had heard of her sisters death. This may have made her low spirited. Think, however I shall call no more.
Took a look at the rising Cathedral of St. Andrew which has been in course of erection for the last nine years, altho’ suspended, from the want of funds and some dispute respecting the title to the ground, during the past twenty months. It is a very beautifully designed structure of considerable extent and much architectural embellishmt. and is situated at the angles of George and Bathurst Streets. Thirty thousand pounds are said to have been already expended upon it and walls previously reared have again been thrown down. At present, not one third of the masonry has been laid - the works seem to be entirely suspended when to be resumed is a question more easily asked than answered.
In the interim a wooden fabric has been put up wherein the offices of
religion are temporarily performed. Walked to Wooloomaloo to call upon
Bishop Broughton. To use a mild expression he was more agreeable when he
quartered in my house ten years since than now in his own.
Dr. Inches and Capt. Attwood dined with us. In the evening Mr. Klein and
I attended a Public Meeting at the City Theatre, a very pretty little
house, in Market Street. It contains a pit, gallery, and one tier, or
rather half tier, of boxes and is brilliantly illuminated by a central
chandelier of a dozen burners.
As in most other places, theatricals are, now, at a low ebb in Sydney, there being insufficient encouragement for even one house to keep open. The motives for the present assemblage were to take the distressed condition of the Emigrant operatives into consideration and to adopt a Petition to His Excellency the Governor praying that he wo.d grant small locations in the interior to a number of families - in other words - that he would revert to the old system of free grants of land - the system from which barren and inhospitable wilderness created New South Wales and Van Diemens Land, with a rapidity beyond all parallel, into happy and prosperous provinces, teeming with the most superabundant supplies and affording an ample and generous shelter to civilized man.
The speakers upon this momentous question were numerous and animated, and, the auditory being the parties interested, they were received with acclamation. The leading point dwelt upon, somewhat bitterly, by the majority of speakers, was the general anxiety of employers to engage servants free of incumbrance, that is without families. This theme afforded a plausible pretext to inveigh against the selfish tyranny of “the lords of the soil, who were stigmatized as a base, inhuman race, a sort of white negro drivers, solicitous merely of their own aggrandizement and utterly indifferent as to the comfort or condition of their fellows, so long as their tale of sheep, and reckoning of
horses and cattle were kept correct. In their employees they were
represented to have no more interest than in an animated machine - or in
mere hewers of wood and drawers of water. Now, without much knowledge of
the landed proprietary of New South Wales, I shall set down as a
mischievous and ungenerous caricature - convinced by a tolerably
extensive acquaintance with human kind that it cannot be least like a
picture. To inveigh against a body of men, and those men striving to hope
almost against hope, because forsooth they reasonably prefer employing
single men and women rather than incur the heavy expense of engaging
others trammelled with large families may obtain the applause of a
certain quantity of interested spectators, or gratify private acrimonious
feeling, but it convinces no one and impairs a cause with more than
sufficient justice to recommend it to most earnest investigation and
To the free grant system these Colonies owe every thing - when it was rescinded they immediately and simultaneously languished - the immigration of wealthy capitalists (the strong incentive to self expatriation withdrawn) ceased, and a crisis was fast approaching when English Banks possessed of large capital were founded this turned the tables - discounts were countless and easy - mortgages were manifold and of large amount. Cash seemed as though it were to be had for the mere asking. Crown lands were purchased wholesale - Villas and entire streets arose with a magical celerity worthy of Alladin and his redoubtable lamp. Expensive tastes were acquired - expensive habits generated - expensive equipages, expensive entertainments, and all other concomitant expenses indulged. Had this accommodation been obtained at a moderate rate of interest, the game might even yet been in course of play, but being purchased at ten, twenty, thirty, and even forty per cent the bubble burst at length, and even the wise and prudent have been
entangled in the meshes of the vain and profligate - Thousands of
pounds, in the shape of interest on Mortgages, & Bank dividends were
annually remitted to England - other tens of thousands were forwarded
(never to return) to be expended in free emigration - the price of
wool and oil fell - the fisheries experienced partial failure - a
difficulty of realising was found - the Banks restricted their discounts
- credit became questionable, and the crisis averted for a time by
foreign capital was by the very introduction of foreign capital
consummated with a ten fold ruin -
In fact the Colonies have been Banked until they have been made Bankrupt -, after a youth passed in the anxious and lonely attempt to reclaim the wilderness, the Colonists, in the sere of life, are in a worse position than when first they landed - money, means, and energy, if not entirely gone, at least, mightily impaired - if ever a return to the free grant system were desirable it is now - such a step wd., with Promethean touch, restore New South Wales to more than her former position, but, to do it effectually, it must be on a much more extended scale than that contemplated by the meeting of this evening and by petition to the Imperial parliament - it is absurd to petition the Governor on a subject beyond his power , and carries a factions and hollow look upon its face -
Had he even the ability and inclination to create the families in the manner desired, that is to say by placing them upon 50 acre grants of land situated upon the coast and rivers, affording them further the necessary seed, implements, and twelve months rations upon credit (as was done in the good old times) still from the very habits of the artisans so sought to be provided for, it is to be feared the attempt would prove an utter failure - at least like experiments in Van Diemen’s Land, where agriculture is a much less precarious pursuit than here, have ever resulted in failure - the speaker cited a trial made by the Cape Authorities with Hotentots in a manner similar to that proposed and which had been com-
pletely successful - He further instanced the success of the German
farmers at South Australia, and in a grandiloquent, ad
[indecipherable] strain demanded if free born Englishmen were
inferior to these. - There was one question, however, he did not
ask and that the all important one, namely, whether the Hotentots and
Germans were agriculturists - Now as the object of all [indecipherable]
speakers was to establish a Yeomanry, and as it is notorious the
English peasantry do not emigrate, it must be clear how difficult if not
impracticable it would be to convert a body of Artisans to this most
essential portion of a Nation’s weal -
A peasantry is the work of time, and however highly deserving of commendation they who seek to achieve their fellows good - still it would be done more worthily without ripping up grievances or seeking to cast reflections upon other who have been fortunate in the acquisition of property when the land was held to be nearly valueless - ad the opportunity been afforded any of these indignant Orators would their virrHadHa Had the opportunity been afforded any of these indignant Orators would their virtuous self denial have insured refusal
Tuesday: 20th Received a card (numbered 100) to the Mayor’s (Wilshire) grand fancy ball - Had a note yesterday from the Governor’s Private Secretary, and one, this morning from the Bishop. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (he formerly Wharfinger at Hobart) called - Accompanied Mr. Hopkins on a visit to the Benevolent Asylum which is situated at the Southern extremity of George Street. This building or its centre, to speak more correctly was erected during the administration of Governor Macquarie in 1820 and two wings, at different periods, have since been added and a building in the rear is now in course of being finished - It is devoted principally to the reception of the old, the maimed, and bind of both sexes, of whom above 420 were then on the establishment besides 160 out pensioners. They bake their won bread but contract for their other supplies, many of which are transmitted as donations –
The inmates are too infirm for labour, the sole work exacted being to
keep their bed places and clothes clean - One half of the number were
Roman Catholics, a large preponderance of the lower orders being Irish -
There is a painful amount of human wretchedness and affliction to be
found within these walls - Among those who have been necessitated to seek
shelter therein is Mr. Walter Boston, grandson of the celebrated author
of “The Fourfold State” “Crook in the Lot” &c
- This gentleman was liberally educated at the University of Edinburgh in
both Theology and Medicine, taking out his Diploma as Surgeon, in which
capacity he served in the Royal Navy being for five years on the American
Station in the Phoenix 36
– The old gentleman produced all his testimonials, and appeared to be much gratified by our visit - Mr. Stack, the Master, declared him to be a quiet, sober, well behaved man - He is upwards of 70, but hale and hearty:-able, he says, to read the smallest print without glasses - “He dwelt with much seeming pride upon the memory of his progenitors, telling us his father was a Minister of the Kirk, and that a new Marble Stone had lately been placed over his grandfathers remains at Jedburgh, or as he himself named it Jeddart.
A single glance demonstrated him to be Scotch, because although his garments were old and worn not a hole was to be discovered, every envious rent being scrupulously patched - What a moral did this poor old man offer for contemplation - Alas for the reverses that await unhappy humanity - Misery, indeed, makes us acquainted with strange bedfellows, and this unfortunate individual, reared amid all the elegant tastes and accomplishments of life, must have endured sore and humiliating pangs ere he could train his mind to endure the society into which penury had plunged him - Delicacy forbid the enquiry how he had become thus reduced, but it would have afforded subject matter doubtless of grave commentary and serious reflection - Perhaps another interview might be had and the tale be unfolded -
Close by the Asylum there is a very beautiful Edifice dedicated to the worship of the Church of England nearly completed - The officiating clergyman - is to be Mr. Walsh - The Hay Market and Carters Barracks are likewise in this vicinity - finished a long letter to my dear wife, to whom I sent, per Waterlily, 29 yards of the best Regent Ville Tweed for which I paid 3/8 per yard -
Wednesday: 21st Went imm.ly after breakft. to see Inches at the
Club - Whilst there saw 26 male, and one female, convicts marched off
under a guard of eleven of the 58th in order to be embarked for the Penal
Settlement, on board the Waterlily - Hastened to keep my appointment with
Bishop Broughton at the Registry office in King Street - His Lordship was
civil but [indecipherable] and, to my thinking, by no means so cordial as
he might have been - My hospitality was frankly offered and
readily accepted –
There was not attempt to overwhelm me with a return, nor did he even extend his hand to the man under whose roof he had sought shelter, and whose bread he had broken - It is such petty trifles as these that disgust one with their kind - He promised to afford me such information on religious and educational statistics as I might require, and so we tendered Adieus -
On my way back to Jamison Street, I passed through the Barrack Yard where I witnessed an inspection of the 58th and 99th Regts by the Commander in Chief Sir Maurice O’Connel - He is a fine old gentleman, and seemed highly amused with a Prince Albert shakos worn by an officer recently from England - He was not the only inspector of the commodity - many beholders, both civil and military, being highly diverted with the hideous deformity - I reached home to be grievously annoyed by finding the Waterlily under weigh for Hobart town, and Capt Macallister with my letter and parcel waiting me - The letter I was enabled to transmit, but the parcel of Tweed could not go without
my hiring a waterman, at a cost of some three or four shillings to row
me to the stream - Being engaged to accompany Mr. Klein and the Hopkins
to the new Govt House, I followed but missed them; however, I made the
tour of the building which is one of great extent and much magnificence
of the Elizabethan order of Architecture and built of polished free stone
- The principal entrance seems heavy because of a paucity of windows
which gives it a blind look - the porch, nevertheless, is a noble
and spacious one, opening into a truly lordly hall of fine proportions
from the further extremity of which springs a superb staircase
beautifully finished in Gothic work with Colonial cedar of which the
panneled walls of the hall, the doors, windows, skirtings, mouldings, and
architraves are massively formed -
The Dining room, drawing rooms and saloon are noble apartments, and the elaborated Marble Mantel pieces are most creditable specimens of Colonial production and workmanship - There are a great number of chambers and offices all of good dimensions, but the generality are unfinished and the edifice itself yet untenanted, altho’ upwards of seven years in course of erection - Two Balls on Her Majesty’s Birthday have been given here, but the Colony must be much richer than it now is ere the finishing stroke can be given - The cost of furnishing such a palace would be immense –
I ascended the square tower from whose summit there is a splendid Panoramic prospect, embracing Port Jackson Heads and waters with their manifold bights and bays - The City of Sydney is spread, map like in its entire length and breadth, at ones feet - Wooloomoloo with its magnificent villas, the windings of the Parramatta river thickly studded with cottages ornee, the numerous vessels at anchor - the steamers passing hither and thither - the hum of the busy town beneath, render the picture one of lively interest and genuine beauty - This glorious view is also commanded from the several windows,
indeed, as far as prospect is concerned, Govt. House is transcend. partly situated, and, being founded on a rock, its stability is unquestionable, but, in case a hostile squadron should enter the river it would present an excellent target for them whereon to prove their practice. It is true Fort Macquarie lies on the tongue of the peninsular whereon the palace is situated, and that Pinchgut, a low island in the vicinity, is being fortified, still, with all these appliances in full efficiency, I apprehend a modern line of battle ship would make but short work of it. Passing thro’ the Govt. Demesne I retraced my steps by Governor Bourkes statue -
From this site the new Australian Library, in course of erection is a very beautiful structure, but, viewed from Georges Street and other parts of the City it is positively hideous, presenting but one vast surface of dead semicircular wall, unenlivened by even a solitary window - The entrance, too is beyond conception preposterous, for beyond my power of description - in fact I cannot surmise to what composite order this edifice claims kindred - the basement course is rustic - the fronts towards O’Connell Street and the Demesne polished stone with pilasters whose capitals are highly elaborated, whilst, as already stated, the walls towards the principal parts of the city are of rubble work - and the door of entrance is sunk several feet backwards, in an oblique manner, as if to screen the p[arties going in - To me it seems a sad deformity, like the aperture of a cavern.
At 9.p.m. began to prepare for the grand Fancy Ball held in the royal Victoria Theatre, Pitt Street - The streets rattled under the continuous roll of carriages, and was alive with the busy hum of curious expectants - youth band hope were on the ardent stretch - beauty panted for conquest, and even those un peu [indecipherable] appeared resolved to make a grand and desperate charge - to attempt description of a Fancy Ball were indeed an idle and superogatory task - The present resembled the affairs of a similar kind - There were rich drapes
quaint groupes - characters out of character - assumptions
ridiculously made, - persons utter impersonations - with all the wonted
quantum of tomfoolery - The main business of the evening - Dancing - was
carried on with an impassioned earnestness worthy of Terphsicore herself
- few and brief were the pauses - the Australian Caper appearing to renew
their vigour with fresh intensity at each succeeding onslaught - From 10
p.m. until 5 a.m. of the following morning the fun waxed fast and
furious, an occasional adjournment to the amply stored side tables
serving to keep up the old steam and generate new -
The coup d’oeil, was really imposing and extensive, the pit of the Theatre being boarded over and the stage, of great depth and breadth, being thrown open to its utmost extent - On this spacious floor there were between 7 & 800 gay revellers, whilst the boxes and gallery also teemed with well dressed spectators - Two Bands, one the magnificent one of the 99th Regt, filled the arena with dulcet sounds - Mirth and good humour were the pass words of the evening and albeit a motley admixture was in some degree inevitable, still each grade made ample allowance for the other His Excellency the Gov.nr was present accompanied by his lady -
On his way through the streets the mob indulged in a few [indecipherable], but the man who could please all parties in these most difficult of all British provinces to rule, would be a singularly felicitous individual such as one will not meet with in a century. True, Governor Macquarie might so be called, but then that much esteemed officer held sway at a period when experimental legislation, 16,000 miles removed, had not obtained, and ere British and colonial interests had become antagonist principles -
Sir George Gipps struck me as being perhaps the most handsome man present, the keen intelligence of his look imparting an air and grace to his bearing - In common gallantry would I could recount the long list of beauties whose charms imparted an added lustre to this festival - Alas that unmannerly
truth should fetter my pen - but the homely fact must out. The Houris
of Sydney are few and far between, and a scantier sprinkling of lovelings
could scarce be met with in any other quarter of Her Majesty’s
empire. A Miss Lamb was the generally proclaimed Queen of Beauty, but
were I the Paris she would not be the Venus to whom
I should present the apple, a far more lovely and graceful goddess in the
person of a Miss Wyld, tastefully equipt in a white dress ornamented with
Spanish points of black velvet, a head gear of Spanish hat and flowing
white plume, which imparted a brilliancy to her wicked sparkling eyes and
luxuriant raven tresses) having won my undivided admiration from the
period of my entrance.
The beauties might be numbered at a dozen, or to make liberal allowance - a bakers dozen.
Fain would I have dwelt on fairy feet treading an aerial measure, but fairy feet have made themselves too scarce to be encountered. Everything went off in an orderly manner, no accidents occurred - nor was there the least approach to quarrelling - unless indeed a very trivial affair between a gent personifying Commissioner Lin, of Chinese celebrity, and another disguised as a New Zealand Chief. The Commissioner commenced tickling the Chief in the small ribs with the point of His Excys knife.
This the other retorted by a thrust of his spear upon the somewhat protuberant proboscis of the quasi John Chinaman, whose temperament; like certain of his best tea, appeared to be rather of a Gunpowder quality. Hot words ensued. The Celestial and the Savage sunk at once into the Barbarian - however they found much virtue, as immortal Shakspere says, in an “if” - “and shook hands and parted”. I myself went in the undress uniform of a naval surgeon kindly lent by my friend Inches.
Thursday: 22:- Turning in at 5 and out again at 8 after a night of revelry are not very agreeable, so, breakfast over, I flung myself upon my couch reposing thereon until 2. P. M.
Met Major and Mrs. Wentworth with whom I renewed the acquaintance of former years. Went to the Council Room but there not being ten members at half past three it was adjourned. In the evening wrote a letter to my dearest wife. Mr. Aldridge of Campsey on the river Macleay gave me a most pressing invitation to visit that portion of the territory entreating me to make his house my home and promising me a horse and every possible facility.
Friday: 23d:- Mr. Klein and I accompanied Mrs. Nesbitt and Miss
Hopkins on a visit to St. Mary’s Church previous to their
departure. After breakfast we saw them and their father on board the
Shamrock which at 11 A. M. bore them away to Melbourne. I had acquired a
sincere regard for them all during our temporary sojourn on board the
London and in Jamison St. and I could not but view their departure with
regret. It was, too, like severing the last link which yet bound me to V.
D. L. As a slight token of esteem I presented Miss Hopkins with a copy of
my Plays. I fear she is very delicate, but hope she may be spared to
outgrow it. Such is life. We form acquaintance which when they ripen into
friendship are but too frequently and for ever ruptured.
Dispatched my letter to my dearest wife in Mr. Hopkins charge. The Shamrock is a fine iron boat (one of a trio of which the Rose and the Thistle form a whole) sent out from England for the Hunter River Steam Company. I cannot but condemn her cabin arrangements - the sleeping place being placed like so many shelves around the sides of the Saloon and separated from the dining table by a curtain only, so that the passengers were subjected to the disgusting necessity of Messing in a large Barrack bed room whose common details are rendered more obnoxious by the evils inseparably attendant upon Tea sickness. No division betwixt man and man or lady and lady exists - each lying feet to feet. Can anything be more indelicate nay indecent? And the fare for such accommodation is beyond parallel exorbitant £10 each (exclusive of food)
being the amount exacted, with a 5/. fee to the Steward, for a three
days trip! Well may money be made, especially with the following charges
for provisions superadded. Viz - Breakfast 2/6 - Dinner 3/6 - Tea 2/6 -
Wine 5/. - [indecipherable] and Ale 2/- per bottle, glass of spirits 6d.
A good opposition would teach the Hunters River screws a fair and
wholesome lesson. Lunched with Mr. & Mrs. Marshall and Messrs. Klein
and King on board the ship St. Vincent Capt. John Young where we had a
noble spread. Mr. King gave me a very pressing invite to accompany him
into the Interior on a visit to some of his stations which I promised to
We went on board the ship Blundel, fitting for the embarkation of horses to India, a trade which has been favourably pursued for some time and which may yet become most beneficial. She had 30 stalls fitted in her hold, the water baths being covered with some six inches of shingle. There were also 54 stalls in the [indecipherable] dicks - the ship finds water only and the charge for freight is about £13 per horse, to which the cost of forage and grooming remains to be added. The shipment hitherto have returned a good profit, and it is to be hoped that an advantageous outlet for this superfluous stock of Australia may be securely established.
Went to the Council Hall and found the members engaged in debate of no great interest. The Hall is a very pretty and convenient one remarkably comfortably fitted up, both for the convenience of Members, the public, and reporters. It forcibly impresses a Van Diemonian, who accustomed to see the public of the penal settlement, congregating in a large chamber, strewn like a horse ring with saw dust, regards the well carpeted, gentleman like room with very different feelings.
However, the Council of New South Wales have a freedom of debate and action denied to the impotent puppets of Tasmania, a matter of much self gratulation to Sir Eardley Wilmot who is reported to hug himself on his escape from infliction of “the little Parliament at Sydney”. The subject matter of regret, not merely for Van Diemens Land which possesses no representation, but for Australia is that the franchise is too limited,
the popular representations too few, and the Crown Nominees too many -
various measures, of much import, being thereby either strangled in the
birth, or shorn of their most beneficial characteristics . The separation
of Port Philip from the Central districts has been a battle field for
some time, and was fought and lost a few days since. Much, no doubt, is
to be said both for and against the measure - but, however much the
Separationists may be in the right they can never hope to carry the
measure in the present assembly where the Govt. nominees are opposed to
them, and where the Central members outnumber them in the proportion of 6
An incidental debate on the amount or rather an enquiry into the respective amount of the expenditure at Sydney and Melbourne gave demonstrative proof of this, an Hon. Member (Mr. Windyear) comparing Port Philip to a lad who had outgrown his trousers and who upon refusal of his parents to grant him a new pair makes out a requisition for every tailors bill paid to his grandfather. This might be very witty, but I confess I could not discover its point. The truth is if Sydney be grandpapa, Port Philip is too forward and sturdy an urchin to be easily held in leading strings - and if, as alleged, the territory of port Philip (far removed) be as large and as valuable as that of Sydney and the Central districts, it is surely entitled to as large a share of representation and as large a proposition of expenditure from the Colonial purse.
As a totally disinterested traveller I deem this but fair and equitable - and surely some means should be devised to render the law courts of P. P. independent of those of Sydney, which entails upon suitors the frequent worry of a 600 mile journey to the great immediate damage of their purse and prospective disorganisation of their affairs during absence. Mr. and Mrs. Marshall left us this morning at 8 per steamer Tamar for West Maitland. Our party is rapidly breaking up. I fear if the M’s attempt settling they will make but sorry work of it.
Saturday: 24: We have got another lady, a Mrs. Haggitt,
recently returned from London, also another gent name unknown. From 3 our
dinner hour has been altered to 6. Mr. Klein borrowed a pound from me.
Mr. Aldridge, bid me adieu, warmly reminding me of my promise to visit
him. The usual landing place at Sydney is at Waterman’s Stairs, by
Campbell’s Wharf, and close to what used to be termed, lucus a non
lucendo, the Dock Yards, close to which is the Queens Wharf and
Commissariat Stores, a large, ungainly structure raised by Govr.
Macquarie in 1812. In an obscure street (Argyle St.) close to Watermans
Stairs, is the Custom House an edifice beneath contempt, a new one
however is in a considerable state of forwardness on the Circular Wharf
itself in course of formation and which will be not merely an immense
advantage but a great ornament to the city.
Immediately upon landing the stranger enters George, the principal street of Sydney. Here the Commissariat Store is the first building that attracts his regard. A little way further up in open space, now sprinkled with building materials indicates the site of the old gaol, from the rocks overhanging which many victims have been seen expiating with their lives the offences agt. the outraged laws.
About the centre of George Street are the Barrackss erected in by Govr. Macquarie. They cover a large space of ground extending backwards to Clarence Street. They are about to be abandoned and the valuable ground sold. A few years since £250.000 might, it is said, have been easily realised, at present scarcely a fourth of that sum could be calculated on.
The new Barracks are constructing in the suburb called Darlinghurst. The accommodation to be for men. George Street is about two miles long and boasts many splendid shops and Hotels not unworthy Princely London. Of the latter, I may instance the Royal Hotel with its lofty pillared galleries in front, and the City Hotel, a goodly building of ample dimensions. The rising Cathedral is situated at the angle of George and Bathurst Streets.
Dined at 2, and afterwards accompd. Mr. Klein to the Demesne where he
took a sketch of the new Govt. House and circumjacent scenery for my book
- likewise of a Norfolk Island pine. Afterwards called at the Sydney
College Hyde Park, saw Mr. Braim, but he himself being engaged on a work
on the Colonies, little aid is to be expected.
Among the building [indecipherable] of Sydney, Lyon Terrace is perhaps the greatest. It comprises five very splendid mansions situated at the further extremity of the Race Course, as Hyde Park is more familiarly termed - these as the entablature expresses were erected anno 1841 in high and palmy days ere the Sydney Robins had reached the culminating point. The rental of each was then £500 a year, now £200 is about the expected sum, and not many occupants at that. There is one very handsome building on the right, and a small cottage on the left, which are excresances. Called at the Steamer Rose and afterwards visited the Market which was well frequented.
Sunday: 25: Mr. Klein, mon tres bon camarade, accompanied me to High Mass at St. Mary’s, at which Dr. Wilson the Romish Bishop of Tasmania officiated, and whereat His Grace Count Polding, the Archbishop of this territory, was present. The ceremony was solemn and imposing. The music of the highest character, and the audience most devout. We had an admirable homily from the epistle of the day, very ably and emphatically delivered, and if Christians, be their denomination what they may, only attended to the religious duties so earnestly enforced, there would be fewer desecrations of the Sabbath and less of that Sectarian violence, the blot of the age. The subject was that of the ten lepers, dwelling strenuously upon the manifold duties and obligations of man to his Creator whose ever during and Almighty greatness he happily and energetically described, contrasting in impressive terms the utter inamity and worthlessness
of all earthly triumphs, - of all human grandeur. Capt. Thomson of the
Ship Meg Merrilies dined with us. After dinner Mr. Klein and I visited
the Barque Eeveretta, and then strolled thro’ the Govt. Desmene,
where we met Capt. Young of the St. Vincent, who joined us. The grounds
were very much frequented, but never in any place did I see such a vast
assemblage of homely women as in Sydney. Met Lieut. Masters 58th. Went to
the Wesleyan Evg. Service in York Street with Klein.
After breakfast packed up my traps, preparatory to my trip to Maitland [indecipherable] - interrupted by Inches, with whom I afterwards went on board the barque Greenlaw, having been previously introduced to Drs. Harnett, Savage, and James Osborne R. N. I was myself universally mistaken for an R. N. owing to my Ball uniform. The Greenlaw (Driver’s) is a fine ship, and the Capt., John Edgar, a regular, hard a weathery old Jar. Mr. Passingham, the purser, and Mr. Clarke, the Surgeon came on board. £75 was asked for a single passage in the ‘tween decks.
Lunched on board the Meg Merillies, a high quarter decked ship. Capt. T. asked £120 for I and my dearest Kathleen. Called at the Herald Office and had a yarn with Mr. Kemp. Came home and found Klein finishing a sketch for me. Wrote to Capt. [indecipherable] and Bishop Broughton. Bid adieu to Mr. Aldridge - Inches came to take up his quarters here. His cousin, John Inches, came in the evening and we had a rubber or two, whereby I pocketed 1/6.
Tuesday: 27th A night and morning of heavy rain - Ship Templar,
with emigrants from Cork arrived, bringing English news up to the middle
of May - after breakfast, called upon Mr. King at the Hope, South Gate of
Barracks - Left my note at Bishop Broughton’s office - Thence
proceeded to Mrs. Healey’s at Woolomoloo to inquire about her
Orangery - found it otherwise disposed of - her residence situated most
agreeably at the head of one of the heights which everywhere indent the
shores of the Peninsula leading to the South Head -
On the way I passed close under the walls of Darlinghurst goal which are very lofty and enclose a large area of ground - The place of execution is over the entrance gate, and the scaffold appears to be of a moveable construction and fitted so as to be projected clear of the external wall, affording, thereby, to amateurs, ample facility to mark every convulsive throe - each agonizing contortion of the struggling sufferer - I much prefer the decent arrangement of Hobart Town, where the moment the fatal bolt is drawn the criminal sinks at once from public gaze, shrouded behind the prison walls -
This, however, would probably be a serious privation to the Sydney Cits who evince a marked interest in such sights - In the month of February last, John Knatchbuoll, once a Commander in the British Navy, a miscreant branded with countless atrocities, and who rendered up his life for the murder of a helpless widow, perpetrated in the most dastardly manner - This unhappy wretch was executed without the walls, upon a scaffold specially erected, and such was the eagerness to contemplate his ignominious exit, that numbers of the Sydney fair rolled in their carriages to the scene of doom, drawing up at the distance sufficient for them to gloat upon the writhings of the veteran sinner - A deplorable proof of the extent to which a vitiated female curiosity will impel the tender sex in gratification of a morbid appetite.
To the Southward, but immediately outside the Gaol Wall, stands the
sessions House, a substantial stone edifice, appropriated to the criminal
trials, and erected during the sway of Sir R. Bourke in the year 1836 - A
short half mile beyond the gaol, in the very centre of sand mounds, the
new Military Barracks are in the process of building - The Officers
quarters, a range of two story stone dwellings, with Verandahs in front,
the roofs substantially slated, and kitchens and stables in the rear, are
completed - the soldiers quarters are some parts one and two stories in
height, one more floor will complete them and then excellent
accommodation will be afforded for from ........to...... men -
The ground is as yet unenclosed, and has to be levelled in some spots and made in others, which the removal of sundry uninviting sand hills will tend greatly to facilitate - The distance is about a mile and a half from the George Street Barracks, the situation healthy and commanding but sterile even as the deserts of Arabia, and yet the prospect is not wholly uninviting since the waters of Sydney Cove with their numerous living freights glance proudly in the North, whilst the bright blue waves of Botany Bay thrust their sinuous arms deep into the bosom of the Southern shores - a glorious setting to a comparatively worthless picture -
Sydney and its suburbs is essentially Hibernian - The homely tongue of “Merrie England”, which stamps her Southern sister’s ”Saxon” origin, is here o’erborne by the Emerald brogue in all the rich variety of its manifold intonations, from the racy mellifluence of sprightly Munster, to the sober and portentous drawl of the “Black North”- The personal characteristics, too, are conspicuously apparent in the respective cities - Here the mansion and the palace are flanked by the hut and the hovel, and red heels and shoeless feet unequivocally betoken the from whence of the individual
Rags, filth, and squalor are intermingled with luxury, pomp, and super plenty - Hobart Town presents no such striking contrasts - Her mansions are not so numerous - her shops are less gaudy, and less extensive, but she can boast of English cleanliness, English order, and English comfort - No barefooted damsels disgrace her streets - the untidy cabin gives place to the well kept cot - and, in a word the arrangements, the habits, and the feelings are peculiarly English - English, too, they will descent, whilst it is to be feared a spirit of Irish insousiance will hardly fail to mark Australia for its own –
Called at Mr. Barkers Mill, Sussex Street, not at home - Left my card at the Mayors in Pitt Street. Mr. King visited me to say he would be unable to leave Sydney tonight. –
Among the different streets that named Macquarie boasts a tolerable
sprinkling of public buildings commencing with the Northern extremity we
have the new Australian Library and, a school of Industry for boys,
erected in 1826 - further on is the Council Chamber of the Legislative
Assembly, and, immediately adjoining, the Colonial Hospital an extensive
two story building with verandahs all round -
A few yards further , and at one of the angles of Hyde Park, the prisoner barracks, a large brick building, enclosed by a lofty stone wall, is placed - There is also a Chapel, now to leet, near the South end of Macquarie St., about the centre of which the beautiful mansion, ( by far the finest in Sydney) of Mr. Burdikin is situated - a noble colonade supported by fluted columns runs along the entire front, the main part of the building is three stories in height and is flanked by one story wings - Its late resident, who died a few days since, realised a magnificent fortune by a mode of universal currency in the colonies, namely by wringing from the necessitous who were induced to apply to him for aid, 15. 20. 30. 40 per cent and even more - and this extortion he believed to be
nothing more than fair and honourable employment of his
capital, a belief wherein he closed his earthly accounts at the age of 43
without a soul to mourn his doom, but hated and despised the ruling
passion evincing its all absorbing influence even within the jaws of
death - he having peremptorily ordered judgement ag.t an unfortunate
debtor to be entered up, whilst life was fleeting for every away -
Leaving Macquarie and bringing left shoulders forward we turn down King
Street, the first structure which then meets our eye is St. James’
Church, erected by Gov. Macquarie in - the Bishop’s registry office
Adjoining to the Church is the Supreme Court House, a red brick building, destitute of all Architectural pretension - It is about coeval with St. James’s - Crossing George Street and descending towards Darling Harbour we reach the Wharf whence the Paramatta steamers depart, also the Sophia Jane steamer, and several coasters - Sydney boasts a very considerable sprinkling of “Wine Vaults” alias “Gin Palaces” glittering with all the meretricious blandishments for which such establishments are celebrated -
The style of these Sydney Pandemoniums is scare inferior to those of London itself, and the votaries are, comparatively speaking, not less numerous - Public houses of all grades and degrees abound, especially in Pitt Street, which for the frail members of the Fancy Brigade may, of an evening, enter into competition with Regent Street or the Quadrant - Went to the Reading Room where I had the first opportunity of perusing my “Saturday Night and Sunday Noon at Sea.” which historiette appeared in Frasers Mag. for Jan.ry 1842 - Sad havoc has been made with the nautical phraseology - We had a very small dinner party, and, being nearly alone, I beguiled the evening with L.E.L.’s Francesca Carrara, to which I could but pay scant attention, my thoughts for ever wandering to my own dear Kathleen –
Wednesday: 28 th: - Accompanied Inches to the Circular Wharf
and saw some eight or ten horses shipped on board the Blundel - They did
not appear to be particularly choice animals, either for troop, draught
or hackney - It strikes me that picked nags only should be sent - Looked
into the Library - See the Calcutta had arrived in England from Hobart in
113 days - My old friend Bradshaw of the Ocean, 80, had got great credit
for the dispatch with which he had equipt the Thames, in charge whereof
he had sailed for Bermuda -
We have recently had a new importation into this house - namely a widow Haggitt, per Meg Merrilies from London, and Mr. Severn from Goulbourn, and a Mr. Gellard, from Illawara - Mrs Darling, late of Hobart, was here and desirous of seeing me because of her friendship for Mrs. Michael Fenton - A great recommendation to me truly !!! - Mr. Lewin called upon me, and wished me to go on board the London to see the good ship once more -
Took a round turn by Kent and Fort Streets from whence there is a superb view of Darling Harbour and the opposite village called Balmain - Well may Sydney be said to be founded on a stone quarry, seeing the well known locality, in olden parlance, hight The Rocks, is becoming converted into goodly terraces whereof the displaced blocks of free stone are rendered spacious dwellings or handsome warehouses -
Went again on board the Everetta - Like her accommodations much, but the talk of £ 90 for a single passage takes away ones breath - Ships ere long will be numerous enough, and the Templar, an especially find one, of 560 tons, will be on the berth in a few days - On my return I rec.d a very polite invitation to dine with His Excellency and Lady Gipps on Monday at 7 - Mr. King called to say his business was all at sixes and sevens so my trip to Jerry’s Plains is deferred sine die –
Won sixpence at Whist -
Thursday: 29th: - My Matutinal dues duly performed, I hastened to pen
a polite acceptance of Sir George Gipps’ invitation - That achieved
I adjourned to the Library where I assiduously conned the files of the
Hampshire Telegraph - From their account of the immense French Squadron
in the Pacific I apprehend that the occupation of Tahiti is but a cloak
for some greater, ulterior, operation - and that the Southern Ocean may
yet become the battlefield for the reassertion of British Naval
Supremacy, unless the British Lion be for ever [indecipherable]
Oh, for one little hour of ”Eo its Ned” to bring all their petty Tours to their bearings! - sooner or later this must be done and Johny Crafaud reinstructed in the wholesome lessons imparted erewhile at the Nile, Trafalgar, & other places too numerous to be here adverted to - It may be said, if they occupy, we can dispossess! - Of the eventual truth of such an axiom I entertain no doubt, but as prevention has even been held preferale to cure, and as Monsieur might, for mere pastime, and with complete impunity, knock Sydney and Hobart about their inhabitants ears, or else gut them, Bucanier fashion, a taste for which he evinces peculiar prediliction -
Why - It might be quite as well to send a few heavy batteries upon the defensible points of our ports and rivers - Inches, Klein, and I had a round turn of the ever charming Demesne, bending our steps towards a point of two bays whence we could hail our own noble ship, London - the boat was quickly dispatched for us and we had lunch on board, Klein taking a very picturesque sketch of the Govt Mansion and Fort Macquarie - Mr. Lowen and I visited the Corinthian, a whaler of 500 tons belonging to
Bristol, Rhode Island - Mr. Lowen was intent on the purchase of
shells, which a smart boy, with the regular “ I calculate”
air was equally intent in disposing to the best advantage - The Chief
Mate was busy heaving out her Mizzen Mast - I never could, by any
possibility have taken him to be an officer, his dress, air, and
appearance having a much closer affinity to one of our Chatham
On our return to the London I had an opportunity of witnessing the mute and helpless sufferings of the animal creation - A cow and calf had been brought alongside for shipment - The poor thing was fastened by the legs and lying powerless in the bottom of the cutter - A hitch was clapped round the fastenings, the tackle falls from the main yard arm put in requisition - “Walk away, cheerily” was the word, and, presto, poor Crummy was dangling in fruitless struggles aloft - On landing, I found the magnificent Band of the 99th were regaling the Natives with some choice music in the vicinity of Sir R. Bourkes statue - I have been perusing the two first volumes of L.E.L’s Francesca Carrarra - The tale itself is common place and vapid, but as a vehicle for its gifted authoress to vibify the outpourings of her glorious imaginings, every page is rife with beauty - full to o’erflowing with tender imagery and exquisite reflection can aught be more touching than the devotion of the Carrarra’s with all the eloquent deductions on life and its instable vanities drawn therefrom - The tale itself is but an ordinary portrait which the artist has made attractive by the lavish ornament of the golden frame wherein she has enclosed it. Is it not strange that the hero and heroine of almost every writer should be adorned with a perfection of beauty and grace, scarce to be met with, save in the creation of a Phidias, an Appelles, or a Praxiteles! is it that
Readers, as a class, can only find an interest in the vicissitudes of
ideal beauty? - Are proud aspirings, lofty conceptions, generous
emotions, a noble magnanimity or undying devotion to be accorded to a
matchless form, or beauteous visage only! Alas, for feeble humanity that
its covering should excite such universal homage! should call forth such
constant and elaborated paintings! how apt will the sparkling eye, the
brilliant complexion, the taper waist, the fairy finger, and the
symmetrical foot enchain our delighted gaze, causing us to minister to
the gratification of a heartless, soulless, senseless, doll, or a
beautiful demon, whilst we turn with indifference from the homely
countenance, even when we know it to be animated by a soul - a mind
inspired by all that is worthy in man, or elevated in devoted, suffering
Such always has been the case, and such, I fear, will it ever be.
Friday: 30: A night of heavy and untiring rain, but a morning of tolerable appearance, albeit chilly - Went to the Library where I gleaned the following authentic
Comparative Force of the French and British Squadrons In The Pacific
L’Uranie - Commodore Bruat - 60 gs. - 600 men
La Reine Blanche Admr. Petit Thours - 54 - 520 -
La Danae - 52 - 450”
La Barpole - (30 - 235”
La Meurthe - (30 - 235”
L’Ambescade (30 - 235”
La Somme - 22 - 190”
La Triumphante - 22 - 175”
L’Adonis - 20 - 175”
La Bucephale - 16 - 110”
336 - 2880
La Sirene - 54 - 500
La Charte, a ship of new constructions 46 - 400
3 Steamers - 6 Guns with 170 men each - 18 - 510
454 - 4290
From Hampshire Telegraph 8th April 1844
Dublin - Capt J.J. Tucker - 50 g - 500 men
Thalia - “ Chas. Hope - 42” - 300
Fisgard “ John a Demtze - 42” - 300
Carysfort “ Lord Geo. Paulet - 26”- 175”
Talbot - Sir Thos R. Thompson Bart. - 26” - 175”
Champion - Comr. John Clavell (acting) - 18” - 146”
Modiste - “ Thos Baillie - 18” - 146”
Daphne - Capt. John S. Onslow - 18” - 146”
Basiliste - Lieut H. Hunt (acting) - 6” - 45”
Cormorant (steam) - Comdr Geo. T. Gordon 6” - 150”
Salamander (sloops) - “ Andr. S. Hamond - 6” - 150”
258” - 2233”
N.B. The Collingwood one of the new and magnificent 80s of 2500 tons and some 750 men was to be commissioned on the 27th April - Rear Admr. Sir G.F. Seymour G.C.H. relieving Rear Ad. Thomas and the Dublin in the Pacific command -
What can the presence of such a heavy French force in these remote
seas portend - Surely neither the barren acquisition of the Marquesas,
nor the due coercion of poor Queen Pomare can demand the surveillance of
15 French ships mounting 454 heavy guns, and carrying 4,290 men Has the
valorous, the chivalric Thouars, some other tour to achieve? - Be
there any fresh fields wherein the Bucaniering spirit may shine as
triumphantly as some few years since did that of his worthy
coadjutor, he of the Venus” - contrast the powerful character of
the French ships with the pigmy ones of Britain - It is neither the
superiority of guns nor men that strikes one, but the capacity, the
scantling, and the armament of the ships
Add to this their facility of concentration, whilst our squadron is dispersed in single and inefficient ships at remote portions of our extended empire - Come was (if come it must) when it may, we have no apprehension of the Meteor flag’s bearing itself as Meteor like as ever - but on a sudden declaration of war the immediate presence of such a force, without a corresponding one to keep it in check, might work serious evil - What could prevent the destruction of Sydney, Melbourne, or Hobart town? - Not the few guns strown here and there - Surely if the British Govt. will neither send us ships, nor fortify our towns, they might at least furnish a tolerable supply of artillery and ammunition - Prevention is better than cure, and if ever the Southern Ocean shall become a battle field we trust at least to be so far prepared as not to disgrace the sires from whom we sprung
Proffered the foregoing Phillipic, in an improved shape to the Sydney Morning Herald - day or two since there was a sale of some property ( Blanch’s, with buildings thereon) in George Street. Depressed as the times are £ 82.13.4 per foot was realised - this has been a cold, raw, dreary, day - Mr. Lowen and Mr. Inches dined here - In the evening we indulged in our customary rubber whereby I pocketed one shilling
Wednesday: 31st A good deal of rain fell during the night, but
morning dawned serenely tho’ chilly. A weary month has fled since I
bid farewell to my own Kathleen. How many must lapse ere we meet again?
That is if God graciously permit our reunion. How vain all things seem
when sundered from Her - society loses its tone - enjoyment its
zest - and life its aim - Oh, Heavenly Father, protect and comfort her
and, oh, in mercy, restore us ere long each to the other. This is my hope
- this is my prayer and my trust in this and confidence that the light of
each returning morning is drawing us nearer sustains my spirits and
cheers my soul. Friends - friends! have ye not been fiends! -
Sundered, yet not divided - Separated, yet not disunited - if our persons
be remote, our spirits are near.
Fond affection rears its own peculiar images - the earth, the air, the water, all offer sources of thought whereby each can link the beloved absent one in tender imagination to the other. At such a doleful hour, we can say, we parted - “Here”, my own true wife, may exclaim, “here is the spot where I received my poor husband’s agonized adieu” - and, “here” that husband may reply - “Here is some cherished memento of my devoted wife - whom Heaven reward for all her inappreciable virtues”. Yes, my adored one, dear, inexpressibly dear art thou to me - I dwell upon your recollection until my heart faints within me from the very yearning of its tenderness. I gaze at the Moon, which, clasped in each others embrace, we have so often rapturously contemplated, and as I gaze I ask myself the question - “Is she peering into the cold clear planet?” Oh, Kathleen, would to God we were never called upon thus to dream apart! Amen! Spent the greater part of the day in the Library perusing Tom Burke - Introduced by Inches to Dr. West - Made my Adieu to Capt’s Young, Attwood and Thompson - The St. Vincent, London, Mrs Merrilies, Blundell and Marie Somes, sailing in the morning. Introduced to Dr. Byrne - met Mr. Murphy who promised to introduce me to Archbishop Polding - Lost sixpence at Whist.
Sunday: 1st September 1844 Strolled to the Flag Staff, and found the spot which the London had, for the last one and twenty days occupied, vacant. That noble ship and two of her consorts were quite out of sight - a third had her topsails to the mast, but Maria Somes reposed tranquilly on her shadow. Attended Mass at the Church dedicated to St. Patrick, a peculiarly elegant and substantial structure externally but unfinished within. The congregation was very numerous, and the Priest delivered us, with a strong Irish accent, a very pointed and well applied homily, from the texts furnished by the Gospel of the day, on the improbability of serving God and Mammon, and the eternal import of seeking the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. The subject afforded the preacher powerful scope to apply the matter locally and practically, and with an unsparing but dexterous hand did he probe and sift the evil for which he likewise held forth an unfailing remedy. Forcibly did he dwell upon the comparatively great desecration of the Sabbath, which he averred was scarce distinguishable from any other day; such were the scenes of reckless worldly enjoyment, such the desire to devote every moment to gain, that teams were loading and driving to market - equipage, horsemen and pedestrians were hurrying hither and thither, their thirst for gain or pleasure hardly permitting them even to think of God, much less to spare five minutes in his service. In the language of scripture, said the Revd. gentleman “they sought to add house to house and field to field - hundreds of thousands of acres were too narrow for their ambition - tens of thousands of cattle and sheep, innumerable herds of horses, and all the other riches of the earth they sought to clutch with eager grasp - but of God they thought not, and what was the result - The Mammon which they worshipped had forsaken them, and they, but late the lords of
thousands, had been hurled from luxury and affluence to misery and indigence - their riches had taken the wings of the morning, their merriment had been turned to bitterness and lamentation, and all their once proud hopes smitten to the dust. they, however, who sought the Kingdom of God and his righteousness founded their trust on a hope that could never fail. It ensured the highest happiness on earth - the righteous man was never seen to beg his bread nor were his seed desolate - and when earth and all its trials and tribulations were fading away, he had laid up for himself a crown of glory, a treasure eternal in the Heavens! May the Lord Almighty enable me and mine to govern our hearts that such a blessed portion may be ours.
Enjoyed an after dinner sojourn in the beautiful demesne which, as usual, was exceedingly well frequented. Attended Evening Service at St. Phillips - Mr. Elder, Chaplain to the Gaol, preached - selecting the holiness and self devotion of Josiah to the Lord as a vehicle for the introduction of sundry strictures upon the Educational System of Lord Stanley, about to be applied here, and for the discussion of which question a public meeting (said to be a one sided one) is convened tomorrow, and at which a somewhat stormy debate is anticipated. Mr. Elder deeply deplored the comparative lack of religious feeling and energy and feared that religious tuition would be lost sight of. The cause he sought to advocate is an all important one. Unhappily, as it struck my friend and I, his statements were ill arranged, and his applications without point of ingenuity - dragged forward, to use a familiar phrase, head and shoulders, without a proper starting point and with a laboured termination, the beginning being in sad disconnection with the end. A meeting of Episcopalians, under the wing of Bishop Broughton, is convened the same evening to discuss the “Established” view of the matter.
Monday 2nd: A Brig to the Southward signallized - Heaven grant
it may prove the Louise, bringing me glad tidings of my beloved wife. I
feel a great degree of mental fidgeting, having dreamt on Saturday night
I was called to receive her last sigh - Her last sigh! Oh God that
would indeed be the crowning agony of the many I have suffered. There is
nought but disappointment for frail humanity. The brig signlled is in,
from Launceston not Hobart. I am, therefore, again doomed to the
lingering pangs of anxious expectation.
At 7 I repaired to Govt. House to dinner. The party was a tolerably large one consisting of Sir Geo. & Lady Gipps, Col. Despard of 99th and his lady, Archbishop Polding, Bishop Wilson & Dr. Gregory, Capt. & Mrs. O’Connel, Mr. & Mrs. R. Therry, Mr. Parker, Priv. Sec. Miss Mitchell, 3 officers of the 58, 2 of the 80th, one named Walsh, 2 other gentlemen and 3 other ladies. Sir George did the honours of his table with exceedingly good taste, his intelligence and urbanity rendering him a most accomplished and agreeable host. Dr Polding too, gifted with no mean conversational powers, imparted greatly to the charms of the coterie by the blanc suavity of his manner and the point of his discourse -
Of bishop Wilson, and Col. Despard I was also equally favourably impressed, and my fair neighbour Miss Mitchell was by no means deficient in contributing her quota of intelligence to the general fund. In taking sine with that young lady I assisted her and myself to what I deemed to be Sherry - perceiving me tasting it in a peculiar manner she whispered “It is toast and water”. (I was puzzling myself to decide if it were Australian wine) “Pray, pass it to Sir George” continued the young lady “and let him derive an equal benefit from our impartiality”. Instead of stiff, State affairs it was a most agreeable, convivial party, even to me an utter stranger, personally [indecipherable] The dinner was handsomely served and of excellent quality and variety.
The condition of this Colony and V.D. Land were discussed, Sir Geo. was unable to see why V.D.L. should not be greatly benefited by the heavy British expenditure - this I endeavoured to explain. I found he entertained like opinions with my own regarding the Banks having made Bankrupt of the Community. He, also, deemed the people had been labouring under a species of moral delirium tremens. I had a long talk with Dr. Wilson; he asked me if I thought these Colonies could become great countries. My reply was “No”, his opinion, he said, also.
Tuesday: 3: The meeting of last night proved even more stormy
than I had anticipated. The speakers were continually interrupted by a
body of packed ruffians, and, at length, the Mayor declared an
Adjournment until noon this day. The Church of England meeting under the
wing of Bishop Broughton passed off quietly and was also adjourned until
From some few remarks Education would appear to be at a very low ebb, one speaker asserting that 14,000 children were now as utterly destitute of all tuition as the offspring of the savage Aborigines, numbers of parents pampering the body at any cost but starving the mind with unscrupulous indifference.
Made up a parcel of my Tasmanian sketches and Vindications for the perusal of Dr. Wilson. Thank Heaven, a brig from Hobart in sight, ere long I shall be blest, I trust, with a happy letter.
Went to the City Theatre to hear the meeting on the Education Question. It was packed with a dense rabble of the lowest and most ignorant Irish, a set of ruffians as capable of understanding such a question as a herd of wild cattle. Groans, hootings and yellings drowned all attempts at speech. Incidental mention of Lord Stanley’s name elicited a general roaf consigning His Lordship to a warm spot never mentioned to ears polite.
One gent tried an appeal to the fair play of English feeling - he forgot, it was to the lowest scum of Dublin and Cork, and these party primed the address was vainly made. Under such circumstances the Mayor was compelled to dissolve a meeting, most disgracefully thwarted from all expression of its opinion. Recd. a most harrowing letter from my adored wife to which I made an instant and earnest reply. Also another from Mr. Reid with a pressing invite to Newcastle, whither I purpose proceeding in the evening. On reaching the Steam Wharf I found that neither the Tamar nor any of the Co. boats were there, but the Sophia Jane, an opposition steamer was preparing to start. She, having an awful depression amidships and being, moreover, a very old vessel, I would not tempt Providence in her - having a wholesome recollection of our sufferings in the old [indecipherable] on the 3rd August 1841.
Wednesday: 4th The first thing I did was to write to Mr. Reid intimating that he might expect me at Newcastle by breakfast time on Saturday Ever since receipt of my beloved wife’s distracting journal the worm has been gnawing at my heart with remorseless fury. They and they only who are sundered, in poverty and misfortune, from the one worshipped object of all their earthly solicitude, and who know that that beloved one is desolte in soul and worn down in frame by the anxious energy which induces over exertion - they only who have felt this can appreciate my tortures now. It is not merely anguish for the bodily pangs the deaf sufferer endures. It is the terror amounting to horror, and to which absence and distance impart tenfold intensity, that racks the lover husband’s bosom. Oh, my Catharine, Angel of light, my bird of blessing, my own true and loyal wife, may God of his infinite mercy restore you to wonted health and strength. May the suffering depart from your careworn frame. May the gloom of desolation and despondency be banished from your long tried and over tasked mind. May peace and joy once more reanimate your kind and merry heart and may you speedily be restored to me, safe and sound, and never more to part. and Tom Welsh, the gay, the reckless, the dissolute Tom Welsh, has gone to his account. Pray God he was prepared. Little cause have I ever had to mourn his doom, and yet most sincerely do I so. I cannot but deplore many good talents and many estimable qualities sorely misapplied, and even were he devoid of any such, we cannot know that one with whom we have been long, altho’ painfully, associated on the mighty deep, has passed for ever from this transitory scene without experiencing a sensation closely allied to sorrow, if it be not actually sorrows self. The Kinnear was spoken on the passage by the Cadet which brought the melancholy tidings to V.D.L. Many boon companions in Dublin will miss him. Dr. James Osborne R.N. has come here to reside. His ship, Maria Somes, sailed this day with the remainder of the 80th Regt.
Thursday 5th: Mr. Henry Osborne, a Cousin of the Drs., came here from Illawarra last night. A very dense morning fog which ended in a magnificent day. Drew £10 at the Bank - I have been conning a tale entitled “Honour” the production of a sister in law of Inches. There are some very pretty ideas in it, but a great lack of incident, and the dialogue is fine drawn over much. I have thought for some days seriously of a Romance. My hero shall be a wanderer over earth and Ocean, a predestinate reprobate of high animal courage, strong mental capacity and powerful physical endurance. I will conduct him thro’ all the lands I myself have visited, describing scenes and embodying a map of strange and novel incidents of such a character as, should I be fortunate to handle skilfully, must prove both effective and commanding the title “The Redestinate” - or “Twenty Years of a Convict Life” . How would that look on the front pages of 3 Vols [indecipherable] God grant that the Marian Watson may bring me some happier intelligence from my darling wife - that would be delight indeed!
I have just returned from visiting the Sydney Salting Co’s
establishment which is situated at the southern extremity of Sussex
Street and close to the heart and margin of Darling Harbour. the premises
are spacious and well regulated, and under the able superintendence of
the present Manager, Mr. John Inches, give evidence to a degree of order
and cleanliness altogether surprising. They are now in full operation,
not, I am sorry to say, in their original and legitimate avocation, but
in the more recent and profitable one, that of boiling down the vast
surplus herds and flocks of Australia in manufacture of tallow, gelatine
and neats foot oil.
To begin description at the beginning. The bullocks are received into a large stock yard, from whence they are forced into a roofed enclosure, underneath which at an accessible height a platform is laid. Upon this platform one or more men with an iron shod pole is stationed. With this weapon the ox is struck between the horns; the instant he falls he is dragged away, slaughtered and dressed, quartered and cut up into junks of portable size, which are run up to a first floor loft, where they are piled in immense heaps.
Ay, heaps that caused me sore regret when I bethought me of the
thousands of starving poor in dear old England, and beheld so much fine
fat meat comparatively sacrificed. these nutritious heaps are then placed
in hollow cylinders (capable of containing ten or twelve bullocks), the
cylinders are subjected to a powerful steaming, and are fitted with tubes
whence the rich juices of the meat flow into large vats, tallow and soap
being intimately blent therein - the juices or soap, after a sufficient
cooling, are drawn into another vat on the floor beneath, and the upper
vat where the tallow remains, and which is fitted with a double bottom,
is exposed to a boiling heat amounting to a pressure of 40 lbs to the
square inch. This exhales all the aqueous particles and renders the
tallow of the purest and firmest consistence.
The gelatine after being thus drawn off is poured into shapes, or bladders, and is then ready for shipment. Comparing the specimens of the Sydney Salting Co. with those I have seen in Europe I have no hesitation in pronouncing the vast superiority of quality of the former, which I feel confident will ere long become an article of valuable export. The fibres of the meat together with the bones are in due course voided through a hatch at one side of the cylinder.
The meat in this stage resembles so many torn threads of an old carpet and is not of much value. Pigs have been fed with it but many are alleged to have died in consequence. The bones are rendered peculiarly malleable and as a manure I question if they would not surpass [indecipherable] itself, but with [indecipherable] I feel assured, Bass’s Straits, the islands and coasts of Australia and Tasmania superabound. Altho’ in a principal point, from the little encouragement their efforts have hitherto met with, the Salting Co. may be deemed a misnomer it is still applicable in a limited sense, seeing rounds of Beef and Tongues are pickled, the former selling in small casks at 2d per lb, package included, the latter in bags of one dozen each at 18/- per dozen. The quality
is of the very finest. The sheep’s tongues are likewise pickled,
and the hindquarters converted into Mutton hams. These, weighing from
from5 to 8 lbs are sold for 9d. each. The Salting Co. are their own
Coopers, and their Casks (iron bound) are made of New Zealand pine
staves. They boil down all stock offered, at the rate of 7d for each
sheep, 7/- for each bullock. Of course there will be a considerable
export of hides and horns, and of an annually increasing amount, seeing
the consumption, in all shapes, by no means equals the growing stock of
this gigantic territory. Its prospects are for the present depressed but
its energies cannot for long be represt. A sale of 2,600 cattle, horses
and station took place today - Fifteen thousand pounds were paid down a
few years since for the lot. Today under £2,000 was realised.
This is a most transcendently lovely day, albeit somewhat of the hottest. Went to the Demesne, which was thickly studded with equestrians, pedestrians and charioteers, attracted by the harmonious tones of the 99th’s superb band. The Overtures to Tra Diavolo, [indecipherable] and the Irish Quadrilles, cum multis aliis, were given in a style the most exquisite. Many of the elite were present. We have Osborn (Dr John), the Thirds with us - and Slip Falloon came back to gladden us. We had also a Miss Maloney and Mrs. Boyd’s son at dinner. Finished the tale called Honour, on which I cannot award extravagant commendation.
Friday: 6th Missed Dr. Inches at breakfast, his yesterday’s society so pleasant as to induce his remaining all night; Dr. James Osborne, one of the most pleasant, merry fellow, far more of the Jolly Jack Tar than the Medico - took his brother officer to task in his own facetious way. In parliamentary phrase, Inches explained, giving a good account of himself. In countenance Osborne is a close resemblance to the Hibernian Oracle, but entertains no such sympathy in disposition - I am indebted
to his good memory for the following Waggish Announce, posted throughout London in the year 1816 for the 2nd Lieut. of the ship named which, however, did not go to the good living station, proceeding instead to Algiers where nobly she played her part giving the Corsairs a better bellyful than they bargained for –
L E A N D E R
Can Stow Corvettes on Her booms,
Eighteen Gun Brigs On Her Quarters,
And Tens Up Astern –
Every man a Double Berth
Can play at leap frog on the lower deck with the hammocks slung
Twenty Prime Fellows Wanted For the Admirals Barge;
None Need Apply That Would Not Eat a Yankey Alive;
Going to That Fine Full Bellied Station Called
Where you Get a Glass of Boatswains Grog For Two Pence
And a cod Fish for a Biscuit
God Save The King, The Leander, And a Full Bellied Station
Breakfast over I went to the Steam Wharf and found the Tamar would sail this evening at 8. My kit is stowed and I am ready for a start. I have written up my letter to my dearest wife. No sail in sight from the S - therefore no further ease from the racking anxiety that tears me.
After conning the newspapers I strolled towards the Circular Wharf, embarking in the steamer Australian, of which I was sole passenger, for the North Shore. In about ten minutes she landed me at Milson’s Point, fare 3d. It is somewhere in this vicinity my old shipmate in the Greenoak, Alick William Thairp resides. The locality is exceedingly romantically picturesque, yet nothing can be more painful than the drear sterility of all around. It is a wonderful proof of what climate will effect to contemplate the ample, the rank vegetation clinging to and covering the never ending masses of rock, which are only lost in vast beds of hungry and sparkling
sand - Nothing can be more savagely wild than the landscape - It is
just such, in the chief features, as are to be found in the remote
mountain lakes of Tasmania - The continuous beds of impracticable sand
stone defy the labours of civilisation, the few patches tortured into an
assumption of fertility rendering the natural inhospitality of the
surrounding space only the more powerfully prominent, like a farthing
rushlight in an ancient Gothic Hall, its feeble ray serving to render the
darkness visible it would vainly seek to illumine –
Nevertheless, here, amid all this chaotic mass of rock, sand, and scrub, numerous noble villas have everywhere arisen - This worthless ground has been sold at one hundred pounds per acre, and goodly mansions have sought to adorn a desart stamped as such by the hand of nature - But for the beauteous and ramified arms of its hundred bays what a hideous place Sydney would be, but the water, the bright blue, everywhere present water imparts a softness, a grace, a majesty to a picture which otherwise must have been less than valueless –
From its peculiar position it is next to impossible to obtain an entirely commanding view of Sydney, indeed I have seen no painting which conveys anything like a just idea of its character or importance - Perhaps the North Shore may be as good a spot as any but still it is imperfect since George, Pitt, and other principal streets are excluded from the view - Threading the wild bush, every shrub teeming with its blossoms, I made a detour with the intention of re crossing at the Upper Ferry –
Heavy rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, descended, indeed this has proved one of the finest dropping seasons and great hopes of splendid crops are consequently entertained - Passing St. Leonards I gained a projecting rock whence the city and its magnificent harbours might be scanned at a glance - At my feet sowed the pellucid waters - directly in front, Windmill point and Darling Harbour - on the right the extensive suburb of Balmain, Goat Island, and the windings of Parramatta river flashing and flickering in the occasional gleams of the sun - On the left lay Pinchgut island, Fort Macquarie, Govt House and Demesne, with the embouchere of far famed Sydney Cove, whilst the distant background of
Woolloomoloo, with its palaces and towers, and four goodly Wind Mills made up a scene well worthy an artists attention - I again took boat, - the Ferry Queen, a diminutive steamer of very neat construction, - at Billy Blues point, from which I was conveyed to the foot of Windmill Street, reaching home just in sufficient time to escape a heavy thunder storm - After finishing a very voluminous epistle to my beloved wife, I joined our family dinner party - The rain descended in torrents and all were anxious I sho.d remain where I was - however, I persevered, and when I shook Inches by the hand I co.d easily perceive the warm kindliness of his heart, and the regret he felt for the desolation of my unhappy fortunes - Bade an earnest adieu to all, and hurried on board the Tamar, which got under weigh precisely at 8. P.M; I found Dr. Wilson R.N. on board before me - He was taking a look at the Hunter River prior to his departure for London, per Haidee, on Tuesday - He experienced a considerable jobble of a sea when outside the heads, but a fair wind wafted us merrily along –
Saturday: 7th - On turning out at daylight, I found we were close to Newcastle Heads which are exactly sixty miles distant from Those of Port Jackson - For this trip the cabin fare per Tamar is only 3/- a price charged with the view of running Sophia Jane (7/6) off the station - these two vessels sail every Tuesday & Friday - By the Tamar Co.s Boats Rose & Thistle, which sail every other day the fare is 15/- This does not deserve encouragement, but, unhappily, Sophia is rather aged, somewhat bent in the middle, and not altogether the most ship shape to a sailors eye - The coast about Newcastle is anything but interesting, consisting of a low sandy and unmeaning shore - The entrance of the river is distinctly marked by an island peak called Nobby’s on either side of which the Hunter disemboques itself - The peak is now being shorn of its fair proportions as well as a cliff on the mainland, and extensive causeway or breakwater being in course of formation to unite the two, and thus block up the southern passage which is most exposed to the fury of the
ocean - Public opinion is much divided as to the beneficial results of
this measure - some asserting it will tend to cloak the Northern passage,
others insisting it must of necessity deepen it - From my own observation
of similar matters, I fully accord in the theory of the latter -
Newcastle is rather a pretty looking place, lying on the gentle slope of
a small hill with a Northern exposure - It contains perhaps 1400
inhabitants, and is principally remarkable for the Collieries with which
it is enriched - These collieries are leased to the Australian
Agricultural Company of whose investmn.ts this is said to be the most if
not the only profitable one - They charge 11/- per ton for splendid coals
delivered from the [indecipherable], - They pay, I am told £500 of
Monthly wages, a sum which, in the depth of the surrounding gloom, is of
vast account - they have several shafts sunk -
Wharves have hitherto been unattended to but a good one is now in course of formation - Military Barracks, affording quarter for 16 Officers and 200 men have not long been completed, Major Last, Mr. De Winton, Dr. Galbraith and a detachment of the 99th at present occupy them - A lefty wall was intended to enclose them but only a small portion of it has been finished - There are prisoners Barracks at Nobby, and a stockade at the Wharf, the prisoners are men sentenced to Irons - Some time since half a dozen of them took to the water with the view of escaping from Nobby - The sentry challenged and ordered them to return - five obeyed but the sixth persevered - Again he was warned and persisted - The sentry fired - hit him, and down he went; his body appeared no more and most probably was drifted out to sea - Coal abounds in all direction here, the very fact of the cliff being surcharged with it -
The height adjoining Nobby is called Signal Hi8ll - from this all vessels approaching are made known, and here a large coal fire is nightly made to do duty f a light house. The town wears a very woe begone look at present, and only some short time since 50 of the limited Military force was detached to New Zealand - On Signal Hill, without carriages, lie 7 - 6 pounders in the last stage of consumptive [indecipherable] - The Hunter is a very
shallow river in many places, even the light draughted steam boats
constantly taking the ground - Bar Harbours and shallow rivers will ever,
I fear, mar commercial greatness in this colony - The vicinity of
Newcastle is extremely sandy and barren - An immense sand hill has been
blown up between the town and Signal Hill, underneath which a capital
made road lies engulfed - there are many good houses of which the new
Police Office erected by Sir R. Bourke is a very creditable specimen -
Opposite to Newcastle on the Northern Bank lies Stockton a small village
which boasts a Salt Works, Iron foundry, and Woolen Manufactory -
This latter has been established barely one year - Already it gives employment to 50 hands, but when the Machinery which is shortly expected from England shall arrive, they expect to find work for 200 - The carding, spinning, weaving and dressing establishments are excellent, and the Tweed which they produce of first rate quality and vended at the moderate price of 3/3 per yard, wholesale - From the ashes of the boilers they anticipate making soap of superior excellence, so that nothing is suffered to go to waste –
My old friend Mr. Reid and his family received me with much kindness. It grieved me that they, like I, should have experienced the heavy pressure of the times, however, it has fallen with lighter hand upon them than upon my beloved wife and myself, and than many of our unlucky acquaintance - Mr. Reid had fortunately settled a considerable portion of his property upon Mrs. R. - We had Mr. Baker and Dr. Bowker to dinner which was ample in quantity and excellent in quality - Major Last and Dr Galbraith came in after, or rather to Tea - a rubber was the order of the evening - Short Whist - 6d. points, and trebles counted - My luck, as usual, was unprecedentedly bad for any ordinary man, playing every hand with unvarying ill fortune, and losing 27 points, an extent of play which, in my poverty stricken state, I would have been more than glad to have escaped from - and which, indeed, had I known trebles to have been scored, I must have declined indulging in - I could have had far more interest in Inches’ prudent and quite as exciting rubber of 6.d - but there is no choice in these matters sometimes -
Sunday: 8th Intense anxiety for my adored Wife is preying upon my very vitals - I arose with a throbbing heart, aching head & wretched spirits - Would to God her welfare could be ascertained and we again be reunited - Oh, Almighty Father, bless her, I implore the with thy choicest blessings - grant her health strength and happiness and, oh, restore us in love and joy each to the other - Attended service at Newcastle Church, a picturesque looking edifice of the Old English School; perched upon the brow of the slope overhanging the town - Its clean white washed walls, and short thick set steeple are prominent land marks to the shipping - Its peaceful Graveyard lies on the Northern side, beneath a sort of natural terrace - Several of the would be mementos of frail mortality are themselves in a mouldering and fragile condition –So much for Earthly Monuments - can aught more forcibly impress the necessity of placing our record on high - In this immediate vicinity one child was yesterday killed by a slip of sand and another extricated with difficulty, from the treacherous mass - The discussion of Lord Stanley’s Educational System is affording a text for the Clergy - Mr. Wilton the incumbent here gave us a zealous but rather laboured exposition of the subject.
Service over we took a stroll to Windmill Hill, from whence the town, the sinuosities, bays, and islands of the Hunter, with the extended scrubly plains bordering its course are comprehended at a glance - The picture is very far from being a glowing one, scarcely one spot of cultivation gladdening the sterile character of the sandy desart whose worthlessness is, however, screen ed by the dense but useless brush wood where with it is covered - The only point of interest landwards is when the eye falls upon the far distant mountains whose remoteness, as usual, “lends enchantment to the view” - Indeed, there is an almost painful degree of sameness in all Australian and Tasmanian scenery, one place so closely resembling another that the eye grows weary in traversing the measureless depths of primeval forests, interminable plains, and regularly irregular mountains - At the back of the Windmill The Australian Agricultural Co. have established a village for their miners, comprising some
18 or 20 houses to each of which half an acre of garden ground is attached - The company hold 2000 acres here, andtheir miners who live rent free earn n average rate of wages of 25/- weekly - A new shaft has been sunk in this quarter, but it is not expected to commence working for a year or two - Turning our back upon the vast expanse of sterile land outspread before us, we next contemplate a much more boundless extent of sky and water - The vast Pacific in all its might stretches onwards until the blue of Ocean and Ether commingle - The sea is ever a glorious sight, but to be truly exhilirating it must be dotted with here and there a tall ship - few such are seen from the heads of Newcastle, upon whose beach the unploughed wave generally breaks in solitary murmurings - The whole picture either sea or landward is stupendous, but chilling from the great paucity of the necessary life like accompaniments.
Upon requesting Mr. Reid to receive his card winnings he refused in themost peremptory manner insisting that he and I played for amusement only - There is a Major Crummer formerly of the gallant 28th and recently Police Magistrate here - In the economical order of the day, the Magistracy has been discontinued, and his sole pay is £50 a year and free house as Commiss.r Court of Requests. His wife is a Greek lady and he has 7 children - Like other officer he was induced to sell out and settle in this El Dorado - Bad times have pressed him like others, and he is one of many proofs of the worse than insanity of any officer to part with his Comm[indecipherable] - Half pay may be small but it is certain, and no man should be tempted to dispose of it without the most anxious consideration. We had a most agreeable party at dinner comprising Major Last, an intelligent off handed gentleman, - Dr. Galbraith, one of the most lively and garrulous of the Scotch Esculapii - Mr. De Winton, a very handsome, unassuming, young man, who introduced himself as a connexion of my [indecipherable] facetious neighbour C.O. Parsons - The last not least in this category was Miss [indecipherable] Crummer, eldest daughter of the Major, a young lady of great daring in equitation, and particularly remarkable for the deep intonation of a rather masculine voice - In other respects very agree
Monday: 9th A lovely morning the whole of which was spent in writing to my beloved wife, Mrs. Atkinson, and Inches - My penmanship over, - which was achieved by 12.30 P.M. I joined my kind host at lunch -, thence we sauntered down town in expectation of the steamer, but a lugubrious inclination of the semaphore on Signal Hill, ((thus ,) apprised us of her being aground on the flats where for three hours she very tranquilly remained, or rather I sho.d say they both Sophia and Tamar having equally imbedded themselves - At last about 5 Sophia made her appearance and on board I saw Dr. Wilson to whom I wished a good passage to Europe and entrusted my Sydney & Hobart letters - We had a stroll together - Dressed and dined at the New Barracks with Major Last, Mr. De Winton, Mr. Reid and Dr. Galbraith - We had a delightful evening and I was more than highly amused with the Majors account of raising the 99th in Glasgow in1824, upon which occasion he was Insign, drill corporal, drill sergeant, and God knows what. We had a series of rubbers at Whist - Change partners as we might I was ever a loser, a proof thatno man, even in trifles, may contend with fortune - Lost 6/-
Tuesday: 10th Long re Phoebus had left his ocean couch I was
up and stirring - one of the River steamers lay alongside the wharf, and
in about an hour and a half the Port Macquarie vessel made her appearance
- swallowing a hasty breakfast I shook hands with my kind host and his
amiable family - Called at the Post Office but was uncheered by a letter
The Maitland, a small colonial built craft of 103 tons lay alongside the shoot filling up her coals - she is fitted with an engine of 60 horse power, manufactured by Fawcett & Preston of Liverpool - She sits very low in the water, and from her peculiar construction must of necessity be a slow coach - A few revolutions of her paddle wheels and the great difficulty she had in freeing herself from her back water satisfied me she must labour prodigiously in a sea way - There were a good many passengers on board and amongst others a very pretty young woman, suffering acutely all the agonies of sea sickness - The steward announcing breakfast I counselled her to swallow a mouthful or two of broiled ham, and, whilst thus engaged, she was addressed by a person of more than middle age, a horrific specimen of the genus Homo, his sallow visage being
adorned with a counterfeit handle, otherwise nose, of pinkish hue. Disagreeable objects possess a sort of rattlesnake fascination and, in my own despite, I found my gaze enchained - The individual who had thus engaged my attention was, as I afterwards learned, the notorious Robert Herring who robbed the Stirling Mail in 1826 or 7, and who, with the hope of destroying his identity had sliced that feature whose shining substitute had so attracted and disgusted me - He has now obtained his Ticket of Leave, has become a painstaking shopkeeper in Port Macquarie, where it is presumed his “gains of other days” will gradually see the light.
At a little after 8 our coals were completed, Newcastle receding &
Nobby left behind, the Maitland taking it very quietly, drawing herself
lazily along at a very moderate jog trot - Altho’ the water was
smooth as a Mill pond she nevertheless managed to sally about
prodigiously, heaving the wash from her paddles in at the cabin scuttles
and digging into every petty swell with a violence that made her reel
again - The coast to the Northward of Newcastle is one long succession of
low sandy uninviting, beach which stretches all the way to Port Stephen,
a harbour very distinctly marked by a range of small hummocky peaks with
two or three island rocks of like character close to the mainland, the
interior is, further, backed by a group of hills of moderate elevation
and limited extent - Port Stephen is Head Quarters of the Australian
Agricultural Company –(who) are said not to be making a fortune) -
We were off it by noon -
The entire line of coast is utterly destitute of either the pictorial or romantic graces, - even that of savage grandeur is denied - the uniform character is that of undeviating sterility - of a weary unbroken sameness - Here and there, but at distant intervals, a desolate promontory or peaked cliff will thrust its crags into the ocean, but there is a formality even in those crags sadly destructive of the picturesque, which forces upon memory other and more pleasing subjects of contemplation - Ah, me! In running along the shores of Merrie England, in coasting the hoary cliffs of stern Caledonia, or skirting the emerald hills of Green Erin, what an infinity of grand, majestic, and glorious objects woo and enchain our regards, delighting alike the heart and eye, and attuning the mind to love and joy - Here, how different ! The dun disconsolate hue of the sombre, never changing, foliage, - the drear, melancholy, aspect of the solitary, barren wastes, - the heavy chill of the deathlike wilderness, oppress the very soul with painful images of desolation and gloom - Ah! Who would emigrate that could earn a livelihood in their own dear Fatherland? - Even gold may be purchased at a price too
costly, and here, for the present at least, the golden dream is o’er - England! Should I again be permitted to behold thee, I trust it may be to part no more - A shoal of porpoises playing round the vessel recalled me to the time when last my Catharine and I together watched their erratic gambols - Alas! What painful reverses have since befallen us - how lonely, how desolate, are we now - how cruelly woebegone - If I look forward how little I can see to hope - if backward, what vast amount to deplore - Time misspent - means misapplied - and property sacrificed end how.” - By the wilfulness of the obstinate, and the knavery of the bad - victimised by rascals I could not control and co.d not trust - Life owns for me but one sweet, and from that one sweet I am relentlessly sundered - Oh, my Catharine, this absence should be profitable, very profitable, since it is purchased with the grief and tears of both - May it pass away in safety, and oh may thy God and mine, in mercy, restore us well and happily each to the other - Amen! –
At 6.P.M. we were abreast of Seal rock point and islets, some fifty miles distant from our port - At 9 the night was very fine - Being weary, turned in.
Wednesday: 11th A month has flown o’er my sojourn in New
South Wales. I have not been idle during that interval and trust my
industry may ultimately produce good print. Ere dawn the Maitlands had
done her work and was off Port Macquarie. The first and most prominent
objects which the eye encounters, an object which the eye encounters, an
object essentially Colonial in character, is a new and every extensive
gaol crowning the brow which overhangs the entrance of the harbour.
Without assistance from this wholesome structure, the aspect of Port
Macquarie, invested as it is with low sandy hillocks and backed by dense,
sombre scrub is sufficiently uninviting.
The harbour, like most on this coast, is a bar one situated at the mouth of the river Hastings, and in heavy weather swept by tremendous rollers of the vast Pacific. In this respect it strikes one as bearing a great affinity to the Macquarie Harbour of Tasmania upon whose low sandy beach I have beheld the surges break in long and thundering sheets of feathery foam. Port Macquarie, however, is much more accessible than its southern namesake, which is only approachable with certain winds. Having recd. A pilot we crossed the bar in safety mooring alongside the wharf at 6 a.m., a general dispersion shortly thereafter taking place. Among the passengers was a Dr. Little or Liddel who had come from Sydney to see a Dr. Carlyle, but who had unfortunately died and was buried on Saturday last. Dr. Carlyle was a surgeon of the Navy and possessed of property on the Hunter.
In the halcyon days of Australia Dr. Carlyle retired hither, first selling this property, with the accustomed extended credit of the Colony, to Mr. Stephen Coxen, brother to Mrs. Gould, so well known from her superb paintings of the birds of Australia. Like many other honest men, Mr. Coxen was forced to bow to the pressure of the times, and most unwillingly compelled to go into the Insolvent Court. His losses reacted upon Dr. Carlyle, whose affairs it so far deranged that he pined to death. Mr. Coxen’s depression was not less than that of the Dr., and was even more fatally, or at least more tragically, evidenced, for on the very day the Dr. ceased to breathe, the unhappy Coxen expired at Sydney, a distance of 200 miles, having swallowed 20 grains of “Strychnine” in a fit of “Temporary Insanity”. This is a strange coincidence affording a matter of peculiar reflection.
My first impression upon debarking was that a vast internal traffic
must exist to call so large a township as Port Macquarie into being. Many
very extensive, even costly, buildings and stores, such as would not be
out of keeping in either London or Liverpool, grace its streets, which
are spacious and well laid out. One of the five or six storey warehouses
would, I should think, be ample for the necessities of the town. The inn,
too, the Hotel Royal, is unquestionably upon far too extravagant a scale,
wearing as it does an air of magnificence infinitely better adapted to a
stirring life like English Watering place than the dreary dead and alive
nature of an abandoned penal settlement of a semi penal Colony, but it
and the goodly store houses were created at a period when at every
dinner, ball, or public assembly, the Colonials were greeted with the
inspiring air “Money in Both Pockets”, which might
then have been styled the Australian National air - but, Ichabod,
the glory has departed. Now there is scarce money or pockets to be
Port Macquarie wears the impress as if of a City of the dead. No bustle disturbs the solemn silence of its streets - no traffic destroys the placidity of its harbour - its lone steamer is solitary lord of all it surveys - fine houses are frequent, but they, like the warehouses, are nearly tenantless. An immensity of capital has been easily expended in needless bricks and mortar - and the town is fully more than a century before its wants. Mr. Cohen, a respectable shopkeeper, informed me he had erected three fine houses at a cost of £2000 they have been finished these two years but, hitherto, he has had no return whatever. I naturally inquired what could induce such speculation, or if there was an extensive back country of whose produce this was the shipping port. The hope of its being Depot for the district of New England I ascertained had proved the lure - like many other
earthly hopes those of the Port Macquarie residents have been pushed
too far, and are consequently fallacious - no doubt much of the New
England traffic will be directed this way, but it is alleged bad roads
and other causes lead many New Englanders to prefer the route via
Maitland. The Port Macquarieites may therefore be said to be in the
position of those who seek to cook their hare before they have
caught him. Their town wears the semblance of a departed
prosperity which it never in reality enjoyed.
Oh, the sad, sombre air of all these Australasiatic townships - they are shrouded in an atmosphere of gloom. Their population, by ones and twos, crawl their streets with seeming lifeless apathy - every feature strikes chilly to the heart. Port Macquarie lies in 31°25.45 South 152° 53.54 East. Its Government House, the residence of the Police Magistrate, is a very pretty cottage with a deep verandah round its front and flanks - the site is beautiful, being on a gentle eminence commanding the settlement.
On the right hand, immediately across the street, there is an extensive range of brick buildings occupied as Convicts Barracks and lumber yard. The Military Barracks are directly in the rear, they are separate buildings seemingly erected from time to time to suit the growing demand for troops. Port Macquarie was created a penal settlement by Governor Macquarie and when the “Valley of Swells”, as that of Wellington was called, came to be abandoned, this was selected as the depot for the “Specials” who were, par excellence, the most especial, finished, scoundrels that “Left their Country for their Country’s Good”.
Here, parsons, merchants and lawyers clerks, and all who had turned a good education to a bad account were congregated. The enormities whereon the sun here has shone would, if divulged, present a hideous accord of depravity. Here a portion of the Monster Knatchbull’s career was passed. Here, as we have said, dwells Robert Herring. Here, in the ostensible position of Overseer of a Chain gang, but living in comfort and affluence with his wife, abideth Kinnear, a fellow whose address obtained discount for a forged bill of £80,000 from a Liverpool Bank. I am told he sometimes visits his gang, but is generally at his wifes, who keeps a shop which he, sub rosa, manages, and still contrives to play off some of his old tricks upon the unwary. The system of discipline here appears to be utterly worthless, for I have been informed of circumstances of convict management, from sources where the validity of the information could not be doubted, and from
parties whose veracity is beyond impeachment. From these parties I
have listened to narratives of the boundless audacity - the measured
arrogance of these “Specials” which have overcome me with
special wonder - such, for example, as the following. My friend and
relative, Capt. Wauch a retired officer of the 48th, resident in the
vicinity had, as a I.P., a “Special” Constable under his
orders. Upon one occasion a fire was running along the ground. Anxious to
extinguish it he and his men were busily occupied. Entering the hut for
further aid, he beheld the “Special”, his delicate hands
enclosed in canary coloured kids in a cambric handkerchief fanning his
visage. To an order for help the felon puppy lisped out in a drawling
tone “Really, he was wholly unused to such a thing” - the
weather was excessively oppressive and some other stuff about his
complexion - the creature was, [indecipherable] proceeding in this
strain when the Capt. Ordered him to off kids and proceed, green bough in
hand, to the extinction of the flames or he would break every bone in his
Now no such scene as this could have occurred in Van Diemens Land - the kids and the cambric would have infallibly ensured the Cat, and most deservedly so - I am sure no convict could be brought before a Tasmanian Magistrate for an act so utterly repugnant to wholesome discipline without being sensibly assured that when the grey jacket was donned the kids and the cambric must be doffed - Gods - I fancy such a thing under the admirable convict rule of Colonel Arthur who, whatever his faults, had at least the merit of knowing how to keep such villains in wholesome awe.
Another “Special”, after serving his time was again tried in Sydney and condemned. Being asked if he had aught to say he replied he had. Drawing off a pair of spotless white kids, he tendered some testimonials of character. The judge, however, declared he was satisfied of what the fellow really was, and read him a severe lecture on the audacity o f his kids. It may be said I have dwelt too much upon so trifling thing as gloves. I think not, and unless the felon be taught to know his place and to keep his impertinence in abeyance, it will be worse than vain to hope any good of him. After this lengthened episode, to return I breakfasted with Mr. Cohen, one of whose sons promised a written account of the manners and customs of the Aborigines, a subject whereof he is particularly conversant, having mixed a great deal with them and speaking their language with the utmost fluency. There was a tribe of them in the town, the first Natives I had
ever encountered. I was further promised two or three pictorials by
Mr. T. Partis, their Storekeeper. At 10 a.m. I quitted Port Macquarie,
which had both an Episcopalian and Presbyterian Church, to walk to my
friend Wauch’s. I young black went to induct me the way, and on
parting he did not forget to inquire if I had any coppers. The vicinity
of the settlement is thickly timbered - firewood abundant, being cried
thro’ the settlement at 1/6 per load. The character of the scenery
in its leading features is essentially that of Tasmania, the same trees,
shrubs, and grapes skirt the roadside.
About three miles on we come to a small marsh. Had I been dropped there asleep I might easily have conjectured myself in the Lake country of the sister colony - the same naked trees bordering its edges - the same hills rearing their crests in the back ground - the sole perceptible difference is that the mountains are less grand and the timber more diminutive. I reached Mr. H. Cohen’s farm, called Thrumter, a little after noon. I remained to partake the hospitality of Mr. Cohen and his wife, a very pretty little woman. Resuming my tramp I reached Wauchope at about half past four and found my friend and his family all well. He stated the distance to be 13 miles and 1 furlong measured - my little legs were disposed to pronounce them Kangaroo miles.
Thursday: 12th After an early breakfast, I sauntered out with
my friend and his two sons to look at his property. He took his location
unseen, applying to the Surveyor General for a section previously put up
for sale and unpurchased. He was shown several, on the Chart (for
to ask neighbouring proprietors as to the existence of available land was
to court their ill will and not attain ones ends), with postages on the
King River. These he took haphazard. The soil is of excellent quality but
densely and heavily timbered. Nothing daunted, he set boldly to work,
clearing a patch of some ten or twelve acres on the rivers bank. Here he
has erected a very tasteful, as well as substantial, cottage containing a
number of spacious, airy, well finished apartments, together with all the
requisite out offices.
An excellent Orangery and Vineyard has been planted but proximity to the forest exposes his vegetables to the ravages of the bandicoot whose relish of peas, potatoes and other [indecipherable] is but too frequently demonstrated. Some 60 or 70 acres were also cleared elsewhere, but after an outlay exceeding £20 per acre he discovered cultivation would not pay, agriculture has
therefore been abandoned and the wastes thus expensively and painfully
reclaimed are fast reverting to their original condition. Captain Wauch
owns upwards of 4000 acres, but it is dense forest land, and with the
original minimum price of 5/- per acre, the great price of clearing 70
acres and the cost of his pretty house, the whole cannot stand him in a
lesser sum than £4,000. His estate will not keep sheep -
cultivation does not pay - and cattle are very, very low. Nevertheless he
insists his money is better paid out than it would be in England.
I confess, with all my Colonial experience, I cannot divine what return there is for the capital invested, it being impossible, in my opinion, to derive it from the forest land I have seen. He says it is well taken, that a few years since he could readily have sold for £9000 and that it will come round again. Not in our day I greatly fear. He told me of a near neighbour of his who was offered £75000 for his property, £35000 cash down, and the balance secured upon the property. I question now if it would realise one eighth part of that sum.
The gigantic in solvency of New South Wales has been a favourite expression for some time back, and her luckless settlers have been too much regarded in the light of so many unprincipled swindlers - that many may have been such I shall not for a moment attempt to gainsay, yet it is only fair to test the truth ere we indulge in sweeping and perhaps fallacious denunciations. Besides, if the favourite air “Money in Both Pockets” superinduced a sort of Moral Delirium Tremens, we should sift where the money came from, how it was applied, and further, whether if the borrower had the inclination, he possessed the power to “repudiate”.
As there would be no drunkards were there no wine merchants or public houses, so would there have been no land speculators had there not been a host of Bankers and other usurious money lenders. Until 1831 the energy, industry and moderate capital of the settlers and migrants had raised New South Wales and Van Diemens Land, aided by those two ably worked systems, the Assignment and free grant, to a rapid pitch of prosperity, unexampled in all previous history of Colonization. These two territories from the slough of penal degradation won for themselves a character and consideration which has produced their present overthrow, by entailing upon them a series of crude attempts of experimental legislation, carried on at the enlightened and practicable
distance of 16,000 miles. The first deadly blow inflicted was the
abrogation of the free grant system. It is true from that hour land
apparently rose in value, but, nevertheless, the Colonies were
deeply wounded at the core and gradually but sensibly drooped. I remember
well how keenly this was felt in 1835, but towards the close of that year
the British Bank o f Australasia was formed. They, who looked no deeper
than the surface, hailed this as the advent of fortune, but when or where
was capital ever borrowed at ten or fifteen percent, and the interest
annually withdrawn from the Country of the Borrower without ultimate and
early ruin ensuing.
The simultaneous Colonisation of Australia Felix, South Australia, and shortly thereafter of New Zealand, with the mighty influx of monied settlers caused a great demand for the sheep, cattle, horses, grain and other produce [indecipherable] South Wales and Van Diemens land which mounted to prices out of all character with their actual value. The Union Bank of Australia lured by the seemingly prosperous conditions of that of Australasia took the field - Colonial Banks, too, arose and a Loan fund commenced operations. Grasping at ten and twelve per cent British Capital poured in and with British goods the Wharves and Warehouses were deluged. Money was not only plentiful, it was positively hawked about.
Banks actually reproached their friends for not giving them a turn in the discounting way, and hundreds can bear testimony to the fact of larger sums being pressed than the drawers either wished or required. The land fund was prodigious and an enormous amount of hard cash (never to return) was exchanged for a set of worthless emigrants.
The British Journals teemed with glowing eulogies of our flourishing province in Australia, the finest British ships sped richly freighted to her shores - her credit was of the highest, her colonists were assured they were the most fortunate of her sons - and when did men ever turn a deaf ear to praise, especially when accompanied by solid pudding. But heavy days were approaching a one sided Transportation Report, with a cuckoo [indecipherable] as false as it was ad [indecipherable] put down the assignment system - Australia Felix, South Australia and New Zealand had obtained a
sufficiency of sheep, cattle, horses and gain. From buyers they became
sellers entering the lists with their former purveyors. Where now was
beneficial competition to be found? Echo alone answered
“Where”? From 40/- sheep fell to 5/- - from £40 cattle
dwindled to 40/- - and from £80 horses sunk to £10 - and soon
at those prices there was great difficulty in obtaining a market. If the
settlers could not forsee this inevitable result, surely the prudent
money lenders ought to have been more observant, but no, they made
their calculations - the hope of an exorbitant interest lured them on
and, after all, they have had their bond, the ruined settler has been
thrust forth to the world, and therefore it may thus be clearly perceived
that the “gigantic insolvency of New South Wales” is far more
attributable to the reckless grasping of the money lenders than the
improvidence of the care worn settler who had bad seasons, bad servants
and a countless host of difficulties to contend with.
The mortgagee made his own terms, he should have looked to the possibility of their continued performance - but the land is his and will in the fruits of years of toil, may the greater proportion of the money borrowed, sunk in its unavailing improvement. The mortgagor, in the sere and yellow of his life is left to choose between “strychnine” and the Insolvent Court - a choice surely not greatly to be envied - of Mercantile failures hereafter.
The woods of Wauchope abound with a variety of pretty trees, such as the Box, the Myrtle and the Fig. The latter is a parasite whose seeds are dropped in the upper limbs of some lofty gum where they vegetate, gradually sending down long tendrils which twine and twist in all imaginable gothic tracery around the supporting stem and strike root in the ground where they rapidly expand, until like human parasites they utterly destroy their early props. Their roots then become exceedingly large, measuring 30 and forty feet from the trunk and three or four in height. The “Special” of the Canary kids claimed consanguinity with Lord Ffrench - he was transported for forgery because he said his father allowed him but a paltry £300 a year, a sum on which no gentleman could exist. There is likewise a nephew of Bishop Bloomfields here, sent out by mistaking another gentleman’s gold spectacles for his own. One of these gentry mourning the mistake committed in sending him an innocent man here, was out shortly by a pardon, who said he would save himself and his listeners much valuable time by convincing the Jury instead of them.
Friday: 13th A wet, dull day which I have spent in writing up the preceeding three days work.
Saturday: 14th We had an excursion on the water, embarking in
Capt. Wunch’s boat “Charlotte” rowed by his two boys
(Robert 12, & Alfred 8). The King River widens its channel
immediately below his house. Nothing can surpass the luxuriant vegetation
of the trees and shrubs which clothe the banks, presenting one vast leafy
screen - a glorious avenue of the softest and richest foliage in which
greens of every shade hue and tint are delightfully commingled. This is
the more attractive in a land where the quality and colour of the forest
leaves are harsh and sombre to a proverb - but here, how very much the
It is not simply the trees themselves which impart this loveliness - no, they not only lend their own charms but they receive reflected graces from the infinity of creepers which embrace and intertwine them, their floral garlands depending in pensile festoons or encircling trunk and bough with triumphant wreaths. In addition, too, to these masses of vegetation, numberless trees afford shelter within their friendly arms for deposits of ferns which shoot out in vigorous and diversified forms impossible to describe. It is a lovely scene, but entirely confined to the river itself. There is no landscape - neither break or opening - the boat winds its course through one mighty vista of leafy tracery, so fanciful and so minute in character as only to be compared with some of the imaginative designs in the theatrical fairy legends. Shrubs and clematis are seen in full blow and luxuriant clusters, and one strong and powerful creeper flings his naked fibres far and wide, descending in masses, like the cordage, when first got over a ships mast head.
A pull of some three miles carried us out of the King into the Hastings, a noble salt water river of considerable breadth. This we ascended for about a mile giving chase to one or two sharks that we perceived disporting in the shallow water. We gathered two or three native plums of a purple hue and not unlike the Orleans. Their flavour was by no means palatable - they contain seeds resembling in some degree those of the date. We landed at a farm called Redbank late the property of Lieut. Francis Mitchell R.N. This gentleman was superintending the grubbing of a tree when it suddenly fell, hoping to escape he crept underneath a dead log, but the tree crushed both it and the Lieut. to atoms. His wife died soon after him and the property is now without an owner. The
House has recently been burnt, and the offices and fences are
hastening to decay - It is lamentable to behold so much ruin in a spot so
young and so pretty - It was partially cleared by Govt. as a cotton farm,
but, like all Govt undertakings it was but half done work, although the
cotton grew well - When the gang was withdrawn, the land was granted to
Mr. Mitchell - It is a beautiful locality, on a fine navigable river,
only sixteen miles from a shipping port - The Govt had also Tobacco and
Sugar growing establishments, but both have been abandoned - If the
Colonial Office could be persuaded to their good and had more regard for
practical sense than canting sound, and to these could add determined
perseverance they might do much good not only to the Australasian
Colonies and Great Britain but to the system of transportation - Not only
should no more convicts be sent to Van Diemen’s Land and Norfolk
Island, but the largest portion already there might be beneficially
In place of perfecting the ruin of the beggared settlers of Tasmania by a mean and dishonest Agricultural competition, I would remove all convicts to Port Essington or other parts of the North Coast of New Holland, there, under a revised and operative Probation System, to work out their sentences in the culture and manufacture of sugar, for which that part of the territory is said to be well adapted - The supply of that needful commodity is said to be decreasing in our best [indecipherable] Islands whilst the consumption is everywhere annually increasing - I contend that here an immense, an available, and a legitimate field wherein to employ offenders, and that most equitably and beneficially is presented –
Expense in employing the unexperienced may be raised as an objection, but it would be a mere quibble for the objection which wd. hold against this, must be equally valid as respects wheat or other corn culture - The generallity of the convict clap being as incompetent for the one as the other. It might be that the ad captandium phrase “convict slave”, - a term as presumptuously ignorant as ridiculously false, - which dealt each a one sided and unworthy blow to the Assignment system -
It might be that this whoop might again be raised, but were it and the objections, if any to such a scheme thoroughly sifted and practically tested, I have every confidence that a flourishing British Sugar Colony might be established, and that by the creation of an extensive market, the Commerce and Agricultural of Australasia be again encouraged - an outlet to British Manufactures secured, and a solid means of putting “Money in Both Pockets” established –
Sunday: 15th Up betimes writing to my dearest wife, enclosing
my letter in one to Mrs. Atkinson which was duly despatched for transit
to Sydney tomorrow - the sacred day naturally directed our thoughts to
religious topics, and Capt. Wauch and I were agreed how deeply all sorts
of priestcraft is to be deplored, sacrificing, as is too often the case,
the spirit for the empty form - We dwelt upon the almost cannibal like
dogmas of Transubstantiation, which by seeking to convert a symbolical
rite into an actual and perpetual occurence would make the Saviour of
Mankind an object of prey for the last 1844 years -
Now, as even his own chosen disciples neither gnawed his flesh nor quaffed his blood, save figuratively, surely we who are commanded to “do this in remembrance” are not to strain Eastern Metaphor, even luxuriantly utterly beyond sense and reason - Alas that true religion should be so much mystified - Priests, I fear, are apt to be as great barriers to a plain mans passage to Heaven, as lawyers are to his obtaining justice on earth - We worshipped God in his works and mercies and, if unworthily, still, I hope, humbly - The remarkable fig trees again struck me - Their trunks and roots are divided into large compartments resembling Gothic Niches elaborately sculptured -
Monday: 16th In glancing over Sir Thos. Mitchell’s statements to the Legislative Council I perceive the object of every settler is to locate himself on River fronts and to command the run of at least four times as much land as he purchases, a matter as yet fully achieved, four times more land being occupied than what has been sold - There have been 5.300.000 acres granted and sold, and, of that quantity, last years returns give 145.650 acres as cultivated and otherwise improved - A delightful day delightfully spent amid the waters of the King and magnificent Hastings - The more one contemplates the wild natural graces of their banks, the more they must be enchantened; the aqueous avenues are literally enclosed by walls of living green, and the bights and projections of the richly festooned trees, resemble the bastions, curtains, and turrets of ancients fortresses whose war torn walls are invisible to the eye because of the
rank tracery of the luxuriant and overspreading ivy - Even so is it with the forests here - their own charms receive a freshened zest from the bright and exhaustless masses of the thousand and one creepers which render a sharp knife necessary to penetrate their sanctuary - We espayed the fish with a pair of damaged [indecipherable] but unsuccessfully - A visit was paid to an island which, from the fact of its having a lake in the centre, I designated Lake Island - Altho’ of miniature proportions, it is so very a Cretan Labyrinth that we wandered a considerable time amid its wilds ere our boat could be regained -
Tuesday: 17th another day of Boating on the beautiful Hastings, whereon we did not, as heretofore, float solitary lords, two other skiffs having been seen - I speared a sting Ray, but could get no other fish - We landed on one or two lovely isles not less fair than Helen of Douglas’s - I cut a number of Palm tree sticks, and, in forcing my way thro’ the underwood, got very severely stung by the Nettle tree whose waspish nature is even more fully developed than is English name plant . Returned to a late dinner - Oh, that I could but be assured of the welfare of my dearest wife –
Wednesday: 18th After an early breakfast, I embarked in the “Charlotte” of Wauchope with her owners man, Lane, bound for Port Macquarie. Lane is a Monkstown, cove of Cork, boy, out here for upwards of 15 years - the tide had ebbed so very low as to render the channel of the King barely navigable; we, however, rapidly descended the truly magnificent Hastings, whose mean course may be stated to be from West to East - Again the fascinating shores of the island lake were passed, and again was I enchanted with their surprising witcheries - Let imagination picture all that is rich, luxuriant , and graceful in arborescent scenery, still the fancy will fall short of reality here; pensile streamers float in wavy maps of the softest yet sensual tracery from the loftiest boughs, their innumerable and gossamor tendrils weaving a net work of the gayest verdure
quaintly fashioned into floral coronets, garlanded wreaths, and a
thousand picturesque devices by the unfettered hand of primeval Nature -
this spot far transcends the classic bowers of Calypso, whose far famed
beauties would bow abashed before our Fairy Isle: Were it but within the
reasonable gaze of a sight seeing World what thousand would annually
throng its now sequestered groves - To such point of admiring pilgrimage
Botany Bay has not yet arrived - the time, however is approaching - A
short way below Fairy Isle, immediately above the upper point of Rawdon
Island, there is a cattle pond at low water - Rawdon is a large, double,
island comprising between 2 & 3000 acres of fine land, the property
of the Crown, the circuit of the larger island is about seven, the
lesser, three miles -
A small vessel was lately launched from the former, at a spot nearly opposite to the farm of Mr. Ral[indecipherable], formerly of the survey Department - a short way above Mr. Ral[indecipherable] lies what used to be the Govt Tobacco plantation, now the reserved township of Hay, a good deal of excellent land has been cleared, but left as it now is to fate, it is rapidly reverting to its pristine savagery - Below Rawdon the Hastings expands very considerably, still preserving its rural beauties yet assuming the aspect of a grand commercial river -
The Southern arm round Rawdon is the common passage being shortest and deepest - Wending downwards we gradually open the Brokenbags hills - seen from some two miles below Rawdon Island their bare bold cliffs stand prominently forth against the bright Empyreran, their range by compass bearing W.S.W. - their battlement like summits recalled Salisbury Craigs near Edinr. forcibly to mind - Between seven and eight miles from Port Macquarie there is a ferry at Blackmans point: here the Hastings branches off in a Northerly direction splitting itself into sundry rivers which are respectively designated the Marid, Wilson, Pipers Creek, &c. - this is a bold and noble reach, the blue hills that back it, converting the hitherto purely river scenery into a rich and glowing landscape - The ferry is about a quarter of a mile across and lies nearly due S.W. Opposite and on the N.E. bank there is a remarkably pleasing farm where a Capt. Jobblin resides -
I was greatly impressed with the beauty of his lawn which sweeps in graceful slopes towards the river - I have been struck with many points of similarity between the Port Macquarie of New South Wales, and the Macquarie Harbour of Van Diemens Land - Both were penal settlements - both have bar harbours - both receive the waters of large rivers - and both are remarkable for the luxuriant vegetation - the
graceful foliage, and the brilliant verdure which is reflected and multiplied in the translucent streams they so charmingly adorn- The Hastings is rich and beautiful, but the Gordon must still bear the palm since its banks are equally rich, equally beautiful, & every reach presents a mighty landscape of romantic grandeur and imposing brilliancy - I landed at Blackman’s point and had a five miles tramp into town, where I paid my respects to Mrs McLeod, formerly of Perth V.D.L. and her daughter Margaret - called at Mr. Cohens, where Mr. Partis lent me a map of the district and told me had taken a sketch of the town - got a [indecipherable] James Williams, from Mr. Partridge, Serg.t formerly with my wifes brother in the 48th Set out on our return - The King looked very gloomy in the faint moonlight - Arrived before 8 -
Thursday: 19: At 8.30 a.m. Wauchope was left behind, Williams
rowing me over the course pursued yesterday, until about 11 when
Blackmans point was rounded and we entered the river Wilson, steering due
North, by compass, up a long and dreary reach, which presented a striking
contrast after the flowery banks of the Hastings - the wind, a stiffish
breeze blew [indecipherable] an end, but the flood tide swept us rapidly
upwards - A blind creek, called, but the Blacks, a fishery diverges a
trifling way on the left hand at the head of this reach - The river then
trends away W.N.W. the [indecipherable] imparting something like a tone
to the rather disconsolate landscape, still this second reach is not
altogether uninviting, the shores sweeping away in nooks, bays, and
graceful headlands fringed by profuse masses of dwarfish mangroves -
Beyond, the course of the river becomes exceedingly tortuous Now we steer W.S.W. anon N.W. now N. then N.N.E - E. E.S.E. in brief all round the compass - this aqueous belt engirdles a narrow tongue of land from the lower part of which, called Halpenny Hatch, to the upper, named Penny Hatch, a few hundred yards will carry the pedestrian across, whilst the boatman must needs perform a crooked vagary of about four miles of cheerless gloom - the rich unbrageous tracery has disappeared and instead of the bright hues of varied and delightful verdure the eye roams furtively and wearily amid the sombre foliage, reathed trunks, and naked boughs of harsh unsightly green trees, whose wintry features are only occasionally relieved by a passing clump of scrubby Mangroves - Still, some of these bends are pleasing from their lake like character, the channel being of goodly breadth, and the depth ranging between two and three fathoms.
In this location settlers are few and far between, and yet, to glance
at the Chart of the district, one would not be apt to think so, since the
names [indecipherable] T. Hughes and A.C. Innes stud its sections in all
directions - the former has gone through the Insolvent Court - the other,
I apprehend, finds it much more easy to invest than to realise.
It is not every one who can be brought to perceive the advantage of expending vast sums in acquisition of waste land to be suffered, perforce, to lie waste (clearing is out of the question) yielding no return whatever for the sterling coin lavish by disbursed, save, indeed, such return as “Lords of the Wastes and Princes of Deserts” may derive from a complacent survey of their Tens, Twenties, yea, Fifties of thousands of sterile acres elaborately set forth on remarkedly neat, well executed Charts whereon their names and possessions are displayed at full - now, surely this is very Midsummer Madness for what tenancy could be found to tackle these thankless forests, at a cost of clearance equal to some of their Tens, Twenties, yea, Fifties of thousands of sterile acres elaborately set forth on remarkedly neat, well executed Charts whereon their names and possessions are displayed at full - now, surely this is very Midsummer Madness for what tenantry could be found to tackle these thankless forests, at a cost of clearance equal to some £25 per acre, a price whereat fair land in a freeman country might be purchased? -
Were I.T. Hughes, et ses confreres moonstruck when they thus buried their capital? verily, it will be long ere they can write “resurgain” - Of all manias land manias appear to be the most witless and incurable.
Nine miles above Blackman’s Point, the prevailing forest screen is partially withdrawn, a large swamp on the S.W. serving to let in, for a brief space, the glorious daylight upon the wood girded stream. This proves a welcome relief to eyes for weary miles grove and flood bound - a landscape, too, is opened up of which Mount Cairncrop with its adjacent hilly ranges form the conspicuous features. A mile or so more and the first of three channels, on the right or North Eastern bank, is gained. These, which are designated the Three Legs of Man, lave the shores of a double island named Fenton’s after a former Assistant Surgeon of the 48th Regt. (a connection of the writers) who assisted in the original establishment of Port Macquarie. Hereabouts the scenery becomes somewhat more impressive - again hilly ranges gladden the eye, the flat swampy banks emerge from the tide, whilst Prospect, the residence of Mr. McKenzie perched on a gentle eminence and fenced by hills, reflects its fair proportions in the glassy wave. Entering the upper leg of Man and steering N. we embark upon the Maria River leaving Prospect and the Wilson trending away towards the N.W. – a short distance brings us in sight of the residence of W.I. Taylor Esq. J.P. That gentleman was from home when I presented my billet de [indecipherable] from Capt. Wauch to his young, pretty and interesting wife, who invited
the pilgrim to stay his wanderings for the night, an offer as freely
accepted as courteously rendered. Mr. Taylor has occupied his present
estate but fourteen months during which it is evident he must have eaten
his bread on the prescribed, antedeluvian, conditions - much heavy land
has been cropped and cleared, and already a vineyard is starting into
existence. The aspect of the place is pleasant, being situated on the
crest of a slope which gradually falls S.E. towards the river, whose
channel here is from N.E. to S.W. Mr. Taylor likewise has a sheep station
in the highly eulogised New England district. He returned to a late
dinner having been 15 miles, the nearest distance, to get his horse shod.
thus a journey of 30 miles is imperative when any Blacksmith work is
required. Mr. Taylor was kind in the extreme, proferring a horse, or to
accompany me himself when or wherever I pleased, or to facilitate my
wishes in any manner I chose to point out.
We had a long discussion of Colonial topics, especially the Squatting wherewith the best interests of New South Wales, if not her very existence, is identified. Squatters! - Repulsive appellation, breathing Savagery and incivilisation in its every syllable - How erroneous the impressions likely to be conveyed by its [indecipherable] name! Who would dream of educated men and accomplished women being found in performance of its lonely, monotonous duties - sundered from all the congenial ties of refined taste, all the elegant habits of a highly civilised society to which birth and intelligence had access turned them. The “Bush of Australia” within and beyond the boundaries present many such, who in the active and energetic discharge of such duties may be pardoned the unbidden sigh, extracted by fond remembrance of their youthful home and earlier hopes, which the tones of their pianos, touched to “songs of other days” feelingly, plaintively and powerfully recall. Let none envy the lot of the self expatriated - in its brightest aspects there is more than sufficient bitter to neutralize all its sweet, but when misfortune and depression add their pungent flavour to the cup, the draught is fall indeed.
Friday: 20: the cold of last night pinched me severely, it was quite equal to any, at the like season, in Tasmania, and morning dawned keen and chilly - a heavy dew besprinkled the ground whilst a misty veil overshadowed the river. The brilliant beams of a cloudless sun quickly, however, exhaled the diamond drops of the one and dispelled the gauzy drapery of the other. In compliance with Mr. Taylors urgent entreaty to wait breakfast I lingered altho’ I would fain have had him
offer my compliments to his lady, who, I found, had like myself
relations (an uncle) in the 48th regt. The [indecipherable] meal at
length despatched I took leave of Oakville at 9 a.m., reaching in a few
hundred yards the upper and N. extremity of Fenton Island and the upper
Leg of Man which diverges S. whilst the main channel of the river here
flows from the N. I was comparatively awe struck as we pursued our lonely
course, the sole human disturbers of the deathlike solitude, all unbroken
save by the splash of our oars, or the occasional yells of birds - some
sedulously proclaiming themselves “Coquette, Coquette!”
Others clamorous as to the lapse of time earnestly inquiring “Four o’clock yet - Four o’clock yet?” whilst a third, the Laughing Jackass, gave vent to loud cachinnatory mirth as though a demon bird rejoicing in the mournful desolation around and mocking at us, who, without any great stretch of imagination, might be likened to departed spirits skimming the waters of purgatory in anxious search of a brighter, better, world. I know not whether it be the inherent gloom alone of these primeval solitudes, or the constant recurrence that the land is one of crime and punishment which weighs upon the mind, but certainly amid many of Australia’s most majestic scenes I have felt their very beauty strike chilly to my heart, inducing a sensation allied to fear and forcibly impressing helplessness! –
A clumpy islet, three miles above Oakville, marks the embouchere of
Pipers Creek which runs N.W. and is navigable about seven miles. The low
and swampy banks prevent the growth of heavy timber exposing the river
thereby to more than the general allowance of daylight, and giving an
occasional enlivening glimpse of the distant hills. Four miles upward
from Pipers Creek the Maria diverges into two channels, the one retains
the more dignified title of river (the course of all is ditch or canal
like) and extends about two miles in an Easterly direction where it finds
its source in a lagoon.
The Northerly branch conducting to our point of destination sinks to the appellation, creek, but its more humble cognomen is compensated by its more devious career, which continues for fully twelve miles ere the navigation ends. This creek, also, it is said, takes its rise in a lagoon. There were many wild ducks on its waters at a couple of whom I discharged a harmless pistol ball. By noon we had reached a Marsh essentially and strikingly Tasmanian in its character - a sleek herd of fine looking cattle were happily browsing on its luxuriant herbage. Eight miles up Maria Creek Rolands Hill, pleasantly situated on the waters side, presents itself. It was once the property of Capt. Gordon, R.N. Now it is in possession of the Messrs. McKay - we had company from hence, a boat starting to reconvey Dr. Richardson, Colonial Surgeon, from Boat Harbour to
Port Macquarie. Two miles and a half beyond Rolands Hill, Maria again
divides herself into two creeks; following that which flows from about
W.N.W. another mile and a half brought us to the reserved village of
Mariaville, as the Boat Harbour is named on the Chart. The right hand
fork runs about an equal length northerly. Some short while after 2 p.m.
Mariaville was achieved after a stiff pull of nineteen miles, the first
half distance being passed under a towering welkin, the other beneath a
canopy of the purest azure and fervid glare of a scorching sun.
We had now attained the head of the navigation, the remainder of the route to Kempsey must therefore be performed on foot. About 3 p.m. we started, steering a mean course W.N.W. per bush road, the distance, I was assured, did not exceed seven miles, and this I might easily achieve in an hour and three quarters - the miles, however (as my esteemed friend Sir John Franklin was wont to allege) must either have been Kangaroo Miles else our legs must have proved sadly supine, seeing the better portion of three hours was consumed in gaining our haven, a feat at last accomplished, after a sultry tramp, an hour or so before sunset.
Why attempt description of the open forest land traversed? any ordinary sketch, Australian or Tasmanian, will suffice. The scene was guiltless of any decided character. Not so the banks of the McKleay whose very first glimpse is imposing, the commanding heights whereby they are crowned presenting such powerful contrast to voyagers fresh from the tame and insipid gorders of the Maria and Wilson. I reached the Bush Inn, kept by Mr. Edgar Thomas Aldridge, a gentleman whose acquaintance I made in Sydney, where, after premonishing me of his vocation, he most cordially requested me to make his house my home.
Mr. Aldridge is no solitary example of well born, well educated young Englishman lured by misrepresentation to this suppositious El Dorado, following a most uncongenial not to say repulsive pursuit, but, cui bono, “man maun do something for his bread”. I found him agreeably gentlemanly, and intelligent, but, by shipwreck and else, unfortunate. Unhappily he was in Sydney when I reached his house, but orders had been issued to do me all the honours. He appears to be fortunate in his housekeeper, a sedate, efficient, civil married woman, who was most provident in ministering to my wants. In accordance with the prevailing Colonial fashion a huge fire was immediately made to crackle up the spacious chimney, and that when the temperature was such as generally leads Englishmen to throw doors and windows wide to inhale the fresh air - I could stand all but the fire, which was immediately doused -
Saturday: 21 Enjoyed a night of refreshing, unbroken, repose
which I brought to agreeable close at 8 a.m. The sun shone in refulgent
splendour giving every token of a sweltering day. Kempsey is situated
upon the most inharmoniously named but beautiful McKleay from whose
mouth, at Tryal Bay, it is some forty miles distant. The river is
navigable for small craft some few miles higher, but like the majority of
inlets on this coast it has a barred and shifting channel at its
entrance. Altho now, and for the last 18 months, fresh, the water is
generally salt, or at least brackish, at Kempsey, a village not of Govt.
creation, but indebted for existence to a Mr. Rudder, the purchaser of
one or two sections of Crown Land which he afterwards parcelled out in
Clearing commenced and habitations arose, until a thriving township usurped the place of an almost impervious scrub. There is a life like aspect and interest about the McKleay absolutely invigorating after a pilgrimage of the Maria and her consorts - the banks are well elevated, extremely fertile, and the distance across not very much short of a quarter of a mile. Cedar, of a fine quality, abounded on either shore, this, however, has been pretty well thinned, and as the tree does not grow in forests, but is merely intermingled with others in scrubs, it is to be apprehended the supply must ere long cease.
To the extensive export of this timber the rapid existence of Kempsey must be mainly attributed, and, had the good times but lasted a few years longer it would, doubtless, have grown into a place of considerable note; indeed when one reflects that the discovery of the river dates scarcely fourteen years back, our surprise is at the amount already accomplished not at what has been left unattempted. If ever le bon temps reviendra the McKleay, I opine will prosper. Dispense with the towering mountains that encompass the Derwent and the McKleay will be found not very unlike, in some of her reaches, to her Southern sister - the mountains, too, I am told, are to be found as she meanders thro’ the territory of New England.
At 10 a.m. my Charon and I took boat downwards to Messrs Oakes’ station when within a mile and a half we were hailed by an Aboriginal tribe, soliciting hard for tobacco. there were upwards of twenty men (no women) Paddy Melon (a dwarfish scrub Kangaroo) hunting - we pulled inshore and I had the glorious delight of rendering so many fellow creatures comparatively happy at the trifling cost of a couple of pipes and so many figs of tobacco, a donation to be equally shared, and which elicited for me a volley of “Good fello - good fello”, the poor creatures grinning and chattering with the most inexpressible satisfaction. Their passion for smoking
is intense. They have been apt pupils in acquiring all the vile
European tastes and habits. A lady, a friend of mine, discoursing to one
of their women, domesticated in the family, of the joys of Heaven had her
homily cut ridiculously short by the naive inquiry -
“[indecipherable] Missus, plenti smoke dere?” Upon due
explanation the forest child became utterly indifferent to all the
glowing account of Celestial bliss, no joy existing in her mind where
there was not “plenti of smoke”.
Except at Port Macquarie this was the first Aboriginal tribe I had ever beheld, the very first I had ever encountered in their native fastnesses, although from youth I have “fallen into the sere” since erst Australasia and I became acquainted. time there was when such an encounter, in Tasmania, would have called powder and ball into active requisition, therefore no reader, by any possibility, can appreciate my sensations at thus greeting the poor, ill used, Blacks with cordial good will, instead of being driven in self defence to a deadly exchange of shot for spears.
A pull of two hours and a half brought us to Sevenoaks, the pretty
station of Messrs. Oakes situated in a fine open marshy plain at no great
distance from the river. The house is a large and spacious one formed of
cedar planks, white washed without and within. The landscape is
extensive, of picturesque beauty and impressive character, the distant
mountains girdling it with a zone of glowing purple.
Dr. Richardson and Mr. Tozer of Port Macquarie dined with us and after dinner a swim in the McKleay freed me of the travel stains of the past winter. In the evening we were attracted towards the Black Camp, a short half mile distant, to witness a Corrobbora. I was at once recognised as the “fella dat gib im smoke de mornin” and again importuned for more. A few inches of tobacco distributed here and there sufficed.
The tribe might probably muster some thirty or five and thirty individuals, men women and children. The [indecipherable] men we found, like so many strolling players, bedizzening themselves for their respective roles. A small clear spot served for stage and the depths of the thicket for exits and entrances, whilst a flickering fire from dead boughs was at once foot and centre lights. The adornment for the approaching spectacle consisted chiefly in smearing the visage with red ochre and streaking their limbs and bodies with quaint devices fashioned by white clay. Some twisted and knotted their hair like the females of Europe, whilst one man had his locks elaborately inwoven with Cockatoo feathers. All being in readiness a warrior commences chanting and, as it seemed to me, giving constant reiteration to the same words keeping time to the monotonous drawl by
beating a short stick against his shield. The warriors, meanwhile,
have ensconced amid the brush wood, whence at a given moment a couple
issue; at stated intervals others follow until the whole dramatis
personae are engaged when “the fun grows fast and furious”,
violent bodily exertions and incessant grimace being accompanied by wild
suppressed gutteral intonations resembling the short grunts of an angry
boar. Some of their pas are particularly light, their attitudes,
if not always graceful are peculiarly easy, and as the dance proceeds
they cause their limbs to quiver rapidly and their knees to clash
together in a singularly energetic manner, to which they bear chorus with
their voices, performing likewise a species of saltatory movement which I
cannot better describe than by assimilation to the favorite gambols of
the Artistes of Saddlers Wells and Astleys - I, of course, merely attempt
delineating that which I saw, but they have a variety of characteristic
dances for various occasions.
Ere I take leave of this Black subject, I may job down their portraiture of a parson - which is “White fello dat belong to Sydney pull shirt outside tousel, git a top ab waddie, pay al long Corrobboree all about dibbit, dibbit”. Had the Aboriginal a Puseyite in his eye?
The tale I have heard has already appeared in print - I know not where, and as it is not my own, my reiteration may serve to corroborate the original narration. the poor woman who deemed there was no Heaven without smoke affords me another anecdote - she was of the King River tribe, and was wooed in the customary Australian fashion, that is to say she was truck to the earth by a blow on the skull from her lover, who flinging her like a sack across his back bore her in a state of insensibility to his fire. Here he cast her on the ground.
Recovering slowly she beheld her adora gazing at the heavens - a large sheet of bark was near - watching her opportunity she flung herself prostrate beneath it - the wooer sought her everywhere but the right place. When a sufficient distance was between them she started up and escaped. In after years she preferred the service of the Whites but her tribe compelled her to go with them and she returned no more, being murdered in some of their capricious moods.
Sunday: 22: At an early hour I was awoke from a most refreshing slumber by a succession of the heaviest squalls of wind I ever heard; the house trembled to its centre and I, too, felt half disposed to tremble less it should fall and engulph us in its ruins: fortunately these
gusts were as brief in their duration as potent in their might. the hot weather would seem to have set in downright earnest. It is a smoking day and very blustery - no moving about - I sauntered for a short while in the garden gleaning a few early strawberries, their flavour is very insipid contrasted even with those of Tasmania which, in turn, are not to be compared to those of Britain. A square enclosure of black rails, beyond the gardens foot, attracted my attention. I needed not inquire whose was that lonely couch. I hied me sorrowfully to the spot - a head stone which had never been erected, being broken in two, lay hard by, attempting to serve as fragile and fleeting memento of the ashes whose resting place it aimed to point out –
HENRY ROBERT OAKES
Such the passing record of the once gay and jovial “Major”
Oakes, a man whose activity and eccentricity was conspicuous through
life, whose hospitality was as lavish as his expenditure prodigal and his
humour uncontrollable. In India, Tasmania, Australia and New Zealand he
was universally known - “a fellow of infinite mirth and most
exquisite fancy”. And there he lay - not one quip, nor crank, nor
gleeful sally to greet me now! How keenly long forgotten train of
reflections pass in shadowy review before the mental gaze, recalling the
ghosts of bye gone pleasures to jar our heart strings.
Through what feverish variety of chequered scenes we speed to lie full low at last - Mr. Oakes was recently Commissioner of Crown lands for this district, which lies beyond the boundary - Henry, his eldest son, entered H.M.S. Sulphur in the capacity of First Clap Volunteer under the auspices and by the advice of Captain Dance, whilst a resident in Tasmania. The Captain’s promises either exceeded his power or inclination to realise and, in consequence, the Navy lost a young gentleman “whilst Australia gained an active and industrious squatter”. With numberless opportunities of realising a noble independence for his family Oakes died deeply in debt.
His anxious and persevering boys signed heavily as they told me so - altho’ their father had been latterly in rect. of £1000 a year they assured me they were now in a much better position with little, Gold help them, save their own untiring industry and resolute perseverance in toil to befriend them. That they may prosper is the earnest wish of all who know them. After a weeks sojourn the Blacks have this day struck their camp. A woman, born of an European father, was among them. She, to my thinking, was fully as savage and loathy as the others. The day passed away in fiery heat and furious squalls. Night was heralded by a fine sunset - the wind lulled and so chilly did it become
as to render a glowing wood fire a most agreeable feature. No Church
invited - my mind was attuned to grief - I was in agonies to learn
something of my dearly beloved absent wife. Under such a morbid
temperament I gave a touch or two to the following –
Stanzas not transcribed
Stanzas not transcribed cont.
Monday: 23: A ripping and an eager air as I turned out betimes - An early breakfast discussed Harry Oakes and I were speedily in the saddle. For some time we traversed the belt of scrub bordering the river - Its dense and impracticable character recalled the Macquarie Harbour forests forcibly, where nought, save the windings to be threaded, were discernible - Except a moderate quantity of open forest land we saw none worth mention, and only on e squatters residence was passed until a twenty miles ride brought us to Moonabba the station of Mr. Ducat, who with his family are from the vicinity of Dundee - Mr. Ducat I learnt is the brother in law of Dr. Maclaren R.N. Inches, too, is known to the family, and they were moreover in timately acquainted with all my mothers Carse of Gowrie relations - My reception was most hospitable - The family at home consisted of Mr. & Mrs Ducat, Miss Gray her sister, Charles and his brother, and last not least their sister Agnes, a mild, gentle, intelligent girl, one whose voice and manner at once attracted, and so, unless I be grievously mistaken, opined another who shall be nameless - God speed them, say I, if fortune smiles propitiously. The chief purport of our visit was to see Miss Helen Oakes - This I was
anxious to do in case it might be in my power to render her any service. Poor girl her forlorn position had interested me deeply, and the kindness expressed for her on all sides and the fond eulogiums of her brothers vibrated to my heart - I promised her I would see her Aunt Miss Oakes, Carshalton, surrey, and was instructed to make enquiries after her of Willis Sandeman & Co Lombard Street. Mr. Ducat is also a squatter, he has cleared a considerable portion of land - His dwelling is a tolerably spacious one the walls and flooring formed of cedar slabs - The McKleay which has ceased to be navigable is about 300 years from the front of the house - its breadth is considerably reduced, and it is skirted by some goodly hills on its Eastern bank where a small sheep station is kept; otherwise, cattle are nearly the sole quadrupedal depastures in this district, generally unsuited to sheep.
Tuesday: 24: We departed from Moonabba about 10 a.m. crossing
the ford of the McKleay and winding our course through some good open
forest land = A short ride and we again forded the river at Yarawal a
very picturesque and pleasant spot and one of the finest cattle stations
on the McKleay - Formerly it was in the possession of Lieut. Steele, lat
17th Reg.t, not, however, it is occupied by Mr. Chas. Ducat. Perched upon
a bold commanding bank with a charming sweep of the river, right and ,
left, its beauty further enhanced by a large scope of fertile cultivated
ground, cleared for the plough by natures hand, it is certainly a most
delightfully inviting spot - the Castor oil tree is abundant, indeed so
luxurient is its growth that it becomes a positive weed - the plant is
very beautiful with leaves not very dissimilar to those of the sycamore,
it displays a bright red tufted blossom, & its nuts, in taste,
greatly resemble the ground nuts of Brazil -
Very dearly however, did I pay the penalty of tasting - I munched but three, but, oh, ye Gods, what excruciating torments I underwent. the horrors of sea sickness were feeble to my pangs - no emetic ever possessed equal potency - brain and bowels were fearfully racked, my whole nervous system was laid prostrate, and for four or five hours I retched terrifically at intervals - surely some poison must lurk in their inner rinds - Enjoyment for the day was over, fortunately we had reached Dondinglam, the station of Mr. Magnus McLeod ere this effect was produced - Mr. McLeod was from home but being expected in the course of the evening we took possession of his quarters - On our route hither we
passed the station of Capt. Briggs, a retired Officer of the 50th - Alas, that military men should part with their commissions - It is an act of fearful impolicy which many here bitterly but unavailingly deplore - No, no - Whatever you do - stick to your commissions - They will at least serve to keep the wolf from the door -
Wednesday: 25: - Our worthy hose reached home about four oclock
this morning having quitted a gay Pic Nic, given by the Police Magistrate
of Port Macquarie, - after sunset and performed a canter of forty miles
under the guiding beams of our bright Lady Moon - Twelve years had flown
over us since last we grappled palms, yet he looked hale, hearty, and
nearly as youthful as of yore - We had not a long time for interchange of
communications my motions compelling me to depart soon after breakfast -
I still felt the ill effects of the infernal nuts. Dondinglan is a very
pretty spot of a purely Tasmanian character in its scenery -
There is a good deal of cultivated land, and some wheat was in very forw.d state. We were accompanied at our departure by a Mr. W.C. Robertson, a son of my [indecipherable], respected, fellow voyager to Port Arthur Major Robertson 96th. Regt. - In the course of our ride we again forded the McKleay passing the fine station of Mr. Massie - Crown Autocrat and Land Commissioner - a [indecipherable] is collector or squatters licenses, also of their assessments on stock - 1 ½. Sheep, 3d. Cattle, and 6d. per head per annum for horses being the regulated charge - The Comms. act as Magistrates and have four mounted police under the orders - Their salary is £ 365 a year -
Our route lay ‘thro’ beautiful open forest pasture land, by the wayside whereof we were called upon to observe sundry mementos of that noiseless goal wither we are all rapidly tending - grave enclosures, here and there, are touchingly sprinkled in mournful and impressive solitude amid [indecipherable] groves to whose unpractised echoes church going bell never resounded, and from whose gloomy recesses the hearts orisons are, I fear me, few and faint - An hour or two’s ride brought us to a sort of village inhabited by one or two mechanics - it is called Sctostown, and is situated on the W. bank of the McKleay a few hundred yards about Kempsey - Here there is a finely moulded vessel of 185 tons ready for launching and has been so for the last three years - she is admirably put together, copper fastened, and
the tenth finished by her builder, Mr. Ferrier, who is under the necessity of leaving her where she is no present sale being practicable - Would that I had the wherewithal and a staunch crew to test her - “ quip”, as Jonathan says, she should bear me wherever wind co.d blow or barky float - I was ferry’d over to Kempsey where we cracked a bottle - Mr. Aldridge had not returned - On our departure we recrossed the river traversing a fine open plain like that of Lawrenny but neither so dry nor so sweet - Mr. Gilbert, the districts surgeon, and a Mr. Sal[indecipherable] shared it between them - We next passed the station of Mr. Cheers, also an open goodly Marsh, whereon we gained a footing by a bridge of ominous dubiety - Close by a pretty enclosure enticed me to dismount, and cull the following homely ltyric of funereal [indecipherable] It is to be found at Garrabandary, the Station of W.H. Chapman & Co.
To the Memory of
Emily ann Hodgkinson
Died 11th June 1842
Aged 6 Weeks
Surviving Her Mother 1 month
Add Matilda Cheers
Cousin of the above
Died 2d. July 1842
Aged 8 months and 7 days
So like they were as roses grow
Almost upon the self same bough
While just some slight shades intervene
To mark a change more felt than seen.
Affection uprears strange memorials, but it is beautiful even in its absurdities - Quitting the plains we enter the scrub threading its devious mazes until daylight and Sevenoaks again greet our view - here the landscape is one of great extent and transcendant natural beauty, but, ah me, the loveliest graces of a new country lack interest and tone to impress their charms vividly and enduringly - I may here observe the squatters dwellings are constructed of upright slabs, the roofs being covered with sheets of the black butt bark which are kept securely in their places by a solid framework of timber fastened over them - The chimneys of these dwellings occupy no inconsiderable portion of the space - they are also formed of slabs protected from the frames by an inner coating of stone work between two and three feet high –
Thursday: 26: the longest day will have an end, and the best of
friends must part - After an early breakfast I bid Montague Oakes &
Sevenoaks farewell - Harry and Augustus accompanying me to Kempsey - the
wind blew strong down the river causing a jobble of a sea and half
filling our crazy, leaky dingy - About 3 miles up we landed at a small
clearing on the Eastern bank the location of an individual for whom I
could hear of no other cognomen than that of “Diehard” but,
judging by the Herculean nature of his “clearing”, Work
hard would, in my opinion, have been an appellation more germane to
the matter - Let it pass - it was not the man but a mighty tree, an
indescribably glorious fig tree of whose wonderful formation I would fain
convey some faint idea - Its extreme altitude might probably reach to 150
or 170 feet - its top presented an unbrageous canopy of the richest
green, the limbs being twisted, gnarled, & inwoven in a mysterious
mass of Gordian tracery, wreathed with a living crown of matchless beauty
- but it is neither the pensile graces of its foliage nor its lordly
pride of bearing I seek to paint - no, it is the multiplied involutions,
revolutions, and convolutions of its inconceivably fantastical roots wich
traversed a circumference of at least 300 feet and reaching to a height
of ten or fourteen feet above ground -
These wondrous cretan labyrinths form, as it were, bays rivers, inlets, of every imaginable figure would as it were into every tortuous variety of bearing - These roots are their flat spurs whose knife like shape and altitude is their wonder - they ascend like sharp walls and a roof spread over and round the tree would suffice to furnish numerous commodious and perfect cells - To what shall I liken this grotesque feat of nature? The reader if a traveller, may possibly glean some idea of their character if he will recall to memory some of the fantastic wave worn cliffs such as Ocean has perforated into countless varieties of form on the rock girt shores of enchanting Jersey - amid the ramified strata which protect staff as sublime cave of Fingal - or on the scarce less singular rocks of the far famed Giants Causeway - Each and all of these flashed rapidly and vividly across my mental vision as I gazed enraptured upon this majestic tree whose doom diehard’s axe was about to seal - I entered one of its extraordinary catacombs, its walls reached at least five feet overhead, whilst the trunk was wound with numerous boa constrictor like tendrils which are continually weaving their gigantic clasping folds - O that the
power of pencil had been mine - What rare freaks of nature it would
have been in my power to illustrate - I sent on Williams from
Diehard’s with the dingy - Messrs. Oakes and I proceeding in a more
commodious boat - We reached Kempsey in about a couple of hours - After
an excellent dinner that hard word, farewell, was spoken - The
Oakes’ took their departure - Poor fellows, they have an arduous
and energetic struggle to support themselves and sister at this moment of
almost general ruin and dire depression - their own youthful energies
ought not to have been so severely overtasked had their father evinced
but the smallest share of the commonest prudence - Perhaps, in this
selfish world, their desolation acting by sympathetic congeniality,
caused any milk of human kindness to flow - it certainly awoke, in all
our hearts, a depth of feeling I could scarce have credited -
We are sadly the creatures of circumstance - Mrs. Slater, Mr. Aldridges housekeeper was most attentive sending a man and two horses to accompany me to Boat Harbour wither I departed at 3 and arrived in about an hour and a half - Williams who had preceeded me found the boat swamped, so half an hour was consumed in freeing her - Bourns, Mr. Aldridges man returned homewards, whilst we tackled to the oar, and after a stiff pull of nineteen miles which we achieved in about four hours and a half, we reached Oakville at 9.30 P.M. - The brilliant moon was at the full and the river glanced and flickered in beauty - Oakville, with its burnings of dead timber glowed like a mighty bivouack - I bid Mr. Taylor adieu on retiring to rest, rendering him hearty acknowledgments for his courtesy and kindness -
Friday: 27:- Early mists hung around the chilly river, enveloping Maria in a fleecy veil - the sun was just tinging the [indecipherable] horizon, when our handsom skiff dashed swiftly from the shores of Oakville, our inner man having first been fortified with a pannakin of hot tea and snow white damper - Mr. Taylor’s greyhound who had picked up an acquaintance with me, swam after us and when driven back ran along the rivers bank a considerable distance - Upon opening the Wilson Sol’s vivifying rays began to impart heat and animation, whilst the glassy flood, like
coy beauty, gradually and gracefully withdrew her vapoury veil before
the ardent gaze of her untiring admirer. In passing down I asked Williams
why the spot was named Halpenny Hatch, adding that a path so called led
from the Kent to the lower Deplford road. “Ah, well I know that,
sir” said he “but for that path I might never have been
heere”. “How so?” I inquired “If not too curious,
perhaps you will tell me what was the cause of your coming”.
“Not for building churches, sir, you may rest assured- I somehow
mistook somebody else’s house for my own, where I stumbled upon 230
ounces of plate.
I was put up to a burglary by a servant who lived in a house in Kent Road in 1831 - deeming that locality too public to make off with my booty, I turned down Halpenny Hatch where I fell aboard of the Police. They politely demanded a sight of my bundle, and I only escaped being scragged at the expense of being lagged for life!” “But how is it I see no markings about your limbs or person?” alluding to the almost universal convict and sailor fashion of tatooing. “No, sir, no” said Williams, “I am bad enough without any such brand. The law has marked me sufficiently without my doing so - If I can do myself no good, I will certainly never do myself such a contemptible evil - I would not debase myself to the lowest ebb.”
Williams had been in the Navy serving in the Briton, 46, under the Hon. Capt. W. Gordon. He was a remarkably clean, civil, intelligent fellow, upon the eve of obtaining his ticket of leave after twelve years of servitude. He had once taken the bush, but was, a he himself declared, fortunately captured in a few days, else he must otherwise have inevitably perished. When he had finished his work with me I could scarcely induce him to accept a trifle, as he insisted he had merely done his duty and felt a pleasure in having had it in his power to oblige me. Few such as he are to be met with.
When we had again entered the Hastings a fine fair breeze sprang up - rigging a blanket sail we sped cheerily against an ebb tide reaching Wauchope at 3 p.m. where a letter from my dearest wife awaited me, blessing me with assurance of her safety.
Sunday: 29: After an early dinner I bade farewell to the kind inmates of Wauchope, the Captain accompanying me in his boat to Port Macquarie which we reached after dark, putting up at Phillips Inn - On the way we perceived a snake swimming the river - we chased and killed him - It was a diamond snake about six feet long, a species not very unlike the boa constrictor - It is said not to be venemous -
Monday: 30:- The following anecdote will tend to show how very
much a portion of the law of this land demands revision - A gentleman
lets a warehouse in Port Macquarie to a Mr. Hookey, with whom he enters
into a contract for certain works to be executed upon a swelling house -
the rent of the warehouse to be retained in payment of the work - Before
completion of the contract Hookey becomes insolvent, but that the work
may be duly performed he sends his landlord a copy of an agreement for
him to write out and sign, the remainder of the contract being stipulated
to be performed by Swindle & Co -
At this time Hookey owes the party £ 50 of rent, and a sum of £ 12 deducted by valuation for insufficient work - At this stage the Commissioner of the Insolvent Court and the Official Assignee by written notice and public advertisement caution all the inhabitants of Port Macquarie who may be indebted to Hookey against paying any claims of Swindle & Co. - A demand is made by that firm for the amount of work done on the premises of Hookey’s landlord, but no set off for rent due or ill done work is allowed - A suit for recovery is instituted, but armed with the Commissioners injunction the party sued rests perfectly easy - A distraint issues and a levy on his cattle is made - the Commissioners injunction is produced and laughed at - An appeal for time is then made and denied, and the money or a sale within eight and forty hours declared imperative -
Now the judges have ordered that if it is probable the real or supposed value of the property is not likely to be met at a particular juncture the proprietor shall be allowed reasonable time - In this case such demand was made and rejected by the convict official of the Sheriff - Pay or sell was the sole alternative - There was no time to apply to Sydney distant upwards of 200 miles and with which a communication once a fortnight only existed - A cheque also was refused - nothing but bank notes would be received, and to collect 105 of them in so remote a place was matter of no easy achievement -
In this particular case it was effected but in how many must utter ruin have ensued - Now is the judges order for a reasonable time to fall before the dictum of a convict underling - or is the authority of the Commissioner of the Insolvent Court so slight and inoperative as to be no better than waste paper? If he acts contrary to law, he should be made to pay the penalty, surely not the suitor of his court who obeys its injunctions. Meanwhile the estate of Hookey is wound up, his landlords claim is admitted as the first to be satisfied in full. But where are the funds? Ask the Officials who conduct Insolvencies a la Australiana, and perhaps they may stultify certainly not enlighten you - the Mortgagees take the kernel - The lawyers, bailiffs, auctioneers, etc. pick up the crumbs - whilst the simple contract creditors are left in simplicity and sorrow to ponder over the shell. The Insolvent law throws a sevenfold shield around the [indecipherable] rascal, whilst the honest but unfortunate debtor it turns desolate upon the world.
After breakfast went to the Police Office where I renewed my acquaintance with Mr. Wm. Gray, Police Magistrate, who, in concert with Mr. Jas. Robertson, captured two armed Bushrangers in N.S.W. IN 27 OR 28.
The steamer is to sail tomorrow. Heard a queer yarn of the Rev. Mr. Purvis, Scotch parson - also of a Mr. Middleton. Blowing a heavy gale of wind - a little before 3 p.m. Capt. Wauch set out on his homeward walk - I accompanied him a short way and bid him Adieu. He has not been able to steer his bark wholly clear of the quicksands. Dreadfully lonely as any strange village to the traveller - no idea can be given of an evening at an Antipodean Inn without books, newspapers, or any society save the plain devil and evil thoughts. This misery I, in part, escaped by spending the latter portion of it at Mr. Tozers - There was a savage attempt at murder here last week by a blind Norfolk Island expiree, who plunged a sharp pointed knife repeatedly into the breast and back of his victim who still survives and not without hopes of recovery. In this nice age of pseudo humanity, no doubt a plea of monomania (bless their learning) will set the darkened ruffian free to pursue his taste for further atrocity - I saw the rascal Kinnear & Mr. Minter Hart, the blank acceptance attorney miscreant I find is likewise a special resident, in this much honoured settlement. How can it otherwise than flourish?
Tuesday: 1st October 1844 At 9 the Maitlands steam was up, her
head fasts cast loose, and every endeavour made to free her from the
narrow channel, but so limited is its extent such the violence of the
gale blowing that much manoeuvring back and filling was requisite to cast
her seaward, the tide paying her head inwards as forcibly as jib and
staysail with the helm to boot inclined it outwards. At last we were over
the bar and rapidly leaving Port Macquarie on our lee a brigantine into
which we discharged our pilot and wherein Mr. Aldridge was said to be a
passenger was working into port.
Signal Hill, the two Nobby’s, and romantic shores of Tacking Point were speedily left behind but, in opening a long low sandy bay backed by fine sweeping mountains trending far away onto he starboard bow, the wind mounted compelling us to trail the mainsail up, the unweatherly craft pitching into it, heaving green seas abaft her wheel, and causing the ladies to work their stomach pumps most fiercely. The coast in this vicinity is pretty, but one could only view it by snatches and at the hazard of a wet jacket, one beauty displaying so much anxiety to wash our faces as well as her own. The breeze blew stiffer from the W.S.W. but the water was smooth, and an ordinary vessel w’d scarce have shipped a spray.
At 2 p.m. we had passed the remarkable conical hills called the Three Brothers and rounded Crowdy Head with smooth water but a strong wind: here the coast is low, sandy and uninviting: the sea, gradually increased deluging the steamer and sweeping her decks right fore and aft. At sunset we had reached Cape Hawke when the breeze moderated considerably and the decks consequently became dry. In this quarter the land is elevated, graceful in its outline, and the mountain ridges broken into pleasing and pictorial form to which the expiring rays of the setting sun imparted a warm and vivid tone of purply hue - the W.N.W. bearing at Cape Hawk four miles distant assured this aspect. The seal rocks where my downward coast description terminated were now some six or seven miles ahead and during the night we came to anchor in Port Stephens. Mr. T. Partis gave me his promised sketch of Port Macquarie, and Mr. P. Cohen his Aboriginal Narrative. Mr. Tozer (passenger with me) further supplied me with the following Extracts of Letters from Swell specials to others of Their Own Clap.
Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney, 1840
You will have heard from some of the witnesses now up with what grand obeisance I am attended when I appear at H.P.B. Crowds of little
“rise up and give way, paying their respects as in duty bound. I saw Dr. M. (Moncriff, Colonial Surgeon) and Capt. (Steel I.P.) at the Theatre the other night while I had on my arm a female of tolerable beauty. To show them that I recognized them I wished them good night. I have had several very advantageous offers made me. I can get lots of sheep and cattle and as many men as I require and a fine young woman if so inclined - Give my regards &” (Pretty well this, Nosey)
From the same (Herring) A Chapter of Accidents
“Having no business in the dull place (A Constable in charge of Australia) to write about I will give you a Chapter of Accidents - I started last evening for Maulden to look after my chere amie black Sall who had absconded from me the night before with a parcel of darkeys who passed this place. I unfortunately took the wrong road and not until after walking 10 or 15 miles found out my mistake. I had to return and did not reach them until the middle of the night and after lecturing the fair B- on her inconstancy and on promising sundry handkerchiefs, tomahawks, & I succeeded in reaching home by nearly daylight.
I was much vexed by Jack - who was now sleeping in the opposite berth in the hut appearing to keep one eye open on my movements thereby preventing that enjoyment with my Dulcinea I had been so rapturously anticipating. In the morning I found that during my absence Ivey (a young Kangaroo) had escaped from a rope to which I had tied him. I started therefore in search of Ivey and in looking for Ivey I lost my slipper. In looking for my slipper I lost my nose - in looking for my nose I lost my temper so you see Dame Fortune has been playing her pranks and I have reason as well as yourself to complain of her ill usage”.
From a Special Linen Draper, on Loan to his Wife, to another
Swell Special at Port Macquarie
George Street, Sydney
“Who do you think has arrived? - No less a personage than John Minton Hart who assisted in giving me 14 years instead of 7. He sent a message to Mrs. D. (Davis, the writer’s wife) to call and see him - not at the Pultnoy Hotel, but on board the (Phoenis) Hulk! There are three ships with emigrants just come in - a set of shirtless and shoeless rascals”
Wednesday: 2: At anchor within the fine spacious basin, Port
Stephens, the wind a brisk gale at W.S.W. The barque Jane Sydney, Whaler,
and two schooners, one of which had been ashore in [indecipherable] This
place is completely land locked, the harbour capable of containing the
largest fleets, the water of sufficient depth, and the land high and
hilly. The Maitland, lying very snugly as she could do but little good
outside - The wind increased and the weather grew dirty and rainy as the
tide made but with the turn came a lull and a fine sunshiny afternoon
with a light air at S.W. At 3 p.m. we landed on the S. beach.
There was an Aboriginal encampment, and some of our gentlemen went to play leap frog and jump against the Blacks whom they invariably excelled to the loud merriment of both parties. I picked up a few indifferent rock oysters. Had my dinner depended on them I should not have fared over sumptuously. The land appeared to be barren and sandy. Two of the Blacks paddled off in their bark canoe, it is part of a sheet stripped from a tree puckered and tied with currajong strips at the extremities, the centre being spread and kept open by short transverse sticks. This slight vessel they made to skim the sea with much ease and speed.
At 7.30 p.m. the wind had lulled and the sea subsided - We, therefore, weighed and stood to sea, but, when outside the hammocks, my lady began to bob her head in a very uneasy manner, the [indecipherable] head on end - it proved a fearful night. The deck was completely swept, and as for the Capt. (Parsons) and the watch they might almost as well have been towed astern. Several times amidst the rolling, pitching, and shipping of green seas he thought of bearing up again for Port Stephens - Still, perseverance overcomes much, and acting upon that good old axiom, he bored his way thro’ all and reached Newcastle between eight & morning.
Thursday: 3 Landed at Newcastle, at the Coal Shoot, between 6 and 7 a.m. just as the Maitland again faced towards Sydney and a S.W. gale - I made the best of my way to Mr. Reid’s where, albeit they had changed their dwelling, they had not in the slightest degree changed their kindness. I found Mr. & Mrs. Turner among their inmates - After breakfast I wrote a hurried epistle to my own dearest Kathleen which I forthwith conveyed to the Post Office. From thence I proceeded to the Wharf and on
board the brig Julia, which I entered from idle curiosity - Judge my surprise when I saw Robinson, our old Second Mate in the [indecipherable], in command of her. We knew each other at a glance and a cordial greeting ensued - Old yarns were laid, relaid and twice laid, and I half engaged to go with him to Tahiti whither he is found. It wo.d be a delightful trip at the present moment, and but for tearing me further from my dearest wife I never wo.d hesitate. I know not how it may end. It would afford me a splendid feature for my book - Had a pleasant meeting with Major Last, and such a Mr. McIlveen at Mr. Reids –The Hunter River Steamers, Tamar, and Sophia Jane, blew off their vapour and did not impertinently thrust their noses outside.
Friday: 4: Mr. Turner left this morning at 6 per Steamer for Sydney. I wrote a few lines to Mr. Atkinson. Went down to the Coal Wharf, where Mr. Robinson and I strolled to the Pits - The Shamrock in from Sydney for her supply of perch - Gilmore, her Master, dined with Mr. Reid. After dinner I visited the Julian - Robinson presented me a Chinese walking stick. Arranged with Mr. McIlwaine to go in the morning to Maitland.
Saturday: 5: Astir betimes - the Steamers arrived early but it
being dead low water neither of them could proceed until after 10, at
which time the Tamar departed on her upward course. A mile or two above
Newcastle the river is barred by flats whereon vessels constantly take
the ground. To prevent such a casualty we went off at a steady pace, not
more than half speed being hazarded - Over these flats the Hunter spreads
itself into a magnificent lake like, volume, spangled here and there with
miniature islands of no great beauty in themselves, but attractive as
agreeable features in a pretty landscape of which the distant mountains,
bathed in purple dyes, are the most varied and captivating.
The different bends at these flats look like so many rivers, yet they are merely several channels. On one of the sound banks, left dry by the receding tide, a large flock of pelicans were sunning their wings, and rejoicing in the genial warmth that had succeeded the cold and blustery weather of the past four or five days. It is father singular to contemplate them with outstretched necks and expanded plumes absorbing as it were the very vitality of the health giving breeze. The fair way becoming very intricate our motions were necessarily rendered extremely slow,
in order to our being reasonably sure - A little, round sterned,
cutter, [indecipherable] the Acme was sedulously observing a like
precaution on her downward course. The Sophia Jane, which had preceeded
us, got safely over, our care was eventually crowned with a like
fortunate result, but poor little Acme’s career became muddily
interrupted. For weary miles the banks of the Hunter are lonely,
monotonous and unprepossessing, the first indication of industry and
civilisation being discernible at a spot called Tomigo, on the right
side. Australian agriculture is incomparably more slovenly than
Tasmanian, and it is as rare to see a field clear of unsightly stumps
here as it would be remarkable and discreditable to find them on any
[indecipherable] well ordered farm there.
At Tommy, with the quaint adjunct, the scenery begins to improve a little - that improvement became more evident as we advanced, and a very inviting object is the late Mr. [indecipherable] cottage on ash Island, at the mouth of another bend which takes a round turn to Newcastle. Here, there are, also, other remarkable circular islets, but the rain commenced descending in such copious streams that I was compelled to abandon the picturesque and hasten to the shelter of the cabin - the rain now provokingly descended in torrents and that at a time when we were threading the cultivated shores of the Hunter. I therefore braved its watery fury, beguiling the time with the merry chat of an old College chum (Sandy Patterson) who chanced to be a passenger.
Notwithstanding an infinity of vicissitudes he was gay, as sanguine as a green boy - in ecstacies about some new farming scheme whereby past misfortunes were to be retrieved, and a mighty [indecipherable] now to be achieved. As we got into a fine reach enlivened by various smiling farms, the bays broken by several picturesquely rounded headlands the orb of day once more shone forth gilding the prospect and dispelling the unkindly vapours.
We were close to the village of Raymond Terrace, a truly pleasant spot at the confluence of the William and Hunter - Altho’ in its infancy it boasts many goodly dwellings of cheerful aspect and fair proportions, the charm of the landscape is, notwithstanding, grievously marred by the vast number of long, naked, decayed, spindling trees that crown the banks on either side - when these shall have been eradicated, the propspect will deserve to be called charming, and then still of a tame character.
The Hunter is densely populated, farms appear to be numerous and extensive, and, from secular demonstration, such at least as may be gleaned from a passing view, I incline to think its reputation as one of the most fertile agrestial districts of New Sth. Wales is richly merited. I would I could comment the manner of its [indecipherable] but that is filthy, discreditable and disreputable. Vegetation is luxurious, even to rankness, but it is
but it is most offensive to the eye to wander thro’ corn fields
of ugly stumps or still more ungainly standing timber, the bark being
ringed to ensure the death of the tree. There is an utter absence of the
fine dwellings upon which one reasonably calculates on a river of such
agricultural and navigable pretension.
Near Raymond Terraces there was a vessel of some 70 or 80 tones in frame - everywhere indications of lavish fertility abound, but it is a savage fertility - bread, as it were, in plenty but, still, bread wrung from the wilderness, the rude hut and ruder offices at every step intrude, and thus the picture of the Hunter is necessarily but a picture in outline, requiring to be filled up by all the intelligible colourings which taste, residence, and the minute elegancies of social man know so well how to apply. At present it is a goodly rural landscape devoid of finish and much impaired by the slovenliness of the husbandry. a Mr. Hickey’s was the first place worth mention, and that merely by lack o f any degree of comparison elsewhere.
Here the axe and the grubbing hoe had partially done their duty: the odious gums had given place to a tasteful cottage which reared its modest head on the crest of a slope whereon a garden and vineyard displayed their stores.
Our trip was now within five miles of its termination and as the destined point was neared gracefully swelling hills closing in the N.W. portion of the landscape redeemed in part its almost unbroken [indecipherable] of character; larger tracts of tolerably cleared land also throw an additional grace upon the semi canal like river which, hereabouts, wantons in a truly serpentine maze, winding within five minutes from N.W. to S.E. and indeed, round and round the compass.
The land is of the deepest and richest alluvial soil, bearing the finest and most healthy looking crops, and tolerably besprinkled with habitation. Every stage of nearer approach to Morpeth renders the prospect more alluring - so closely did we skirt the western bank, the vessel may be almost said to brush it in her career. The large quantity of tillage now in the heights of luxuriant vegetation dotted the surface with a gorgeous mantle of glowing emeralds - At no season could the country have been viewed in such absolute perfection and never was season more favourable for such view than the present, because moisture had been long and moderately prevalent, a blessing only too infrequent for the prosperity of this land.
Our passage proved a particularly slow one, a small leak in the boiler compelling us to do our work with one. Half a mile below Morpeth the Patterson river diverges N.E. at a spot called Hinton where a punt is established. Morpeth is a considerable village upon the left bank of the Hunter at the head of its navigation, cheerfully placed upon swelling slopes
rising in picturesque liveliness from the waters edge. We reached it
in safety at 3.30 p.m. Its style of Architecture albeit neither Doric nor
Italian is suited to its wants, storehouse, inns and smiling
[indecipherable] being watered here and there. Conveyances to Maitland
were plentiful but 2/6 for three miles, which I was told was the
distance, sounded so exorbitant I preferred sauntering thither afoot.
Few dwellings of any pretension are to be found at Morpeth. There is one, however, that of Mr. Close, of goodly exterior and agreeably situated in a park like enclosure adjoining the unassuming little Church, a neat stone edifice with a somewhat dumpy, square, battlemented, tower. This Church has been erected by Mr. Close, upon whose land and under whose auspices Morpeth has been created. The rich low lands around (under their present aspect) are far more like the meadows of Old England than any I have hitherto seen.
The walk from Morpeth to Maitland is really a charming one, smiling fields, sleek cattle, substantial homesteads, cosy dwellings, a glowing landscape woo the wayfarers attention, the emerald meads beaming in his delighted and with enchanting grace at every step. My reader, however, must again be reminded that this delicious landscape was traversed by me at the very finest season of the year and in the finest season wherewith New S. Wales had for years been favoured.
When the fervid glare of the summers sun shall have turned “the green leaves all to yellow” much of the beauty will questionless depart - what the aspect then a vividly painful recollection of the desolate almost horrescent, appearance of withered Tasmania suffices to proclaim. There is no medium, either the earth is baked to a cinder, else saturated to a slough.
A three miles tramp brought me to East Maitland where the Sessions House and Gaol are situated in a straggling village with a Branch of the Australasian Bank, a few good houses whereof the hotels and gin shops are not the least prominent. A short two miles connects East with West Maitland. The latter village is much the larger and more select, but it is still but a straggling place abounding in the too abundant houses of accommodation the bane and scourge of this unhappy Colony.
The river skirts the principal street, and the superb agrestial territory around is begirt with fine pastoral hills upon whose swelling slopes elegant villas are plentiously studded. The locality is indeed a lovely one, and in the golden days when “Money in both pockets” abounded, the resident gentry might surely be forgiven the pardonable vanity the contemplation
[Page crossed out]
own fertile soil never fails to excite in the
bosom of the lords. Mr McIwaine was waiting for me, with a horse, at the
Northumberland Arms - I, therefore, mounted forthwith - we passed several
very pretty spots, amongst others those of Dr Rutherford R.M. - Mr Hobbs,
a son of him of Mansion [indecipherable] fame - a mansion costing
£16.000, and a most expensive Kangaroo and [indecipherable]
paddock, staggered the son who wound up for £39.000 - After fording
the hunter, and passing Mr Mitchell’s, a short ride conducted us to
Rosebrook by sunset.
The accomplished Mrs Hall in her glowing descriptions of [indecipherable] deplores the inadequacy of language sufficiently to [indecipherable] or convey accurate impressions of diversified scenery - If an [indecipherable] so eminently gifted, and so deservedly high in public estimation, treating of the fairy shores of all enchanting Killarney where Legends, Romance, and Chivalric tales are thick as leaves in [indecipherable] - if such a powerful writer, backed by the brilliant aid of a masterly pencil limning the charms acceptible to thousands, where truthful portraitures are not simply recognised but, by a rapid association of ideas, recal to memory cherished spots, bygone, happy days, or scenes of joy or woe, - if such an experienced delineator deplores the frequent iteration of terms, amounting nearly to unavoidable tautology in all descriptive scenic narratives, how much more deplorable must my case be who lack alike her talent to adorn, and her reputation to win favour, whilst the scattered anecdotes that attempt to enliven my pages are those of consummate fraud or atrocious force -
No tale of legendary love - no deed of high [indecipherable], no chronicled record can be culled by me - the correctness of my pictures but few can either approve or question, and for illustrations of the pencil, alas, they are such as the humane and charitable have furnished by voluntary contribution. Despite all these imminent perils, I will [indecipherable] adventure in the hope that if I cannot take my reader’s imagination by storm, I may at least afford him some little insight of the recipes of the Australian “Bush” -
Rose brook, fresh from the hands of nature, is a lovely spot, the cottage placed on a lawn gently sloping towards the Hunter and embosomed amid sweetly sylvan, grassy hills, hills of moderate height and graceful form: the fields are a fine alluvial deposit, - but of what avail the greatest fertility of soil if the restless demon of infertility rides the lurid air, blighting and burning, and marring the farmers
almost certain hopes in the very moment of their expected fruition -
and, alas, how constantly is this the case, - the wheat vegetates,
flowers, gives glorious promise, when, suddenly, a breath and it is gone
- the well filled ears are but a map of rust, and nothing left but straw
- It seems clear to me that New south Wales can never hope to be a
safe wheat growing country, and I almost wonder her settlers
should struggle at so frequently futile an attempt - With Port
[indecipherable] a sugar colony, the convicts from her and her sister
isle withdrawn and a really wholesome population substituted (the bond
and free never will be made to work in unison) Tasmania might even yet be
the secure granary and “cabbage yard” whilst the
undivided energies of Australia could be much more beneficially directed
towards the growth of wines, silks, and tobaccos - Were for 14 years
leases accorded to squatters, it might be well deserving their
consideration to improve and embellish their homesteads and to construct
tramways into the interior, - Timber is superabundant and the ironbark is
almost indestructible - Were such a simple mode of transport adopted
where three months are now occupied in the conveyance of stores little
more than eight days would suffice - The first cost would quickly be
saved in the vastly enhanced facility of transit, and the actual outlay
would be much less than a casual glance might lead one to infer -
A most complete and successful precedent has been established at Port Arthur by that meritorious Officer Capt. Booth formally of the 21st Fusileers - there the wagons are worked upon a very unequal surface - by men, three sufficing to propel half a ton at a speed of about six miles an hour - Now, on the dead levels of New S. Wales two horses would convey a load four times the length and at less than a fourth of the muscular exertion of eight bullocks - This suggestion is no impractical chimera - it has been satisfactorily and constantly demonstrated on the unequal paths of the Tasmans Peninsula.
At Rosebrook, Lieut. Marshall, R.N. superintendent of the female emigration ship David Scott, resided as tenant, became embarrassed died, and was buried - his widow and family are striving with the world upon a farm eight miles further up the river - We ascended the hill behind Rosebrook: From the summit the country lay spread before us like a map in the direction of Newcastle, easily to be known by its Nobby, - the prospect embraced an extensive woody flat of thirty miles much of it embellished by the bright verdure of numerous meads;-
Maitland, too, and diverse cosey farm stands lay within our ken, but
only a reach here and there betrayed the wandering course of the Hunter.
On the opposite or N. Western circles of the stupendous panorama the
landscape is hilly verging, in several instances, towards the
mountainous. The valleys wherever visible showed verdant token of human
toil; in the main, however, the sombre character of Australasia
predominates tempting one in the very language of Lady Randolph to
apostrophise “the woods and wilds whose melancholy gloom”
impressed or appeased the soul with sadness.
We traversed the hilly ridges contemplating the space beneath in an infinite variety of phases, but, shift the prospect as we might, save where man had created a few emerald spots the primeval savagery frowned sternly conspicuous.
Perched so many hundred feet above the forest glades the eye roamed their sombre coppice, the harsh and hungry foliage spread in long unbroken lines bearing a strong resemblance to the dun moors of Caledonia; a sort of half dreamy illusion rendered still more in keeping by native fires whose smoke wound upwards like the vapours vomited from the various outlets of the Highland bothy.
The turf we trod was gemmed by countless tiny flowers, whilst, at our sides, numberless shrubs displayed their floral pretensions, rendering the air balmy with their odouriferous perfume; a shrub of the appearance and scent of the Wallflower being the most prevalent. We still continued to wind the hill, thundering down mighty rocks which sped crashing and smashing into the startled vale. At length we stood upon the edge of a precipitous cliff some 4 or 500 feet of almost sheet descent. Here a wide magnificent panorama unfolded itself in stupendous majesty before us. In front, some thirty miles distant, pile upon pile, lay lordly mountains, barring the landward path to Sydney, masses of light and shade flickering fitfully, and [indecipherable] their figured sides in the half obscured sun.
On the extreme left Nobby again indicated the whereabout of New Castle. Our right was engirdled by other hills, whilst, carpet like, at our feet, the gay green valley of the Hunter meandered joyously amid the untiring haunts of indefatigable man. From our elevated site we looked down upon the estate of Mr. Hudson, and skimming a hill between, Windermere the property of S.C. Wentworth, Member for Sydney, reposed in sweet retiring beauty. There was a noble majesty about the whole of this scene to which neither the pen nor the pencil could do adequate justice. Should any of
my readers hereafter visit Maitland let them repair hither and judge. A mile or two from Rosebrook and the Mount may be gained. To clamber an Australian or Tasmanian hill is not always to insure a view - indeed from the leafy tracery shadowing the steep ascents, an open prospect is generally rare - exceptions, however, there are, and this is an enchanting one. Mr. McIlwaine was more than kind, and we spent a most agreeable evening.
Monday: 7: Long ere Aurora with rosy finger “walked
o’er the dew of our high eastern hill” we were in the saddle
and en route for Morpeth where we arrived in due time. I was pointed out
the abode of one of Maitland’s wealthy denizens, tried in the good
old times for lifting cattle - he escaped, but in impressive memorial two
of his pals are said to have been made pendulous before his door for an
hour or so. At 8.10 the Tamar got under weigh, all damages repaired. The
Sophia Jane and the beautiful iron boat Rose in company, the latter on
her way to Clarence Town - she speedily showed us her stern. the
Shamrock, another of the grasping Hunter River Coss vessels lures
passengers from Hobart to Sydney at 6 gs, but when in their power, and it
is wished to return 10 gs is the fare extorted. There is an old familiar
Scotch law “Greed brings brief” and few but would rejoice at
this screwing Cos. approving its truth.
Within the hour we were at Raymond Terrace where, whilst receiving passengers, Sophia gave us the go by - we had a motley looking group upon some of whose visages Gallows appeared to shine in legible characters. The weather hitherto sunshine changed to drizzling rain. At 11 we had reached the flats where Sophy stuck hard and fast; we, in common civility, could do no less, altho’ rude enough to run two or three hundred yards further down. We remained upwards of four hours until the tide flowed during which time I gleaned much intelligence of Oahu from a Capt. Milne, an old trader to the islands. I did not see my kind friends the Reids, he having very thoughtfully sent my portmanteau to the steamer which remained but a few minutes at Newcastle. The inveterate Sandy Patterson told me that Reids kindness of heart and the facility wherewith he lent his money or name to the ungrateful hounds of New S. Wales had obtained for him the sobriquet of the Pelican. The parties he thus materially obliged, ridiculing their benefactor a la [indecipherable] pair - as thus –
“This, ladies and gen’l’men, is the Pelican of the wilderness wot is said to feed its young upon its own blood: but latterly, ladies an’ gen’l’men, it ant been so such bloody fool!” There’s an inducement for a man to serve his friends - New South Wales can show a vast amount of like gratitude. We got into Port about 2 a.m. Sophy leading the way.
Tuesday: 8: Landed at Jamison Street before 6 a.m. Had three precious letters from my dearest wife, to whom I wrote per Shamrock that sailed for Launceston this day - a Mr. Kennedy in our room going to McVicar Burn at Hong Kong. Mr. Severn left us - a Mr. Walsh, nephew of Mr. Hopkins, thus far on his way from N.D.R. to join the 22nd regt. in India - Henry Melville also here. Left my card for Lady Gipps. Got a paper with statistics of the Sandwich Islands. Klein had made no sketches. Wrote up my Journal.
Wednesday: 9 wrote to the Govr. for leave to visit Norflk. Island - recd. prompt reply it was out of his jurisdiction entirely. The S. Australian Bishop, Murphy, departed in great state. Saw Robinson about going to Tahiti - wrote to Dr, Broughton. Romancing and posturing in a minor key - won 1/6 at whist.
Thursday: 10: Breakfasted on board the Julia and made arrangs. to proceed with Robinson to Tahiti. Called on board Barrossan for my dear wifes parcel, found it at Mrs. Atkinson’s - After my kit was half stowed, Robinson called to say his owner (Towns) objected to his taking any passengers, so that proved no go. Wrote to Montgomery Martin by Mr. Kennedy. Went to the 99th delicious band and to the theatre in the evening, being monstrously down in the mouth. A female howled Kathleen Mavourneen. Her audacity surpassed all I conceived possible in woman, for albeit her howls were echoed by the yells of the house she and merit, persevered unflinchingly to the close, but came promptly back to a mock encore, again to undergo and seemingly with perfect self satisfaction, a repetition of her Triumphant reception. The farce was the £100 note, and in lieu of floral testimonies of approbation to the singers, entreaty to “buy a broom” she was liberally rewarded with showers of silver and copper which she picked up with much characteristic naivete -
Friday: 11th: Prince de Poinville’s pamphlet on the plan
to over reach our Noble Navy has set all the old
“Agamemnon” leaven within me in a state of fermentation,
which found some small relief, this morning, in the shape of seven verses
to the glorious tune of “The Arethusa”. I was greatly grieved
to hear by letter Inches received that Dr. James Osborne had a fall from
his horse and hurt his hip. He is a right good fellow, and a jovial
seaman of the true British breed. I trust he may be quickly restored to
himself and his friends. The 99th had a field day in the Demesne - going
through a great many evolutions, throwing out clouds of skirmishers, who,
in retreat, formed into four independent hollow squares, sorts of
advanced points d’appin to the column.
The day threatening rain, the spectators were few. Glancing thro’ the Navy list for April, I find our Steam Fleet to consist of 48 Frigates and sloops, 30 packets & tenders, 12 transports and surveyors, 5 tugs and 30 frigates and sloops, building. How weary, how apathetic is life to all but the really good, whose purified spirits can look cheerfully and tranquilly to their high reward hereafter, whose bosoms, if they do occasionally throb with the anguish of this worlds griefs are, still, so mightily subdued that the arrows of Appolyon are shot in vain. Oh, that my poor soul were thus holily attempered, but, alas, much as I would fain despise the world, it and its concerns rule my [indecipherable] and unyielding heart - and, yet, Heaven knows, [indecipherable] of all that lend it grace - a wanderer on the worlds surface, sundered from Her who gave to life its colour and its tone. What charm hath existence left for me? The truth that we shall once again and speedily be reunited - the hope that the souls which droop and die asunder may yet commingle in all the delightful communion of tenderness and truth. These in the appearance that they who trust in God shall never be utterly forsaken. These are the trusts that serve and cheer me on. Rain streaming in torrents. Heavy thunder & much lightning.
Saturday: 12: Occupied the whole morning writing to my beloved wife. Promised her I wd. quaff a bumper to her health at 7 o’clock on the evening of the 31st inst. The rain of last night altho’ not now descending, still hanging, loweringly over head - which burst in regular water spouts as evening advanced, streaming throughout the night.
Sunday: 13: A lowering, heavy, streaming, morning. Attended
service at St. Phillips wherein that worthy, venerable pastor Dr. Cowper
has officiated for some 30 years. Mr. Allman preached from 2nd Corinthans
5 Chaprs & 15 verses. He is said to be a good man. The Church of
England requires many such. Her tone in the Colonies is generally
considered dictatorial. As one of her Members, I cannot but deplore that
she should make herself more felt than appreciated. The
Garland grove arrived from England. I have been perusing Hood’s
“Australia and the East”.
His outward passages appear to have embodied a concatenation of horrors, surpassing the whole nautical experience of my almost semi nautical life. He complains of the absence of Cabs in Sydney, in 1841; were he here, in 1841, he would find enough and to spare. These, it is true, are generally the private carriages of ruined Colonists thus appropriated. Vehicles costing 100, 150, 200 and £250 being sold for the like figures less the terminal cypher. Mr. Hood avers “there is a sad lack of that getting up in these vehicles to which the eye is accustomed in Britain”. Now, how that can come to pass is to me incomprehensible, seeing that the great preponderance of these conveyances are of the best London manufacture, ordered at a time when there was abundance of “money in both pockets” and when cost was never weighed against ostentation - who, at a distance, shall decide whose visual organs were the truest? Mine - and they certainly were neither idle nor unobservant - assuring me that much excellence of workmanship and much taste in the design is self apparent and prevalent. These cabs have been about two years in use and are not to be surpassed by any public conveniences in any part of the British Empire - and their fare is passably moderate.
a day of unmitigated wet and dismals. Attended evening service at Dr. Lang’s, who discoursed from Deuteronomy 2nd verse of 8th Chapter. the matter was much better than the manner - the elocution being defective and unimpressive, and the gestures ungainly, if not [indecipherable]. Still power of mind is obvious - the Dr. stated the 40 years pilgrimage in the Wilderness to have been of practicable accomplishment in a month, but they, were purposely bewildered, traverse sailing like a ship with a foul wind and adverse current - illustrating human life as a state of probationary ordeal - a lengthened trial of our fitness for a blessed immortality. Oh, that I and all dear to me may weather the opposing headlands, threading in safety the perilous shoals, and reposing at last in the only secure haven.
We were greatly alarmed this evening by Mr. Matthew McAlister’s having a fit and falling off the sofa - fortunately Inches and Dr. Gannon were at hand to set the poor fellow to rights - I had my bed removed to sleep in the room with him.
Monday: 14: Another night of watery outpouring. McAlister awoke much better this morning - pool fellow, I fear he is not long for this life. Wroote a letter of thanks to Mr. Reid and on the blank leaf of a presentation copy to his daughter perpetrated the following –
To Miss Reid, Newcastle
To touch the soul by scenes of tender woe,
To bid the tear of sympathy to flow;
To wake an interest in the gentle heart,
Till fiction be forgot in life like art.
O’er Beauty’s cheek to spread the mantling smile,
And of its griefs the woe worn breast beguile.
These the fond object of the Poet’s aim,
The hope wherewith he strives to gild a name!
Yet, out, alas - the world, cold, flinty, rock,
O’er all his proud aspirings casts the mock –
The jeers of scornful life, of callous soul
Chill fervid fancy loathing harsh control,
For where a flower might bloom with kindly heed
A kindless frost extracts a noisome weed!
Not thine, Maria, these ungenerous ways,
Thou on the poet lavishes thy praise,
Cheering the warblings of his wood notes wild
Which many a devious, weary, hour beguiled
Of his, if not of thine - If any else
The modest Muse forbids me to rehearse!
Accept, Fair Maid, the trivial offering, due
Alike to constant kindness and to You,
And, as my idle pages o’er your turn
Recall a friend sincere in David Burn
Marched away with my Volume to the Hunters River Steam Wharf where I paid sixpence for its transit. Left my book for repair with Mr. Ross of York Street. Had a vain hunt after Mr. Tozer. Went to the Library. English Newspapers not arrived - a wild, rainy,
blustery day, giving occasional fallacious promises of amendment. We
had noble arrivals yesterday, to wit, Viscount and Viscountesses
Glentworth from Norfolk Island, whether there for health or
°otherwisedeponent wotteth not. Popular rulers in remote
provinces prove rarae aves. Since the days of Macquarie and Brisbane, New
S. Wales has been said to have had none such. I am aware Bourke is held
to have been so, but that, I opine, is in angry contradistinction to Sir
George Gipps, whose Acts are viewed through the “forty
potent power” of the magnifying present, whilst those of his
predecessor are complacently regarded through the perspective vista of a
more prosperous past.
Sir Richard ruled in the “Money in Both Pockets” times - Sir George has “fallen upon unlucky days” when neither money nor pocket is to be found. Whilst the Colonies are suffered to remain the mere toys of the Colonial Office, debarred the material and wholesome protection of the Imperial legislature - so long will Colonial grievances be rank and rife. So long will Colonial rulers, who must obey and enforce unwise and injurious orders, be unpopular of very necessity. It is all very well the Colonial outcry “the Govt. should recommend such and such measures” - few men like to hazard place by place by recommendation of unpalatable measures, and those the most vociferous to condemn rulers, would be the very first to act in precisely similar manner did they deem their own peculiar interests involved in the smallest hazard. Mr. Hood’s “notions” of Sir George Gipps are in some respects so similar to my own that I am tempted to draw from him.
“I expected to have found him a man not accustomed to use anything but the imperative mood, and that not in its mildest terms. I was mistaken, and very agreeably so. The present Viceroy is evidently a firm man, but he is at the same time most polite, and can mould both his expression and his manner into the most agreeable guise. Nature (and cultivation has placed the stamp of intellect on his brow, his overhanging eyebrows are well marked, and he is of a good manly figure ... He has no party, and studies to favour no party. Neither faction seems to consider him their friend. His ideas, also, respecting the sale, aspect, prices of Govt. Lands are, I humbly conceive, erroneous...”
To all but the last sentence I most cordially subscribe. Sir George is, in truth, no common man. He grasps his subject with all the energy of a Master mind. The conflicting interests - the strong antagonistic opinions - and the overpowering physical depression of New S. Wales are sufficient to bewilder the clearest head - to shake the firmest resolve. Still Sir George grasps the helm with unflinching hand. Early and late he is at his best. If he cannot afford miraculous relief, he is no more at fault than otherwise, since even the most far seeing and experienced Colonists strain their
vision inn vain, endeavours to discover the little cloud, the
harbinger of a better day. “Reduce the minimum price of land to 5/-
per acre” says Mr. Hood. Sir George holds fast by 20/- and wisely,
I think, does he so. Land gambling and the abstraction of £1,100.00
- never to return - in importation of the most worthless class of
emigrants has been one of the chief causes of the present fearful
depression. Let that depression cease - a seemingly prosperous state of
things ensue - let the land be offered at 5/- and there is every reason
to apprehend a da caps of like ruinous speculation. No - if vital good to
New S, Wales is sought to be done, a return to the free grant system,
were it only for a time, is the sole measure of just redress for
thousands of her deceived and desolate demizens.
One million one hundred thousands pounds abstracted for ever from a population of one hundred and fifty thousand souls! Surely this is sufficient to extort a more alarming “Prodigious!!!” than any our renowned Dominic Sampson e’er gave utterance to! - Why it exceeds £7 per soul - now imagine £7 for ever withdrawn for each soul of the 30,000,000 of Great Britain and Ireland! If the abstraction of £210,000,000 from the “old Country” would be productive of mighty disaster - surely a proportionate abstraction from a Colony not yet out of leading strings can scarce be less than fatal, and yet, there are many who counsel a further pursuance of such disastrous course.
No doubt a good quality of immigration is much to be desired, but how New S, Wales is to pay for it and live is a mystery I must leave to be expounded by clearer heads than mine. a greater equalisation of the sexes would be especially beneficial, and it would also be of paramount importance to neutralise the lavish imports of scum from the South of Ireland wherewith brokers and ship owners so readily freighted their emigrant abominations, with a wholesome and copious infusion of healthful English Hood in order to correct the strong Hibernian ascendancy wherewith New S. Wales is threatened. This is scarce less a measure of justice to the Colony than of prosperity to Great Britain whose empire should be essential, British, and by consequence Protestant. A strong draft of German Vine dressers, too, would prove of inappreciable worth. The Germans are noble Colonists, orderly, industrious, persevering and excellent citizens in every respect.
Having quoted Mr. Hood so far I will extract another sentence or two. Speaking of the system of Assignment of Convict labour he says “Women were assigned as domestic servants in the houses of bachelors”. Now, such things never did exist, for the best of all reasons that it was in the teeth of the most stringently enforced
regulations to the contrary. I speak not this from hearsay, but from
the secular demonstration of eighteen years. Nay, married men, on the
death of their wives, have had those women withdrawn from their service
forthwith. Again Mr. Hood avers -
“In its first working, this system (the assignment) was greatly abused: the service of the convict was frequently one of great hardship, cruelty and injustice, and many means were resorted to to extend his time of punishment beyond his sentence. It was no uncommon thing for the Master to drive him, by harsh treatment, to do or say something, shortly before the term of his banishment expired, which was by the next magistrate - also a holder of assigned servants, be it remarked - construed into an act of insubordination for which an additional servitude for a year or two was inflicted, in short, there was one law for the Master and another for the Man, and frequently for the latter no redress at all, in consequence of the distance of his station from any judicial tribunal”.
I regret much than an Author who writes with an evident and earnest
anxiety at truth should have given incautious currency to such
misstatements. Now the whole of the above paragraph is utterly unfounded
in fact. That the Convict discipline was severe, I admit, but it was
neither cruelly nor unjustly so, and the masters suffered far more from
the men than they from the masters.
As to the base and criminal collusion asserted as taking place between Masters and assigned servant holding Magistrates it has no truth in it, and again for the very best of reasons - it is impossible! No single Magistrate can inflict additional servitude nor would two without conclusive proof of the convicts guilt dare - The law was and is as open to the man as the master who is bound to give his servant a pass when he seeks to prefer a complaint of him. As to lack of redress on the score of distance, it is moonshine - the distance operating as much agst. the master as the servt.
No complaints are entertained, a la Spanish Inquisition, in the absence of the accused. Mr. Hood enters largely into the then undecided question of a Legislative Council, but “the little Parliament” is as Sir E.W. terms it now in full operation. The qualification for electoral franchise as I did myself the honour to point out to Lord John Russell, has had the effect I anticipated of giving undue ascendancy to the mob - of this more hereafter, together with some traits of a [indecipherable] and the elegant tendencies of a “Special” Aristocratical and Squattoratical Election dinner - amidst the potent graves and revered Signors of the Antipodes.
Tuesday: 15: Encore another night and morning of watery ordeal,
and with little present hope of change - me in the best side of the
house, and the fireside the best on such a day. Poor McAlister better.
The thunder rumbling overhead - and a fierce storm of lightening ensued.
From 12 till 6 rain descended in absolute sheets, flooding every street
in a manner scarce credible.
I ventured to the Library, a very trifling distance, during what I took to be the commencement of a clearance, but I had to run like a lamplighter, when half way, and my progress was barred by an impassable torrent that swept Bridge Street close to the [indecipherable] Pultney Hotel. My speed and a comparative lull suffered me to escape with a moderate drenching.
I sat long at the Reading Room in hope of a momentary blink, but all in vain. Darting out at the top of my speed I hurried on towards the Post office, threading Spring and Hunter into George Streets. By this time the street rivulets had swollen into miniature rivers into which every lane and alley was pouring a prodigious volume. These I, at first attempted to o’erleap, but as the current was sweeping the footpaths I made a merit of necessity and waded manfully, indeed, for light shallops George Street had become semi navigable. A more continuous and heavy rain I scarce remember experiencing, unless, indeed, in that chosen region of moisture, Macquarie Harbour. I reached home more like a drowned rat than a human being, and yet I had not traversed half a mile. Travelling will be at an end for some time to come, and the ships loading detained in consequence. At 6 p.m. there was brief respite for a short half hour when the flood gates were again opened and a dreadful night ensued.
Wednesday: 16: A very tempestuous night of almost uninterrupted rain, which was, towards morning, partially dissipated by heavy squalls of wind, that reached to a gale, but towards 9 a.m. they became fainter, and torrents once more swept the gloomy horizon. With the advancing day there were fleeting presages of a better state of things - now the sun would burst forth in aqueous splendour, anon his beams were veiled by the driving blast. Dire tales of destruction came pouring in - a house had fallen in in Bridge Street - two others had succumbed in the vicinity of Sussex Street and some one’s distillery had been washed away on the Parramatta Road. Our own tenement drank deeply at every pore. Buckets, basins, and other utensils were spread in every attic. The
chambers underneath gave dripping token that they and their ceilings
were at pluvious spire. The cupbola sky light, venerable from age and
infirmity relinquished the watery combat, taking flight, in flakes, to
heaven and permitting the resistless foe to enter and possess the
staircase at his pleasure. The house called Dr. Lang Master and it was in
a disgraceful state, altho his attention had been repeatedly but vainly
called to its increasing dilapidations, which Mrs. Atkinson was
eventually, and most unfairly compelled to have made good, at her own
cost, in the first instance.
At 12 the wind blew hard but the atmosphere had become lighter. At 2, the rain having nearly subsided, I ventured to take a look at the streets which were deeply ploughed in every direction, in an especial manner wherever a declivity existed. Many of the furrows might positively have been likened to the beds of rivulets. Nothing co’d be more desolate or woebegone than the aspect of the houses, their plaster coatings, if not partially peeled, being thoroughly and strikingly saturated. One or two ladies were to be seen, not with fairy foot, but substantial understandings picking their steps.
It is singular that the medium capacity of the Sydney dames shoes
are is three or four sizes larger than the English. To
men of business it is a great evil that Sydney possesses neither Exchange
nor other spot where merchants most should congregate. It is
scarce possible to tell how much a man may attempt and how very little
accomplish in a day, owing to his having to ply hurry skurry hither and
thither in quest of one or two individuals. Altho’ it continued
dry, nothing could be more cheerless than the weather an angry, howling,
blast - a sultry, threatening sky - and a temperature more hyperborean
than tropical. Talk of a London November! Why this Australian hybrid half
chill, whole gloom is infinitely more unseasonable than its honest
British surliness. But we shall have broiling enough and to spare ere
long to make amends. The rain appears to have subsided. Won 2/6 at
Thursday: 17: The night passed tranquilly, and the sun once more illumes a sparkling ether. The newspapers teem with the moving accidents of flood and wind, from which altho’ life has not as yet been known as yet been known to have been lost, there have been some narrow escapes. So severe a hurricane has not, it is said, taken place for the last ten years when the Edward Lombe was wrecked off Middle Head.
Drs. Inches, Gannon, Melville, and myself set forth after breakfast to
visit the court House. There were various trials going forward, in
especial that of Lieut. Steele, formerly of the 17th foot, for having, as
was alleged, obtained an advance of £100 upon wool which his
overseer had previously sold. This matter was speedily disposed of, as
Mr. Steele sho’d never have been dragged thither, there being no
case whatever for a jury.
The Court is well arranged, well lit, well ventilated, and with a very good gallery for the Public - but its floors require matting or spreading with saw dust, for the walls are full of echoes and the reverberation is excessive. I was introduced to an old and eminent Tasmanian Crown Officer, Mr. Chief Justice Stephen, a promotion to which he has just succeeded pro tem but which his long and active services will no doubt secure him. Even in his chambers the noises from the walls were so excessive it was with difficulty four gentlemen could make themselves heard.
Under the same roof with the Court House, there is the foundation of a Museum too paltry as yet to be allowed more than brevet rank. The only things I deemed worth notice were casts of some of the noted Australian Criminals - first in ferocity and unmitigated baseness - a wretch without one redeeming virtue - stood John Knatchbull - the head well developed - the countenance strongly marked, indicating firmness and determination. The neck was much swollen, evidently caused by pressure of the rope. Next were Jenkins, a youth of 20 and another still younger, the atrocious murderers of the late Dr. Wardell. Jenkins’ countenance evinced rather a mild loutish expression, but he was a bold, fierce, reckless miscreant as ever strained a cord. Then we had Newman, a dastardly villain who massacred his Master and Mistress, an aged couple, resident on the North Shore. Tommy an Aboriginal Assassin - and a Bushranger called Black Goffe, whose lip had been shot away in an encounter with police, also took their place amid this death dealing band.
There were others, but their fame was unknown to the Curator who seemed disposed to dwell upon the achievements of John Donahoo, a youth of three and twenty who had earned much notoriety as a fearless and active leader of Bushrangers. Although he scrupled not to give battle to the police his hands were guiltless of wanton bloodshed. In one of his encounters he fell mortally wounded having received two balls, one on the breast, and one a little above the left temple. There was a look of profound melancholy, deep grief, and painful suffering in his aspect. He is said to have been at the head of a numerous banditti, over whose minds and actions he exercised the most unlimited control.
From the Museum we repaired to the Gaol, a truly splendid building
situated within an area of acres enclosed by a most substantial stone
wall of 21 feet in height.
The Governors House occupies the centre, and on either hand there are flanking buildings placed in an inclined manner, each having their separate yard for exercise enclosed by lofty palings - a third range of cells is in process of completion. All are of stone work, of the finest and most durable construction, remarkably solid, hammer dressed and tooled at the joints.
There are three stories to each building, and on each landing there are twelve airy, well lit, clean, & roomy cells. These are approached by galleries which run round the interior, leaving the centre open for ventilation and the surveillance of the turnkeys. The ground floor cells are occupied by men waiting their trials. The second by those sentenced to labour and fined at the Police Office. The 1st left hand cell on this floor is the appropriated domicile of the Assistant executioner, a prisoner of the Crown, whose Chief is a free man. The third floor contains men under sentence of secondary transportation. We observed some very heavy irons, weighing 40 lbs. These the turnkey apprised us were punishment irons applied to the refractory.
They were fastened upon a Bushranger, named Whitton, a few years since. The ground floor of the right hand building contains 12 solitary cells, one or more of which are occupied by the criminals appointed to die. The two upper stories are appropriated to the females. The report of the day gave 204 names as being in durance.
A subterranean passage conducts the accused from the prison to the dock within the Court house. The engine of death is over the entrance gateway, the platform being projected several feet clear of the outer wall, so that the amateurs of such ghastly exhibitions are afforded ample facility of speculating on the amount of pluck displayed - of witnessing every convulsive throe of the writhing form above.
Every other arrangement connected with the Gaol appears to be admirable - but this, to me, is the acme of disgusting. On my return home, I had the heartfelt delight of receiving a dear letter from my dearest wife. God bless her. We all went to the 99ths delicious band. Won 2/- at Whist.
Friday: 18: Another morning of great beauty. The papers still teem with disasters from the late floods. The overflowing of the Hawkesbury wo’d appear to have caused fearful devastation, sweeping the blooming fields and destroying the unhappy settlers already more than sufficiently wretched and forlorn. Numerous vessels signalized.
Mr. Kemp declined my De Ivinville Ode, in a written twaddle about inflaming passions and despising the French - Bunkum! Called for Tozer - found he had departed for Port Macquarie. Accompanied Mrs. Atkinson in the evening to Mr. Caddells. Commenced reshaping my notes.
Saturday: 19: Still more accounts of disaster from the flood, which, according to the Tasmanian press, have been not less destructive there. Called upon Mr. Statham of the Australian. Had a delicious stroll in the domain. Went to the Ev’g Market with Mr. Scott & Klein, and recognized my belle of the Mayor’s Ball, the prettiest girl in Sydney.
Sunday: 20: Went to St. James’ to morning service, and heard the same sermon and by the same pastor who officiated at St. Phillips’ the previous Sabbath. It should be well impressed on my memory. On the way to church we overtook Miss Falloon and her fair friend Miss Wells, a very pretty and lively Greenwich lass, with whom I had a merry chat which I thought Miss F. wo’d rather have monopolised herself, but the English metal was far more attractive than this specimen of the Hibernian - Miss Wells is a Blue Jacket’s daughter and proceeding, Miss F. says, to New Zealand, so we are likely to be shipmates. Lounged the Afternoon in those bowers of Armida, the Govt. gardens. Went to St. James, where Mr. Allwood gave a vapid discourse from 6th Chap. of Micah 6th Verse.
Monday: 21: The thirty ninth anniversary of deathless Trafalgar - a day never unobserved by my heart. Catharine you will bethink you more forcibly of your absent husband on this day. Wrote to Captain Wauch and Mr. Aldridge per Maitland steamer. Dr. Inches completes his 51st year this day. Met George Kemp with whom I had a long yarn. Can I better approve my affection for a service I have ever loved and honoured than by Inscription on this day of the following,
De Ivinville Ode
Air the Arethusas
Fair Nine descend! Let’s have a prance,
Put off a chanson of “young France”,
Show tough John Bull the grand war dance
Of the crafty Prince de Ivinville!
Who with small “crow quill new and neat”
Sends slap to H. Old Englands fleet,
With paper ships
Her glory snips,
For Express conquest o’er poor Croke
Has puffed as with a bottle of smoke,
The brains of the Prince de Ivinville.
In most pacific, pungent, phrase,
He points the most Pacific ways
To attract a worlds admiring gaze
On the warrior scribe de Ivinville!
Says he, “my lads, be not too rash,
As yet we dare not risk a dash,
But, mind my theme,
Get up your steam
By gar, we’ll raise such wondrous fume
“Perfidious Albion” shall illume
And your strike-a-light Prince de Ivinville!”
“Stand clear, mes braves, of old Jack Tar,
And top your boom to a Man-o-War,
Mine, boys, are safer tactics far,
Pray, mind me, I entreat ye,
The seas let’s prowl, like buccaneers,
Give shot and shells for stones and spears
Dull Leaders catch,
Small craft o’er match,
Pouncing upon them, ‘en corsaire’
As petty Tours did with Pomare
In Her isle of Otaheite!”
“Remember, comrades, I can d’Ullo,
Remember Griffone’s swashing blow,
Britannia’s banner hung full low,
In the harbour of Port Louis.”
His Highness ne’er made mention, never,
Of Greenlaw and her saucy Driver
Who from the head
The blue, white, red
In Cloacine like fashion bound,
And Frenchmen’s price and passion wound
To madness. Well! Et puis?
Heroes of Wagram, Austerlite!
And this the end your fame befits,
Your mighty shades must feel queer fits;
All Hail! great Prince de Ivinville.
Not satisfied with Waterloo,
My lad would tempt the water, too,
But saucy I ask
Has still the knack
To take and to maintain the lead
And, “come what may”, “go slick ahead”
And laugh at the Prince de Ivinville!
Britannia’s still, the naval theme,
Her’s no brain sick, no drivelling dream,
By Frigate, Liner, or by Steam,
Her fame she’ll aye uphold well:
Memorial of her deathless dead
A halo round her flag hath spread;
To John Crapps
It is no go
And, if your head you wish to save
Adventure not upon the wave,
But, ware hawk, “sweet prince” De Ivinville!
As straws thrown up unto the wind
Do show us how the gale’s inclined,
The Lion let us trust to find
Alert, like the cute De Ivinville.
And if a rumpus must ensue
“England Expects We’ll Do Our Due”,
“Herself but true,
She ne’er can rue”,
Prove Britain only Britain’s friend,
Her Ocean sway shall ne’er know end,
So, a fig for the Prince de Ivinville!
Notes - 1 & 2 - Vide Modern conquest of Mexico - 3 the Griffone French 20 gun brig fired into the Dee, Steam Sloop, in the dark wounding severely one or two of her crew. The Dee was too magnanimous to sink the wanton aggression which she might easily have done with one of her 68 lb. shots. 4 & 5 The barque Greenlaw now in this port loading for London resented an insult offered by two French National Vessels to the British flag in the Mauritius. Her chivalrous Capt. Driver, is now in his legitimate place Master and Commander of the Dee above spoken of.
Tuesday: 22: Introduced Ensign Walsh 22nd to Dr. Galbraith 99th Regt. Walsh a very fine young lad unacquainted with any of the Officers and waiting to join his own regt. in India. Mr. Geo. Watson called, invited me to dine with him at Balmain on Thursday. Called at the Australian Office with my squib. Dr. Alexr. Osborne, (late of the Formidable) and his daughter came here. Also a Mr. Semple. Poor Inches laid up with the gout. Miss Falloon left.
Wednesday: 23rd: Passed the greater portion of the day transcribing my rough notes. Went in the evening to the Theatre with Mr. Statham.
Thursday: 24: Introduced by Mr. Macallister to Dr. Nicholson, at whose house whence a splendid view of the port and shipping is obtained, I was courteously received. Called at the Australian Office. Received three papers from Mr. Kemp, containing details of Lynch the Murderer. Went with Mr. & Mrs. Styles, and another gent, to Dawes Point where we took boat for Milson’s point, and walked to Watson’s. The day was a scorching one with a hot wind. We were most kindly entertained by Mr. & Mrs. Watson, Miss Watson, and Miss McNab (who made many anxious inquiries after a Mrs. Fenton whom I, at length made out to be the amicable Bessy). We passed an agreeable day of rational enjoyment, and my old shipmate Wm. Sharpe, came in the evening to meet me. The day wound up with a strong Brickfielder that obscured the moon and knocked up such a sea as intimidated Mrs. Styles. However when she saw that I and another gent had crossed the ferry in safety, she and her party took heart of grace and adventured themselves.
Friday: 25: The melting heat of yesterday has resolved itself into chilly rain of today, which descends with considerable copiousness. Mr. Sharpe came to see me and I promised to spend Monday with him, if fine. Inches managed to get down stairs again. Mr. Watson called. The Victoria Theatre cost upwards of £20,000 in the erecting. It holds persons. The average salaries of the performers may be stated at 40/- per week. The Australian, daily paper, is worked entirely by free men. Compositors wages range from 35/- to 40/- per week and 9d. per hour overtime. Advertisements being displayed are charged not by the line but at so much per inch. Editors are badly paid. Lost 6/6 at Whist.
Saturday: 26: Another and agreeable change of atmosphere. In the Blue Devils all yesterday - pain in my head, pain in my stomach, pain in my purse, and pain in my temper. Wrote to Mr. Reid
by Miss Osborne who left us last night for Newcastle, per Sophia Jane - a very cold and windy day. Made the tour of the Domain. A Brig in from Launceston, but no letter. Mr. & Mrs. Watson dined here.
Sunday: 27: MacAllister’s sister and an elderly dame, Miss McKay, arrived. Mac. Dr. Gannon and I attended morning service at Dr. Fullerton’s Church, where Mr. Mowbray, from Port Phillip, preached, from 15th verse 89th Psalm. Took a round turn of the domain and down to Mrs. Macquarie’s Seat, opposite Garden Island and on the tongue of the domain - a magnificent view. It is to Mrs. Macquarie’s kindly spirit the Sydney folks are indebted for these bowers of loveliness and the roads that so picturesquely intersect them. The roads are 3 miles, 394 yards in length and were completed in 1816. The name of Macquarie should never perish in New South Wales. Much was done for the Colony by the amiable pair that bore it. Peace to their manes! Greenlaw dropped down to Watson’s Bay. Mr. Macpherson left us, per Christina, for Melbourne. Lancaster in from London 15th June. Mr. Williams, barque, from Hobart, so I hope to have letters. Several other vessels signalized. Went to Dr. Cowper’s in the evening where we had a sensible discourse.
Monday: 28: Poor Macallister passed a dreadful night of suffering. He accompanied me as far as Mr. Lithgow’s on my way to the North Shore, where I went, by appointment, to visit Shairp - by whom and his wife I was most kindly recd. He has four children Wm, Sophy, Lucy, and a little girl. He is very quietly seated at the head of one of the arms of Neutral Harbour. His grounds are rather better than the average of the parish of St. Leonards, and there is a fine streamlet courses the rocky channel which guards his door. The place is a snuggery, in the wildest wilderness of a City’s suburbs. After breakfast we had a saunter through the bush, and it is positively astounding to contemplate how the art of man can “soften rocks” and transmute the arid sands. This is the true process of conversion, and if British Capitalists anxious to ascertain where the money has gone to will take the trouble to make the tour of the villas, orchards & garden
grounds of St. Leonards, then mystery will assuredly be convincingly,
if not satisfactorily solved. There, for masses of rock, sand & scrub
from £3 to 400 per acres were greedily paid, and then the
expenditure was but begun - the rocks had to be blown into the air - the
sand had to be reduced to soil and the scrub to make way for the kitchen
and the drawing room. And, all these agreements were achieved at a cost
which, with a divisor of something like eight, applied to the original
sum tottle, might now be at the command of intending purchasers.
These villas are not sprinkled, they are actually heaped together, and to
record their names and pretensions would but fatigue whilst it could not
enlighten the general reader.
We visited a waterfall at the head of Middle Harbour, which here sends out its sinuous arms in various directions. The fall is, in all, some 80 feet in height, but the water is of too tiny a thread, in general to render it worth the trouble of a visit. The locale is romantic enough.
St. Leonards boasts a very pretty, well built, free stone, church, and (when it gets a parson) its congregation will have the benefit of spiritual refreshment in every sense, the doors of the “Union” Public standing conveniently opposite to the other house. At the back of this church, upon very lofty ground, Sydney and all its environs is completely commanded. Here, the poets axiom “Tis distance lends enchantment to the view” is hideously reversed.
From no point could I have conceived the City, with its countless near attractions, could have worn a face so ugly - but, so it is - all the stone quarries of Balmain, all the sands of the Surrey Hills and Darlinghurst, are gathered into a petty focus. The fervid sun glitters and glares, and the less said of the Sahara like desert the better. Pray, observe however, this is Sydney in the distance only, not the attractive city which woos you to admire her close embrace. A brig in from Launceston - a schooner, with coolies from Calcutta and another vessel from .... I called at Mr. Watson’s where I saw a Mr. & Mrs. Graham and Miss Cooper, also Mrs. W’s brother Mr. McNab, a great invalid. I left in a hurry, being in a fever
to hear from Hobart, from my adored one. How my heart trembles, and how my pulses throb when I expect a letter - Alas - I reached Mrs. Atkinson’s; she and Melville had their epistles, I none! Well, well! The fare from Dawes to Milson’s point is three pence. Won 2/6.
Tuesday: 29: My heart bled for Macallister whose last nights sufferings were really dreadful. Watson kindly called and went with me on the property hunt. Several persons have been put in possession of land and stock on condition of paying, regularly, the interest on mortgages reduced to one third of the original amount, and with a power of paying off those new mortgages within a reasonable number of years. The cause of this is simply that tenants or buyers are few, and that instead of receiving a rental, mortgagees are actually paying for the custody of properties whose dwellings, enclosures, and offices are, notwithstanding, going to ruin. Being told by Mr. John Morris, Official Assignee, Elisabeth Street, that I might, doubtless, have the pick of New S. Wales, on such terms, I took the hint and popped an advertisement into the Herald. Very bilious today.
Wednesday: 30: A fine, cool, cloudy, morning. Took a walk before breakfast to Signal Hill and Moores Wharf where I saw my old craft the Juno. She must now be nearly worn out. Watson and I again went on the hunt, and heard of Stephen Coxens vineyard. Fear the distance is great. Promised information about more. Find McNab was in the 92nd when I dined with Calder and Major Fraser of the 91st in Edin. Castle in 1825. The 99th had a park inspection today. Some folks are inevitably predestined. It is marked often in the great events of life - more frequently in the small - I, myself, never won a trifle at cards one night, but to disgorge three or four times the amount the next. I have been fortunate in no one event of life save my union with my beloved Catharine, and now for three weary months we have been cruelly sundered - Oh All Gracious God when shall we meet again and how? Oh, bless her, protect her, and guard her from every ill. May the merry twinkle once more illume her eye. May the light laugh once more greet her anxious husband’s ear. And may we be restored to each other to prove how true and fervent all our unabated love and tenderness. Lost 6/- at Whist.
Thursday: 31: Up betimes writing to my dear wife, per Louisa. Had just posted my letter when I recd. one from her per Marian Watson. Enclosed a copy of my Plays, with a note, to Mr. Thos. Barker. Strolled from Sussex Street to the Domain to listen to the melodious 99th. Here I found Mr. Scott with whom I had a yarn. The day proved cold and lowering. The Chief Justice came up to me and introduced another gentleman whose name I could not catch. It was Judge Dickinson. He inquired very kindly for Inches. Klein and I went to Madame Louise’s benefit. The theatre was very full, and the pieces were The Idiot of Heilberg - England’s Wooden Walls - and a variety of singing and dancing. A Mrs. Wallace warbled an Irish ballad in a manner that penetrated my heart. She was deservedly encored. Drank my promised bumper.
Friday: 1st November: A cold and rainy morning ushered in a day big with the fate of Sydney’s Municipal Senate. The day set in watery enough to damp their fire. Writing up my book. Bad headache. The Elections went off peaceably. Strolled with Macallister. Early to bed. Mr. Waugh, formerly a bookseller in Edinr., a venerable old gentleman joined our domestic circle. Dublin in frm. London.
Saturday: 2: Rather a lowering morning but turned out a fine day. Called upon Dr. Nicholson with whom I engaged to dine to morrow. Went on board the Sydney and saw them preping the wool packs, a process whereby at a cost of 4/- per pack they can stow two packs in the same space as one, a measure I have not yet seen practised in Hobart. Went to the Reading Room to glean the papers. The French rather than not expend their valour at all have gone to blow off the Ivinville steam against the Moors of Morrocco. May they catch a Tartar. Wrote a letter to the Australian on the corn trade with England.
Sunday: 3: A scorching morning. Went to St. James’. Heard the Bishop for the first time he gave us a good rather eloquent discourse from the Hebrews ... verse - on the all important matter of improving our time. Had a stroll to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair. Dined with Mr. L. Macallister & Mr. Lithgow at Dr. C. Nicholson’s. A pleasant party.
Monday: 4: A foggy morning which a horrid Brickfielder blew away. Called upon Mr. McIntosh and heard of Sir E. Forbes’ estate. Waiting all day.
Tuesday: 5: A very fine day the most of which I spent in writing up my book on the promising land of Australia - regaled the while by the delightful band of the 99th - exercising in the Barrack Square. The Barrack Hall, Goldsmith, late of the Janet Izak, arrived from London, bringing news to the 22nd July. Goldsmith has only been 8 months and seven days since he sailed homewards from Hobart.
Wednesday: 6: This day twelve years I was made blest with the
coveted possession of my Catharine’s hand. Many are the
vicissitudes we have, both, since encountered - many the lands wherein we
have sojourned, and sore and sad the trials and tribulations we have
experienced. But when each gave the other their hand, the altar witnessed
an equal exchange of hearts. Time and trial have but proved each
other’s truth - and, unworthy as I may be of the inestimable
treasure of her love, she could have conferred it on none more sensible
of its value or more devoted to its regard. Oh that on this day we
should be so widely sundered. God grant us a speedy reunion no more to
dream life away in divided misery.
The day passed heavily and gloomily by, the 19th part of Tom Burke sufficing to kill a portion and a perusal of the progress of the French aggression upon Morrocco getting over another. Three years and a half since I returned to pronounced war with France a mere question of time which, when she dreamt herself prepared, she would provoke - “Coming events cast their shadows before”. The shadow is darkening. The note of preparation sounds louder and, ere long, De Ivinville, in the plenitude of his presumption will, in all human probability, prove the worthless instrument of a bloody, but not doubtful contest. If they do force us again, I trust the pen may never more relinquish the solid triumphs that the sword may acquire. H.M.S. Nestal, 26, arrived from Hobart also the Waterlily, so I shall have a dear letter in the morning I hope. Mr. Watson kindly called, and we had a long chat about farms and else.
Thursday: 7: A dull morning whose echoes were startled by the Nestal’s gun. Mr. Macallister and his sister departed this morning accompd. by that hideous old devil Miss McI. Walked to Harbour view before bkft. Had a most afft. but anxious letter from my own dearest love. Very bad state of affairs in undone Tasmania. Failures more rife than ever. Auction Co. wound up. Baynton smashed - and even the Courier in dismal dumps. Strolled in the domain to dissipate the melancholy that oppressed me. Afterwards to the Band. Calling upon Walsh and Dr. Galbraith. Capt. Darley of the Eweretta, and Lieut. Marcuardy of the Nestal dined with Inches - also Mr. Inches.
Friday: 8: Took steamer at the Circular Wharf at noon, and strolled thence to Mr. Watson’s whose kindness and attention, as well as Mrs. W’s, I shall not easily forget. Poor McNab, what a sad wreck he is of the active and lively Highland Officer. A painful memento of what a West Indian clime effected with the dauntless 92nd. Although but forty five he looks like a frail worn out man of 60. When I met him in Edinr. Castle, in 1825, he was all life and energy. Now, his life appears scarcely worth an hours purchase, however, I hope this delightful climate may restore him. The barque Clarendon in from Port Philip, also the American Whaler Columbus. It came on a blustry and chilly afternoon, so I returned by sunset.
Saturday: 9: A cold, raw, disagreeable day. Disappointed at not seeing Mr. Watson. The Ivinville Ode appeared in the Australian. Allen elected Mayor by a majority of one. Melville and I sauntered into the domain where we saw the ship Thomas Lowry pass to sea. Stripping the Nestal. Very dull all day.
Sunday: 10: The Governor returned to Town, was saluted by the Nestal, and received by a guard of honour. Went to Dr. Cowpers, morning prayer. The worthy old pastor preached from the 2nd Verse of the 143rd Psalm - rapping away at crosses and images, and by inference at Papistical idolatry. The education question came in for a filip, and Lord Stanley’s system was stigmatized as something like infidelity and resistance
of the Holy Ghost. The Church of England was proclaimed to be the only correct one. All the rest of the world wrong or something worse. Now, good Dr. Cowper, whom I really esteem, is not this judgment of yours, a stultification of the verse selected for your text? Sauntered w. Melville in the Govt. Domain, and attended Evg. Service at York Street Wesleyan Chapel, the preacher lecturing from the 24th verse 16th Chap. of St. Luke. A very pretty girl most courteously presented me her psalm book. Looked for the name but could see none.
Monday: 11: Went through the Theatre and inspected Stage, Scenery, and Wardrobe. Thence strolled into the untiring domain. Mr. Watson again kindly called, to aid me with his friendly counsel and good word. Took my volume of plays to Mr. Knight, Manager of the Theatre, with a view to performance of “Our First Lieutenant” - Stayed the evenings entertainment - an indifferent house.
Tuesday: 12: After breakfast we all went to witness the half yearly inspection of the 99th by Sir Maurice O’Connell. The day was a fine one, but comparatively few persons were present. Afterwards I wrote a good deal of my book. At dinner time, a strange faintness came over me. I thought is the world about to close on me, and shall I never more embrace my angel wife. Oh it was a bitter moment. God in Heaven guard and bless her - and, oh, may we meet ere long.
Wednesday: 13: Mr. Watson called. My paper on the Frigate classes in yesterday’s Australian. Perused the whole De Ivinville pamphlet. The 99th paraded in heavy marching order before the general in the Barrack square. Rather better. Sauntered with Dr. Gannon and the Surgeon of the Nestal through the domain. The Governor there with his lady. He looked very ill. We had a succession of rubbers in the evg., at which I pocketed 5/6 - I am at a stand still in my present progress. Unable to do any good for myself in Sydney, and requested not to leave it by my wife.
Thursday: 14: Called upon Dr. Nicholson from whom I recd. a very kind letter of introduction to Mr. Boyd with whom I lunched. He was very civil and even kind. I met Capt. Spiers of the old James Watt at his office. The Manager of the Theatre wishing to play “Our First Lieutenant” I gave the necessary permission, being placed in payment, on his free list. Dreadfully low spirited.
Friday: 15: Went to the Theatre to arrange the cast, and day of performance of “Our First Lieutenant”. From thence to the ibrary to read the British and Foreign (as I already had the Foreign) Review on the Ivinville pamphlet which I rejoice to observe has aroused Englishmen “to do their duty”. Fromthe Reading Room to the Circular Wharf where with Inches and Mrs. Atkinson I crossed to Watsons. The day proved a smoking one. We had a nice lunch, finding Mr. Blankenberg there. For the first time I eat the passion fruit which is not unlike to the Pomegranate. There was a good deal of thunder overhead, and Melville and I were caught in the rain in the domain. Dropped a card at Govt. House. Had a note of acknowledgment from Mr. Barker thanking me for my book, and giving me a general invite. A rainy evening, a portion of which I beguiled to the Theatre.
Saturday: 16: Occupied throughout the morning inditing a voluminous epistle to my darling wife. A smoking morning. Bought a p. of scissors. Called upon Mr. Murphy. Came on a wet evening. Melville left us. Saw Captain Goldsmith. No one at home. Killed the weary hours at the play.
Sunday: 17: It rained hard during the night and morning dawned upon a day of damp and gloom. there were no church goers among us. I passed the day in a review of the Ivinville pamphlet, except a brief space occupied in a stroll with Inches in the domain where we were caught in a heavy thunder shower.
Monday: 18: Went to the Theatre to arrange about my farce & found the engagt. of Mr. & Mrs. Coppin likely to interfere with its production. Mrs. C. is, I find, the runaway wife of Watkins Burroughs of Surrey celebrity. Thence to the Australian Office with my review of De Ivinville. Accompanied Dr. Gannon in a stroll through the domain and on board the Dublin. Met my old shipmate Barry Cotter. Went to the Theatre in the evening with Mr. Semple, a very full house to see the Lady of Lyons and Turnpike Gate. Mrs. Coppin evidently a scientific actress. Mr. Griffiths, a man who might “go ahead” in a better school.
Tuesday: 19: Went to the Theatre about my farce and arranged that Mrs. Coppin should play Louisa. Introduced to her. She would not see me until Mr. Coppin arrived. Called upon Mr. Barker at the Mill. Returned and wrote part of a burlesque. Went to the Australian Office and corrected my Agamemnon letter. Thence to the Theatre where I was introduced to Mr. Griffiths, Mrs. Bushelle, and Madame Louise. Settled that “Our First Lieutenant” should make his bow on Thursday week.
Wednesday: 20: The Nestals gave a splendid spread to which I went in company of Inches; their boats were on the constant move from a little after one when the fair and gay of Sydney began to flock towards the Circular Wharf. Having inspected the beautiful frigate and done justice to the choice repast, the worshippers of Terphsicore repaired to the quarter deck, where the fantastic (conscience will not permit the prefix ”light” ) toe was made to perform the wonted gyrations of waltz, quadrille, etc. There was one fine looking young woman, among the groupe, the lady, I believe, of one of the soldier officers, and both her foot and ankle were as light and faultless as her countenance and figure were sweet and graceful. All seemed happy and pleased, but the husband who is separated, in poverty and uncertainty, from the wife of his heart carries an arrow in his heart, and the joys of others, by reminding him of those he has lost, cause a rankling of which however much he may be ashamed he cannot wholly suppress.
The Nestal is unquestionably a fine ship, and a remarkably fast one, her length on the gun deck is 138 feet her breadth 40.7 inches. Her guns are 16-7½ feet 32 prs. weighing 40 cwt. and 2, 8 feet 68 prs. weighing 55 cwt. on her main deck, where she has spare ports for two more guns. She has six 6 feet 32 pr. gunwales of 25 cwt. on her quarter deck and 2-7½ 40 cwt. 32 prs. on her forecastle, with ports for four more two forward and two aft. She has two ports to fire right ahead in the bow on the upper deck, and two more similar on the main deck - her stern ports are equally available. Her battle lanthorns are upon the coach lamp principle and can be [indecipherable] in an instant. Her guns are fitted with Genl. Millers percepion tubes, but in firing 80 rounds they expended 300 primers, and the old flint locks appeared to be evidently the favourites with the gunner who told me he had served last in the Curacoa. There were two
new descriptions of muskets on trial, the one plated with copper, the other with zinc - the copper seemed to stand well - the zinc, on the contrary, appeared to spot and get dirty. This ships lower masts and yards are very heavy, her lofty spars very very much the reverse. She is a sweet craft, and I should like nothing better than the ability and interest to command her equal. I landed about six and saw a very cowardly fight on the circular wharf, where a drunken but plucky fellow was sadly abused by a number of watermen. Mr. John Inches and a Mr. Windyer came in and took 6/6 from me at whist. My review of De Louiville appeared in the Australian.
Thursday: 21: It came on to blow very hard, after breakfast, and rain descended in torrents. I did not quit the house all day but remained writing a portion of my burlesque. Watson called.
Friday: 22: Vessel sailed this morning at daylight. Emily, Convict Ship in from Hobart Town, but no letter for me. Mr. W. Campbell left, per Shamrock, for Broulee. Writing my burlesque. Wrote a short letter to my dearest wife per James Watt, Steamer. Took a turn of the garden. Inches had his cousin John and Mr. Waterson to dinner, and Mr. Graham in the evg. where my usual good fortune attending me, I rose minus 9/6d.
Saturday: 23: Agincourt from Norfolk Island, Christine from P. Philip, and Louisa from Hobart in, the latter bringing me a dear letter from Ellangowan which imparted the sorrowful intelligence of the decease of my dear, kind, friend and shipmate Dr. Hood, who has achieved that momentous race we are all running. There are other painful tidings, but the gloom of our own mortal matters is, if anything, less overpowering. Would we were reunited, and [indecipherable] that we had a competence far from the impurities and [indecipherable] of a convict land where the imaginations seem “foul as Vulcan’s [indecipherable]”. James Watt sailed - Watson called, and I went out with him. Strolled in the Domain. Mr. F. Campbell arrived. In the evening whiled the weary hours at the Theatre.
Sunday: 24: A fine clear morning. Attended service at the Wesleyan Chapel, the preacher lecturing from the text “Put on the whole armour of God”. crossed afterwards by the Australian steamer to Mr. Watsons where Drs. Inches and Gannon joined me after dinner, and we returned in the evening, having passed a very agreeable day.
Monday: 25: This mornings papers gave intimation of a most fiendish murder of a Mr. Warne, whose extremities were cut from the trunk and, after an ineffectual attempt to consume the remains by fire, they were thrust into a sea chest, in order to their conveyance to the North Shore, but the horrid effluvian lending the waterman to suspect something wrong, the bearers and a third man and woman were apprehended. I went with Inches Hannon to view the terrific remains, the trunk being covered by the bowels which I suppose the fire had caused to burst forth. The den where this fearful tragedy was performed resembled that of Burke and Hare and had quite as many visitors. It was close to the ruins of the old gaol. Went to the Theatre to see about my farce. Purchased a pair of spectacles frames. A Mr. Irving here at dinner - had a long yarn with Statham and Forster - Looked in at the play - rainy evg.
Tuesday: 26: Wrote an epilogue for “Our First Lieutenant” but such is the overweening desire to conciliate, and smooth the ruffled pinions of “Young France” that my verses were deemed to carry too much gunpowder, and consequently debarred the plaudits of a sympathising auditory. Rehearsed the farce for the first time. Wrote an article in the war vein for the Australian. Recd. a letter from Mathew Macallister - a semi rainy - semi gloomy, day - went behind the scenes this evening. The town in a ferment about the inquest on Mr. Warne.
Wednesday: 27: Attended the second rehearsal and was very glad to find several of the performers passably up in the words of their parts. Went to the Australian Office and found my article had been deferred and was requested to enlarge it, which I did. Found Mr. Walsh at home at lunch, and a large party got together to see my farce. Wrote the following Tag for
Mrs Coppin, to be spoken in character –
“Ladies and gents, my maiden cruise is done; -
Oh, say, poor Loui’s wild career shall run –
Blue jackets here not often greet your eyes,
That smile proclaims the dogs you don’t despise!
Whew! mark you lass, see, Ben, upon my words
The gipsys laid her Tender close aboard -
securely moored with taught hove turns and warpings,
And he so fondly woulding her cat harpings:
You need not look so far ahead, ship, sure
To make the folks account you Poll Demura
Nor would you pout the lip, my pretty scorner,
Were you but snugged up in a quiet corner:
But, heave and pawl - Will you give dad the slip
And welcome with three cheers our saucy ship?
Bid bold Ben Bunt here hoist his broad blue pennant
And rate me our Victoria’s First Lieutenant!”
A requisition of O’Connellite sympathisers was forwarded to the Mayor who very properly gave his veto to any such Treasoners gathering. However a congregation was got together at the Royal Hotel this evening at which I was truly sorry to see the respectable Archbishop. We spectators if they did not outnumber were at least equal to the sympathisers, and although the Revd. Mr. MacEncroe had “some few followers of his own at the lower end o’ the hall” it was with great difficulty he could make ‘em brow ever so faintly. The thing was an utter abortion - the machinery defective - the engineers incompetent - and instead of springing a mine, they could scarcely open a bottle of smoke. Dr. Polding after a brief and low toned address quitted an atmosphere charged with anything save the spicy gales of Araby, and after some characteristic abuse of such conscientious Irishmen as refused to sign the requisition, the elite, from Francis and [indecipherable] Streets, Dublin, retired to indulge in execrations against “the Saxons” and drain libations (no worthy Father Matthew is met with here) to their speedy destruction. Called at the Australian Office, and saved insertion of a bitterly and theatrical critique.
Thursday: 28: Met Mr. Reid and gave him a ticket for the Theatre. The performers very imperfect at rehearsal. Dr. Gannon and I had a saunter in the Garden, thence to the band, where I met Miss Wells and her Mother, to whom I gave a ticket. Inches had a large party at dinner and we all went in a body to the play. There was a pretty good house, but all the point of my farce was lost from the lamentable imperfection with regard to the words, which they could not substitute, and for which they floundered like a [indecipherable] in the bay of Biscay - with the exception of Misses Griffiths and Deering and Mrs. Gibbs. Still, with the audience, who knew no better, it passed off with considerable spirit, although but a lamentable affair. Had the actors, especially Mrs Coppin, known but a moderate portion of the dialogue, the house would have been convulsed. Francis Shields was there. Returned disappointed - more fool I.
Friday: 29: The Herald again on the Colonial defences. The Australian a mild article on the Theatre. By the way the House is 50 feet wide from wall to wall - 27 between the proscenium pillars. The stage 70 feet from the floats, and a further extension of 30 feet in a painting room attached at the back. Pit floor is 40 feet high from floor to cieling - Dress circle contains 250 persons, price 2/6, Second Circle 300 at 2/0, Pit 800 at 1/0 and gallery 360 at 6d. The average salaries is about - The charge of the house for the benefit - the cost of lighting - the nightly expense and the value of library, wardrobe and properties - Frederic Antonio Von Klein took his departure this day for Smarts, a Currency Auctioneer, at Woolloomolloo - completed my rough draft of Sydney Delivered. Col. Godfrey, from New Zealand, residing here, tells me that as a Colony it is a complete failure, he was an Agent of the Compt. and a Capt. in the 73rd - also a Brigadier Genl. in the Spanish Legion. Inches, Mr. Barton and I had a turn in the garden. On our return homewards we were overtaken by a terrific Brick [indecipherable]. We were half choaked with the driving sand which literally obscured the light of heaven. Two handsomely draped ladies
were caught in the same vile tornado. It was with great difficulty they were, at last, able to retreat, the gusts handling their garments in a very rude manner, and exposing more of their well turned limbs than fashion admits our fair ones nowadays to display. There was a vast deal of lightning throughout the evening. Mr. Forster showed me a good deal of the workings of the silk worm.
Saturday: 30: thunder and lightning throughout the night, accompanied by furious gusts of wind and heavy rain. An extraordinary season. Variable as the clime of Tasmania may be that of Australia most certainly transcends it. Yesterday saw us sweltering to death, and today we are hugging a blazing fire. Received an invitation to dine with the Chief Justice on Tuesday. Went to the Theatre and saw my “First Lieutenant” mangled most savagely. Mr. Griffiths made sir Chas. a comparatively subordinate character the feature of the piece. Mr. C.F. Robinson, Surgeon of this street, poisoned by Prussic Acid.
Sunday: 1st December: A sunshiny morning, yet windy and cloudy. Attended service, along with Dr. Gannon, at St. James. the Church of England Clergy are certainly in the most rabid state. They preach as if their calling were at an end - their discourses savour strongly of the stake and faggot and their argumentation is such as one may imagine the Roman Senates to have been when Brenno was thundering at the gates. The 17th verse of the 33rd Chapter of Isaiah afforded the Orator of the day a theme for a singular sort of hotch potch concoction. Now haranguing on the Churches poverty - now sounding a call to battle - then came a fierce invective against sectarians - anon a laudation of puseyison, followed up by a glorification of humble churchmen! The Episcopal Church seems to arrogate for itself that it is the Christian World, straining every passage of scripture to demonstrate its (exclusive) purity and inferring, if not proclaiming, the unworthiness of others. The preacher affirmed that the day of great events in the earth and air were at hand, all of which we were led to suppose are to rebound to the honour and glory of episcopacy but to the shame and confusion of the Pope, Mahomet and sectarians. Strange, however, with all this that we should
be urged to gird our loins - and that to protect life, property, and all dear to man from deadly peril - from whom? - Even now the Revd. gent. assured his hearers, the ill fated Church of England is suffering persecution - Once more, I ask, from whom? Can it be from those she so ceaselessly and wantonly persecutes by her own unchristian denunciations! We were told the folks in the North had got a new light. There is too much of these lights a scramble for the loaves and fishes, I doubt. Oh, religion, what tricks have been, and I fear still are played in your blessed name. Why, will not the fanatics suffer man to worship his God in the sincerity, purity and fervour of his heart - Oh Lord! Lead us in the way to save our souls alive! I took a saunter after dinner through the domain and seating myself on Mrs. Macquaries Chair copied the following –
Be It Thus Recorded That The Road
Round the inside of the Government Domain, called
Mrs. Macquaries Road,
So named by the Governor, on account of her having originally
Planned it. The [indecipherable] 3 miles and 377 yards
Was finally completed on the 13th Day of June 1816
As I sat gazing, in solitary loneliness, into the blue depths of ocean, [indecipherable] regarded the merry papers by, my woeful heart wandered in idea to the times when I, too, was blest with the presence of her who gives to life its value and its joys. Ah me! Is this heartrending this weary separation to know no end? Poor Catherine! If I mourn in silent loneliness, you are slaving and toiling in weary singleness the hope that cheers your anxious husband animating your gentle heart to do and suffer - Oh Heaven, in mercy, grant that we may not much longer be doomed to dream life thus wretchedly away, but, oh, restore us to each others longing hearts. Went to Dr. Langs and had a stringent discourse on Puseyite trans[indecipherable]
Monday: 2: Wrote to Sir George Gipps soliciting employment - also to Dr. Nicholson with a perusal of my different writings. Went to the Theatre, and found Simes, the Stage Manager, in exctasies about my burlesque. I hope I may be able to get it licensed. Had a long stroll in the gardens with that excellent fellow Gannon. Dined. Went to Theatre & saw Loves Sacrifice and Catching An Heiress.
Tuesday: 3: Engaged from an early hour of the morning in preparing a lengthened epistle to my dearest wife. The Lord Auckland in from Hobart, but, alas, no letter from Kathleen. Was favoured with a very courteous reply from the Governor, but holding out very faint hopes. The Lord Auckland brings the cheering intelligence that Sir Robt. Peel had demanded reparation from “Young France” for the Tahitan injuries. Go ahead John, never suffer the French puppies to slap your honest face again. Inches and I dined at Mr. Stephens where we had Messrs. [indecipherable] MacArthur, Mr. Raymond, Dr. Nicholson and a gent, name unknown. After dinner, Judge Dickinson and his lady, Mr. & Mrs. Sconce and two or three others. Mrs. Stephen and Mrs. Dickinson sang some favorite airs. The latter lady quite charmed me with Kathleen Mavourneen.
Wednesday: 4: Writing all morning to my dearest Catharine, and occupied during the remainder of the day in Transcribing my burlesque. Met Mrs. Watson on my way from the Post Office. Replied to the Govrs courteous letter - Inches went to Camden with Mr. Macarthur.
Thursday: 5: Finished transcribing my Burlesque. Called at the Australian Office and corrected their Naval Distribution. Seeing St. James Church open, I entered and made a copy of the inscription on the mural tablet, erected in Memorial of one of a race of heroes, the distinguished flag Captain of Lord Exmouth, at Algiers. It is a plain slab of marble, surmounted by a Naval hat and sword, underneath which is seen a profile of the hero; a partially drawn curtain revealing “Brisbane”. The Inscription runs thus –
Sacred to the Memory of
Commodore Sir James Brisbane Kt. C.B.K.W.
Who Closed with His Life An Honourable Career of Active and Distinguished Service
Whilst Commanding H.M.Squadron In India, He Conducted, In Person
The Naval Force Employed In The Difficult And Harrassing War
Which Ended With The Submission Of the Burmese Empire.
Subsequent to Its Termination
He Sailed For South America, In Command Of H.M.Ship Warspite,
But Being Greatly Impaired In Health By That Arduous Service,
Landed At Sydney, And After Protracted Suffering
Died On The 19th of December 1826 Aged 52 Years
On his right a handsome tablet records the decease of Frances Leonora Harrington, daughter of Mr. McLeay, after a brief Union of six weeks. On the left, the following brief Memento is worthy of notice, as it declares the early doom of one of the just and ablest Barristers of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. A profile surmounts –
A Latrone Vagante
A.D. 1834 Aetatis Lusae 41
On the left hand angle of the Church, looking towards the Altar, there is a monument to the Revd. Richd. Hill, First Minister of this Church who died at his post on the 30th May 1836 in the 54th year of his age. Capt. Collel Barker of the 39th Regt. murdered by the Natives on the 30th April 1831 and Dept. Comm. Genl. I. Laidley who died 30 Aug. 1855 aged 49, have their Memories here preserved. There are two portraits in the Vestry, one of Mr. Justice Burton, which rather enviously shrouds that of a Mr. Moore who bequeathed his property to the Church. Even Hamlets recipe to preserve a memory -
“By’r Lady, he must build Churches, then”
would seem to be inadequate towards the rescue of Mr. Moore from oblivion or apathy. As I was quitting the Church a gentleman, Mr. James, the Bishop’s Sec. very politely inquired my name and told me he was instructed to supply me with certain information I had requested from the Bishop, which he engaged to furnish, also, copies of the elevations of the building. He further said he had been requested to make inquiry respecting a gentleman of my name by desire of the Miss Edgeworth. Had a saunter in the Gardens 0 thence to the Band, where I had a long yarn with Miss Wells. Dined and went to the play - Louisa not yet sailed for Hobart.
Friday: 6: Mr. F. Shields called to invite me to dinner today. I promised to go. His Aunt Harriet, he told me, had again been seized with a very severe attack, a heart complaint. Many suffer under this organic disease. How much and how frequently have I
endured from its mental disorders. Oh, my Catharine, when will thy sunny smile again dissolve they husbands dreary gloom? Finishing up my Tag and Epilogue in my book of Plays. Called at the Australian Office where Mr. Forster was lavish in commendation of my Burlesque. Went to the Domain and thence to Mr. Shields with whom a Mr. Herring dined. Recd. a courteous letter from Mr. Parker in which the Govr. states I may have a passage to Norfolk Island on the same terms as the Military Officers, viz - £5 each way.
Saturday: 7: Dr. Pannon, Campbell and I went, after breakfast, to the Synagoue. It is a very neat building and well finished both externally and internally, something in the Egyptian style of Architecture. Among the fair daughters of Israel, in the gallery, I perceived “Our First Lieutenant”, Mrs. Coppin. Called upon the Private Secretary relative to the length of time the Agincourt would be likely to remain at Norfolk Island 0 referred to Capt. O’Connel, Brigade Major, who had gone to Parramatta. Read my burlesque to McEachern, who expressed himself delighted with it - recommended its publication. Offered to share profits with Statham and Forster. They are to decide on Monday. Shamrock in from P. Philip. Purchased 2 gross Gillots best pens for 9/-. Had my hair cut and [indecipherable] for which the fellow extracted 1/- - Went to the Theatre - some ruffian had beaten Mrs. Coppin mercilessly. She did indeed enact Black Eyed Susan - but it was the very reverse of con amore, it was sans esprit. Runaways are generally punished even in this world. Very sultry. A good deal of thunder and lightning.
Sunday: 8: Rather sultry - Did not go to morning service. Flag up for a steamer, but it did not prove to be the James Watt. One or two vessels in sight. Went to the Garden and whilst there saw a certain yacht nearly capsised from over carrying. Forced to beat a rapid retreat from the aspect of the Heavens, and scarcely were we home ere we experienced a tremendous storm of rain, thunder and lightning for several hours. Went to St. Philips, that estimable old clergyman, whom it delighted me to honour,
Dr. Cowper, reading prayers, and Mr. Elder preaching a sensible and affecting Sermon from the 13 Chapter & 30th Verse of St. Matthew - it is now almost a treat to hear a sermon undefiled with political prejudice or polemical violence. Mr. Elder inculcated the walking in the true path, which God grant that I and all dear to me may be enabled to find - Therein is peace!
Monday: 9: Waited upon Captain O’Connel and learnt I
would most likely have four days to inspect Norfolk Island, but that I
might remain longer and return to Hobart at my leisure. He was extremely
courteous. Went to the Australian Office and found Statham and Forster
all but decided to publish my burlesque. Called upon Mr. Deas Thomson to
see if he would licence it for performance, but he could not even read it
in less than ten days, so I did not leave it. The James Watt in from
Hobart Town and no letter for me. I will not trust my pen with the
expression of my feelings. God knows they are sufficiently wretched. Oh,
Catharine, what can be the cause of this cruel negligence?
Went to the City Theatre to a meeting of Drapers Assistants to have the shops closed at an earlier hour. It seems that the scum of the low Irish can always succeed in kicking up a row. The sympathisers hooted the Mayor because of his refusing to convene an O’Connorite Meeting - and Dr. Roys was overwhelmed because he let slip an expression regarding Irish brogue which was the commencement of an intended compliment. There is fair play even in the worst English Mob, but the Irish are utterly impracticable and [indecipherable]. Went to the Victoria where one Mr. Morton King did Hamlet, and the Ladies Club was put to the racks!
Tuesday: 10: The Hamlet in from Portsmouth 21st August, with news of De [indecipherable] Bombardment of Tangier, and the feverish state of the Tahitian question. See poor W.H. Dixon’s death by drowning in the Hobart Town papers. Also
poor Armstrong’s insolvency, and a decision agst. the pleas of partnership Dunn V. Fenton. Cash, the Bushrangers life spared. Oh, Catharine, Catharine, have you too forgotten me? Capt. Jones of the Dublin dined with Dr. Gannon. Killed a wretched hour or two by sitting in the Theatre.
Wednesday: 11: Mr. Atkinson, Mrs. Reid’s mother in law, residing here. Called upon the Brigade Major, Capt. O’Connel, and arranged to go by the Agincourt, to Norfolk Island. On my return received two welcome letters from my dearest Catharine. These, the infamous Post Office had neglected for two days. Dr. Gannon and I sauntered through the domain. Called in the evening upon the Misses Plunkett.
Thursday: 12: At Breakfast, the discourse being of New Zealand, Colonel Godfrey stated he would not give a penny an acre for its whole territory - that the marshes wd. not be drained under 5 nor the forest land cleared under £20 per acre, and that until those were done the soil was utterly valueless - that there was no return whatever for capital invested, and that every man, without exception, who had dabbled in its farming, was utterly ruined, in short that it was wholly worthless and, as a Colony, a deplorable failure. Waited upon Mr. Hannibal Macarthur at the Club, with E. Abbots petition which he declined presenting, I think very properly. Called at Forsters who decided on publishing my burlesque forthwith. Writing to my darling wife - a Brickfielder with thunder lightning and rain. Dr. Inches returned. The Band went out, played one tune and retreated. Messrs. Mason, Campbell, Walsh and I went to the theatre. The evening sky presented one of the most magnificent aspects I ever beheld; circles of the intensest and dazzling blue were girded by golden tinted fleecy clouds, the glorious colouring of which far surpassed my feeble powers of depiction.
Friday: 13: My burlesque advertised as in the prep. It is notified that the James Watt delays her departure to Hobart until tomorrow.
The Chief Justice and Justices Dickenson and A’Becket pronounced [indecipherable] in their purple [indecipherable] and administered the oath to the Mayor today. Lady Gipps and many Sydney belles present. Mrs. Dickenson, a sister of [indecipherable] Lieut. of the Kernon with Capt. Walpole. Wrote dedication, notes, & to “Sydney Delivered”. Took a stroll in the Gardens. A dull, gloomy day, ending with a sunset of magnificent beauty - I have always, hitherto, omitted to make mention of the Willow trees which here of unsurpassed loveliness, their long pensile, clustering boughs streaming in peculiarly rich and flowering garlands like the dishevilled locks of some heart struck weeping maiden. The other forest trees of England do not seem to thrive so well. Just as Mr. Campbell was turning in he roused me out to look at an immense blaze which we both conceived to be a building on fire. I thought it was the Theatre. We dressed and went out. It proved to be a furnace in full operation.
Saturday: 14: At 7 the Band playing “The girl I left behind me” caused me to leap out of bed, and there I perceived a detachment of the 80th on their way to embark for the death dealing clime to which their main body a few months since preceded them, Walsh’s nephews and his Darling bride being of the number. Finished my letter to my dearest which I forthwith posted. Took a round turn by Milnes Wharf and Kent Street and lunched with Captain Jones of the Dublin. Played three games of billiards with Campbell and won two. After dinner I met my old shipmate (in the Greenock) Ralston. He is living next door and in business as a brewer at Maitland. We had not encountered for eighteen or nineteen years, but knew each other at a glance. He told me he was afflicted with a confirmed liver complaint, and the was recommended to shift his berth to Port Fairy, or somewhere in that latitude. It came on a tremendous blustery, rainy evening. Saw Venice Preserved done in perfection - The Desdemona a Virago - the Pierre a butcher! Saffien the sole personage to be tolerated.
Sunday: 15: A terribly squally night of wind and rain, dawning
upon a somewhat uncertain day - Dr Lang lost his eldest daughter two days
since. Went to St. James where Dr Broughton delivered a discourse on the
policy of the Episcopal Church from the 10th of Romans, and part of the
14th and 15th Verses. “How shall they hear without a
preacher” and how shall they preach except they be sent?”
This afforded a theme for complacent dilation on the apostolical
succession of the church of England whose priests were designated
Commissioned officers whilst the whole clap of dissenters were
roughly handled and so depicted as to point them out, by inference, as so
many ghostly buccaneers who might achieve a small amount of
temporary good at the cost of a vast deal of ultimate evils. These
sermons of passions and prejudices strike me as being very far from
Christian. Mr Smallwood - I beg his pardon, Mr AllWood read the
service in his usual half dreamy tone. This “Commissioned
Officer” appears to account his congregation much too religious
to require to hear the lessons or else which he may be called upon
He seems to be much more alert in the arena of polemical controversy in which he has perilled more than one attaint with Dr Lang who, like Sir Brian de Bois Guilbert and his fellow Templars appears to be open to all challengers. I am told Dr Broughton reached from the Altar of Trinity Church on Sunday last. Went to the Gardens, and got wet with the rain which descended in torrents. Attended Mr Saunders Evg service. He gave us a powerful lecture on the written and traditionary doctrines of religion, and quoted (in order to confute) the reply of a clergyman of the Church of England to the Education Committee, to the effect, that “a perusal and application of the scriptures would not be sufficient of itself, without other aid, to achieve salvation. The 9th verse of the 15th of St Mathew afforded the learned divine a theme for a commentary which he handled with equal moderation and skill. Indeed, it appeared as if Mr. Saunders’ lecture was destined to be a reply to the dogmatical discourse of the morning. I confess I incline to the increasing opinion that the church of England looks more to peace and power than true religion. A very rainy night.
Monday:16:: Dr Inches returned from Newington whither he had gone on Saturday. Dr Lang’s child buried this morning. Strolled out to Guard Mounting - thence to Woolloomolloo and paid my respects to Mrs Barker, a very agreeable, sensible, woman. Verily, she is the occupant of a goodly palace - her husband being one of the favoured some of fortune. It is a lamentable thing to recal the once great ones of the land - Where be they? Sunk to rise no more! Their riches fled on the wings of the morning, whilst the place that once knew them shall know them no more. Although a miller Mr Barker is not reputed a rogue in grain - for many are the beneficent acts I have heard of his doing - A regular English April day - Saw Mr & Mrs Webb at a distance. Received a proof of the first two pages of Sydney Delivered - Purchases [indecipherable]. [indecipherable] Works for Mrs Atkinson. Accompanied Dr Inches to the Thistle, steamer, in which he and his cousin John embarked for Morpeth. A fine Moonshiny night.
Tuesday:17: My Birth Day! The first that my dearest wife and I have spent asunder during the twelve years of our union. God grant it may prove not only the first but the last. There will be some strange feelings amongst mine this day in Van Diemens Land. The Waterlily brought me the sweetest Birth Day present a dear letter from my dear wife which declares a horizon a little less gloomy and holds out a hope of a speedy reunion - She tells me that she has been saving her nice boots, in order that she may receive me like a lady - God bless her. Writing to her in reply. The James Watt sailed yesterday from Watsons Bay. Saw The Lady of Lyons and Clari mercilessly murdered.
Wednesday:18: Packing for Norfolk Island. Finished and posted a letter for my dear Wife, per William, via Launceston. Saw Capt O’Connel who told me I might calculate upon three or four days to the Island. Received a letter of introduction from the Gov. to the Commandant. The 58th embarked in a very drunken plight - Saw Neatby the Capt of the Agincourt who told me
I would be time enough to embark by to morrow at noon - Got second proofs of the entire of my first scene. A Mr Musgrave from New Zealand dined with us - His accounts most deplorable that Mr Lester from Hobart at the Royal Hotel - he told me sundry lies of confidential invention. What a wretch it is!
Thursday:19: A son of the Revd Mr Torlesse breakfasted here.
Wrote a few lines to my dear Catharine cautioning her against the
[indecipherable] propensities of Confidentis - In carrying my letter to
the Post Office I was almost a witness of a horribly atrocity - Seeing a
crowd running towards Hunter Street I was naturally attracted to the same
quarter where but a minute before a printer named O’Brien had
pistolled a gentleman to death. The brutal assassin came behind his
victim, his weapon ready in his hand but covered with a handkerchief -
when sufficiently near he fired at his head but merely grazed the ear and
shot off the hat. The villain then dropped the pistol and handkerchief
and drew a second. The predestined man turned partly round and held up
his hand in an attitude of entreaty and amaze. It was unavailing - the
deadly bullet pierced him underneath the right arm, lodging in his
The miscreant was instantly secured and the dying man conveyed into the shop of Mr Mappin Cutler - He proved to be a Dr Meyrick, recently returned from Tahiti where he had been imprisoned by the French, and was then callously murdered, by mistake, O’Brien having shot him under the belief of his being one Holmes, a Butcher, from whose wife he had that morning demanded payment of a paltry three shillings, said by him to be due, but which Mrs H. declined paying until the return of her husband from the Hunter. Poor Meyrick knew at once that the wound was fatal. He was I am told, perfectly composed - executed a Will in favour of a nephew, and in five and twenty minutes was thus fearfully and ferociously summoned to his account. I shortly after saw the unfortunate gentleman’s body, and as I gazed upon the calm and placed
[indecipherable] so lately in the full play of life and health, a cold
shudder pervaded my frame, a heart sickness oppressed me - because this
hapless gentleman’s fate might have been mine or that of any other
man wearing a person resemblance to Holmes. It was not long ere the plea
of madness was urged in behalf of O’Brien - Mad or no, hanging is
too good for such a demon - Out on the mock humanity of the mawkish age,
that entertains so much misplaced and ruinous consideration for the
vilest of criminals - Monomania forsooth - hang every assassin sane or
insane, say I, and fewer murders would recur - A brother of this
O’Brien - threatened to shoot Mr Forster some time since -
Whilst I was in the Office correcting a proof he called Forster was out and I counselled him to be cautious how he exposed himself to the fellow. We have too often seen atrocious deeds closely and rapidly copied. These details are really horrible. I feel more shocked at poor Maddox’ murder than at the barbarous mutilation of the unhappy Warne. At 3 P.M. I left Campbells Wharf with Captain Neatby, and in about three quarters of an hour we reached the Agincourt which was at Anchor under Garden Island. We were speedily aweigh.
The Agincourt is a very fine new barque of 669 tons new measure. This is her first voyage. The officers were half done dinner when we got on board, so neither I nor the Capt joined them. I was not a little surprised to see my acquaintce Miss Wells ascent the poop. She had engaged herself as Governess to Captain Cockrofts’ family. The party on board comprised Major and Mrs Arney - Capt and Mrs Cockroft and family, Miss Webb, Mr & Mrs Garstin, Capt Nugent, Mr Middleton, Dr Bannatyne, Lieuts Edwards & Westrop, Mr Bell, Chief Officer. The William for Launceston preceeded us to sea. We were not long in following, the Agincourt working as readily as a boat. By sunset we were without the heads, bobbing about to the discomposing of sundry stomachs, and the disarrangement
of more heads than one - It was a lovely moonlight night - the breeze barely sufficed to lull the sails, and the barque drew her length lazily along. Turned in about 10
Friday:20: I had numerous brown coated ed fellows who were more free than welcome, notwithstanding, I slept, as usual, soundly. A lovely morning, but a faint breeze, the ship heading N.E. by E. The wind slightly increasing at 10.30 A.M. and gaining strength throughout the day to the utter discomfiture of all our lady passrs who were on the retired list - No occurrence of moment but making and shortening sail as occasion required - Lat 33o 48’ - At noon.
Saturday:21: Which, according to seatime, commences after
Meridian of Friday - Wind increasing but not more fair. Towards dark it
blew fresh with
thunder lightning. Furled top gallant
sails, and in spanker and gaff top sail. Turned in at 10. Slept soundly
and turned out at 7 A.M. Wind still foul and strong. Ran 154 miles during
the past four and twenty hours Lat 33o67’ Long 153o 13.
Sunday:22: As they keep [indecipherable] journals in the Navy by astronomical time, it is to be regretted like practice should not prevail in the Merchant Service. About 30m past meridian the wind shifted in a brief squall of rain and then fell light, but ere long returned to the old quarter. From 4 P.M. until 9 it thundered and lightened. At 12.30 A.M. the winds shifted to the South in spanker, squared the yards and out stunsails low and aloft. The ladies made their appearance and Capt Cockroft the only individual in lavender. Progressed 193 miles - At 10.30 Major Arney mustered his detachment and read prayers. The Weather beautifully serene. The breeze full and steady and wafting the lively barque Agincourt some eight or nine knots an hour towards the Isle so dreaded by many and of such transcendent beauty, if at least, its native praise may be believed - Lat 32o10’ S - Long 158o3’ East.
Monday:23: The wind continued fair and steady. At 3 P.M. Ball’s Pyramids was descried, and about 6 we passed between it and [indecipherable] Island; the former to windward, the latter to leeward, or [indecipherable] quarter. The Pyramid has all the appearances which characterise the dark sides of an Iceberg to which it bears a very great similitude. Howes Islands, as we passed it, is extremely lofty, probably 600 feet, on its S.E. extremity. It is wild and rugged in its general aspect and frequently visited by sealers and whalers. It may be, probably, some twenty or four and twenty miles in circumference. It is said there were there some parties from Sydney resident thereon. Towards dusk the wind began to draw ahead. At 10 in lower stunsail. Partial Breezes and light airs during the night. At 10 A.M. winds getting still more scant, in main to gallant, starboards, stunsail. Winds S.E. by S. Course E.N.E. Latitude 30o37’ - Longitude 160o 58’. Distance run 139 miles.
Tuesday:24: Making but very little progress, owing to light and baffling winds. Neither cards nor backgammon to kill time, and scarce a book to render its passage more pleasant. Let, wondrously [indecipherable] it pass by, and as I look at page 198 of this journal and turn to some of its earliest pages, I cannot but recall the frequency and rapidity wherewith I have skimmed to unstable element. We had little more than steerage way during the night. About 10 A.M. we set starbd main to gallant, and fore top mast stunsail [indecipherable] to woo than to catch the (scarce existent) breeze. Wind, variable - course scarce any - Lat 30o17’, Long 163o54’. Distance 107.
Wednesday:25: Shortly after noon, a faint breeze lulled the [indecipherable] canvas to sleep, and Agincourt, bent responsive to its breathline, placid weather Mrs Cocker aft and the ladies at their calligraphic operations. About 7 P.M. a comet, or at least a planning motion with nebulae eons descried in the south Eastern quarter. The day passed wearily but steadily by. the misery of such an existence as mine now is.
At 8 A.M. lots of “compliments of the season” which I mentally, sent far across the azure element we were traversing. Many, many, happy Christmas’s, dearest Kathleen to thee: and, oh, may we speedily meet. Really, Middleton is one of the merriest, best natured, amusing, fellows in the world. Always up for a joke, and always prompt to oblige. Put my foot in it with Major Arney, by expressing an opinion of the inferior appearance of the 51st on their first arrival in U.S.A. the gallant Major had been mercilessly reviewing the 80th. He is Sir Oracle! Beautiful day. The ship heading about E.N.E. with a steady breeze. Winds S.S.E. Course E.N.E. Lat 30o1’ Long 165o 54’ E Distance 157.
Thursday:26: During the mid watch that is to say between the
1 and 2 Norfolk Island was descried in the N.N.W. At 5 I hastened upon deck to behold a spot of so much and loudly trumpeted natural beauty, and of such dreadfully unenviable moral notoriety. It were a public attempt to decypher the strange, conflicting feelings which filled my minds, as my gaze wandered from crag to crag of the circumscribed isle within whose wave worn precincts were hemmed in so much atrocity and crime. Its aspect was gloomy, enough in the dull leaden grey of early morn, but presently the glorious sun rushed upwards from his ocean couch slotting peak and headlands in roseate tints, and illumining earth and sky with the golden effect given of his cloudless beams.
This my first glimpse of the [indecipherable] islands conveyed but a very faint may even unfavourable impression of its exquisite beauty, which was then sorely impaired by a long continued drought which had caused the pasture to be burnt up and the banks and braes to wear a parched and sterile look. The rocks were the most prominent features of the scene which thus showed a rude and iron bound appearance, but on the same stern aspect the first which greets the visiter of enchanting Jersey, I was prepared for a more graceful landscape upon our nearer approach etc, since no one of my acquaintance who has ever revelled amid the witching beauties of the Channel islands was even sufficiently graceless as to deny their charms upon a closer acquaintance. I was, thus, [indecipherable] not to form hasty conclusions with respect to the much vaunted islands of the Pacific, which although rather harsh at first view quickly softened as the ship sped onwards. At this particular juncture, too, Phillip Island being shut in with the main
two presented but one aspect, Phillip looming like the N.W. and S
peaked extremity of an undivided territory which trended away in the less
lofty ranger towards the South East. We were scarcely, five and twenty
miles distant at 5 A.M. and with the winds, a light air, broad off the
starboards quarter we gradually diminished the watery space between us.
By 7 we had placed Phillip Island on the starboard bow barely three miles
distant whilst the settlement lay right ahead probably seven or
We were slipping steadily through the water, our number, 3165 of Marryats signal code, floating from the peak, so that the authorities on shore must have been aware that it was the Agincourt which was thus approaching. As yet the loveliness of the island had by no means overpowered us with admiration but its lofty, graceful, and truly characteristic pines had begun to attract universal attention. Now and then we could catch paint and indistinct glimpses of the houses over the spritsail yard arm, but another half hour rendered them, much more tangible whilst the valleys and swelling hills grew into life like existence.
Still there was a great absence of that exuberant vegetation that, delicious verdure for which the island has ever been so loudly and lavishly eulogized. On the contrary its appearance was and parched in the extreme, distance so far from lending enchantment, it actually tended to the harshness of the view.
Half way between Phillip Island and the main our attention was called to a signal flying close to the landing place, instant reference to Marryat was snade and we read therein the following sentence. “Heave to and I will send a boat aboard” This telegraphic despatch was quickly followed by another demanding “From what port?” to which we gave a prompt response declaring ourselves. “From Sydney with troops.”
The lively Agincourt, no sluggard in her motions, had forged considerably ahead and the prospect before us was every instant becoming more and more lovely, picturesque glens and gullies displaying their beauties at every onward heave. Public offices and large respectable buildings were rapidly opening out, and a small rocky promontory called Nepean Island which had as yet appeared to be part and parcel of the Mainland began slowly to detach its bleak and barren crags - It was about 9 A.M. when we descried a large launch impelled by the sinewy arms of a dozen lusty rowers drawing towards us.
She was under the charge of a coaxswain with a guard of a serjeant and
three privates of the 99th Regt, accompanied by Mr Swain, a clerk in the
Commissariat department. The arms of the guard were catlasses, and an old
worn our flint pistol, each, [indecipherable] for shoes and utterly
worthless for services. From previous converse with Captain Neatby I was
prepared to find the Norfolk Island boats anything but models of order
and regularity, and half a glance sufficed to show me how entirely
disorganized they were their measureless inferiority to the well ordered
boats of Port Arthur which under the superintendences of Captain Booth
were as perfect as these defective, struck me forcibly.
On board of those deathless silence and the most keen attention prevailed, the motion of the coaxswains finger being the sole but ample indication of his commands here, on the contrary, all was comparative confusion, gibble gabble, all talkers and few listeners, a sort of miniature Babel. In this Major & Mrs Arney, Rebecca Smart, (their servant) Dr Ballantine and I forthwith embarked. The very manner of shoving from alongside was lubberly in the extreme, and we experienced some slight risk of being crushed by the Agincourt’s cut water.
However, away we went, and, in due time, reached the jetty, where a goodly concourse, civil and military, bond and free, ladies and gentlemen awaited our debarcation. No sail had been seen by the islanders since the Agincourt had landed her convicts there, some seven weeks before, and anxiously were the inhabitants looking out for groceries and various supplies of which they stood in the utmost need. A small ledge of rocks on the point of which a beacon has been placed, indicates the only spot where a landing can be effected, it is a limited haven as anything but one of repose being iron bound on every side and without any protection from the stupendous rollers which a southerly gale hurls with terrific fury upon the flinty beach.
The surf thus created is fearful, surpassed only by that of Madras and as neither boats nor navigators are equally adapted to their work as are those of the Indian presidency, the casualties are more disastrous, it being no infrequent occurrence to have the launches turned over and over, which usually takes place when they bear round up for the jetty at which moment they necessarily present their broadsides to the surf and are thereby too often filled and swamped and although the shore is but a few
yards off such is its rugged character and such the overwhelming force
of the breakers, that ocean successfully retains her victims. This day,
however, there was no bar, the sea being almost lake like, so we landed
in perfect safety. Among the foremost persons on the jetty I recognised
my once near Tasmanian neighbour the Revd. Mr. Naylor, Chaplain of the
Island who greeted me with the most kind and courteous welcome, insisting
I should quarter myself upon him during the period of my stay. To the
Superintendent of the Island, Major Childs of the Marines, I forthwith
presented the letter of introduction with which His Excellency, Sir
George Gipps had most obligingly furnished me.
By my friends Mr. and Mrs. Naylor I was introduced to most of the Officers present, and as my maxim is ever to take time by the forelock, I set out in instant quest of information. The first place visited was the Prisoners Barracks, a large three story stone building presenting three faces of a square, as one enters the Court yard wherein it is placed. It is kept very clean, and is divided into numerous sleeping wards each man having a blanket & [indecipherable] for which sole purpose it is applied, 14, 20 and 40 and 115 convicts according to the dimensions of the chamber, being nightly locked up at 8 p.m. with a constable in charge.
These wards afford accommodation for 1100 men. The hammocks are slung in double twos. Attached to the Eastern and Western walls of the Court yard, two, long, narrow, and naked rooms were constructed by the former Superintendent, Captain Maconochie, of theoretical prison discipline memory! These rooms constitute the Episcopal and Romish Churches of the settlement. Their close contigenity is anything but advantageous to either, for, not to speak it profanely, they are so placed as to assemble rival booths at a fair, the attendants at either crossing and recrossing during service in the most free and unprejudiced manner.
Now, however conclusively demonstrative of the entire absence of bigotted intolerance, I incline to think this practical mode of making continual comparative tests were “a custom more honoured in the breach than the observance”. From the Penetentiary we proceeded to the Lumber Yard [indecipherable] adjacent. It struck me as a badly arranged, disorganized looking place, of which the beginning or end was an equal puzzle. It was dinner hour, and the convicts were seated at their miserable meal, and in the most comfortless manner, under the different ill regulated sheds and work shops. Here, again, the
the disadvantages contrast to the order, regularity, and quiet of the
manner at Port Arthur was as forcible as was the shameless inferiority of
the food. At Port Arthur the rations and their mode of distribution and
consumption was unexceptionable. Here it was entirely the reverse. The
food was disgusting to behold, and such as my gorge rose at, whilst of
the bread, soup and meat at Port Arthur I readily partook and found the
Here, a look sufficed - and I am sure it will suffice for my English readers also when I state that the everlasting ration is the salted beef of New South Wales, that beef which was hurled by [indecipherable] into the Thames by order of the British Authorities, as unfit for human use. This wretched stuff, not, it is true, in such deplorable condition, but, Heaven knows, bad enough - This detestable salt beef, and beastly maize meal, a pound of each daily, is the abhorrent and life destroying ration of the wretched felowry of Norfolk Island.
It is a sin and a shame to England that it should be suffered; the salt meat induces scurvy, but, as lemons are a weed, the quantity devoured superinduces dysentery and the hapless criminals perish in numbers in a clime of the most remarkable solubrity and fertility. One fell a victim during my sojourn, and there were a tenth of the felon population afflicted with that wasting scourge. Asking to be shown a piece of Maize bread, a tall man of a light sandy complexion, with yellow hair, freckled visage, and wounded arm started forward to procure me some.
This was the famous Tasmanian Bushranger, Cavenagh, who with his quondam associates Cash and Jones, had for many many months robbed and plundered seemingly at will in that devoted island. Cavenagh, having, as he declared, accidentally wounded himself in crossing a fence, left his comrades and retired to the hut of John Clarke, Esq., M>P> near Bothwell, where he either hoped to be sheltered or where he purposely surrendered. At all events he was given up to the Authorities, after the commission of an infinity of robberies. Cash and Jones remained some considerable time longer at large - but in Augt. 43 they were discovered in the streets of Hobart, where in the act of apprehending him Cash shot dead on the spot a constable who sought to impede his flight. Jones escaped and headed another gang but information
having being conveyed to the police, the hut in which he and his
confederates with some women were congregated was surrounded and fired.
One of the gang was mortally wounded, Jones recd. a shot which blinded
him in both eyes, and eventually he and his associates were executed.
Cavenagh and Cash, the equally if not more guilty are, however, still alive. The first was tried and convicted for one of the least flagrant of his crimes. Cash, too, was found guilty of the murder he had so daringly and savagely perpetuated. In passing sentence Mr. Justice Montague warned both in the strongest and most forcible terms to prepare for sure and certain death. Sir Bardley Wilmot had just then assumed the Tasmanian reins.
When Cavanaghs case was laid before him,. he saw simply a highway robbery unaccompanied by any violence - of the felon’s other crimes he was not called upon to take notice, and, therefore, as this was the first death warrant he was required to sign, he paused and committed the sentence, concurring however in that of Cash. However, a technical objection overruled before by Mr. Justice Montague now struck that “upright Judge” in full force, and he stayed execution of sentence until a reference cd. be made to the English Bench. this has been done, the sentence upon Cash has been commutted, and the savage murderer is to be let loose again to work his evil ways and influence upon the well prepared and exotic minds of Norfolk Island.
“Well”, said I, addressing Cavenagh, desiring him to be covered as he stood hat in hand beside me, a remarkable contrast to his usual mode of addressing a Tasmanian settler - “Well, Cavenagh, you and your comrades had a long spell of it in V.D. Land”. “Ay, yes, a long and unlucky spell”. “You kept the Country alive. when you were upon the Ouse will you tell me truly if you came close to my place one forenoon. You know me I suppose”. “Oh, yes, sir, I know you and your place in V.D.L. well, and I’ll tell you the truth we were indeed on the river at Austin’s Flats one day”. “Were you intending to rob me?” “No, sir, we had not the laste intintion of the sort”. (This may, or may not be true. It is to say the least remarkable that these fellows who had the most correct intelligence of every ones motions should have made their appearance within a few hundred yards of my house on the only day I had ventured to leave home during
hovering in our quarter. My intention to resist was universally known.
My preparations for defence were public. For seven months or more every
window of my house was nailed down, my front door barred barricaded, and
never opened, and no one, friend or foe, admitted without satisfactory
examination. I had established signals, by bugle, with my neighbours.
Every night one half of my house was cut off from the other. My bed room windows, in an attic commanded every approach. I was well armed with fowling pieces and rifles, and even had my doors been forced I could have chosen a murderously defensive position, where one man with ordinary courage might have given good account of half a dozen.
It was one day, whilst in this state of siege I was under the necessity of leaving home. I returned much earlier than was expected, about 1 or 2 p.m. As I approached the river I perceived one of my ploughmen mounted on one of his plough horses, and pushing towards me on the top of his speed. “Gallop, master, gallop home as fast as you can” shouted he, “if you would not see the bushrangers in the house before you”. He passed me rapidly to warn the neighbours, and I was speedily before my own door where I beheld an armed man at watch. He was dressed in the way one of the bushrangers was described to be, I was, therefore, approaching cautiously when he turned, shouted, and I saw it was my own shepherd. Once within my own walls I felt perfectly secure. I had a strong party of constables in speedy pursuit, and never saw the bushrangers who disappeared in the scrub.
It was an anxious and terrible time and many unquestionably brave men were pinioned and pillaged with the most marvellous celerity and facility. Some deemed the loss they sustained too trivial to incur the hazard of resistance, and some were fearful to arouse passions lest they might work evil to their families. The sufferings of my own poor wife were acute - the report of every gun terrified her and upon one occasion she nearly lost her life, for, on hearing a shot, she ran up the attic ladder in the dark, to look out at the windows, and forgetting in her fright, on her return, the locality of the hatch, she fell from the top to the bottom, and for upwards of two hours remained in a state of utter insensibility).
To return from this lengthened personal anecdote to my interview with
Cavenagh. “The reason”, said he” “why we robbed
Captain Mackay was because of his having a party of Constables stationed
at his place. I knew we should get little or nothing there, but I was
determined to pay him a visit for we were told he bounced that he would
never be taken, and he was a bad mark, sir” - (meaning he was a
tyrant. “He was no bad mark, and he never bounced about assisting.
He had nothing worth resisting for, and no one to back him. What chance
had Mr. Edols when you robbed him?” “Oh, then, sir, he had a
fine chance, an might easily have kept out twinty men. We would never
have gone to his place at all but that he went about swaggering and
bragging that we were not game enough to rob him - Well, sir, go we did,
and he was us coming and retreated; so, after we had bailed up the men I
went and knocked at the door - I just thought to cover him by jobbing my
piece thro’ the window, however, I found I couldn’t do that,
so I knocked ‘Who’s there’ says he ‘a
friend’ says I, ‘open the door’ and as he
wouldn’t I smashed the lock with the butt and druv in the door and
saw him [indecipherable] me with his pistols an’ gun. ‘Stand
where you are, Mr. Edols, an’ no harm’ll come to ye’
says I. So, we soon mastered him an’ his [indecipherable].
The females were in a great fright, but we soon pacified them and told them to fare nothin - for sure our karacters were too well known for them to take on in that way”. “Were you ever at Allenvale?” “Never at the house, but about in that quarter”. “Did you see the gardener any day?” “No, sir, if I had he would never have got away from me till I chose to let him. We were never at Allanvale not that I was afraid to go there. We well know Captain Fenton to be a game one, but we would have managed him some way or other. We would have stolen a march upon him. I would have got a dray and driven it up to the House”. As they were constantly in this quarter and did not make the least attempt this assertion of Cavenagh savours as much of bounce as the alleged declarations of others, whom he surprised and plundered. Captain Fenton is, indeed, a game one and lost an eye in an encounter with a bushranger whom he wounded after [indecipherable] his fire from behind a tree, and was only prevented capturing on account
of the severity of his own. Had Cavanagh and Co. adventured Allenvale, they would have encountered the Captain, armed to the teeth, and his nephews equally well prepared and equally determined to give a good account of them. Their career therefore, would, in all probability have spared the lawyers some trouble - but they knew the hazard and wisely eschewed it).
“Will you tell me, Cavenagh, when you went in to Mr. Clarke’s did you really intend to surrender?” He eyed me doubtfully & with a peculiar expression. “I beg your pardon, sir, but you’ll excuse me there”. “Oh, certainly, I have no desire to ask anything you are unwilling to answer. I sincerely trust you may keep out of all future scrapes”. “I will never forget Sir Bardley Wilmot’s kindness and I will never disgrace it. When I was out I never was unmanly in any of my crimes and I will strive sore to keep quiet for the rest of my time!” “Are you aware that Cash is coming here?” His eye lit up for a moment, he looked at me intently, and then in a half subdued tone inquired “Ah, then, is he reprieved?” “He is”. “Blessed be God for that same!” Here Cavenagh elevated his eyes, bent his head, partly crossed himself and muttered something I could not catch. “I should like” said I “to learn some of your adventures from your own lips”. “Well, sir, I shall be glad to discourse you”. With that we left him, and I never had any further opportunity of meeting this fortunate outlaw.
Provided with horses by the kindness of Major Childs I and my friend Mr. Naylor set out to make a little tour of the interesting island. Passing up a fertile vale studded on either hand with a succession of charming gardens we saw a water mill whose energies were at a complete stand still the long continued drought having exhausted all its powers of usefullness, the once efficient dam being now an empty mud hole. A gentle ascent achieved we gained the table land of the island and shortly reached Longridge. This is the Chief Agriculture establishment at present under the charge of Major Macpherson, Captain of the 99th regt. but this officer, so generally beloved is about to be superseded by Gilbert Robertson, the editor of the Hobart Town True Colonist. Gilbert will scarcely know himself in the delightful billet into which he is about to be transferred. I hope he may have the sense to sink his politics and keep a good [indecipherable] now that he has got it.
Longridge is a picturesque and pleasant place overlooking the Bay from
whence its fields and homestead are visible. Here it is where the Play
Acting and Rum punch imbibing scenes were tolerated by Captain
Maconochie, under whose sway many of its barracks, barns and other
offices were erected. There is accommodation for some 300 labourers, many
of whom sleep in hammocks. There are also cottages for the Assistant
Superintendents, Overseers & and a charming residence with blooming
garden for the Ch9ef Superintendent.
There is further that invariable and imperative adjunct a gaol, which is constructed upon a plan of Maconochies . There is neither door nor window in the ground floor, the entrance being by a trap stair placed at one of the gables of the building, from this we enter a sort of long attic, and on either side one sees things like the lids of harness casks, upon these being opened cells are visible underneath, the occupants descending by ladders which, when withdrawn leaves them like Jack in a box - a farcical specimen of ingenious trifling.
Of these [indecipherable] there are a dozen. The tillages land is of some extent and of great apparent fertility, several fields were prepared for planting, but the lack of moisture had delayed all farming operations. Wheat is sometimes grown, and barley, but maize is the all prevailing crop. The fields were covered by immense flocks of pigeons of a bluish hue, which are said to be the domestic bird grown wild. Leaving the farmyard we paid a visit to Major Macpherson and his family, but scarcely had we crossed his threshhold ere a Messenger of alarm arrived. Mr. Naylor had been talking to me of his fears of evil brewing but little did I expect to see them so speedily, in some degree, realised.
The crew of one of the launches proceeding to the ship had revolted, surprised the guard, thrown overboard and were pulling to seaward. Mounting our steeds we instantly retraced our steps towards the settlement at a much more rapid pace than that at which we quitted it. Gaining the hill whereon the signal staff is fixed, the scene of action was spread map like before us. The soldiery were lining the beach towards Windmill point betwixt which and Nepean Island we descried one of the launches, pulling to the S.E. a whale boat being in full chase and coming up rapidly.
The Agincourt being well to windward and under a press of sail was
rapidly closing and in such a manner as to cut off the fugitives whose
attempt it was evident had been entirely frustrated. At this moment a
musket was discharged from the Whale boat, a pre[indecipherable] signal
to warn those on shore that the guard had been rescued from a watery
grave. The whale boat drew rapidly ahead, the [indecipherable] held
steadily on her way. The dream of liberty was gone, so, there was but one
alternative, surrender, which they did accordingly to the ship. So much
we saw from the hill, the particulars of the affray which we afterwards
learnt were these.
Colour Serjeant Farr with two privates of the 99th and one of the 58th armed in the contemptible manner I have already described were proceeding to the ship in a launch of about 30 feet keel and 12 tons [indecipherable] and navigated by Thos. Thomson a free coxswain and fourteen athletic convicts. There was also one Smith a Police Constable on board.
When the boat had got clear of the bar about half a mile one of the forward oars either purposely or inadvertently fell overboard and, in perfect accordance with the ill ordered state of discipline I have stated to be observed a bustle arose. One man was for jumping after it, the Coxswain ordered the crew to back water, and whilst he and the guard turned to look at the drifting oar a rush was made by the prisoners, one of whom seized the Coxswain by the neckcloth, overpowering him, throwing him down in the boar, and threatening instant death if he offered to stir. J
ohn Fletcher, one of the ringleaders at the same moment grappled with, disarmed, and knocked down the Serjeant. Three of the convicts who would not join in the Mutiny (Hill, ) now threw their oars overboard and lay down in the bottom of the boat. Two of the privates after in vain swapping their pistols were forced over the side along with their fellow private of the 58th. The groom of Major Arney. The launch had been effectually secured, John Fletcher a tall muscular fellow assumed the command, and one Richard Ellarn, a notorious burglar and ruffian, who had just arrived per Agincourt from England, took possession of the steer oar. Death was threatened to all who dared to disobey, and orders given to give way for Windmill point. The convicts now cheered each
other and bent to their oars with might and main. The launch flew
towards the Windmill with surprising speed and groups of felons on shore
were hurrying to this spot. The Mill was stormed and maize, meat and
dishes seized, whilst knives, buckets, masts, sails and other articles,
with water casks, dug from out the sand, were being rapidly conveyed to
the waters edge. The Serjeant, Coxswain and his party were assured of
being safely landed if they kept quiet, but menaced with death if they
attempted the slightest resistance.
Before this the affair had spread through the settlement and with the utmost promptness Lieut. Lloyd, R.N., had given orders to launch a whale boat and telegraphed the ship to bear down upon the runaways. In a surprisingly short space Mr. Lloyd had his boat dancing thro the foam and had the extreme gratification of rescuing three fellow creatures in an exhausted state. The soldiers, under Capt. Reid of the 99th were now pouring down to the beach, the shore mutineers at once dispersed and the launch which had been backing in to receive her crew and her supplies, pulled to sea to get without musket range.
A hot and rapid fire was instantly opened, and the convicts with the exception of Richard Ellam and George Head, flung themselves in the bottom of the boat. Clapping pistols to the breast of Sergt. Farr they compelled him to stand up beside Ellam, in order that the sight of his red jacket might induce his comrades to cease firing. The attempt, however, proved of no avail for the shot flew as thick and fast as ever, and the poor serjeant thus made a target of consoled himself with the belief that he was less likely to be shot by his comrades than by the felons under whose control he found himself, and that death was preferable from the one than the other. It was at this moment that perceiving every hope of escape cut off, and recapture inevitable, the misguided wretches surrendered.
Thomson was permitted to resume his steer oar, and to make a signal to the shore. The firing ceased and the launch rowed alongside the ship. There were upwards of two hundred shots fired, several struck the boat, but none drew blood. Upwards of five and thirty men were ready to embark at Windmill point. The excitement was prodigious, the boat having gone to the ship,. the effect of the firing was for some hours unknown, and several assertions were made that the Serjeant if not killed outright was at least
grievously wounded. In due time the mutineers were landed and conveyed
under a strong guard to the worthless and utterly incompetent tenement
misnamed a gaol. There was abundant ill suppressed passion on either
side, the felons smarting under the failure of their attempt and the
Military evidently thirsting to inflict summary vengeance for the
attempted drowning of their comrades. The bustle and insolence on the one
side, and the ill restrained fury on the other was lamentable to behold
while the phrenzy of the scene was aggravated exceedingly by a murderer
confined for life in one of the cells, who whilst the mutineers were
being ironed (which they were most heavily) approached the window bars,
cursing and inveigling against the soldiers in the most disgusting and
The sentry at length drove the ruffian back by charging his bayonet through the bars, but it was not until Mr. Walsh the Romish Clergyman approached that this miscreant could be silenced. This villain, I have been credibly informed, boats that his father, mother and entire family were hanged, and expresses his own predeliction for such an end which he avows to achieve by stabbing the first person he meets should he ever compass his escape. I would the pseudo humanity advocates were compelled to work their own plans with the materials Norfolk Island affords.
It is a mighty easy thing to cry out Tyranny and Oppression, but it is a much more difficult thing to work in a humane and reformatory matter such an establishment as that of which we are treating. If crime entails penalties, then these penalties must be either enforced or overlooked. To steer a middle, and quasi humane, course in this enforcement is the direst of all cruelty in the end, for it allows matters to get to such a fearful state as only to be eventually remedied by the extremest measures, which a firm and unwavering system of straight forward and stringent discipline would have entirely averted. Such has been the laxity for several years that Norfolk Island has been brought to the most fearful pass.
Everyone is in a state of the greatest doubt and alarm, order seems to be unknown and disorganisation and insubordination most complete. At any moment a general revolt may ensue, and a massacre once commenced who can say where it shall be stayed! This frightful condition of the Island is, no doubt, mainly attributable to the wild perversion of government introduced by the late Superintendent. It is, moreover, attributable to other causes, among which may be mentioned its transition state, from an extreme penal settlement to that of a Probation Station,
which the devisers, with a profound sapience worthy of that Humbug No
System, are working in a twofold and utterly impracticable style, as
this. The comparatively uniniated vagabonds sent direct from England are
now in course of being landed by ship loads, whilst as fit instructors to
finish their education, the carefully gleaned doubly and trebly convicted
miscreants of Van Diemans Land and New South Wales are draughted in large
parties to render the Moral regeneration of their newly arrived
British brethren beyond all question.
Besides these causes of disorganisation the island which heretofore had been a dependency of New South Wales, was on the 24th Sept. transferred from the jurisdiction of Australia to that of the [indecipherable] noble colony, but now, alas, ruined and degraded Penal Settlement, New Diemen’s Land. In this transition state, the island is like what an individual between two stools is said to be - all is uncertain - all confusion. Superintendents, overseers, clergymen are despatching from England, and no houses for their reception exist. Their duties are indefinite and conflicting.
elons are pouring in and there are neither gaols, barracks, cells, nor any adequate means for their coercion or control. The old and efficient system has been upset, and a new declared without any definite or decided plan fully and finally organised. It is lamentable and fearful to contemplate the present threatening and gloomy aspect of affairs. The results of this detestable Probation Monstrosity have been already more than sufficiently calamitous and, in my humble opinion, its originators and inventors deserve the worst that ignorant but powerful empyries can do of their country.
One of the first fruits of this pestilential abomination has been the destruction, moral and social, of the once happy and prosperous Colony of Van Diemens Land, which the fiat of a Secretary of State, has blotted from the Map of the World of which he has rendered it the baol, which it has wounded the knell of a system of prison discipline the most perfect and efficient ever yet conceived - a system the wonder and admiration of all who ever took the trouble of investigating or were capable of appreciating its machinery.
In these Convict Lands we have had sufficient experience to prove that in every matter connected with the Marine department, free seamen and free boat crews only should be employed, the cost of one out of many vessels carried off by Convict Mariners would
be more than adequate to meet the encreased expenditure, added to which the service would be more cheerfully, effectively, & securely performed - Masters Attendants at such places are imperative - Mr. Naylor has in his services a little dark man named Robert formerly with Mr. Marzetti-
Friday:27: The first place I visited this morning was a crank mill
erected, somewhat strangely to my thinking, by the philanthropic
Maconichie - It is worked by a hundred convicts, somewhat after the
fashion of the chain pumps in a man of war - It sets in motion the
machinery for grinding Maise - I have read and listened to descriptions
of the gun decks of line of battle ships during the heat of action, but
such pictures are faint to that of the working room of Norfolk
Island’s Crank Mill -
The labour appears to be dreadfully severe and teh loss of power excessive, and the yells and screams of the unfortunate criminals as they heave at the cumbrous engine almost induces a belief that the spectator has suddenly been wafted to Pandemonium where he is listening the cries and scanning the gesture of lost souls - Some begrimed with dirt and perspiration glare at you with tiger like ferocity of aspects; some, half naked jumping madly to impel the unwilling crank, show every fibre and muscle strained to their severest tension - some dash fiercely at their work as if in the bodily struggle they found vent to the throes of the mind - some toil in sullen silence - some in abject despondence, but ever and anon a fierce shout will rend the air whilst the mill whirrs under the influence of the vigorous but momentary influence - Occasionally a song will be heard, but it is not the cheerful warblings with which the Mariner seeks to lighten duty- To my thinking, it sounded far liken the orgies of the damned -
But, enough of this disgusting place, wholesome discipline requires no such severity, and the very excuse , a lack of food without its employment, is the strongest and bitterest commentary upon the wretched state of governmt. and bitterest commentary upon the wretched state of governmt. which is hurrying Norfolk Island to the verge of a volcano, and perilling the lives of all its free inhabitants –
Major Childs having again most obligingly mounted me I rode out accompanied by a son of Mr. Naylor - We once more ascended
the hill and passed by Longridge, halting at a beautiful dell called
Orange Vale where one of the Govt. gardens is established - It is a
sweetly sequestered spot, such an one as a poet lover would choose to woo
his mistress - Figs, grapes, peaches guavas, loquats, bananas, apricots,
strawberries, pineapples, coffee berries abound, and in the centre of
this fruitful and delicious grove a majestic Oak uprears his unbrageous
head adorning the glowing landscape and affording an impervious awning to
those who seek his shelter -
In gazing upon the enchanting avenues of this terrestial Eden, the universal presence of the human serpent was half forgot- Alas, that it should be suffered to desecrate scenes so charming- The face of this enchanting island is furrowed by endless successions of delightful vallies, verdant banks, and alpine ridges, richly clothed in the softest foliage of the brightest hues -
At the period of our visit a drought as long and unprecedented as the prevailing moisture of New South Wales has proved unwonted, ad converted the downs and meadows of (what its denizens [indecipherable] should par extreme excellence by styled) The Green Isle, into an arid clothing of dry and dusty russet - in fact, never, according to universal testimony, could Norfolk Island have been viewed to greater disadvantage -
Nevertheless more than ample native charms remained to justify her being pronounced most beautiful among the beautiful - It is no slight tribute to her laudation when I declare Jersey, glorious Jersey, was continually present to my minds eye as I threaded the graceful avenues of the felon strand - It was, however, a tropical Jersey - a Jersey without the floral meads, the smiling cops, the bold and virtuous peasantry, whose hearts and hands impart those moral and social adornments of that ever dear and ever lovely island, which, alas the while, are here so fearfully at a discount -
If, then, bereft of nearly all the mental graces which render divine Caesarea an ocean gem - if the physical aspect of Norfolk were sufficiently enchanting to recall this Queen of the Channel so frequently and forcibly, it musts surely be no mean proof of the pictorial and romantic attractions of this Emerald of the Pacific - The lanes and alleys of either are exquisite - the depths and dells shaded from the fiery heat of day are equally delicious - Shady groves and flowery knolls, with the all prevailing, peculiarly graceful lines everywhere catch and enchant the eye - Here, clumps of these noble and majestic evergreens, fancifully disposed as if by the
ministring hand of taste bounded an alpine glade - Anon the deep azure
of the glowing Ocean became the ever varying termini to the sweetest
vistas of living green - The several roads are well laid out and
exceedingly effectively constructed, they are all on the ascent from the
settlement, but, as may be supposed, they are not much impaired by excess
of traffic; in many places they are skirted by beautiful pines and other
trees, looking as though they were the well trained avenues of princely
domains - Lemons and Lemon trees are clustered everywhere in rich and
rank luxuriance -
Oranges, at one period, were no less abundant, but those sweet prolific trees were grubbed up in the vilest and most wanton manner by order of Major Morrisset, the then Commandant, who could not endure that convicts should be suffered to participate the lavish riches of bountiful nature.
The island grows coffee of the finest quality, and arrowroot of a very superior sample is easily obtainable - Sugar and tobacco, too, are readily and successfully grown - in fact the fertility of the soil and the capabilities of the little territory are altogether extraordinary, and under a wholesome population its products and culture would prove invaluable - the circuit of Norfolk is somewhere about two and twenty miles, its mean length and breadth being estimated at seven and eight miles respectively - The trees are garlanded by numberless native creeper of great beauty, but their luxuriance of tracery cannot for a moment be compared with the surpassing magnificence of those fairy festoons elsewhere descripted as rendering the banks of the Hastings so supremely lovely -
In the course of our mornings ride we visited Anson Bay, a small bight of rock bound and precipitous character, many of the faces of the cliff presenting here and there portions of the common and least elegant basalt - It is here that Captain Cook, the discoverer of the island, is said to have effected the first landing. At Anson Bay, the there is one of the stock stations, and another garden or paddock in preparation. the downs are well clothed with grass and free from timber to a considerable extent, they are well sheltered, and may be said to form one of the lower spurs of Mount Pitt which proudly towers above them, they afford excellent sheep pasturage - 5000 of those invaluable animals are depastured on the island, in order to supply the Civil and Military inhabitants -
The Mutton is of a remarkably fine flavour and superior condition - At the dairy attached to Government House, eighty cows are milked daily, these animals are in splendid condition
many of them perfect pictures - Like almost every creature and thing
they are Government property, no person being permitted to keep other
animals save horses - Every one, however, attached to the governance of
the island , receives an ample daily allowance of milk and butter - None
of the cream is made use f , and the calves are permitted to run with
their mothers- The average daily milking is 200 quarts, the weekly return
of butter 36 lbs - Six milkmen, the calf keeper, and a superintendent
take chare of the details. Mutton is the chief food, but beef is issued
to the garrison once a week and pork occasionally -
The cattle are particularly sleek and find generally of the Devon breed - As for working bullocks I never saw more splendid teams of those patient much enduring creatures - in general they were all fit for the harness cask- Families are, of course, unrestricted in the rearing of poultry which are numerous and good - Sweet potatoes grow in rank abundance everywhere, so, also, do the common sort which, I am told, are only good whilst young -
The settlement, which by the way is named Kingstown, has been laid out upon a level flat a great portion whereof had originally been a salt water swamp, but banks and mounds have shut out the intruding sprays and a goodly and tolerably extensive meadow has thereby been reclaimed. The bearing of the town is about North from Phillip Isle so that the meadow runs East and West probably a mile or a mile and a quarter.
The landing place is on the extreme left or West from seaward, and upon first debarking the Main guards, Engineers store, boat houses, Commandants Office,and the abhorrant Crank Mill are the most conspicuous buildings - Turning sharp to the East we encounter a wretched edifice compelled to attempt the duty of a gaol, for which it is utterly and absolutely unfit, not only does it posses no mans for the separate classification of prisoners, but there is actually insufficient space to huddle even a comparatively few criminals together - a portion of the walls of a new and extensive prison commenced in 1837 have arisen - It is a pentagon designed for 90 separate cells but the structure has evidently been at a stand still for many months whether again to be resumed is a question to which I could receive no satisfactory response.
Distant a short way East stand the Prisoners Barracks already described. Passing the lumber yard and diverging slightly to the North, upon an elevated mound, partly natural partly raised, stands the Mansion of the islands ruler,
Commandant, erewhile, now Superintendent [indecipherable] - It is a
plain, unostentatious, but commodious dwelling with a verandah to its two
angular faces - It is a one story cottage the apartments of which are
well proportioned and convenient, and the out offices suitable - It was
built partly by Major Morriset, of Orange tree destroying celebrity,
partly by Major Anderson - North of the buildings here described are the
barracks for the troops and the residences of the Civil Offices and their
These form a very handsome street running east and west, which commands an illimitable and beautiful sea view in which Nepean and Philip Islands are prominent and graceful features. Commencing at the Western extreme of this street the Commissariat store is the first building to attract attention –It is a fine extensive pile of solid masonry, three story high, enclosed by a lofty and solid stone wall, and erected by Major Anderson of the 50th regt. in 1835 - Next in line are the 3 story new Military Barracks, constructed by the same officer in 1836 - The central building is for the men, but the wings which are detached are occupied the Western one as a Military Hospital, the Eastern as a Mess room and Officers quarters -
They are capital barracks, with every convenience, enclosed by substantial stone walls, flanked with watch towers at every angle and pierced with numerous loop holes - there is ample accommodation in the 2 barracks for 10 offices and 200 men - Next to them stand Barracks of an older date, and lesser capacity but built upon the same plan, - both barracks are occupied, the older one being given over to the married soldiers of the garrison, a measure greatly conducive to their comfort and satisfaction- Indeed Norfolk Island, were soldiers a provident race, should be an excellent station, as there is neither necessity nor means for them to spend their pay - The 96th who were there nearly four years had upwards of £1500[indecipherable], and the men of the 99th who have been but then months have some £300 to draw, no doubt to the great joy and gain of the Sydney publicans -
Opposite to the old Barracks picturesquely sheltered by a tasteful clump of island pines, the pretty cottage of the Revd. [indecipherable] Walsh and Magrath, the Roman Catholic clergyman, solicits the attention of the passer by - It is truly delightful to be able to record that no polemical discussion or controversial dogmas have embittered or disfigured the peace of the island - These gentlemen and Mr. Naylor the Episcopal Chaplain, have dwelt together in the utmost Christianospital, the Eastern as Mess room and Officers quarters - They
forbearance and charity. Would I could state as much of all our
Australasian dependencies! Above the Old Barracks commence a new and
beautiful range of exceedingly tasty Collages, admirably planned and
substantially constructed. The apartments are of a good size and height
and sufficiently numerous for moderate families. A handsome verandah
shades three sides from the rays of the sun and suitable domestic offices
occupy the rear. Each possesses its pretty plot of ground enclosed on all
sides by a solid dwarf stone wall. The first is occupied by the
Superintendent of Carpenters, and in rotation follow those of Lieutenant
Hamilton, Engineer, Mr. Smith, Dep. Com. Genl., Mr. Naylor, Chaplain, Mr.
Swan, Company Clerk, Mr. Farell, Storekeeper and Mr. Chapman,
Two others, under one roof, are now covering in, but the supply of quarters is totally inadequate to the great and pressing demand consequent upon the rapid influx of Officials arriving by every English Ship, and the quarters occupied do not in several instances appear to be filled according to the rank and standing of the Officials. Mr. Lloyd, a Superintendent, arrived by the Agincourt, is at present partaking of Major Child’s hospitality, and Mr. Lavers, an old Captain of the 9th and Lieut. Botts R.N. have temporary billets in the Eastern wing of the Old Barracks.
In fact the home Authorities are disorganizing the island by precipitately sending out officers before they have definitely arranged the system those gentlemen are intended to carry into operation, and before there are the necessary dwellings wherein to house them. Oh, most admired disorder! At Norfolk I could not find either beginning or end, nor did I meet with one able satisfactorily to enlighten me. Most likely the Comptroller General of Convicts will place matters on a better footing when he commences his overhaul, which, to borrow a nautical phrase, will require to be from clue to caring.
There is yet space and verge enough to add eight or twelve cottages, upon a like plan, to this row, which are delightfully situated at the foot of a sweetly sloping bank, ascending gracefully towards the North. Every Officer, Civil and Military, has his own particular garden, the Soldiers, too, have theirs, and the Convicts theirs, with the half of Saturday to work in them, if so disposed, a privilege of which most of them take more or less advantage. Besides the buildings already mentioned there are several o ther dwellings dotted here and there, and the
Convict Hospital, a paltry and utterly unsuitable building. There are, moreover, numerous cots and huts and as these are sprinkled within circuit of the banks which engirdle the settlement, it naturally wears the appearance of a snug and cosy town. I wound up the proceedings of the day by partaking of a substantial dinner, served with true English hospitality, at the table of Major Childs, an open kind hearted, worthy Officer, who has long and faithfully served his country. The guests were Lieut. Lloyd R.N. Lt. Edwards, 58, Mr. Naylor and Mr. Graham, Colonial Surgeon.
Saturday: 28: Went to the Commandants Office where I perused
the depositions in the Boat Mutiny. Whilst there intelligence was brought
that the gang at the Bank Mill had positively refused to work and had
rushed out of the building in a state of wild excitement and with
menacing gestures. They were kept at bay by a corporal and some soldiers
of the guard who with levelled muskets seemed prepared to fire when Mr.
Naylor made his appearance, interposed, and induced the wretched culprits
to re enter the building, but for this timely intervention blood would in
all probability have flowed. Mr. Lloyd at this moment arrived and seizing
the ringleader gave him into custody.
Hereupon the gang exclaimed they would return to work if their fellow ere liberated, but Lloyd would not be dictated to, so to work they went, and the fellow begging pardon in doleful terms was set free, and Mr. Lloyd departed with three cheers. A strange sort of system to me used to the decision and determination of the Tasmanian one, but it was no fault of Mr. Lloyds if he could not enforce order where disorder prevails. On the contrary, he has displayed much energy, promptitude and resolution whenever opportunity allowed.
Scarcely had this insubordination been quelled when Lloyd was called upon to quell a riot in the Lumber Yard where a Mutton Stealer had been rescued and the police severely handled. The elite of Van Diemen’s Land are enlightening the British probationers whom they are rapidly inoculating, and initiating into all the wiles and dodges of trebly refined conviction. Discipline is now evidently only understood in a past tense. Probabilities of successful revolt
are freely discussed, and the Port Arthur admixture, freed from Port
Arthur restraint is working its sure and certain way. A fearful and
savage excitement prevails - it is tearing the bosoms of the frightful
population of this most frightful island, who calculate the pains and
penalties attendant upon the commission of crime, and the chances of
escape from its infliction with marvellous accuracy.
At the period of our visit a considerable number of felons were in fierce and impatient expectation of removal, and it was the general opinion that if the next arrival from Hobart should prove fatal to their hopes, the excess of their fury and despair would drive these miscreants “who do not set their lives at a pins fee” to the wildest and most fearful courses.
In the blending of the worst Colonial penal purgation with the comparatively pure British probationers - in the recent transfer of the island from New South Wales to Van Diemens Land, and in the attempted enforcement of crude, indefinite and impracticable scheme by new and inexperienced Officers - no matter what their energies, abilities, or determination - it is but too evident that the felonry have discovered their actual position, that doubt, incertitude, and difficulty prevail, and thus the island, in this its transition state, has sunk into the wildest penal hell of Probation fallacy.
All systematic organisation is gone - stern unyielding but wholesome discipline is no more. Chaos has arisen! Strangers from England have arrived to enforce they know not what, and cannot explain, more than that the convicts are to be worked and controlled, but as to the especial mode, that is still a mystery. They have been supplied with the crude digests of crude and incompetent penal theorists, whose impracticable plans however beautifully they may appear to dovetail upon paper are yet so powerless in practice that they die a natural death on the bare attempt - Cobbled up as these attempts may and must be on the spot, they will still be failures of the worst and most hazardous kind, and when to their own innate inefficiency comes to be superadded the crushing trammels imposed in mean and servile subserviency to the canot of a mistaken idea of humanity, and the pseudo morality of the age, it is little wonder that the cumbrous and ill contrived machine should fall to pieces from very [indecipherable] Heaven help the Officials unhappily destined to set the [indecipherable] stone in
they must exercise a steady hand and wary eye if they would avoid
being crushed by its rebound. It is in vain to experimentalise sixteen
thousand miles off. Convict discipline requires to be under the
correction and concertion of the experienced of Convict hands. It is a
science not to be acquired at Office Stools in Westminster. Mr. Lloyd and
I purposed visiting Cascade but the prevailing excitement and the
ejection of a brother Officer Lieut. Hay, R.N. from the West wing of the
Old Military Barracks prevented our ride.
This ejection was by order of Major [indecipherable] of the 58th, whose right to the quarters was, I believe, undoubted. The manner of its enforcement by a fatigue party of the 58th, and in the face of a medical certificate of Mrs. Hays ill health, may, I fear, tend to embitter the feelings of the Civil and Military towards each other, as each party took up the matter warmly. Lieut. Hay’s effects were for some time in the road, but Major Childs, whose Government House appears to be the refuge for the destitute, in the fullness of his kindly heart, recd.
The forlorn family under his friendly roof. I had heard so much from our worthy Captain Neatbey of the unfortunate Barber transported for issuing a forged will, in whose ship, the Agincourt, he had come out, and having my own strong doubts of his guilt greatly strengthened by my friend Mr. Naylor and Mr. Smith of the Commissariat that I was naturally anxious to see this most unhappy and ill starred gentleman. He has been extremely ill since his arrival and was but recently removed from hosp[ital and as yet was exempted, in consequence, from manual field labour.
I accordingly proceeded to the Prisoners Barracks, where I found him and by permission of the Chaplain we had an interview in the vestry room. I scanned his countenance narrowly as he approached, grief and suffering were deeply imprinted in his pale and careworn cheek. He saluted me blandly and courteously, cap in hand, and in the common felon garb. He, at once, perceived I was touched by his misery, and in reply to the first soothing words I uttered, when alone, he burst out into a passionate flood of tears. I tried to breathe a few sentences of hope, and bid him not yield to despair. “Oh”, said he, “these are not tears wrung from me by my wretched condition, but words of kindness and sympathy are now so rare I cannot repress my emotions”. I knew this
burst of grief would speedily waste itself so I remained silent,
contemplating the mild intellectual looking countenance of the hapless
sufferer. “It is a blessint”, said I, “you are not a
married man”. He paused awhile and then replied “Perhaps not,
sir, - I had, alas, made all the pre arrangements for a union which I
have every rational reason I believe would have proved a most happy one.
Had I been married, sir, an affectionate partner might have done much to
avert, at all events to alleviate, the unspeakable horrors of my present
Assuming even failure in this, still, in after years, and supposing a reinvestigation of my deplorable case denied, and Fletchers late and ungenerously forced avowal of my innocence unheeded - Still, sir, under its worst and bitterest aspect, my abhorrent probationary ordeal past, I might then be blest by a late restoration to an affectionate partner in whose devoted bosom I might find solace for all the sufferings and miseries I have undergone”.
“I am rejoiced to have heard the highest testimonials of your exemplary conduct during your outward passage from the lips of your fellow voyagers, but I still more rejoice to hear the opinion of your guilt is much more than questioned, and that in this hemisphere, and amongst those who have given most consideration to your mournful case, a conviction that you have been the victim of a nefarious conspiracy is fully established”. “Oh, sir, it is one drop of sweets amid the ocean of bitters - I have reason to bless God for raising me up kind friends. And, in Sydney, sir, is the belief of my innocence entertained?” “I have heard sevl. Persons express their opinion that you were deceived by a villain for whom you acted in your professional character only”. “Oh, that is balm indeed to a wounded spirit - and you, sir, may I enquire your own opinion?” “That you are a victim not a villain!”
The tear twinkled in the eye of the unfortunate gentleman, whose faded countenance underwent several spasmodic twitchings. I have seen, during my twenty years experience, much of Convict manners and habits, both among the educated and the illiterate, but I never yet encountered one by whose griefs I was so deeply moved, or in whose innocence I was so fully impressed. We, the lengthened sojourners in these felon lands so far from being entrapped by specious assumptions
of suffering innocence, are only too prone to treat with disbelief all
such pretensions, and there must exist no ordinary claim to induce us to
question the accuracy of a Jury upon the entire propriety and accuracy of
whose verdict we implicitly rely, and as we are generally better informed
on criminal points than our British brethren it is no easy matter for a
felon, gifted actor though he should be, to pass the counterfeit upon us.
In the case before me I was satisfied that the unhappy Barber was
speaking truth and nothing but the truth. “I am preparing”,
said he, “a Memorial to the Secretary of State, embodying every
particular of my dreadful situation - Justice to myself, and the earnest
desire to satisfy, on the minutest points, every reasoning mind, prevents
the possibility of condensing it as I could wish, and I tremble lest its
very explicitness should be the means of preventing its careful
Oh, that I might urge upon the Prosecution a dispassionate review of all the circumstances and that they would give their fair weight to my subsequent very full explanations and to the confessions of all the four parties who effected the fraud and divided the plunder - they might, then, I think be brought to see that however suspicious a case may have been made out against me no reasonable doubt can now be entertained of my innocence, or that at the very least so much doubt of my guilt must exist as to call for the immediate exercise of the Royal prerogative, especially considering the agonies I have already suffered. What those sufferings have been it would be impossible to describe. Conceive, only, my dreadful position during my passage hither.
On one side of me a reckless burglar, on the other a fellow stained with crimes of the most abhorrent dye”. “Believe me, Mr. Barber, I compassionate you must sincerely, and I heartily pray that your memorial may produce the desired effect”. “Oh, if I am only so fortunate as to have it carefully read - to have its facts thoroughly sifted, I firmly rely that under divine providence the British Govt. and people will then be led to see my case in its true light, and, although no earthly power can ever restore the energy of mind and the elasticity of spirits by which I was successfully aspiring to honour and distinction in my arduous profession, still I shall be restored to liberty and character, to the fellowship of those I so dearly love, to become once more an [indecipherable], tho’
humble member of society in my native land from which I have been
disgracefully thrust by a combination of circumstances almost
unparalleled”. A remembrance of these unhappy circumstances seemed
to overcome the ill starred gentleman, and again his haggard visage
betokened the depths of his grief. His woe worn aspect and dejected
bearing - his deep melancholy and mild demeanour awoke a lively pity for
his fate. What a terrible position is his - Shrinkingly alive to the
horrors of his compulsory association - orerpowered with shame at being
herded with the vilest and most atrocious malefactors that ever distraced
humanity - reduced to be the unwilling Auditor of their brutal
narrations, the forced participator of their unhallowed society. These
griefs have widely shaken his mind which has sustained a terrible shock
although he evinces a wonderful degree of fortitude under all the heart
breaking circumstances of his case.
Bodily illness has hitherto exempted him from work, but as he has recently come out of hospital he must in a few days be exposed to the unaccustomed severities of field labour, under an all but tropical sun. This and the execrable convict food will, if long continued, make fearful ravages in a frame that misery has already cruelly shaken. After an interview of nearly three hours I took my leave deeply commiserating his fate, and when I shook his hand at parting I observed that natural act of courtesy had not escaped the notice and commentary of sundry malefactors entering the gate at the moment. “And this hapless fellow man” said I to myself “is a subject of what the Illuminate in modern penal science term “Probation?”
But Oh the monstrosity! It is a sin and a shame to the British Nation, that her moral pestilence should be poured upon the world, that lands in the freshness of infancy should be forced by the strong arm of might to receive the leperous distilment, that the sweet isles of the Pacific, designed by the God of Nature to be the isles of the blest - it is atrocious to know that these lovely isles have been converted to isles of the damned. Shame to thee England. Shame to thee thou dear land of the brave, the good, and the free - Oh, cease to pollute those who are powerless to resist the pollution you [indecipherable] Let not the great and glorious name be cursed as the disseminator of vice from Pole to Pole.
I was shown a rough draft of Barbers Memorial by Mr. Naylor. Its perusal not only strengthened my doubts of his guilt, but confirmed my impressions of his innocence. If he, in very truth, be guilty, so unquestionably, I think, must be his late partner Bircham, for did he not equally participate the bill of costs, and a knowledge of the affair from first to last. Either, then, the whole transaction was a common business one, or else Mr. Bircham should now be the sharer of Barbers exile. In these views the estimable Chaplain, The Commissarial Officer and others at Norfolk Island, possessing great facilities for the eliciting of truth, concur, being fully persuaded, as is the writer, of the absence of a guilty knowledge on the part of Barber.
In the evening I strolled out to visit that spot where “the
wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest”. The
graveyard of Kingstown is at its Eastern confine. It is an uncouth,
desolate spot, skirted by the sounding billows of the unquiet ocean, its
restless fury a fitting type of the turbulent lives of many now for ever
low and still enough. It contains perhaps about a quarter of an acre,
thickly strewn with mounds and bearing a plenteous crop of head stones.
Its dilapidated fences suffer the cattle to roam its unhallowed precincts
The trees themselves are dead within its half ruinous enclosures, and nature wears a dismal aspect of the wildest funereal gloom - it looks as tho’ it were the final goal of earth and earthly feeling - ah, how unlike that placid, soothing resting place the Isle de Morts at Port Arthur. Many soldiers “sleep the sleep that knows no waking” at Norfolk Island, and among others who there repose are the ashes of the first wife and child of the present Lord Glentworth, who, whilst Mr. Perry, resided ten years as Superintendent of the Agriculture of the Island. Capt. Best and Mr. McLaine, drowned in attempting to cross the Bar also slumber side by side –
Fit this rude bourne, where lawless felons sleep,
Where prayers are few - few they who pause to weep!
Here by the surges of the sounding sea
That bore them far from home and liberty,
Here, in one hideous graveyard, quite forgot,
The guards and guarded, all neglected, not
Neath this last verge of Norfolks dreadful isle –
What horrors crowd the soul that thinks the while?
Here crime mature - here infancy and youth,
And woman in her fond, unspotted truth,
With Cain’s worst kind one common couch partake
Till the last trump to Judgement calls to wake!
An open grave yawned for its prey, another convict victim of the dysentery which the execrable food entails upon that doomed race.
Sunday: 29: I was stirring with the lark, so sauntered in the
direction of Steeles Point, the South Eastern angle of the Island. The
road has been cut around the cliff, many portions whereof are sharp and
precipitous of a light liver colour, variegated here and there and broken
into countless fissures and deep indentations, the summits everywhere
crowned with the symmetrical pines, lemon and guava trees and other
luxuriant foliage. The strand although rugged, rocky and inaccessible is
nevertheless a fitting border to a landscape of much pictorial beauty and
romantic grandeur. The banks are richly bedecked with coppice and clothed
with clustering masses of native creepers of surpassing loveliness, their
fibres constantly bedewed by the impetuous surges of the fierce and
At the point where the road winds inland a miniature wooded dell of witching grace meets the ravished eye; a handsome stone bridge crosses this fairy hollow where (if aught in Norfolk Island could arouse a poetic imagination) one might presume the island [indecipherable]
(not felons) would be disposed to hold their revels. Bowers there are for tiring rooms in plenty 0 Banks whereon the wild bee might delighted rove - Alpine ranges kissing the bright blue empyrean - and shady groves better fitting the lovers tale, than the murderers plot. These are the exquisite spots which render Norfolk the isle of beauty - oh that itwere peopled by a race who could appreciate and ennoble, not by wretches who dread and degrade it. The morning proved dull and murky, and the rain so long needed threatened to descend in torrentsm, indeed one or two refreshing showers had already fallen. The thermometer stood at 80 ° in the shade and draught, and the face of the sea was scarce ruffled by an air of wind. The launches were busily conveying the baggage of the 99th from the shore, and our handsome [indecipherable] the noble Agincourt was dodging about in the hope of getting away with the close of day. The Commandant’s carriage being ordered, in consequence of the indisposition of Mr. Naylor, to convey Mr. Isden from Cascade, to perform that gentleman’s clerical duties, I took advantage of it to pay a visit to
that incipient settlement. The road may be said to revel amid the
beautiful island scenery, and the showers that had fallen had imparted a
refreshing softness to the face of Nature. Smiling glades and harmonious
groves greeted the enraptured eye roam wherever it might, and as it
scanned the glowing prospect the blue of ether became commingled with the
azure of Ocean. Nooks which from their transcendant loveliness and stilly
repose one, in different circumstances, would rapturously depict as the
veriest type of Paradise in its primal innocence lay grouped around,
breathing health and happiness, and bedecking the rich and swelling
undulations of the charming isle.
Nature in her sweetest and fairest features attunes the soul to meditation and repose, and the revolting moral deformity is, for a time, forgot in the rich refulgence of its exquisite physical attractions. Herds of the sleekest cattle and flocks of the fattest sheep depasture all around and yet with such universally present food to tempt the wretched, ill fed, felons are commanded to hold their hands. Is it to be wondered that sheep stealing occurs? Is it not [indecipherable] that the practice should fail of being almost universal? To these unfortunates who, despite their crimes, are men still, I would apply the old Man o War practice “Clothe them well, feed them well, work them well” and if intractable subjects then, “punish them well”.
Cascade is about four miles north of Kingstown. An embryo station is already created and in process of enlargement, but great bodies move slowly, and a railroad pace is not the present characteristic of Norfolk, whose reins of discipline, so long and easily relaxed, it will be difficult matter to gather in. Cascade is by far the most appropriate site for Head Quarters, a landing at all times, being much more safe and practicable, seeing that the surf and rollers which have proved so frequently fatal on the Southern side are here almost unknown, the southerly and prevailing winds having no influence upon the ocean depths which are consequently wholly unmoved. The miniature bay is extremely picturesque and the water sufficiently deep for every purpose.
At Cascade, there is another of the Chief Superintendent’s gardens, a very garden of Eden, blooming in love and beauty - equally grateful to sight sense and smell. The vocabulary of any ordinary scholar would speedily be exhausted in eulogising the charms and beauties which on every side assail him. I shall therefore cease my iterations.
of delighted and gratified admiration. But I cannot again forbear the
wish that these beauties were possessed by a people who could appreciate
them. Once more I repeat, Shape to thee England thus to desecrate the
Gods fairest works. Wherefore wrest from a free and native born race the
isle they so dearly loved and still so touchingly mourn. Many are the
fond tales which those sons, expatriated to Tasmania, have poured into my
ear - and was it to make way for such a populace they were torn
from the land of their love: And what, oh England, the mighty, or even
commensurate gain to thee.
Norfolk Island is of small extent, remote either from Sydney or Hobart, 900 miles dividing it from the one, 1300 from the other port - it takes upwards of a month to communicate with either. A massacre might ensue ere relief could be afforded. The change of every Military detachment is expensive, a vast number of new buildings must be created. Islands more contiguous (Kings and Flinders for example) and therefore more under immediate supervision might be found. At the full establishment of 3000 convicts - 11 Superintendents, 22 Assist. Supers. And all the working heads, it will require at least 500 soldiers to keep them in safe custody - what a vast expense the mere transit of food and stores, and for what mighty gain? Think well of this ye who have the ordering of such matters.
Withdraw the felons from Norfolk Island - place them upon the Falklands or where you will. Bestow or sell to thy free born and unstained sons the lands they would so beneficially cultivate. Such a step, I opine, would be found to be as prudent as politic, and Norfolk instead of a valueless abode of fiends would quickly become the fairest gem of the southern sea. Arriving at Mr. Isons we were joined by that gentleman, his sixter and another lady. Mooney the Charioteer of Major Childs (an old 8th Hussar) driving us with great celerity and caution. This man informed me that drink was the cause of his present degraded condition - too many owe a like disgrace to the like incarnate demon. Our return route was the same already traversed 0 Mount Pitt the loftiest Island pinnacle uprearing his giant crest and signal station in lordly majesty over all. The gardens of the various Officers fenced and sub divided by luxuriant hedges of sugarcane shone smiling
sweetly in the morning sun, and Nature relieved by the flood of tears
she had so happily shed presented an aspect of beaming hope and renovated
vigour. Upon regaining the settlement I encountered Middleton and others
of my fellow voyagers of the 58th with whom I shared a second breakfast.
Middleton and I thence adjourned to the gardens where we gave the figs a
shaking. Neither grapes nor pine apples were ripe, but the bright scarlet
chillies were numerous and beautiful upon their graceful bushes. Merry
Middleton, Joy be with thy good humoured heart.
If life be spared thee, I mistake much if thy career prove not a bright one. I dined with Mr. Lavers an old Capt. of the 91st, he was an old comrade of Calder’s and Major Fraser. We were spinning old yarns and enjoying ourselves when I was abruptly summoned to prepare for embarkation. Hurrying therefore to my kind host, Mr. Naylor, I made ready to take leave of an island which had presented but one face to me and that one of hospitality, kindness and attention - good will greeted me at my landing and expressions of regret attended my departure.
I would with great pleasure have remained a few weeks among them, but the utter incertitude attending the mode of getting away prevented my cherishing the desire. At 6 p.m. the embarkation of the 99th being safely effected I entered the last boat, shook hands most cordially both old friends and new, and bade Norfolk Island farewell. We were speedily aboard our faithful Agincourt where another Adieu with Lieut. Lloyd, and that excellent fellow Dr. Bannatine ensued.
Lloyd to whose promptitude and gallantry, on occasion of the boat seizure, the two 99th thrown overboard, owed their lives was greeted by the detachment with three deafening cheers as the launch clove her shoreward course. The foresail was let fall, the sails were trimmed, the yards squared - a squall of rain drove us below and, as night fell, the shores of an island, beautiful as beautys self faded rapidly from view. The Officers of the 99th were loud in expressions of delight at their relief from a duty repulsive beyond the power of tongue to utter or pen to portray. They were Capt. Reid, Lieut. Beatty, Ensigns Isdell - O’Reilly and [indecipherable] together with Assist. Surgeon Smith, his lady, child and maid. The breeze gradually died away and we made little progress.
Monday: 30: Dec. A horrid dreary day of remorseless rain clouds and calms - everything damp, dirty, and disconsolate, and but six and forty miles put between us and Norfolk at noon.
Tuesday: 31: The last day of one of the most hapless years of
my chequered career - a year fraught with more of misery and mischief
than any since the dismal 1825. In the year now closing I have been
stript of my all - I have been driven forth a wanderer from house &
home to begin a cruel world anew - torn from the arms of the truest, best
and most affectionate of wives.
God, in mercy, grant that we may speedily be restored to each other - that we may be blest with but a moderate competence, and that we may be led to worship Thee in sincerity and truth. It blew hard in the course of the night and the stately Agincourt plunged heavily - I felt more queer than I had done for many years. We were forced to steer two points wide of our true course - the Comet showing very large and brilliant our 24 hours run was 158 miles.
Latitude 49° 42 S. Longitude 164° E. Wind S.
Wednesday: 1st January: 1845 The commencement of another year!
Oh that it may prove more propitious than the past, and may few of its
days wane ere I and my beloved Kathleen shall be once again happily and
permanently reunited. Engaged in transcribing from pencil the foregoing
leaves of my Norfolk Island notes - a heavenly day, smooth water,
stemsails low and aloft and a strong breeze. New Years Day was kept by
one excellent Capt. Neatby in his wonted style of superabundant
hospitality - ample and superlative cheer on his generous board and
plenty of sparkling Champagne - no gooseberry - to wash it
down. Ample in moderation.
Distance 190 ms. Latitude 30° 35S. Longitude 160° 50E.
Thursday: 2: A magnificent morning. The wind very light and little progress made or making. Howes Island indistinctly seen by the Morning Watch on the starboard bow. Moving ardently, with stemsails low and aloft, the partial zephyr - all hands having got their eating tacks on board - Mrs. Smith resuscitated.
Still retranscribing my notes. The soldiers this and every evening
kept us all alive with a succession of merry songs which they execute
with taste and spirit. Major Arney stood no such nonsense. Passed
Howes Island at midnight. Since we left Norfolk I kept Astronomical not
that exploded abomination Nautical time - I never will more.
Latitude 31° 6 S. Longitude 159° 31E. Distance 82 miles.
Friday: 3: Howes Island in sight all morning, right astern, or
N.E., the two mountains showing themselves distinctly severed - probable
altitude 500 feet. At 11 a.m. we caught a nice eight knot breeze, but as
day waned it gradually drew ahead forcing us to take in stemsails about 3
p.m. altho’ we were still enabled to lay our course on a bowline.
Clouds were banking up, and a good deal of lightning on our lee bow.
Slight breezes. Still writing up my notes.
Latitude 31° 58S. Longitude 157° 22E. Distance 118 miles.
Saturday: 4: A morning of the most superlative geauty, the
cloudless sun gilding a placid sea. Gentle airs still hanging about N.W.
Finished writing up my pencil notes and log to this point. Greatly
pleased thereat, as three and thirty ill digested pages cost a good deal
of pains and perseverance. In the afternoon we made but slow progress the
wind having almost died away. The soldiers did not sing in their
accustomed manner. A great deal of lightning during the evening.
Latitude 32° 40 S. Longitude 154° 38E. Distance 140 miles.
Sunday: 5: About 2 a.m. a fine nine knot breeze sprung up, speeding us rapidly towards the close of an unparalleled voyage. The weather beautifully clear with the wind veering from E to N.E. and lulling and breezing up. Course S.W., altered at noon to W.S.W. Stemsails low and aloft - a heavy head sea causing her to plunge furiously. At 5.30 p.m. a full rigged ship (St. George) seen in the haze 10 or 12 miles distant S.W. by compass. The loom of the land perceptible. At 6 steering W. by S. another ship seen W.N.W. dist about 8 miles on the starbd. bow/ [indecipherable] ship seen, at this time distant 10 miles on our larboard beam or
S.S.W. At 7 [indecipherable] the Templar bound to London, and descried
a barque in shore standing N.W. distant 7 or 8 miles. Land about 10 or 12
miles off but very hazy and a strong southerly current, without wind,
sweeping us to leeward of the heads.
Latitude 33° 47 S. Long. 152° E. Distance made 148 miles.
Distance from Port Jackson at noon 43m.
Monday: 6: a close, muggy morning close in with the heads at 6 a.m. two barques to leeward - at 7.30 a.m. Gibson the pilot boarded and shortly after I recd. an Australian from Mr. Cunninghame their reporter to whom I delivd. my few remarks. We worked up for some time slowly, viewing, at every board, the numerous handsome villas and their tastefully displayed grounds. Passing Shark and weathering Clarke’s island we caught a slant of wind and shortly after 10 came to in Sydney Cove. The other Barques, Columbian from Liverpool and Victor from London, did not yet up for more than two hours after. My fellow passengers of the 99th had many of their brother Officers speedily to see them. Capt. Neatby very handsomely declined receiving more than £3 for the upward passage - I dined on board reaching Jamieson Street shortly after 5. Recd. letters from my dearest wife and Cockatoo from Aldington. I visited the theatre in the evening.
Tuesday: 7: Went and saw the 99th march into barracks. Called at the Australian Office - Burlesque printed but not published. Received and corrected proofs. Left my name at Govt. House. Strolled in the garden and Domain. Went to the Theatre - I met Capt. Reid there. Mr. Watson called - unfortunately did not see him.
Wednesday: 8: Writing a long letter to Catharine which I took to the Post Office. The Streets full of people hurrying to a Flower and Fruit Show. Called at the Australian Office for second
proofs which I revised. Strolled in the evening for half an hour into Simmons Saloon, a low, blackguard hole. Row betwixt the Coppins. He sailed from Hobart in the James Watt.
Thursday: 9: Read my Norfolk Island notes to Drs. Inches & Gannon who expressed their very cordial approval. Went with Inches on board the [indecipherable]. Captain Neatby called. Revised the last galley proofs. Went to the Theatre - a pretty good house.
Friday: 10: Started, after breakfast, to the Supreme Court where I remained about a couple f hours listening to the trial of Vidal for the murder of Warne. Saw Lem Fowler in Court. He evidently recognized me but I carefully avoided him. Wrote a speech. Called at Misses Plunketts’ - Shields and the younger sister ill. Went to the Cricketers and saw Capt. Reid play a game at Billiards. Revised the Burlesque in pages.
Saturday: 11: Vidal convicted and sentenced to death yesterday. Went to the Barracks and paid my respects to Messrs. Beatty, Mends, Idell, O’Reilly and Brigade Major O’Connel. Walsh ordered to Bombay and to proceed to Ceylon, per Agincourt, on board of which good ship he lunched and I dined. Made the final Revise of Burlesque. Went to the Cricketers to see Capt. Reid play - not there. Mr. W. Campbell, and my chamber chum, Mr Beswick, off per Shamrock. Went and had a Green Room yarn at the Victoria.
Sunday: 12: A morning of heavy rain and thunder. Lazy in turning out and too late for Church. Went to Mr. Watsons and on the way met Mr. Blankenberg with whom I crossed the river. We had a quiet family dinner and an agreeable chat, as usual. B. told me Miss Field was well and that Fowler held the Office of Tide Waiter. Mr. McNab, as before - Mr. & Mrs Watson accompd. us to the ferry, and I got home safely, but heavily laden with Pears, peaches and flowers for Mrs. Atkinson. In the morning I appended a few lines to the note Mr. Campbell neglected forwarding to Macallister.
Monday: 13: From 9 a.m. until 5.30 p.m. I was in Court listening to the trial of Lucius O’Brien for the sanguinary assassination of Dr. Joseph Meyrick. The murder was clearly established, and the plea of insanity gone into proof when I left. The aspect of the prisoner betrayed no indications of insanity and all the evidence I heard went the other way, but there were 28 witnesses to the then ex. It is a shocking case, whatever the verdict may be. Met O’Reilly and Mends on my way back. Found they had dined at 5 and the house tossed up for a fete given by Gannon. A signal for a ship flying - a Nova Scotia whaler - Mathew McAlister in town. Called at the Australian Office. Gannons party kept it up in great style, until the long hours grew short, Dr. Munro, R.N. acting fiddler with great good will.
Tuesday: 14: At 2 this morning O’Brien declared to be insane - Fudge! Who is safe now against the assassins’ aim. Wrote a few lines to Kate, my beloved, per Louisa. Wrote a Catch Notice for the Burlesque - a scorching day. In the afternoon we had heavy thunder and lightning with every appearance of a torrent of rain which wore away after the discharge of a few hot drops. Capt. Turner, Mr. Downes and [indecipherable] talking of their own parts of Auld Ireland. Went to the Theatre where I met Walsh, O’Reilly and Mends - Walsh does not go per Agincourt - Louisa not yet sailed.
Wednesday: 15: Another blistering and lowering morning. Duval honourably acquitted of all participation in Warne’s murder. Writing my Norfolk Island notes for transmission to Frasers Mag. Called at the Australian Office. Parrock Hall, Goldsmith, sailed - Louisa not gone. John Inches and Mr. Pringle dined with us, and Inches and I eased them of 2/6 at whist.
Thursday: 16: Notice of the Burlesque in this mornings Australian
A ship and brig signallized due to the Southward. Rewriting my notes for Fraser’s Mag. Went to the Band. They played only rubbish. A disagreeable gusty day. Two foreign Whalers and a Brig from Manilla in. Inches and I won 1/6 from his cousin and Mr. Pringle.
Friday: 17: Called upon Dr. Nicholson. Louisa sailed yesterday.
Discovered that the printer had transposed a couplet in my burlesque
which prevented its issue because of the nonsense it made. Half a dozen
copies stolen from the Office for which a reward of %5 advertised. Had my
last walk in the Gardens with good worthy old Gannon. Although the
meeting of the O’Connel sympathisers proved a wretched failure, his
idolators were resolved to attempt the celebration of his triumph.
Accordingly the Victoria Theatre was selected for the scenes of action,
and a broader farce its stage never displayed. Such was the massacre of
the English language - Long the Stage waits ere the Oratorsould get their
dialects in gentle flow.
The old tale that English conquest was the work of Irish arms was complacently dwelt upon. British bayonets and Naval armaments were savagely denounced - and a Native Parliament on College Green the cry - much soft [indecipherable] was used in smoothing the corn stalks - and a prettier specimen of half bullying whole coaxing could rarely be witnessed, and that in a richness of elocution whereat Demosthenes would have shrunk aghast and Cicero turned pale. One chamber organ who was anxious to play double base by eulogising the Repealers and plastering Peel as the Catholic Emancipator was unceremoniously d - d both in his own person and that of his protegee. Another told them he did not quite understand Repeal, but that the Port Philip separation would be bad for Sydney and should not be granted. It was amusing to see how callously some of the Spouters were cut short, when in the very pith and
whirlwind of their passionate tug at the coat tail, or a frown from the Prompters, were sufficient to strangle their Patriotism and their speech, whose lustre was thus summarily extinguished whenever it appeared to be more than commonly glowing. O’Connel would take much by such motions as these. The lower orders of the Irish Mob may, no doubt, rejoice to hear “their most sweet voices” in his illustrious glorification, but the Australian people have nothing in common with him. The Robert Peel in from Hobart - brought me a letter from my dearest wife. The news from England still rather warlike.
Saturday: 18: After breakfast went with Gannon to see when the Dublin would sail. Got into one of the Dockyard boats and when a few yards from the shore met Capt. Jones, preparing to be off. Returned, wrote a letter, and enclosed two copies of my Burlesque to Banister. Good, worthy, Gannon went away. One excellent fellow the less, and Sydney can ill spare such. All the Newspapers I sent my deaf wife detained because I omitted writing “Newspaper only” on them. Sent 3 correctly today. Met Klein and had a yarn. Settled the final, final proof. Strolled to the Cricketers with Campbell. To the Theatre in the evg.
Sunday: 19: Inches, Downes and I set out for the Parramatta Steamer, after breakfast. We embarked in the Comet, a rather inferior tool, and, by 9 we were on the move with a fair proportion of live lumber. The day was a beautiful but red hot one, scarce an air fanned the glowing cheek and the [indecipherable] shone like molten gold. There were some felon fishers in a boat off Cockatoo Island with two soldiers and their muskets. This isle is some 3 miles up the river, and about
a quarter of a mile from the nearest shore. Downes landed at Kissing
Point and Inches at Mr. Blaxland’s, Newington. I found a man and
horse at Statham’s awaiting me, so jogged on at once. It was a
scorching ride of upwards of three miles and through a beastly scrub,
over sand and rock, and up a tolerably sharp rise, the road in all its
characteristics and adjuncts presenting a perfect duplicate of the Dry
Creek near New Norfolk. When the height was crowned Arnold Grove the seat
of Edwyn Henry Statham Esquire, lay before me. Mrs. Statham, a good
looking, intelligent woman of 25 came out to receive me, the family being
assembled at prayer. She has two boys, Edwyn the eldest (5) being a
perfect chatter box. Another, I saw, was nearly ready for launching. I
experienced every hospitality and attention.
The Orchard, which is extensive, teemed with peaches, plums, pears, applies, nectarines & apricots. Grapes, oranges, lemons and loquats are plentifully planted but the trees are as yet young, tho’ thriving. The Cottage is plain and unpretending, and the general character of the land sterile to worthlessness. Perched upon a height it commands a landscape of great scope, but it is a moody and a melancholy one its chief features being the everlasting and uninteresting gum trees - trees which infant nature must either have tried her unpractised hand upon or which she must else have manufactured in her days of imbecility and dotage. From scorching hot and calm, it changed to a cool and furious gale which wept itself to sleep with a copious shower of rain.
Monday: 20: Stirring with the lark, breakfast over, and off in Statham’s double bodied gig ere 7 had struck. His father in law, Snape, drove us down the ugly hill at a slapping pace. The scenery no way improved by a reconsideration. At the foot of this hill stands an extensive range of buildings, once a flour mill, latterly a brewery, but now untenanted because the late lessees bolted upon a Still being found at work upon their
premises. Stills are continually detected, a proof of the sapiency of
the enactment prohibitory of distillation. These premises belonged to
Horton James. Not far distant stands a spacious Gaol, on the Model of
that at Darlinghurst. Close by is the Female Factory, in waggish parlance
named The Govt. Breeding Establishment.
Crossing by the handsome stone bridge (the School House, Roman Catholic and another Chapel presenting themselves in passing) we halted at the Australian Hotel, whence, after a short detention, I seated myself upon the “Lion”, an old, ill constructed, heavy coach, dragged lazily by four light ill conditioned horses - one of the most wretched affairs in either Colony. Rain threatened but flew by 0 the first three or four miles of road is excellent, altho the Country is frightfully scrubby and sterile.
The first point where aught tolerable is seen is by the Heart in Hand Inn, and here it is only remarkable in contrast with the previous desolation. There are numberless Public Houses, especially on the left hand side going to Sydney. Of these I remarked the Governor Gipps Arms, first because it is kept by an old skipper (Mr. Alexr. Speirs) with whom I have steamed, in the James Watt, from Glasgow to Liverpool, and next because it is a very comfortable looking house with ample out offices and remarkably pretty gardens and shrubberies.
Near to this is the Homebush Race Course, a very good one apparently, a mile and a quarter over undulating downs. The River is not often visible, but we caught rather an agreeable peep near Concord at the Bath Arms where we changed horses. A Pavilion was established in a Paddock where Sydney and Parramatta were about to contest their prowess as Cricketers. As we approached the City the road became excrable and although occasionally dwellings presented themselves, yet they were neither numerous, nor of themselves or their grounds at all calculated to arrest attention. Some two or
three miels from Sydney on the left hand side proceeding thither stands the Petersham, a very tolerable Race Course. Accidents were so frequent, owing to new raised gentlemen charioteers being ignorant of their own side of the road, as to induce a Paternal Govt. to issue the requisite instruction “Keep your left” a caution conspicuously posted on this road. I reached Sydney by 11, went with Mrs. Atkinson to Mr. Wyatts - found Inches had got down before me and that the Princely Buccaneer had been well spoken of in Bell’s Life and was nearly ready to make his public debut. A vessel in from Hobart - no letters. Several ships signalized. Midlothian, London and Autummus Hong Kong. To the Theatre in the evening.
Tuesday: 21: Reading Phillips and Hunters New South Wales - went to the Australian Office and read a vile attack on the truth of my details of the Norfolk Island Mutiny in Murray’s Review of the 16th. Went on board the Agincourt, Neatby shipping horses (10/-). Returned and found a rather gloomy letter from my dearest wife, per James Watt. Wrote a refutation of Murray’s lies. Young Sutherland came per steamer. Took my article, went for half an hour to the Theatre, returned in a melancholy mood, rewrote my rejoinder and went to bed.
Wednesday: 22: Dr. James Osborne R.N. off this morning early by the [indecipherable][indecipherable]. Gleaning the whole day from Phillips’, Hunter’s and Collins’ New S. Wales. Dr Nicholson having put my name on the Libary List, called in there. Inches complaining.
Thursday: 23: Fred Campbell and I went out to see the arrangts. for Charles Smith’s funeral. George Street was crowded and a vast number of carriages were in attendance. This man some fourteen years since was an assigned servant at the Hunter
River, but industry, activity and punctuality raised him. He was a
great patron of the turf, and public report declares him to have been a
benevolent man, and a liberal benefactor to those who appealed to his
generosity. His death was caused by drinking water whilst heated,
inflammation terminating in mortification having ensued. The gleanings
from New South Wales are as follows -
The difficulties with which this Colony (N.S.W.) had to contend upon its first settlement are, I apprehend, but very imperfectly understood - few are aware of the privations endured by the absence of a neighbouring market whereat the early Colonists could purchase those imperative articles, bread and meat, and for some years, to guard against starvation was one of the Governor’s most anxious considerations and to the Cape, America, Batavia, and England all eyes were frequently and intently turned in hope of daily food.
The first attempts at culture were very far from encouraging. What with the infertility of the soil around Sydney, the ignorance of the fitting seasons, the worthlessness of the husbandmen, and the hostility of the Aborigines, agriculture made such miserable advances, that all supplies were long received at a vast cost and at a great distance from without. No dispersion was then hazarded, and the whole Colony being concentrated within a few miles of Sydney, the apprehensions of famine were not always groundless.
To guard against such dreaded contingency Governor Phillip resolved upon diminishing his numbers, by simultaneously colonising Norfolk Island (known to be uninhabited) whose soil had been much commended by its celebrated discoverer, Capt. Cook. Accordingly on the 15th of Feb. 1785, eighteen days after the settlement had been formed at Sydney Cove, Lieut. Phillip Gidley King, of H.M.S. Sirius, set
sail in the armed tender, Supply, Lieut. Ball R.N. Commander, having
the Governors commission as Superintendent and Commandant of Norfolk
Island. On the passage thither they passed between the lands to which the
names of Howe’s Island and Balls Pyramid were then given.
At noon on the 29th Feb. they were off their place of destination, but after various endeavours to find a suitable place of debarkation, they were unable to reach the rock bound isle until the afternoon of the 5th of March, when the present hazardous inlet in Sydney Bay was discovered. “At daylight on the 6th” (says the journal of Mr. King) “I left the Supply with two boats, having in them all the persons belonging to the settlement, together with the tents, a part of the provisions and some of the most useful tools, all which we landed, and began clearing a small piece of ground to erect the tents on.
The Colours were hoisted, and before sunset, every person and article belonging to the settlement were on shore and the tents pitched.” The all of this little party comprised 24 souls, namely the Commandt., a mate and surgeons mate of the Sirius, an [indecipherable] to the Surgeon’s mate, a weaver, two seamen, two marines 0 nine male and six female convicts.
The cultivation of the New Zealand Flax Plant then growing spontaneously on the Island was one of the principal of Lieut. Kings instructions, but no progress whatever appears to have been made with it, his energies being necessarily otherwise directed. As it may be interesting to contrast the untamed aspect which Norfolk Island, in a state of nature presented to the founder of the Colony with that which it offered, after a 58 years occupation, I shall take the liberty to make a few extracts from Mr. King’s Journal. “Norfolk Island, if correctly laid down in a plan, with all the hills and vallies represented accurately, would very much resemble the waves of the sea in a gale of wind, for it is composed wholly of long, narrow, and very steep ridges of hills, with deep gullies, which are as narrow at the bottom as the hills are on the top, so that there is scarcely
any level country upon it, but, as viewed from the sea, it appears
quite level, the different ridges being nearly the same in height”.
Thus writes Governor Hunter - Mr. King thus expresses himself -
“The island is very hilly, and some of the valleys are tolerably
large, considering the size of the island; but most of them are only deep
hollows formed by the steep hills on each side, some of which rise so
perpendicular that they cannot be cultivated.
There are some extensive plains on the summits of the hills. Mount Pitt is the only remarkable hill on the island and is about two hundred fathoms (1200 feet) high. The cliffs round the island are about 40ty fathoms high and are quite perpendicular: the basis of them, as well as most of the rocks and reefs round the island, is a hard, firm, clay of a very fine texture. I did not find a yard square of clear ground. The whole island is covered with a very thick forest, choaked up with underwood, which makes it impassable until it is cleared away.
Two convicts whom I had given leave, the preceeding day, to take an excursion into the interior, returned this day at noon quite naked. They had several cuts in different parts of their bodies some of which were deep, occasioned by the entangled state of the woods and the sharpness of the briars. They had not been an hour from the settlement before they lost sight of the sun from the thickness of the woods; this caused them to wander about until they heard the noise of our church bell and returned.
I set out on the 19th May with an intention of tracing the rivulet which runs thro’ Arthurs Vale, to its source, and likewise to examine the extent of the valley; but, after wandering about the greatest part of the day, I returned back, much fatigued, and all the cloaths torn off my back by the briars and the entangled state of the woods. (Begin here) By means of several meridian altitudes of the sun and a great number of lunar observations, the latitude of Sydney Bay is 29° 4 40 South and its longitude 168° 12 East of Greenwich. The form of the island is a long square, and it contains about
14,000 acres: it is six miles in length and four in breadth. The
island is well supplied with many streams of very find water, some of
which are sufficiently large to turn a number of mills. It is probable
that most of these rivulets originate from springs near Mount Pitt. On a
hill, near the middle of the island, between Cascade and Sydney Bays,
there is a fpond of fresh water, about half an acre. There is no rivulet
near it, nor can any spring be perceived, yet in the greatest drought, it
constantly remains full, and has a very good taste.
All these streams abound with very fine eels. From the sides of the cliffs which surround the coast to the summit of Mount Pitt, there is a continuation of the finest soil, varying from a rich brown mould to a light red earth. As a proof of the salubrity and wholesomeness of the air, it is to be remarked that there had been scarcely any sickness since I landed (a period of two years) nor had we any illness whatever, except a few colds.
The coasts of the Island are in general steep to and, excepting Sydney, Anson, Ball and Cascade bays, are inaccessible, being surrounded by steep cliffs, which rise perpendicularly from the sea. A number of large rocks lie scattered about close to the shore, on which a continual surf breaks with great force. Anchorage is good all round the island (not now so esteemed) as the bottom is a coral sand: at about two miles from the land the circular depth is twenty two fathoms. An harbour might be made (easily I should think) by cutting a channel through the reef about four hundred feet long, but it would be necessary to blow ups some sunken rocks to facilitate the entry: if it should ever be thought proper to do this, five vessels of seven feet draught might lie all the year round in security within the reef: they will not be able to enter but in the finest weather, with the wind from North East to North West, and then they must warp in –
I landed on Nepean Island and found it to consist entirely of one mass of sand, held together by the surrounding cliffs, which are a border of hard rocks: notwithstanding there was not the least appearance of earth or mould on the island yet there were upwards of two hundred very fine pines growing on it: the surface was covered with a kind
of coarse grape. At daylight in the morning of the 2nd Dec. (1788) I
went in the coble to Phillip Isle, where I landed on a rock, in a small
bay on the North side - It was with difficulty that I ascended the first
hills which were covered with a sharp gray long grass that cut like a
knife; this was interspersed with brush wood - The soil is a light red
earth, and was so full of holes, that had been made by the birds, that
walking was very laborious - A small valley runs the whole length of the
island, in which, and on some of the hills, a few pines grow - As I had
only two convicts to row the boat i got to Sydney Bay in the evening -
“ Phillip Isle is still unoccupied - For a time it was overrun with
hogs, but these being neglected and increasing to too great a number, for
lack of food the devoured each other, and only one or two boars of
prodigious size and wildness remain -
The Isle is alive with rabbits which now and then, in fine weather, experience the visitations of the Officers in garrison - Upon the first occupation of Norfolk Island Mr. King found several turtles, but not their eggs, they, however, became shy, and I apprehend are rarely if ever seen now .Having been left by the Supply with his 23 subjects and 6 months provisions, Mr King set seriously to work to house them, and break ground -
During the two years of his rule famine frequently threatened, and short allowances were common, but despite the frightful ravages which rats (wherewith the Island was then overrun) and grubs effected in his corn fields he perseveringly and steadily made progress - the banana which he found growing spontaneously he planted out and cultivated.
These trees growing in regular rows and the discovery of stones shaped like adzes and chisels induced a belief that the Island had at some anterior date been inhabited but fish whereon Governor Phillip had counted much in aid of the rations was not from the nature of the coast always to be had, and the convicts with their customary perverseness, often tossed it away when [indecipherable] - These miscreants, moreover, repeatedly, in very wantonness, stabbed and otherwise destroyed the breading stock - stole the eggs from under the sitting fowls, and perpetuated every sort of theft - [indecipherable] a surprise to capture the island and secure the Supply upon one of her visits was planned, and but for
a female convict who betrayed the scheme to a seaman with whom she
lived it would in all probability have proved successful, so well were
all its parts considered. From time to time Mr. King’s small band
had received accession from headquarters, his numbers on the 30th Octo.
1788 being augments to 64 souls - these on the 18th. of March 1789 had
been swelled to 94 - on the 15th of Nov. Robert Webb, a seaman of the
Sirius was permitted to become the first settler, an example shortly
followed by his fellow tar, William Reid on January 1790 the population
of the colony was 149 souls -
On the 13th of March the Sirius frigate, under the command of Captain Hunter and supply, tender, Lieut. Ball arrived, bringing provisions and stores of limited amount, and a large accession of inhabitants. For some time prior to their departure the people at Sydney had been reduced to half rations - This led to a division of the force and Major Ross the Lieut. Gov. was deputed to take command of Norfolk Island -
After landing 270 people from both vessels The Sirius was driven off the Island, but favoured by a slant of the wind she regained her station on the 19th whither the Supply had preceded her. In working she missed stays she was quickly [indecipherable] howr. and came to the wind on the other tack - the ship was notwithstanding settling fast into the bay [indecipherable] the anchor was cut away - everything was let fly, but before the anchor [indecipherable] and, in a few strokes, bulged - the masts were cut away but all in vain the fated ship was a hopeless wreck.
A seven inch hawser, however, being passed ashore with a grating , slung to a traveller many of the crew were that evening hauled through the surf, and the rest were safely landed the day following - A considerable portion of the provisions were saved, but these were so limited for the great number of people now on the Island that Capt. Hunter was compelled to establish Martial Law and to issue a very circumscribed ration, this, however, for two months was eked out by the capture of at least 150.000 aquatic birds which burrowed in Mount Pitt - this bird of Providence as Capt. Hunter terms it, resembled the British puffin - but these resources gradually diminished, and a very scanty diet was for months the lot of these isolated mortals -
During his rule Mr. King had a great deal to contend with in the perverse dispositions and incurable villainy of his subjects, yet he would appear to have been well esteemed, although no trifles
when discipline demanded example. The following instances of severity read strangely in these relaxing times when the plea of monomania shelters the assassin, and the doctrines of Maconochie reprehend punishment at all. (I have heard, however, that Maconochie became sensibly alive to his error in the long run, and that when too late, the cat was unsparingly and vigorously administered.) Now for King’s Justice.
“On the 29th August (1789) Ann Coombs, a female convict, received fifty lashes at the carts tail, for defrauding Thomas Jones, of some provisions: this punishment, however, did not deter her from committing crimes of a similar nature: for the very next day she was detected stealing two new check shirts from Francis Mew, a private Marine and was punished with 100 lashes. On the 7th Sept. Catherine Johnson, a female convict was punished with 50 lashes, for the abusing the Store Keeper, and accusing him of theft wrongfully.” Was not the Duke of Wellington sometimes compelled to flog the female camp followers in the Peninsula?
On the 24th of March 1790 Mr King returned to Sydney by the Supply,
from whence on the 17th of April he set sail in the same vessel
via for Batavia and and thence by the
Dutch Packet for the Isle of France & England whither he arrived on
the 20th of December. At the period when he relinquished his
command departed from Norfolk Island (24 March) the annexed
tables will show the condition in which his two years rule had placed
Civil, Military, and free inhabitants - 90 - Belonging to the Sirius -
Male convicts 191 - Female convicts - 100 - Children 37 - Total 498
Wheat 250 to 300 Bushels - Barley 6 bushels - Maize 130 to 140 bushels
Hogs - 26 - belonging to the crown - besides 18 hogs, a quantity of poultry, 3 goats and 1 ewe his own private property, and some other stock the property of settlers. Capt Hunter and his ships company remained on the island without relief until the 7th August on which day the Justinian and Surprise arrived with provisions, in landing a portion of which seve
raln persons were unhappily drowned through the boat
being overwhelmed in the surf, and although Captain Hunter and at least
thirty 30 persons were within twenty yards
of the sufferers
all help was unavailing he cod
render but very trifling aid, the lost ones being swept out to sea by the
offset from the shore. Mr King had been witness to a similar catastrophe
about a twelvemonths before, which he thus touchingly describes
“Our boat was swept away to the westward by the tide, and whilst
they were endeavouring to get under the point of the reef again, a heavy
surf broke on her broadside and overset her.
The anguish I felt at this shocking accident may be more easily conceived than described: small as our numbers were before, they were now decreased by the loss of Mr Cunningham, whom I sincerely cherished as a good young man, (He was the Mate of the Sirius) the sawyer, and one of the best of the convicts; a seaman belonging to the Supply was also drowned, and another convict narrowly escaped the same fate”. This fatal landing place is still that which is used in 1845, and its facilities are very little improved although I think they easily might be - after a protracted sojourn of eleven months Capt. Hunter embarked his officers and late ship’s company in the Supply, and arrived safe at Sydney on the 27th Feb 1791.
At this period about 100 acres had been cleared for the crown but all the stumps were left in the ground. The Govt of Norfolk Island appears now to have been vested in Major Ross of the Marines until the 20th Novr of this year when Mr King returned from England and resumed his sway with the rank of Lieut. Governor. Capt Hunter says “Opinions have been given that it will maintain 2000 inhabitants”.
The harvest gathered in Decr
of 1791 was 1000 bushels of
wheat, but maize had suffered from drought & produced but 500
Bushels. Ten settlers, formerly of the Sirius, were doing exceedingly
well. The Convict time expired settlers to the number of 40 were also
doing well, and were quiet, attentive, and orderly. The whole number of
settlers then on the island was 80. Very fine lime, forming a tough
cement had been discovered.
The wreck of the Sirius went to pieces on the 1st January 1792 - everything possible was saved out of her. Some of the settlers were permitted to employ convict servants, on condition of maintaining them. This was the first beginning of the assignment System - a system which caused New South Wales and Van Diemens Land to encrease and flourish in a manner beyong all the powers of calculation, and unequalled in all previous history - ay, and to the real and actual reform of the felons themselves. Yet, because a party cry of “Convict Slaves” was got up, this best of systems (as far as convict systems can be good) was summarily and at once knocked on the head. The fruits of this precipitancy have been the universal insolvency of New South Wales and the destruction of Van Diemen’s Land, whilst
the Frankenstein system which has succeeded is filling and overwhelming the latter doomed land with a population of monsters, such as no decent pen dared attempt to depict. From after breakfast until half past five writing and gleaning the above. After that went to the Band, came home to dinner. Looked into the Billiards Room at the Royal - thence to the Theatre and home.
Friday 24 From 9.30 a.m. until 4.40 p.m. transcribing the preceeding for the purpose of being offered to Frasers Mag. Went thereafter to drill in the Barrack square. Thence to the Australian where I got a dozen copies of my burlesque. My reply to R.L. Murray’s lies in today’s paper. Home to dinner, and over with Downes to Balmain, taking tea there with Mr Herring, Cashier of the Union Bank. Home in the Moonlight.
Saturday 25 Proceeded after Breakft. To the Reading Room and
gleaned from Collins New S. Wales as follows - The Crown land at Norfolk
Island cleared and cropped in Sepr. 1791 amounted to 190 acres,
[indecipherable] of private settlers to 250. On the 26th of Augt. The
Supply sailed from Port Jackson for England - from the then land of want
to that of abundance. The important Colonial services she had rendered
had greatly endeared her and her officers whose departure was regretted
by the community. In Decr. Of this year the Marines under Major Ross left
the Island having been relieved by the 102d. Regt. Or N.S.W. Corps, and
on the 18th this fragment of the most admirable force of the British
Crown sailed from Sydney for England in H.M.S. Porgow. The crops on the
island at Christmas 1793 were as follow –
Wheat on Crown lands 1302 bushels Private settlers 300 bushels
Maize [indecipherable] 6600 “
Calavances [indecipherable] 300 “
Potatoes [indecipherable] 50 tons
There are two crops of Maize, and the second one of that year was very large. The population of the period was estimated at a thousand and eight souls. From Novr. 20th 1791 to Janry. 27th 1794 the deaths were sixty three whilst the births amounted to ninety five. Harmony, health and plenty prevailed, and stock were rapidly increasing. In Novr. ’94 a sort of [indecipherable] between the free settlers and some of the N.S.W. Corps took place. This Mr. King promptly quelled by disarming the mutinous soldiery and
sending ten of the worst in custody to Sydney, he, at same time,
enrolling the Marine settlers as a pro tem Militia. In the early part of
this year Mr. King purchased upwards of 11.000 bushels of Maize for the
use of the Sydney govt., drawing in favour of the settlers for the
amount. This was in perfect accordance with the conditions upon which
these settlers had taken their locations under the regulations of Govr.
Phillip - Port Jackson being at the moment, well supplied, the Lieut.
Govr., Grose, would not accept the bill amounting to nearly
This was one of the earliest breaches of public faith, now so common to the Australian settler, and as 20,000 bushels could have easily been spared it filled the hearts of the islanders with indignant but impotent disgust, the Lieut. Govr. Intimating he would either send the corn back or return a like quantity in the event of the Crown refusing to pay for the purchase upon reference to England.
This so enraged them, that some of the Marine settlers abandoned their farms and quitted the island to enter the N.S.W. Corps. Upon his arrival from England shortly after Gov. Hunter most properly paid the bills. I am irresistibly tempted to quote the following paragraph from page 385 of Collins New S. Wales because it is so strongly applicable to the present position of V.S.R. in 1845, whence The Colonial Office Despotism by acts of treachery as perfidious as they are impolitic are expelling the Free Colonists to cherish a felon race of cultivators.
If any man question the truth of this assertion let him con the passenger list of every ship that leaves that injured land, and he will see that all who can scrape the means together are plying a soil where they once possessed peaceful, happy times until the destroying fiat of an irresponsible Colonial Office thrust them forth to [indecipherable] and despair. I implore the attention of all reflective minds to what Collins, the founder of Tasmania, says with reference to the refusal of payment of the Norfolk Islanders bills –
“This circumstce. Naturally gave rise to an enquiry, what wod. Be the consequce. If ever Govt. shod. From farming on their own account raise a quantity of wheat and maize suffict. For the consumption of those in the difft. Settlement who were victualled by the Crown. If such a system should be adopted the settler wod. Be deprived of a market for his overplus grain, wod. Find himself cut off from the means of purchasing any of those comforts which his family must inevitably required, and would certainly quit a country that merely held out to him a daily subsistence, as he would look, if he was ordinarily wise, for something beyond that. It may be said that the settler would raise [indecipherable] for the public, but Govt. would do the same, and so prevent him from every chance of providing for a family beyond the present day.”
Prophetic reasoning! As if the future founder almost then foresaw the present frightful
condition of V.D.L. with her ruined settlers flocking back to enhance
the over stocked and struggling numbers of the parent land - for, who
that cod. “Escape for their lives” would pause to
purchase “a daily subsistence” by pestiferous residence in
this modern Gommorah. It is a prudent plan of the Colonial
Autocrat to create felon husbandmen in distant lands when the Imperial
legislature has broken up the Convict System as too expensive to be
pursued in British dock yards - but, the cost at these felon farms too
remote and too easily mystified to be searchingly investigated.
N.S.W. might owe a heavy debt of gratitude for the removal of her penal stain - were not the word of promise kept to the ear alone whilst it is far worse than broken to the hope in proof whereby disgraceful outpouring with the impending and continued of Pentonville Exiles (!) set free upon her stores together with the deluge of Tasmanian probationary poison, the felons, after a brief purgation in that moral reforming isle, being ordered their freedom (!!!) in all the Australian Colonies where lies the barrier to the transportation if detected.
The in Tasmania [indecipherable].
Verily transportation has long been a farce - now it has become sheer burlesque. In Augt. 95 Norfk. I. was in the most flourishing state - plenty reigned throughout - every barn was full - 4000 lbs of fresh pork had been cured, and there were 40 tons of salt provisions to spare for head quarters at Sydney, where Capt. Hunter arrived from Engld. On the 7th Sepr. As Gov. in Chief. On the 24 March ’96 H.M.S. Supply which had also returned from Engd. Sailed from Sydney with the Patent for holding Criminal Courts at Norfk. I.
In the early part of Octr. Mr. King relinquished his command. The island then possessed a Lt. Govr. - Dep. Judge Ado - Dep. Prov. Marshall - Dep. Commissr. - Surgeon, Storekeeper and four subordinate Officers. The guard consisted of a compy. Of the N.S.W. Corps. There were four seamen and fifteen marines, settlers and others, with their families, to the number of some 220 souls. The entire population numbered about 900.
There were 3471 acres granted to settlers of which 1152 acres were cleared. The Crown occupied 1776 acres of which 376 were cleared. Much of the land, however, had been suffered to return to a savage state, owing to the disputed payment of the settlers bills for maize. Here again another Tasmanian parallel faces itself upon our observation for, in that hapless land, thousands of its most fertile acres are [indecipherable] and being thrown out of tillage because of the impossibility of the impoverished but legitimate settler to compete with the felon
husbandmen, the pets and bounty men of the Colonial Office. On the 18th October ’96 the following was the amount of stock - 3 bulls - 3 cows - 1 horse - 2 mares - 6 apes - 170 sheep - 383 goats - 4835 swine and a vast abundance of poultry - 337 inhabitants supplied themselves. There were two schools, one for young children, the other for older pupils. The deaths from Nov. 91 to Sept. 96 were 137. The births during the same period amounted to 191. The following is the amount of Crown and private produce in ’94 –
Crown 6000 bushells Wheat and Maize Settlers 28,676 bushels
1803 “ “ 11,500 “
In 94 Govt. purchased 11,688 bus. Of the settlers - in ’95 none
and in ’96 but 389 bus. The disagreements with govt. respecting the
non purchase of their produce appear to have engendered such very hostile
feelings in the minds of the Norfolk Islanders that they were reported as
having formed themselves into a “Fraternal Society” the
object of which was to withhold their produce in the hour of the
This occurred in May ’98. For this they were severely censured by the Govr. In Chief. In their reply they disclaimed any Association, but bitterly and loudly reiterated their complaints. In the early part of the following year they refused to part with their wheat at a lesser price than 15/- a bushel. On the 14th April 1800 Lieut. Govr., Captain King, returned to Port Jackson, per Speedy, from England. On the 29th June Major Foveaux of the N.S.W. Corps sailed from Sydney as Commdt. Of Norfolk I. On the 21st Octbr. Govr. Hunter embarked for England in H.M.S. Buffalo, touching at Norfolk Island.
According to Collins, that recently flourishing settlement (another parallel to the present condition, and more appalling future prospects of V.D.L. “wore a most unpromising appearance. All the buildings were in a state of rapid decay, and but few symptoms of industry were visible. Of stock, only a few hogs and a small quantity of vegetables were to be procured. On Phillip Island, which had formerly fed a great number of hogs, not one was to be found alive, they having, for want of better food, destroyed each other. A few fields of wheat which were ready for reaping, looked tolerably well, but on the whole, [indecipherable] no means promised to repay the expense which it annually cost the govt.” Collins Vol.2 p.306.
Came home after having my hair cut. Dined and went to the Theatre for a couple of hours.
Sunday: 26: The 57th Anniversary of the settlement of the Colony. When I rose, my face resembled a plum pudding from muskito bites. Campbell and I went to Dr. Ross’s where we had a good, sensible discourse from the 9th verse 2nd Chap. [indecipherable] to Peter. A heavy thunder storm and heavy rain - Transcribing my notes for Frasers Mag - Mr. Inches dined here. The Dr. rather better, poor fellow - would he were entirely well. I went with him, after tea, to call upon Mr. Stephen, with whom we remained about a couple of hours in agreeable chat.
Monday: 27: The Anniversary Regatta ushered in with a dismal day of cold and wet, and yet they had not the good sense of their Southern neighbours to make previous arrangements for postponement in the event of unfavourable weather. Despite the torrents of rain the affair must come off, and a very poor affair it consequently was. No fair eyes beamed with pleasure and even the visages of the males looked dreary and disconsolate. It was a very inferior matter fto the spirit stirring aquatics of Sir John Franklin. I did not go until nearly three o’clock when the rain had somewhat abated, and then there was not much to be seen. The sailing match expected to be the best, was a total failure, one of the boats having been suffered, by her lubberly crew, to take the ground. The band came towds. The close and their pathetic breathings of Molly Brown touched my heart to its core. Oh, it was deliciously painful. I went to the Theatre with Sutherland. The house was very full. Recd. A short, rather gloomy, letter from my dearest Kathleen.
Tuesday: 28: Campbell and I back to our favorite back room. This is a fine pleasant day. Posted a letter and eight papers for my dearest. Occupied nearly the entire day writing - after posting my letter looked into Roche’s billiard room where Campbell and I saw Klein. Dr. Maher still very poorly. Went to the Theatre for a couple of hours.
Wednesday: 29: a lovely morning. Inches by no means well. Went to the weekly grand parade to listen to the delectable band. Called upon Mr. Sedell and obtained the loan of his Norfolk Isld. Sketch. It would be tedious to narrate the transactions of every year, but matters grow worse and worse.
Disorganization, discontent, disgust, and, as is said, unnatural
depravity, were overtaken by distress. The smiling fields had been
permitted to become unsightly wastes - crops failed - and instead of
plenty, famine showed his gaunt and grisly visage. Great privations led
to greater insubordination, and from insubordination to mutiny was but a
step. This was attempted by settlers, convicts, and to portion of the
soldiery in 1809, but the bullet, the gallows and the settlers were too
powerful, the mutiny being subdued. Evils, however, had grown to such a
height that the Govt. decided upon the abandonment of the Island which
accordingly took place in 1810, the settlers and their families being
removed to Van Diemens Land, where they were granted land in lieu of that
thus compulsorily vacated.
Many of those grants having been taken in one particular locality, on the banks of the Derwent, it was then and now designated the New Norfolk district. All the govt. edifices were destroyed and everything save a few swine, goats, and poultry withdrawn, and the island left in lonely desolation. In this condition it remained during the next fifteen years, but on the 4th of June 1825 it was reoccupied, Capt. Turton of H.M. 40th regt. Arriving from Sydney as Commandant with fifty soldiers and a like number of felons.
From then until very recently the Island was constituted the direst penal settlement of the British Empire, the doubly and trebly convicted of New S. Wales and the incurables of Van Diemens Land being “cabin’d, cribbed, confined” within its, naturally, enchanting but, morally, pestiferous shores. The buildings having been destroyed, Captain Turton had, of course, to begin the work of settling [indecipherable] I apprehend enough has already been shown of its earlier progress to render its entirely penal advancement a matter of comparatively slight interest, I shall therefore but rapidly glance at any transactions of moment.
In Sept. 26 a revolt took place, when above 50 mutineers succeeded in forcing the company stores and boat shed, escaping with three boats and provisions to Phillip Island. In the affray one soldier was slain and two more severely wounded. The Commandant, Captain Donaldson 57th (who had relieved Capt. Turton) embarked twenty men, reached Phillip Isle, recaptured boats, plunder and five and twenty of the mutineers, exclusive of one shot and two drowned. The others having fled to the peak it was not deemed expedient on that occasion to follow them and on a subsequent day weeks having elapsed, Captain Donaldson again took the field. Having landed before day break he secured the pass to the peak and scoured the Isle. Having espied the runaways he gave chase, whilst they, on discovering their former place of retreat cut off, made for the cliffs. Their knowledge of the localities were greatly in their favour, but Capt. Donaldson eventually succeeded in driving them from their shelter to the interior where a struggle ensued.
In this Goff, the ringleader, was wounded and taken. He and four of
his associates perished on the scaffold, whilst thirty more were
sentenced to wear heavy irons. In the early part of 1827 apprehensions of
famine were again entertained. This was caused by the non appearance of
the Colonial brig, Wellington, which had been captured from their guard
by a batch of some 83 convicts sent from Sydney to the Island. Being
short of water they put into the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, en route
for Sth. America.
In the Bay were the “Sisters” and “Harriett” whalers - Capt. Duke of the former, an old Colonist, quickly discovered who he had at anchor inside of him. He therefore invited Captain Walton, of the Wellington, to dinner, and forthwith secured him, but Douglas, the newly elected mate, becoming alarmed at his absence, armed two boats, pulled to the “Sisters” and finding how matters stood, threatened summary measures unless Walton was released. Not being quite prepared Duke gave him up - a foul wind blew into the bay and it was impossible for the pirates to put to sea. Meanwhile the “Sisters” and “Harriett” hoisted their great guns from out their holds and mounted them without delay, and Duke, who was well known to the New Zealanders, induced their chiefs to aid him in his projected attack.
All being prepared, Duke sent to demand the surrender of the “Wellington” with an intimation that he would sink her in the event of a refusal. The “Harriet” and “Sisters” mounted each 12 nines, and between 7 and 800 New Zealanders were afloat in their war canoes. Captain Walton having resolved upon defence, cast loose the vessels four nine pounders, selected sixty of the best hands, and in addition to a good supply of boarding pikes and small arms, kept his copper full of boiling water. Having got springs upon their cables, the “Sisters” and “Harriett” opened a sharp and destructive fire to which the pirates made but feeble return, although with grape, musketry and hot water, they affected considerable destruction amongst the New Zealanders, many of whom were killed, wounded and miserably scalded.
An act which long inspired a relentless animosity towards convicts. The whalers having disable the “Wellington” aloft, next poured their shot into her hull which they repeatedly struck between wind and water. Being reduced to a sinking state, she was surrendered on condition that the runaways should be suffered to land unmolested. Many of the felons landed at night, but instinctive revenge, and the promise of a musket for every man delivered, ensured the capture of the whole save three who escaped in an American whaler. Captain Duke who evinced so much judgment
and determination carried his prisoners to Sydney, where the gallows claimed its part in nine, the remainder being sentenced “Life in Chains” on Norfolk Island. This sentence, like many others, being a very pretty piece of judical fiction enforced awhile and rescinded afterwards without the Judge having aught to say in the matter - but, why do I mention this instance when it is perfectly known that no sentences are enforced in all their severity, and the pronouncing of them is, therefore, somewhat inciderate. In May 1829 Lt. Col. Morriset assumed the command with extended powers of punishment, being enabled to inflict 300 lashes, to confine in the cells for two years, and to extend a convicts detention on the island for three years, powers which were frequently and summarily enforced.
Mr. Sutherland made up his mind to start via Wollongong and Hobart for Mauritius I gave him a copy of my burlesque, entrusted him with those for Catharine, went with him to the coach and saw him off - a nice young man. Gave the Australian a letter - writing out the [indecipherable] - played whist.
Thursday: 30: Bitten to death by the mosquitos - Inches rather
better. To continue for Norfk. Isld. Log. In May 1830 Mr. Cunningham, the
Colonial botanist, in pursuit of knowledge was landed on Phillip Isle,
the boat that conveyed him returning to the main. That same night, eleven
convicts escaped from the settlement in a whale boat which they succeeded
in forcing from the shed. They proceeded to Phillip Isle where they
robbed Cunningham of his watch, a brace of pistols and other effects.
They, then, put to sea, and about six weeks after were picked up, utterly
exhausted, having been many days without food, by the John Bull,
With renovated strength, renewed villainy returned, the fiends having possessed themselves of the ship and scuttled her, the crew being left to perish. The felons themselves landed on Pleasant Island whence all, save one, were taken off by occasional whalers. These wretches have (it is said) been heard of since - some in England, some in America. One who remained on the island became so great a favourite with the Natives that he was eventually elected Chief. Here the demon fully developed himself. The murders and other barbarities he committed upon whites as well as natives are reported to have been so atrocious as to cause his expulsion from the island. The last intelligence of this miscreant states his being worked in irons at Manilla, a place where they are not quite so scrupulous about expending the Hood of such monsters as they now are in the British penal lands.
In May 1832 Norfolk Island experienced a severe shock of earthquake.
The hills trembled violently, many persons were thrown down - a large
rock was observed to move. The bells rang loudly for several minutes.
Alarm and confusion were general, but no serious disaster ensued. In May
1833 a seizure was made of a boat landing 7- bags of Maize - sixteen
convicts succeeded in carrying her clear off. They were 28 weeks
in making the land to the N. of Moreton Bay, at which time but three of
their number were left alive. To portray their sufferings and horror
would require the pen of a Byron.
About the middle of January 1834 a deep laid scheme to surprise the garrison was attempted to be put in operation by a simultaneous movement on the part of the gaol and hospital gangs, but indecision as to the moment and exact place of attack proved fatal to the gaol gang who were driven back by the Corporal of the guard who in the most intrepid manner shot one fellow and wounded two others. This promptitude on the part of the gallant corporal was occasioned by his seeing the Hospital gang suddenly seize and disarm some soldiers and then speed to form a junction with the gaol gang at that moment slowly issuing forth to labout.
The Corporal’s fire drove the gaol birds back and the Military alarmed by the firing came rapidly from their barracks shooting every felon they encountered. This caused a rapid retreat of the convicts to their barracks. Meanwhile the gang at the Agricultural establishment (a mile and a half from the settlement) armed with their rustic weapons sallied forth to join their comrades at headquarters. Having gained the hill which overlooks the town they, to the number of 120, gave three cheers and rushed down shouting death or liberty.
The first was the immediate portion of several, the soldiery being in perfect readiness and pouring in a deadly fire. They were of course speedily overpowered. All work was for some time suspended, 150, heavily ironed, were for weeks fastened to a chain cable, whilst 50 more were capitally committed, 13 of whom were executed, 17 had sentence of death passed.
On the 2nd of March 1840 Captain Maconochie arrived as Superintendent, and experiments of “the soothing system”, and a pretty experiment it has proved, leaving germs behind which may yet produce bloody fruit. In the minds of practical disciplinarians this system, must it be called - was the most visionary and Utopian, in direct variance with every recognised motive or principle of reform correction or control. Fearful is the present aspect of Norfolk Island, and truly may it be said “The evils (of the soothing system) live after them”.
In June 1841, nine convicts seized a whale boat with which they
escaped. Reaching New Caledonia two of them were murdered by the Natives.
Jordan, the notorious Customs robber, was of the party. He subsequently
reached the United States whence he wrote to some of his associates. On
the 21st June 1842 the Colonial Brig, Governor Phillip, Captain Boyle,
was taken possession of off Cascade, a convict boats crew who had slept
on board the previous night.
It appears a lack of unanimity had prevented the seizure of a schooner, the Coquette, which they had been discharging, but which they suffered to sail without accomplishing her capture. Whilst confined in the brigs hold, bitter words passed, and imputations of cowardice were bandied from oen to the other. Stung to the quick one of them named Kelly proposed to test “who were the cowards” by the capture of the brig. It was assented to by all but one whom they did not trust.
Stations were assigned - to a man named Wolf was appointed the mastering of Captain Boyle and the arms in the cabins, a service in which he signally failed. There would seem to have been a sad lack of common caution on the part of the guard, and an utter dereliction of duty, for in the teeth of orders suffering but one convict on deck at a time the entire felon crew were permitted to come from below.
An instantaneous assault ensued, one sentry was seized and disarmed although the assailant was instantly shot by the Sergeant who, in turn, was knocked down and badly wounded. Two of the soldiery were pitched overboard, one perishing, the other being rescued by the man Wolf. The seamen, with the exception of two who were retained to assist in navigating the brig, were placed in the launch, then towing astern, but which was intended to be sent ashore.
The soldiers were secured below, and Captain Boyle confined to his cabin. A chance presenting itself through George Moss, the leader, incautious by approaching the cabin skylight Boyle fired and the outlaw fell dead. The seaman at the wheel, at once threw open the hatch and called to his Captain to come on deck. This he quickly did, followed by the soldiery, who joined by the seamen from the launch made a simultaneous rush upon the convicts whom they overpowered.
In this affray one soldier was drowned, two severaly and a seaman slightly wounded. Five convicts were slain, and two severely wounded. Four were subsequently executed and two sentenced to transportation for life. Captain Boyles gallantry is described to have been as praiseworthy as the conduct of the Military was censurable, not simply for their neglect of duty, the main cause of the outrage,
but for their dastardly brutality in shooting three of the mutineers
after they had thrown down their arms upon an assurance of quarter. But
for the energetic interference of Boyle, it is said, every one of them
would have been thus wantonly butchered. On the 11th March 1843 His Excy.
Sir Geo. Gipps paid a six days visit to the Islands, minutely inspecting
every thing. A man of his penetration and discernment could not fail to
appreciate the monstrous absurdities of “the soothing system”
which had struck subordination to the heart, and led to a state of things
now frightful to contemplate.
It is little wonder that His Excy’s report should have been unfavourable. On the night of the 13th Decr. 1843 three soldiers of the 96th regt. Deserted the posts entrusted to them, being the important ones of the Boat sheds, the Beachs guard room and the gaol. One of these traitors adroitly possessed himself of the keys, the boat house was unlocked, the guard room secured. Aided by six convicts a boat was launched and stored with ample supplies, but during the operations the barking of the dogs aroused a convict who gave the alarm - much confusion ensued, but at the cry of “guard turn out” the boat dashed through the surf leaving one of the confederate soldiers in the lurch. The guard having gained the jetty opened a rapid fire, but with what effect it was impossible to tell, the boat being quickly beyond range and never since heard of. The treacherous soldier who should have (to my thinking) graced the gallows escaped with a sentence of fourteen years transportation.
Upon occasions of successful escape the parties generally find some indirect means of apprising their confidents left behind of their fate. Almost all such statements concur in declaring that if the runaways could but have dreamt of half the miseries, dangers and horrors of open boat navigation, they would have preferred the Island ordeal rather than the frightful risk.
On the 8th of Feb. 1844 the present kind hearted Superintendent, Major Childs R.N. arrived to relieve the well meaning Maconochie from further administration of “the soothing system”. Since the reoccupation of the island, the numbers of convicts thereon have been very various - amounting to 84 the first year, 466 the sixth - 1872, the greatest number, the 16th, and 953 in July 1844, since which time, however, there have been considerable accessions. To illustrate the character of this limited society, I may state that during the last twenty years, there have been 55 absconders - 260 natural deaths –
29 deaths by drowning or other accidents - 6 murders - 19 executions -
16 killed resisting authority and three suicides - and this out of a
fluctuating and shifting populations, 4,237 according to tables now
before me, having arrived from England, New S. Wales and Van Diemens Land
during that period, and 2867 having been returned to the two last named
lands. In 1836 there were 540 acres under tillage cropped with maize,
wheat and rye - In 1843 there were 781 acres cropped with maize, wheat,
rye, barley and oats.
The stock consisted of 22 horses - 677 cattle - 5352 sheep - and 405 swine, which latter are of a very inferior breed, and this inferior pork is the sole and very occasional fresh meat issued to the convict whose wretched daily ration is 1 ½ lb. maize meal, 1 lb carrion salt beef, 1 oz sugar and a ¼ oz soap - a portion of the meal is reserved to make a devils dish called hominy, but this is rarely eaten save by the government hogs.
The convicts are employed in hoe husbandry, as blacksmiths, carpenters, wheelwrights, masons, stone cutters, quarrymen, stock keepers, boat builders, sawyers, lime and charcoal burners, road makers, boat crews, etc. etc. Many of the buildings are in a wretched state and condemned. There is no public clock which is a great want. Overseers are chosen from the convicts, they wear blue jackets as a distinction to the others grey.
They have an additional daily ration of ¼ lb of flour and 1/8 of an ounce of tobacco. Two years good service as an overseer counts for three as respects their sentence, an excellent check upon their conduct. The new system of Lord Stanley whereby only convicts for life and 15 years more to be sent to Norfolk Isd. Has already been departed from many seven years men having found their way thither and, ere the ricketty machine can be worked at all will require a vast deal of bracing and staying and even then, unless I am greatly out in my reckoning, it will snip stays and go bump ashore after all. The annual cost of this pretty toy is estimated at about £30,000. Returned Mr. Sedel his mss. Saw [indecipherable] who invited me to dine with him tomorrow. Went to the bank and thence to the Theatre.
Friday: 31: Rainy morning - Lester told me he had clapped that villain [indecipherable] in the chokey. From 10 till 4.30 p.m. writing up my notes. At 7 went to the barracks where we had a nice snug party. Dr. Monro among the number. Capt. Reid and I played agst. Deering and Mends, from whom we won 2/- but Mr. Lee my previous partner and I lost 4/- to Deering & Mr. Gregory. We kept it up to a wildly late or rather early hour, it being nearer to four than three when I turned in.
Turned out none the better for my last night’s dissipation, being very idle and indisposed for writing - a vast deal of rain fell and more still threatening - necessity has no law so went to work upon my notes - Walsh came to Lunch -[indecipherable] rather better - Did not stir out all day - John Inches looked in in the evening and we had a rubber –
Sunday: 2 A gloomy looking day - writing at my notes - After dinner Campbell and I strolled in the gardens which I had not visited since last there with Gannon - Went to Mr Saunders church he gave me an eloquent and powerful discourse upon the text - “Therefore let us not sleep as do others best watch and be sober “ - 1st Thessalonians 5 chapter and 6th verse - Ship Hamlet detained -
Monday : 3 A misty morning - Note on making[indecipherable]
a[indecipherable] - This light of modern days is, to my thinking,
somewhat like the dog returning to his vomit - About the year 1820, the
penal character of Van Diemen’s Land was tolerably notorious -
Anxious to soften this and at the same time to open up an untried field
for British commerce, British Capital, British industry and to afford
[indecipherable] for British population, Lord Bathurst the Colonial
Minister of that day held out extraordinary inducements for free born
Britons to expatriate themselves to that felon soil - not only were they
assured of grants of land to themselves but they were also
promised grants of land to their children - they were further
promised whatever convict servants they might require, and were furth
promised six months rations for their families after landing, and the
loan of government sheep and cattle, to be returned when they had formed
herd of their own –
Need I recall the astonishment of numberless respectable English families
or the astonishment they or the objections they raised
when some of their branches imparted their resolution to go to Botany
I apprehend the memory of such things is not yet altogether departed - Thousands took advantage of Lord Bathurst’s statesmanlike offer. The penal character of Van Diemen’s Land sunk beneath the mighty influence of energetic and intelligent settlers, and although many of Lord Bathurst’s pledges were unredeemed or modified by his successors, still the land was settled and colonised in the most rapid and successful manner - and it afforded a great outlet for all descriptions of British produce and manufactures - whilst its convict character was greatly subdued -
Such was the state of things in 1840, when the ill fated land was compulsorily made the depository of the entire felonry of the British Empire - for years previously by the sale of her soil ship loads of British emigrants had been imported to improve the moral and social conditions of the colonists until the felon did not number
thir much more than a fourth of the whole community - but New
South Wales was then, permitted to cast her slough which Van Diemens
was compelled to receive. It was deemed expedient for Imperial
purposes to degrade her to a huge gaol, and after all the official cant
of anxiety for her moral regeneration, her unhappy settlers who with
twenty years of toil and assiduity had done wonders towards its
perfection were recklessly suffered to wallow in the pestilential flood
of pollution which with a treachery and baseness beyond example was let
loose to overwhelm them. Is it a feather in the cap of any Minister to
have rendered a comparatively free community an almost penal one?
If so well may he plume himself upon the result - and when he, perchance, recalls Sodom and Gommorah he may think I have lent a powerful hand in the building up of such - for, of a certainty, all his Probation Bands, are widely so infected - “- Wrote until dinner after which Mr Semple and I walked round the domain - called at Miss Plunkets - Thence to the theatre where I met Mends and Captain Reed - Inches better -
Tuesday :4 A sweltering morning - went out and bought paper and wax - Mr. Taylor of Oakville, Maria River, has been here for some days - Writing to my dearest wife - and, afterwards, my notes - Walsh called to tell me he was going with convicts per waterlily - Posted four newspapers - Called at the Australian Office - Crossed with Downes to Balmain where we dined at Mrs. Mackier - Went on board the Wanderer, Mr B. Boyd’s yacht - very substantial craft of 85 tons - Took tea at Mackies - returned and called upon Simes - No answer from the Colonial Secretary -
Wednesday: 5 Finished and posted my dear wife’s letter - Writing up my notes - Mends called and played drafts - Stayed lunch - Gave him copy of my burlesque - It came on a tremendous heavy storm of thunder, lightning, and rain, Played Whist .
Thursday:6 Completed the sixty one pages of my Norfolk Island paper for Fraser’s Mag, by 11 A.M. - Wined and strolled in the Gardens - Went to the Band and thence to the Theatre and home –
Friday; 7 Campbell and I went out to look at the drop, but falling in with Dr. [indecipherable] we stayed and witnessed Vidal’s execution - The unhappy felon died firmly but penitently - They gave him a terrific fall - I read my Norfolk Island notes to Campbell who expressed himself much gratified - a brig signallized from that island.
John Inches and Waterston dined with us - we had Whist in the Even when, with my usual good fortune, I lost 4/. Much thunder and lightning and furious torrents of rain - Got my interleaved copies of Burlesque –
Saturday: 8 Doubtful morning - Papers gave detail of more attempts at Piracy by convicts on their passage to Norfolk Island - Read Capt.[indecipherable]’s narrative of his captivity and escape from Valencienes - A vast deal of heavy thunder and lightning with torrents of rain - Looked in at the Theatre - Major Macpherson - 99th and his family with Miss Carne came here from Norfk Island.
Sunday:9 Attended morning service at St. James where Mr. Allwood gave us a laboured discourse in approval of the Commination of the Prayer book - Inches very much better - He and I went to Watson’s, he to say farewell - Lots of ships in - the William from Launceston - the dorset from Adelaide - The General Hewit from London, the Herald from Cork - the Raymond from New Zealand - and a whaler, struck by lightning, and lost her mizzen mast - Went to the Phillips whence we escorted Mrs. MacPherson and Miss Sarne - Lightning –
Monday: 10: Tolerably fine morning - Making up the last of my papers from France and sending burlesques to the London papers - Had two dreary letters from my darling wife - Made up my mind decidedly to return to London. Very dull and unhappy - Campbell and I went in the ev.g to the Theatre - lightning.
Tuesday: 11: Fine morning - Up betimes writing to Banister & Sir John Franklin - After breakfast went with Inches on board the Eweretta - Six months have fled this day since he and I arrived by the London - Major Macpherson and family left us - also Misses McAllister & Macquoid. Went to the reading room - Met my old fellow traveller Major Robertson of the 96th who had just arrived from New Zealand - Dined - and went on board the Eweretta, where Mr. Inches and I had a farewell glass with my dear and esteemed friend Dr. Inches who, thank God, leaves us much better, nearly well, Mr. Alfred Stephen [indecipherable] and Cap.t McPherson Grant, late 93.d, a nephew of Lord Glenelg’s, his fellow passengers - At half past 10 - we spoke that bitter word so often already and so often yet to be uttered - and hurried on shore. Much thunder and lightning throughout the day, and the sky a blaze of sheet lightning at night.
Wednesday: 12: Downes and I were afloat a little after 7, but the Eweretta, under her topsails, had the start of us - We landed on Pinchgut. It has been cut to ribbands - There are 10, 24 p.rs lying in a gutter like trench which, I apprehend, it would cost much gold and skill to render tenable - So much for incompetent engineers. We, then, sailed round the U.S. Corvette, St. Louis, of 26 guns - She was snuggly rigged, but her round stern and heavy quarters made her look unsightly - She came in during the night - She is, I suppose, about 600 tons - the Eweretta rounded Bradley’s head with a flowing sheet - Adieu, dear Inches, a pleasant passage - God bless you and may we soon meet again, under better auspices, in dear old London. At Noon the St. Louis saluted the British flag with 21 guns which Fort Macquarie returned with the like number - Met Mr. Geo. De Winton of the 99th. - also Major Robertson 96th - St. Louis weighed and anchored off Dawes point - Had wine and chat in our room after dinner - Called at Miss Plunkett’s and delivered my dear Kathleens note.
Thursday: 13: Resumed transcribing my notes on Australia, at the beginning of part third - Major Macpherson called and had a smoke he is a most agreeable, good humoured man - Went to the Band - no very good music - Came home - Downes broached a bottle of Cork Whisky and, after a couple of tumblers, we all adjourned to the play - taking an oyster feed on our return home - Ewweretta anchored in Watson’s Bay.
Friday: 14: Writing my notes - Indited a letter to Alderidge to whom I sent a copy of my burlesque - Major Robertson called with a letter for his son - Fine day - Went on board the Sir Robert peel - Herald - and General Hewit, who asked, respectively, £120-140 - and 160 for a double passage - Penning a letter to my beloved - My eyes very much inflamed and sore - the oysters disagreed with me - Eweretta sailed.
Saturday: 15: Went to bed early, but up and down stairs during the night. Felt as I did six years since at Southend, only not quite so ill - a very blustery day - Finished and posted my letter and 5 Australians per Phoebe. Campbell, Temple and I went to the Clown Hotel where we played half a dozen games of Billiards - five of which I won - Very queer all day with pain in my bowels.
Sunday: 16: Went to morning service at St. Phillips. Dined, and strolled in the gardens where I had a long yarn with Mr. Deering 99th. Went with Campbell to Mr. Saunders - a Mr. Mansfield, Gas Work Manager, preached - a heavy sermon - Had a glass of grog at Solomon’s and turned in - The James Watt, Steamer in form Hobart Town.
Monday: 17: Had a most melancholy letter from my dearest Kathleen, to whom I instantly replied, urging her to get ready instantly for London. Posted my letter per Phoebe, to sail to day. Called upon Mr. James, the Bishop’s Sec.y, who gave me copy of the picture of the Cathedral, provided me with the information I sought, and invited me to visit him on Wed. or Thursday next at New town - Saw Simes who asked me to come up in the evening - Played Campbell and won three games out of four at billiards - Won two from Semple - Looked in at the Theatre where Simes had a fine house - Came home late.
Tuesday: 18: Copied out, with emendations, Lieut. Strong for Mrs. Ximenes - Sat writing my Australia until half past four when I accompanied Campbell to the Coach. Which bore him to Berrima, a tutor to Mr. Throsby at £30 a year, like all of us a sad change in his prospects - Beat Mr. Semple three games of billiards out of four - Looked into the Theatre where I saw De Winton, Thents & O’Reilly - The Col. Sec. there - Gave Mrs. Ximenes the song - Simes had £99.3/- last night.
Wednesday: 19: Writing up my notes, until after 4, at which
hour I accompanied Mr. Downes on board the U.S. Corvette, St. Louis,
where we were most courteously received, by her Officers,
a very gentlemanly set of fellows - She
is a tolerably fine
ship corvette of about 35 feet beam
and nearly 700 tons burthen, carrying 26 medium 24 p.rs of 32 cw.t - Her
entrance is good, but she is heavy in her quarter and that made yet
heavier by an unsightly round stern. She is immensely deep waisted, the
tops of her hammock nettings being between eight and nine feet high. She
has a poop and top gallant forecastle which mars the effect of her gun
She is loftily and heavily sparred and looks exceedingly well about the rigging. She is reported as being a fast but wet ship - She is a Post ship, and has four Lieutenants but no marine Officer - She appears to have a good many Midshipmen who boast of a recognised character, ranking with Lieut.s in the Army - Her gun room is spacious and comfortable, and the berth deck for her crew is a very good one. Her complement is 200 - I remarked all her belaying pins were bright iron. I entered into a lengthened conversation with some of her Lieu.ts, and was happy to hear them express themselves warmly with regard to my friend Montgomery Martin’s merits - As a man of war she is every way inferior to our 26 gun frigates, and yet an ungenerous historian might torture an action between her and one of these as an equal conflict, because of the same numerical amount of guns - Now it wo.d not be so, because Vestal and her consorts, measure 930 tons bear 240 hands on their books - and throw 452 lbs at a broadside, whereas the St. Louis throw but 312. Her deck, too, is an open one - whereas the Vestal class are regular built frigates - I trust the only
[This and foll.g p follow on p. 58]
Sydney: Sunday: 11th Aug.t 1844 Daylight saw the anchor awaigh
and our gallant London beating up towards Sydney Cove - We came to at
9.30 a short way above Pinchgut island, and close to the Greenlaw.
The approaches to Sydney may possibly be more picturesque, but they lack the magnificent grandeur of Hobart Town - the elegant villas which enliven the banks of Woolloomaloo are far more costly and resplendent than the simple cottages that impart an interest to the Derwent at Clarence Plains and Sandy Bay - nevertheless the more unpretending dwellings of Tasmania are probably fully as inviting as the castellated mansions of Australia, imparting as they do a graceful simplicity and life like interest to the highly cultivated, undulating, slopes they so tastefully adorn -
Now the gorgeous, suburban, palaces of Sydney are erected upon such sterile, impracticable, spots that their very splendour of architecture serves but the more painfully to impress the natural and ungainly sterrility; but for the rank and luxuriant brushwood which springs, as it were, from the living rock these magnificent edifices might be mistaken for portions of the interminable stone quarries from whence they have been created - Wherever garden blooms, the soil is nearly all made.
Sydney Harbour is quite equal but not superior to that at Hobart Town - I could perceive no Wharf either for space or capacity of warehouses surpassing if even capable of competing with the New Wharf at Sullivans Cove and the Australian Custom House is but a paltry affair contrasted with the Tasmanian. Inches, Cap.t Attwood, the Hopkins, and I landed at Watermans Stairs, proceeding to S.t Phillips Church where C.r Cowper officiated -
After service went and took up our quarters with Mrs. Atkinson - I had a solitary stroll to the flat staff, my mind full of my dear wife. The flag staff commands a charming view of Sydney Cove, the North shore, Parammatta, Darling Harbour, Balmain, and all around - Sixteen years have fled since Last I and Sydney met - What mighty changes have we both meanwhile undergone - It has become incalculably more extensive and infinitely improved - It has waxed older, but, like me, neither more hopeful nor more prosperous - the present fortunes of both are sad, depressed and cheerless. There is a small battery of six long six p.rs contiguous to the flag staff, not very ornamental and certainly by no means useful, the best of their days being over.
In the evening we heard service at the Independent Chapel of Dr. Ross, Pitt Street - Among Mrs. Atkinson’s inmates there was a Mrs. Marshall a pretty young woman just arrived from London and Cork in the immigrant ship, StVincent - We spun a long yarn on the charms of the green isle, and held glowing dissertation on the delightful “Groves of Blarney.” From Mrs. Atkinson I experienced the kindliest and most cordial reception, the generous creature insisting I should consider myself her guest. Fully appreciating the sentiment and deeply grateful for the warmth of its expression my mind recoils from taking advantage of a generous spirit - Poor woman, she has had trials enough of her own - However, as the Irish saw runs “There are more ways of choaking a dog besides hanging” so are there more methods of requital of obligation than in empty disputation of its repayment - “We are not all alone unhappy!” - Mr. Hopkins read us a Chapter and delivered a most appropriate extemporaneous prayer - Heaven be our guard and guide - “All unavoided is the doom of destiny.”
Inscription over the Entrance to Sydney College, Hyde Park.
Ausp. Tho. Brisbane Equit.
Pro Lt. Et Art. Lib. Studiis
Civium Australicorum Cura
Fra. Forbes Capit. Justic. Coll. Proes.
Rec. Bourke Territ. Guberu.
E. Hallen Arch. R. Cooper AEdif.
Mr. T. Braun Master 1844
Rivalry we may see between our ships and those of the United States shall be those of a generous, conciliatory, courtesy - their Officers generally are skilful seamen and accomplished gentlemen, and nothing can be more abhorrent than for brethren to shed each others blood - Honour to the S.t Louis wherever she goes. The Americans call their line of battle ships after their States - frigates are named after rivers - corvettes from towns - brigs from Naval commanders and schooners and other small craft from fish.
British Navy - 1.st rates –
46/- Mizzie 41/3
46/- gunners mates
£95.11/- per an.
£91. per an
23/- in all rates
14/3 1.st class 12/9 2.d class in all rates
34/- in all rates
26/- in all rates
13 months to the year
Mr John Rout - Auckland - Miss Oakes - Carskalton, Surrey
Geo. Clarke, Protector Aborigines - care of Willis Sandeman & Co.
- Lombard Street. London
P. Monro, Hokianga
Joseph Josiah Hopkins, Cutter Lively –
Seamens Wages in U. States Cruisers.
Cap.t Forecastle - $15 p.r month - 62/6
Do. - Tops - $15 “ - “
2.d Do. - Do - “14 “ - 58/4
Quarter Gunners - “ 15 “ - 62/6
Do. - Masters - “16 “ - 66/8
Ships Cook - ’18 ‘ - 75/-
Sailmaker ) - 635 per annum - £132.5.10
Mates - 17 per months - 70/10
Midshipmen - 30 per month - £125/-
Landsmen - 8 “ “ - 33/4
Boys - 8 “ “ - 33/4
Seamen - 12 “ “ - 50/-
Ordinary - 10 “ “ - 41/8
$1.80 cents pr. Month allowed in lieu of grog - and 12 months (not 13) to the year.
My Expenditure in Sydney
Passage from Hobart - £5.5.”
Landing “ “ - “ .2.6
Pair Gloves 3/- Hair cutting 1/- - “.4.”
Cab to Gov.t House - “.1.”
Postages - “.1.”
Piece of Tweed - 5.6.4
Paid at theatre - “.1.”
Pottle of Ink - “.1.”
Coat and Trowsers - 2.10.6
Tobacco & Pipes 4/- North ferry 6 - “.4.6
Passage to NewCastle - “.3.”
Lost at Cards 6/- Reids Serv.t 6d. - “.6.6
Fare to Port Macquarie - 1.10.”
James Williams - “.5.”
Port Macquarie Inn - “.15.”
Fare to NewCastle - 1.10.”
Do. “ Morpeth - “.1.”
Do. “ Sydney - “.4.”
Dinner on board Tamar - “.3.”
Brought over - £18.4.4
Klein 9d Letter 3d - Matches 1/- Way 6d. Book 6d. - “.3.”
Theatre 1/- Small Comb 1/6 - Paper Books 9/- Boots 5/- - “.16.6
Postages 2/6 - Ferry 1/6 - Advert.mt 3/- Play & 2/6 - “.9.6
Drawing Paper 1/- Postage 6d. - Ferry 6.d - “.2.”
Ink 6d. - Scissors 2/- - Paper 2/- Postage 5d - “ 2. “
Postage & 1/- - Spectacle Frame 7/6 - Postage 6d - “.9.”
Washing 9/- Pens 9/- Hair[indecipherable]1/- Postage 6d - “.19.6
Cab 1/- - Margaret 2/6 - Mooney 1/- Cockatoo 1/- - “.5.6
Norfolk Island and back £8 - Postages 1/6 - 8.1.6
Parramatta 4/- Brace Straps 1/6 Postages 6d. - “.6.”
Washing 3/- Do. 1/- Hair Cut 6d. - Postages 6d. - “.5.”
Boots soled 4/- Washing 2/- Paper & Wax 1/- - “7.”
Washing 3/- Boats 2/- Billiards 3/- Cockatoo 10/- - “.18.”
Washing 1/- Billiards 2/- Postage 1/-
Eugenia Delancey - Branch - P. & Charing X –
Cash in Bank of Australasia
Aug.t 13th - Proceeds of bill - £35.10.6
“ “ - Cash for self - £10.”.”
“ “ - Do. Do. - 5.”.”
Sep.r 5 - Do. Do. 10.”.”
Octo.r 23 - Do. Do. 5.”.”
“ “ - Bal.ce at date - 5.10.6
Passages by Sea
- - - Miles
1810 - July - Per Sprightly, Smack, Leith to London - 400
“ - Aug.t - “ Clyde, Smack, London to Leith - 400
1811 - July - “ Clyde, Smack, Leith to London - 400
1812 - June - Pilot, Smack, London to Leith - 400
1818 - April - “ Elbe, Smack, Leith to Hamburgh - 500
“ - Nov.r - Thetis, Brig. Hamburgh to London - 500
1819 - April - “ Lord McWille, Smack, London to Leith - 400
1820 - Jan.y - “ Brilliant, Smack, Aberdeen to London - 500
“ - June - “ Hawk, Smack, London to Leith - 400
“ - July - Czar, do, Leith to London - 400
1822 - May - “Hero, cutter Southampton to Jersey - 100
‘ Aug.t - “ Hero, do. Jersey to Cowes - 100
“ Octo.r - “Brilliant do Southampton to Guernsey - 100
“ Dec.r - “ Fox do Guernsey to Exmouth - 100
1823 - Octo.r - “ Albion, Steamer, London to Margate - 100
1824 - May - “ Hero, Cutter, Southampton to Jersey - 100
“ - Aug.t - “ Lord Beresford, Steamer, Jersey to Portsmouth - 100
“ - Sep.r - “Eclipse, Steamer, London to Margate - 100
1825 - Sep.r - “ Sovereign, Do. London to Ramsgate - 100
“ - “ - “ Do. Do. Ramsgate to London - 100
Nov.r 22 sailed - Greenock, Ship. Leith to Van Diemen’s Land - 16,000
To Ap.r 22 arrived
1828 - April - “ Calista, Barque, Hobart Town to Sydney -
“ - June - “ Do. Do. Sydney to Hobart Town - 700
“ July - “ Do. Do. Hobart Town to London (arrived 22.d Nov.r) - 16,000
“ - Dec.r - “ Lord McWille, Smack, London to Leith - 400
1830 - March - “ James Watt, Steamer, Glasgow to Liverpool -
“ - April 23d - “ June, Brig, Liverpool to Cork, Madeira, Cape & Hobart
- arrived 22.d Nov.r - 16000
1836 - Feb. 27 - “ John, Barque, Hobart to Bahia and London, arrived 8 July - 16,000
1837 - April - “ Shannon Steamer London to Dublin - 500
“ - May - “ Britannia Do. Dublin to Liverpool - 150
“ - May - “ Green Isle Do. Liverpool to Drogheda - 150
“ Sep.r - “ Arab Do. Cork to Dublin - 150
“ - “ - “ Mersey - Do. Dublin to Liverpool - 150
“ - “ - “Unicorn - Do. Liverpool to Glasgow - 200
“ - “ - “Octo.r - “ Rob Roy - Do. Glasgow to Oban - 100
“ - “ - “Royal Victoria - Do. Leith to London - 400
1839 - March - “Devonshire - Do. London to Dublin - 500
“ - “ - “ Do. - Do. Dublin to London - 500
“ –Aug.t - “ Atlanta - Do. Southampton to Jersey - 100
“ - Sept. - “ Lord De Saumarez - Do. Jersey to Guernsey & Southampton - 100
1840 - July - “ Snowdon [indecipherable] L’pool to Menai
Bridge & back - 150
“ - “ - “royal George [indecipherable] L’pool to Glasgow - 200
Aug.t - “ Thandon, Bunda, & Helen Macgregor Steamers from Greenock to Oban, Staffa, Iona, Inverness and back - 500
List of Passengers
In the Poop
Mr., Mrs. And Miss Burn
Mr. and Mrs. Elliot
Mr. and Mrs. Macpherson
Mrs. Williams & 2 children
In the ‘tween Decks
Cap.t & Mrs., & Miss Chalmers
Miss Turell - Miss Sorrell & 4 brothers,
Sisters, and 1 female serv.t
Mr., Mrs. & Mr. Burnnett Jun.r
Mrs. Serjeant and 1 child
Mr. Attwood, Surgeon,
Mr. Hawkes Chief Officer
Francesco, Llabora, a Spanish boy of Teneriffe
[Transcribed by Robin Matthews, Dorothy Gibson, Margaret Swinton for the State Library of New South Wales]