An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. 1
David Collins

Part 5 out of 14

from the grass with his foot, and fixing it on his throwing-stick, in an
instant darted it at the governor. The spear entered a little above the
collar bone, and had been discharged with such force, that the barb of it
came through on the other side. Several other spears were thrown, but
happily no further mischief was effected. The spear was with difficulty
broken by Lieutenant Waterhouse, and while the governor was leading down
to the boat the people landed with the arms, but of four muskets which
they brought on shore one only could be fired.

The boat had five miles to row before it reached the settlement; but the
people in her exerting themselves to the utmost, the governor was landed
and in his house in something less than two hours. The spear was
extracted with much skill by Mr. Balmain, one of the assistant-surgeons
of the hospital, who immediately pronounced the wound not mortal. An
armed party was dispatched that evening toward Broken Bay for Mr. White,
the principal surgeon, who returned the following day, and reported that
in the cove where the whale lay they saw several natives; but being armed
nothing had happened.

No other motive could be assigned for this conduct in the savage, than
the supposed apprehension that he was about to be seized by the governor,
which the circumstance of his advancing toward him with his hands held
out might create. But it certainly would not have happened had the
precaution of taking even a single musket on shore been attended to. The
governor had always placed too great a confidence in these people, under
an idea that the sight of fire arms would deter them from approaching; he
had now, however, been taught a lesson which it might be presumed he
would never forget.

This accident gave cause to the opening of a communication between the
natives of this country and the settlement, which, although attended with
such an unpromising beginning, it was hoped would be followed with good

A few days after the accident, Bennillong, who certainly had not any
culpable share in the transaction, came with his wife and some of his
companions to a cove on the north shore not far from the settlement,
where, by means of Boo-roong, the female who lived in the clergyman's
house, an interview was effected between the natives and some officers,
Mr. White, Mr. Palmer, and others, who at some personal risk went over
with her.

At this time the name of the man who had wounded the governor was first
known, Wil-le-me-ring; and Bennillong made many attempts to fix a belief
that he had beaten him severely for the aggression. Bennillong declared
that he should wait in that situation for some days, and hoped that the
governor would be able, before the expiration of them, to visit him. On
the tenth day after he had received the wound, his excellency was so far
recovered as to go to the place, accompanied by several officers all
armed, where he saw Bennillong and his companions. Bennillong then
repeated his assurances of his having, in conjunction with his friend
Cole-be, severely beaten Wille-me-ring; and added that his throwing the
spear at the governor was entirely the effect of his fears, and done from
the impulse of self-preservation.

The day preceding the governor's visit, the fishing boats had the
greatest success which had yet been met with; near four thousand of a
fish, named by us, from its shape only, the salmon, being taken at two
hauls of the seine. Each fish weighed on an average about five pounds;
they were issued to this settlement, and to that at Rose Hill; and thirty
or forty were sent as a conciliating present to Bennillong and his party
on the north shore.

These circumstances, and the visit to the natives, in which it was
endeavoured to convince them that no animosity was retained on account of
the late accident, nor resentment harboured against any but the actual
perpetrator of the fact, created a variety in the conversation of the
day; and those who were desirous of acquiring the language were glad of
the opportunity which the recently-opened intercourse seemed to promise

In the night of the 26th a desertion of an extraordinary nature took
place. Five male convicts conveyed themselves, in a small boat called a
punt, from Rose Hill undiscovered. They there exchanged the punt, which
would have been unfit for their purpose, for a boat, though very small
and weak, with a mast and sail, with which they got out of the harbour.
On sending to Rose Hill, people were found who could give an account of
their intentions and proceedings, and who knew that they purposed
steering for Otaheite. They had each taken provisions for one week; their
cloaths and bedding; three iron pots, and some other utensils of that
nature. They all came out in the last fleet, and took this method of
speedily accomplishing their sentences of transportation, which were for
the term of their natural lives. Their names were, John Tarwood, a
daring, desperate character, and the principal in the scheme; Joseph
Sutton, who was found secreted on board the _Neptune_ and punished; George
Lee; George Connoway, and John Watson. A boat with an officer was sent to
search for them in the north-west branch of this harbour, but returned,
after several hours search, without discovering the least trace of them.
They no doubt pushed directly out upon that ocean which, from the
wretched state of the boat wherein they trusted themselves, must have
proved their grave.

The governor purposing to erect a capacious storehouse and a range of
barracks at Rose Hill, a convict who understood the business of
brickmaking was sent up for the purpose of manufacturing a quantity
sufficient for those buildings, a vein of clay having been found which it
was supposed would burn into good bricks. A very convenient wharf and
landing place were made at that settlement, and twenty-seven huts were in
great forwardness at the end of the month.

Very small hopes were entertained of the wheat of this season; extreme
dry weather was daily burning it up. Toward the latter end of the month
some rain fell, the first which deserved the name of a heavy rain since
last June.

October.] The little rain which fell about the close of the preceding
month soon ceased, and the gardens and the corn grounds were again
parching for want of moisture. The grass in the woods was so dried, that
a single spark would have set the surrounding country in flames; an
instance of this happened early in the month, with the wind blowing
strong at N W. It was however happily checked.

Bennillong, after appointing several days to visit the governor, came at
last on the 8th, attended by three of his companions. The welcome
reception they met with from every one who saw them inspired the
strangers with such a confidence in us, that the visit was soon repeated;
and at length Bennillong solicited the governor to build him a hut at the
extremity of the eastern point of the cove. This the governor, who was
very desirous of preserving the friendly intercourse which seemed to have
taken place, readily promised, and gave the necessary directions for its
being built.

19th.] While we were thus amusing ourselves with these children of
ignorance, the signal for a sail was made at the South Head, and shortly
after the _Supply_ anchored in the cove from Batavia, having been absent
from the settlement six months and two days. Lieutenant Ball arrived at
Batavia on the 6th of July last, where he hired a vessel, a Dutch snow,
which was to sail shortly after him with the provisions that he had
purchased for the colony. While the _Supply_ lay at Batavia the season
was more unhealthy than had ever been known before; every hospital was
full, and several hundreds of the inhabitants had died. Lieutenant Ball,
at this grave of Europeans, buried Lieutenant Newton Fowell, Mr. Ross the
gunner, and several of his seamen. He tried for some days to touch at
Norfolk Island, but ineffectually, being prevented by easterly winds.
Mr. King and Mr. Miller (the late commissary) had sailed on the 4th of
last August in a Dutch packet for Europe.

By the return of this vessel several comforts were introduced into the
settlement; her commander, with that attention to the wants of the
different officers which always characterised him, having procured and
taken on board their respective investments.

In his passage to Batavia, Lieutenant Ball saw some islands, to which,
conjecturing, from not finding them in any charts which he had on board,
that he might claim being the discoverer of them, he gave names
accordingly. Although anxious to make an expeditious passage, he had the
mortification to be baffled by contrary winds both to and from Batavia;
and at that settlement, instead of finding the governor-general (to whom
in his orders he was directed to apply for permission to purchase
provisions, and for a ship to bring them) ready to forward the service he
came on, which he represented as requiring the utmost expedition, he was
referred to the Sabandhaar, Mr. N. Engelhard, who, after much delay and
pretence of difficulty in procuring a vessel, produced one, a snow, which
they estimated at three hundred and fifty tons burden, and demanded to be
paid for at the rate of eighty rix dollars for every ton freight,
amounting together to twenty-eight thousand rix dollars, each rix dollar
being computed at forty-eight Dutch pennies; and the freight was to be
paid although the vessel should be lost on the passage.

As it was impossible to hire any vessel there upon cheaper terms,
Lieutenant Ball was compelled to engage for the _Waaksamheyd_ (that being
her name, which, englished, signified 'Good look out') upon the terms
they proposed. Of the provisions which he was instructed to procure, the
whole quantity of flour, two hundred thousand pounds, was not to be had,
he being able only to purchase twenty thousand and twenty-one pounds, for
which they charged ten stivers per pound, and an addition of about
one-third of a penny per pound was charged for grinding it*. Instead of
the flour Lieutenant Ball purchased two hundred thousand pounds of rice,
at one rix dollar and forty-four stivers per hundred weight over and
above the seventy thousand pounds he was directed to procure. The salt
provisions were paid for at the rate of seven stivers per pound, and the
amount of the whole cargo, including the casks for the flour, wood for
dunnage, hire of cooleys, and of craft for shipping the provisions, was
thirty thousand four hundred and forty-one rix dollars and thirty-three
stivers; which added to the freight (twenty-eight thousand rix dollars)
made a total of fifty-eight thousand four hundred and forty-one rix
dollars and thirty-three stivers, or L11,688 6s 9d sterling.

[* The flour, without the freight, including one hundred and ten rix
dollars which were charged for twenty-two half leagers in which it was
contained, amounted as nearly as possible to tenpence three farthings per

Mr. Ormsby, a midshipman from the _Sirius_, was left to come on with the
snow, which it was hoped would sail in a few weeks after the _Supply_.

The criminal court was twice assembled during this month. At the first a
soldier was tried for a felony, but acquitted. At the second William
Harris and Edward Wildblood were tried for entering a hut at Parramatta,
in which was only one man, and that a sick person, whom they knocked
down, and then robbed the hut. They were clearly convicted of the
offence, and, being most daring and flagrant offenders, were executed at
Rose Hill, near the hut which they had robbed. These people had given a
great deal of trouble before they committed the offence for which they
suffered. At the latter end of the last month they took to the woods,
having more than once or twice robbed their companions at Rose Hill. As
they were well known, the watch soon brought them in to the settlement at
Sydney. They confessed, that the night before they were apprehended they
killed a goat belonging to Mr. White. The governor directed them
immediately to be linked together by the leg, and sent them back to Rose
Hill, there to labour upon bread and water. It was in this situation
that, taking advantage of their overseer's absence for a few minutes,
they went to the hut, of the situation of which they had previous
knowledge, and robbed it of every thing they could carry away.

While these people were suffering the punishment they deserved, James
Bloodworth, mentioned before in this narrative, received the most
distinguishing mark of approbation which the governor had in his power to
give him, being declared free, and at liberty to return to England
whenever he should choose to quit the colony. Bloodworth had approved
himself a most useful member of the settlement, in which there was not a
house or building that did not owe something to him; and as his loss
would be severely felt should he quit it while in its infancy, he bound
himself by an agreement with the governor to work for two years longer in
the colony, stipulating only to be fed and clothed during that time.

Encouraged by the facility with which Tarwood and his companions made
their escape from the colony, some others were forming plans for a
similar enterprise. A convict gave information that a scheme nearly ripe
for execution was framed, and that the parties had provided themselves
with oars, masts, sails, etc. for the purpose, which were concealed in
the woods; and as a proof of the veracity of his account, he so clearly
described the place of deposit, that on sending to the spot, four or five
rude unfinished stakes were found, which he said were to be fashioned
into oars. The person who gave the information dreaded so much being
known as the author, that no further notice was taken of it than
destroying the oars, and keeping a very vigilant eye on the conduct of
the people who had been named by him as the parties in the business.

Attempts of this sort were always likely to be made, at least as long as
any difficulty occurred in their quitting the colony after the term had
expired for which by law they were sentenced to remain abroad. There must
be many among them who would be anxious to return to their wives or
children, or other relations, and who, perhaps, might not resort again to
the companions of their idle hours. If these people found any obstacles
in their way, they would naturally be driven to attempt the attainment of
their wishes in some other mode; and it would then become an object of
bad policy, as well as cruelty, to detain them.

The weather about this period was evidently becoming warmer every day;
and although the trees never wholly lost their foliage, yet they gave
manifest signs of the return of spring.

November.] James Williams, who was missing on the sailing of the _Supply_
for Batavia, was found by Lieutenant Ball to have secreted himself on
board that vessel, and on her return he delivered him up as a prisoner to
the provost-marshal. Williams owned that his flight was to avoid a
punishment which he knew awaited him; and Lieutenant Ball spoke so
favourably of his conduct while he was under his observation, that the
governor would have forgiven him, had he not feared that others might,
from such an example, think to meet the same indulgence: he therefore
directed him to receive two hundred and fifty lashes, half of the
punishment which by the court that tried him he was sentenced to receive,
and remitted the remainder.

A small boat belonging to Mr. White, which had been sent out with a
seine, was lost this month somewhere about Middle Head. She had five
convicts in her; and, from the reports of the natives who were witnesses
of the accident, it was supposed they had crossed the harbour's mouth,
and, having hauled the seine in Hunter's Bay, were returning loaded,
when, getting in too close with the rocks and the surf under Middle Head,
she filled and went down. The first information that any accident had
happened was given by the natives, who had secured the rudder, mast, an
oar, and other parts of the boat, which they had fixed in such situations
as were likely to render them conspicuous to any boat passing that way.
Mr. White and some other gentlemen, going down directly, found their
information too true. One of the bodies was lying dead on the beach; with
the assistance of Cole-be and the other natives he recovered the seine
which was entangled in the rocks, and brought away the parts of his boat
which they had secured.

This appeared to be a striking instance of the good effect of the
intercourse which had been opened with these people; and there seemed
only to be a good understanding between us and them wanting to establish
an harmony which would have been productive of the best consequences, and
might have been the means of preventing many of the unfortunate accidents
that had happened. The governor, however, thought it necessary to direct,
that offensive weapons should not be given to these people in exchange
for any of their articles; being apprehensive that they might use them
among themselves, and not wishing by any means to arm them against each

At Rose Hill a storehouse was begun and finished during the month,
without any rain; its dimensions were one hundred feet by twenty-four
feet. The bricks there, either from some error in the process, or defect
in the clay, were not so good in quality as those made at Sydney. In
their colour they were of a deep red when burned, but did not appear to
be durable.

At Sydney, a good landing-place on the east side was completed; and two
small brick huts, one for a cutler's shop, and another for the purpose of
boiling oil or melting tallow, were built on the same side. A wharf was
also marked out on the west side, which was to be carried far enough out
into deep water to admit of the loaded hoy coming along-side at any time
of tide. The hut, a brick one twelve feet square and covered with tiles,
was finished for Bennillong, and taken possession of by him about the
middle of the month.

Notwithstanding the accidents which had happened to many who had strayed
imprudently beyond the known limits of the different settlements, two
soldiers of the New South Wales corps, who had had every necessary
caution given them on the arrival of their detachment at Rose Hill,
strayed into the woods, and were missing for four or five days, in which
time they had suffered severely from anxiety and hunger.

December.] The temporary barrack which had been erected within the
redoubt at Rose Hill, formed only of posts and shingles nailed or
fastened with pegs on battens, going fast to decay, and being found
inadequate to guard against either the rain or wind of the winter months
and the heat of those of the summer, the foundation of a range of brick
buildings for the officers and soldiers stationed there was laid early in
the month. The governor fixed the situation contiguous to the storehouse
lately erected there, to which they might serve as a protection. They
were designed for quarters for one company, with the proper number of
officers, a guardroom, and two small store-rooms.

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

[* His name was readily obtained from the natives who lived among us, and
who soon became acquainted with the circumstances.]

As the attack on this man was wanton, and entirely unprovoked on the part
of McIntire, not only from his relation of the circumstance, but from the
account of those who were with him, and who bore testimony to his being
unarmed, the governor determined to punish the offender, who it was
understood resorted with his tribe above the head of Botany Bay. He
therefore directed that an armed party from the garrison should march
thither, and either destroy or make prisoners of six persons (if
practicable) of that tribe to which the aggressor belonged, carefully
avoiding to offer any injury to either women or children. To this measure
the governor resorted with reluctance. He had always wished that none of
their blood might ever be shed; and in his own case, when wounded by
Wille-me-ring, as he could not punish him on the spot, he gave up all
thoughts of doing it in future. As, however, they seemed to take every
advantage of unarmed men, some check appeared absolutely necessary.
Accordingly, on Tuesday the 14th a party, consisting of two captains,
Tench, of the marines, and Hill of the New South Wales corps, with two
subalterns, three sergeants, two corporals, one drummer, and forty
privates, attended by two surgeons, set off with three days' provisions
for the purpose abovementioned.

There was little probability that such a party would be able so
unexpectedly to fall in with the people they were sent to punish, as to
surprise them, without which chance, they might hunt them in the woods
for ever; and as the different tribes (for we had thought fit to class
them into tribes) were not to be distinguished from each other, but by
being found inhabiting particular residences, there would be some
difficulty in determining, if any natives should fall in their way,
whether they were the objects of their expedition, or some unoffending
family wholly unconnected with them. The very circumstance, however, of a
party being armed and detached purposely to punish the man and his
companions who wounded McIntire, was likely to have a good effect, as it
was well known to several natives, who were at this time in the town of
Sydney, that this was the intention with which they were sent out.

On the third day after their departure they returned, without having
wounded or hurt a native, or made a prisoner. They saw some at the head
of Botany Bay, and fired at them, but without doing them any injury.
Whenever the party was seen by the natives, they fled with incredible
swiftness; nor had a second attempt, which the governor directed, any
better success.

The governor now determining to avail himself as much as possible of the
health and strength of the working convicts, while by the enjoyment of a
full ration they were capable of exertion, resolved to proceed with such
public buildings as he judged to be necessary for the convenience of the
different settlements. Accordingly, during this month, the foundation of
another storehouse was laid, equal in dimensions and in a line with that
already erected on the east side of the cove at Sydney.

On the 17th the Dutch snow the _Waaksamheyd_ anchored in the cove from
Batavia, from which place she sailed on the 20th day of last September,
meeting on her passage with contrary winds. She was manned principally
with Malays, sixteen of whom she buried during the passage. Mr. Ormsby
the midshipman arrived a living picture of the ravages made in a good
constitution by a Batavian fever. He was in such a debilitated state,
that it was with great difficulty he supported himself from the wharf on
which he landed to the governor's house.

The master produced a packet from the sabandhaar (his owner) at Batavia,
inclosing two letters to the governor, one written in very good English,
containing such particulars respecting the vessel as he judged it for
his interest to communicate; the other, designed to convey such
information as he was possessed of respecting European politics, being
written in Dutch, unfortunately proved unintelligible; and we could only
gather from Mr. Ormsby and the master, who spoke bad English, that a
misunderstanding subsisted between Great Britain and Spain; but on what
account could not be distinctly collected.

On the first working day after her arrival the people were employed in
delivering the cargo from the snow. The quantity of rice brought in her
was found to be short of that purchased and paid for by Lieutenant Ball
42,900 weight, and the governor consented to receive in lieu a certain
proportion of butter*, the master having a quantity of that article on
board very good. This deficiency was ascertained by weighing all the
provisions which were landed; a proceeding which the master acquiesced in
with much reluctance and some impertinence.

[* One pound of butter to eighteen pounds of rice.]

The numbers who died by sickness in the year 1790, were two seamen, one
soldier, one hundred and twenty-three male convicts, seven females, and
ten children; in all, one hundred and forty-three persons.

In the above time four male convicts were executed; one midshipman, two
soldiers, and six male convicts were drowned; one male convict perished
in the woods, and two absconded from the colony, supposed to be secreted
on board a transport; making a total decrease of one hundred and
fifty-nine persons.


New Year's Day
A convict drowned
A native killed
Signal colours stolen
_Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island
H. E. Dodd, Superintendant at Rose Hill, dies
Public works
Terms offered for the hire of the Dutch snow to England
The _Supply_ returns
State of Norfolk Island
Fishing-boat overset
Excessive heats
Officers and seamen of the _Sirius_ embark in the snow
_Supply_ sails for Norfolk Island, and the _Waaksamheyd_ for England
William Bryant and other convicts escape from New South Wales
Ruse, a settler, declares that he can maintain himself without assistance
from the public stores
Ration reduced
Orders respecting marriage
Port regulations
Public works


January.] On the first day of the new year the convicts were excused from
all kind of labour. At Rose Hill, however, this holiday proved fatal to a
young man, a convict, who, going to a pond to wash his shirt, slipped
from the side, and was unfortunately drowned.

The Indian corn beginning to ripen at that settlement, the convicts
commenced their depredations, and several of them, being taken with corn
in their possession, were punished; but nothing seemed to deter them, and
they now committed thefts as if they stole from principle; for at this
time they received the full ration, in which no difference was made
between them and the governor, or any other free person in the colony.
When all the provisions brought by the Dutch snow were received into the
public stores, the governor altered the ration, and caused five pounds of
rice to be issued in lieu of four pounds of flour, which were taken off.

Information having been received toward the close of the last month, that
some natives had thrown a spear or fiz-gig at a convict in a garden on
the west side, where they had met together to steal potatoes, the
governor sent an armed party to disperse them, when a club being thrown
by one of the natives at the party, the latter fired, and one man was
wounded. This circumstance was at first only surmised, from tracing a
quantity of blood from the spot to the water; but in a few days afterward
the natives in the town told us the name of the wounded man, and added,
that he was then dead, and to be found in a cove which they mentioned. On
going to the place, a man well known in the town since the intercourse
between us and his countrymen had been opened was found dead, and
disposed of for burning. He had been shot under the arm, the ball
dividing the subclavian artery, and Mr. White was of opinion that he bled
to death.

It was much to be regretted that any necessity existed for adopting these
sanguinary punishments, and that we had not yet been able to reconcile
the natives to the deprivation of those parts of this harbour which we
occupied. While they entertained the idea of our having dispossessed them
of their residences, they must always consider us as enemies; and upon
this principle they made a point of attacking the white people whenever
opportunity and safety concurred. It was also unfortunately found, that
our knowledge of their language consisted at this time of only a few
terms for such things as, being visible, could not well be mistaken; but
no one had yet attained words enough to convey an idea in connected
terms. It was also conceived by some among us, that those natives who
came occasionally into the town did not desire that any of the other
tribes should participate in the enjoyment of the few trifles they
procured from us. If this were true, it would for a long time retard the
general understanding of our friendly intentions toward them; and it was
not improbable but that they might for the same reason represent us in
every unfavourable light they could imagine.

About the middle of the month a theft of an extraordinary nature was
committed by some of the natives. It had been the custom to leave the
signal colours during the day at the flagstaff on the South Head, at
which place they were seen by some of these people, who, watching their
opportunity, ran away with them, and they were afterwards seen divided
among them in their canoes, and used as coverings.

On the 18th the _Supply_ quitted the cove, preparatory to her sailing for
Norfolk Island, which she did on the 22nd, having some provisions on
board for that settlement. She was to bring back Captain Hunter, with the
officers and crew of his Majesty's late ship _Sirius_. Her commander,
Lieutenant Ball, labouring under a very severe and alarming
indisposition, Mr. David Blackburn, the master, was directed by the
governor to take charge of her until Mr. Ball should be able to resume
the command.

The wound which McIntire had received proved fatal to him on the 22nd of
this month. He had appeared to be recovering, but in the afternoon of
that day died somewhat suddenly. On opening the body, the spear appeared
to have wounded the left lobe of the lungs, which was found adhering to
the side. In the cavity were discovered some of the pieces of stone and
shells with which the weapon had been armed. This man had been suspected
of having wantonly killed or wounded several of the natives in the course
of his excursions after game; but he steadily denied, from the time he
was brought in to his last moment of life, having ever fired at them but
once, and then only in defence of his own life, which he thought in

26th. Our colours were hoisted in the redoubt, in commemoration of the
day on which formal possession was taken of this cove three years before.

On the night of the 28th Henry Edward Dodd, the superintendant of
convicts employed in cultivation at Rose Hill, died of a decline. He had
been ill for some time, but his death was accelerated by exposing himself
in his shirt for three or four hours during the night, in search after
some thieves who were plundering his garden. His body was interred in a
corner of a large spot of ground which had been inclosed for the
preservation of stock, whither he was attended by all the free people and
convicts at Rose Hill. The services rendered to the public by this person
were visible in the cultivation and improvements which appeared at the
settlement where he had the direction. He had acquired an ascendancy over
the convicts, which he preserved without being hated by them; he knew how
to proportion their labour to their ability, and, by an attentive and
quiet demeanor, had gained the approbation and countenance of the
different officers who had been on duty at Rose Hill.

Mr. Thomas Clark, a superintendant who arrived here in the last year, was
directed by the governor to carry on the duties with which Mr. Dodd had
been charged, in which, it must be remarked, the care of the public grain
was included.

At Rose Hill great progress was made in the building of the new barracks.

At Sydney, the public works in hand were, building the new storehouse,
and two brick houses, one for the Rev. Mr. Johnson, and the other for
Mr. Alt, the surveyor-general. These two buildings were erected on the east
side of the cove, and in a line with those in the occupation of the
commissary and judge-advocate.

February.] The master of the Dutch snow having received instructions from
his owner, the sabandhaar at Batavia, to offer the vessel to the
governor, either for sale or for hire, after she should be cleared of her
cargo, mentioned the circumstance to his excellency, and proposed to him
to sell the vessel with all her furniture and provisions for the sum of
thirty-three thousand rix dollars, about L6,600, or to let her to hire at
fifteen rix dollars per ton per month; in either of which cases a passage
was to be provided for his people to the Cape of Good Hope. The governor
was desirous of sending this vessel to England with the officers and
people of the _Sirius_; but it was impossible to close with either of these
offers, and he rejected them as unreasonable. Her master therefore
dropped the vessel down to the lower part of the harbour, meaning to sail
immediately for Batavia. Choosing, however, to try the success of other
proposals, he wrote from Camp Cove to the secretary, offering to let the
vessel for the voyage to England for twenty-thousand rix dollars,
stipulating that thirty thousand rix dollars should be paid for her in
the event of her being lost; the crew to be landed at the Cape, and
himself to be furnished with a passage to England. On receiving this his
second offer, the governor informed him, that instead of his proposal one
pound sterling per ton per month should be given for the hire of the
snow, to be paid when the voyage for which she was to be taken up should
be completed. With this offer of the governor's, the master,
notwithstanding his having quitted the cove on his first terms being
rejected, declared himself satisfied, and directly returned to the cove,
saluting with five guns on coming to an anchor.

In adjusting the contract or charter-party, the master displayed the
greatest ignorance and the most tiresome perverseness, throwing obstacles
in the way of every clause that was inserted. It was however at length
finally settled and signed by the governor on the part of the crown, and
by Detmer Smith, the master, on the part of his owners, he consenting to
be paid for only three hundred tons instead of three hundred and fifty,
for which she had been imposed upon Lieutenant Ball at Batavia. The
carpenter of the _Supply_ measured her in this cove.

Directions were now given for fitting her up as a transport to receive
the _Sirius's_ late ship's company and officers; and Lieutenant Edgar,
who came out in the _Lady Juliana_ transport, was ordered to superintend
the fitting her, as an agent; in which situation he was to embark on
board her and return to England.

26th. The _Supply_, after an absence of just five weeks, returned from
Norfolk Island, having on board Captain Hunter, with the officers and
people of the _Sirius_; and Lieutenant John Johnson of the marines, whose
ill state of health would not permit him to remain there any longer.

We now found that our apprehensions of the distressed situation of that
settlement until it was relieved were well founded. The supply of
provisions which was dispatched in the _Justinian_ and _Surprise_ reached
them at a critical point of time, there being in store on the 7th of
August, when they appeared off the island, provisions but for a few days
at the ration then issued, which was three pounds of flour and one pint
of rice; or, in lieu of flour, three pounds of Indian meal or of wheat,
ground, and not separated from the husks or the bran. Their salt
provisions were so nearly expended, that while a bird or a fish could be
procured no salt meat was issued. The weekly ration of this article was
only one pound and an half of beef, or seventeen ounces of pork. What
their situation might have been but for the providential supply of birds
which they met with, it was impossible to say; to themselves it was too
distressing to be contemplated. On Mount Pitt they were fortunate enough
to obtain, in an abundance almost incredible, a species of aquatic birds,
answering the description of that known by the name of the Puffin. These
birds came in from the sea every evening, in clouds literally darkening
the air, and, descending on Mount Pitt, deposited their eggs in deep
holes made by themselves in the ground, generally quitting, them in the
morning, and returning to seek their subsistence in the sea. From two to
three thousand of these birds were often taken in a night. Their seeking
their food in the ocean left no doubt of their own flesh partaking of the
quality of that upon which they fed; but to people circumstanced as were
the inhabitants on Norfolk Island, this lessened not their importance;
and while any Mount Pitt birds (such being the name given them) were to
be had, they were eagerly sought. The knots of the pine tree, split and
made into small bundles, afforded the miserable occupiers of a small
speck in the ocean sufficient light to guide them through the woods, in
search of what was to serve them for next day's meal. They were also
fortunate enough to lose but a few casks of the provisions brought to the
island in the _Sirius_, by far the greater part being got safely on
shore; but so hazardous was at all times the landing in Sydney Bay, that
in discharging the two ships, the large cutter belonging to the _Sirius_
was lost upon the reef, as she was coming in with a load of casks, and
some women; by which accident, two seamen of the _Sirius_, of whom James
Coventry, tried at Sydney in 1788, for assaulting McNeal on Garden
Island, was one, three women, one child, an infant at the breast whose
mother got safe on shore, and one male convict who swam off to their
assistance, were unfortunately drowned. The weather, notwithstanding this
accident, was so favourable at other times, that in one day two hundred
and ninety casks of provisions were landed from the ships.

The experience of three years had now shown, that the summer was the only
proper season for sending stores and provisions to Norfolk Island, as
during that period the passage through the reef had been found as good,
and the landing as practicable as in any cove in Port Jackson. But this
was by no means certain or constant; for the surf had been observed to
rise when the sea beyond it was perfectly calm, and without the smallest
indication of any change in the weather. A gale of wind at a distance
from the island would suddenly occasion such a swell, that landing would
be either dangerous or impracticable.

It was matter of great satisfaction to learn, that the _Sirius's_ people,
under the direction of Captain Hunter, had been most usefully and
successfully employed in removing several rocks which obstructed the
passage through the reef, and that a correct survey of the island had
been made by Lieutenant Bradley, by which several dangers had been
discovered, which until then had been unknown.

The lieutenant-governor had, since taking upon him the command of the
settlement, caused one hundred and fourteen acres of land to be cleared;
and the late crops of maize and wheat, it was supposed, would have proved
very productive had they not been sown somewhat too late, and not only
retarded by too dry a season but infested by myriads of grubs and
caterpillars, which destroyed every thing before them, notwithstanding
the general exertions which were made for their extirpation. These vermin
were observed to visit the island during the summer, but at no fixed
period of that season.

Two pieces of very coarse canvas manufactured at Norfolk Island were sent
to the governor; but, unless better could be produced from the looms than
these specimens, little expectation was to be formed of this article ever
answering even the common culinary purposes to which canvas can be

Those officers who had passed some time in both settlements remarked,
that the air of Norfolk Island was somewhat cooler than that of ours,
here at Sydney; every breeze that blew being, from its insular situation,
felt there.

Martial law continued in force until the supplies arrived; and of the
general demeanor of the convicts during that time report spoke

The _Lady Juliana_, passing the island in her way to China, was the first
ship that was seen; but, to the inexpressible disappointment and distress
of those who saw her, as well as to the surprise of all who heard the
circumstance, the master did not send a boat on shore. Nor were they
relieved from their anxiety until two days had passed, when the other
ships arrived.

This was the substance of the information received from Norfolk Island.
From an exact survey which had been made, it was computed, that not more
than between three and four hundred families could be maintained from the
produce of the island; and that even from that number in the course of
twenty years many would be obliged to emigrate.

On the _Supply's_ coming to an anchor, the _Sirius's_ late ship's
company, whose appearance bore testimony to the miserable fare they had
met with in Norfolk Island for several months, were landed, and lodged in
the military or portable hospital, until the _Waaksamheyd_ Dutch snow
could be got ready to receive them.

William Bryant, who had been continued in the direction of the
fishing-boat after the discovery of his malpractices, was, at the latter
end of the month, overheard consulting in his hut after dark, with five
other convicts, on the practicability of carrying off the boat in which
he was employed. This circumstance being reported to the governor, it was
determined that all his proceedings should be narrowly watched, and any
scheme of that nature counteracted. The day following this conference,
however, as he was returning from fishing with a boat-load of fish, the
hook of the fore tack giving way in a squall of wind, the boat got
stern-way, and filled, by which the execution of his project was for the
present prevented. In the boat with Bryant was Bennillong's sister and
three children, who all got safe on shore, the woman swimming to the
nearest point with the youngest child upon her shoulders. Several of the
natives, on perceiving the accident, paddled off in their canoes, and
were of great service in saving the oars, mast, etc. and in towing the
boat up to the cove.

In addition to other works in hand this month, the surveyor was employed
in clearing and deepening the run of water which supplied the settlement
at Sydney, and which, through the long drought, was at this time very
low, although still sufficient for the consumption of the place. Fresh
water was indeed every where very scarce, most of the streams or runs of
water about the cove being dried up.

At Rose Hill the heat on the 10th and 11th of the month, on which days at
Sydney the thermometer stood in the shade at 105 degrees, was so
excessive (being much increased by the fire in the adjoining woods) that
immense numbers of the large fox bat were seen hanging at the boughs of
the trees, and dropping into the water, which, by their stench, was
rendered unwholesome. They had been observed for some days before
regularly taking their flight in the morning from the northward to the
southward, and returning in the evening. During the excessive heat many
dropped dead while on the wing; and it was remarkable, that those which
were picked up were chiefly males. In several parts of the harbour the
ground was covered with different sorts of small birds, some dead, and
others gasping for water.

The relief of the detachment at Rose Hill unfortunately took place on one
of these sultry days, and the officer having occasion to land in search
of water was compelled to walk several miles before any could be found,
the runs which were known being all dry; in his way to and from the boat
he found several birds dropping dead at his feet. The wind was about
north-west, and did much injury to the gardens, burning up every thing
before it. Those persons whose business compelled them to go into the
heated air declared, that it was impossible to turn the face for five
minutes to the quarter from whence the wind blew.

8 a.m. 2 p.m, 10 p.m.
The greatest height of the thermometer
during this month was, 90 105 84
The least height of the thermometer
during this month was, 62 641/2 61

March.] On the 2nd of March Lieutenant Thomas Edgar hoisted a pendant on
board the snow, in quality of naval agent, on which occasion she fired
five guns. The preparations which were making on board that vessel were
not completed until toward the latter end of the month, at which time the
officers and seamen who were to go home in her were embarked.

Of the _Sirius's_ late ship's company, ten seamen and two marines chose
rather to settle here than return to their friends. Two of the seamen
made choice of their lands in this country, the others in Norfolk Island.
The majority of them had formed connections with women, for whose sake
they consented to embrace a mode of life for which the natural
restlessness of a sailor's disposition was but ill calculated. This
motive, it is true, they disavowed; but one of the stipulations which
they were desirous of making for themselves being the indulgence of
having the women who had lived with them permitted still to do so, and it
appearing not the least important article in their consideration, seemed
to confirm the foregoing opinion.

The number of officers who were to embark was lessened by Mr. Jamison,
the surgeon's mate of the _Sirius_, receiving the governor's warrant
appointing him an assistant surgeon to the colony, in which capacity he
was to be employed at Norfolk Island. For that settlement the _Supply_
was now ready to sail; and on the 21st, one captain, two subalterns, one
serjeant, one corporal, one drummer, and eighteen privates of the New
South Wales corps, embarked on board that vessel, to relieve a part of
the marine detachment doing duty there. Mr. Jamison and the ten settlers
from the _Sirius_ were also put on board, together with some stores that
had been applied for. Allotments of sixty acres each were to be marked
out for the settlers, which they were to possess under the same
conditions as were imposed on settlers in this country.

The _Supply_ sailed the following morning, carrying an instrument under
the hand and seal of the governor, restoring to the rights and privileges
of a free man John Ascott, a convict at Norfolk Island, who had rendered
himself very conspicuous by his exertions in preventing the _Sirius_ from
being burnt soon after she was wrecked.

On Monday the 28th the _Waaksamheyd_ transport sailed for England, having
on board Captain Hunter, with the officers and crew of his majesty's late
ship _Sirius_. By Captain Hunter's departure, which was regretted by
every one who shared the pleasure of his society, the administration of
the country would now devolve upon the lieutenant-governor, in case of the
death or absence of the governor; a dormant commission having been signed
by his majesty investing Captain Hunter with the chief situation in the
colony in the event of either of the above circumstances taking place.

In the course of the night of the 28th, Bryant, whose term of
transportation, according to his own account, expired some day in this
month, eluded the watch that was kept upon him, and made his escape,
together with his wife and two children (one an infant at the breast) and
seven other convicts, in the fishing-boat, which, since the accident at
the latter end of the last month, he had taken care to keep in excellent
order. Their flight was not discovered until they had been some hours
without the Heads.

They were traced from Bryant's hut to the Point, and in the path were
found a hand-saw, a scale, and four or five pounds of rice, scattered
about in different places, which, it was evident, they had dropped in
their haste. At the Point, where some of the party must have been taken
in, a seine belonging to government was found, which, being too large for
Bryant's purpose, he had exchanged for a smaller that he had made for an
officer, and which he had from time to time excused himself from
completing and sending home.

The names of these desperate adventurers were,

Came in the first fleet,
William Bryant, His sentence was expired.
Mary Braud his wife, and two children, She had 2 years to serve.
James Martin, He had 1 year to serve.
James Cox, He was transported for life.
Samuel Bird, He had 1 year and 4 months to serve.
Came in the second fleet,
William Allen, He was transported for life.
Samuel Broom, He had 4 years and 4 months to serve.
Nathaniel Lilly, He was transported for life.
William Morton, He had 5 years and 1 month to serve.

So soon as it was known in the settlement that Bryant had got out of
reach, we learned that Detmer Smith, the master of the _Waaksamheyd_, had
sold him a compass and a quadrant, and had furnished him with a chart,
together with such information as would assist him in his passage to the
northward. On searching Bryant's hut, cavities under the boards were
found, where he had secured the compass and such other articles as
required concealment: and he had contrived his escape with such address,
that although he was well known to be about making an attempt, yet how
far he was prepared, as well as the time when he meant to go, remained a
secret. Most of his companions were connected with women; but if these
knew any thing, they were too faithful to those they lived with to reveal
it. Had the women been bound to them by any ties of affection, fear for
their safety, or the dislike to part, might have induced some of them to
have defeated the enterprise; but not having any interest either in their
flight, or in their remaining here, they were silent on the subject. For
one young woman, Sarah Young, a letter was found the next morning,
written by James Cox, and left at a place where he was accustomed to work
in his leisure hours as a cabinet-maker, conjuring her to give over the
pursuit of the vices which, he told her, prevailed in the settlement,
leaving to her what little property he did not take with him, and
assigning as a reason for his flight the severity of his situation, being
transported for life, without the prospect of any mitigation, or hope of
ever quitting the country, but by the means he was about to adopt. It was
conjectured that they would steer for Timor, or Batavia, as their
assistance and information were derived from the Dutch snow.

The situation of these people was very different from that of Tarwood and
his associates, who were but ill provided for an undertaking so perilous;
but Bryant had long availed himself of the opportunities given him by
selling fish to collect provisions together, and his boat was a very good
one, and in excellent order; so that there was little reason to doubt
their reaching Timor, if no dissension prevailed among them, and they had
but prudence enough to guard against the natives wherever they might
land. William Morton was said to know something of navigation; James Cox
had endeavoured to acquire such information on the subject as might serve
him whenever a fit occasion should present itself, and Bryant and Bird
knew perfectly well how to manage a boat. What story they could invent on
their arrival at any port, sufficiently plausible to prevent suspicion of
their real characters, it was not easy to imagine.

The depredations committed on the Indian corn at Rose Hill were so
frequent and so extensive, that it became absolutely necessary to punish
such offenders as were detected with a severity that might deter others;
to this end, iron collars of seven pounds weight were ordered as a
punishment for flagrant offenders, who were also linked together by a
chain, without which precaution they would still have continued to
plunder the public grounds. The baker at that settlement absconded with a
quantity of flour with which he had been entrusted, belonging to the
military on duty there, and other persons. He was taken some days
afterward in the woods near Sydney. It must be remarked, however, that
all these thefts were for the procuring of provisions, and that offences
of any other tendency were very seldom heard of.

Some time in this month, James Ruse, the first settler in this country,
who had been upon his ground about fifteen months, having got in his crop
of corn, declared himself desirous of relinquishing his claim to any
further provisions from the store, and said that he was able to support
himself by the produce of his farm. He had shown himself an industrious
man; and the governor, being satisfied that he could do without any
further aid from the stores, consented to his proposal, and informed him
that he should be forthwith put in possession of an allotment of thirty
acres of ground in the situation he then occupied.

To secure our fresh water, which, though very low, might still be
denominated _a run_, the governor caused a ditch to be dug on each side
of it at some distance from the stream, and employed some people to erect
a paling upon the bank, to keep out stock, and protect the shrubs within
from being destroyed.

April.] The supplies of provisions which had been received in the last
year not warranting the continuing any longer at the ration now issued,
the governor thought it expedient to make a reduction of flour, rice, and
salt provisions. Accordingly, on the first Saturday in this month each
man, woman, and child above ten years of age, was to receive:

3 pounds of flour, 1 pound being taken off;
3 pounds of rice, ditto;
3 pounds of pork, ditto;
or when beef should be served,
41/2 pounds of beef, 21/2 pounds being taken off.

A small proportion was to be given to children under ten years of age;
and this ration the commissary was directed to issue until further
orders. Of this allowance the flour was the best article; the rice was
found to be full of weevils; the pork was ill-flavoured, rusty, and
smoked; and the beef was lean, and, by being cured with spices, truly
unpalatable. Much of both these articles when they came to be dressed
could not be used, and, being the best that could be procured at Batavia,
no inclination was excited by these specimens to try that market again.

It having been reported to the governor, that Bryant had been frequently
heard to express, what was indeed the general sentiment on the subject
among the people of his description, that he did not consider his
marriage in this country as binding; his excellency caused the convicts
to be informed, that none would be permitted to quit the colony who had
wives or children incapable of maintaining themselves and likely to
become burdensome to the settlement, until they had found sufficient
security for the maintenance of such wives or children as long as they
might remain after them. This order was designed as a check upon the
erroneous opinion which was formed of the efficacy of Mr. Johnson's
nuptial benediction; and if Bryant had thought as little of it as he was
reported to do, his taking his wife with him could only be accounted for
by a dread of her defeating his plan by discovery if she was not made
personally interested in his escape.

This order was shortly after followed by another, limiting the length of
such boats as should be built by individuals to fourteen feet from stem
to stern, that the size of such boats might deter the convicts from
attempts to take them off.

About this time some information being received, that it was in agitation
to take away the sixteen-oared boat belonging to the colony, or some one
or two of the smaller boats, a sentinel was placed at night on each
wharf, and the officer of the guard was to be spoken to before any boat
could leave the cove. In addition to this regulation, it was directed,
that the names of all such people as it might be necessary to employ in
boats after sun-set should be given in writing to the officer of the
guard, to prevent any convicts not belonging to officers or to the public
boats from taking them from the wharfs under pretence of fishing or other

Mr. Schaffer, who came out from England as a superintendent of convicts,
finding himself, from not speaking the language (being a German)
inadequate to the just discharge of that duty, gave up his appointment as
a superintendant, and accepted of a grant of land; and an allotment of
one hundred and forty acres were marked out for him on the south side of
the creek leading to Rose Hill. On the same side of the creek, but nearer
to Rose Hill, two allotments of sixty acres each were marked out for two
settlers from the _Sirius_. On the opposite side the governor had placed
a convict, Charles Williams, who had recommended himself to his notice by
extraordinary propriety of conduct as an overseer, giving him thirty
acres, and James Ruse received a grant of the same quantity of land at
Rose Hill. These were all the settlers at this time established in New
South Wales; but the governor was looking out for some situations in the
vicinity of Rose Hill for other settlers, from among the people whose
sentences of transportation had expired.

During this month the governor made an excursion to the westward, but he
reached no farther than the banks of the Hawkesbury, and returned to Rose
Hill on the 6th, without making any discovery of the least importance. At
that settlement, the Indian corn was nearly all gathered off the ground;
but it could not be said to have been all gathered in, for much of it had
been stolen by the convicts. So great a desire for tobacco prevailed
among these people, that a man was known to have given the greatest part
of his week's provisions for a small quantity of that article; and it was
sold, the produce of the place, for ten and even fifteen shillings per
pound. The governor, on being made acquainted with this circumstance,
intimated an intention of prohibiting the growth of tobacco, judging it
to be more for the true interest of the people to cultivate the
necessaries than the luxuries of life.

The public works at Rose Hill consisted in building the officers
barracks; a small guardhouse near the governor's hut; a small house for
the judge-advocate (whose occasional presence there as a magistrate was
considered necessary by the governor), and for the clergyman; and in
getting in the Indian corn.

At Sydney, the house for the surveyor-general was covered in; and the
carpenters were employed in finishing that for the clergyman. Bricks were
also brought in for a house for the principal surgeon, to be built near
the hospital on the west side.

Many thefts, and some of money, were committed during the month at both
settlements. A hut belonging to James Davis, employed as a coxswain to
the public boats, was broken into; but nothing was stolen, Davis having
taken his money with him, and nothing else appearing to have been the
object of their search. His hut was situated out of the view of any
sentinel, and a night was chosen for the attempt when it was known that
he was on duty at Rose Hill.


A Musket found by a native
Reports of plans to seize boats
_Supply_ arrives from Norfolk Island
The King's birthday
A canoe destroyed
Its evil effects
Corn sown
Battery begun
One hundred and forty acres inclosed for cattle
The _Mary Ann_ arrives
Two criminal courts held
Ration improved
The _Matilda_ arrives
The _Mary Ann_ sails for Norfolk Island
The _Atlantic_ and _Salamander_ arrive
Full ration issued
The _William and Ann_ arrives
Public works

May.] Cole-be, the native who since our communication with these people
had attached himself to Mr. White, the principal surgeon, made his
appearance one morning in the beginning of the month with a musket,
which, on diving into the sea for something else, he had brought up with
him. It was supposed to have been lost from Mr. White's boat in November
last at the lower part of the harbour.

The scheme for seizing one of the boats was resumed in this month, and
appeared to be in great forwardness. The boat however was changed, the
long-boat being chosen instead of that which was at first thought of. She
was to be seized the first time she should be employed in towing the boy
with provisions to Rose Hill; out of which they were to take what
quantity they required for their purpose, land the crew, and run her
ashore. On receiving this information, the governor, instead of sending
the hoy up with different species of provisions, caused her to be loaded
with rice, and a small quantity of flour, in some measure to defeat their
scheme, at least for that time, as the information did not state that
they had collected any salt provisions. She was accordingly dispatched
with flour and rice, and returned safely, no attempt having been made to
stop her. It was then said, that they were at a loss for a person to
navigate her; and that a deposit of powder and ball was made at a farm
near the brick-fields; where however, on searching, nothing of the kind
was found. Various other reports were whispered during the month, which,
whether founded in truth or not, had this good effect, that every
necessary precaution was taken to prevent their succeeding in any attempt
of that kind which they might be desperate enough to make.

Much anxiety was excited on account of the long and unusual absence of
the _Supply_, which sailed for Norfolk Island on the 22nd day of March,
and did not return to this harbour until the 30th of this month, which
completed ten weeks within a day since she sailed. Contrary winds and
heavy gales had prevented her arrival at the time she might have been
reasonably expected. She was three weeks in her passage hither, and was
blown off the island for eleven days.

Captain Johnston, Lieutenants Creswell and Kellow, one sergeant, one
corporal, one drummer, and twenty privates of the marine detachment,
arrived in the _Supply_; with two prisoners, one a soldier for some
irregularity of conduct when sentinel, the other a convict.

The weather had been as dry at Norfolk Island as it had been here; which,
with the blighting winds, had considerably injured all the gardens, and
particularly some crops of potatoes. Of the great fertility of the soil
every account brought the strongest confirmation; and by attending to the
proper season for sowing, it was the general opinion that two crops of
corn might be got off in a year.

Their provisions, like ours, were again at so low an ebb, that the
lieutenant-governor had reduced the ration. The whole number victualled
when the _Supply_ sailed amounted to six hundred and twenty-nine persons;
and for that number there were in store at the _full_ ration, flour and
Indian corn for twenty weeks, beef for eighteen weeks, and pork for
twenty-nine weeks; and these, at the ration then issued, would be
prolonged, the grain to twenty-seven, the beef to forty-two, and the
pork to twenty-nine weeks.

It must however be remarked, that the ration at Norfolk Island was often
uncertain, being regulated by the plenty or scarcity of the Mount Pitt
birds. Great numbers of these birds had been killed for some time before
the _Supply_ sailed thence; but they were observed about that time to be
quitting the island.

On board the _Supply_ were some planks, and such part of the stores
belonging to the _Sirius_ as the lieutenant-governor could get on board.
That ship had not then gone to pieces; the side of her which was on the
reef was broken in and much injured, but the side next the sea (the
larboard side) appeared fresh and perfect.

At Sydney, by an account taken at the latter end of the month of the
provisions then remaining in store, there appeared to be at the ration
then issued of

Flour and rice 40 weeks, a supply till 31st March 1792;
Beef 12 weeks, a supply till 31st August 1791;
Pork 27 weeks, a supply till 21st December 1791.

In this account the rice and flour were taken together as one article,
but the rice bore by far the greatest proportion.

It was remarked by many in the settlement, that both at Sydney and at
Rose Hill the countenances of the labouring convicts indicated the
shortness of the ration they received; this might be occasioned by their
having suffered so much before from the same cause, from the effects of
which they had scarcely been restored when they were again called upon to
experience the hardship of a reduced ration of provisions. The convicts
who arrived in June had not recovered from the severity of their passage
to this country.

It having been said that James Ruse, who in March last had declared his
ability to support himself independent of the store, was starving, the
governor told him, that in consideration of his having been upon a short
allowance of provisions during nearly the whole of the time he had been
cultivating ground upon his own account, the storekeeper should be
directed to supply him with twenty pounds of salt provisions. The man
assured his excellency that he did not stand in need of his bounty,
having by him at the time a small stock of provisions; a quantity of
Indian corn (which he found no difficulty in exchanging for salt meat)
and a bag of flour; all which enabled him to do so well, that he
absolutely begged permission to _decline_ the offer. So very
contradictory was his own account of his situation to that which had been

The barracks at Rose Hill, being so far completed as to admit of being
occupied, were taken possession of this month by the New South Wales corps.

Several thefts of provisions were committed; two, that were of some
consequence, appeared as if the provisions had been collected for some
particular purpose; and, if so, perhaps only passed from the possession
of one thief to that of another. While a stalk of Indian corn remained
upon the ground, the convicts resolved to plunder it, and several were
severely punished; but it did not appear that they were amended by the
correction, nor that others were deterred by the example of their
punishment. So truly incorrigible were many of these people!

Finishing the clergyman's and surveyor's houses; bringing in bricks for
other buildings; posts and paling for a fence round the run of water; and
making clothing for the people, occupied the convicts at Sydney.

June.] The bad weather met with by the _Supply_ during her late voyage to
Norfolk Island had done her so much injury, that, on a careful
examination of her defects, it appeared that she could not be got ready
for sea in less than three months. In addition to other repairs which
were indispensable, her main mast was found so defective, that after
cutting off eighteen feet from the head of it and finding the heel nearly
as bad, the carpenter was of opinion that she must be furnished with an
entire new mast. This, when the difficulty of finding timber for her
foremast (which, it must be remarked, bore the heavy gales of wind she
met with, as well as could be desired even of wood the fittest for masts)
was recollected, was an unlucky and an ill-timed want; for, should it
happen that supplies were not received from England by the middle or end
of the month of July, the services of this vessel would be again
required; and, to save the colony, she must at that time have been
dispatched to some settlement in India for provisions. She was therefore
forthwith hauled along side the rocks, and people were employed to look
for sound timber fit for a mast.

On his Majesty's birthday an extra allowance of provisions was issued to
the garrison and settlements; each man receiving one pound of salt meat,
and the like quantity of rice; each woman half a pound of meat and one
pound of rice; and each child a quarter of a pound of meat and half a
pound of rice. And to make it a cheerful day to every one, all offenders
who had for stealing Indian corn been ordered to wear iron collars were

The town which had been marked out at Rose Hill, and which now wore
something of a regular appearance, on this occasion received its name.
The governor called it Parramatta, being the name by which the natives
distinguished the part of the country on which the town stood.

Notwithstanding the lenity and indulgence which had been shown on his
Majesty's birthday, in pardoning the plunderers of gardens and the public
grounds, and by issuing an extra allowance of provisions to every one,
the governor's garden at Parramatta was that very night entered and
robbed by six men, who assaulted the watchman, Thomas Ocraft, and would
have escaped all together, had he not, with much resolution, secured
three of them for punishment.

Indulgences of this nature were certainly thrown away upon many who
partook of them; but as it was impossible to discriminate so nicely
between the good and the bad as wholly to exclude the undeserving, no
distinction could be made.

The people who had assaulted the watchman were severely punished, as his
authority could never have been supported without such an example; but
either his vigilance, or the countenance which was shown to him on
account of his strict performance of his duty, created him many enemies;
and it became necessary to give him arms, as well for his own defence, as
for the more effectual protection of the district he watched over. Some
nights after, in a turnip ground at Parramatta, he was obliged to fire at
a convict, whom he wounded, but not dangerously, and secured. He was sent
down to the hospital at Sydney.

Since the establishment of that familiar intercourse which now subsisted
between us and the natives, several of them had found it their interest
to sell or exchange fish among the people at Parramatta; they being
contented to receive a small quantity of either bread or salt meat in
barter for mullet, bream, and other fish. To the officers who resided
there this proved a great convenience, and they encouraged the natives to
visit them as often as they could bring them fish. There were, however,
among the convicts some who were so unthinking, or so depraved, as
wantonly to destroy a canoe belonging to a fine young man, a native, who
had left it at some little distance from the settlement, and as he hoped
out of the way of observation, while he went with some fish to the huts.
His rage at finding his canoe destroyed was inconceivable; and he
threatened to take his own revenge, and in his own way, upon all white
people. Three of the six people who had done him the injury, however,
were so well described by some one who had seen them, that, being closely
followed, they were taken and punished, as were the remainder in a few
days after.

The instant effect of all this was, that the natives discontinued to
bring up fish; and Bal-loo-der-ry, whose canoe had been destroyed,
although he had been taught to believe that one of the six convicts had
been hanged for the offence, meeting a few days afterwards with a poor
wretch who had strayed from Parramatta as far as the Flats, he wounded
him in two places with a spear. This act of Ballooderry's was followed by
the governor's strictly forbidding him to appear again at any of the
settlements; the other natives, his friends, being alarmed, Parramatta
was seldom visited by any of them, and all commerce with them was
destroyed. How much greater claim to the appellation of savages had the
wretches who were the cause of this, than the native who was the

During this month some rain had fallen, which had encouraged the sowing
of the public grounds, and one hundred and sixteen bushels of wheat were
sown at Parramatta. Until these rains fell, the ground was so dry, hard,
and literally burnt up, that it was almost impossible to break it with a
hoe, and until this time there had been no hope or probability of the
grain vegetating.

In the beginning of the month, the stone-mason, with the people under his
direction, had begun working at the west point of the cove, where the
governor purposed constructing out of the rock a spot whereon to place
the guns belonging to the settlement, which was to wear the appearance of
a _work_. The flagstaff was to be placed in the same situation. The house
for the principal surgeon was got up and covered in during this month.

Among the convicts who died about this time, was ---- Frazer, a man who
came out in the first fleet, and who, since his landing, had been
employed as a blacksmith. He was an excellent workman, and was supposed
to have brought on an untimely end by hard drinking, as he seldom chose
to accept of any article but spirits in payment for work done in his
extra hours.

July.] To guard against a recurrence of the accident which happened to
our cattle soon after we had arrived, the governor had for some time past
employed a certain number of convicts at Parramatta in forming
inclosures; and at the commencement of this month not less than one
hundred and forty acres were thinned of the timber, surrounded by a
ditch, and guarded by a proper fence.

In addition to the quantity of ground sown with wheat, a large proportion
was cleared to be sown this season with Indian corn; and the country
about Parramatta, as well as the town itself, where eight huts were now
built, wore a very promising appearance.

At Sydney, the little ground that was in cultivation belonged to
individuals; the whole labour of the convicts employed in clearing ground
being exerted at Parramatta, where the soil, though not the best for the
purposes of agriculture (according to the opinion of every man who
professed any knowledge of farming) was still better than the sand about
Sydney, where, to raise even a cabbage after the first crop, manure was
absolutely requisite.

On the morning of the ninth, the signal for a sail was made at the
South Head; and before night it was made known that the _Mary Ann_
transport was arrived from England, with one hundred and forty-one female
convicts on board, six children, and one free woman, some clothing, and
the following small quantity of provisions: one hundred and thirty-two
barrels of flour; sixty-one tierces of pork; and thirty-two tierces of

This ship sailed alone; but we were informed that she was to be followed
by nine sail of transports, on board of which were embarked (including
one hundred and fifty women, the number put into the _Mary Ann_) two
thousand and fifty male and female convicts; the whole of which were to
be expected in the course of six weeks or two months, together with his
Majesty's ship _Gorgon_.

We also learned that Lieutenant King, who sailed hence the 17th April
1790, arrived in London the 20th day of December following, having
suffered much distress after leaving Batavia, whence he was obliged to go
to the Mauritius, having lost nearly all the crew of the packet he was in
by sickness. Mr. Millar, the late commissary, died on the 28th of August.

With great satisfaction we heard, that from our government having adopted
a system of sending out convicts at two embarkations in every year, at
which time provisions were also to be sent, it was not probable that we
should again experience the misery and want with which we had been but
too well acquainted, from not having had any regular mode of supply.
Intimation was likewise given, that a cargo of grain might be expected to
arrive from Bengal, some merchants at that settlement having proposed to
Lord Cornwallis, on hearing of the loss of the _Guardian_, to freight a
ship with such a cargo as would be adapted to the wants of the colony,
and to supply the different articles at a cheaper rate than they could be
sent hither from England. We were also to expect a transport with live
stock from the north west coast of America.

The master, Mark Monroe, had not any private letters on board; but (what
added to the disappointment every one experienced) he had not brought a
single newspaper; and, having been but a few weeks from Greenland before
he sailed for this country, he was destitute of any kind of information.

The _Mary Ann_ had a quick passage, having been only four months and
sixteen days from England. She touched nowhere, except at the island of
St. Iago, where she remained ten days. The master landed a boat in a bay
on this coast about fifteen miles to the southward of Botany Bay; but
made no other observation of any consequence to the colony, than that
there was a bay in which a boat might land.

The women, who were all very healthy, and who spoke highly of the
treatment which they had experienced from Mr. Monroe, were landed
immediately after the arrival of the transport in the cove, and were
distributed among the huts at Sydney, while the governor went up to
Parramatta to make such preparation as the time would admit for the
numbers he expected to receive.

The convicts whose terms of transportation had expired were now
collected, and by the authority of the governor informed, that such of
them as wished to become settlers in this country should receive every
encouragement; that those who did not, were to labour for their
provisions, stipulating to work for twelve or eighteen months certain;
and that in the way of such as preferred returning to England no
obstacles would be thrown, provided they could procure passages from the
masters of such ships as might arrive; but that they were not to expect
any assistance on the part of Government to that end. The wish to return
to their friends appeared to be the prevailing idea, a few only giving in
their names as settlers, and none engaging to work for a certain time.

We had twice in this month found occasion to assemble the court of
criminal judicature. In the night of Saturday the 16th, a soldier of the
marine detachment was detected by the patrols in the spirit cellar
adjoining to the deputy-commissary's house, the lock of which he had
forced. On being taken up, he offered, if he could be admitted an
evidence, to convict two others; which being allowed, the court was
assembled on the 19th, when two of his brother soldiers were tried; but
for want of evidence sufficiently strong to corroborate the testimony of
the accomplice, they were of necessity acquitted. Godfrey the accomplice
was afterwards tried by a military court for neglect of duty and
disobedience of orders in quitting his post when sentinel; which offence
being proved against him, he was sentenced to receive eight hundred
lashes, and to be drummed out of the corps. In the evening of the day on
which he was tried (the 21st) he received three hundred lashes, and was
drummed out with every mark of disgrace that could be shown him. In a
short time afterwards the two soldiers who had been acquitted were sent
to do duty at the South Head. There was little room to doubt, but that in
concert with Godfrey they had availed themselves of their situations as
sentinels, and frequently entered the cellar; and it was judged necessary
to place them where they would be disabled from concerting any future
scheme with him.

A convict was tried for a burglary by the same court, but was acquitted.
On the 27th another court was assembled for the trial of James Chapman,
for a burglary committed in the preceding month in the house of John
Petree, a convict, in which he stole several articles of wearing apparel.
Charles Cross and Joseph Hatton, two convicts, were also tried for
receiving them knowing them to be stolen. Chapman the principal, refusing
to plead any thing but guilty, received sentence of death. Against the
receivers it appeared in evidence, that after the burglary was committed
the property was concealed in the woods between Sydney and Parramatta, at
which place all the parties resided; that having suffered it to remain
some weeks, Chapman and Cross went from Parramatta to bring it away; and
while they were so employed, Hatton found that the watchmen were going in
pursuit of Chapman; on which he directly set off to meet and advertise
them of it, and receive the property, which, by a clear chain of
evidence, he was proved to have taken and concealed again in the woods.
Hatton was found guilty, and sentenced to receive eight hundred lashes.
Cross was acquitted. Chapman was executed the following day at noon. Half
an hour before he died, he informed the judge-advocate and the clergyman
who attended him, that a plan was formed of breaking into the
government-house, and robbing it of a large sum of money which it was
imagined the governor kept in it; and that it was to be executed by
himself and three other convicts, all of whom were, however, very far
from being of suspicious characters. But as there was no reason to
suppose that a person in such an awful situation would invent an
accusation by which he could not himself be benefited, and which might
injure three innocent people, the governor took all the precautions that
he thought necessary to guard against the meditated villainy.

A practice having been discovered, of purchasing the soldiers regimental
necessaries for the purpose of disposing of them among the shipping, and
this requiring a punishment that should effectually check it, Bond, a
convict who baked for the hospital and others, was brought before two
magistrates, and, being convicted of having bought several articles of
wearing apparel which had been served to a soldier, was sentenced to pay
the penalty prescribed by act of parliament, five pounds; or, on failure
within a certain time, to go to prison. Having made some considerable
profits in the exercise of his trade as a baker, he preferred paying the

It being always desirable to go as near the established ration as the
state of the stores would allow, and the governor never wishing to keep
the labouring man one moment longer than was absolutely necessary upon a
reduced allowance of provisions, he directed two pounds of rice to be
added to the weekly proportion of that article; but, although by this
addition eight pounds of grain were issued, viz three pounds of flour and
five pounds of rice, the ration was far from being brought up to the
standard established by the Treasury for the colony; five pounds of bad
worm-eaten rice making a most inadequate substitute for the same quantity
of good flour. In the article of meat the labouring man suffered still
more; for in a given quantity of sixty pounds, which were issued on one
serving day to two messes, there were no less than forty pounds of bone,
and the remainder, which was intended to be eaten, was almost too far
advanced in putrefaction for even hunger to get down. It must be observed
that it came in the snow from Batavia.

Patrick Burn, a person employed to shoot for the commanding officer of
the marine detachment, died this month: and the hut that he had lived in
was burnt down in the night a few hours after his decease, by the
carelessness of the people, who were Irish and were sitting up with the
corpse, which was with much difficulty saved from the flames, and not
until it was much scorched.

August.] On Monday, the 1st of August, the _Matilda_, the first of the
expected fleet of transports, arrived, after an extraordinary passage of
four months and five days, from Portsmouth; having sailed from thence on
the 27th day of March last, with four sail of transports for this place,
with whom she parted company that night off Dunnoze. Another division of
transports had sailed a week before from Plymouth Sound. On board the
_Matilda_ were two hundred and five male convicts, one ensign, one.
sergeant, one corporal, one drummer, and nineteen privates, of the New
South Wales corps; and some stores and provisions calculated as a supply
for the above number for nine months after their arrival.

The master of this ship anchored for two days in a bay of one of
Schoeten's Islands, distant from the main land about twelve miles, in the
latitude of 42 degrees 15 minutes S.: where, according to his report,
five or six ships might find shelter. Those who were on shore saw the
footsteps of different kinds of animals, and traces of natives, such as
huts, fires, broken spears, and the instrument which they use for
throwing the spear. They spoke of the soil as sandy, and observed that
the ground was covered with shrubs such as were to be found here.

The convicts in this ship, on their landing, appeared to be aged and
infirm, the state in which they were said to have been embarked. It was
not therefore to be wondered at, that they had buried twenty-five on the
passage. One soldier also died. Twenty were brought in sick, and were
immediately landed at the hospital.

It was intended by the governor that this ship should have proceeded
immediately to Norfolk Island with the greater part of the convicts she
had on board, together with all the stores and provisions; but the
master, Mr. Matthew Weatherhead, requesting that as the ship was very
leaky the _Mary Ann_ might be permitted to perform the service required,
instead of the _Matilda_ (both ships belonging to the same owners), and
the _Mary Ann_ being perfectly ready for sea, the governor consented to
this proposal; and that ship was hauled alongside the _Matilda_ to
receive her cargo. Fifty-five of the convicts brought in this ship,
selected from the others as farmers or artificers, were sent up to
Parramatta; of the remainder, those whose health would permit them to go
were put on board the _Mary Ann_, together with thirty-two convicts of
bad character from among those who came out in the preceding year, and
eleven privates of the New South Wales corps. On the Monday following
(the 8th) the _Mary Ann_ sailed for Norfolk Island.

At Parramatta the only accommodation which the shortness of the notice
admitted of being provided for the people who were on their passage was
got up; two tent huts, one hundred feet long, thatched with grass, were
erected; and, independent of the risk which the occupiers might run from
fire, they would afford good and comfortable shelter from the weather.

The governor had now chosen situations for his settlers, and fixed them
on their different allotments. Twelve convicts, whose terms of
transportation had expired, he placed in a range of farms at the foot of
a hill named Prospect Hill, about four miles west from Parramatta;
fifteen others were placed on allotments in a district named the Ponds,
from a range of fresh-water ponds being in their vicinity; these were
situated two miles in a direction north-east of Parramatta. Between every
allotment, a space had been reserved equal to the largest grant on either
side, pursuant to the instructions which the governor had received; but
it was soon found that this distribution might be attended with much
disadvantage to the settler; a thick wood of at least thirty acres must
lie between every allotment; and a circumstance happened which showed the
inconvenience consequent thereon, and determined the governor to deviate
from the instructions, whenever, by adhering to them, the settlers were
likely to be material sufferers.

In the beginning of the month information was received, that a much
larger party of the natives than had yet been seen assembled at any one
time had destroyed a hut belonging to a settler at Prospect Hill, who
would have been murdered by them, but for the timely and accidental
appearance of another settler with a musket. There was no doubt of the
hut having been destroyed, and by natives, though perhaps their numbers
were much exaggerated; the governor, therefore, determined to place other
settlers upon the allotments which had been reserved for the crown; by
which means assistance in similar or other accidents would be more ready.

After the arrival of the _Matilda_, the governor, judging that his stores
would admit of increasing the weekly allowance of flour, directed that
(instead of three) five pounds of that article should be issued to each
man; and to each woman an addition of half a pound to the three which
they before received. The other articles of the ration remained as

The platform which had been constructing on the West Point since June
last being ready for the reception of the cannon, they were moved thither
about the middle of the month; in doing which, a triangle which was made
use of, not being properly secured, slipped and fell upon a convict (an
overseer), by which accident his thigh was dislocated, and his body much
bruised. He was taken to the hospital, where, fortunately, Mr. White
immediately reduced the luxation.

About noon on Saturday the 20th, the _Atlantic_ transport anchored in the
cove from Plymouth, whence she sailed with two other transports, and
parted with them about five weeks since in bad weather between Rio de
Janeiro and this port, the passage from which had not been more than ten
weeks. She had on board a sergeant's party of the new corps as a guard to
two hundred and twenty male convicts, eighteen of whom died on the
passage. The remainder came in very healthy, there being only nine sick
on board. The evening before her arrival she stood into a capacious bay,
situated between Long Nose and Cape St. George, where they found good
anchorage and deep water. Lieutenant Richard Bowen, the naval agent on
board, who landed, described the soil to be sandy, and the country
thickly covered with timber. He did not see any natives, but found a
canoe upon the beach, whose owners perhaps were not far off. This canoe,
by Lieutenant Bowen's account, appeared to be on a somewhat stronger
construction than the canoes of Port Jackson.

The signal for another sail was made the next morning at the Lookout, and
about one o'clock the _Salamander_ transport arrived. She sailed from
England under Lieutenant Bowen's orders, with a sergeant's party of the
new corps and one hundred and sixty male convicts on board, one hundred
and fifty-five of whom she brought in all healthy, except one man who was
in the sick list. The party arrived without the sergeant, he having
deserted on their leaving England.

Both these transports having brought a supply of provisions calculated to
serve nine months for the convicts that were embarked, the governor
directed the commissary to issue the full ration of provisions, serving
rice in lieu of peas; the reduced ration having continued from Saturday
the 2nd day of last April to Saturday the 27th of August; twenty-one

A party of one hundred convicts were sent from the Atlantic to
Parramatta, the remainder were landed and disposed of at Sydney. The
_Salamander_ was ordered to proceed to Norfolk Island with the people and
the cargo she had on board.

There were at this time not less than seventy persons from the _Matilda_
and _Atlantic_ under medical treatment, being weak, emaciated, and unfit
for any kind of labour; and the list was increasing. It might have been
supposed that on changing from the unwholesome air of a ship's
between-decks to the purer air of this country, the weak would have
gathered strength; but it had been observed, that in general soon after
landing, the convicts were affected with dysenteric complaints, perhaps
caused by the change of water, many dying, and others who had strength to
overcome the disease recovering from it but slowly.

On the 28th the _William and Ann_ transport arrived (the last of
Lieutenant Bowen's division). She had on board one sergeant and twelve
privates of the new corps, one hundred and eighty-one male convicts, with
her proportion of stores and provisions. She sailed with one hundred and
eighty-eight convicts from England, but lost seven on the passage; the
remainder came in very healthy, five only being so ill as to require
removal. The first mate of this ship, Mr. Simms, formerly belonged to the
_Golden Grove_ transport.

The town beginning to fill with strangers (officers and seamen from the
transports) and spirituous liquors finding their way among the convicts,
it was ordered that none should be landed until a permit had been granted
by the judge-advocate; and the provost-marshal, his assistant, and two
principals of the watch, were deputed to seize all spirituous liquors
which might be landed without.

Ballooderry, the proscribed native, having ventured into the town with
some of his friends, one or two armed parties were sent to seize him, and
a spear having been thrown (it was said by him) two muskets were fired,
by which one of his companions was wounded in the leg; but Ballooderry
was not taken. On the following day it was given out in orders, that he
was to be taken whenever an opportunity offered; and that any native
attempting to throw a spear in his defence, as it was well known among
them why vengeance was denounced against him, was, if possible, to be
prevented from escaping with impunity.

Those who knew Ballooderry regretted that it had been necessary to treat
him with this harshness, as among his countrymen we had no where seen a
finer young man. The person who had been wounded by him in the month of
June last was not yet recovered.

Discharging the transports formed the principal labour of the month; the
shingles on the roof of the old hospital being found to decay fast, and
many falling off, the whole were removed, and the building was covered
with tiles.

The convicts at Parramatta were employed in opening some ground about a
mile and a half above that settlement, along the south side of the creek;
and it was expected from the exertions which they were making, that
between forty and fifty acres would be soon ready for sowing with Indian
corn for this season. Their labour was directed by Thomas Daveney, a free
person who came out with the governor.


The _Salamander_ sails for, and the _Mary Ann_ arrives from Norfolk Island
Bondel, a native, returns
A seaman, for sinking a canoe, punished
The _Gorgon_ arrives
Commission of emancipation, and public seal
The _Active_ and _Queen_ arrive
Complaints against the master of the _Queen_
_Supply_ ordered home
_Albemarle_ arrives
Mutiny on board
_Britannia_ and _Admiral Barrington_ arrive
Future destination of the transports
The _Atlantic_ and _Queen_ hired
_Atlantic_ sails for Bengal
_Salamander_ returns from Norfolk Island
Public works

September.] It became necessary to land the cargo brought out in the
_Salamander_, for the purpose of restowing it in a manner convenient for
getting it out at Norfolk Island while the ship was under sail. The great
inconvenience attending landing a cargo in such a situation had been
pointed out in letters which could not yet have been attended to. It was
at the same time suggested, that ships should be freighted purposely for
Norfolk Island, with casks and bales adapted to the size of the island
boats, which would in a great measure lessen the inconvenience above

On the 3rd, near two hundred male convicts, with a sergeant's party of
the New South Wales corps, some stores and provisions, having been put on
board the _Salamander_, she sailed for Norfolk Island the following
morning: and the _Mary Ann_ returned from that settlement on the 8th,
having been absent only four weeks and two days. The convicts, troops,
stores, and provisions, were all landed safely; but an unexpected surf
rising at the back of the reef, filling the only boat (a Greenland
whale-boat) which the master took with him, she was dashed upon the reef,
and stove; the people, who all belonged to the whaler, fortunately saved
themselves by swimming.

From Norfolk Island we learned, that the crops of wheat then in the
ground promised well, having been sown a month earlier than those of the
last season. Of the public ground ninety acres were in wheat, and one
hundred in Indian corn: of the ground cleared by the convicts, and
cultivated by themselves for their own maintenance, there were not less,
at the departure of the transport, than two hundred and fifty acres.

Bondel, a native boy, who went thither with Captain Hill, to whom he was
attached, in the month of March last, came back by this conveyance to his
friends and relations at Port Jackson. During his residence on the
island, which Mr. Monroe said he quitted reluctantly, he seemed to have
gained some smattering of our language, certain words of which he
occasionally blended with his own.

Some prisoners having been sent from Norfolk Island, the criminal court
was assembled on the 15th for the trial of one of them for a capital
offence committed there; but for want of sufficient evidence he was
acquitted. Great inconvenience was experienced from having to send
prisoners from that island with all the necessary witnesses. In the case
just mentioned the prosecutor was a settler, who being obliged to leave
his farm for the time, the business of which was necessarily suspended
until he could return, was ruined: and one of the witnesses was in nearly
the same situation. But as the courts in New South Wales would always be
the superior courts, it was not easy to discover a remedy for these

A seaman of one of the transports having been clearly proved to have
wantonly sunk a canoe belonging to a native, who had been paddling round
the ship, and at last ventured on board, he was ordered to be punished,
and to give the native a complete suit of wearing apparel, as a
satisfaction for the injury he had done him, as well as to induce him to
abandon any design of revenge which he might have formed. The corporal
punishment was however afterwards remitted, and the seaman ordered to
remain on board his ship while she should continue in this port.

Some of the soldiers who came out in the _William and Ann_ transport
having exhibited complaints against the master, whom they accused of
assaulting and severely beating them during the passage, the affair was
investigated before three magistrates, and a fine laid upon the master,
which he paid.

On Wednesday the 21st his Majesty's ship _Gorgon_ of forty-four guns,
commanded by Captain John Parker, anchored within the heads of the
harbour, reaching the settlement the following morning, and anchoring
where his Majesty's late ship _Sirius_ used to moor.

The _Gorgon_ sailed from England on the 15th of March last, touching on
her passage at the islands of Teneriffe and St. Iago, and at the Cape of
Good Hope, where she remained six weeks, taking in three bulls,
twenty-three cows, sixty-eight sheep, eleven hogs, two hundred fruit
trees, a quantity of garden seed, and other articles for the colony.
Unfortunately, the bulls and seven of the cows died; but a bull calf,
which had been produced on board, arrived in good condition.

Six months provisions for about nine hundred people, with stores for his
Majesty's armed tender the _Supply_, and for the marine detachment, were
sent out in the _Gorgon_; wherein also was embarked Mr. King, the late
commandant of Norfolk Island, now appointed by his Majesty
lieutenant-governor of that settlement, and a commander in the navy;
together with Mr. Charles Grimes, commissioned as a deputy
surveyor-general to be employed at Norfolk Island; the chaplain and
quarter-master of the New South Wales corps, and Mr David Burton, a
superintendant of convicts.

By this ship we received a public seal to be affixed to all instruments
drawn in his Majesty's name, and a commission under the great seal
empowering the governor for the time being to remit, either absolutely or
conditionally, the whole or any part of the term for which felons, or
other offenders, should have been or might hereafter be transported to
this country. Duplicates of each pardon were to be sent to England, for
the purpose of inserting the names of the persons so emancipated in the
first general pardon which should afterward issue under the great seal
of the kingdom.

To deserving characters, of which description there were many convicts in
the colony, a prospect of having the period of their banishment
shortened, and of being restored to the privilege which by misconduct
they had forfeited, had something in it very cheering, and was more
likely to preserve well intentioned men in honest and fair pursuits, than
the fear of punishment, which would seldom operate with good effect on a
mind that entertained no hope of reward for propriety of conduct. The
people with whom we had to deal were not in general actuated by that nice
sense of feeling which draws its truest satisfaction from self
approbation; they looked for something more substantial, something more
obvious to the external senses.

In determining the device for the seal of the colony, attention had been
paid to its local and peculiar circumstances. On the obverse were the
king's arms, with the royal titles in the margin; on the reverse, a
representation of convicts landing at Botany Bay, received by Industry,
who, surrounded by her attributes, a bale of merchandise, a beehive, a
pickaxe, and a shovel, is releasing them from their fetters, and pointing
to oxen ploughing and a town rising on the summit of a hill, with a fort
for its protection. The masts of a ship are seen in the bay. In the
margin are the words _Sigillum. Nov. Camb. Aust._; and for a motto _'Sic
fortis Etruria crevit.'_ The seal was of silver; its weight forty-six
ounces and the devices were very well executed.

The cattle were immediately landed, and turned into the inclosures which
had been prepared for them. One cow died in the boat going up.

The remaining transports of the fleet were now dropping in. On the 26th
the _Active_ from England, and the _Queen_ from Ireland, with convicts of
that country arrived and anchored in the cove. On board of the _Active_,
beside the sergeant's guard, were one hundred and fifty-four male
convicts. An officer's party was on board the _Queen_, with one hundred
and twenty-six male and twenty-three female convicts and three children.

These ships had been unhealthy, and had buried several convicts in their
passage. The sick which they brought in were landed immediately; and many
of those who remained, and were not so ill as to require medical
assistance, were brought on shore in an emaciated and feeble condition,
particularly the convicts from the _Active_. They in general complained
of not having received the allowance intended for them; but their
emaciated appearance was to be ascribed as much to confinement as to any
other cause. The convicts from the _Queen_, however, accusing the master
of having withheld their provisions, an inquiry took place before the
magistrates, and it appeared beyond a doubt, that great abuses had been
practised in the issuing of the provisions; but as to the quantity
withheld, it was not possible to ascertain it so clearly, as to admit of
directing the deficiency to be made good, or of punishing the parties
with that retributive justice for which the heinousness of their offence
so loudly called; the proceedings of the magistrates were therefore
submitted to the governor, who determined to transmit them to the
secretary of state.

Nothing could have excited more general indignation than the treatment
which these people appeared to have met with; for, what crime could be
more offensive to every sentiment of humanity, than the endeavour, by
curtailing a ration already not too ample, to derive a temporary
advantage from the miseries of our fellow-creatures!

By the arrival of these ships several articles of comfort were introduced
among us, there being scarcely a vessel that had not brought out
something for sale. It could not, however, be said that they were
procurable on easier terms than what had been sold here in the last year.
The Spanish dollar was the current coin of the colony, which some of
the masters taking at five shillings and others at four shillings and
six-pence, the governor, in consideration of the officers having been
obliged to receive the dollars at five shillings sterling when given for
bills drawn in the settlement, issued a proclamation fixing the currency
of the Spanish dollar at that sum.

The _Supply_ was now carefully surveyed, when it appeared, that her
defects were such as to render it by no means difficult to put her into a
state that would enable her to reach England; but that if she remained
six months longer in this country, she would become wholly unserviceable.
It was therefore determined to dispatch her immediately to England.
Timber had with infinite labour been procured for her main-mast, and her
other repairs were put in train for her sailing hence in the course of
the next month.

October.] The remainder of the transports expected did not arrive until
the middle of October. The _Albermarle_ was off the coast some days,
being prevented by a southerly current from getting in. She arrived on
Thursday the 13th, with two hundred and fifty male and six female
convicts, her proportion of stores and provisions, and one sergeant, one
corporal, one drummer, and twenty privates of the new corps.

The convicts of this ship had made an attempt, in conjunction with some
of the seamen, to seize her on the 9th of April, soon after she had
sailed from England; and they would in all probability have succeeded,
but for the activity and resolution shown by the master Mr. George Bowen,
who, hearing the alarm, had just time to arm himself with a loaded
blunderbuss, which he discharged at one of the mutineers, William Syney
(then in the act of aiming a blow with a cutlass at the man at the
wheel), and lodged its contents in his shoulder. His companions, seeing
what had befallen him, instantly ran down below; but the master, his
officers, and some of the seamen of the ship, following them, soon
secured the ringleaders, Owen Lyons and William Syney. A consultation was
held with the naval agent, Lieutenant Robert Parry Young, the ship's
company, and the military persons on board, the result of which was, the
immediate execution of those two at the fore-yard arm. They had at this
time parted company with the other transports, and no other means seemed
so likely to deter the convicts from any future attempt of the like
nature. It afterwards appearing that two of the seamen had supplied them
with instruments for sawing off their irons, these were left at the
island of Madeira, where the _Albermarle_ touched, to be sent prisoners
to England.

On the day following the _Britannia_ arrived, with one hundred and
twenty-nine male convicts, stores, and provisions on board; and on the
16th the _Admiral Barrington_, the last of the ten sail of transports,
anchored in the cove. This ship had been blown off the coast, and fears
were entertained of her safety, as she left the cape with a crippled
main-mast and other material defects. She had on board a captain and a
party of the New South Wales corps, with two hundred and sixty-four male
convicts, four free women, and one child. She had been unhealthy too,
having lost thirty-six convicts in the passage, and brought in
eighty-four persons sick, who were immediately landed. Her stores and
proportion of provisions were the same as on board of the other ships.

The whole number of convicts now received into the colony, including
thirty on board the _Gorgon_, were, male convicts one thousand six
hundred and ninety-five; female convicts one hundred and sixty-eight; and
children nine. There were also eight free women (wives of convicts) and
one child; making a total number of one thousand eight hundred and
eighty-one persons, exclusive of the military. Upwards of two hundred
convicts, male and female, did not reach the country.

Of the ten sail of transports lately arrived, five, after delivering
their cargoes, were to proceed on the southern whale fishery, viz the
_Mary Ann_, _Matilda_, _William and Ann_, _Salamander_, and _Britannia_.
Melville, the master of the _Britannia_, conceiving great hopes of
success on this coast from the numbers of spermaceti whales which he saw
between the south cape and this port, requested to be cleared directly on
his coming in, that he might give it a trial; and, the governor
consenting, his ship was ready by the 22nd (a week after her arrival),
and sailed on the 24th with the other whalers.

The _Queen_, _Atlantic_, _Active_, _Albemarle_, and _Admiral Barrington_,
after being discharged from government employ, were to proceed to Bombay,
by consent of the East India Company, and load home with cotton upon
private account under the inspection of the company's servants at that
settlement, provided the cotton should be afterwards sold at the
company's sales, subject to the usual expenses (their duty only
excepted), and provided the ships did not interfere with any other part
of the company's exclusive commerce*.

[* Notwithstanding this provision, which was expressed more at large in
the licence given by the company, and which extended to the prohibition
of every article except the stores and provisions put on board by
government, there was on board of these ships a very large quantity of
iron, steel, and copper, intended for sale at a foreign settlement in
India, with the produce of which they were to purchase the homeward-bound
investment of cotton.]

The quantity of provisions received by these ships being calculated for
the numbers on board of each for nine months only after their arrival,
and as, so large a body of convicts having been sent out, it was not
probable that we should soon receive another supply, the governor judged
it expedient to send one of the transports to Bengal, to procure
provisions for the colony; for which purpose he hired the _Atlantic_ at
fifteen shillings and sixpence per ton per month. In the way thither she
was to touch at Norfolk Island, where lieutenant-governor King, with some
settlers, was to be landed; and the _Queen_ transport was hired for the
purpose of bringing back lieutenant-governor Ross, and the marine
detachment serving there, relieved by a company of the New South Wales

On the 25th, the anniversary of his Majesty's accession to the throne, a
salute of twenty-one guns was fired by the _Gorgon_, and the public dinner
given on the occasion at the government-house was served to upwards of
fifty officers, a greater number than the colony had ever before seen
assembled together.

The following morning the _Atlantic_ sailed for Norfolk Island and
Calcutta. For the first of these places, she had on board
Lieutenant-Governor King and his family; Captain Paterson of the New
South Wales corps (lately arrived in the _Admiral Barrington_); Mr.
Balmain, the assistant-surgeon, sent to relieve Mr. Considen; the Rev.
Mr. Johnson, who voluntarily visited Norfolk Island for the purpose of
performing those duties of his office which had hitherto been omitted
through the want of a minister to perform them; twenty-nine settlers
discharged from the marines; several male and female convicts, and some
few settlers from that class of people.

At Calcutta, Lieutenant Bowen, who was continued in his employment of
naval agent, was to procure a cargo of flour and peas, in the proportion
of two tons of flour to one ton of peas; and was for that purpose
furnished with letters to the merchants who had made proposals to Lord
Cornwallis to supply the colony, the governor meaning for that reason to
give their house the preference.

The _Salamander_ had returned from Norfolk Island, where every person and
article she had on board were safely landed. By letters received thence,
we learned that it was supposed there had formerly been inhabitants upon
the island, several stone hatchets, or rather stones in the shapes of
adzes, and others in the shapes of chisels, having been found in turning
up some ground in the interior parts of the island. Lieutenant-Governor
King had formerly entertained the same supposition from discovering the
banana tree growing in regular rows.

It was not to be doubted but that the tranquillity and regularity of our
little town would in some degree be interrupted by the great influx of
disorderly seamen who were at times let loose from the transports. Much
less cause of complaint on this score, however, arose than was expected.
The port orders, which were calculated to preserve the peace of the
place, were from time to time enforced; and on one occasion ten seamen
belonging to the transports were punished for being found in the
settlement after nine o'clock at night.

At Parramatta, whither the greatest part of the convicts lately arrived
had been sent, petty offences were frequently committed, and the constant
presence of a magistrate became daily more requisite. The convicts at
that place were chiefly employed in opening some new ground at a short
distance from the settlement.

The foundation of a new storehouse was begun this month at Sydney, on the
spot where the redoubt had hitherto stood; which, since the construction
of the platform near the magazine on the east point of the cove, had been
pulled down, and the mould removed into the garden appropriated to
government-house. This, and clearing the transports, formed the principal
labour at Sydney.

On the last day of this month, James Downey was found hanging in his hut.
The cause of this rash action was said to have been the dread of being
taken up for a theft which, according to some intimation he had received,
was about to be alleged against him. He came out in the first fleet, had
served his term of transportation, had constantly worked as a labourer in
the bricklayers gang, and was in general considered as a harmless fellow.

From Parramatta two convicts were missing, and were said to be killed by
the natives.


A party of Irish convicts abscond
The _Queen_ sails for Norfolk Island
Whale fishery
Ration altered
The _Supply_ sails for England
Live stock (public) in the colony
Ground in cultivation
Run of water decreasing
Two transports sail
Whale fishery given up
The _Queen_ arrives from Norfolk Island
The Marines embark in the _Gorgon_ for England
Ration further reduced
Convicts who were in the _Guardian_ emancipated
Store finished
Deaths in 1791

November.] On the first day of this month, information was received from
Parramatta, that a body of twenty male convicts and one female, of those
lately arrived in the _Queen_ transport from Ireland, each taking a
week's provisions, and armed with tomahawks and knives, had absconded
from that settlement, with the chimerical idea of walking to China, or of
finding in this country a settlement wherein they would be received and
entertained without labour. It was generally supposed, however, that
this improbable tale was only a cover to the real design, which might be


Back to Full Books