An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. 2
David Collins

Part 5 out of 7

was covered over with bushes. Here it remained only until the following
morning, when it was discovered by a labouring man, who went to get his
hoe; which, to prevent its being stolen, he had been in the habit of
concealing in the sawpit. Such are the directions of Providence!

Suspicion falling upon four persons, they were taken up; and, the
criminal court being immediately convened, three of the number, Thomas
Jones (a soldier), a woman (his wife), and John Albury (a free man),
were, on the clearest evidence, convicted of the murder, and adjudged to
suffer death.

It appeared upon the trial, that the trifling sum of ten pounds, which
Jones had been indebted to Mr. Clode, prompted him to his destruction. To
effect this, he signified to that truly unfortunate gentleman, that if he
would call at his hut in the evening he would pay him. Not suspecting any
evil design in this request, he called at the appointed time, and, while
leaning over a table to draw up a receipt, received the first blow with
the axe, from the hand of Jones (Albury's resolution, for it was agreed
that he should give it, failing at the moment), who, from the pecuniary
transaction between them, must have been under an obligation, which he
took this dreadful method of discharging.

Being convicted on the 4th, they were executed on the 6th, upon the spot
where the murder had been committed. The house was pulled down and burnt,
and the bodies of the two men were hung in chains near the place. That of
the woman was delivered to the surgeons for dissection.

The abandoned state in which the settlement was at this time cannot be
better understood than by a perusal of the following orders, which were

"From the late increased number of nocturnal robberies, there is much
reason to suspect that the petty constables and divisional watchmen are
either extremely negligent in the performance of their duty, or that they
suffer themselves to be prevailed on by the house-breakers to be less
vigilant than that duty requires, and to connive at their depredations on
the inhabitants. A continuance of this unpardonable remissness upon their
part must dispose the more respectable inhabitants to believe them
partakers with the thieves. It is, therefore, hereby particularly
recommended by the governor to every officer in the colony, as they value
the security of their property, to give their utmost assistance to those
immediately concerned in the executive part of the civil police, in
putting, as speedily as possible, a stop to so very great an evil. It is
also particularly recommended to the principal inhabitants of the towns
of Sydney and Parramatta, that they select a few of the most respectable
of their number, in each division of these towns, whom they may authorise
to consider of the most effectual means of detecting the robbers, and
bringing them to trial; whether by such rewards as they may be enabled to
offer, or by small divisional patrols for the night service, and who
shall take that duty by turns, and be under the immediate direction of a
reputable inhabitant, of their own choice, or an officiating constable
selected from among the most sober and vigilant of that description of

Proposals for this purpose were to be sent in writing to the
judge-advocate's office, and a bench of magistrates were to approve or
alter them, as they should think proper.

This order was published on the 2nd, and on the 3rd the following

"The continual complaints which are made of the conduct of the female
convicts require the most rigid and determined discipline with such
characters, who, to the disgrace of their sex, are far worse than the
men, and are generally found at the bottom of every infamous transaction
that is committed in the colony. It is hereby most strenuously
recommended to the magistrates in general, that on proof being brought
before them of any improper conduct in those dangerous and mischievous
characters, or of any disobedience of orders, or neglect of such duty as
they may be directed to perform, they may be ordered such exemplary
punishment, either corporal or otherwise, as the nature of their crime
may call for. This measure will appear the more necessary, when it is
recollected, that formerly, when such punishments were had recourse to,
these women gave much less trouble, and were far more orderly in their

The superintendants were directed not to allow them to leave their work
at their own pleasure, but to attend them, and see that they were
employed during those hours which were allotted for their labour. The
former of these orders seemed to have been attended with some effect; for
in a few days several idle people, who, being out of their time, were
employed only in wandering from one district to another, without any
visible means of getting their bread, were apprehended, and, being
examined before the sitting magistrate, were ordered to labour in the
gaol gang.

Still alarming depredations were nightly committed upon the live stock of
individuals, and were doubtless effected by those wandering pests to
society; the regulations which had long since been established as a check
to such an evil being wholly disregarded. It was discovered, that hogs
were stolen, and delivered on the victualling days at the public store,
without any enquiry being made, as to whose property they were, or by
whom delivered, any person's name which they chose to give in being
considered by the store-keeper as sufficient to authorise him to receive
it, although printed vouchers for the delivery of such pork (and grain
likewise) were left at the store, for the purpose of being signed by the
party offering it. This certainly operated as an encouragement to the
commission of these thefts; and it became necessary to order, that such
persons as attended the receipt of any of these articles at the store
should direct whoever delivered them to sign the voucher of the quantity
received by him, the governor being determined never to approve of any
bill laid before him for that purpose, unless the commissary should
produce the voucher, properly signed, by the person in whose name such
bill was made out.

About the middle of this month a general muster was made of all the
inhabitants in the different districts of the settlement; and the
governor, attending in person, collected from the settlers an accurate
state of their farms and grounds in cultivation. This he did with a view
of transmitting, in his next dispatches to Government, such an account of
these people as, from being taken under his immediate inspection, might
be depended upon. From the 14th to the 24th were taken up in this
enquiry, from the result of which it appeared that there were in the
district of the River Hawkesbury: 2544 and a half acres in wheat, 907
acres for maize; in the district of Parramatta: 1259 and a half acres in
wheat, 663 and a half acres for maize; in the Sydney districts: 538 and
a half acres in wheat, 365 and a half acres for maize; making a total of
4392 acres and a half in wheat, and 1436 acres for maize, in the three
principal districts of the settlements.

At the Hawkesbury, the greatest quantity of ground in cultivation by any
individual, who had from a convict become a settler, was fifty-one acres,
forty-six of which were in wheat. Two others had fifty each, forty of
which were in wheat. A man of the name of Flood (who, had been left by
Mr. Hogan, when here in the ship _Marquis Cornwallis_ in 1796, in
the care of some ground which that gentleman had purchased) had at this
time two hundred, and an agent of Mr. Palmer the commissary, had within
seven of three hundred, acres in wheat. There were but few sheep in the
possession of the settlers of this district, and about two hundred and
forty goats. Hogs were more numerous, there being, after all the
slaughter which had lately taken place among these animals, nearly two
thousand remaining. The fertility of this spot had invited about one
hundred and eighty persons to become holders of land thereon; and when
they shall have erected their dwelling-houses and barns on ground
inaccessible to the overflowings of the river (which, from its vicinity
to the immense body of mountains to the westward, and its own irregularly
winding form, must often occur), they will not find their time or
exertions to have been misapplied.

The settlers in and about Parramatta had not so much ground in
cultivation, and were fewer in number than those of the Hawkesbury
district. A widow woman of the name of Daveny, whose husband had been a
superintendant of convicts, had fifty acres in wheat, and twenty-three in
maize. Among the individuals who had attended to the rearing of stock
must be mentioned with the credit which he merits, Edward Elliot, who,
having firmly withstood every temptation that was placed in his way to
induce him to sell them, had at this time a stock consisting of 116*
sheep, derived from one ewe, which had been allowed him by Governor
Phillip in December 1792. It, perhaps, may be read with some
satisfaction, that George Barrington appeared to have twenty acres of
ground in wheat, and to be the possessor of thirteen sheep, fifty-five
goats, and two mares. His conduct continued such as it had been from the
first; but his health was visibly declining, his unremitted attention to
the duties of his office proving too much for an asthmatic habit, which
he brought with him from England.

[* Vide Vol I Ch. XXXI p 401, viz: 'One man, a settler at the
Eastern Farms, Edward Elliot, had received a ewe sheep from the late
Governor Phillip before his departure in the year 1792. He had resisted
many temptations to sell it, and at the time this inquiry took place was
found possessing a stock of twenty-two sheep, males and females. He had
been fortunate in not meeting with any loss, but had not added to his
stock by any purchase. This was a proof that industry did not go without
its reward in this country. Other instances were found to corroborate
this observation.']

There were nine hundred and three goats, three hundred and thirty-two
sheep, and about four hundred hogs, in this district, the settlers of
which were one hundred and four in number.

It has been shown, that the cultivated ground in the district of the
principal settlement was far less than in either that of the river, or
Parramatta. At each of these, the soil was greatly superior, and had
therefore been more desired by settlers; it must moreover be observed,
that most of the farms in the neighbourhood of Sydney were taken before
much knowledge had been obtained of the superior richness of the soil in
the interior, over that near the coast. The greatest quantity of ground
in cultivation by any individual was thirty-three acres. Their stock of
sheep amounted only to thirty-eight, of goats to two hundred and
ninety-two; and there were remaining among them about three hundred and
sixty hogs. The number of settlers was seventy-one. In this statement,
the farms and stock of the officers of the civil and military department,
and of some of the free settlers, were not included.

This certainly was not an unpromising view of the agricultural part of
the settlement. Much might be expected from the exertions of three
hundred and fifty-five people, and the greatest advantage would have been
derived from their labours had they been less prone to dissipation and
useless traffic--a traffic which most of them entered into solely with a
view to indulging themselves in their favourite propensity of drinking.

Independent of the wild herd of cattle to the westward, the live stock
belonging to the Crown, and to individuals, was annually increasing to a
great amount; but it was not yet sufficiently numerous to admit of
supplying the colony with animal food. To begin too early to apply it to
that use, would only have retarded the time when the colony would be
independent of any other country for provisions; and none but superfluous
males were ever killed.

On the 26th of this month the _Hillsborough_ transport arrived from
England, whence she had sailed with three hundred male convicts on board;
but, from the raging of a gaol fever, that made its appearance soon after
her departure, ninety-five had died during the voyage, and six more were
added to the number in a few days after they were landed.

It was impossible that any ship could have been better fitted by
Government for the accommodation of prisoners during such a voyage than
was the _Hillsborough_; but, unfortunately, they brought with them,
perhaps lurking in their clothing, a disease which bade defiance to all
the measures that could be taken for their comfort and convenience.

The hospitals were immediately filled with the survivors, from whom no
labour could, for a length of time, be expected; and they were supplied
with fresh meat.

None of the military having been embarked in this ship, the owners had
put on board a certain number of people, to act as a guard; and on the
commissary's mustering them and the ship's company, pursuant to a request
to that purpose from the commissioners of the Transport Board, it
appeared, that the terms of the charter-party had been strictly complied

The erecting of the public gaol advancing but slowly, the constables of
the different divisions of the town of Sydney were directed to give
information to the inhabitants of their respective divisions, that, as
this building was a work in which they were all interested, they were to
furnish from each of the four divisions, viz from King's, Nepean's,
Banks's, Maskelyne's (such being their names), and from that of the
Brickfields, five men each day, with a watchman to attend them. These
were to be relieved by a like number of men every day, and this
assistance was to be continued so long as the gentlemen who had the
direction of the work should have occasion for them.

Had the convicts who arrived in the _Hillsborough_ been in a condition
to labour, this requisition would have been unnecessary.

The _Albion_ was cleared during this month of the provisions which
she brought out for the colony, and prepared to proceed upon her fishing

The _Buffalo_ was also getting ready to go to the Cape of Good Hope
for cattle.


The governor visits the settlers upon George's river
The _Norfolk_ sloop returns from an excursion to the northward
Account of her proceedings
Enters Shoal Bay
Particulars respecting it
Description of a palm-nut tree
Enters Glass-House Bay
Lieutenant Flinders meets some natives
Has an interview with them
Point Skirmish
Proceeds to a river in Glass-House Bay

August.] In the beginning of this month the governor spent some days in
an excursion from Prospect-Hill to the settlement which he had
established on the banks of George's river. Having before examined the
country between Parramatta and that river, he now traced it in another
direction, and had the gratification of finding it equally favourable to
cultivation with what he had before observed. The distance from the hill
was about five miles, over excellent ground, well adapted both for
cultivation and pasturage, and equal to any on the banks of the Nile of
New South Wales. The settlers whom he had placed there were all doing
well, had not any complaints to make, and had not been molested lately by
the natives. On quitting them he proceeded down the river to Botany Bay,
and thence walked overland to Sydney, between which places there was
nothing but barren and uneven ground, but every where covered with the
most beautiful flowering heath.

Shortly after his return, the _Norfolk_ sloop came in from the
northward, having been absent about six weeks upon a particular service,
the following account of which is taken from the Journal of Lieutenant
Flinders, which he delivered to the governor after his arrival.

The governor being very desirous of gaining some information respecting
the coast to the Northward of Port Jackson, particularly of two large
openings marked by Captain Cook, the Northernmost of which he named
Hervey Bay, and appeared to lie about the latitude of 24 degrees 36
minutes south, he directed Lieutenant Flinders, who had been employed
before with Mr. Bass in the circumnavigation of Van Diemen's Island, to
proceed in the _Norfolk_ sloop to the northward, and examine them
with as much accuracy as the limited time of six weeks would admit. He
was also directed, if on his return he should find that he had some time
to spare, to enter Hunter's river, there to make what observations he
could relative to its extent, the quantity of coal to be found there, and
the nature of the country.

The vessel was manned with volunteers from the two king's ships, and
Lieutenant Flinders was accompanied by Bong-ree, a native of the
north side of Broken Bay, who had been noted for his good disposition, and
open and manly conduct. To guard against accidents, they were supplied
with provisions for eleven weeks, and on this service they sailed on the
8th of the last month, July, and proceeded to the Northward.

At half past seven in the morning of Sunday the 9th they sounded, but
without finding ground with fifteen fathoms of line, at the distance of
half a mile from a small reef of black rocks, which ran off from a
sugar-loaf point. There were two very low, and therefore dangerous rocks,
lying at S 20 degrees E three or four miles, and SE about two miles from
this point. Captain Cook passed this part of the coast in the night, and
therefore did not see the rocks; but they required to be particularly
looked out for by any vessel coming near the land.* The latitude of the
point is about 32 degrees 27 minutes S, Cape Hawke lying N 1 degree or 2
degrees E from it; and the intermediate coast was mostly beach, but
divided at intervals by short stony heads.

[* This and other nautical observations made by Lieutenant Flinders
are inserted, as it is presumed they (never having been published)
may be of use to such ships as may hereafter be employed in the whale
fishery upon the coast.]

Sounding with ten fathoms of line at half a mile distance from the shore
of Cape Hawke, they got ground. The two hills here mentioned by Captain
Cook were found to stand upon the pitch of the Cape, and were covered
with brush down to the low cliffs. The strata in these cliffs lay forty
or fifty degrees from the horizontal line. From the Cape the coast falls
back, forming a kind of double bay. The land was low, and rose, but very
gradually, ridge over ridge inland to a moderate height, the country
looking pleasant enough from the sea; but the trees appeared small, and
mixed with brushwood.

At daylight in the morning of the 10th they perceived the vessel to have
been carried by an extraordinary current considerably to the southward of
their expected situation, and at noon their latitude gave them a
difference of thirty-three miles, which current they attributed to their
being five or six leagues off the shore; for in the preceding twenty-four
hours, when she was close in with the shore, the difference between the
observation and the log was eight miles in her favour.

They found this morning that the sloop had unfortunately sprung a very
bad leak, which admitted so much water as kept one pump constantly at
work. By its coming on suddenly, it was judged not to have been
occasioned by any straining of the vessel. It was, however, a serious
cause of alarm; and the maize with which the sloop had been before loaded
was continually choking up the pumps.

The Solitary Isles were seen on the 11th. It had been Mr. Flinders's
intention to have landed upon some of these islets, had any inducement
presented itself; but on them he saw not either seal or bird. They seemed
to be covered with short brush; and two of them having been lately burnt
proved that they were visited by natives. In the colour of the rock, and
in their general appearance, they much resembled the small islands lying
off Tasman's heads, and might with equal propriety be termed the
Miserable as the Solitary Isles. Some breakers lying between them,
Mr. Flinders thinks it would be dangerous for a ship to pass within any of
them until they should be better known. At noon the observed latitude was
29 degrees 57 minutes 25 seconds south. The country still retained the
same woody, hilly, and irregular, though not unpleasing, appearance; but
in running along the shore it manifestly grew worse, having more tendency
to sand. The small projections of land which appeared as they sailed
along often presented the delusive appearance of openings behind them;
and they were the more inclined to entertain these hopes, as Captain Cook
passed along this part of the coast in the night.

At half past two a small island opened off from a low rocky point, behind
which there was a small river running into the SW; but breakers seemed to
extend mostly across the entrance. If there was any passage, it would be
found on the south side of the island.

At half past three, a peaked hill, standing four or five miles inland,
and more conspicuous than usual, bore true East. Before five, the vessel
stood in for what appeared to be an opening, and about dusk was in the
entrance to a wide shoal bay; soon after which she anchored in two and a
half fathoms, on a hard sandy bottom.

The objects in view that induced Mr. Flinders to enter this bay were,
that he might have daylight to run along the remaining part of the coast,
which had been passed by Captain Cook in the night, and to ascertain a
place of safety to run for, should the wind come dead on the coast on his
return. The leak in the sloop was also a material part of the inducement;
for should the place turn out to be of consequence enough to be worth
expending a few days in its examination, and a convenient place offer
itself for laying her on shore, he intended in the interval to get it

On examining this bay in his boat, he found it to be very shallow; the
north point of the entrance into it was only a projecting spot of sandy
ground. Having returned to the sloop about noon, he landed on the south
head for the purpose of observing for the latitude. The sun being more
than half an hour distant from the meridian gave him time to examine
three huts which stood at a little distance. They were of a circular
form, and about eight feet in diameter. The frame was composed of the
stronger tendrils of the vine, crossing each other in all directions, and
bound together by strong wiry grass at the principal intersections. The
covering was of bark of a soft texture, resembling the bark of what is
called the Tea-tree at Port Jackson, and so compactly laid on as to keep
out the wind and rain. The entrance was by a small avenue projecting from
the periphery of the circle, not leading directly into the hut, but
turning sufficiently to prevent the rain from beating in.* The height of
the under part of the roof is about four and a half, or five feet, and
those that were entered had collected a coat of soot, from the fires
which had been made in the middle of the huts. They much resembled an
oven. One of them was a double hut, comprising two recesses under one
entrance, intended most probably for kindred families, being large enough
to contain twelve or fifteen people. Bong-ree readily admitted that they
were much superior to any huts of the natives which he had before seen.
He brought away a small hand basket, made of some kind of leaf, capable
of containing five or six pints of water, and very nearly resembling
those used at Coupang in the island of Timor for carrying toddy, which
Mr. Flinders had noticed there.

[* How much superior in contrivance to those about Port Jackson, or in
Van Diemen's Island!]

The meridional altitude of the sun gave 29 degrees 26 minutes 28 seconds
S for the latitude of the entrance into the bay.

Many white cockatoos and paroquets were seen about here, and a crow
whose note was remarkably short and hasty. Numbers of pelicans, with some
gulls and red bills, frequented the shoals, and the country itself was
very sandy wherever they landed. The palm nut-tree which grows here was
the third kind of palm mentioned by Captain Cook as being produced on the
eastern coast of New South Wales.* This, he says, was found only in the
northern parts; and as Bong-ree, who was tolerably well acquainted with
the country as far as Port Stephens, never saw or heard of it before,
this was probably one of the most southern situations in which it would
be found.

[* Vide Hawkesworth's Voyages, Vol III p 624.]

The individual nuts were seen scattered about the fire-places of the
natives; and it was observed, that the lower end of them had been chewed
and sucked in the manner that artichokes are eaten. This method, on
procuring some that were ripe, was afterwards practised.

The taste was rather pleasant at first, but left an astringency behind
that scarcely tempted one to try a second time. The eatable part of the
nut in this way was so small, as to be not worth the trouble of sucking
it out from the fibres. They were about the size of a walnut; within the
outer skin was a hard shell like that of the cocoa nut; and within this,
two, or perhaps more, almond-like kernels. The nut, as taken from the
tree, was an assemblage of these kernels set into a cone, and was from
the size of a man's two fists, to that of his head. Its size, and the
furrows or indentations upon the surface, appeared on the first view like
the exterior form of the bread fruit, but a pine apple may be a better
object of comparison. The stem of the tree was short, and none were
observed to be two feet or even eighteen inches in diameter. The branches
did not ramify into twigs, but preserved their size to the extreme, where
the leaves were produced surrounding the fruit. One or two smaller
branches here and there struck off from the main branch, and produced
their leaves in the same way, without fruit. The height of the tree all
together might be from fifteen to twenty-five or thirty feet. Suckers or
branches of all sizes were seen shooting out below those bearing fruit,
and, growing downwards along the stem, entered the ground, where they not
only formed roots, but became supporters to the tree.

Mr. Flinders thought this fruit might be the mellori of the Nicobar
Islands. The description given of the mellori* in the third volume of
the Asiatic Researches corresponded with it in every particular, as far
as his examination went; but not having at that time any idea of the
value of the tree, and the subject being foreign to his pursuit, he did
not give it much attention.

[* The manner of cooking this fruit, mellori, is given in the description,
and may be found in the Annual Register for 1794.]

This bay not appearing to deserve more than a superficial examination,
Mr. Flinders did not think it worth consuming much of his time, and
therefore got under way at one o'clock in the afternoon of the 12th.

He could not give any particular mark that would point out the situation
of Shoal Bay, except its latitude, and the somewhat remarkably peaked
hill lying about four leagues to the southward of it. Were any vessel
ever likely to visit it, it would be necessary to observe, that either of
two heads, which bore from the vessel SW by W and W by N behind which
there was some appearance of an inlet, might be mistaken for the south
head of the bay.

On Saturday the 13th, about ten in the morning, they were three miles
distant from Cape Byron, and at the same time the peak of Mount Warning
was just appearing over it. Having hauled more off the shore soon after
noon, to avoid the reef lying off Point Danger, on the following morning
they found themselves at a considerable distance from the land. They now
steered west for a large space, where no land was visible, and,
perceiving breakers off the south point of the opening, were satisfied
that this was Moreton Bay. Passing between these breakers and Point
Lookout, they got ground in twenty fathoms water. As they drew nearer,
there appeared to be a very large extent of water within the opening; but
Mr. Flinders suspected that there was not any passage for a vessel in the
direction he was then steering, along the shore for the northern extreme
of the land. The country to the sea-ward was wretchedly sandy. At dusk
Cape Moreton bore west, distant two or three miles; and the highest
Glass-House, whose peak was just presenting itself over the distant land,
had opened round it at W 3 degrees or 4 degrees N. Two hummocks
resembling haycocks, distinct from any other land, opened soon after a
few degrees to the southward.

The vessel was now hauled in round Cape Moreton, to go into Glass-House
Bay. They steered west till eight o'clock, when, having little wind, and
that little being from the southward, they dropped anchor for the night.
Weighing again the next morning, the 14th, they worked near the eastern
shore until noon, at which time their latitude was 27 degrees 00 minutes
29 seconds south; and Cape Moreton bearing E 10 degrees N two or three
miles would be in the same latitude, allowing the variation to be 10
degrees east. This differs four miles and a half from its situation in
Captain Cook's Narrative.

While ranging within a mile of the shore, ten natives were counted, half
of whom were probably women, from their keeping behind the others. The
men made many antic gestures to our people. One had a green branch in his
hand, which he waved to and fro at the extent of his arm, from the ground
on one side of him to that on the other; and some of them would run into
the water occasionally, and beat the surf with sticks. They appeared to
be friendly, using nearly the same word in calling our people that would
have been made use of by a Port Jackson native, and seemed desirous that
they should proceed up the bay.

At eight in the evening they anchored in eleven fathoms water, about two
miles from a low sandy shore on the west side of the bay.

At daylight on Tuesday the 16th, they again weighed to turn up the bay,
having the wind still from the southward. In their progress, they met
with various depths of water; and, perceiving an opening in the low
western land, Mr. Flinders wished to anchor near it, but was prevented by
shoal water. At a quarter past eight in the morning they anchored in
three fathoms water for the night.

After breakfast Mr. Flinders went in his boat toward the opening, taking
Bong-ree the native with him. As they approached the sandy point on the
east side of the opening, some dogs came down upon the beach, and soon
after several natives made their appearance, most of them carrying
fishing nets over their shoulders. They lay upon their oars some time,
conversing with them by signs, and repeating the words which they made
use of. As they seemed to be friendly, Bong-ree wished to make them a
visit; and, seeing nothing among them but the pieces of fire-wood which
the natives usually carry with them, the boat was backed in, and he
jumped on shore, naked, and as unarmed as they themselves appeared.

He quickly made an exchange with the yarn belt from his waist, for a
fillet made of kangaroo hair. The muskets were kept at hand in the boat,
to be prepared against any treachery; but, every thing seeming to go on
well, the natives appearing rather shy than otherwise, Mr. Flinders
joined his companion, taking his gun with him. By making friendly signs,
laying down the gun, and offering them a woollen cap, he was suffered to
approach, and one took the cap; but when Mr. Flinders made signs that he
expected to have his net bag in return, he gave him to understand that he
must first give him his hat. This hat was made of the white filaments of
the cabbage-tree, and seemed to excite the attention and wishes of the
whole party.

As the hat was not given to him, he came forward, first throwing the cap
that he had received upon the bank behind him, to secure it, and seemed
very anxious for either the hat or gun, or both. Every thing, however,
was carried on very amicably; and Mr. Flinders, with his native,
retreated slowly toward the boat, but turned again, upon finding that
they pressed close after them. One of them then, laughing, and talking at
the same time to Mr. Flinders, attempted to take the hat off his head
with a long hooked stick; which, on his discovering, created a laugh.
Behind him another was stretching out a long arm to the same object, but
was fearful of coming near enough to reach it.

On our people getting into the boat, and shoving her off into deep water,
they did not seem pleased, but tried to persuade them to land again.
Finding they could not succeed, one of them threw his piece of fire-wood
at them; but it falling short, the matter was treated as a joke, and
laughed at. On this, another ran into the water, and threw his also, but
it likewise fell short: he then took the hooked stick, and slipping off
the hook, which it seems was only lashed or tied on, produced a spear,
with which he ran up to the middle in water, and threw at them by hand.
It passed over the centre of the boat, about a foot and a half above the
gunwale, but touched no one.

After this impudent and unprovoked attack, Mr. Flinders snapped his gun
at the man who threw the spear; but the flint having received some wet
when it was laid upon the beach, it missed fire. It was loaded with buck
shot, and he was strongly tempted to fire among the cluster of natives
who were standing upon the beach; but, recollecting himself, he tried
again at the offender, who was still standing in the water, with his back
turned toward them, and calling to his companions. The gun again missed

While this was transacting, the major part of the natives were observing
Mr. Flinders's motions with much unconcern. On the third trial, however,
it went off. The man in the water fell flat, as did every individual
among them; but those on shore rose almost instantaneously, and scrambled
away toward the bank, some upright, and some upon their hands and feet.
One of the people in the boat then fired among them, and they fell again
upon their faces; but they all got up, and flew immediately behind the
bank into the wood. Even the man in the water rose up, and made off, but
his progress was much slower than that of the others, and he stooped a
great deal, carrying one hand behind him upon his back. From hence it was
conjectured that he was wounded, and he looked every now and then over
his shoulder, as if expecting to see the spear that he supposed must be
sticking in his back.* According to Bong-ree's account, another native
had his arm broken by the second shot.

[* A certain proof of his total ignorance of the effect of fire arms,
he thus unhappily being the first victim to their use in this part of
the country.]

As this very wanton attack had unfortunately obliged the party to fire
upon these people, in order to maintain that superiority which they meant
upon all occasions to assert, Mr. Flinders thought it might be the means
of preventing much future mischief, to give them a more extensive idea of
his power, and thereby deter them from any future attempt in his
intercourse with them. For as this bay was to be examined, and the leak
which the sloop had sprung was to be stopped here, it became more than
probable that they would often meet; and he was well satisfied of the
great influence which the awe of a superior power has in savages, to
create respect, and render their communications with each other friendly.

In this view, with two musket balls in his gun, he fired at a man who was
looking at them from among the trees, and who, being about two hundred
yards off, perhaps thought himself secure. One of these balls touched the
edge of the bank in a right line for him, the other passed over, but
whether it took effect could not be seen. They afterwards landed,
intending to bring away the nets, which it was supposed they had in their
flight and alarm forgotten. On going upon the bank, previously to
ascertain the position of the enemy, he saw several of them running
different ways among the trees, apparently with a design of coming round
upon them; and, not knowing their force or numbers, Mr. Flinders directed
the native and a man who had also landed to return to the boat. But from
information since gained from Bong-ree, whose eyes were better than those
of Mr. Flinders, he believed they were running to conceal themselves.
They had not left their nets.

From the low sandy point where this affair happened, and which obtained
the name of Point Skirmish, they proceeded up the opening, which proved
to be a river leading to the Glass-House peaks. These peaks stood upon
the low flat ground, considerably within the mountains, and, as far as
could be judged, had every appearance of being volcanic. That they were
so, indeed, was in some measure corroborated by the quantity of pumice
stone which was lying at high-water mark upon the eastern shore of the
river, on which Mr. Flinders had landed to mark the nature and appearance
of the country, not being able from the strength of the ebb tide to
proceed far in his boat.

Among the largest and most common trees, there was one differing from any
that grew at Port Jackson. The leaves of this tree were of a darkish hue,
and bore some resemblance to the pine. The wood, when cut, smelt strongly
of turpentine, which exuded in places where the bark had been wounded.
The external part of the wood was white, but the body was of a reddish
brown, the bark somewhat resembling that of a tree at Port Jackson called
the iron bark.

The blue gum, she-oak, and cherry tree of Port Jackson were common here,
and also one with the leaves of the gum tree, but with the soft bark of
the tea tree. The soil where it grew was very sandy; but, fearing that
the natives might surprise them while among the trees, Mr. Flinders did
not go far from the beach; it was, however, covered with very tall and
not innutritious grass.

Five or six huts, from twelve to fifteen feet in length, were seen
standing near each other. They resembled a covered arch-way, rounded at
the far end. The roofs, and the manner of securing them, were nearly the
same as those which they had seen in Shoal Bay; but these had not any
curved entrance to keep out the weather, nor was the hut any smaller in
that part than elsewhere, but the sides and roof were equally calculated
to shelter the inhabitants from a storm. In one of them was found a small
and very light shield, and in another an old net, which had a bag to it,
and was knotted and made in the same way as it would have been if made by
an European seine maker. It appeared to be intended for a scoop net.
There were marks of a large kangaroo having passed, and many traces of
dogs were visible on the beach.

In returning to the sloop they passed a dry shoal lying at the entrance
of the river, the deep channel into which was between this shoal and
Point Skirmish, where they found from three to six fathoms water.

Before he left the sloop Mr. Flinders had given directions to examine a
part on the starboard side, where he suspected the leak to be; and on his
return was informed, that it was found to have been occasioned by the
starting of a plank from the timber about three or four streaks from the
keel. The caulker had filled it up with oakum from the inside, since
which she had made but little water lying at an anchor.

From the situation in which the sloop lay, the bay had not any appearance
of closing round, but seemed to promise a large river at its head, and a
communication with Moreton Bay, if not something more interesting. At
three in the afternoon they got under weigh to proceed up this river,
with a light air from the northward, standing to the southward until
dark, at which time they anchored, about three miles from the western
shore, in five fathoms, on a soft muddy bottom, whereas the ground before
had always been sandy.


Further proceedings in Glass-House Bay
Red Cliff point
Nets of the natives
Moreton Bay found to be an island
The sloop prepared for an attack of the natives
The Event
Account of an island
Enter Pumice-Stone river
See some natives
The leak in the sloop stopped
Interviews with natives
Mr. Flinders visits the Glass-House peaks
Account of the country
Return down the river
Other interviews with natives
Their manner of fishing
Other particulars of, and some conjectures respecting them
Quit Pumice-Stone river, and Glass House Bay

At daylight in the morning of Wednesday the 17th, the sloop was got under
weigh, and turned up with a southerly breeze, as long as the flood tide
lasted, anchoring about half past ten o'clock, a mile and a half from a
point with red cliffs. A little to the westward of this point, Mr.
Flinders found the latitude to be 27 degrees 16 minutes 25 seconds south.
The rocks here were of stone, strongly impregnated with iron, having some
small pieces of granite and crystal scattered about the shore.

From Red-cliff Point, they pulled over to a green head-land, about two
miles to the westward. The small reefs which lay off this head presented
a miniature of those which form such a barrier to the northern shore of
New South Wales, and render it almost inaccessible.

In a house which stood upon the west side of the head, they found a net,
or seine, about fourteen fathoms long, the meshes of which were much
larger than any English seine, and the twine much stronger; but its depth
was much less, being not more than three feet. At each end it had a
pointed stick of about the same length. Upon the shoal near the house,
there was more than one inclosure of a semicircular form, and the sticks
and branches of which it was made were set and interwoven so close, that
a fish could not pass between. This net Mr. Flinders supposed was to be
placed diametrically across the semicircle at high water, and thus secure
all the fish that might get within the inclosure, until the falling tide
should leave them dry. He brought away the net, as a proof of the
superior ingenuity of these over the natives of Port Jackson, leaving
them in return a hatchet, the only present which he had to make them; and
that they might the sooner learn the great use of their new acquisition,
and be consoled for the loss of their net, he cut down some branches and
laid them before the hut.

The wood, which at high water was collected for their fire, proved, when
cut up, to be cedar, and of a fine grain. The remains of a canoe made of
the stringy bark were lying upon the shore, near the house whence the net
had been taken.

There were traces of dogs, kangaroos, and emus upon the beach. Two hawks
of a moderate size were shot, but their plumage was unlike that of any
known at Port Jackson. That which was the most remarkable was of an
unvariegated dull red colour in the body, with a milk-white neck, breast,
and head.

In the afternoon they made some further progress with the sloop,
anchoring for the night on a soft muddy bottom.

On the following morning they got under weigh with a flood tide, and a
moderate breeze from the northward. In their progress, they passed two
islands, of from three to four miles each in circuit. The northernmost
was the largest, and seemed well covered with wood, the greater part of
which was probably mangrove, the island being nearly level with the
water's edge. The foliage of the trees upon the southern island was
equally dark and luxuriant with this, but the interior part of it was
higher. There were two other smaller islands, nearly on a level with the
first, and covered with wood, but the southernmost was very small.

In passing between the two islands they had deep water; but on its
suddenly shoaling they tacked and stood to the westward. In this
situation the entrance from Moreton Bay was open, the south side of which
bore N 68 degrees E six or eight miles, and the west side of what will
now be Moreton Island bore N 2 degrees W. Another island. apparently
larger than either of the four above mentioned, bore from the same place
from S 55 degrees to 34 degrees E at the distance of about five miles.
Reckoning the northernmost of the four islands to be the first in number,
they made their course good for the third island, after tacking; and the
water deepened almost immediately to six fathoms.

At this time their attention was much attracted by a party of natives
from these islands, who appeared to be standing up in their canoes, and
pulling toward them, with all their strength, in very regular order. They
seemed to have long poles or spears in their hands, with which also they
appeared to be paddling, the whole of them shifting their hands at the
same instant, after the manner of the South Sea islanders. As about
twenty of them were counted, and seemed to be coming on with much
resolution, our people prepared for whatever might be the event. The
sloop was put under easy sail, her decks cleared of every incumbrance,
and each man was provided with a competent number of musket balls, pistol
balls, and buck shot, which were to be used as the distance might
require; for it was intended that not a man should escape if they
commenced an attack.

Being thus prepared, they bore away toward them, finding that with all
their exertions they did not approach much nearer to the vessel. But what
was their surprise on discovering, that, instead of advancing in canoes
to attack them, they were standing upon a large flat, that surrounded the
third island, driving fish into their nets, and that they had but two
canoes among them. They were standing in a line, splashing in the water
with long sticks, first for some time on one side, and then all shifting
to splash on the other. Thus this hostile array turned out to be a few
peaceable fishermen: peaceable indeed; for on the approach of the vessel
they sunk their canoes upon the flat, and retreated to the island, where
they made their fires.

The flood tide having ceased to run, they anchored at noon, and by the
sun's meridional altitude, in 27 degrees 27 minutes 16 seconds south
latitude. The third island, on which the natives were, bore W 4 degrees S
one and a half or two miles distant, and the centres of the two northern
ones N 40 degrees and N 15 degrees W. The entrance from Moreton Bay
bearing N 68 degrees E from this anchorage, corroborated its latitude by
the observation of the 14th, which was taken on the sea side of it
although it differed considerably from that given by Captain Cook. This
difference may perhaps be thus accounted for. That great navigator
finding, by the meridional observation taken on the day following the
evening on which he passed this part of the coast, that a northerly
current had prevailed in the last twenty-four hours, probably allowed a
proportional part of it, to correct the situation of Point Lookout, as
given by the log; whereas in reality the northerly current might have
commenced only at the time that he opened the Moreton Bay entrance, and
became exposed to the outset from it. And it was by no means improbable,
that, instead of a northerly, he might have had a southerly set, from the
previous noon, when the latitude was 27 degrees 46 minutes to the time
when he opened the entrance; in the same manner as it had prevailed the
day before; when the observation was 17 minutes south of the log.

From the situation of the sloop at this anchorage, Glass-House-Bay seemed
to be closed round, except at one small opening which bore S 27 degrees
E. To turn up this opening, they got under sail as soon as the ebb tide
slacked. On standing near the south part of the shoal that appeared to
surround the island to which the natives had retired, one of them came
down abreast of the sloop, making the same gestures, and running
backwards and forwards, as others had done before; but little attention
was paid to him, Mr. Flinders being more intent on getting as far up the
bay as possible while the tide favoured him. A little before midnight he
was obliged to anchor, finding that the deep water had contracted into a
narrow channel.

On the following day Mr. Flinders landed upon an island that lay in his
passage, with instruments for taking angles, and observing the latitude.
Footsteps of dogs, and those recent, were numerous upon the beach; but
traces of men were scarcely visible: there were, however, several
fire-places, and many other marks of the island having lately been
visited. This island was two or three miles in circumference. The central
part was higher than the skirts, and was covered with a coat of fine
vegetable mould of a reddish colour. On the SE side of the island this
elevated part descended suddenly in a steep bank, where the earth was as
red as blood; and, being clayey, some portions of it were nearly hardened
into rock. The trees upon it, among which was the new pine, were large
and luxuriant. The exterior part of the island upon the west side was a
flat, over which the tide seemed to rise, and was abundantly covered with
large mangrove trees. On the SW and NE sides it was mostly low and sandy,
and here the palm nut tree was produced. Probably these nuts formed the
principal inducement for the natives to visit this island; and there was
abundant testimony under the trees that they were not suffered to fall
off and rot. They met with some boughs so ranged as to keep off the
southerly winds; and from the fireplaces which they were placed to
defend, it was inferred that not less than five or six natives had made
this their place of residence, probably a temporary one only, as they did
not meet with any huts regularly constructed.

The black and the white cockatoo, the beautiful lilac-headed paroquet,
and the bald-headed mocking bird of Port Jackson, were seen here; but
there were not any marks of resident quadrupeds, rats excepted.

The latitude of this island, deduced from the sun's altitude taken at
noon, was 27 degrees 34 minutes 59 seconds S making the depth of this bay,
from Cape Moreton, to be thirty-four miles; for beyond this island the bay
was contracted into a river, of considerable width indeed, but it appeared
to be so shoal, or, if there was any deep channel, to be so difficult of
access, that Mr. Flinders gave up all idea of pursuing it further,
especially as the winds were obstinately adverse: he therefore returned
on board, with the intention of running into the river near the
Glass House peaks, there to lay the sloop on shore, and procure a supply
of fresh water, if a convenient situation could be found.

The following day was passed in endeavouring to get into the river,
which, from the pumice-stone found upon its shores, obtained the name of
Pumice-Stone River, anchoring at sun-set within two miles of its

Early the next morning (Sunday the 21st), Mr. Flinders went in his boat
to examine the river, and the entrance into it. On approaching Point
Skirmish, five or six natives came down to the boat unarmed, and, by
friendly gestures and offers of their girdles and small nets, endeavoured
to persuade him to land. He could not satisfy himself whether they had
any treacherous design in this, or whether their presenting themselves
unarmed proceeded from any confidence which they might have felt, that
neither himself nor his people would hurt them if they were not the
aggressors. In this point of view, the offer of their girdles and nets
might have been meant as an atonement for their former conduct; he did
not, however, choose to trust them, but proceeded to examine the river.

Although the shoals in the river were very intricate; yet, finding that
there was depth of water sufficient to admit the sloop, he determined to
get her into it.

Upon these shoals were several pelicans; and they had not proceeded far
with their boat before they were greeted with the well-known creaking
note of the swan. These now engaged a great part of their attention, and
before they left the river eight of them were killed.

When they had nearly reached the end of their excursion, two natives came
down to the beach, and seemed desirous for them to land. There being a
dry sand at a sufficient distance to be out of the reach of spears, they
put ashore upon it. About the same time, Mr. Flinders taking up his gun
to fire at two red-bills, the natives ran into the woods; but on
Bong-ree's advancing that way they returned, and he made a friendly
exchange for their hair fillets and belts, giving them a white woollen
cap in return, and came to the boat for a piece of white cloth and some
biscuit for them, to make the exchange equal. During this time Mr.
Flinders was on shore upon the sand bank with a gun, to cover him in case
their behaviour should be unfriendly. On his advancing toward them, they
were very vociferous for him to remain at a distance, and would in no
wise admit of his approaching without laying down his gun. This place was
about six miles from Point Skirmish; but it was evident that the fame and
dread of their fire-arms had reached thus far, and were most probably
increased by the shooting of the swans, which they must have witnessed.

In returning down the river, they were called to by a man on the west
side, who had a spear in his hand; but two women and several children
being behind argued rather against any premeditated hostility. The women
and children retired on their approaching the shore; but they were
observed to be peeping at them from behind the bushes. This man made
great exclamations for the musket to be laid down, calling out 'woo-rah,
woo-rah,' as others had done, and seemed pleased when it was complied
with; but he could not have heard many particulars of their weapons, for,
on pointing a musket toward him to try the experiment, he did not appear
to be sensible of the danger to himself in that case. As he did not
choose to quit his spear, and the sun was descending, they did not land,
but backed in near enough to throw him a yarn stocking, which they showed
him was to be worn as a cap with a tail to it, and then parted good

Monday the 22nd was passed in getting the sloop into the river, which
with some difficulty was accomplished, having to find out a channel
through an infinity of shoals, some of which were covered with mangroves.
Finding a proper place to lay the sloop on shore, Mr. Flinders took the
necessary measures; and on Thursday the 25th, having completely stopped
the leak, by filling up the seam with oakum, nailing the plank to afresh,
and covering the whole with tarred canvas and sheet lead, he re-stowed
his vessel, which had been cleared of every thing, a few tons of ballast
excepted, and was again in a condition to prosecute his intended
excursion to the Glass-House peaks.

In a spare interval of a few hours before high water, (the day he laid
the sloop ashore) he attempted to get some swans, but met with none that
could not fly. He saw several large fish, or animals that came up to the
surface of the water to blow, in the manner of a porpoise, or rather of a
seal, for they did not spout, nor had they any dorsal fin. The head also
strongly resembled the bluff-nosed hair seal, but their size was greater
than any which Mr. Flinders had seen before. He fired three musket balls
into one, and Bong-ree threw a spear into another; but they sunk, and
were not seen again. These animals, which perhaps might be sea lions,
were not observed any where but in this river.

Not finding any fresh water wherewith to fill up their casks, they had
dug a hole in a low situation about a hundred yards inland. The first
spit consisted of vegetable earth, mixed with a large portion of black
sand; the three following feet were composed of different layers of sand,
and then they came to the hardened black clay of which the rocks on some
parts of the banks were formed. Here the water began to ooze in at the
sides of the hole, which in the course of thirty-six hours was filled,
but with very thick water. Luckily there was not any occasion to use it;
for one of the people, incautiously straying into the wood, met with a
hole of very good water, at which they completed their stock.

While they were employed in making up the sails, which had been loosed in
the first part of the morning to dry, three natives made their appearance
upon the beach, a short distance below the vessel, and unarmed as before.
Bong-ree went up to them in his usual undaunted manner; but they would
not suffer Mr. Flinders or any of his party to approach them, without
first laying down their muskets. Presents were made them of yarn caps,
pork, and biscuit, all of which they eagerly took, and made signs for
Bong-ree to go with them, and they would give him girdles and fillets, to
bind round his head and the upper parts of his arms. So long as their
visitors consisted only of two, the natives were lively, dancing and
singing in concert in a pleasing manner; but, the number of white men
having imperceptibly increased to eight, they became alarmed and
suspicious, seeming to look with a jealous eye upon a shot belt which Mr.
Flinders wore, and which, though they did not rightly know how, might
some how or other be a deadly weapon.

Observing this, he gave it to one of the people to take away; but this he
afterwards thought was wrong, as tending to make them suspicious of every
thing they saw, and thus be a means of destroying their friendly
intercourse. By this shot belt they seemed to recognise Mr Flinders as
the person who had fired upon them before, and were more desirous that he
should keep at a distance than any other person. Three of the sailors,
who were Scotch, were desired to dance a reel, but, for want of music,
they made a very bad performance, which was contemplated by the natives
without much amusement or curiosity. Finding they could not be persuaded
to visit the sloop, our people parted with them, but in a very friendly

Having weighed the anchors (Thursday the 25th) they turned two or three
miles further up the river in the afternoon, for the convenience of being
nearer to the Glass-House peaks, which he now intended to visit. In the
deepest parts of the river, there were from four to six fathoms water;
but the channel was much divided, and narrow. They anchored near that
place on the western shore where the man who had a family with him had
called to them; and at this time they saw a fire, and heard several
younger female voices in the same place.

On the following morning Mr. Flinders took the boat up a small branch
that pointed toward the peaks, but afterwards, joining the same stream,
formed two low mangrove islands, leaving the Glass Houses at some distance
on the left hand. About half past nine he left the boat, accompanied by
two seamen and the native. Steering NW by W through a low swampy country,
brought them to the side of a creek, the banks of which were low, muddy,
and covered with mangroves. This creek carried them by the south west
near the head of it, where the stream, passing through a rocky swamp,
permitted them to wade over it. Thence they steered between N 50 degrees
and 60 degrees West, getting a sight of the flat-topped peak at times,
which, appearing to be considerably nearer than the highest Glass-House,
was that which he first meant to visit; but observing that one of the
round mounts with sloping sides was still nearer, he altered his course
for it; and, after walking about nine miles from the boat, reached the

The country through which they had passed was low, swampy, and brushy,
and in the latter part of the way somewhat uneven. In those parts which
were swampy, the surface was full of winding holes, where the water,
lodging, rendered walking both difficult and tiresome. The places that
were somewhat higher were either sandy or stony, and in these the grass
tree (or gum rush) abounded; but, in general, the trees were the same as
before mentioned, except that the pine was not observed to be among them.

The mount was a pile of stones of all sizes, mostly loose near the
surface. The decayed vegetable matter that was lodged in the cavities
produced a thick covering of long, but rather spindly grass, very fit for
thatch from its length. The ascent was difficult, and similar to that up
Mount Direction, which stands on the east bank of the Derwent river in
Van Diemen's Land. The trees upon the mount were the same as on the level
ground, but taller and more straight.

From the summit of this mount, the view of the bay and neighbouring
country was very extensive. The uppermost part of the bay appeared at S
24 degrees E and most probably communicated with a line of water which
was visible at S 12 degrees E where there were several distinct columns
of smoke. This last bearing, which Mr. Flinders apprehended to be near
the head of the river, he was not permitted to enter with the sloop, from
the intricacy of the channel, and the shortness of the time which
remained for his excursion.

Near the head of Pumice-Stone river there was a large spread of water,
bearing S 72 degrees E and seeming to divide off into small branches.
There were other small branches falling into this below, the whole
forming into channels, which, ramifying through the low country, drew off
whatever water might collect within the ridge of the back mountains.
These appeared to be within the distance of between ten and twenty miles,
lying in a north and south direction; and the intermediate country to be
nearly as low as that which they had walked over. There was a large smoke
near the foot of them.

From this mount, the way was over an irregular country, the higher parts
of which were sandy and stony, the lower swampy as before. At about two
thirds of the distance between it and the flat-topped peak (one mile and a
half), they were induced by a stream of water to rest for the night, the
sun being then below the trees. At seven the next morning they found
themselves under the steep cliffs of the flat-topped peak. The stone of
which this was composed was of a whitish cast, close-grained and hard, but
not heavy. It was not stratified, but there were many fissures in it. At
a little distance from the peak there were some pieces of a
reddish-coloured stone, and some small pieces of granite scattered about.

Mr. Flinders was somewhat surprised at not meeting with any volcanic
appearances, as the pumice stone in the river, and the situation of these
stupendous peaks, standing upon low flat ground, led him to form some
anxious expectations upon that head. But it must be observed, that,
although he could not distinguish any traces of scoria, lava, basaltes,
or other igneous remains, yet they might still exist, more especially
about the high Glass-House, which he did not visit.

As the steepness of its sides utterly forbade all idea of reaching the
summit of the flat-topped peak, he directed his course downwards to the
river, steering SSE to go clear of the head of the creek, and of the
swamps in its vicinity; but this direction took him a great way inland;
and upon his altering the course to reach the place where he had left the
boat, he had to cross a broad stream of fresh water which fell in lower
down, and to walk near three miles to reach the water side. He, however,
hit the place with unexpected readiness, and was very acceptably
presented with a black swan, which the people in the boat had caught, and
which was at the moment ready for satisfying the appetites of his party,
which were not trifling, for a more laborious and tiresome walk of the
same length would seldom be experienced.

The traces of men and animals were very few, and but rarely met with in
the upper parts of this excursion; but Mr. Flinders found a new species
of pheasant, about the size of an English magpie. The emu was not seen,
although its voice had been so often heard, as to induce him to suppose
that bird must be numerous. The more inland part of the country was
something higher and better than in the neighbourhood of the salt water;
but no where did he meet with any that was calculated for the production
of wheat.

Having reached the sloop in the evening, as soon as the ebb tide
permitted, the following morning, Sunday the 28th, they got under weigh
to turn down the river, with the wind at SSE. There were many natives on
the shore abreast of them, who seemed particularly anxious to be visited,
dancing and singing to attract attention, and express their own
good-will; and, when they could not prevail upon our people to land.
followed the sloop along the banks, their hopes seeming to revive by the
trips which in tacking they occasionally made towards the shore.

The intricacy of the channels proving a great impediment to their
progress, they could not get out of the river in one tide, but anchored
about a mile short of the entrance. Three swans, that the boat caught in
coming down, made the number of eighteen which had been procured in this

Shortly after anchoring, Mr. Flinders took some people with axes on shore
to cut a log of the pine* for the workmen at Port Jackson, who might
ascertain the kind and worth of the wood. There was a house and several
natives near the place, with whom Bong-ree was in conversation when the
tree fell, the crash and report of which startled them a good deal, and
might probably assist in giving them a higher idea of the power of their
visitors. These people were still very averse from the appearance or
approach of a musket, keeping a watchful eye upon their least movement.
The gallant and unsuspecting native, Bong-ree, made them a present of one
of his spears, and a throwing-stick, of which he showed them the use, for
they appeared to be wholly ignorant of the latter, and their weapons of
the former kind were inferior to his.

[* This pine was pronounced to be of the same species as that found in the
middle harbour of Port Jackson, but was much superior to it in size.]

Very bad weather detained Mr. Flinders here for two days, during which
they were occasionally visited by the natives, who came down upon both
sides of the river, and entertained them with singing and dancing: their
singing, indeed, could not be distinctly heard, being nearly lost in the
wind. Not a spear was at any time seen among them.

While lying here, Mr. Flinders had some opportunity of observing their
manner of fishing, which was perfectly new to his companion Bong-ree. The
party on the east shore, near which the vessel lay, went out each morning
at daylight along the side of the river with nets on their shoulders; and
this, as far as a distant view would allow of observation, appeared to be
the mode in which they used them. Whichever of the party sees a fish, by
some dextrous manoeuvre, gets at the back of it, and spreads out his
scoop net: others prevent its escaping on either side, and in one or
other of their nets the fish is almost infallibly caught. With these nets
they saw them run sometimes up to their middle in water; and, to judge
from the event, they seemed to be successful, as they generally soon made
a fire near the beach, and sat down by it; not doubt, to regale with
their fish, which was thus no sooner out of the water than it was on the

The rain ceasing on Tuesday afternoon, a party went to the eastern shore
to procure fire-wood, and to comply with the desire which the natives had
so often expressed of seeing them land among them. On approaching them,
they carried their nets away into the wood; but three of them, who
remained, suffered the white people to advance without laying down their
muskets, which had never happened before. They were still timorous; but,
on being encouraged and requested by signs to sing, they began a song in
concert, which actually was musical and pleasing, and not merely in the
diatonic scale, descending by thirds, as at Port Jackson: the descent of
this was waving, in rather a melancholy soothing strain. The song of
Bong-ree, which he gave them at the conclusion of theirs, sounded
barbarous and grating to the ear; but Bong-ree was an indifferent
songster, even among his own countrymen.

These people, like the natives of Port Jackson, having fallen to the low
pitch of their voices, recommenced their song at the octave, which was
accompanied by slow and not ungraceful motions of the body and limbs,
their hands being held up in a supplicating posture, and the tone and
manner of their song and gestures seemed to bespeak the good will and
forbearance of their auditors. Observing that they were attentively
listened to, they each selected one of our people, and placed his mouth
close to his car, as if to produce a greater effect, or, it might be, to
teach them the song, which their silent attention might seem to express a
desire to learn. In return for the pleasure they had afforded, Mr.
Flinders gave them some worsted caps, and a pair of old blanket trousers,
with which they were much gratified. Several other natives soon made
their appearance, probably those who had carried away the nets. It was
some little time before they could overcome their dread of approaching
the strangers with their firearms; but, encouraged by the three who were
with them, they came up, and a general song and dance was commenced.
Their singing was not confined to one air; they gave three, but the first
was the most pleasing.

Of those who last came, three were remarkable for the largeness of their
heads; and one, whose face was very rough, had much more the appearance
of a baboon than of a human being. He was covered with oily soot; his
hair matted with filth; his visage, even among his fellows, uncommonly
ferocious; and his very large mouth, beset with teeth of every hue
between black, white, green, and yellow, sometimes presented a smile,
which might make one shudder.

Among other friendly interchanges, they learned the names of Mr. Flinders
and his party. Him they called *'Mid-ger Plindah,' and his brother Samuel
they named Dam-wel. Three of their names were Yel-yel-bah, Ye-woo, and
Bo-ma-ri-go. The resemblance of this last to Porto Rico imprinted it on
Mr. Flinders's recollection. When these people joined the party, the
strangers were shown, and their names severally told to them, until they
had gotten the pronunciation. This ceremony was reciprocal, and accorded
with what Captain Cook had said before of an inhabitant of Endeavour
river, 'he introduced the strangers by name, a ceremony which upon such
occasions was never omitted.' The difference of latitude between these
two places is 11 degrees 39 minutes, or seven hundred miles.

[* In these particularities, their language resembled that of
the Port Jackson natives. It may be seen in the former account, that Mr.
Ball was named Mid-ger Bool, and that none of them could ever pronounce
the letters f or s. Even Bennillong, on his return from England, still
used caw-be for coffee. Many other instances might be adduced.]

With regard to the comparative size of these people, they were evidently
somewhat lower than the common standard of Englishmen, and perhaps less
in every respect, except in the disproportionate size of the head; and
indeed this was not general. In the features of the face, particularly in
the elongation of the lower ones, in the small calf to the leg, and the
curve of the thigh, they bore a general resemblance to the natives of
Port Jackson; but there was not one in all this group, whose countenance
had so little of the savage, or the symmetry of whose limbs expressed
strength and agility, so much, as those of their companion Bong-ree.

A hawk presenting himself in an interval of conversation, Mr. Flinders
thought it a fair opportunity of showing his new friends a specimen of
the effect and certainty of his fire-arms. He made them comprehend what
was intended; but, while shifting the buck shot which were in the musket
for a charge of small shot, their agitation was so great, that they
seemed to be on the point of running into the woods; however, an
expedient to keep them was devised; the seamen placed them in a cluster
behind themselves, and in this situation they anxiously saw Mr. Flinders
approach toward the bird, and fire. What must have been his sensations at
this moment! for the hawk flew away, though not indeed unhurt, as the
natives noticed that the leg was broken. This disappointment brought to
his recollection how ineffectual had been some former attempts of his to
impress them with an idea of the superior refinement of his followers.
Bong-ree, his musician, had annoyed his auditors with his barbarous
sounds, and the clumsy exhibition of his Scotch dancers unaccompanied
with the aid of music, had been viewed by them without wonder or

It is almost unnecessary to say that these people go naked. They,
however, wore belts round the waist, and fillets about the head and upper
parts of the arm. These were formed of hair, twisted into yarn-like
threads, and then into bandages, mostly reticulated. Indeed the
inhabitants of this bay appeared to possess in general a very pointed
difference from, if not a superiority over, those of New South Wales,
particularly in their net-works. A seine eighty feet in length, and the
scoop nets which they use, have been mentioned. To these may be added the
bag in which they seemed to carry their portable property, and which was
most probably of the same kind as those mentioned by Captain Cook; but
they were seen of different sizes, and two that Mr. Flinders procured
were very differently worked. They were in general shaped somewhat like a
breast plate; and, being suspended from the necks of the possessors, led
him, previous to his first interview with them, to suppose they were some
kind of defence for the more vital parts. There was no doubt but that
they were provided with nets for catching very large fish, or animals, as
the fragments of a rotten one lying on the shore were picked up, the
meshes of which were wide enough to admit the escape of a moderate sized
porpoise; and the line of which it was made was from three quarters to an
inch in circumference. Probably the large animals which Mr. Flinders took
to be sea lions might be the objects for which these large nets were

Mr. Flinders was of opinion, that this mode of procuring their food would
cause a characteristic difference between the manners, and perhaps the
dispositions, of these people, and of those who mostly depend upon the
spear or fiz-gig for a supply. In the one case, there must necessarily be
the co-operation of two or more individuals; who therefore, from mutual
necessity, would associate together. It is fair to suppose, that this
association would, in the course of a few generations, if not much
sooner, produce a favourable change in the manners and dispositions even
of a savage. In the other case, the native who depends upon his single
arm, and, requiring not the aid of society, is indifferent about it, but
prowls along, a gloomy, unsettled, and unsocial being. An inhabitant of
Port Jackson is seldom seen, even in the populous town of Sydney, without
his spear, his throwing-stick, or his club. His spear is his defence
against enemies. It is the weapon which he uses to punish aggression and
revenge insult. It is even the instrument with which he corrects his wife
in the last extreme; for in their passion, or perhaps oftener in a fit of
jealousy, they scruple not to inflict death. It is the play-thing of
children, and in the hands of persons of all ages. It is easy to perceive
what effect this must have upon their minds. They become familiarised to
wounds, blood, and death; and, repeatedly involved in skirmishes and
dangers, the native fears not death in his own person, and is consequently
careless of inflicting it on others.

The net also appearing to be a more certain source of food than the
spear, change of place will be less necessary. The encumbrance too of
carrying large nets from one place to another will require a more
permanent residence; and hence it would naturally follow, that their
houses would be of a better construction. Those which had been met with
in Shoal Bay and Glass-House Bay were certainly far superior to any that
had been seen in the neighbourhood of Port Jackson; and this superiority
Mr. Flinders attributed to the different mode of procuring fish which had
been adopted by the inhabitants. He likewise supposed that the use of
nets, and consequently whatever resulted from such use, arose from the
form of the bay, which, being shoal for a considerable distance from the
shores, gave the greatest advantage to nets, over every other method,
more especially the setting and scoop nets. Pumice Stone river, being
full of shoals, required the same manner of fishing; and it was observed
that most, if not all, of the islands in the bay were surrounded by
extensive shoals, which, by extending the necessity, would assist in
bringing nets into more general use.

At one time they saw near twenty natives engaged in fishing upon one of
these flats, the greater part of whom were employed in driving fish into
a net which was held by their companions. That they were so engaged, they
convinced our people by one of the party holding up a fish to them while
he was standing in the water.

During the time the sloop was in Glass-House Bay, they scarcely saw any
of the women.

Of their canoes but little could be reported. The only one which Mr.
Flinders had any opportunity of examining was on the east side of
Pumice-Stone river. This was formed of the stringy bark, and was much
larger than any used at Port Jackson. The ends of it were tied up in the
same manner; but it was misshapen and clumsy. Not any of the natives ever
attempted to approach the sloop in canoes, although at times eight or ten
were seen standing together, who appeared very desirous of having a
communication with it.

On the day the sloop was laid ashore in the river, the rise of the tide
was but three feet and nine inches. The tides were then neaped, and the
remark made by Captain Cook, that 'they had only one high tide in
twenty-four hours' seemed to apply in this bay; for, although the sloop
was got up as high as the strength of the crew would admit, yet she
righted a full hour and a half before the night tide had done flowing,
and shortly after one man haled her off. The superior rise of the night
tide was well known, and advantage taken of it, at Port Jackson: it also
rose the highest at Western Port, round the southern promontory of New
South Wales. The time of high-water in the river preceded the moon's
passage over the meridian by two hours and a half, and Mr. Flinders did
not think the highest rise of the tide was more than seven, or less than
five, feet.

On Wednesday the 31st, having a moderate breeze at S by W with fine
weather, they got under weigh with the weather tide, and beat out of the
river. Having passed fifteen days in Glass-House Bay, Mr. Flinders was
enabled to form his judgment of it. It was so full of shoals, that he
could not attempt to point out any passage that would lead a ship into it
without danger. The east side of the Bay had not been sounded; if any
existed, it would probably be found on that side.

Mr. Flinders named the land upon which Cape Moreton was situated Moreton
Island, supposing it to be that which Captain Cook would have given it,
had he known of its insulated form. It appeared to be a strip of land
whose greatest extent east and west was not more than four or five miles;
but, according to the observations for the latitude, its north and south
extent was about twenty-two miles. The ridge of land which ran along the
middle of the island was nearly of the same height with the Cape; and,
although it appeared to be composed of great piles of sand heaped
together upon a base mostly of stone, it was yet interspersed with small
trees calculated to mislead a distant observer, who would probably think
that some parts of it were not among the most barren spots in the

In passing out of the bay they saw a large turtle lying asleep upon the
water; whence it became not improbable, that the capture of these animals
might form a part of the labours of the inhabitants, and of the intention
with which their larger nets were made.


The _Norfolk_ proceeds to Hervey's Bay
Some account of it
Curlew Island
She returns to Port Jackson
Observations on the currents and tides along the coast
A criminal court assembled
Order respecting the issuing of government notes
Public works
A ship arrives from America
The _Buffalo_ sails for the Cape
The governor crosses the Nepean
A calf killed
Convicts found on board the _Hillsborough_ and _Hunter_
The master of the _Hunter_ tried
A young ox stolen
Ration reduced
Price of Grain fixed

In his passage to Hervey's Bay, the next place of his destination, Mr.
Flinders was not more than two days; passing the Wide Bay of Captain Cook
on the 1st and Sandy Cape on the 2nd of August. The southerly wind of
the day veering round in the evening to the eastward compelled him during
the night to keep at a distance from the land; but, returning to it in
the morning, he found that Captain Cook's description of the coast
applied exceedingly well, so far as the distance of the sloop from the
shore would enable him to judge.

During this short run he passed one of those spotted flat-tailed snakes
which were first noticed by Captain Cook in this latitude, and which
appeared to be of the kind observed by Captain Dampier on the north west
coast of New Holland. Mr. Flinders had observed the same sort of snake
among the islands between New Guinea and New Holland, when on board His
Majesty's ship _Providence_; it was therefore probable, that it
might be found upon most parts of this coast, which were situated within,
or in the verge of, the Tropic.

In this bay Mr. Flinders remained until the 7th, during which time he had
sailed round the interior of it, but without being able to enter any
opening that might have led him to a river. It was deep and extensive,
the soundings in it very irregular, and in several places he was
prevented by breakers from approaching the shore.

Hauling up for an opening which he was desirous of examining, he came to
a small sandy islet, which lay at the mouth of it. Being unable to find a
passage into the opening with the sloop, he came to an anchor, and went
ashore upon this island, which was surrounded with shoal water. The base
of it he found to be a hard stone, over which was a covering of sand,
mixed with pieces of coral and shells. There was a little cluster of
palms upon it, and some other small trees. Two or three large trees were
lying upon the shore, thrown down either by wind or the flood, assisted
by the weight of the trees themselves, which the depth of soil was not
sufficient to support. They were a tough, hard, and close-grained wood.
Being about half ebb, the surrounding shoal was dry. On it were some
thousand curlews and gulls, and some pelicans; but all too shy to allow
of his approach within musket shot. Upon one of the trees was stuck the
cap of a small whale's skull, and in one of the sockets of the eyes was a
bird's nest apparently of the last season.

This islet must at times be visited by natives; for they found three
spears, and near them was hidden a small shield, of the same form and
substance as that seen in Pumice-Stone river. The spears were of solid
wood, of twelve feet in length, and could not have been used with a
throwing-stick. One of them was barbed with a small piece of some
animal's bone.

From the trending of the shores of this harbour, it was divided into two
bays, an upper and a lower bay; the former of which was the smallest,
and, in comparison with the latter, resembled the cod to a seine. The
shore on the east side of this bay (the upper) was high, and bounded by
white, steep cliffs; whence Mr. Flinders was induced to hope that a deep
channel might be found there, being unwilling to believe that there was
not a good passage even to the head of a sheet of water of six or seven
miles square, and into which most probably one or more streams of water
emptied themselves.

With the intention of attempting the eastern passage into this upper bay,
he returned on board from his visit to the islet (which he named
Curlew-Islet, and which is in the latitude of 25 degrees 17 minutes S)
and got the sloop under weigh; but was obliged to give up the idea, on
finding the shoal water so extensive as to make it probable that it
joined a line of breakers; and, the sun being near the horizon, to get
clear of the shoal water before dark became a principal concern, and
together induced him to shape a course for a sloping hummock on the west
side of the bay.

The soundings deepened gradually to six fathoms; but, shoaling again to
three and even two fathoms, Mr Flinders suspected that the flood tide
might have set the vessel to the southward toward the shore; this,
however, did not appear to have happened; for at daylight the following
morning her situation was what he supposed it would be, the sloping
hummock bearing W 5 degrees N and their distance off shore about two
miles, the wind having remained at SW during the whole night.

Keeping along the shore until nine o'clock, the water shoaled to nine
feet, and obliged them to haul off to the NE. Being now to the northward
of where Captain Cook had laid down the coast line, and the land being
visible at W 10 degrees N from the deck, and as far as NW from the mast
head, he judged it unnecessary to pursue the research any longer, under
the supposition of there being a double bay, and therefore continued his
course for the extreme of Break Sea Spit, the sloping hummock bearing S 9
degrees E at the time of altering the course.

The coast round Hervey's Bay was, in general, low near the shore, and on
the west side the low land extended to some distance inwards. On that
side the land wore a different appearance from that of Sandy Cape, there
being few marks of sand, and the shore was mostly rocky. Advancing toward
the head, the beaches presented themselves, and continued with little
interruption into the upper bay. A large island lying off the entrance to
the upper bay showed no marks of sand, but was well covered with wood and
verdure. In height, it was equal to the higher parts of the main, and
being four or five miles in length, seemed to be a fine island. On the
eastern shore the sand was more or less apparent every where increasing
in quantity toward the cape. The white cliffs that were noticed before
very probably contained chalk; the upper stratum, two or three feet in
thickness, being of a superior whiteness in those which were best seen.

With respect to fertility, the general aspect only can be spoken of.
About the head of the bay, the trees were of a fair growth; grass seemed
sufficiently abundant, and there were few appearances of sand. Some parts
of it Mr. Flinders thought were stony.

Of the inhabitants he could only observe, that their smokes were numerous
about the bay, and that they at times frequented Curlew islet.

Of the animal, vegetable, or fossil productions of the bay, he could not
speak, the shortness of his stay not permitting any examination.

From the appearance of the tide the day that he landed upon the islet, it
had been high water between twelve and one o'clock, which was between
three and four hours before the moon came upon the meridian.

The mean of nine amplitudes taken in this bay gave the variation 9
degrees 44 minutes east; and of two sets of azimuths 9 degrees 15 minutes
east; from both, the mean variation of the azimuth compass was 9 degrees
30 minutes east.

Having cleared the point of Break Sea Spit, on Thursday the 8th he
proceeded on his return to Port Jackson. Passing the land between Smoky
Cape and the Solitary Isles in the day which had been before passed in
the night, he observed that it seemed to be higher than most parts of its
coast in the neighbourhood, Mount Warning excepted; and even there it was
not so high near the shore. The view that he had of the land at sunset,
when Smoky Cape bore S 25 degrees W distant five or six leagues, induced
Mr. Flinders to think it probable that there might be an opening to the
northward of it.

In the afternoon of Sunday the 18th, there being but little wind, and the
weather fine, they were attended by several very large spermaced whales.
They were not more than twice the sloop's length from her, coming up on
either side at times very near her; and remained playing, or perhaps
feeding, in this way for more than two hours.

Their appearance was followed in the evening by a gale from the SW which
reduced them to their storm sails, and compelled them to keep off and on
during the night. The wind, however, moderating the next day, and a
southerly current having been in their favour, Mr. Flinders concluded his
labours at dusk in the evening of the 20th; at which time he secured his
little vessel alongside his Majesty's ship the _Reliance_ in Port

The observations which were made by Mr. Flinders on the set of the
current at different parts of the coast, being directly opposite to the
remarks of Captain Cook, it may be proper to state them. That great and
able seaman says, in his notice of the current on this coast, that 'It
always ran with more force in shore than in the offing.' Now, in going to
the northward the sloop was kept as near in shore as circumstances would
permit; but the whole sum of southing produced in eight entire days, from
latitude 33 degrees 45 minutes to 24 degrees 22 minutes south, was
sixty-five miles, almost the whole of which were lost off the Three
Brothers and Smoky Cape, when their distance from the shore was more
than in general it used to be. To counteract this, they had twenty-five
miles of northing, reducing the current to thirty miles in eight days,
which could scarcely be called a current.

On the other hand, their average distance from the shore, when on their
return, was about twelve leagues, or barely within sight of the land; and
in running the same difference of latitude in twelve days the sum of the
southing was two hundred and eleven miles, and the northing but one mile
and a half. Out of this, thirty-four miles were gained in one day when
their distance off the shore was the greatest, being between twenty and
twenty-five leagues.

From these data it should appear, that the current was strongest at the
distance of five, and from thence to twenty or more leagues; and within
that, there was some set to the northward. But Mr. Flinders thought it
most probable, that the southerly current would prevail nearer to such
projecting points of land as Point Danger, Smoky Cape, Red Point, and the
Heads of Jervis Bay; perhaps close to them, at such times when its
strength was greatest, for in that respect it had been found to vary
much: it was even believed at Port Jackson, that the current changes its
direction totally during some short space of time.

Of the tides it was scarcely necessary to say any thing; for, by a
comparison of the times of high water at Bustard Bay-and at Port Jackson,
it should seem that the flood came from the southward; and would
therefore produce little or no set along the coast either way, in the
greatest part of that space. It was probable, however that, to the
southward of Smoky Cape, the flood would draw somewhat from the
northward; for there the land trended to the westward of south; and
likewise the nearer the coast lies east and west, the more set would be
produced by the tide along it; as from Cape Howe to Wilson's Promontory
for instance. Again, from Break Sea Spit, the coast trends to the
westward of north, which has a tendency to draw the flood from the SE and
this was shown by Captain Cook to be the case.

We must here take leave of Captain Flinders, whose skill in exploring
unknown coasts and harbours, so amply manifested in this excursion,
creates an additional interest in the success of his present undertaking.

The courts of criminal judicature being assembled on the 29th of the
month, one man, Job Williams, was capitally convicted of a burglary; and
several others, free people, were ordered to be transported to Norfolk
Island. Williams afterwards received a pardon, some favourable
circumstances having been laid before the governor, which induced him to
extend the mercy vested in him by His Majesty's authority.

The difficulties which were still placed in the way of the commissary in
preparing his accounts to be sent home, through the settlers and other
persons, who had not come forward, as they were some time since directed,
to sign the requisite vouchers for the sums paid them for the grain or
pork which they had delivered at the public stores, the commissary was
directed not to make immediate payment in future, but to issue the
government notes quarterly only, when every person concerned would be
obliged to attend, and give the proper receipts for such sums as might be
then paid them. This was a most useful regulation, and had been long

The convicts brought out by the _Hillsborough_ being mostly recovered
from the disease and weakness with which they landed, some additional
strength was gained to the public gangs, and the different works
in hand went on with more spirit than they had done for some time
past. In addition to the battery which, under the direction of Lieutenant
Kent, had been constructed by the seamen of the _Supply_ on the east
point of the cove, the work on Point Maskelyne had been raised and
completed with embrasures; some guns were placed in a commanding
situation above the wind-mill on the west side; and a work had been
erected upon Garden-Island; so that, in point of defence, the settlement
at this time wore a respectable appearance.

The weather had for some time past been moderate and temperate.

September.] In the night of the 6th of September, the American ship
_Resource_ arrived, after a passage of four months from Rhode
Island, bound to China. Mr. Magee, who was last here in the _Grand
Turk_ was on board the _Resource_. Having refreshed the people,
who certainly required some rest after such a voyage, she sailed again
on the 14th; but, to the great injury of such Americans as might visit
the settlement after him, the master took away several people, among
whom were some seamen belonging to the King's ships on this station. To
recruit their numbers, as well as to refresh those he had on board, were
probably his motives for coming in; but such conduct was deserving of a
representation to the American minister, which the governor accordingly
determined to make.

On the morning of the 15th, his Majesty's ship _Buffalo_ sailed for
the Cape of Good Hope, thence to return with cattle for the colony. It
had been wished to have sent a cargo of coals by her to the Cape; but the
repairs which she required had taken up so much time, that to have loaded
her with that article would have thrown her departure too far into the
season for sailing to the Cape, to admit of her return within the summer
months, a measure absolutely necessary for preserving her cattle. This
would otherwise have been an object too desirable to have been neglected.

The _Buffalo_ was commanded and manned by the officers and ship's
company of the _Supply_. Dispatches were sent to England by this
opportunity, and contained, among others, a requisition for such
materials as were wanting to carry into effect the endeavour to
manufacture woollens and linens, viz a large quantity of reeds from 400
to 1600; two complete sets of hackles; one gross of tow and wool cards,
with a quantity of log wood, red wood, copperas, and allum.

Having dispatched this ship, the governor set off on a visit to the wild
cattle. Leaving Parramatta on the 24th, he crossed the Nepean the
following day, but much further to the northward than he had done before.
In this direction he and his party traversed a new tract of country,
which was not only beautiful to the eye*, but highly calculated for
cultivation and pasturage.

[* What a contrast and relief must an excursion of this kind afford,
to the living in the unvarying repetition of criminal courts, and
their attendant crimes and punishments!]

On their arrival at the Cow-pasture Plains, they fell in with a herd of
the cattle, about twenty in number, and so extremely fierce, that, had
it not been for the dogs which were with them, they would probably have
been attacked. Some natives, who had accompanied the governor, were so
alarmed, that they availed themselves of their expertness in climbing
trees, and left their friends to provide for their own safety how they
could. These dogs having been hunted at the cattle, much against the
governor's wish, by some of the party, who did it, as not thinking their
situation perfectly safe, the animals were dismayed at the unusual
appearance and went off, but a bull calf, about six months old, was
detained by the dogs. Him the governor directed to be let loose; but here
a strange circumstance occurred. Having three horses with the party, the
calf would not quit them; but, running between their legs, cried out for
the flock, which, from his bellowing, there was reason to apprehend would
return, to the great danger of the party; one of the gentlemen was
therefore obliged to stop his cries by shooting him through the head, and
the whole regaled upon veal, a rare dish in this country.

On quitting the Cow-pasture Plains, the party crossed the river again,
higher up than they had formerly done; and were led for about four miles
over a mountainous country, but adapted either for tillage or pasture.
They then crossed a fine tract of level country, rich in the most
luxuriant grass, and uncommonly well watered, chains of ponds being found
every two or three miles.

October.] On their return they found that the _Eliza_ whaler had
arrived from sea, not wanting more than thirty tons of oil to complete
her cargo.

A number of the public labouring servants of the crown having lately
absconded from their duty, for the purpose either of living by robbery in
the woods, or of getting away in some of the ships now about to sail,
that none of those concerned in the concealing them might plead
ignorance, public notice was given 'that any officer or man belonging to
the above ships, who should be known to have countenanced or assisted the
convicts above alluded to in making their escape, would be taken out of
the ship, and punished with the utmost severity of the law; and as the
most strict and scrupulous search would take place on board, for every
convict which should be found concealed, or suffered to remain on board
without regular permission, so many of the ship's company should be taken
out and detained for daring to encourage such escape. Such of the above
public servants as might have taken to concealments on shore for the
purpose of avoiding their work, or making their escape from the colony,
if they did not return within a week to their respective stations, might,
upon discovery, expect the most exemplary punishment; but they would be
pardoned for the present attempt if they returned immediately.'

On the day this order was issued, the _Hillsborough_, which was
moving out of the Cove, and preparing for sea, was strictly searched, and
several convicts being found on board, they were brought on shore, and
each received a severe corporal punishment. One of them was excused, on
condition of his declaring who the people were that had encouraged their
concealment, and prepared hiding places for them. He accordingly deposed
to two of the seamen, who were also brought on shore, punished, and
afterwards drummed to the wharf, and sent back to their ship. The
foregoing order was then published.

How well it was attended to, and what effect the punishment of the seamen
and convicts produced, were instantly seen. The _Hunter_*,
preparatory to a voyage to Bengal, where she was to freight with goods
for the colony, went out of the harbour. A woman named Ann Holmes being
missing, the governor ordered an armed boat from the _Reliance_ to
follow the ship, with some of the constables, and search her; with
directions, if any persons were found on board who had not permission to
depart, to bring her into port again. Having found the woman, the ship
was brought up the harbour and secured.

[* This ship had been a Spanish prize, and was the property
of Mr. Hingston, late master of the _Hillsborough_, and two others,
free people belonging to the settlement.]

Several of her crew having behaved in a most insolent and mutinous manner
to the officer of the _Reliance_, having armed themselves against
the constables with cutlasses, and one of them having presented a musket
at the chief constable, they were secured, ordered to be punished on
board their own ship, and afterwards turned on shore. But it was
necessary to do something more than this; and, a criminal court being
assembled for the purpose, the master of the ship was brought to trial,
charged with aiding and abetting a female convict to make her escape from
the colony. As the offence consisted in aiding a convict, it was
requisite to prove that such was the person found on board his ship; but,
upon referring to a list of the prisoners who were embarked in the
_Royal Admiral_, the ship in which Arm Holmes had been sent out to
New South Wales, no specific term of transportation was found annexed to
her name. On the question then, whether the master had aided a convict in
making an escape, he was acquitted, it not being possible by any document
to prove that Holmes was at that moment a convict. But the master was
reprehensible in concealing any person whatever in his ship, and ought to
have felt the awkwardness of his situation, in being brought before a
court for the breach of an order expressly issued a short time before to
guard him and others against the offence that he had committed.

When the _Hillsborough_ was searched, not less than thirty convicts
were found to have been received on board, against the orders and without
the knowledge of the officers, and secreted by the seamen. This ship and
the _Hunter_, shortly after these transactions, sailed on their
respective voyages.

But although, by the measures which had been adopted, it was supposed
that none of these people had escaped in the ships, yet many were still
lurking in the woods. About this time a young ox was missing from the
government stock-yard at Toongabbie, and there was every reason to
suppose had been driven away and slaughtered by some of those wretches.
In the hope of discovering the offender, a notice was published, holding
out a conditional emancipation, and permission to become a settler, to
any convict for life, who would come forward with the information
necessary to convict the persons concerned in this destructive kind of
robbery; and an absolute emancipation, with permission to quit the
colony, to any one transported only for a limited time; but nothing was
ever adduced that could lead to a discovery.

The scarcity of wheat at this time in the public stores rendering it
necessary to deduct two pounds from the twelve which were issued,
addition was made to the weekly allowance of salt meat, eight pounds and
a half of beef being issued in lieu of five, and five pounds of pork in
lieu of three. This alteration was to continue until the new crops
came in.

These wearing at present a very promising appearance, and the various and
unforeseen misfortunes which had from time to time attended the exertions
of the industrious in agriculture, being, it was hoped, now at an end,
the governor, conceiving it to be no longer consistent with his duty to
continue the original prices of grain, directed that in future the
following should be given, viz, for wheat, per bushel, 8 shillings; for
the present barley, per bushel, 6 shillings; and for maize, per bushel, 4
shillings which prices were to commence on the 1st day of January 1800.

The scarcity of wheat in the public store was occasioned by the unbounded
extravagance of the labouring people, who had, in consequence of the last
unproductive season, reduced those who supported themselves to very great
distress; and several persons, who some time since would gladly have sent
their wheat to the store at the established price, had now refused it,
when the store was capable of receiving it; and, taking advantage of the
scarcity which they themselves had occasioned, had raised the price of
wheat to L1 10s per bushel: a shameful extortion!


The _Reliance_ sails for Norfolk Island
The _Walker_ arrives with Lieutenant-Colonel Paterson from England
Dispatches received
Orders respecting bread
Storm of wind
The _Britannia_ whaler sails for England
Settlers dissatisfied
A Spanish prize arrives
The _Martha_ from Cape Barren Island
A criminal court held
Wheat continued at the former Price
Gaol burnt at Parramatta
Harvest begun
Live stock

November.] On the 2nd of the month, his Majesty's ship the _Reliance_
sailed with the relief of the military on duty at Norfolk Island;
and in the afternoon of the following day the ship _Walker_ anchored
in the Cove from England. On board of this ship were Lieutenant-Colonel
Paterson, and Captain Abbot, of the New South Wales corps.

Dispatches were at this time received, whereby the governor, being
directed to cause a register to be kept of all ships entering inwards and
clearing outwards of the harbour, he appointed Richard Atkins, esq to the
service; and it became an article in the port orders which were
delivered to the masters of ships upon their arrival, that they were not
upon any account to break bulk, or attempt to land any article whatever,
until such time as an account of the ship, her commander, cargo, etc. had
been laid before the governor. It was at the same time signified, that no
boat, or any person whomsoever, except the pilot, such officer as might
be sent by the governor, and the person appointed to fill up the
register, should ever board strange ships entering the port, until the
above information had been regularly and fully obtained. It was
conjectured, that this measure of registering ships was preparatory to
the establishment of duties and a custom-house.

By the _Walker_ four iron twelve pounders were received, and
information that copper coinage to the amount of L550 was in the
_Porpoise_, whose arrival might be daily looked for. The circulation
of this money would be attended with the most comfortable accommodation
to the people in their various dealings with each other; and it might be
so marked, as to prevent any inducement to take it out of the colony, if
it should ever be found convenient by government to order a silver
coinage for the use of the settlement, if it was fixed at not more than
half or two thirds of the intrinsic value of what it might pass for, so
as to render the loss considerable to any one attempting to carry it
away, it would be felt as a considerable advantage, and would effectually
prevent the forgeries to which a paper currency was liable.

With the _Walker_ came in the _Britannia_ from her last successful
cruise, having now completed her cargo of oil. The _Walker_ was designed
for the whale fishery.

A complaint having been made by some of the inhabitants of the town of
Sydney respecting the quality of that very necessary article, the bread
that was delivered to them, the governor directed a meeting of officers
to assemble for the purpose of investigating it; when it appeared, that
the bakers received the wheat as it was issued, engaging to give in lieu
a certain quantity of bread; but, not having stipulated as to the
quality, returned a loaf in which there was so much more chaff and bran
than flour, that the convicts feelingly, and not unaptly, termed them
scrubbing brushes. The bakers were heard, and such directions given as
were necessary to remove the evil complained of.

The arrival of Lieutenant-Colonel Paterson had introduced some
alterations and regulations in the corps of which he had now taken the
command. Among others, his Majesty having been graciously pleased to
augment the pay of the non-commissioned officers, drummers, and privates
of the army, since the 25th day of May 1797, under certain regulations
with respect to stoppages, the regiment was now to receive the benefit of
such increase of pay. From this, three pence halfpenny per diem was to be
deducted, as a payment for the ration which was issued to them, and which
the commissary was now directed to serve, agreeable to the ration
established by his Majesty's command for such of his troops as were
serving in Jamaica, Gibraltar, and New South Wales.

Colonel Paterson having also been instructed to complete the different
companies of the corps, if he could obtain a sufficient number of proper
characters, a public notice was given, informing such free people as
could bring with them recommendations that would satisfy the colonel they
were deserving of being taken into his Majesty's service, that they would
be received, and attested for the regiment.

The very little attention which had long been, and continued to be shown
to the duties of religion, and the want of that decency and respect which
were due to the return of the Sabbath, were now so glaringly conspicuous,
that it became necessary to repeat the orders which had indeed often been
given upon that subject, and again to call upon every person possessed of
authority to use that authority in compelling the due attendance of the
convicts at church, and other proper observance of the Sabbath. The women
were also directed to be more punctual in their appearance; for these
still availed themselves of the indulgence which as women they had been
treated with, seldom thinking themselves included in the restrictions
that were laid upon others.

The wheat crops, at this time nearly ready for the reaper, wore the most
promising appearance, the stalks every where, particularly at the
Hawkesbury, bending beneath the weight of the richest ears of corn ever
beheld in this or indeed any other country. But, like other countries, a
crop was never to be reckoned in this, until it was gathered into the
barn. About the middle of the month there fell a very heavy storm of
thunder, lightning, and rain, attended also with a shower of hall from
the SE that beat all the fruit off the trees, and destroyed the gardens
in and about the town of Sydney, though it was not felt more than two
miles from that place. A heavy gale of wind and rain took place at the
Hawkesbury the day preceding the storm at Sydney, which laid much of the
wheat, and beat down one end of the public store. This destructive
weather, having subsided for a day, recommenced on the 20th, and
continued without intermission until the 25th, when it again cleared up;
and, to increase the vexation, myriads of caterpillars were found
destroying the young maize.

That it might be exactly known what was the produce of this year's
harvest, proper people were appointed, by order of the governor, to visit
each district; and, from the respective owners, to collect an account of
what each farm had produced.

The building of the public gaol at Sydney was not yet completed; nor,
although a meeting of the officers had been lately held to consider of
the means, was any mode devised of defraying the still heavy expense
thereof. It had been suggested to raise a fund on the importation of
merchandise; but nothing conclusive was yet determined upon.

December.] The _Britannia_ whaler having, as was before stated,
arrived a full ship, and being again ready for sea, on the 2nd of this
month sailed for England. In her, Mr. Raven, who brought out the
_Buffalo_, and some of his officers took their passage; and agreement
having been made with Mr. Turnbull, the master, to furnish them, six
in number, with a passage for the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds.*
The _Walker _sailed at the same time on her fishing voyage.

[* Mr. Raven was charged with dispatches; which, from his earnest
desire not to lose any time in delivering, he unfortunately lost.
When the ship was within sight of the Isle of Wight, he got into a boat,
which was captured by a small privateer, and was carried into France with
his dispatches, not having had time to sink them. He was soon liberated
himself, but was not able to obtain even the private letters that he had
with him.]

The settlers, being dissatisfied with the reduction in the price of grain
which had been ordered, presented petitions to the governor, in which
they stated the various hardships that for a considerable time past they
had laboured under, in the hope that he might be induced to receive the
crops of the present season at the usual price. Having taken their
petitions into consideration, he desired them to recollect, that near
four years since he had given them notice, that the high price of grain
could not be continued longer than that season; and though he had not any
doubt of their having sustained the losses which they represented, and
they must be sensible he had used every means in his power to remove and
relieve their misfortunes; yet his duty to government compelled him to
adhere to the reduction of which they complained. At the same time he
could not avoid observing, that some of these misfortunes had in many
instances proceeded from a want of that attention to their own interest,
which every man possessing common discretion would have shown; many of
them having parted with their last bushel for the gratification of the
moment, thereby reducing their families to distress and nakedness.

He likewise informed them, that he had much pleasure in finding that
government had a serious intention, as early as the public concerns of
the nation would admit, of administering every possible relief, by
supplying the inhabitants with such necessaries and comforts as they
might require at a moderate price. He was, however, obliged to direct the
commissary to receive the grain of this season at the prices ordered by
him in the month of October.

In the evening of the day on which the _Britannia_ sailed, the
_Plumier_, a Spanish ship, anchored in the cove. She was a prize to
three whalers, who had taken her near Cape Corientes, on the coast of
Peru. Her cargo consisted chiefly of bad spirits and wine, which, on her
being condemned by the Court of Vice-admiralty as a lawful prize, were
removed into the _Supply_, and an order was given out, strictly
forbidding the landing of any spirits, wine, or even malt liquor, until
a regular permit had been first obtained. This restriction upon wine and
malt liquor was occasioned by spirituous liquors having been landed under
that description.

At length the commissary was enabled to issue some slop-clothing to the
convicts, a quantity having been received by the _Walker_; but,
unfortunately, much of what had been put on board arrived in a very
damaged state, as appeared by a survey which was immediately taken.

On the 14th the _Martha_ schooner anchored in the cove from Bass
Strait, whence she had brought with her one thousand seal skins and
thirty barrels of oil, which had been procured there among the islands.

The court of criminal judicature being assembled on the 16th, two mates
of the _Walker_ were brought before it, and tried for using menaces
to a person who had stopped their boat when attempting to land spirits
without a permit; but as he had not any special authority for making the
seizure, or detaining the boat, they were acquitted.

One man, John Chapman Morris, was found guilty of forgery by the the same
court, and received sentence of death; but as this had been determined by
the majority of one voice only, whereas the letters patent for
establishing the court expressly say that five of the members are to
concur in a capital case, this business must, as provided also by the
patent, be referred to the King in council. It was hoped that this
circumstance would but seldom occur, as the object of it must, during the
reference, remain a prisoner, with all the miserable sensations that a
person would experience under sentence of death. The time that he must
linger in this uncomfortable situation could not well be less than
fifteen or eighteen months; and, admitting that the length of it might
have deadened the acuteness of his first sensations, and rendered him
thoughtless as to the event, yet how would that acuteness be aggravated,


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