The Logbooks of the Lady Nelson
Part 3 out of 5
"Saturday, April 17th. At one P.M. it lulled and we got under weigh, by 6
P.M. we came to, at midnight on the turn of tide again hove up and towed
down, at 3 A.M. passed the Francis schooner at anchor, at 4 A.M. came to.
"Sunday, April 18th. Fine weather throughout. Proceeding down the river.
At 4 P.M. came to in Barbin Reach--towed down till half-past 4 A.M., at
half-past 9 A.M. again got under weigh and by noon got within the reaches
of Mangrove Point; one of the Hawkesbury boats passed us.
"Monday, April 19th. Working down the river. By 2 P.M. we gained one
reach below Sentry Box and there came to. Sent on shore and cut down a
few cabbage trees for the people. At half-past 7 two boats passed us
going to the Hawkesbury. Half-past one A.M. got down as low as the Barr
Reach where we brought up, at 9 A.M. again got under weigh and by noon we
gained Spectacle Reach.
"Tuesday, April 20th. Proceeding down the river as far as Mullet Island
and at half-past 1 P.M. came to. Hove up and made sail down as far as
Flint and Steel Cove and then came to; at 9 A.M., in boats, and hove up,
made sail out of Broken Bay wind at north-west, at 11 A.M. passed Barren
Jowie, by noon the north head of Port Jackson bore south by west 1/2
"Wednesday, April 21st. Hauled our wind close tacked occasionally till 6
P.M. when we entered the Heads, kept working up the Port and by 7 P.M.
got as high as Garden Island, and at 8 P.M. came to an anchor in Sydney
"Thursday, April 29th. First and middle parts calm, latter part small
breezes, proceeded down the river as far as the French ship on board of
which the Commander-in-Chief went and other gentlemen. At 2 P.M. they
returned on board and we tacked and stood up for Sydney again, at
half-past 2 P.M. the breeze dying away His Excellency and the other
gentlemen left us and went up in their boats. At 4 P.M., a small breeze
springing up, we were enabled to proceed up, and by 5 P.M. came to an
anchor in Sydney Cove.
Sydney Cove to the Hawkesbury.
"Friday, April 30th. At 11 A.M. again received orders to get under weigh,
loosed sails, hove up and made sail down the Port. At noon the
Commander-in-Chief with a company of ladies and gentlemen came on board
and we proceeded down the Harbour all sails set.
"Saturday, May 1st. Kept standing down the Harbour and at one P.M. came
to an anchor in Lookout Bay where the Commander-in-Chief and party went
on shore. At 4 P.M. weighed and stood up the Harbour and at 6 came to off
the Pinch Gut Island in 12 fathoms of water.
Sydney Cove to Hawkesbury River.
"Saturday, June 12th. First part strong gales at South, middle and latter
more moderate. At 6 A.M. began to work out of the bay, at 7 weighed and
made sail and by 8 cleared the heads, at 9 the head of Port Jackson bore
south-west by west distant 3 1/2 miles, half-past 9 passed the Long Reef
and by about 11 was abreast of the South Head of Broken Bay. At noon
nearly reached Barren Jowie.
"Sunday, June 13th. Kept standing off the Bay and by 3 P.M. entered
Mullet Island Reach, at 5 P.M. came to in Lay Island Reach, perceived a
fresh to be in the river. At 2 A.M. weighed and got a small distance in
but the wind freshening ahead obliged us to come to.
"Monday, June 14th. At 3 P.M. weighed and began to tow up the River and
by 7 P.M. came to in Bow Reach. At 5 A.M. weighed and proceeded up the
river, by 9 A.M. came to in Sentry Box Reach.
"Tuesday, June 15th. At 3 P.M. weighed and made sail proceeding up the
river--at half-past 7 A.M. passed the first branch, and at 11 came to.
"Wednesday, June 16th. At 4 P.M., hove up and at 8 P.M. passed the second
branch, at 10 came to, at 1 A.M. hove up, and by noon passed Portland
"Thursday, June 17th. At 2 P.M. came to one reach above Portland Head. At
7 P.M. hove up and by one A.M. came to among the lower settlers. At 9
A.M. hove up and got a couple of reaches higher when we anchored, owing
to the strength of the wind against us, one hour. People in the launch
"Friday, June 18th. At 2 A.M. dropped the settlement and at daylight
began to deliver the provisions.
"Saturday, June 19th. Finished the delivery of the provisions and began
to take in corn from His Majesty's store.
"Tuesday, June 22nd. Employed taking corn. Made the signal for sailing
with a gun, by noon we finished loading having got on board 520 bushels
corn; hauled off to the stream.
Hawkesbury River to Sydney Cove.
"Wednesday, June 23rd. Employed getting ready to drop down and at 9 A.M.
hove up and began to tow down the river; by noon got as low as Simpson's
"Thursday, June 24th. By 2 P.M. got down as low as the lowest settlers
and then came to, the tides being done. At 3 P.M. hove up and got down a
couple of reaches when we grounded on a mudbank, hove her off and at 8
A.M. hove up and at 10 got past Lover's Leap, at noon got down another
"Friday, June 25th. At one P.M. came to in Portland Reach. At 8 A.M. hove
up and by noon got two reaches below Sackville Reach.
"Saturday, June 26th. Proceeding down the river, at 3 P.M. came to and at
9 A.M. hove up and by noon got below the first branch.
"Sunday, June 27th. At 9 A.M. hove up and proceeding down the river and
by noon passed the lower reach.
"Monday, June 28th. At 10 A.M. hove up and attempted to work down; by
noon gained two reaches.
"Tuesday, June 29th. Gained one reach more in working, when from the
sudden gusts of wind and lulls we were obliged to bring up. At 10 A.M.
the Cumberland passed us bound up. At 10 A.M. hove up and gained by noon
only one more reach and there was forced to let go our anchor.
"Wednesday, June 30th. At 11 P.M. hove up and towed down a couple of
reaches when we were obliged to bring to. At 11 A.M. hove up and by noon
nearly reached Mangrove Point; wind favouring us, set main-sail and stay
"Thursday, July 1st. At 3 P.M. came to below Mangrove Reach, 6 A.M. hove
our small bower to the bows and found its stock gone.
"Friday, July 2nd. Tacking down the river--by 3 P.M. came to at Long
Island; at 10 A.M. weighed and made sail down the river. At noon passed
the Francis schooner lying at Mullet Island.
"Saturday, July 3rd. At 9 A.M. the Francis weighed and stood up the
river; at noon weighed and towed down towards Broken Bay.
"Sunday, July 4th. At 6 P.M. after having attempted to get out were
obliged to come to in 4 fathoms water. At 6 A.M. hove up and made sail
down the bay, at 7 A.M. passed Pittwater, at 8 got abreast of the South
Head, at 10 the North Head of Port Jackson bore west-south-west 4 miles.
"Monday, July 5th. Fresh winds and a high sea. By 4 P.M. entered the
heads and at half-past 7 P.M. came to at Garden Island. Commander waited
on the Governor and Commander-in-Chief.
THE LADY NELSON AND THE INVESTIGATOR EXAMINE THE NORTH-EASTERN SHORES OF
In the previous chapter it has been told how Captain Flinders arrived at
Port Jackson on May 9th, 1802, ten days before the departure of the
Naturaliste and how he had brought news to Hamelin of his meeting with
the Geographe in Encounter Bay. On his way to Sydney, Flinders had
charted nearly the whole of the South Coast of Australia from Cape Lewin
to Wilson's Promontory--a small portion only escaping his notice--and had
entered and surveyed Port Phillip.
Immediately on his arrival he consulted with Governor King as to the
future explorations of the Investigator. They came to the conclusion that
it would be injurious both for the ship and for her crew to attempt
another survey of the South Coast at that season of the year, and decided
that the Investigator, in company with the Lady Nelson, should proceed to
the northward along the Australian coast and then to the westward, if it
were possible, to examine the Gulf of Carpentaria before the November
following when the north-west monsoon might be expected.
There was at this time a very great need of a proper survey of these
shores, particularly of the portion which now forms the Queensland coast
and of the reefs that skirt it. Since the days when Cook in the Endeavour
had discovered these reefs, except when Flinders sailed to Hervey Bay in
1799, little had been done to make this part of Australia better known,
although in the vicinity of the Great Barrier Reef both land and sea were
alike dangerous to seamen and disasters were of frequent occurrence. Cook
himself had met with a mishap in these waters, and Flinders afterwards
was totally wrecked on the inner edge of the Great Barrier Reef.
Consequently, in agreeing to Flinders' proposal, King was conferring a
real benefit upon the whole of the shipping community. It was also
decided that in the event of Flinders' progress being retarded, or if he
were unable to examine the Gulf of Carpentaria, he should either explore
Torres Strait or return and survey Fiji. Eventually, however, it was
found possible for him to carry out the exploration of the Gulf.
Mr. Westall, landscape painter, with Mr. Robert Brown, botanist, and
other scientists, sailed in the Investigator. Bungaree, the Rose Bay
native who had accompanied Flinders on his voyage in the Norfolk to
Hervey Bay also went with him as well as a Sydney black fellow named
Nanbury. Murray was given a code of signals for the Lady Nelson and was
directed by Flinders, in case of the ships being separated, to repair to
Hervey Bay, which he was to enter by a passage between Sandy Cape and
Breaksea Spit said to have been found by South Sea whalers.
The two ships left Sydney together on July 22nd, 1802, but the Lady
Nelson was soon in difficulties, and was left astern at Port Stephens.
Shortly afterwards the Investigator lay to, to await her coming. On
Saturday 24th--writes Flinders, "our little consort being out of sight we
stood an hour to the southward, and not seeing her in that direction bore
away along the coast." Meanwhile on the afternoon of July 26th, Moreton
Island at the entrance of Moreton Bay was passed, and on Wednesday the
28th, Flinders reached Sandy Cape where he immediately began to seek for
a passage into Hervey Bay. One was found but proved too shallow for the
Investigator to pass through, so the ship was brought to two miles from
On the 30th the Lady Nelson came up with the Investigator anchoring near
her at sunset. After leaving Sandy Cape, Captain Flinders found that the
trend of the land differed noticeably from that laid down by Cook in his
chart. On August 7th Port Curtis was discovered and on the 21st Port
Bowen, but by October 17th, when off the Cumberland Isles (a group off
the east coast of Queensland in 20 degrees south), the Lady Nelson had
become so unfit for service that she had to be sent back to Sydney.
The vessels at the time were within the Great Barrier Reef, and Flinders
states that he kept the brig with him until a passage out to sea clear of
the reefs could be found. "It is a matter of much concern to me," he
writes to Banks,* (* See letters of Flinders to Banks. Add. manuscripts,
British Museum.) "that this navigation could not be surmounted without
such a loss of anchors to both vessels and of damage...to the Lady Nelson
in the loss of her main keel and the damage done to the trunk." It was
also found that her capacity of beating to windward, never great, was
much reduced. And again in his journal he says, "the Lady Nelson sailed
so ill and had become so leewardly since the loss of the main and part of
the after keel that she not only caused us delay but ran great risk of
being lost." Therefore, much as he desired the aid of the small vessel,
Flinders decided to proceed on his voyage alone.
Soon after he had separated from Flinders, Murray, in order to spare the
Lady Nelson's sole remaining anchor, gave orders for two swivel guns
crossed, to be lashed together, and when winds were light and waters
smooth, he anchored with the swivels until the carpenter was able to make
an ironbark anchor to take their place. In the following pages Murray
relates the full story of the Lady Nelson's voyage both when she was with
the Investigator and also after the two ships had parted company.
WITH THE INVESTIGATOR.
THE LADY NELSON ON DISCOVERY IN COMPANY WITH H.M.S. INVESTIGATOR.
"Thursday, July 22nd, 1802. Preparing for sea. At 2 P.M. the Investigator
made the signal for all persons to return on board. At 3 P.M. weighed and
made sail down the harbour: by 1/2 past 7, cleared the Heads; 1/2 past 9
North Head of Port Jackson, south-south-west distant 18 miles.
"Friday, July 23rd. At 4 P.M. the Coal Island bore north by east 15 or 16
miles and the South Head of Port Stephens north-north-east 20 or 22
miles...Received orders to keep ahead during the night and show a light
now and then, steering north-east by east. At 8 spoke the Commander who
told us to keep in his wake.
"Saturday, July 24th. At half-past 5 P.M. the Commander made the signal
to come within hail, spoke him and was ordered to keep near him during
"Sunday, July 25th. From noon until 11 P.M. gale continued with a high
sea which continually broke on board. At daylight we perceived from the
land that a southern current ran so strong that we were nearly in the
same place as at noon...
"Monday, July 26th. Standing down along shore. By 4 P.M. saw what we
supposed was a ship and supposed it to be the Investigator, accordingly
stood in for her, but a squall of rain coming on hindered our seeing her;
fired a gun but no answer was received, at 8 fired a second gun with a
light at the masthead but got no answer...Bore north-north-east and to
our surprise by midnight found ourselves close to a very high head of
land which owing to being covered with clouds we did not before see.* (*
Point Danger.) Turned up the hands and made all sail and by 1 A.M. with
much difficulty we cleared it...
"Monday, July 27th. At 2 P.M. Solitary Islands bore west by north distant
"Wednesday, July 28th. At 1 P.M. Mount Warning bore west by north distant
15 or 16 miles...At daylight saw the land from west-south-west to N.W.S.,
noon the northern end of Moreton Island bore west by north distant 5 or 6
leagues.* (* Flinders examined Moreton Bay and Pumicestone River in 1799
but Oxley made the discovery that Point Lookout was situated on
Stradbroke Island and that Moreton Bay extended as far south as 28
degrees where it communicated with the sea.)
"Thursday, July 29th. At 8 A.M. Double Island Point bore north-west by
west about 5 or 6 miles. Stood into Wide Bay in hopes of finding the
Investigator there, as we stood round the northern end of Double Island
saw a number of natives who waved their hands to us; all round the bay
were numbers of fires. In the mouth and on the south side of Wide Bay* (*
Coast of Queensland.) lie two rocks with bold water round them, not laid
down in the chart, and those rocks bare from the north end of Double
Island north-east by north distance 1 1/2 miles.
"Friday, July 30th. At 5 P.M. the north extremes of the land bore north
1/2 east distant 15 or 16 miles. Observed numerous natives all along the
coast. At sunrise Indian Head bore north-north-west distant 3 miles, as
we neared it, counted 25 natives on it. Made all sail for Sandy Cape and
by 11 A.M. entered a passage between two reefs, at the same time from the
masthead saw the Investigator bearing north-west distant about 10 or 11
miles.* (* The Investigator had anchored under Breaksea Spit about 9
miles north-north-east from Sandy Cape.)
"Saturday, July 31st. Fine weather. At 2 P.M. on the turn of tide sent
the boat ahead to tow, hove up, and made all sail; cleared the shoals
that surrounded this reef. The Investigator standing down to us sent a
boat with the Master on board to give assistance if wanted, at half-past
4 P.M. ye Commander came to; at 5 P.M. we also came to in 4 fathoms of
water--bottom fine sand and waited on ye Commander. At half-past 6 A.M.
hove up and made sail in shore and at half-past 8 A.M. came to near
enough to cover the landing of the boats of both vessels. Captain
Flinders and a number of the officers and gentlemen landed and I went on
shore with an armed party in order to get wood. In a little time Captain
Flinders and his party were joined by about 30 of the natives all of whom
laid down their arms and we continued on friendly terms with them all the
time the parties were on shore. Captain Flinders made them presents of
red caps, tomahawks, etc. with which they were much pleased and gave back
some baskets and nets. With respect to the persons of these natives, I
perceived little or no difference from the Sydney blacks; their language
is much different, as Bungaree could not understand a word they said.* (*
"These people were entirely naked but were more 'fleshy' than those at
Port Jackson perhaps from being able to obtain a better supply of fish
with "scoop nets" which are not known on the southern coast. A species of
pandanus grew here in abundance and the valleys contained trees of the
Casuarina and Eucalyptus." Flinders.)
"Sunday, August 1st. Fine weather. At 2 P.M. the gentlemen with their
parties returned to the beach. We all embarked in the Investigator's
boat, got on board the Lady Nelson; at 3 P.M. came to in 5 fathoms,
Captain Flinders then left us. At 7 P.M. the Commodore weighed; hove up
and followed him with all sail. At noon saw the looming of Sandy Cape
east by south 7 or 8 leagues.
"Monday, August 2nd. Fine weather. At 1 P.M. Commodore on our lee beam 2
miles; quarter past 5 P.M. the Commodore came to, at half-past we came to
under the stern of the Commodore. At 6 A.M. got under weigh. At 10 A.M.
answered signal to come within hail, the Commodore desired we would keep
in shore of him.
"Tuesday, August 3rd. Fine weather. At 4 P.M. Bustard Bay bore
west-north-west distant 3 or 4 miles. On this point a very large fire was
burning and numbers of natives were there. Hauled in for the Bay and
shoaled our water; came to in 5 fathoms water. At sundown lowered down
small boats and waited on the Commander. At 6 A.M. made sail with the
Investigator, passed the first rock lying off the western point of
Wednesday, August 4th. At half-past 3 perceived one of the Investigator's
boats to be adrift, bore away to pick her up. At sundown the western
extremes of the land bore west-south-west distant 15 miles. At 8 P.M.
passed the stern of the Commodore who hailed us and told us he would tack
every two hours during the night. At daylight saw the land bearing
south-south-east. At noon the northern point of Bustard Bay bore
south-south-east distant 4 or 5 leagues.
"Thursday, August 5th. Kept slipping along the land. At half-past 6 P.M.
having run under the stern of the Commodore came to.* (* "This anchorage
was 5 or 6 miles from Gatcombe Head and the chain of hills which rises
near Bustard Bay was seen to stretch westward behind the shore at the
back of Mount Larcom. These hills had a barren appearance, the coast
being more rocky than sandy." Flinders.) At quarter past 10 A.M. the
Commodore made signal I see an opening, answered ditto. Immediately after
answered signal "steer in shore and look out for anchorage." Observing
numbers of natives and canoes on the beach, kept running in. At quarter
past 10 A.M. beheld from our masthead a large sheet of water with a rocky
island in the entrance and seemingly got shelter.* (* Port Number 1 in
the chart is Port Curtis so named by Captain Flinders after Sir Roger
Curtis.) At 11 A.M. came to in 3 fathoms water and made the signal to the
Commodore "come no nearer in," and he came to--lowered down our boat, I
went and sounded in shore and found the water to deepen to 8 fathoms.
Waited on the Commodore, received orders to follow his boat into the
harbour--sent our people to heave up. At noon one of the Investigator's
boats went on shore to the beach where the natives and their canoes
were.* (* "There were seven bark canoes lying on the shore and upon a
tree near hung parts of a turtle and scoop nets similar to those at
Hervey Bay." Flinders.)
"Friday, August 6th. At 1 P.M. hove up and run further into the opening.
I then went on shore to a small rocky island on which Captain Flinders
was taking angles and we got some firewood. I went in Captain Flinders'
boat across to a middling high hill* (* Called in the chart Hill View.)
on the opposite side of this stream, got to the top and saw that the
sheet of water ran into several serpentine branches and that apparently
the deepest water was to the south-east of us; and that this south-east
entrance and the one in which we lay formed a pretty large island lying
in a north-west and south-east line. We joined the boat and sounded in a
traverse to ascertain whether it was possible for the Lady Nelson to move
higher up. We found however only from 3 to 5 feet of water and foul
ground throughout a narrow space through which the vessel must pass. In
consequence of which Captain Flinders desired me to get under weigh and
work round the island to the south-east entrance and to find a channel
into the harbour. Accordingly weighed, by 7 P.M. passed the Investigator.
At daylight made all sail to gain the entrance and by 9 A.M. nearly
fetched it, from the masthead at the time I saw a long range of breakers
from the entrance stretching away south-east to east-south-east which
made me to be in some doubts as to an entrance existing, however I sent
Mr. Hacking in the boat to sound and almost immediately we struck on a
sandbank. Immediately hove up our keels and she luckily veered round in 6
feet of water and went off although we still had no more water for some
time, it then gradually deepened into 6 fathoms. Fired a gun for the boat
who got on board by noon and informed me that a good channel did exist,
and from where we were it lay about south-south-east and may be 3/4 of a
mile broad--out sweep and sent the boat ahead to tow.
"Saturday, August 7th. Fine weather. Standing into the entrance
south-south-west. On putting our helm to starboard we immediately had
from 1 1/2 3, steering west-north-west, the Investigator on our beam
bearing about north-north-east distant 8 miles, and finding our water
suddenly to shoal came to in 2 fathoms and observed that a little way
ahead lay a long sand sheet almost dry. Tripped our anchor and run into 5
fathoms water and there came to.* (* Off South-trees Point.) Fired a gun
as a signal to the Commodore; observed a boat under sail a considerable
distance from us in a westerly direction which I fancied was Captain
Flinders in his whaleboat examining the harbour. At sunrise had out our
launch and sent the First Mate in her with an armed party in search of
"Sunday, August 8th. After dinner I went in the small boat to examine an
opening on the South shore of the harbour and to look for water of which
I found some, on proceeding about a mile and a half up the opening
perceived it branched into several different directions. I imagine it
runs some considerable distance up into the country. On returning to the
vessel I found Captain Flinders with a midshipman and boat's crew on
board.* (* "The country round Port Curtis is over-spread with grass and
produces the Eucalyptus. Much of the shores and low islands are
overspread with Mangroves--the most common being the Rhizophora Mangle of
Linn." Flinders.) At daylight Captain Flinders left us desiring me to get
under weigh as soon as possible and get round to the Investigator. In
working down we sounded constantly and found from 10 to 4 fathoms on each
side, a safe channel for any ship and sufficiently broad to work in.
"Monday, August 9th. At 3 P.M. got under weigh and made sail out of the
harbour tacking occasionally. At 4 P.M. our boat came on board from
Faceing Island having found water in small quantities. By 6 P.M. we
weathered the south-east point of Faceing Island and stood down towards
the Investigator. At 15 past 7 P.M. struck on some sunken reef of rocks
about 2 miles from the shore but immediately heaving up all our keels she
went over them into deeper water without any damage.* (* See August 22nd.
Half of the main keel was afterwards found gone.) At half-past 8 P.M.
fired a gun and hoisted a light at the masthead which was answered by the
Investigator. By midnight came to with the small bower about 2 cables
lengths from the Commodore. At daylight hoisted in our boat, on the
Commodore getting under weigh, we did the same. At half-past 9 A.M.
passed in between the Rocky Island and Cape Capricorn. At half-past 10
Captain Flinders hailed us and told us to try for a passage in between
some rocks and the main of Keppel's Bay. At 50 minutes past 11 A.M.
perceived all foul ground ahead in this passage, hauled out and informed
the Commodore. At noon bore up for the western part of the Bay, Cape
Capricorn bearing east by south distance 10 or 11 miles.
"Tuesday, August 10th. At half-past 3 P.M. came to one cable length from
the Investigator, lowered our boat and I waited on Captain Flinders. At
half-past 4 P.M. Captain Flinders, some of his officers and I went on
shore. On ascending one of the highest hills,* (* Named by Flinders Sea
Hill.) we perceived the bay to be very extensive with several openings.
Here we found a fresh water swamp and saw some ducks and redbills. At
sundown Captain Flinders and party returned on board, and Captain
Flinders came on board. Weighed and made all sail up the bay. Come to in
3 fathoms a large island in the mouth of the bay North distance 7 or 8
"Wednesday, August 11th. Saw Captain Flinders come out of the entrance he
yesterday went into and stand along the south shore of the bay.
"Thursday, August 12th. At 3 P.M. Commodore made the signal "I want to
speak to you." Immediately got the vessel under weigh and by half-past 4
P.M. passed his stern when he hailed us to come to an anchor a little
distance from him. I waited on Captain Flinders who told me that at
daylight I was to get under weigh and proceed to a large island* (*
Hummocky Island.) (one of Keppels) and overhaul it for turtle for the use
of both vessels and to get the bearings of all the islands in sight from
the top of the said island as also to find whether there were wood and
water upon the island. When we anchored Outermost Rock east-south-east 2
"Friday, August 13th. At 1 P.M. I went on shore to the island, on
examining the beaches and rocks no water was found. I ascended all the
hills and walked from one to the other nearly the whole length of the
island but found no water or wood. The hills are covered with thick
shrubbery and grass and full of stones, from the top of the highest part
of it and looking towards the sea no more islands are to be seen than
those we saw coming in. On going down to the rocks that lead to the beach
we fell in with some slight drains of fresh water and further discovered
two chasms in the rock, in each there might be 150 or 200 gallons of
water but the difficulty of getting it to a boat hinders it being of use
to vessels. On the west side is a small bight with a sandy beach in its
centre but the bottom is loose and always a swell tumbling into it,
indeed anchorage all round it is indifferent.
"Saturday, August 14th. By 4 P.M. having run nearly into our anchorage by
the Investigator came to in 5 fathoms water. Lieutenant Fowler came on
board and informed me that Captain Flinders was not yet returned from
examining the harbour.
"Sunday, August 15th. Fine weather throughout. Received orders to be
ready to get under weigh at daylight to-morrow morning.
"Monday, August 16th. At sundown observed all the seamen on liberty from
the Investigator and Lady Nelson coming along the beach accompanied by a
number of natives. Immediately Lieutenant Fowler and some of the
gentlemen of the Investigator along with myself went on shore but on
seeing us they began to run; however on all the seamen being sent away
they suffered Mr. Brown to go near enough to reach them a few red
night-caps and a tomahawk.* (* "I offered a boat to the botanists to
visit South Hill. A part of the Ship's Company was allowed on shore for
no Indians had been seen, but towards evening about 20 were seen with the
sailors. They had been met near Cape Keppel and at first menaced our
people, but finding them friendly laid aside their arms." Flinders.) They
then made signs to us to be gone. They began running and were soon out of
sight. These natives are a much stouter class of people than any I have
yet seen (those of Jarvis Bay excepted). On returning to the beach Mr.
Evans, mate, and one of the seamen belonging to the Investigator were
missing. Lieutenant Fowler and the rest of the gentlemen waited until
dark in hopes of their appearing and then went on board and a boat with a
midshipman was immediately sent to wait at the beach but as neither
appeared the boat returned. In the morning two guns were fired from the
Investigator as signals and we saw two boats go to shore we supposed to
search for those missing.
"Tuesday, August 17th. Seventeen of the natives came down to the beach.
On seeing them a number of the officers of the Investigator went on
shore. I also went.* (* Captain Flinders took a boat to Cape Keppel in
order to obtain bearings.) We continued on friendly terms with them all
day, and it is worth remarking that they having met Mr. Evans and the one
seamen led them down to the beach and even gave them a duck each to eat
on their making signs of their hunger. We had a drum, fife and fiddle on
shore with us but on playing and beating they signified their displeasure
and some of them ran off but on our ceasing returned. We made them
presents of caps, tomahawks, etc., but they would give nothing in return.
Their spears and waddas are much the same as at Sydney, they don't use
the throwing stick. At daylight weighed. Came to again.* (* It took the
whole day to get into the offing. A sketch of the island and of Cape
Keppel was made by Mr. Westall while beating out of the bay. "After the
mangrove the most common trees round Keppel Bay are the eucalyptus and a
species of Cycas bearing poisonous nuts. There are Kangaroos in the woods
and several bustards were seen near Cape Keppel. About the native
fireplaces were the shells of crabs, the bones of turtle and remains of
fern root." Flinders.)
"Wednesday, August 18th. At 1 P.M. hove up in the company with the
Investigator tacked occasionally. By 4 P.M. cleared the bay and at 5 P.M.
fell calm. Came to with kedge Cape
Capricorn bearing south-east by east 13 or 14 miles, Cape Keppel
south-south-east distant 5 or 6 miles and a large inhabited island, one
of Keppel's, north-north-west distant 6 or 7 miles. At daylight again in
company with Commodore made all sail. By noon passed abreast the
northernmost Keppel's Island. Observed two natives on the highest part of
it bellowing to us, no canoes in sight. Latitude 23 degrees 4 minutes 37
"Thursday, August 19th. Fine weather. Answered signal "Steer in shore and
look out for anchorage" a bluff head making with the low land of the main
like an entrance. As we stood in shoaled our water to 7 fathoms, made the
signal to that purport. Saw a sand shoal ahead; the Investigator
immediately hauled off and we did the same, saw plainly no anchorage was
there, stood in and by 5 P.M. we dropped our kedge, at half-past 5 P.M.
the Commodore also came to near us. At sundown the easternmost of
Keppel's Islands bore south-east by east distant 10 or 12 miles the shore
point south distant 2 miles. At 7 A.M. weighed in company with the
"Friday, August 20th. At sundown the Commodore bore north distant about 3
miles, the Sugar Loaf Island north-north-east 1/2 east distant 4 miles,
and two rocky islands north-east by east distant about 3 miles. At
quarter-past 9 P.M. saw a light in the north-west quarter and heard a gun
fired. Immediately hoisted a light in the main top gallant masthead and
fired a gun; heard no second gun. At 12 passed a low island bearing east
distant 3/4 of a mile. At daylight perceived we were much farther from
the land than the Log gave. Commodore not in sight. Latitude observed 22
degrees 41 minutes 28 seconds south.
"Saturday, August 21st. At half-past 4 P.M. saw the Investigator bearing
north-north-west, at sundown the Investigator bore north-west by north
distant 10 miles, the Sugar Loaf Island bore west by north distant 4 or 5
miles, the Low Island south-west by west distant 3 or 4 miles. At quarter
past 8 P.M. heard a gun fired from the Commodore which we answered. At 9
P.M. heard a second gun fired which we answered. At daylight made all
sail to come up with Commodore. At 20 past 11 came to with small bower in
"Sunday, August 22nd. A.M. Sent the First Mate and a party to water and
wood the vessel; hoisted our main keel* (* That is the middle centre
board.) out of the trunk and found half of it gone, this must have been
occasioned by the shock it received at Faceing Island on Monday 9th
instant, when running down to the Investigator. It also accounts for her
not sailing so fast as formerly. A.M. Received one boat-load of water. I
went on shore to the watering-place, it lies between two hills of a
considerable height and springs out of a rock--the water is both good and
clear, it is convenient to be got at.* (* The ships anchored in Port
Bowen or Number 2 Port, named by Flinders in honour of Captain Jas. Bowen
of the Navy, and the hilly projection on the side of its entrance, Cape
Clinton after Colonel Clinton of the 85th Regiment. "The water was very
good. It drained down the gully to a little beach between two projecting
heads. The gully will be easily known, but Mr. Westall's sketch will
obviate any difficulty. There were pine trees in the gully, but the best
were on Entrance Island, some being fit for topmasts. I was surprised to
see trees (upon Hervey Isles) resembling the pines of Norfolk Island."
Flinders.) Latitude (good) observed 22 degrees 28 minutes 58 seconds
"Monday, August 23rd. Reported our main keel to Captain Flinders being
"Tuesday, August 24th. P.M. Hoisted in our launch and secured everything
for sea. At daylight weighed and made sail in company with the
Investigator. By half-past 7 A.M. got out of the bay and at 11 A.M. came
to Pine Island bearing south by east 1/2 east. Distant 1 1/2 miles. Hope
Point south by west 6 or 7 miles and the northern entrance
south-south-west 2 miles.
"Wednesday, August 25th. At 2 P.M. weighed in company with the
Investigator and made all sail. At 7 came to...At daylight weighed in
company with the Investigator, worked to windward until 10 A.M. when the
Investigator came to in the offing and we came to...between Rocky Island
and the main, Rocky Island bearing north-east by north distant 2 1/2
miles...the nearest of the Pine Islands, south-east by east distant 3
"Thursday, August 26th. At 3 P.M. the Investigator lifted her anchor and
worked to windward. At half-past 4 P.M. saw a native fire ahead. At
daylight weighed with a light air at north-west. By 6 A.M. the
Investigator got close into an opening (seeming a large bay* (* Shoal
Water Bay or Number 3 discovered port. See Flinders.)) and hoisted out 2
boats, at 8 A.M. she bore up for the entrance and we followed without
sweeps rowing. At half-past 8 A.M. observed the Investigator to anchor
and shortly after we were obliged to drop our kedge close to the rocks of
the south-eastern entrance. I went on shore with a small party.* (* On
this day Mr. Westall made a drawing of Shoal Water Bay and the islands
here. Flinders named a high hill Mount Westall in compliment to his
landscape painter.) I saw on the beach the footmarks of natives and the
tracks of turtle, but nothing else worth mentioning. Apparently this is a
place of very huge extent and safe for shipping. Latitude observed 22
degrees 19 minutes 33 seconds south.
"Friday, August 27th. At 2 P.M. the tide having somewhat slackened and a
breeze of wind coming from the north-east weighed and made all sail up
the bay; by half-past 2 P.M. having passed the Investigator by about a
quarter of a mile came to in 6 fathoms water. At 40 minutes past 2 P.M.
the vessel swung to the flood and in half an hour its rate was found to
be 3 1/2 knots per hour, it increased from that very nearly 5 knots and
its rise 11 feet.* (* This place was named by Flinders Strong Tide
Passage.) At 6 P.M. one of the Investigator's boats got upset under our
stern and one man thrown into the water by the accident. He drifted down
with the tide and our boat picked him up with some of the boat's gear. At
6 A.M. got the vessel under weigh and let her drift up the bay with the
tide having from 6 to 10 fathoms and from that to 5 and 8 where we
anchored. The Investigator anchored a little before us. From where we lay
the east point of bay bore north 47 degrees east.
"Saturday, August 28th. At 2 P.M. I received orders to get the vessel
under weigh and proceed up the bay--half-past 2 P.M. weighed and made
sail, the Investigator following us. At half-past 3 P.M. perceived the
Investigator to be aground in consequence of which we let go our kedge
and I went in the boat ahead. At 5 P.M. on the Investigator floating;
again got under weigh, kept standing up the bay sounding and making
signals. At 6 P.M. anchored with the small bower in 5 fathoms of water.
"Sunday, August 29th. At daylight weighed in company with the
Investigator and moved up a little further, sounding from 3 fathoms to 7,
where we anchored. Latitude observed 22 degrees 20 minutes 56 seconds
"Monday, August 30th. At 4 P.M. in company with the Commodore made sail a
little further up the bay; we perceived a shoal nearly dry on the
south-east end, it seemed to lie nearly in that direction for perhaps two
miles. Waited on Captain Flinders who desired me to send our main keel on
board in order to be repaired and at the same time he informed me that he
would be on board in the morning and move the Lady Nelson for the
examination of the bay. At daylight sent our keel on board and at
half-past 6 Captain Flinders came on board, immediately weighed and made
all sail to the south-east part of the bay. At half-past 10 entered a
large branch or arm of the bay or river following Captain Flinders in his
boat steering east and east-south-east we anchored per order of Captain
Flinders and he continued on in his boat.* (* Flinders went two miles up
the river, landed, and took a set of angles here. He describes an islet
with "signs of visits of the natives" and on the main, in low grounds,
were holes where they dug for fern root. An iguana 2 or 3 feet long was
the sole animal killed, but the mud banks here were frequented at low
water by various sea birds.) Double Peak* bore 1/2 west by south. (* The
Double Mountain of Flinders in Shoal Water Bay is not the Double Mountain
shown on his earlier chart inland from Hervey Bay.)
"Tuesday, August 31st. At half-past 2 P.M. Captain Flinders on board, and
he began to work out of the branch. At 6 P.M. the tide being down came
to...at daylight weighed and made sail to south-east, passed here a flat
of mud with only from 8 to 9 feet water on it; by 7 A.M. having got
nearer to the south shore found a channel that had from 2 to 9 fathoms.
"Wednesday, September 1st. At 7 P.M. Captain Flinders, a midshipman and
boat's crew on board. A.M. Dropped our small bower it blowing fresh. At 5
A.M. hove it up again, and the wind blowing strong from north-west and
tide done, hindered our working down to the Investigator.
"Thursday, September 2nd. At half-past 12 P.M. weighed and began to work
to windward with the ebb tide in our favour; at half-past 4 P.M. Captain
Flinders and his people left us; continued until 7 P.M. working to
north-west and there came to in 7 fathoms. At daylight weighed and stood
over to the Investigator and at 7 A.M. came to lowered down boat and I
waited on Captain Flinders, he informed me that the Investigator would
get under weigh at 9 A.M. and would run over as near to the bottom of
Sugar Loaf Hill* (* Pine Mountain (of Flinders) described by him as "a
single round hill with a high-peaked top standing inland 2 miles from the
West Bight and composed of the greenstone of the German mineralogists.")
as the water would permit and requested I would run ahead of him in the
Lady Nelson and show soundings quick. Passed the Investigator astern,
Captain Flinders hailed and desired me to stand up towards Sugar Loaf
Hill until we had left less than 6 fathoms, did so and as it almost
immediately shoaled to 4 fathoms wore round and made all sail to work
"Friday, September 3rd. At half-past 1 P.M. came to with small bower and
I waited on Captain Flinders.* (* Flinders was then one mile from the
shore and 2 from Aken's Island, the east end of which bore north 27
degrees west.) A.M. Hauled the seine, caught no fish and the ground being
foul damaged the net.
"Saturday, September 4th. Waited on Captain Flinders who told me he
shortly intended to weigh in order to proceed to Thirsty Sound and at 10
A.M. weighed in company with the Investigator. Since our arrival here on
Thursday the 26th August few native fires have been seen and only once
some of the Investigator's gentlemen had intercourse with a party of
natives on the shore. From their report those natives are inferior to the
natives of Keppel Bay...and if we may guess from their lean appearance
much worse off with respect to food; the soil of all this part of the
country appears to be very indifferent and for a considerable distance
from shore, low swampy mangrove clay. All round the bay are high hills,
on one of the westernmost tall pines seem in abundance, the bottom is
invariably blue clay...From the number of shoals lying in this place it
is necessary to keep the lead constantly going, and from the great rise
and fall of the tide to be careful not to anchor in less than 5
fathoms...we have experienced some sea riding at anchor the fetch being
"Sunday, September 5th. Standing through Northumberland Islands towards
Thirsty Sound.* (* Thirsty Sound, Hervey and Bustard Bays among other
places on the coast were named by Captain Cook.) At dusk the entrance of
Thirsty Sound west by south distance 3 miles, Sugar Loaf Hill, or hill of
Pines,* (* The Pine Mount of Flinders.) south-east by east and the
Investigator east-north-east distant three-quarters of a mile. At
daylight weighed in company with the Investigator made sail in for the
entrance. Received our new keel from the Investigator, and on trying to
fit it to the case found it obstructed from going down by some of the
copper being rubbed off and having got into the trunk, this was found to
be the case by one of the people who dived under her bottom.* (* The
carpenters had for some time been employed in making a sliding keel for
the Lady Nelson from the pine logs cut at Port Bowen, and being now
finished it was sent on board. Flinders.)
"Monday, September 6th. A.M. On ascending the hill, named by Captain Cook
the Pier Head--had a fine view of this and Broad Sound, the former
appearing like a serpentine river to a great way inland and its banks
showing apparently a fine country. A number of the adjacent hills are
covered with long sunburnt grass that appears at a little distance like a
heath or common at home, with here and there a small cluster of palm
trees. Traces of the kangaroo have been seen. We have neither seen
natives, their fires, nor marks here. No water has yet been found, wood
is in plenty.
"Tuesday, September 7th. At 3 P.M. I received orders to get under weigh
and move out ahead of the Investigator...At 5 P.M. weighed and at
half-past 6 P.M. came to...At 5 A.M. finding she drove, let go our small
bower. At 6 A.M. perceived the Investigator attempting to weigh, on which
we (after some difficulty) weighed and began to work to windward.
Observed the Investigator to drop her anchor again and clew down her
sail. Came to in 6 fathoms with the small bower. Answered signal "I want
to see you." Immediately went on board the Investigator and Lieutenant
Fowler informed me they had parted a Bower Cable, that, their Stream not
bringing her up, a second Bower was gone and that they were in 1/2 2
fathoms water, as the tide was rapidly falling it was obvious that she
immediately must be got off. For this purpose I immediately, according to
Lieutenant Fowler's plan, returned on board, veered away on our small
bower to the end and let go our best bower; we then received a warp from
the Investigator, made it fast on board and she was enabled to heave off
into deeper water by the Lady Nelson. At noon she dropped her bower a
little from our stern, cast off her warp and lifted our best bower...
"Wednesday, September 8th. Cloudy weather. At half-past 9 A.M. the
Investigator shifted her berth into the stream...At half-past 6 A.M.
weighed in company with the Commodore made all sail out of the Sound. At
noon a large island in the entrance of Broad Sound south distance 5
miles, and the Investigator east distance 1 mile.* (* At this time the
ships were within 2 miles of the north-east point of Broad Sound.)
"Thursday, September 9th. Stretching across Broad Sound, at half-past 1
P.M. suddenly shoaled our water at the same time saw the appearance of
broken water ahead. At 2 P.M. spoke the Commodore who told me to steer
west. A round mount north-west by west distance 3 miles. At 11 P.M. came
to in company with the Commodore with best bower in 7 fathoms water. In
the course of the forenoon saw several native fires on this part of the
coast. Latitude observed 21 degrees 51 minutes 00 seconds south.
"Friday, September 10th. At 2 P.M. weighed and made sail to the
south-east sounding from 1/2 3 at low water to 1/4 less 2 on the edge of
a sand shoal on which the Investigator touched but immediately swung off,
we continuing. At half-past 5 A.M. perceived the Investigator to be
getting under weigh, made all sail down to the Commodore. Spoke him; he
told me to work between the main and one of Northumberland Islands, and
said he would follow us. Stood on to windward and tacked occasionally
anchored in company with the Commodore at half-past 11 A.M. under a
pleasant little island.* (* "The 4th flat Island is about one mile long
and there is a smaller lying off it's south-east end. They are a little
elevated and bear grass and small trees, but the shores are covered with
mangroves and surrounded with flats of mud and sand." Flinders.) Observed
Captain Flinders to go on shore, shortly afterwards I went on shore, some
turtle shells were seen and the marks of natives of an ancient date. It
appears that the whole of the distance between the Pier Head at Thirsty
Sound and to the round mount before mentioned between the Northumberland
Islands and the main has a number of sand shoals that can only be avoided
by keeping the lead constantly going and a good lookout at the head
otherwise a vessel would get aground, and the water falling so much and
so rapidly would leave her high and dry...
"Saturday, September 11th. At 6 A.M. weighed ill company with the
Investigator but she (on account of the shoals that lye off from the
mainland to the island we anchored under) was obliged at 7 A.M. to drop
her anchor. In the Lady Nelson we crossed the shoal in only 9 feet
immediately on being over it we fell into 3, 4, and 5 fathoms. Again
crossed it and ran up to the Investigator at 9 A.M., the flood having
made strong over the shoal again.
"Sunday, September 12th. At quarter-past 5 P.M. tacked and stood on ahead
of the Investigator until we were close to a very extensive sheet of mud
lying all the way from the mainland. At this place an inlet of shoal
water appeared to run a good distance into the country. At sundown tacked
in company with the Investigator and stood off. At 8 A.M. tacked and
stood into an inlet with several dry lands appearing in it, found a good
strong flood against us. At half-past 9 A.M. came to.* (* "At 9 A.M.
passed a fifth opening: anchored abreast of a hilly projection which I
have named Upper Head." Flinders.) Lowered our boat and I went on shore
with a couple of hands. Saw or found nothing worth notice--the soil is
sandy, the shores lined with mangrove trees and inland a little distance
we found gum trees and the palm; a few curlews and redbills were shot.
"Monday, September 13th. At half-past 8 weighed as per signal in company
with the Commodore; found when near the Investigator the water suddenly
to shoal from 6 to 3 to 1, where we touched the ground, however on
heaving up our keel she went off into 2 fathoms, when we came to,
observed the Investigator to ground, she was caught on a bank of
quicksand in 11 feet at half-past 10 A.M. she floated, a little after
Captain Flinders went away inshore, sounding. Several native fires in
sight in different directions.
"Tuesday, September 14th. At half-past 1 P.M. made sail in company with
the Investigator and worked to north-west where we anchored. On passing
her Captain Flinders hailed us and told me to be ready at 8 o'clock in
the morning to proceed to the south-east up the arm on Broad Sound. At 8
A.M. Captain Flinders and Mr. Brown on board. At half-past 8 A.M. weighed
and made sail, at 40 minutes past 10 A.M. grounded in 8 feet of water, at
40 minutes past 11 A.M. weighed and made sail across the entrance of the
river. From noon until 40 minutes past 1 P.M. stretching across the flats
of this arm, sounding from 9 feet to 3 1/4 fathoms, where we anchored.
Immediately moored with the kedge which in a little time she brought
home, moored with the bowers per cable one way and 25 fathoms the other,
found the tide of ebb to run at 4 P.M. 5 knots and 6 fathoms. At 5 P.M.
we began to touch the ground and perceived that our main keel was gone,
part of it coming up alongside. Sent some of the people out to look in
what situation our anchor lay and it was found that the best bower had
come home and the small parted 12 fathoms from the ring. I conclude the
ragged part of the main keel must have done it when she swung in ground,
we tried in vain with 10 or 11 hands to lift it out of its bed. As the
whole of this part of the flats are quicksands with a strong suction,
bent a good warp to its crown to weigh it by when the tide rose. At
half-past 1 A.M. the flood came to us with much noise and about a foot
high, in 15 minutes we floated and hove up to our best bower. By 5 A.M.
began again to ground, by 6 A.M. fast: at half-past 7 A.M. Captain
Flinders went in his boat in search of deeper water and found one place
nearer inshore where he thought it advisable to shift the Lady Nelson to,
when the tide would permit. Upon the south shore we saw several native
"Thursday, September 16th. At 2 P.M. loosed sails, sheeted home and
hoisted them, weighed and stood in shore. Found the strength of the tide
here to be 3 1/2 knots.
"Friday, September 17th. At half-past 5 P.M. Captain Flinders returned
having found the arm
to terminate in shoals of sand. At 3 A.M. weighed and made sail in order
to join the Investigator but by half-past 4 A.M. we grounded and there
were obliged to lye from the ebb falling so fast. Captain Flinders, Mr.
Brown and the boat's crew left us. Here we had an opportunity of looking
at the vessel's bottom, the sand being firm. Found one sheet and a half
of copper torn off her garboard streak, one off the starboard bow, and on
the bows the anchor had torn the copper in some degree; from the want of
copper nails could not repair those hurts until we joined the
"Saturday, September 18th. At 2 P.M. weighed and began to work to
windward...anchored near the Investigator. A.M. I waited on Captain
Flinders and was advised to lay the Lady Nelson on shore in order to
repair her copper; in consequence of which Lieutenant Fowler and I went
to examine a sand inshore of the vessels and finding that sand fit for
the purpose, reported the same to Captain Flinders; got our main keel out
of the trunk, found 4 feet of it gone and also 4 feet of the after keel
carried away.* (* "The Lady Nelson...required some reparation, I
therefore desired Lieutenant Murray to lay his vessel on shore and get
these matters arranged to cut wood and be ready to sail in a week for the
Torres Strait." Flinders.)
"Sunday, September 19th. At half-past 6 A.M. weighed and ran into 5 feet
water. At half-past 8 A.M. the Investigator weighed and stood to the
eastward. At 9 A.M. we grounded; by noon we were able to replace part of
the copper torn off her bottom.
"Monday, September 20th. Fine weather throughout. By 3 P.M. she floated,
weighed, ran into 5 fathoms water and anchored. At 6 A.M. weighed and
"Tuesday, September 21st. At 3 P.M. she began to float, by 4 hove her
off, weighed and ran into 5 fathoms water where we anchored. A.M. Sent a
party on shore to cut wood. Investigator still in sight.
"Wednesday, September 22nd. A party on shore cutting wood and stuff for
brooms. A.M. Received on board two boat-loads of wood; sent a party after
kangaroo, some were seen at a distance but none were shot. Shifted the
fore keel aft and the after one (when we had repaired it as well as we
could) forward. The main keel we could not make fit after our carpenter
had worked on it several days, I rather suppose the trunk is injured in
"Thursday, September 23rd. Set up our rigging and stays fore and aft;
sent the carpenter on shore to cut spars to fit our several guns on.
"Friday, September 24th. Fine weather, moderate winds throughout. A.M.
Perceived the Investigator under weigh standing over to us.
"Saturday, September 25th. The Investigator in sight working towards us;
at half-past 8 A.M. she came to an anchor within half a mile of us. I
waited on Captain Flinders and informed him we were ready for sea.
"Sunday, September 26th. The Investigator struck her tents on shore.
Received from her gunner half a barrel of gunpowder and one quire of
musket cartridge paper, and 17 fathoms of old rope for lashing beams.
"Monday, September 27th. At half-past 6 A.M. Weighed in company with the
Investigator made all sail to the north-west. We were both obliged to
come to; the wind freshening, we weighed, but it again dying away we
anchored. At half-past 9.A.M. made sail.
"Tuesday, September 28th. At half-past 3 A.M. weighed in company with
H.M.S. Investigator and made sail to northward. At 6 A.M. spoke the
Commodore and received orders to keep ahead. A high island we passed this
morning south by west distant 12 or 14 miles,* (* North Point Island.) a
high short island under our lee north-west by west distant 10 or 11
miles. Long high land on our weather bow north-east by north distant 11
or 12 miles.* (* Percy Islands.) Latitude observed 21 degrees 52 minutes
41 seconds south.
"Wednesday, September 29th. Stood after the Commodore. At this time I
perceived that several of the islands in sight were covered with pines of
the same kind as Port Number 2. At half-past 7 P.M. anchored with the
kedge; answered a signal light from the Investigator with one at the
main. At daylight weighed and stood towards the Investigator. At
half-past 5 A.M. she also weighed and we proceeded a little nearer to the
large island mentioned in yesterday's log and on turn of tide we came to.
Observed Captain Flinders* (* "Not a single native was seen either on the
shores of Thirsty or Broad Sound during...our stay." Flinders.) in his
whale-boat go ashore with several of the officers and gentlemen, not to
the large island but to a small island within about 2 miles of it and
from which it bore west-south-west.* (* "We landed first at the islet
where the same kind of pine is seen as at Port Bowen." Flinders.) At
half-past 9 A.M. hove up and made towards the Commodore who was under
weigh, standing on to the body of a large pine island. Kept standing up
for a sandy beach on the southern end of the large Pine Island and at
half-past 11 A.M. the Commodore dropped anchor; stood on past him and at
noon came to with the kedge* (* At Number 2 Island, the largest of the
Percy Islands.) the small Pine Island bearing south-west by west distant
1 1/4 miles Peak of Pines like a sugar loaf north distant 5 or 6
miles.*... (* "To the northern Percy Isles, each of which is a hill
somewhat peaked but that on Number 3 is much the most so and the
highest...is called Pine Peak." Flinders.)
"Thursday, September 30th. I went on shore and by a narrow passage
entered a sheet of water entirely surrounded by the mountainous part of
the island, with here and there pines which on the whole has a beautiful
and romantic appearance. I searched for fresh water but found none,
however Captain Flinders found plenty. A.M. I went on shore with a party
in order to clear a rolling way for our casks as also did captain
Flinders and Lieutenant Fowler with 20 men, by noon this was completed
and the well began to be dug and cleared out; by an unlucky accident the
dry grass with which most of the ground is covered caught fire and burnt
with great fury driving the people away from the principal
"Friday, October 1st. On shore digging wells and clearing them out. By
half-past 3 P.M. the fire had increased so as to make us retreat to the
sandy beach and even here it nearly reached us by 7 P.M. It continued to
burn all night...covering the whole of the hills (particularly the tops)
with a fringe of white fire while all the way down to the bases resembled
a large town on a dark night well lighted up. By the morning it had
"Saturday, October 2nd. Employed completing our water which was done by
sunset and the hold stowed. Secured everything for sea. The Investigator
continued watering. Found a part of our best bower cable so much decayed
from wear that I cut off, from the anchor end, 15 fathoms and fresh bent
it again. Before we leave this island I think it proper to observe it
lies (from where we lay at anchor) about north by east and south by west
its latitude is 21 degrees 40 minutes 02 seconds south and its longitude
by Timekeeper 150 degrees 23 minutes 27 seconds east, it will easily be
known from a high peak of stones that at a distance will look like its
northern end. On this peak several pines are growing. On its northern end
is a sandy beach from which the entrance of the circular sheet of water
is immediately seen. On this beach we caught the first day plenty of fish
and it is remarkable that since few have been caught. Bearing south-west
from this place at about 2 miles distance is a small island of pines with
two or three rocks lying about it, to the westward at a distance of 8 or
9 miles is a rugged island with two peaks covered with pines, one of them
much higher than the other, and to the north-west about 10 or 11 miles is
an island of table-land with a bluff head on its southern end all round
are islands of different sizes but this watering island cannot be
mistaken or missed.
"Monday, October 4th. At 6 A.M. weighed in company with the Investigator
and made sail to the Northward.
"Tuesday, October 5th. Worked to windward...at 5 P.M. tacked. At sundown
the Stony Peak on watering island bore south by west high peak of Pines
west distant 2 1/2 or 3 miles. At noon the high Peak of Pines bore
south-west by south distant about 17 or 18 miles, the peak on Watering
Island south-south-west distant 19 or 20 miles.* (* Mr. Murray seems to
have given Number 2 offing the name of Watering Island.)
"Wednesday, October 6th. At half-past 1 answered signal "Follow me,"
answered signal "Make sail ahead." At this time we saw a long range of
sand reefs in the east and west direction and three small rocks bore
north-east by north distant 2 1/2 or 3 miles.* (* "They were not those
seen by Mr. Campbell though they form part of the same barrier...The
reefs were not dry with the exception of some black lumps which resembled
the round heads of negroes, these being dead coral." Flinders.) Answered
signal of 'Danger,' following the Investigator and keeping a good lookout
from the mast-head. At half-past 1 P.M. the high peak of pines bore
south-south-west distant about 22 miles which proves those extensive
reefs to be placed very erroneously on the chart owing to the
incorrectness of Messrs. Swaine and Campbell, they having laid them down
nearly 2 degrees off the land instead of which they are only distant 20
miles from the nearest island. Quarter past 6 P.M. came to in 28 fathoms
with the kedge; the Investigator north-east by north quarter of a mile
distant.* (* "At six anchored in 27 fathoms coarse sand." Flinders.) At
daylight the Investigator began to heave up and we did the same, by 6
A.M. made sail. Received orders to keep ahead with a good lookout for
shoals. Saw a shoal of sand with two small rocks on it from north-east;
at half-past 10 A.M. being within 2 miles of the shoal tacked. At noon
the rocks on the shoal bore north-west a little westerly distant 2 miles.
Received additional instructions signals and cd. from Captain Flinders.*
(* "I sent a boat with instructions to Lieutenant Murray...in case of our
"Thursday, October 7th. Stood on after the Investigator and weathered the
last-mentioned reef of coral. At half-past 4 A.M. weighed and made sail
to the south-east. At half-past 10 A.M. saw a reef of coral ahead,
several parts of which were above water considerably much like the
appearance of boats under sail.* (* "Upon these reefs were more of the
dry black lumps called negro heads." Flinders.)
"Friday October 8th. At half-past 5 P.M. tacked to the northward, reefs
still in sight. At 9 A.M. tacked after the Commodore, a reef of coral
rock bearing east to east-north-east distant 4 or 4 1/2 miles. At noon
the Investigator bore north by east distant 1 1/2 miles, a shoal of sand
apparently bearing north distant 5 or 6 miles, another bearing north-east
by north distant 4 miles and a small rock on an extensive shoal of sand
east by south distant 1 1/2 miles, this shoal seems to stretch a long way
from east-south-east to north-east. Latitude observed 20 degrees 54
minutes 42 seconds south.
"Saturday, October 9th. From 2 P.M. until 3 (after having weathered the
East point of this shoal) we ran along its other side. At half-past 5
P.M. came to. From the mast-head shoals in every direction. At half-past
5 A.M. weighed in company with the Commodore and stood to the north-east.
9 A.M. Perceiving a strong ripple close to us and supposing it to be
shoal water let go our kedge and made the signal of danger to the
Commodore who also came to and sent his boats to sound as did we but
found no less than 15 fathoms. At 11 A.M. the Investigator's whale-boat
made the signal for shoal water and the Commodore made the signal to
anchor which we immediately did in 22 fathoms, bottom small coral and
shells. The Investigator also anchored. We found ourselves within a
cable's length of a shoal and all round shoals of sand and extensive
coral reefs. Latitude observed 20 degrees 51 minutes 38 seconds south.
"Sunday, October 10th. P.M. Sent the boat to examine the reefs of coral
near us. At 4 P.M. the boat returned on board; found the coral to be of
many different colours--blue, yellow, green, and in short in every colour
we know of--found some very large cockles and a few small shells--found
the tide to ebb to run due north-east not less than 2 1/2 knots but when
it sallys over the flats and reefs it may be 5 knots. At half-past 4 P.M.
weighed and sent the boat ahead to tow and got our sweeps on. At 45
minutes past 5 A.M. made sail in company with the Commodore stood on
ahead with the Investigator's boat ahead of us sounding. This morning we
passed a great deal of suspicious water but saw no rocks or shoals dry.
"Monday, October 11th. Stood on ahead of the Investigator broken water
and reefs on both sides of us. At half-past 4 P.M. saw some very
extensive reefs ahead, they seemed to train as far aft as our beam one
each side of us. An appearance of an opening shows itself to the
west-north-west as also one to the North, all else is broken water, reefs
of coral and patches of coarse whitish sand or more probably coral. At
half-past 5 A.M. weighed and made sail to the northward keeping ahead of
the Investigator half a mile, and her boat ahead of us sounding.* (*
"Next morning the brig and whale-boat went ahead and we steered after
them. The east opening was choaked up and we had scarcely entered that to
the West when Mr. Murray made a signal for 'danger' the Lady Nelson was
carried rapidly to the south-east seemingly without being sensible of
it...I made the signal of recall." Flinders.) After running on this
course about a mile and a half and being then close up to the tail of the
coral reef north-east of us we suddenly found ourselves in 4 fathoms of
water and plainly saw the bottom consisting of large rocks of coral.
Immediately made the signal of 'Danger' to the Commodore. We shoaled into
2 fathoms tacked and running south we found a very rapid tide with us and
on passing between two reefs the current of tide I imagine could not be
less than 6 knots. During this time the Investigator followed after us,
but at 7 A.M. she made the signal to anchor. When she was a little
brought up we had no bottom with 50 fathoms of line and on her breaking
her sheer she at once broke the warp 65 fathoms from ye kedge, both of
which we lost. I fancy it got round the top of a rock of coral as we have
reason to suspect it foul ground. Immediately made all sail and stood
towards the Investigator and the wind fortunately freshening we passed
her and acquainted Captain Flinders with our loss. He told me to anchor
near him.* (* "We rode a great strain on the strain cable, it parted and
we lost an anchor. Mr. Murray had lost a kedge and was then riding by a
bower." Flinders.) Accordingly at 9 A.M. we anchored but she quickly
drove into the stream of tide, and there, to my surprise, the anchor held
on. Answered signal 'Weigh,' tried to do so but found it impossible--held
fast--in a little time the tide slackened somewhat and Captain Flinders
sent a boat and men to assist in getting up our anchor, began to heave up
and were fortunate enough to get it with the loss of one arm, the cable
not much damaged--made sail after the Commodore. Received from H.M.S.
Investigator 2 grapplings.* (* "Our anchor had swivelled in the stock.
Sent Mr. Murray 2 grapnels, which were all that our losses could allow of
being spared." Flinders.)
"Tuesday, October 12th. At daylight weighed in company with the
Investigator and made sail to the northward. At half-past 7 A.M. We both
"Wednesday, October 13th. At 1 P.M. weighed in company with the Commodore
and made all sail; by half-past 2 P.M. reefs in sight from north to
east-north-east..At daylight lay to for the Investigator who joined us by
7 A.M. On sounding we found the bottom altered from coarse sand, coral
and broken shells to very fine sand and small shells...the wind favouring
us the Commodore stood on. The appearance of the water this morning has
been suspicious, however, I imagine it is caused by the sun's reflection,
and being calm, the Investigator's boat has been ahead all morning. At
half-past 10 A.M. the Commodore came to and we did the same with the two
grapplings backing one another, and they held on.
"Thursday, October 14th. At half-past 5 P.M. reefs of coral in sight;
body of them distant 2 1/2 or 3 miles. At daylight weighed in company
with the Investigator and stood to southward; at half-past 7 A.M. reefs
of coral in sight, three middling large rocks seen bearing south by east;
we also at this time saw the land bearing west-south-west distant 14 or
15 leagues, made the signal of seeing it to the Investigator: by 8 A.M.
perceived it was islands, three in number. At noon one island bore west
by north distant 6 or 7 miles. This island appears very barren and rocky,
and an island that, from its appearance took to be the Isle of Pines,
next Watering Island south-south-east distant 16 or 17 miles.
"Friday, October 15th. 6 P.M. What I suppose to be the Peak of Pines near
Watering Island bore south by east distant 22 or 24 miles: Barren Island
west by south distant 6 or 7 miles: high hummocks of land west distant
about 9 miles.
"Sunday, October 16th. At 4 P.M. a large island with a fire on it bore
south-west by south distant 6 or 7 miles: a lowish island of rugged land
south by east distant 7 or 8 miles: an island with two hills on it
south-west by west distant 5 or 6 miles: a low island with several
hillocks west-south-west distant 8 or 9 miles. At sundown passed within a
quarter of a mile of a high perpendicular peak of one of Cumberland
Isles, and at half-past 6 P.M. anchored in 20 fathoms with the small
bower, bottom fine blue sand. Commodore anchored distant 1/4 of a mile.
At 6 A.M. I went on shore in order to look for water as well as to see
what the island produced, we cut down a couple of pines, fit one for a
top-mast the other for a top-sail yard. On this island a number of pines
are growing, some palm trees one of which Mr. Brown, the naturalist of
the Investigator, thinks is not common. This island is not inhabited but
seems occasionally to be visited. Two of the other islands are inhabited
as on both of them were fires last night. On the north-west side is a
beach of coarse coral and sand, on which a few dried shells were picked
up, from this beach a considerable way out the bottom large coral rocks.
A number of porpoises and sharks were seen about us this forenoon but
"Sunday, October 17th. At 6 A.M. weighed in company with the
Investigator, made sail to northward; by noon the Cumberlands from south
by south-west to west by north; and the Investigator east by south
distant 4 miles. From the colour of the water and a long steady swell I
judge we are nearly clear of the northern extremity of the reefs. I have
now had several opportunities of seeing that from the want of our main
and after keels we are so leewardly that the Investigator in 6 hours will
get with ease 4 miles to windward of the brig.
"Monday, October 18th. Stood on after the Investigator. At 6 P.M. she
anchored within half a mile of us, on which I immediately came to in 34
fathoms with the small bower. Saw a boat lowered and in half an hour
Lieutenant Fowler came on board and informed me that Captain Flinders
meant to part company in the morning with the brig and therefore to get
all ready for that purpose.* (* The Lady Nelson sailed so ill "that she
not only caused us delay but ran great risk of being lost. The zeal he
(Lieutenant Murray) had shown...increased my regret...at parting from our
little consort." Flinders.) At daylight hoisted out our long boat and
sent her on board the Investigator. I received from Captain Flinders
orders to proceed to Port Jackson with the Lady Nelson as fast as
circumstances would allow. I also received a letter on service to His
Excellency Governor King, as well as some private letters. Half-past 8
A.M. I took leave of Captain Flinders and returned on board, hove up. At
this time the Investigator hoisted her colours and we did the same, she
standing away to the westward and we to the southward. By 40 minutes past
10 A.M. we took our last view of H.M.S. Investigator, her
top-gallant-sails just being in the vane of the horizon.* (* At "9
o'clock got under weigh and showed our colours to bid farewell to the
Lady Nelson." Flinders.) At noon Cumberland Island in sight, a large one
distant 10 or 11 miles. Discharged to H.M.S. Investigator, Mr. Lacy,
Henry Willis and Thomas Shirly and received in lieu Jeremiah Wolsey and
Nanbury (a native).* (* "Nanbarre, one of the two natives, having
expressed a wish to go back to Port Jackson was sent to the Lady Nelson
in the morning." Flinders.) Latitude observed 20 degrees 178 minutes 16
"Tuesday, October 19th. By half-past 5 P.M. having run in between two
very high islands covered with pines, came to in 10 fathoms water with
the small bower, as the highest of the islands was in several places on
fire. I lowered our boat and sent the First Mate in her to speak to the
natives who I supposed must be on the island but when he returned, he
told me few of their traces were seen. A part of one of their canoes was
found and brought on board, from its appearance I deemed it not much
superior in structure from those of the natives of Sydney. From where we
lay (which is safe and secure anchorage with a blue clay bottom) the high
peak of the nearest or eastern of those islands bore east-south-east, the
rest of the Cumberlands lying in all directions of us. At daylight
weighed and stood to the north-north-east, kept tacking occasionally to
windward as it was my wish to get sight of the island we last watered at
chiefly to ascertain whether the Timekeeper had kept its rate. At noon
wore as she repeatedly missed stays from the want of her keels and a
short confused sea ahead.
"Wednesday, October 20th. From noon till 2 P.M. kept trying to work to
windward but she refusing stays I bore away for our former anchorage
which having gained at 3 P.M. came to. Lowered down the boat and I went
on shore unarmed supposing that should the island have any natives on it,
they might be induced to show themselves. I was disappointed for I
neither saw them or anything of consequence, one tree or plant excepted,
which I had never seen before: as Nanbury, a native of Sydney on board,
said he knew nothing of such a tree, as well as some people who had been
a long time in New South Wales...I took a large specimen of it on board
and hope it will keep.
"Thursday, October 21st. P.M. Sent a party on shore to examine the
highest peak of the island to look for water and to get the bearings of
the island. When they returned I was informed that the southernmost point
of the main (which I presume is Cape Hillsborough) bore south-east 1/2
east. It was the mate's opinion natives had been there a few days ago, as
round their fires were plenty of turtle bones scattered about. Our
anchorage last left bore south by west distant 2 miles.
"Friday, October 22nd. At 8 P.M. came to in our old anchorage. At 8
weighed, cleared the narrow passage between the islands we anchored
under...we had chosen the worst place they afford: as on this side from
the number of islands that lie all around as well as Cape Hillsborough
and the island off it, we found the water quiet and smooth. 9 A.M. Made
all sail for a large island to the south-east and by noon were abreast of
its eastern extremity. This island has the most romantic and beautiful
appearance of any I have ever beheld and from its north-west point to its
north-east point is nothing but a continuation of safe and well-sheltered
bays, the shores of which consist of white sand beaches intercepted here
and there with patches of coral rocks: the edges of these in several
places are lined with low mangroves, behind which tall pines rise,
forming a beautiful contrast, these however rise not so high as to
intercept our view of bold front-land which much resembles the hills of
Norfolk when the grain on them is ripe, and over all these towering to a
great height rise the inland hills covered with very high pines, on the
whole I scarcely ever saw so fine a view. At noon the body of it bore
north 1/2 east distant 3 miles, island of anchorage north-north-west
distant 14 miles, an island at which I mean to anchor for the night (if
we reach it) east by E. distant 6 or 7 miles. Latitude observed 20
degrees 48 minutes 44 seconds south.
"Saturday, October 23rd. By half-past 4 P.M. came to with our broken
bower and it held her safe all night although the remaining arm did not
take, a thing by the way rather odd as I had a short boom slung to it. 4
A.M. weighed and made all sail for Watering Island. By noon a remarkable
peak on the mainland south-west, several other islands in sight in
different directions. Since leaving Broad Sound until now the sea had
been constantly covered in different places with an oily brown slime
insomuch that it has often occasioned me to suspect shoal water.
"Sunday, October 24th. At sundown the body of Watering Island bore
distant 10 or 11 miles, some other of the Northumberland islands bearing
from north to south-west. We found the soundings to be from 18 to 10
fathoms, being inside some of the Offing Islands and within the
westernmost edge of the extensive barrier reefs 20 miles. At 6 P.M. came
to with our broken anchor. At midnight weighed and made for Watering
Island with all sail. By 6 A.M. got within three miles of our late
anchorage where we came to, body of Stony Peak of the Island bearing
east-south-east. At 40 minutes past 9 A.M. again weighed...At noon got
within one mile and a half of the anchorage.
"Monday, October 25th. By half past 1 P.M. having with the help of our
sweeps gained nearly our old berth came to, I went on shore, found our
well overflowing with good clear water. By noon our water was completed.
A duck, pigeon and pheasant were shot on the hills to-day.
"Tuesday, October 26th. At daylight weighed and made sail. By 8 A.M. the
rocky peak on the north end of Watering Island distant 10 or 11 miles.
Stood on through the Offing Isles of Northumberland Islands.
"Wednesday, October 27th. At 6 P.M. it being nearly calm came to in 17
fathoms with our broken anchor, Cape Townsend* (* Cape Townshend.)
bearing south-east distant 3 or 5 miles, hill of Pines (its base)
south-west distant 9 or 10 miles. A confused sea made me determined at
slack water to weigh and run into better anchorage, at half-past 10 A.M.
weighed and made sail up under Cape Townsend.
"Thursday, October 28th. At 1/4 past 1 P.M. came to with our broken
anchor, veered away, but on her bringing up the cable parted although the
strain was very trifling. The other bower was let go and it did not for
some time bring her up. Perceiving all hopes of regaining our anchor or
cable to be in vain, from our having so considerably shifted our berth as
well as our having only one small boat, she almost in pieces, and it
being absolutely necessary to get from here into a place of safety, I got
two of the swivel guns cross-lashed, in short made as good an anchor of
them as their nature would admit of, hoping that in light winds and
smooth waters they would somewhat save our only remaining anchor. At 3
P.M. made sail further up into Shoal Water Bay, where we anchored with
the swivels; they held her, there being no tide and but little wind. At
40 minutes past 7 P.M. let go the bower anchor and in the morning weighed
it as well as the swivels and made sail up the Bay, where we anchored;
lowered down the boat and sent the seine to haul, also the carpenter to
look for a tree that might make a wooden anchor which with being loaded
would answer in case of necessity.
"Friday, October 29th. Carpenter employed on the iron-bark anchor.
"Saturday, October 30th. At half-past 10 A.M. weighed and made sail
towards the southern outlet of the bay. By the time we got within a mile
and a half of it we had light baffling flaws all round; this outlet is
narrow and several sunken rocks lie scattered about. We anchored as much
out of the tide as possible.
"Sunday, October 30th.* (* Evidently meant to be the 31st.) 1 P.M. hove
up and made sail into snug anchorage, came to in 1/4 5 fathoms...By 5
P.M. the wooden anchor being finished bent our small bower cable to it,
hove up the bower and let go the wood anchor which however did not ride
her, we therefore dropped the bower again and let the other remain in
hopes that by getting the water lodged (as its weight would consequently
increase) it might ride us in soft ground.
"Monday, November 1st. P.M. The party that were on shore returned, they
informed me that one very large kangaroo was shot but escaped owing to
the thickness of the bush, some small ones were also seen; a couple of
pheasants and a pigeon were shot. A.M. sent two men on shore in order to
try for a kangaroo.
"Tuesday, November 2nd. I would have gone to sea had the tide not been
running strong into the Bay. Weighed our wooden anchor and loaded it with
two swivels, this I would imagine would ride her in moderate weather.
"Wednesday, November 3rd. At 8 A.M. weighed and made all sail to
windward. By 10 A.M. flood having made in we were obliged to come to with
our wooden anchor which I had the satisfaction to see held on.
"Thursday, November 4th. Half-past 3 P.M. weighed and worked to windward
the outlet of the bay. By 5 P.M. gained the narrows of the entrance.
Found a very strong tide running out. By 6 P.M. cleared the outlet.
"Friday, November 5th. From 1 P.M. to 5 running through Keppel's Islands
south. At daylight land in sight from West to south by west; set
"Saturday, November 6th. From noon to 3 P.M. fresh winds and gloomy
weather with dripping rain and some distant thunder. Saw Sandy Cape
bearing east-south-east distant 10 or 11 miles could not see the
land...came to with our wood anchor in 12 fathoms, Sandy Cape bearing
south-east by east distant 10 miles...
"Sunday, November 7th. Until half-past 3 P.M. we stood along the northern
edge of Breaksea Spit when, it being calm, came to in 14 fathoms water
with our wood anchor, Sandy Cape bearing south-east by south distant 10
or 11 miles...
"Monday, November 8th. At half-past 9 A.M. Sandy Cape bore south distant
18 miles. At 10 A.M. saw Breaksea Spit breaking from south-west by south
to West distant about 6 miles. At noon tacked to the northward, Sandy
Cape bearing south by west distant 10 miles.
"Tuesday, November 9th. A high sea throughout. At noon no land in sight.
Latitude observed 24 degrees 19 minutes 58 seconds south.
"Wednesday, November 10th. At Sundown Sandy Cape bore west 1/2 south
distant 10 miles Sandy Point west distant 10 or 11 miles, spit breaking
very high out to west by north, the southern extremes of land bearing
south distant 14 miles, favourable.
"Thursday, November 11th. At noon fine weather and moderate winds with a
confused sea. All sail set, the extremes of the land bearing from
south-west to north-west distant each 7 or 8 leagues. Latitude observed
25 degrees 38 minutes 50 seconds south.
"Friday, November 12th. At sundown Double Island Point west 1/2 south
distant 6 or 7 leagues; at 10 P.M. tacked to the southward...At noon the
Glass Houses on Glass House Bay south-west by south distant 6 or 7
"Saturday, November 13th. At daylight no land in sight, at 8 A.M. saw
land bearing south-west distant 6 or 7 leagues.
"Sunday, November 14th. At 10 A.M. after a deal of rain a light air
sprung up at north. Observed Latitude Dead Reckoning 26 degrees 38
minutes 00 seconds south.
"Monday, November 15th. At 8 A.M. saw some high land bearing
west-south-west distant 8 leagues. Until noon we had light squalls and
very hard rain. No observation of Latitude 27 degrees 35 minutes 00
seconds: I conclude myself to be one degree more to South than the D.R.*
(* Dead Reckoning.) gives and not so far East by about 14 or 15 miles.
"Tuesday, November 16th. At 4 A.M. tacked to southward, set
top-gallant-sails and stay-sails; no land in sight. Latitude observed 29
degrees 07 minutes 28 seconds south.
"Wednesday, November 17th. At 4 P.M. tacked to south-west.
"Thursday, November 18th. At noon fresh clear wind at north-north-west
and a high confused sea on, set all sail we could.
"Friday, November 19th. Saw land bearing west by south distant 4 or 5
leagues this I take to be Smoaky Cape, if it is, a strong westerly
current must have run, for by account when I made the land our latitude
was 30 degrees 46 minutes 39 seconds south 3 miles to the westward of
Smoaky Cape but our longitude deducted from yesterday's time-keeper 153
degrees 50 minutes 00 seconds east 40 miles to the eastward of it which
makes the current to have set us west 28 miles. At noon Smoaky Cape bore
west 1/2 south distant 6 leagues.
"Saturday, November 20th. At noon what I supposed to be the Brothers bore
west-south-west distant 6 or 7 leagues.
"Sunday, November 21st. Fresh breezes and cloudy, latter part variable
wind and thick weather. No land in sight.
"Monday, November 22nd. At 5 A.M. the north head of Port Jackson...bore
south-west distant 4 leagues. At 8 A.M. the north head bore West distant
1 league. At 40 minutes past 10 A.M. came to with the bower in Sydney
Cove abreast of the Governor's wharf, found lying here H.M.S. Buffalo
which was returned.
"Tuesday, November 23rd. Winds all round the compass with much thunder
and lightning. Employed preparing for sea."
[Facsimile signature Jno Murray]
THE FRENCH SHIPS IN BASS STRAIT.
THE FOUNDING OF HOBART.
On Murray's return to Sydney on November 22nd, 1802, after his parting
with Flinders, he learned that Commodore Baudin's ships had left the
harbour four days previously. The French vessels had made a lengthy stay
in port. The Geographe entered the Heads on June 20th, 1802, during the
absence of the Lady Nelson at the Hawkesbury, and for that reason we find
no record of her arrival in Murray's log; eight days afterwards the
Naturaliste came to Port Jackson for the second time, and joined her
consort at the anchorage in Neutral Bay.
In consequence of foul weather, Hamelin could not double the South Cape
of Van Diemen's Land, and the meeting of the ships at Sydney, after their
long separation, gave great satisfaction to those on board. The French
officers and sailors were most hospitably received by the Governor,
although England and France were still supposed to be at war, and many of
the French officers were soon on friendly terms with the chief residents
and officials. The news that peace had been concluded between the two
countries, which arrived shortly afterwards, Peron says "could add
nothing to the friendly sentiments of the English at Port Jackson but was
a subject of rejoicing on the part of our companions."
At Sydney Baudin became aware of the full extent of the English
discoveries on the southern coast. Not until then could he have known all
the results of the explorations of Grant and Murray in the Lady Nelson,
for up to the time of the arrival of the French at Sydney, only two ships
had ever visited Port Phillip. One of these was, of course, the Lady
Nelson, the other the Investigator under Captain Flinders.
Flinders had, as we have seen, met Baudin in Encounter Bay, when the
commander of the Investigator was himself ignorant of the fact that Port
Phillip had been discovered and entered by Murray. At this interview
Baudin informed Flinders that the Geographe had "explored the south coast
from Western Port to our place of meeting without finding any river,
inlet or other shelter which afforded anchorage.--This statement of
Baudin's is contradicted by Peron in his history of the voyage, who says,
that on March 30th Port Phillip was seen from the masthead of the
Geographe and was given the name Port du Debut, "but," he adds, "hearing
afterwards that it had been more minutely surveyed by the English brig
Lady Nelson and had been named Port Phillip we, with greater pleasure,
continued this last name from its recalling that of the founder of a
colony in which we met with succour so effective and so liberally
granted." Louis de Freycinet also states that the entrance to the Port
was seen by those on board the Geographe. A drawing of Port Phillip
afterwards appeared under the name Port du Debut on his own charts.* (*
Through the kindness of M. le Comte de Fleurieu some extracts from
Baudin's journal have been placed in the writer's hands. From these it
would appear that the Geographe passed Western Port without recognising
it, and in continuing to voyage westward saw a port which those on board
imagined to be Western Port, but which possibly was Port Phillip.)
Freycinet denied that the map had been plagiarised, as was generally
believed in England, by the unlawful use of Flinders' charts,* (* See
Atlas, 1st Edition Voyage de Decouvertes aux Terres Australes, 1807. F.
Peron and L. de Freycinet. Freycinet was not in the Geographe when she
met the Investigator, he was then in the Naturaliste. He acknowledged
that the drawing of Port Phillip in the Terre Napoleon was taken from a
manuscript chart made on board the English ship Arniston and found among
the papers of the Fame captured by the French in 1806 (Voyage de
Decouvertes 3 430). The Arniston was one of a fleet of ships under convoy
of H.M.S. Athenian which was sent to China via Van Diemen's Land and
Norfolk Island.) and there is no reason to disbelieve him; but it is
quite possible that Flinders did show Freycinet either his own chart of
Port Phillip, or one made by Murray, during the stay of the French at
When Baudin sailed westward along the south coast from Wilson's
Promontory towards Encounter Bay--before his meeting with Flinders--he
bestowed French names upon places that had been already discovered and
named by the English, giving to Cape Patton (of Grant) the title of Cape
Suffrein, Cape Albany Otway (of Grant) that of Cape Marengo, and Cape
Schanck (of Grant) that of Cape Richelieu. Portland Bay, also named by
Grant, became Tourville Bay; Montaigne Cape took the place-name of Cape
Solicitor; Lady Julia Island became Fourcroy Island; Lawrence's Island,
Dragon Island; and Cape Bridgewater, Cape Montesquieu. In this manner
nearly the whole of Grant's discoveries were rechristened.* (* Some
writers give the French name of Cape Desaix, bestowed in honour of one of
Napoleon's famous generals, to Cape Albany Otway. Pinkerton's translator
of the History to Southern Lands, however, states that the French named
Cape Otway, Cape Marengo.)
The presence of Baudin's expedition in Australian waters may be said to
have considerably hurried on the British colonisation of Tasmania.
Although Bass and Flinders had in 1798 circumnavigated the island, adding
extensive discoveries to those already made by Furneaux, Hayes, Bligh,
and other British seamen, it was realised in Sydney that the French might
lay claim to some portion of the island.
During Baudin's visit his officers surveyed the eastern coast more
thoroughly than any previous navigators, although they must have known
that Tasmania was then regarded by the British as their territory.* (*
The commission of Governor Phillip, read publicly when he landed at
Sydney in 1788, had proclaimed him ruler of all the land from Cape York
to South Cape in Tasmania.) Baudin's enquiries elicited as much from
Governor King at Sydney. It was natural therefore that after the
departure of the French ships, when King heard a rumour that they
intended to take possession of a port in Tasmania,* (* Baie du Nord.) he
should send Acting-Lieutenant Robbins in the Cumberland after the
vessels, who, finding them at anchor at King Island, immediately hoisted
the Union Jack there and daily saluted it during their stay. It was upon
seeing the British flag flying on this island that Baudin is said to have
observed "that the English were worse than the Pope, for whereas he
grasped half the world the English took the whole of it."
Commodore Baudin afterwards wrote to Governor King assuring him that the
rumour as to his intentions was without foundation, but, he added,
"Perhaps he (Robbins) has come too late as for several days before he
hoisted the flag over our tents we had left in prominent parts of the
island (which I still name after you) proofs of the period at which we
visited it." This insinuation evidently raised King's ire, as he made a
note on the margin of the letter, "If Mr. Baudin insinuates any claim of
this visit the island was first discovered in 1798* (* King writes 1799
in the chart.) by Mr. Reid in the Martha and afterwards seen by Mr. Black
in the Harbinger and surveyed by Mr. Murray in February 1802." Baudin
seems to have totally ignored what could not have been a secret at Port
Jackson, namely, the fact that the Lady Nelson had surveyed King Island
from Cape Farewell to Seal Bay.
To return to the story of the logbooks. After another voyage to Norfolk
Island, whither the Lady Nelson conveyed troops to relieve the men there,
Murray was forced to resign his command, the Governor being informed, in
despatches from the Admiralty, that he had sent them an erroneous
statement of his services. In writing to Secretary Nepean, King remarks,
on April 12th, 1803, "I had the honour of receiving yours respecting the
discovery...about Mr. Murray's statement of servitude which appeared in
his passing certificate at the Cape of Good Hope, in consequence of which
he has been superseded in the command of the Lady Nelson and goes home a
passenger in the Glatton. He promises himself being able to clear the
point up to their Lordships' satisfaction. Should he be able to
accomplish this, I consider it but doing common justice to his
perseverance and good conduct while in command of the Lady Nelson to say
that his future services in that vessel would be very acceptable to me
and beneficial to the service that the vessel is employed on. In
consequence of Mr. Murray's being superseded from the Lady Nelson, I
applied to Captain Colnett for a person to command her not having anyone
who can be spared, either from the Buffalo or Porpoise. He has appointed
the master's mate of the Glatton, Mr. George Courtoys,* (* The name is
spelt Curtoys in the Commander's own log.) who is passed and appears
equal to the charge of Acting-Lieutenant and Commander of that vessel."
Murray's charts and the journal of his discoveries were sent home to the
Duke of Portland by Governor King. They were committed to the care of
Lieutenant Mackellar, who embarked in an American vessel named the
Caroline,* (* Historical Records of New South Wales volume 4 pages 734
and 764.) which left Sydney on March 29th, 1802, and we know that they
reached Whitehall safely. After his arrival in England, Murray seems to
have been able to clear up satisfactorily his misunderstanding with the
authorities, for shortly after his return he was appointed an Admiralty
Surveyor, and his name is found upon several charts of the Home Coasts
executed by him in 1804, 1805, and 1807.
In 1803 the Governor gave orders to the Commanders of H.M.S. Porpoise and
of the Lady Nelson to embark the first colonists and proceed with them to
Tasmania. The Lady Nelson, under the command of Lieutenant Curtoys, and
having on board Lieutenant John Bowen,* (* Lieutenant John Bowen, R.N.,
came to Sydney in H.M.S. Glatton and was a son of Captain John Bowen and
nephew of Lieutenant Richard Bowen, R.N., Admiralty Agent on board the
Atlantic, which visited New South Wales in 1792.) the Commandant of the
new establishment, as well as several other persons chosen by Governor
King to accompany him, left Sydney early in June, while the Porpoise
followed a few days later. Both ships returned without being able to make
their port of destination. The Porpoise was seventeen days out and foul
weather compelled her to return to Sydney, which she reached on July 3rd,
while the Lady Nelson came back the next day, having been unable to
proceed farther than Twofold Bay, where she waited for a change of wind.
Upon putting to sea again, her main keel was carried away and she was
then forced to abandon her project.
Governor King chartered the Albion whaler 326 tons, Captain Ebor Bunker,
to take the place of the Porpoise in the next attempt to send colonists
to Tasmania, and both ships reached Risdon safely, the Lady Nelson
arriving on the 7th of September and the Albion, with Lieutenant Bowen on
board, five days later.* (* Risdon (afterwards called Hobart by
Lieutenant Bowen) was so named by Captain John Hayes of the Bombay
Marine, who, in command of two ships the Duke of Clarence and the
Duchess, visited Tasmania in 1793. The name was given in honour of Mr.
William Bellamy Risdon, second officer of the Duke of Clarence. Captain
Hayes also named the River Derwent.) The people were safely landed, but
unfortunately much of the stock in the vessels was injured during the
gale that raged after leaving Sydney. Many eligible places for a
settlement presented themselves, and the Commandant eventually chose
Risdon, because there the best stream of water ran into the cove and also
because there were extensive valleys behind it. A few natives were seen
when the Lady Nelson came into the harbour, but they quickly retired into
the woods. The delay in the Albion's passage was caused by Captain Bunker
putting in to Oyster Bay to avoid the bad weather. He stayed three days
in the bay, where his crew killed three large spermaceti whales.
LOG OF THE LADY NELSON IN SYDNEY COVE.
GEORGE CURTOYS, Commander.
"Friday, 10th June (1803). P.M. Moderate and cloudy. Came on board
Lieutenant Bowen, 10 convicts and 3 soldiers for Van Dieman's Land: at 6
A.M. hove short; 1/2 past fired a gun and made signal for a pilot, at 1/2
past weighed and made sail out of the harbour.
"Wednesday, 15th June. Fresh breezes and cloudy: at 8 squally, bore up
for Twofold Bay the wind seeming to be set in from the Southward and
likely to blow hard.
"Friday, June 24th. Moderate and clear at 5 and found the Bay at 5: came
to with best bower and moored ship 1/2 cable's length from the shore.
Employed making a raft of our spars and main keel: sent the carpenters on
shore to build a punt.
"Saturday, 25th June. Down long top-gallant mast and up short ones.
"Sunday, 26th June. Sent empty casks on shore.
"Monday, 27th June. Employed setting up the lower and top-mast rigging:
received wood and water.
"Tuesday, 28th June. Saw a sloop in the offing standing in to the Bay
made signal for all persons to return on board.
"Wednesday, 29th June. Got all ready for sea: unmoored and shoved further
out. A.M. Strong breezes; made signal for the sloop to come down--proved
to be the John of Sydney.
"Friday, 1st July. Light breezes; at 3 weighed and stood out of the Bay;
at 3.30 reefed top sails: at 11.30 saw part of the main keel go astern:
bore for Port Jackson.
"Monday, 4th July. Moderate and clear: running along-shore; at 11
standing into Port Jackson.
"Tuesday, 5th July. Moderate and clear weather: at 2 came to above the
Sow and Pigs: at 3.50 weighed and made sail up the harbour. Came on board
the Pilot: at 5 got on shore on Bennilong's Point; carried away the fore
foot and fore keel: at 6 came to in Sydney Cove. Moored in Port Jackson.
"Monday, 29th August. Fresh breezes and cloudy: at 5 got under weigh,
tacked occasionally--at 7 South Head west by north 5 miles.
"Tuesday, 30th August. Fresh breezes and cloudy weather. 3.20 wore round
on starboard tack.
"Wednesday, 31st August. Moderate and cloudy; at 4 carried away the fore
top-mast: at 5.30 carried away the gaff.
"Thursday, 1st September. Fresh gales and cloudy; at 11 saw the land
about the Eddystone Point: Noon, fresh breezes and cloudy.
"Friday, 2nd September. Fresh breezes and clear; all sail set.
"Saturday, 3rd September. Fresh breezes and cloudy, at 2 handed the top
sail and hove to, at 11 set the fore-sail: at 10 Oyster Island north by
west 7 or 8 miles.
"Sunday, 4th September. Light breezes and cloudy: at 2 down boat: at 4
got the sweeps out: carried one of them away. At 7 came to with the kedge
in 29 fathoms, the tide setting us on an island: at 9, a breeze springing
up, weighed and made all sail.
"Monday, 5th September. Light breezes and cloudy: at 4 calm, out sweeps
to pull ahead: at 8 a breeze, made all sail up Frederick Henry Bay, at
6.30 out long boat, up main keel.
"Tuesday, 6th September. Ditto weather, at 1 hauled into the Bay: at 2.30
came to in Ralphes Bay in 8 fathoms.* (* Relph's Bay was named by Captain
John Hayes in honour of Captain Relph, Bombay Marine, commander of the
"Wednesday, 7th September. Moderate breezes and cloudy: sail-maker making
a main top-mast stay-sail. At 10 unmoored and made sail across the bay.
"Thursday, 8th September. Ditto weather, came to in the bay in 8 fathoms
1/2 past 3 breeze from the eastward, weighed and made sail up the
Derwent: 6.30 came to in 8 fathoms above Stainforth's Cove.
"Friday, 9th September. Light breezes and cloudy weather: at 4 made sail
for Risdon Cove: at 3 came to in the cove in 4 fathoms.
"Sunday, 11th September. At 8 came on board Captain Bowen from the Albion
sent the longboat to assist in getting her into the Cove.
"Monday, 12th September. Sent some of the stores belonging to the colony
on shore: the longboat assisting the Albion discharging.
"Tuesday, 13th September. Moderate and cloudy weather. Employed landing
"Monday, 19th September. Struck lower yards and top-gallant mast. A.M.
Fresh breezes and squally, landed bricks for the colony.
"Tuesday, 20th September. Moderate breezes and cloudy. Supplied the
colony with 1/2 a barrel of Powder and a bell.
"Thursday, 29th September. Getting ready for sea: 10.30 in long boat.
A.M. fresh breezes
and cloudy with rain: 1/2 past 5 weighed and made sail down the Harbour:
out longboat to tow, at 7 made sail in boat.
"Friday, 30th September. P.M. Strong gales with heavy squalls of rain:
1/2 past 1 a heavy gale from south-east bore up for Ralphes Bay.
"Saturday, 1st October. A.M. Pleasant weather: up lower yards, set the
rigging up, moored: at 7 weighed and made all sail down the river.
"Sunday, 2nd October. Let go the kedge the vessel drifting on Risdons
Island, shortened sail: 1/4 before 12 a breeze from the north-west up
kedge. Made sail down River Derwent.
"Tuesday, 11th October. P.M. Strong gales and clear weather: at 6 Pigeon
House west 10 or 12 miles.
"Wednesday, 12th October. Strong gales and cloudy. At 10 saw a schooner
"Thursday, 13th October. Calm and cloudy: 1/4 before 8 strong gales with
heavy squalls of rain. A.M. North Head 12 miles.
"Friday, 14th October. Moderate and cloudy with heavy swell from
south-east: at 1 the Pilot came on board: 1/4 past 4 came to in the cove
with best bower.
"Saturday, 15th October. Light breezes and cloudy. Moored in Port
"Thursday, 27th October. At 5 slipped the mooring and made sail out of
the cove: at 10 the South Head, Broken Bay north-north-west 12 miles.
"Friday, 29th October. Saw a schooner to northward, at 5 hove to, spoke
her, found her to be the Resource from Wreck Reef: at 10 came to in
Broken Bay in 5 fathoms. Working up the river to Hawkesbury.
"Tuesday, 1st November. Moderate and clear weather. At 2 came abreast the
Wash in 4 fathoms: moored. Down top-gallant yards, found the top-gallant
"Wednesday, 2nd November. Fresh and squally with thunder, lightning and
rain: came on board carpenter to build a bulkhead forward for the corn.
"Friday, 4th November. Moderate and fair, at 4 furled sail. Hauled
alongside wharf to take in the corn, received 710 bushels.
"Monday, 7th November. Light breezes and clear. Received 210 bushels of
"Tuesday, 8th November. Light breezes and dark cloudy weather with heavy
rain, thunder, and lightning. A.M. At 8 made ye signal for sailing with a
gun. At noon strong breezes.
"Monday, 10th November. P.M. At 5 weighed and made sail: at 4 came to
with the best bower in 3 fathoms.
"Friday, 11th November. P.M. Light breezes and clear: at 11 weighed and
towed down the river. A.M. Calm and foggy: 1/2 past 3 came to in
Sackville Reach in 2 1/2 fathoms.
"Saturday, 12th November. Calm and hot sultry weather, 1/2 past 12
weighed and towed down the river.
"Sunday, 13th November. At 1 weighed and towed down the river, at 4 came
to. A.M. Calm and cloudy weighed and made sail down the river.
"Saturday, 19th November 1803. At 2 weighed and made sail down the river.
Up top-gallant yards, at 7 came to in Pitt's Water. A.M. Light breezes
and cloudy. At daylight weighed and made sail: at 4 calm and cloudy: came
"Sunday, 20th November. P.M. Calm. At 1 a breeze from the north-east.
Weighed and made sail, at 2 all sail set, standing out of the Bay at 4
ditto weather: at 9 came to in Sydney Cove: furled sails and took in the
moorings. A.M. Strong breezes and cloudy, down top gallant yards.
"Friday, 25th November. Employed receiving the wood and water. Delivering
the iron and wine received for Norfolk Island and got ready to go to Port
"(Signed) GEORGE CURTOYS."
The log of George Curtoys ends on November 25th when he was taken ill and
went on shore to the Naval hospital at Sydney. We hear little of his
subsequent career, beyond that he retired from the Royal Navy and settled
down at the island of Timor,* (* The Sydney Gazette (1814) says that the
ship Morning Star, Captain Smart, brought the above news concerning
Captain Curtoys to Sydney. Captain Curtoys' brig had left Surabaja for
Timor three months before Captain Smart's arrival at that port.) becoming
commander of a brig, which occasionally traded with Surabaja.
SYMONS SUCCEEDS CURTOYS AS COMMANDER OF THE LADY NELSON.
HIS VOYAGES TO PORT PHILLIP, TASMANIA, AND NEW ZEALAND.
George Curtoys was succeeded in the command of the Lady Nelson by Acting
Lieutenant James Symons, who, like himself, had come to New South Wales
as a midshipman in H.M.S. Glatton under Captain Colnett. Symons
afterwards served on board the Buffalo, and doubtless gained much
knowledge of the Australian coast while he was in that ship. She is well
known on account of her many pioneering voyages, and it is also recorded
that her figure-head was the effigy of a kangaroo, and for this reason,
on her first arrival in Sydney, she became an object of no little
interest to the natives. Symons' appointment was somewhat hurriedly made,
when, after Curtoys had been sent to sick quarters on shore, the ship
Ocean arrived from Port Phillip. Her commander, Captain Mertho, brought
important despatches to the Governor from Colonel Collins, who had been
instructed by the British Government to form a settlement at that spot.
The establishment had been conveyed from England in two ships, H.M.S.
Calcutta, Captain Woodriff, and the Ocean, Captain Mertho.* (* The ships
left England in April, 1803, and arrived at Port Phillip on the 7th and
8th of October.) Colonel Collins now reported that the site at Port
Phillip, which he had originally chosen, was unsuitable, and asked King's
permission to move the whole settlement to Tasmania.* (* Collins settled
at what is now Sorrento. It is curious that no proper examination of the
northern shores of Port Phillip was carried out by Colonel Collins. Had
he done so, he must have found the Yarra.) His cousin, Mr. William
Collins, who had accompanied him to Port Phillip, "in a private
capacity," first volunteered to bring this despatch round to Sydney, and
set forth in a six-oared boat. He was delayed by bad weather, and he and
his party of six convict sailors were overtaken and picked up by the
Ocean at Point Upright.
Governor King complied with Colonel Collins's request, and in replying to
his letter acquainted him with the circumstances that had induced him to
send Bowen with settlers to Hobart. At the same time he left Colonel
Collins to decide whether he would move his people to that place or to
Port Dalrymple on the northern shores of Tasmania. The Governor also gave
orders for the Lady Nelson, then on the point of sailing to Norfolk
Island, to be cleared of her cargo and to be made ready to sail with the
Ocean back to Port Phillip. Two other ships--the colonial schooner
Francis* (* This ship had been brought from England in frame in 1792, the
Edwin was locally built, the property of Mr. Palmer, and commanded by
Captain Stuart.) and the whaler Edwin--were also sent to render Colonel
Collins all the assistance in their power.
The Lady Nelson left Sydney on Monday, November 28th, 1803. Among those
who sailed with Lieutenant Symons was the well-known botanist, Mr. Robert
Brown, late of H.M.S. Investigator, who wished to examine the
neighbourhood of Port Phillip and also to visit Port Dalrymple in search
of new plants.* (* Robert Brown, formerly an ensign in the Fifeshire
Fencibles, was granted leave of absence to go with Captain Flinders in
the Investigator.) The brig was singularly unfortunate in her passage to
Port Phillip. So rough was the weather on arriving in Bass Strait, that
"after beating a fortnight against a south-westerly wind," she was
eventually obliged to bear up for the Kent Group.* (* Robert Brown's
Manuscript letters to Banks, describing the voyage, are preserved at the
British Museum.) Twice she left her anchorage there in order to try to
reach her destination, and twice she had to return to port again.
Meanwhile the Ocean, with Mr. William Collins and his sailors on board,
arrived at Port Phillip on December 12th, and the Francis, bringing
Governor King's despatches, on the following day.
On his way to Port Phillip, Mr. Rushworth, the Master of the Francis, in
passing Kent Group, had observed smoke rising from one of the islands,
and being apprehensive for the safety of the Lady Nelson, he informed
Colonel Collins of this fact. Accordingly, when Mr. William Collins
sailed in the Francis for Port Dalrymple on the 24th, and with a view to
reporting upon its suitability for a settlement, the Master was directed
to call at the Group and ascertain who was on shore there. This he did,
and he found the Lady Nelson still in the cove where she had sought
refuge. Mr. Brown, during his enforced stay there, had explored all the
islands of the group in search of botanical specimens, but he tells Banks
that his collections were enriched by only "twelve new plants and nothing
else." On her arrival the Francis was in a very leaky condition, so that
at the suggestion of Mr. Collins she was sent back to Sydney, and the
party appointed to survey Port Dalrymple was embarked in the Lady Nelson.
Two days later Lieutenant Symons sailed to Port Dalrymple, which he
entered on January 1st, 1804, and where he remained until the 18th. A
succession of gales made it quite impossible to put to sea after the
survey of the shores had been completed. While the brig lay at anchor,
Mr. Collins explored the River Tamar as far as One Tree Reach, and Mr.
Brown resumed his botanical researches; his letters show that he made
several excursions into the inland country in order to examine its flora,
which, however, he found disappointing. He writes to Banks: "The whole
number of plants observed in this port did not much exceed 300, of which
about 40 were new to me and, I believe, nondescript. From Port Dalrymple
we had a short passage to Port Phillip."
On January 21st, Colonel Collins was highly pleased at ascertaining the
safety of the Lady Nelson, "of whose appearance," he writes to King, "I
had for some time despaired." The account of Port Dalrymple, given by the
surveying party, was favourable, but Colonel Collins had already decided
that he could not do better than repair, with his establishment, to the
Derwent. He came to this decision on account of some of the military at
Port Phillip "manifesting an improper spirit," and he believed that on
their joining the detachment of the New South Wales Corps at Hobart, then
under Bowen, "a spirit of emulation would be excited and discontent
checked."* (* See Historical Records of New South Wales volume 4, Collins
On January 25th all the settlers ordered to embark in the Lady Nelson
went on board, and on Monday, 30th, in company with the Ocean, conveying
Colonel Collins, she made sail out of Port Phillip Bay.* (* See
Knopwood's Diary, edited by J. Shillinglaw, Melbourne. The Reverend R.
Knopwood was the Chaplain of Collins' establishment.) After a passage of
ten days, the brig anchored in Risdon Cove, the site of Bowen's
settlement, the Ocean arriving a few days later. Colonel Collins did not
think Risdon the most eligible spot for the purpose of a settlement, and
he encamped "on the banks of a small but apparently constant stream,
which empties itself into the second cove below Stainforth's Cove."
Collins named this place Sullivan's Cove,* (* After Mr. John Sullivan,
Permanent Under Secretary for the Colonies.) "the settlement at Risdon
remaining in every respect as he found it until Governor King's pleasure
is known."* (* Brown's manuscript letter to Paterson.)
On Tuesday, March 6th, 1804, the Lady Nelson left the Derwent on her
return voyage to Sydney. By that time all the Port Phillip settlers and
half the establishment had arrived in Tasmania, and the Ocean was about
to put to sea again in order to convey the stores and stock remaining at
Port Phillip to Sullivan's Cove. Collins's settlement at this place, and
the original colony at Risdon, were then fast becoming united. A little
later, Bowen's settlement was moved, by Governor King's orders, down the
river to Sullivan's Cove and the two establishments really became one,
Colonel Collins retaining for it the name of Hobart, and Bowen with his
officials returned to Sydney.*
(* Sydney Gazette, August 26th, 1804. On Friday arrived the Ocean Captain
Mertho, from the Derwent with Lieutenant Bowen, Commandant of the
settlement at Risdon Cove, which has become part of Lieutenant Governor
Collins' settlement, being only six miles from Sullivan's Cove. In the
same ship came Lieutenant Moore with a detachment of the New South Wales
Corps on duty at Risdon, Mr. Jacob Mountgarrett, surgeon, Mr. Brown,
naturalist, and several persons who composed the settlement. The Ocean
arrived at Sullivan's Cove from her second voyage to Port Phillip on June
25th after a tempestuous voyage of 32 days in which most of the stock for
the colony was lost.
Lieutenant Bowen was on his way from Sydney to the Derwent at the time of
Collins' arrival in Tasmania. He seems only to have voyaged as far as
Port Dalrymple in the Integrity for he returned to the Derwent in the
Pilgrim (Sydney Gazette, April 22nd, 1804). Eventually he came, as stated
above, to Sydney in the Ocean. See Historical Records of New South Wales
volume 5 pages 451 and 676.)
The Lady Nelson reached Sydney on the 14th of March after a passage of
eight days, and no sooner had she anchored in the harbour than Governor
King instructed her commander to refit and prepare to embark yet another
colony of settlers. These he proposed to send to Newcastle.* (* Or
Kingstown, as it was then called, in honour of Governor King; shortly
afterwards he renamed it Newcastle.) Hitherto only some colliers and a
guard had been stationed there, in order to ensure a supply of coals for
Sydney and for the Government ships, but now the Governor directed that
the spot should be raised to the dignity of a settlement. The colonial
cutter Resource, and the James sloop, belonging to Mr. Raby, were ordered
to sail with the Lady Nelson. The three vessels got under weigh to sail
to Newcastle on Tuesday, March 27th, having on board all the persons
appointed by the Governor, to proceed there. Embarked in the Lady Nelson
Lieutenant Menzies, Commandant.
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