An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. 2
by David Collins
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Production note: ———————— Notes (*) are shown in square brackets ([]) at the end of the paragraph in which the note is indicated. Italics are indicated by underscore characters (_) at the start and finish of the italicised words








Many might be saved who now suffer an ignominious and an early death; and many might be so much purified in the furnace of punishment and adversity, as to become the ornaments of that society of which they had formerly been the bane. The vices of mankind must frequently require the severity of justice; but a wise State will direct that severity to the greatest moral and political good. ANON.





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His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the War Department, One of the Commissioners for the Affairs of India, etc.


Feeling myself highly flattered by your permission to inscribe the following pages to your Lordship, I now humbly presume to offer them to your perusal.

The colonists of New South Wales will feel with me, who must ever take an interest in the welfare of the settlement, a high degree of satisfaction at finding the conduct of their affairs placed under the direction of a nobleman who has dignified the amiable virtues of private life by the acquisition of those more splendid talents which characterise a consummate statesman; thus at once rendering himself the object of veneration and of gratitude to his country.

Your Lordship's services in the several high and important situations which you have filled, are too generally known, and too well remembered, to make me apprehensive lest my humble tribute of applause should be mistaken for other than the genuine feelings of one proud of this opportunity to unite his voice with that of a grateful nation.

The settlement whose annalist I have been has had much to struggle with. Its distance from the protecting wing of the parent government, and the unprecedented war which that government, has so long had to conduct, have very much repressed its energies, and detracted from its natural vigour. But, although the distance must ever remain an obstacle, yet now, that your Lordship can uninterruptedly afford a portion of your valuable time and great abilities to the consideration of its interests, it will, I trust, be found to correct its bad habits, and to maintain, with a degree of respectability, its place among the colonial dominions of our much beloved and most gracious Sovereign.

That your Lordship may long be permitted to dispense blessings to New South Wales and other distant countries, and to assist, instruct, and adorn your own, is the ardent and anxious wish of him who has the honour to be, with every sentiment of respect,

MY LORD, Your Lordship's Most obedient, very humble, and devoted servant, DAVID COLLINS

Beaumont Street, June 26, 1802

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London, 17th June 1802

The very flattering reception which my former Account of the English Colony in New South Wales experienced from a candid and liberal public, has induced me to continue my labours in the character of its historian; having been favoured with materials for this purpose, on the authenticity of which I can safely stake my credit.

Should the reader feel wearied with the detail of crimes and their consequences, the fault lies not with me. I have only to regret that a soil of so much promise has not produced better fruit. Such as there was, I have diligently gathered; and have endeavoured to render it as palatable as the nature of it would allow me. When we reflect that the exotics with which this new plantation is supplied are chiefly the refuse of our domestic nurseries; and duly consider that, however beneficial the act of transplantation may finally be found, it must for a time retard the growth, and will generally protract the fruit for a season, however fertile the original stock, we ought, perhaps, considerably to moderate our expectations. By patient culture, skillfully directed, in a climate so propitious, and a soil so favourable, much may yet be effected: after experience shall have once thoroughly ascertained all the dangers and difficulties necessary to be surmounted, before most judicious cultivators can completely avail themselves of the many local advantages of which the situation is undoubtedly susceptible.

To relieve the mind as much as possible from the contemplation of enormities, and the disgustingly wretched picture which vice must ever exhibit, I have not only interspersed a few notices of rare and curious objects in Natural History peculiar to the Australian regions; but have also inserted the two voyages which were made in the little sloop Norfolk, by Captain Flinders and Mr. Bass, in the order of time in which they occurred, instead of placing them in an Appendix.

The Natives too have contributed to assist me in this part of my undertaking; and some additional light is thrown upon their peculiar manners and customs in the course of the work. It were to be wished, that they never had been seen in any other state than that which the subjoined view of them presents, in the happy and peaceable exercise of their freedom and amusements.

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Recapitulation A log prison begun Various impositions practised at the store October Regulations and proceedings of the governor A man found dead A woman murdered Discontents among the Irish, followed by an order Character of the settlers at the river Houses numbered at Sydney Bennillong claims protection from the governor Weather in October November Two victuallers arrive from England Constables elected The Francis returns from Norfolk Island Civil appointment A criminal court held Executions One man hung in chains Effect of this upon the natives Public works December Convicts secreted on board the Sylph Reflections A general muster Regulations A native child murdered Weather


The governor visits Richmond-Hill His transactions there A stack of wheat burnt Sawyers punished Price of labour regulated General character of the settlers The clergyman's attention to the children Criminal court assembled Lawrence Davoran The governor goes to Botany Bay George's river Public works Lightning and its effects


The wind-mill tried A civil court assembled Difficulty respecting the convicts from Ireland The natives Some buildings begun Weather March Number of men not victualled by the Commissary, who had been convicts An extraordinary theft Court of criminal judicature twice held One man suffers death Price of labour fixed The natives attack the settlers Public works Weather


Report revived of a white woman being with the natives A shoal seen Some civil regulations Natives troublesome The governor goes on an excursion Particulars thereof A valuable tree discovered Weather May The natives burn a house Consequences The Supply arrives from the Cape A ship wrecked to the southward Three of her people brought in by a fishing boat Particulars Two accidents The Britannia arrives from England Vessels and assistance sent to the wreck Public works Cordage wanted The Mercury sails June The Ganges arrives from Ireland Transactions Some runaways taken and brought to trial The Reliance arrives from the Cape A strange desertion Public works New gaol finished


The Francis returns from the wreck of the Sydney Cove The Eliza long-boat missing Gale of wind Cattle from the Cape landed Station altered Public works An officer dies Accident on board the Schooner The ships sail for China Coal discovered Natives Bennillong Courts Of justice assembled The Supply condemned The Cumberland seized and carried off to sea Is pursued, but not retaken More coal found; and a new river The people left by Capt. Bampton at New Zealand arrive at Norfolk Is. Several runaway convicts landed there by the Britannia The Deptford arrives from Madras Excursion to the Cow-Pastures Walk from Mount Taurus to the sea coast Public works Weather


Another boat seized and carried off Order in consequence The criminal court thrice assembled Particulars Three men stand in the pillory Perjury explained to the convicts Natives very troublesome; seize a boat Various works in hand An attempt to seize another boat frustrated Prospect of a fine harvest Wilson gives himself up Is made use of Two mares stolen The clergyman's servant attempts to rob him Information sent to India respecting the boats An amphibious animal discovered Description Accident Works Police Weather


Bennillong and Cole-be Various particulars respecting the natives Ye-ra-nibe killed A settler's house burnt through malice Schools at Sydney Two settlers drink for a wager The body of a soldier found Criminal court The Francis sails for the wreck Weather Houses burnt Public labour Harvest Account of live stock and ground in cultivation


Attempt of some Irish convicts to desert in search of a new settlement Some punished Steps taken to prevent future desertion A settler's boat stolen Particulars The Francis returns from the southward Conjectures as to a strait Natives A convict providentially saved Public works Weather


The Francis again sails for the wreck Bennillong and his wife Report respecting the wild cattle An anonymous writing found Account of a journey to the westward Description of a new bird A general muster Mr Bass returns from an excursion in an open boat to the southward Particulars of it Three Irishmen picked up Public works Weather in February


Pe-mul-wy Strange idea respecting him Civil court meets; nature of the business brought before it Advice of the governor to the settlers The Francis returns from Preservation Island A trusty person sent to look for a salt hill said to be to the westward The wild cattle seen A new animal, the Wombat, found; described Some Irish runaways give themselves up A seizure made of timber for government Transactions Weather April The criminal court meets Three men executed Reflections Accidents among the stock Discoveries prosecuted Settlers and their complaints An old woman accused of dreaming Works in hand Weather


Some Irishmen providentially saved from perishing The Nautilus arrives from Otaheite Missionaries Order respecting the sawyers The Barwell arrives with convicts A judge-advocate sent out Information The Reliance and Schooner sail for Norfolk Island Information sent thither Natives Works and weather in May June Ground fixed on for the missionaries The Hunter arrives from Bengal Regulations The commander of the Sydney Cove dies A decked boat arrives from Norfolk Island Maize harvest completed Weather


Three southern whalers arrive, and an American from the Isle of France A transport with female convicts arrives from England Reliance arrives from Norfolk Island Information John Raynor executed Profligacy of the female part of the settlement August Civil regulations The Sabbath neglected Attendance enforced Two whalers arrive Public works A native girl killed Consequences An extraordinary custom among them September The Barwell sails for China, and the Hunter for New Zealand The bones of two horses found Whalers sail Public works Weather Fears for the approaching harvest


The Semiramis arrives from Rhode Island The church at Sydney burnt Reflections Some vessels sail; the Norfolk for Van Dieman's Land; The Francis for Norfolk Island Another fire in the town A ship arrives from the Cape with cattle Works in hand Bennillong The governor's steward destroys himself An order respecting the women A battery erected Weather State of the harvest Irish The Francis returns; and the Nautilus The Eliza from Sea Information Three deaths One good character recorded Disorders Public works Great heat Returns of stock, and land in cultivation


Certificates granted to convicts Reasons for so doing Unruly behaviour of the Irish Agricultural concerns look ill The Norfolk sloop returns from Van Dieman's Land Particulars Twofold Bay described The natives there Kent's Group Furneaux's Islands Preservation Island Curious petrifaction there Cape Barren Island The wombat described


The Norfolk proceeds on her voyage The Swan Isles; why so named Waterhouse Isle Discover Port Dalrymple Account of the country within it Natural productions Animals Sagacity and numbers of the black swan Inhabitants; inferior to those of the continent Range of the thermometer Pass Table Cape Circular head Three Hummock Island Albatross Island Hunter's Isles Proceed to the southward and westward


The Norfolk passes the strait Observations thereon Proceeds to the southward Passes the S. W. Cape; and S. Cape Remarks on the latter De Witt's Isles Storm Bay Passage Tasman's Head Fluted Cape Frederick Henry Bay Enter the Derwent river, first seen in the ship Duke, of Bengal Observations on the Derwent Some natives seen Particulars of one Venomous snake One destroys itself Comparison between New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land Arrive at Port Jackson Advantages of the strait


Transactions Information from Norfolk Island A burglary committed The criminal court assembled A man tried for killing a native Two men executed The public gaol burnt Observations Stills ordered to be seized Settlers, their profligacy A man found dead Great drought A flood at the river Two whalers arrive Conduct of the labouring convicts A seaman killed A woman murdered by her husband Natives A Spanish prize arrives Norfolk Island Resources in New South Wales Public works


The Buffalo arrives from England, and brings cattle from the Cape A marine settler killed Natives A criminal court held Taylor executed Lowe punished A highway robbery Provisions in store Ration altered June, two whalers come in from sea Ideas of a whale-fishery Tempestuous weather Effects The Albion whaler arrives from England Her passage July, a missionary murdered The murderers tried and executed Orders published State of the farms The Hillsborough arrives from England Mortality on board Public works


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


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


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


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


The Swallow Packet arrives on her way to China Articles sold The Minerva arrives from Ireland with convicts The Fhynne from Bengal Three settlers tried for murdering two natives Assessment fixed to complete the gaol February Military rations A soldier shoots himself A whaler from America, with a Spanish vessel, her prize The Hunter from Calcutta The Friendship with Irish convicts arrives Inutility of some of these prisoners Clothing issued Tax on spirits to complete the gaol Transactions A new magazine begun March The Reliance sails for England A mountain eagle shot The Martha arrives from Bass Strait Settlers sell their sheep Flood occasioned by bad weather April Criminal court held The Speedy arrives from England with Lieutenant-Governor King The Buffalo from the Cape Regulations


Reports of seditious meetings among the Irish convicts The Friendship sails for Bengal Letter from Lord Mornington respecting persons resident at Bengal, formerly in this colony Correspondence relative to Indian convicts, and persons at Calcutta wishing to become settlers in New South Wales Orders Criminal court held June Two men hanged for sheep-stealing The Hunter sails with Major Foveaux for Norfolk Island The Buffalo ordered for sea Public gaol July Three men executed General muster Cattle purchased The Martha driven on shore August Survey of public stores Spirits landed and seized Death of Wilson September Rumours of Insurrection Volunteer corps Coal found The John Jay arrives The governor quits the settlement Live stock, etc October The Buffalo sails for England Touches at Norfolk Island


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Chart of the three harbours of Botany Bay, Port Jackson and Broken Bay, showing the ground cultivated by the colonists, marking the late additions made thereto, and the country from the Cow Pasture plains in a direct line to the sea coast. A scene by moonlight Ornythorhynchus paradoxus Maenura superba Wombat A night scene in the neighbourhood of Sydney The Mountain Eagle Natives under a rock in bad weather The Emu of New South Wales Plan and elevation of the Church at Parramatta

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Recapitulation A log prison begun Various impositions practised at the store October Regulations and proceedings of the governor A man found dead A woman murdered Discontents among the Irish, followed by an order Character of the settlers at the river Houses numbered at Sydney Bennillong claims protection from the governor Weather in October November Two victuallers arrive from England Constables elected The Francis returns from Norfolk Island Civil appointment A criminal court held Executions One man hung in chains Effect of this upon the natives Public works December Convicts secreted on board the Sylph Reflections A general muster Regulations A native child murdered Weather

1796.] September.] In the former account of the English Colony of New South Wales, which was brought up to the 29th September, 1796, it will be seen, that on that day His Majesty's ship the Reliance and the Britannia hired transport, sailed, with the Francis colonial schooner, for Norfolk island; whence, being there joined by the Supply, the Reliance was to sail to the Cape of Good Hope, to return with cattle for the colony, and the Britannia was to proceed to England.

The frequent commission of the most atrocious crimes, together with the dissipated, turbulent, and abandoned disposition of the convicts, which had more than ever at this time been manifest, determining the governor to enforce the most rigid discipline, he resolved on constructing a strong and capacious Log Prison at each of the towns of Sydney and Parramatta. It being absolutely necessary that these should be erected as expeditiously as possible, the safety of the inhabitants and security of their property, rendering any delay extremely dangerous, and the public gangs being very weak, he called upon every officer, settler, and housekeeper within the above-mentioned districts, to furnish a certain number of logs for this purpose, which were to be delivered at Sydney, or Parramatta, as might be most convenient to each person's residence; and he had, in a very short time, the satisfaction of seeing the materials which were required brought in much faster than the carpenters could put them together.

Among other crimes committed by these people, must be mentioned a variety of impositions which were practised to deceive the commissary in the issue of provisions. To detect these, an order was given about the end of the month, which directed that every person belonging to each different mess should attend personally at the store on the next serving-day. The convicts had always been divided into messes, containing a certain number of persons; one of whom out of each mess was to attend at the store, and receive provisions for the whole number belonging to it.

On the day appointed, it appeared that many were victualled both at Sydney and Parramatta, and several other impositions were detected and abolished.

In a settlement which was still in a great measure dependant upon the mother country for food, it might have been supposed that these people would have endeavoured by their own industry to have increased, rather than by robbery and fraud to have lessened, the means of their support: but far too many of them were most incorrigibly flagitious. The most notorious of these were formed into a gaol gang, which was composed of such a set of hardened and worthless characters, that, although Saturday was always given up to the convicts for their own private avocations, as well as to enable them to appear clean and decent on Sunday at church, this gang was ordered, as an additional punishment, to work on the Saturday morning in repairing the roads and bridges near the town.

At the close of this month the stone tower of the Wind Mill, and the stone foundation of the Log Prison, were much advanced.

October.] The governor, still turning his thoughts toward rectifying the abuses which had imperceptibly crept into the colony, arranged in the beginning of the following month (October) the muster lists which had lately been taken; and, many more impositions being detected, he ordered the delinquents to labour, after inflicting on them such punishments as their respective offences seemed to demand; by which means he was enabled considerably to increase the number of labouring people in the public gangs. On his going up to Parramatta, whither he was attended by Captain Johnston as his aid-de-camp, and Mr. Balmain (the surgeon) as a magistrate, he recovered at least one hundred men for government work.

Exclusive of the advantage which attended the recruiting of the public gangs in this way, another point was established by this examination, the discovering of several who had been victualled from the stores beyond the period (eighteen months) which had been fixed and considered by government as a sufficient time to enable an industrious man to provide for himself.

Directing his attention also toward the morality of the settlement, a point which he could not venture to promise himself that he should ever attain, he issued some necessary orders for enforcing attendance on divine service, and had the satisfaction of seeing the Sabbath better observed than it had been for some time past. But there were some who were refractory. A fellow named Carroll, an Irishman, abused and ill treated a constable who was on his duty, ordering the people to church; saying, that he would neither obey the clergyman nor the governor; for which, the next day, he was properly punished.

On the morning of the 16th, the people of a boat which had been sent to the north shore for wood found a man's hat, and a large hammer lying by it. One side of the hat had apparently been beaten in with the hammer, which was bloody; and much blood was also found in the hat, as well as about the spot where it was discovered. It was immediately conjectured, that a man who had been working there with some carpenter's tools had been murdered; and upon its being made known to the governor, he sent several persons to search for the body, which was found thrown over the cliff, and near the water side. On its being examined by the surgeons, the skull was found beaten in, which must have been effected with the hammer, and occasioned his death. Some suspicion falling upon two people, they were secured, and an examination was the next day taken before the magistrates; but nothing transpired that could fix the offence upon them.

This shocking circumstance was followed shortly after by another equally atrocious: a murder which was committed by a man on the person of a woman with whom he cohabited. It appeared that they had both been intoxicated, and had quarrelled on the night preceding and in the morning of the murder.

This made the fifth circumstance of the kind which had occurred within the last twelve months; and so excessively abandoned were the people, that it was scarcely possible to obtain sufficient proof to convict the offenders. Strong presumptive proof, indeed, was frequently adduced; but the kind of evidence necessary to establish the offence was almost constantly withheld.

About this time, some dissatisfaction appearing among the Irish convicts who were ordered to labour, and some threats having been made use of by them, the governor thought it necessary to inform the inhabitants of the colony in general, that, after having pointed out a number of people who had, by false pretences, and various impositions, obtained certificates of discharge from the commissary's books, he did not expect so soon to have occasion to enter again upon the same subject. He then, taking notice of those who had not hesitated to hold a language which implied a determination to resist all authority, declared, that if any officer, civil or military, any settler, or other person within the colony, should, after Monday, the 7th of November, retain in his or their service any one or more of the persons described in a former order, such persons should be considered as encouraging a set of lawless and seditious people, to the total subversion of all order and government, and to the weakening of His Majesty's authority in the settlement. He next informed the people whose conduct had occasioned this order, that if they were of opinion, that to threaten would be the best means of obtaining what they desired, they might repent that opinion when too late. That there would not be any difficulty found in furnishing them with a situation in the colony, or in some of its dependencies, where they would not be able to disturb the peace of their neighbours; and that if they were troublesome here, they should certainly be placed in that situation very soon. He concluded this order by informing all the inhabitants of the colony, whether in a civil or a military capacity, that he expected, as they valued His Majesty's authority, or the peace and civil government of the settlement, that they would exert every effort to preserve good order; and, to that end, that they should aid and assist the civil power when and wherever it might be necessary, and report all such persons as they might know to be in any way acting in opposition to this order.

It was hoped by the governor, that this order would convince the people particularly styled defenders, that, if they continued to be troublesome, they would not very readily escape from the punishment to which their turbulent and restless conduct might entitle them.

From the accession of numbers to the public gangs, the different works in hand at Sydney and Parramatta went rapidly on. At the former of these places the erection of a granary, 72 feet in length and 22 in breadth, was begun on the west side of the main street, there not being a building for the reception of grain yet prepared in that township.

Boats were sent round to the Hawkesbury, for various articles wanted at Sydney. From that part of the settlement, the timber most useful for boat and other buildings was occasionally received; shingles also of a good sort were brought round; and frequently the boats returned loaded with grain. It has been shown, in the account of this colony already published, that the farms upon the fertile banks of that river were superior, in point of soil, to any near the principal settlement; and that, had they been in the hands of good and industrious characters, they would have produced abundant crops, and enriched their owners. But every day's experience evinced, that the people thus fortunately situated were, unluckily, some of the most profligate wretches in the colony; and their distance from the immediate seat of government added much to the inconvenience. Such of these farms as were situated on the low grounds were often overflowed after very heavy falls of rain; but this circumstance was in no way injurious to the farmer, unless it happened when the grain was ripening.

Among other local arrangements which took place, and were extremely useful, must be reckoned the numbering of the houses of the towns of Sydney and Parramatta, and dividing them into portions; with a principal inhabitant at the head of each division, who was charged with the peace and good order of the district in which he lived.

The frame of the Log Prison at Sydney was got up in the course of this month, to the great annoyance of the worthless, who seemed to anticipate the lodging in it which they merited.

At Parramatta and Toongabbie a very few old stacks of wheat belonging to government were opened for the purpose of being thrashed out, when they were found to have been much injured by vermin.

In the course of this month, Bennillong, who had returned to all the habits of savage life, claimed the protection of the governor from the menaces of several of his countrymen, who, he with much agitation informed him, had assembled in a considerable body near the Brickfields*, to lie in wait for him; and where, if possible, they intended to kill him; he having, as they suspected, killed a man near Botany Bay. This he positively denied having done, and the governor dispatched him to the place, guarded by some of the military, where he explained to his countrymen that he had not killed the man in question, or any man; and that the soldiers were sent with him, to convince them that the governor would not suffer him, his old friend and fellow voyager (it must be remembered that Bennillong returned from England with the governor in His Majesty's ship Reliance), to be ill treated by them on any false pretence; and that he was determined to drive every native away from Sydney who should attempt it. This threat had a good effect. Many of them were much alarmed when they saw in what manner and by whom Bennillong was attended; and to be driven from a place whence they derived so many comforts, and so much shelter in bad weather, would have been severely felt by most of them.

[* Adjacent to the town of Sydney.]

In the first part of the month the weather was not very good; about the middle some showers fell very seasonably for the harvest; and towards the latter part the regular land and sea breezes had set in, which kept the weather cool and pleasant.

November.] The month of November opened with the arrival of the Prince of Wales, victualler, from England. She had been close in with Botany Bay the preceding day; but, there being little wind, the master had been obliged to stretch out from the land during the night; and the next morning, a pilot getting on board, she was brought in. She had sailed in company with the Sylph, which also had provisions for the settlement on board, but which did not arrive until the 17th. They brought the information, that a Dutch fleet, consisting of ten sail of ships of war, bound to the East Indies had been captured off the Cape of Good Hope, by His Majesty's fleet, under Admiral Sir Geo. Keith Elphinstone (now Lord Keith), which had followed them from England.

The useful regulation of numbering the different houses in the town of Sydney, particularly those in the occupation of the convicts, was followed up by another equally serviceable, which directed the inhabitants of each of the four divisions of the town (for into that number it was portioned off) to meet, and from among themselves elect three of the most decent and respectable characters, who were to be approved by the governor, and were to serve for the ensuing year as watchmen, for the purpose of enforcing a proper attention to the good order and tranquillity of their respective divisions. Many of the soldiers being allowed to occupy houses for their families in the vicinity of the barracks, the commanding officer was desired to appoint his own watchmen for the military division of the town, and to order them to report to him.

A few days previous to the arrival of the Sylph, the Colonial schooner returned from Norfolk Island, and brought letters from the Reliance, Supply, and Britannia, which ships left that island on the 25th of the last month, and the day following her arrival (the 14th) Richard Atkins, esq was directed to officiate as judge-advocate of the colony, in the absence of the gentleman who had filled that situation since the first establishment of the settlement, and who had now proceeded to England in the Britannia.

This judicial appointment having taken place, a criminal court was held on the 23rd, and continued sitting, by adjournment, until the 29th, when sentence of death was passed upon eight prisoners who were capitally convicted; one, of the wilful murder of the man whose body had been found on the north shore the 16th of last month, and seven of robbing the public store-houses at Sydney, and the settlement at the Hawkesbury. Two others were found guilty of manslaughter.

Of these miserable people five were executed pursuant to the sentence of the court. At Sydney*, Francis Morgan, for wilful murder, with Martin McEwen (a soldier) and John Lawler (a convict), for robbing the public stores. Matthew McNally and Thomas Doyle, convicts, suffered at Parramatta, on the following day, for the same offence.

[* On the 30th of November, and the others on the 9th and 10th of December.]

Having thus satisfied the public justice of the country, the governor extended the hand of mercy to the three others who had been capitally convicted of the same crime, viz John McDouall (another soldier), Thomas Inville, and Michael Doland (convicts), by granting them a conditional pardon.

It was much to be lamented, that these people were not to be deterred by any example from the practice of robbing the public stores, which had of late been more frequent than heretofore, and for which there could not be admitted the shadow of an excuse; as the whole of the inhabitants of every description were at this very time on a full and liberal allowance of provisions and clothing, neither of which were in any scarcity in the settlement. But the cause was to be found in the too great indulgence in the use of spirituous liquors which had been obtained among them for a considerable time past. The different capital crimes which had lately been brought before the court of criminal judicature, together with the various petty offences that daily came under the cognisance of the magistrates, did not proceed from an insufficiency either of food or clothing; but from an inordinate desire of possessing, by any means whatsoever, those articles with which they might be able to procure spirits, 'that source—as the governor expressed himself in an order which he published directly after these executions—that source of the misfortunes of all those whom the laws of their country, and the justice that was due to others, had launched into eternity, surrounded with the crimes of an ill-spent life.'

The court having ordered that Francis Morgan should be hung in chains upon the small island which is situated in the middle of the harbour, and named by the natives Mat-te-wan-ye, a gibbet was accordingly erected, and he was hung there, exhibiting an object of much greater terror to the natives, than to the white people, many of whom were more inclined to make a jest of it; but to the natives his appearance was so frightful—his clothes shaking in the wind, and the creaking of his irons, added to their superstitious ideas of ghosts (for these children of ignorance imagined that, like a ghost, this man might have the power of taking hold of them by the throat), all rendering him such an alarming object to them—that they never trusted themselves near him, nor the spot on which he hung; which, until this time, had ever been with them a favourite place of resort.

The Prince of Wales, having been cleared of her cargo, sailed on the 23rd for China. Previous to her departure, the master having complained of the conduct of his ship's company, the governor appointed a day for their appearing before him; when the differences which subsisted between them were inquired into by his excellency, and settled to the satisfaction of all parties.

The public works in which the people at Sydney had been employed during this month, consisted in receiving the cargoes of the two victuallers, and in clearing out the tanks or reservoirs for water, which had become a necessary work, as they never had been emptied or cleansed since they were first cut and filled in the year 1792.*

[* The principal tank contained about 7996 gallons of water. Vide Vol I, Chapter XVII. "The works during this month . . ."]

December.] On the 6th of December the Sylph, having been discharged from government employ, proceeded on her voyage to China. On searching her, two male convicts were found concealed, who were brought on shore, and punished for their attempt to escape from the place of their transportation.

The ill success with which these attempts were attended might have been expected to deter others from risking the certain punishment which followed their being detected; but, as some were known to have eluded the strictest search, every one who could find a friend among the seamen to conceal him, hoped that he might prove the fortunate one who should escape. Although they every day saw that no obstacle was thrown in the way of the convict who had got through the period of his transportation with credit and a good character, but that he was suffered to depart with the master of any ship who would receive him, and a certificate given to him of his being a free man; yet, thoughtless, and dissatisfied with their present situation, be it what it might, they preferred encountering the hazard of being discovered and punished, or, even if they reached another country, the discredit with which they must appear, if it should be known that they were convicts from 'Botany Bay,' to waiting with patience until they could be dismissed from the colony with the reputation of having deserved the state of freedom at which they had arrived.

On the 16th of the month, a general muster of all descriptions of persons took place over every part of the colony at the same hour; for it had been found, that in mustering one district at a time, a deception had been successfully practised by some, of running from one place to another, and answering to their names at each, thereby drawing provisions from both stores, having previously imposed themselves on the store-keepers as belonging to their district. This could not, indeed, have long continued, if the store-keepers had been properly attentive to the directions which they received; but it was almost impossible to guard against the artful and well-contrived deceptions which these people were constantly playing off, to impose upon propriety, regulation, and good order.

It being at this time much wished to get four or five hundred acres of the ground belonging to government in a state to be sown the next season with wheat, the governor went up to Parramatta, to settle some necessary concerns there, and to endeavour, if possible, to get strength sufficient for that purpose. While here, he had the satisfaction of knowing that the stock of large cattle belonging to government were in excellent condition, having been sent to Toongabbie, where they had met with better food and more care than elsewhere. The preservation of these animals was an object of the greatest importance, as, independent of the large sums of money with which they had been purchased, their utility as a stock both for present labour, and future consumption, was incalculable.

Several of the settlers having last year had occasion, from the failure of the preceding crop, to borrow seed for sowing their ground again with wheat, an order was issued on the 21st, reminding those settlers who had received this assistance from government, that it was expected they would, out of their first crops, pay this debt, and take up the receipts which they had given. That if any evasion should be attempted, or any delay made in the payment, such steps as the law pointed out would be taken against them, and the defaulters marked as undeserving of the aid of government on any future occasion; and, what was calculated to meet a trick which some of them had played, they were finally informed, that if any among them, in contemplation of getting rid of the debt, had sold their farms since receiving the grain from government, the land would still be considered as the debtor, and the purchaser responsible for the payment.

The savage inhabitants of the country, instead of losing any part of their native ferocity of manners by an intercourse with the Europeans among whom they dwelt, seemed rather to delight in exhibiting themselves as monsters of the greatest cruelty, devoid of reason, and guided solely by the impulse of the worst passions.

Toward the latter end of the month, the governor received information, that a little native girl, between six and seven years of age, who for some time had lived at the governor's house, had been most inhumanly murdered by two of her savage countrymen. The father and mother of this child belonged to a party of natives who had committed so many depredations upon the settlers at the Hawkesbury, attended with such acts of cruelty as to render them extremely formidable: insomuch that it became necessary to send an armed party in pursuit of them. They were soon found, and, being fired upon, the father and mother of this little female were among those who fell. She was with them at the time, and readily accompanied our people to the settlement, where she was received; and, being a well disposed child, soon became a great favourite with her protectors. This, and her being a native of the country near Broken Bay, excited the jealousy of some of the natives who lived at and about Sydney, which manifested itself in their putting her to death in the most cruel manner. The body was found in the woods near the governor's house, speared in several places, and with both the arms cut off; whence it was brought in and buried.

No other conjecture could be formed of this atrocious act than what has been already mentioned. As she belonged to a tribe of natives that was hostile to the Sydney people, they could not admit of her partaking in those pleasures and comforts which they derived from their residence among the colonists, and therefore inhumanly put her out of the way. The governor was very much incensed at this proceeding; and, could he have found the offenders, would have most severely punished them; but they had immediately withdrawn into the woods.

Among the public works in hand during this month must be mentioned, the laying of the last stone of the wind-mill tower at Sydney on the 21st; and on the following day the workmen began to get up the wood work of the top.

On the 24th there was a general issue of clothing, and the 26th was observed as Christmas Day.

The weather in the first and middle parts of the month had been very bad, heavy rains (which much retarded the getting in of the harvest) prevailing, with thunder and lightning, and winds strong at east. The latter part being moderate, the Colonial schooner took the opportunity to go round to the Hawkesbury for a cargo of wheat.


The governor visits Richmond-Hill His transactions there A stack of wheat burnt Sawyers punished Price of labour regulated General character of the settlers The clergyman's attention to the children Criminal court assembled Lawrence Davoran The governor goes to Botany Bay George's river Public works Lightning and its effects

1797.] January.] The governor, always anxious to promote the good of the settlement by every means in his power, having determined to visit at this season that part of it which was situated on the banks of the Hawkesbury, set off at the latter end of the last month, with a party of officers, by land to Broken Bay, where they got on board the Colonial schooner, and continued in her for two days, sailing up that pleasant river; but, finding her progress too slow, they quitted her for some boats which had accompanied them; and, by the first of this month, had reached as high up as some farms which had lately been evacuated in consequence of the depredations that the owners of them had been exposed to from numerous parties of natives. The ground hereabout was carefully examined, to see if it would admit such a number of settlers as might be sufficient for the purpose of mutual protection; but it was found inadequate to that end, the limits of it on the banks of the river, where the soil was excellent, being much too narrow.

On the first of the month the governor had reached the principal settlement, having occasionally landed to examine into the state of the different farms, as well as to settle disputes relative to property, and differences between the settlers and their hired servants.

Having had previous notice, a general muster of these people now took place; which being compared with one taken some time since, many impositions were detected and rectified. After the muster, they were reminded that several of them were considerably indebted to government for the seed from which their present abundant crops had been produced, and directed forthwith to return into the store a quantity equal to that which they had borrowed for the purpose. This it was absolutely necessary to point out and insist upon, as there were but few among them who would have been found with principle enough to have returned it of themselves.

While they were here, the governor and his party went up the river, and ascended Richmond-hill, on the summit of which a large smoke was made at noon, at which time a similar smoke was made on Prospect-hill, that was very distinctly seen, and its bearings taken, to ascertain the relative situation of the two hills. This bearing, which was S 35 degrees 00 minutes E by compass, gave, with the latitude observed on each, the distance between the two hills about eighteen miles in a direct line.

By this bearing, should there be occasion hereafter, a road through the woods, from the head of the Hawkesbury, might be cut in the shortest and most direct way to Parramatta.

At the head of this river, and upon the banks of that named the Nepean, there was known to be a tract of excellent land, as rich as any on the banks of the Hawkesbury which was then under cultivation, and where, at some future period, a settlement might be advantageously established.

The governor, on his return from this excursion, had the mortification of seeing a stack, containing about eight hundred bushels of wheat, burnt to the ground. This happened at Toongabbie, near which place the country was every where in flames, and where, unfortunately, much wheat belonging to government was stacked. The fire broke out about eight o'clock in the evening; the wind was high, the night extremely dark, and the flames had mounted to the very tops of the lofty woods which surrounded a field called the ninety acres, in which were several stacks of wheat. The appearance was alarming, and the noise occasioned by the high wind, and the crackling of the flames among the trees, contributed to render the scene truly awful.

It became necessary to make every effort to save this field and its contents. The gaol-gang, who worked in irons, were called out, and told, that if the wheat was saved by their exertion, their chains should be knocked off. By providing every man with a large bush, to beat off the fire as it approached the grain over the stubble, keeping up this attention during the night, and the wind becoming moderate towards morning, the fire was fortunately kept off, and the promise to the gaol-gang was not forfeited.*

[* In the month of December 1792, two days after the wheat had been reaped and got off the ground at Toongabbie, the whole of the stubble was burnt, the country being then, as at this time, every where on fire. See Vol I. Ch. XIX, viz: 'At Parramatta and Toongabbie also the heat was extreme; the country there too was every where in flames. Mr. Arndell was a great sufferer by it. The fire had spread to his farm; but by the efforts of his own people and the neighbouring settlers it was got under, and its progress supposed to be effectually checked, when an unlucky spark from a tree, which had been on fire to the topmost branch, flying upon the thatch of the hut where his people lived, it blazed out; the hut with all the out-buildings, and thirty bushels of wheat just got into a stack, were in a few minutes destroyed. The erecting of the hut and out-houses had cost L15 a short time before.']

Although at this season of the year there were days when, from the extreme heat of the atmosphere, the leaves of many culinary plants growing in the gardens have been reduced to a powder, yet there was some ground for supposing that this accident did not arise from either the heat of the weather, or the fire in the woods. The grain that was burnt was the property of government, and the destruction of eight hundred bushels of wheat made room for that quantity to be received into the stores from the settlers who had wheat to sell to the commissary; there were, moreover, at this time, some ill-designing people in the country, who were known not to have much regard for the concerns of the public. An enquiry was set on foot to discover, if possible, the perpetrators of this mischief, but nothing could be made of it.

Several people who had been hired to saw timber on the public account having been detected in giving a false statement, and receiving payment for what they had not cut, were examined before two justices of the peace; when, the fraud being proved, they were sentenced to make up the deficiency, and to work for government, without being paid, for six months. One, the man who measured the work, and who of course had a confidence reposed in him, received the additional punishment of 200 lashes, which he amply merited.

Some representations having been made to the governor from the settlers in different parts of the colony, purporting that the wages demanded by the free labouring people, whom they had occasion to hire, was so exorbitant as to run away with the greatest part of the profit of their farms, it was recommended to them to appoint quarterly meetings among themselves, to be held in each district, for the purpose of settling the rate of wages to labourers in every different kind of work; that, to this end, a written agreement should be entered into and subscribed by each settler, a breach of which should be punished by a penalty, to be fixed by the general opinion, and made recoverable in a court of civil judicature. It was recommended to them to apply this forfeiture to the common benefit; and they were to transmit to the head-quarters a copy of their agreement with the rate of wages which they should from time to time establish, for the governor's information; holding their first meeting as early as possible.

It must appear from this, that every necessary and useful regulation was suggested that could promote the convenience and advantage of these people, who being in possession of land that yielded the most ample returns, nothing but the greatest worthlessness on their part could have prevented their getting forward, and becoming men of property. That too many of them were of this description will appear evident, from its being notorious that their crops were no sooner gathered, than they were instantly disposed of for spirits, which they purchased at the rate of three, nay, even four pounds per gallon, and of a spirit often lowered one fourth or more of its strength with water. It was also equally notorious, that some of them, when too idle and dissipated to hoe and properly prepare their ground for seed, have carelessly thrown the grain over the old stubble, and afterwards chipped it in, as they termed it, going lightly over the ground with a hoe, and barely covering the seed. Yet, with no greater assistance than this, the lands thus slovenly prepared have been known to yield abundant crops.

On the 11th arrived the Mercury, an American brig, from Manilla, bound to the NW coast of America. Being extremely weak and leaky, the master put in here to refit, which he requested he might be allowed to do. He brought no other news than the detention of several English ships at Manilla, which seemed strongly to indicate the approach of hostilities between the two nations, the effect, no doubt, of French fraternity with the Spaniards.

The infant part of the settlement having at this period become very numerous, with a view to save them, if possible, from that ruin in which the infamous examples of their abandoned parents were but too likely to plunge them, the clergyman, the Reverend Mr. Johnson, began to examine them publicly every Sunday in their catechism, and other points of religious duty, at the conclusion of the afternoon service. Some building that might serve as a school whereto children at a certain age might be removed from their parents, and receive education, was now become absolutely necessary; but many other works equally necessary were still in hand; and the labourers employed to erect them were comparatively so inefficient, that it was impossible to think of any other work until they were completed, though both the clergymen offered their services to superintend the erection of a building for this purpose.

Such was the weakness of the public gangs, that it often became necessary to require the assistance of the officers and other persons who were allowed servants from government. In this way, by calling on each officer and settler to send in a certain number of men for three days in the week, the public roads between the different districts were put into good order. This, besides very much facilitating the carriage of goods by land, conduced very essentially to the detecting of thieves and vagrants, who in general were found to be very quick in their motions.

Among other crimes which had been committed in this colony, that of forgery was by no means neglected. To this, the currency of the settlement, consisting almost entirely of paper, had opened a door. On the 20th one man was found guilty of uttering a bill, knowing it to be forged, and condemned to suffer death. The prisoner, whose name was Lawrence Davoran, had been sent from Ireland, with other convicts from that kingdom, where he had practised as an attorney, and had, it was said (unfortunately for them, if true) respectable connections by marriage. He was very far from being a good character. The governor, however, after ordering the execution to take place on a certain day, spared his life, on condition of his being transported to Norfolk Island during the remainder of his wretched existence.

After celebrating the day on which her majesty's birth was observed with every demonstration of attachment and respect in his power, the governor set off on an excursion to Botany Bay, in order to explore George's river as far up as was practicable, and to examine the soil upon its banks, which he found to be of good quality, and considerable extent. This river, which was observed to run in a westerly direction about twenty-five miles up from Botany Bay, was, in many parts of its branches, exceedingly picturesque; and navigable, for small craft, for at least twenty miles up. Some of its creeks or branches reached within a small distance of Prospect Hill. Between this river and Parramatta, the governor, on his return, travelled through a thick bushy wood, covering an excellent soil.

Erecting the granary, completing the wind-mill, and repairing the public roads, formed the principal works in hand during this month, in which the weather had been most uncomfortably hot, accompanied with some severe thunder storms; in one of which both the flagstaff at the South Head, and that at the entrance of the Cove, on Point Maskelyne, were shivered to pieces by the lightning. The vast blazes of fire which were seen in every direction, and which were freshened by every blast of wind, added much to the suffocating heat that prevailed.


The wind-mill tried A civil court assembled Difficulty respecting the convicts from Ireland The natives Some buildings begun Weather March Number of men not victualled by the Commissary, who had been convicts An extraordinary theft Court of criminal judicature twice held One man suffers death Price of labour fixed The natives attack the settlers Public works Weather

February.] The wind-mill being nearly finished at the commencement of this month, it was tried with only two of its sails; when it ground, with one pair of stones, a bushel of wheat in ten minutes, and, considering the immense weight of the wood-work, its motion was found to be easy and convenient.

It might not have been expected, that occasions for convening the court of civil judicature could frequently have occurred in an infant settlement such as this; or that, when assembled, it could have had business to occupy it above a day; yet one of these courts assembled on the first, and continued sitting by adjournments until the fourteenth, for the decision of many civil concerns. Among these was the recovery of debts, several of which had been contracted very improperly, and which were likely to involve many in ruin.

It appeared, that, to obtain spirituous liquors, these people, the settlers, had incurred debts to so great an amount, as to preclude the most distant hope of liquidating them, except by selling their farms. Thus all their former industry must be sacrificed to discharge debts which were contracted for the temporary gratification of being steeped in beastly intoxication for a certain length of time. All the cautions which had occasionally been inserted in the public orders against this dangerous practice, had not proved of any advantage to those whose benefit they were intended to promote; and it was observed with concern, that several scenes of shameful imposition, which had been practised by the retail dealers in this article, were brought to light by this investigation.

Several convicts, who had served their respective terms of transportation, having applied to be discharged from the victualling books of the colony, and allowed to provide for themselves, it was determined, that once during a given time certificates of their having so served their several sentences should be granted to them, together with the permission which they solicited. There was not any difficulty in ascertaining the term of the convicts sent from England, as correct lists of their several sentences from the Secretary of State's office accompanied them: but it was not so with those who had been sent from Ireland, and who were more likely to be dissatisfied with any disappointment on this rather nice subject, than any other, people in the settlement. This was an evil of some magnitude; and a representation of it had been made to the government of that kingdom, but as yet no answer had been received.

The season for cropping the ground being near at hand, the settlers were informed, that such of them as had lent their men to repair the roads would have them returned for the time that would be required to sow the grain; after that was performed, they were expected again to come forward, and finish what they had so well begun.

The natives excited some little degree of curiosity about this time, a large party from Broken Bay having assembled in the lower part of the harbour, whither those belonging to Sydney immediately repaired, for the purpose, it was reported, of meeting them in fight; but it turned out to be nothing more than the usual ceremony which a native of Broken Bay underwent, of having several spears thrown at him, for having, it was said, killed a person belonging to this part of the country. He went off unhurt, after sustaining the appearance of much rage and violence from the friends of the deceased.

A gang having been for some time employed in making bricks, the foundation of a building for two assistant surgeons was marked in this month. This was one of the necessary works already mentioned, as the miserable quarters which those gentlemen occupied were originally constructed only of split cabbage trees, and were at this time quite decayed.

Some heavy rain fell during the first and latter parts of the month, which it was hoped would extinguish the still glowing embers of the vast fires which had surrounded the place, and which, being scattered over the country every dry and windy day; occasioned new and dreadful conflagrations.

There were not any arrivals during the month, except that of the Colonial schooner from the Hawkesbury, with a cargo of Indian corn, and some wheat that had been damaged by the weevil, an enemy which had been imported among the rice from India.

March.] It appeared by the books in which were entered the certificates granted to the convicts who had again become free people, that there were at this time not less than 600 men off the store and working for themselves in the colony; forming a vast deduction of labouring people from the public strength, and adding a great many chances against the safety of private and public property, as well as personal security.

An extraordinary theft was committed about the middle of the month, which very forcibly marked the inherent depravity of some of these miscreants. While the miller was absent for a short time, part of the sails belonging to the mill were stolen. Now this machine was at work for the benefit of those very incorrigible vagabonds who had thus, for a time, prevented its being of use to any one, and who, being too lazy to grind for themselves, had formerly been obliged to pay one third of their whole allowance of wheat, to have the remainder ground for them by hand mills, an expense that was saved to them by bringing their corn to the public mill.

Twice during this month it became necessary to assemble the court of criminal judicature: at one of which, a man named Mobbs was capitally convicted of robbing the public stores, upon the evidence of an accomplice, who was admitted on the part of the crown. They had stolen at different times an incredible quantity of clothing, provisions, and various other articles, and ought to have been much sooner detected. Mobbs suffered death, and exhibited himself at the gallows as a wicked and hardened offender.

For offenders not deserving of capital punishment, Norfolk Island had been for some time a place of banishment; and the convicts in general felt this second transportation more severely than the first: notwithstanding which, they continued to commit offences that they knew must end in that punishment. Four prisoners, one of them a soldier, were at this time sentenced to seven years exile to that island, for different offences; and when viewed in this light, as a place of confinement for some of her worst members, Norfolk Island might be considered as an useful appendage to the principal settlement.

In pursuance of the order which was issued in January last, recommending the settlers to appoint meetings, at which they should fix the rate of wages that it might be proper to pay for the different kinds of labour which their farms should require, the settlers had met, and submitted to the governor the several resolutions that they had entered into; by which he was enabled to fix a rate that he conceived to be fair and equitable between the farmer and the labourer.

The following prices of labour were now established, viz L s d Falling forest timber, per acre 0 9 0 Do. in brush ground, do 0 10 6 Burning off open ground, do 1 5 0 Do. brush ground, do 1 10 0 Breaking up new ground, do 1 4 0 Chipping fresh ground, do 0 12 3 Chipping in wheat, do 0 7 0 Breaking up stubble or corn ground, 1 1/4d. per rod, or do 0 16 8 Planting Indian Corn, do 0 7 0 Hilling, do do 0 7 0 Reaping wheat, do 10 10 0 Threshing do per bushel, do 0 0 9 Pulling and husking Indian corn, per bushel 0 0 6 Splitting paling of seven feet long, per hundred 0 3 0 Do of five feet long do 0 1 6 Sawing plank, do 0 7 0 Ditching per rod, three feet wide and three feet deep 0 0 10 Carriage of wheat, per bushel, per mile 0 0 2 Do Indian corn, neat 0 0 3 Yearly wages for labour, with board 10 0 0 Wages per week, with provisions, consisting of 4 lib. of salt pork or 6 lib. of fresh, and 21 lib. of wheat, with vegetables 0 6 0 A day's wages, with board 0 1 0 Do without board 0 2 6 A government man allowed to officers or settlers in their own time 0 0 10 Price of an axe 0 2 0 New steeling do 0 0 6 A new hoe 0 1 9 A sickle 0 1 6 Hire of a boat to carry grain, per day 0 5 0

The settlers were reminded, that, in order to prevent any kind of dispute between the master and servant, when they should have occasion to hire a man for any length of time, they would find it most convenient to engage him for a quarter, half year, or year, and to make their agreement in writing; on which should any dispute arise, an appeal to the magistrates would settle it.

A person, who absconding from his work had been ordered to labour a certain time in irons, having wrought upon the feelings of one of the magistrates to permit his working without them, and having given strong assurance of future diligence, was no sooner freed from his incumbrances than he took to the woods again. The frequent and unrestrained passing and repassing of idle and disorderly people from one part of the colony to another, and the mischievous correspondence which was kept up by such means, was productive of great evil. To check this as much as possible, all persons, the officers excepted, who were travelling from one district of the settlement to another, were required to furnish themselves with a passport, which, on a proper application, they would obtain without any difficulty. This was to be shown to and inspected by the constables in each district; and if found without it they were to be imprisoned during a month for the first offence, and otherwise punished if it was repeated. But the best local arrangements were set at defiance by those hardened vagabonds, who seemed daily to increase in number and in infamy.

While the governor was endeavouring to guard against the injuries that might be done by these people, the settlers found themselves obliged to assemble for the purpose of repelling the attacks made upon them by the natives. The people at the northern farms had been repeatedly plundered of their provisions and clothing by a large body of savages, who had also recently killed a man and a woman. Exasperated at such cruel and wanton conduct, they armed themselves, and, after pursuing them a whole night, at sun-rise in the morning came up with a party of more than a hundred, who fled immediately on discovering that their pursuers were armed, leaving behind them a quantity of Indian corn, some musket balls, and other things of which the soldiers had been plundered. They continued to follow, and traced them as far as the outskirts of Parramatta. Being fatigued with their march, they entered the town, and in about an hour after were followed by a large body of natives, headed by Pe-mul-wy, a riotous and troublesome savage. These were known by the settlers to be the same who had so frequently annoyed them; and they intended, if possible, to seize upon Pe-mul-wy; who, in a great rage, threatened to spear the first man that dared to approach him, and actually did throw a spear at one of the soldiers. The conflict was now begun; a musket was immediately levelled at the principal, which severely wounded him. Many spears were then thrown, and one man was hit in the arm; upon which the superior effect of our fire-arms was immediately shown them, and five were instantly killed.

However unpleasant it was to the governor, that the lives of so many of these people should have been taken, no other course could possibly be pursued; for it was their custom, when they found themselves more numerous and better armed than the white people, to demand with insolence whatever they wanted; and, if refused, to have recourse to murder. This check, it was hoped, would have a good effect; and Pe-mul-wy, who had received seven buck shot in his head and different parts of his body, was taken extremely ill to the hospital. This man was first known in the settlement by the murder of* John McIntire in the year 1790; since which he had been a most active enemy to the settlers, plundering them of their property, and endangering their personal safety.

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

The people belonging to the crown were employed during this month in the following several works: At Toongabbie, upwards of 100 men were occupied in agriculture—a wind-mill was to be erected at Parramatta, where stone-masons and carpenters were preparing the materials. At Sydney, a gang was employed in making bricks, where also were completing a large granary and a strong log-prison. All the public brick buildings were likewise undergoing a repair, being crumbling into ruins; such as the barracks for the military, storehouses, officers' dwellings and others. Some people were also repairing the boats belonging to government; and bricks were bringing in for the barracks of the assistant surgeons (this part of the public labour was performed by a team of oxen). A new flag-staff was prepared and erected at the South Head during this month, the weather of which had for the greater part been very wet.


Report revived of a white woman being with the natives A shoal seen Some civil regulations Natives troublesome The governor goes on an excursion Particulars thereof A valuable tree discovered Weather May The natives burn a house Consequences The Supply arrives from the Cape A ship wrecked to the southward Three of her people brought in by a fishing boat Particulars Two accidents The Britannia arrives from England Vessels and assistance sent to the wreck Public works Cordage wanted The Mercury sails June The Ganges arrives from Ireland Transactions Some runaways taken and brought to trial The Reliance arrives from the Cape A strange desertion Public works New gaol finished

April.] Some reports being again circulated, respecting the situation of Mary Morgan, the woman said to be detained among the natives to the northward of Broken Bay, a boat, with some people who had volunteered the service, was sent to the north part of that harbour where it was said she had been lately seen with some of her black friends. The people were directed, if possible, to bring her away, unless she preferred the life that she now led; upon which more than three years' experience of it would certainly enable her to decide. They were absent about 10 days, and returned without success, not even having heard any thing of her.* They went into the north arm of Broken Bay, and travelled to the northward as far as Cape Three Points; between which and the north head of Broken Bay, is a lagoon within the sea beach, of about twenty miles in length, and running parallel with the sea coast.

[* Nor indeed could they very well; for at the time when this search was making after her in New South Wales she was leading a life in London, which she most certainly preferred to the society of either the black or white people in that country. She was taken from the settlement by Locke, the master of the Resolution, in the year 1794.

Vide Vol I Ch. XXVII Page 332, viz: 'On the morning of the 9th the ships Resolution and Salamander left the cove, purposing to sail on their fishing voyage; soon after which, it being discovered that three convicts, Mary Morgan and John Randall and his wife, were missing, a boat was sent down the harbour to search the Resolution, on board of which ship it was said they were concealed. No person being found, the boat returned for further orders, leaving a sergeant and four men on board; but before she could return, Mr. Locke the master, after forcing the party out of his ship, got under way and stood out to sea. Mr. Irish, the master of the Salamander, did not accompany him; but came up to the town, to testify to the lieutenant-governor his uneasiness at its being supposed that he could be capable of taking any person improperly from the colony.' and

Vol. I Ch. XXXII Page 406, viz:'The natives appeared less troublesome lately than they had been for some time past. The people of a fishing-boat, which had been cast on shore in some bad weather near Port Stephens, met with some of these people, who without much entreaty, or any hope of reward, readily put them into a path from thence to Broken Bay, and conducted them the greatest part of the way. During their little journey, these friendly people made them understand, that they had seen a white woman among some natives to the northward. On their reporting this at Sydney, this unfortunate female was conjectured to be Mary Morgan, a prisoner, who it was now said had failed in her attempt to get on board the Resolution store-ship, which sailed from hence in 1794. There was indeed a woman, one Ann Smith, who ran away a few days after our sitting down in this place, and whose fate was not exactly ascertained; if she could have survived the hardships and wretchedness of such a life as must have been hers during so many years residence among the natives of New Holland, how much information must it have been in her power to afford! But humanity shuddered at the idea of purchasing it at so dear a price.']

A decked long boat, having been sent from Sydney to Norfolk island, in her passage thither fell in with a considerable shoal bearing from ENE to WNW distant from the vessel one mile. It extended to the northward as far as the eye could discern from the masthead, the rocks in many places appearing above the water. The south end of the shoal is in the latitude of 29 degrees 52 minutes south, and the longitude of 160 degrees 13 minutes east, bearing from Lord Howe Island, which they had seen the day before, north 27 degrees 40 minutes east, distant 39 leagues. This was supposed to be the same shoal that had been formerly seen by Lieutenant Shortland* in the Alexander, and by the master of the Golden Grove transport in the year 1786.

[* Vide Vol I Ch. VII, viz: 'Lieutenant Shortland, in his letter, noticed some discoveries which he had made; particularly one of an extensive and dangerous shoal, which obtained the name of Middleton Shoal, and was reckoned to be in the latitude of 29 degrees 20 minutes South, and in the longitude of 158 degrees 40 minutes East. He had also discovered an island, which he placed in the latitude of 28 degrees 10 minutes South, and in the longitude of 159 degrees 50 minutes East, and named Sir Charles Middleton Island: his other discoveries, not being so immediately in the vicinity of this territory, were not likely to be of any advantage to the settlement; but it was of some importance to it to learn that an extensive reef was so near, and to find its situation ascertained to be in the track of ships bound from hence to the northward; for if Sir Charles Middleton Island should hereafter be found to possess a safe and convenient harbour, it might prove an interesting discovery for this colony.']

In the beginning of this month, the settlers at the Hawkesbury sent round some grain, in part payment of the debts which were due from them to government for the seed which had been lent them last year to crop their grounds.

In consequence of complaints which were laid before the governor, relative to some exorbitant demands made by the public bakers upon those who had occasion to employ them, and of the impositions practised as well in the quality as in the quantity of the bread returned in lieu of the flour or grain delivered to them, the judge-advocate and two other magistrates were directed to hold a meeting for the purpose of enquiring into the business, as well as for examining and regulating the weights and measures which were at present in use in the colony. An order was at the same time issued, recommending to the settlers of every district, that, as much pains had been taken to establish, agreeably to their wishes, the rate of wages to be paid for all kinds of labour, they should now attend strictly to this regulation, and no longer suffer themselves to be imposed upon. There were strong reasons for suspecting that, notwithstanding the bond which they had entered into, rigidly to adhere to the regulations which had been established for their benefit, some among them were so very deficient of even honest principles as to attempt by various means to evade the regulation, to the great injury of other more industrious and more deserving men. In order the more readily to detect a practice so shameful and iniquitous, the governor judged it requisite to hold out a reward to those who would come forward and give such information as should be sufficient to prove the offence, by offering one-third of the sum forfeited to the informer. The settlers were also called upon to give information of any labouring man who, on offering himself for hire, should refuse to accept the regulated wages. As such person must be incapable of living in this country without work, he was immediately to be apprehended as a vagrant, who, having no visible means of providing honestly for his support, must have recourse to robbery.

The natives at the Hawkesbury were at this time very troublesome, burning a dwelling-house and a stack of wheat belonging to a settler there, after having plundered him of all his other possessions.

On the 21st, as much wheat as the public granaries at Sydney, Parramatta, and the Hawkesbury could contain, having been received, they were closed until the month of August next.

Towards the latter end of the month, the governor, accompanied by some gentlemen of the settlement, set off from Parramatta, on an excursion, in which he meant to obtain some knowledge of the ground between Duck river and George's river, with respect both to its quality and quantity. This tract was walked over, and much excellent land was found well provided with fresh water in chains of large deep ponds. On this ground some of the marine soldiers, who had enlisted for three years in the New South Wales corps, having completed their service, were desirous of being settled.

This party, on their arrival at the banks of George's river, whither a boat had been previously sent with some provisions and a tent, found that at low water it was as fresh as that in the Hawkesbury, where the settlement stood.

Having proceeded down the river, they stopped at a point near Botany Bay, where they met with several parties of natives, among whom was Pe-mul-wy, who, having perfectly recovered from his wounds, had escaped from the hospital with an iron about his leg. He saw and spoke with one of the gentlemen of the party; enquiring of him whether the governor was angry, and seemed pleased at being told that he was not: notwithstanding which, there could be but little doubt that his savage brutal disposition would manifest itself whenever excited by the appearance of an unarmed man.

Some time in this month a tree was for the first time observed growing on the banks of the Hawkesbury, the bark of which, when soaked in water, and beaten, was found to be as good as hemp for cordage, spinning easily, and being remarkably strong. The tree grew from 50 to 70 feet high; its diameter was from the smallest size to a foot, and it appeared to be of quick growth. This was rather a fortunate discovery; for every kind of cordage belonging to the settlement was almost wholly expended.

The court of criminal judicature was assembled once in this month, and three persons who had served their period of transportation were a second time transported; one for 14 years, for receiving stolen goods knowing them to be such; and two others for seven years. These two last were vagabonds who had taken up their abode in the woods, where they lived at the expense of the industrious, by committing every kind of depredation on their property.

The public works continued the same as at the end of the last month. The foundation of the building for the reception of the assistant surgeons was laid, and the lower floor of the large granary at Sydney was nearly completed.

Much rain fell during this month. On the morning of the 27th, a heavy squall of wind came on, which, for want of proper care and attention on the part of those employed at the wind-mill, set it going in such a violent manner, that while flying round with great velocity, one of the running stones was broken to pieces; one of which so severely wounded Davis the millwright in the head, that his life was despaired of. A gang of carpenters was immediately ordered to repair the damage it had sustained, and in a few days it was again at work.

May.] Notwithstanding the example which had lately been made of the natives, they were exceedingly troublesome to the settlers in Lane Cove, burning a house and killing some hogs belonging to one of them. This was certainly committing a wanton injury; for neither the burnt house, nor the slaughtered animals, which they left on the spot, could be of any benefit to them. At Kissing Point, another district, they dangerously wounded a settler and his wife, first burning every article belonging to them. The settlers in Lane Cove were so much and so perpetually alarmed by these people, that they collected their whole force, and, a few soldiers being sent to their assistance, went out in the night; and, being directed by their fires to the place where they lay, they discovered a large body of natives, collected, no doubt, for the purpose of attacking and plundering the settlers. Being unwilling to take any of their lives, a volley of musketry was fired over their heads, which so alarmed and terrified them, that they instantly fled, leaving behind them their spears, etc. and about 20 bushels of Indian corn which they had stolen.

It was distressing to observe, that every endeavour to civilise these people proved fruitless. Although they lived among the inhabitants of the different settlements, were kindly treated, fed, and often clothed, yet they were never found to possess the smallest degree of gratitude for such favours. Even Bennillong was as destitute of this quality as the most ignorant of his countrymen. It is an extraordinary fact, that even their children, who had been bred up among the white people, and who, from being accustomed to follow their manner of living, might have been supposed to ill relish the life of their parents, when grown up, have quitted their comfortable abodes, females as well as males, and taken to the same savage mode of living, where the supply of food was often precarious, their comforts not to be called such, and their lives perpetually in danger. As a proof of the little personal safety which they enjoyed, a young woman, the wife of a man named Ye-ra-ni-be, both of whom had been brought up in the settlement from their childhood, was cruelly murdered at the brick-fields by her husband, assisted by another native, Cole-be, who first beat her dreadfully about the head (the common mode of chastising their women), and then put an end to her existence by driving a spear through her heart.

When spoken to or censured for robbing the maize-grounds, these people, to be revenged, were accustomed to assemble in large bodies, burn the houses of the settlers if they stood in lonely situations, and frequently attempted to take their lives; yet they were seldom refused a little corn when they would ask for it. It was imagined that they were stimulated to this destructive conduct by some run-away convicts who were known to be among them at the time of their committing these depredations. In order to get possession of these pests, a proclamation was issued, calling on them by name to surrender themselves within 14 days, declaring them outlaws if they refused, and requiring the inhabitants, as they valued the peace and good order of the settlement, and their own security, to assist in apprehending and bringing them to justice. The governor also signified his determination, if any of the natives could be detected in the act of robbing the settlers, to hang one of them in chains upon a tree near the spot as a terror to the others. Could it have been foreseen, that this was their natural temper, it would have been wiser to have kept them at a distance, and in fear, which might have been effected without so much of the severity which their conduct had sometimes compelled him to exercise towards them. But the kindness which had been shown them, and the familiar intercourse with the white people in which they had been indulged, tended only to make them acquainted with those concerns in which they were the most vulnerable, and brought on all the evils which they suffered from them.

In the evening of the 16th, his Majesty's ship Supply arrived from the Cape of Good Hope; from which place she sailed about the middle of last month, with a quantity of young cattle on board for the settlement. She had met with much bad weather on her passage, and, being exceedingly infirm, her pumps had been kept constantly at work. She landed 31 cows, five mares, and 27 ewe sheep, all of them in good health, though much weakened from the nature of their voyage: eight cows, two bulls, and 13 sheep had died.

During the night of this day, a boat which had been fishing at a small distance to the southward of Botany Bay, brought up to the settlement three persons, late belonging to a ship called the Sydney Cove, which had sailed from Bengal with a cargo for this port upon speculation. The governor was informed by Mr. Clarke, the supercargo (one of the three who had arrived in the fishing boat), that the ship had sprung a dangerous leak before she had rounded the South Cape, which, as soon as they had got to the eastward of the southern part of the coast, increased to so great a degree as to render it absolutely necessary to haul in for the land. The wind being from the SE they were enabled to accomplish this, and reached it exactly in time to land the ship, when she was just dropping from under them, having actually sunk down to the fore channels, when they ran her upon the ground, which they did on an island in lat. 40 degrees 37 minutes south. They met with this misfortune in the middle of last February; soon after which a certain number of them resolved to attempt the reaching Port Jackson in the ship's long boat, leaving the commander and about thirty people to stay by the wreck. The boat being prepared, 17 people embarked in her, and sailed; but meeting with much bad weather they were again wrecked, being driven on shore on the coast near Point Hicks. Here they all landed, and endeavoured to travel northward, but dropped off one by one and lost each other daily, until the number was reduced to five, the three who had arrived (the supercargo, a sailor, and a Lascar), the first mate of the ship, who had undertaken the navigation of the long boat, and the carpenter. These two, from excessive fatigue, had been unable to proceed any further, and had stopped the day before their companions in this miserable journey had been taken up by the fishing boat.

To look for these unfortunate people, a whale boat was dispatched the following day, properly provided with such comforts as were necessary for persons in their weak and wretched condition. The man who had met with the supercargo was sent in the whale boat, and they proceeded to the spot which Mr. Clarke had described as that where they had lost sight of their companions; but, after a long search, they could only find some trifling articles, which were known to have been in their possession; and, these being bloody, it was conjectured that they had been killed in this very helpless condition by the natives, whom, in the course of their long march, they had found frequently very kind, and at other times extremely savage. To add to the probability of this having been their end, Mr. Clarke mentioned the morose, unfeeling disposition of the carpenter, who often, when some friendly natives had presented him with a few fish, growled that they had not given him all, and insisted, that because they were black fellows, it would be right to take it by force. By some illiberal and intemperate act of this nature, there was too much reason to believe he had brought on himself, and his ill-fated companion, the mate (a man cast in a gentler mould), a painful and premature death.

Mr. Clarke and the two other people who arrived with him were very much exhausted, and could not probably have borne up much longer against the toil that attends travelling in such a country as the unsettled part of New Holland every where presents. All possible attention, however, being paid to their situation, they quickly recovered their strength and spirits.

In the account already published of this colony, several instances were given of the danger and difficulty that attended travelling through the woods, in which many people have either wandered till they died, or have been assassinated by the natives. Every caution that humanity could suggest had been given; yet even at this day an instance occurred that proved to how little purpose. A soldier who had taken his passage in a boat to go to the Hawkesbury prevailed on the crew to land him on the south shore of Broken Bay, intending to proceed to the settlement by land, but which he was never able to accomplish. Several parties of soldiers were sent to look after their comrade, but all returned without finding him. His end must have been truly deplorable; and not less so was that of the sergeant-major's daughter, a fine girl of about 10 years of age, who was burnt to death by a stubble field having taken fire while she was in the midst of it. The flames were so rapid, that she was totally unable to escape from them, and perished in this most extraordinary and terrible manner.

In the evening of the 27th, the ship Britannia anchored between the heads from Ireland, having on board 150 male and 50 female convicts from that kingdom, with an officer and 25 recruits for the New South Wales corps. She got up to the settlement the following day, and the prisoners were all landed on the 30th. A part of them were immediately sent up to Parramatta.

On the same day the Colonial schooner, and a long-boat named the Eliza, sailed to the southward, to bring away the remainder of the ship's company belonging to the unfortunate Sydney Cove.

Among other works in which the people were employed in this month, was the necessary one of erecting paling round the new gaol, now nearly completed, and round the fresh water, the original enclosure of which had gone to decay, by which means the stream was so exceedingly polluted, as to endanger the health of the inhabitants. Some necessary regulations were published to counteract this evil, and indeed they had long been loudly called for.

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