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AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
FROM 1606 TO 1890
BY ALEXANDER SUTHERLAND, M.A. AND GEORGE SUTHERLAND, M.A.
LONDON LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. AND NEW YORK: 15 EAST 16th STREET
GEORGE ROBERTSON AND CO. MELBOURNE, SYDNEY, ADELAIDE, AND BRISBANE 1894
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THE ABERDEEN UNIVERSITY PRESS.
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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
PAGE Captain Cook, frontispiece. William Dampier, 6 Rocks, South Heads, Sydney, 13 Town and Cove of Sydney, in 1798, 17 Matthew Flinders, 21 Cook's Monument, Botany Bay, 24 The Explorers' Tree, Katoomba, N.S.W., 26 Governor Collins, 33 Governor Macquarie, 39 Blue Mountain Scenery, Wentworth Falls, N.S.W., 41 St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, 46 Captain Charles Sturt, 51 The First House Built in Victoria, 56 The First Hotel in Victoria, 57 Edward Henty, 61 John Pascoe Fawkner, 62 Governor Latrobe, 65 Collins Street, Melbourne, in 1840, 66 First Settlement at Adelaide, 1836, 69 Governor Hindmarsh, 71 Proclamation Tree, Glenelg, 74 Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney, 81 Edward Hargraves, 92 Perth, Western Australia, in 1838, 114 Perth, 1890, 115 Boomerangs, or Kylies, 122 Parliament House, Brisbane, 123 Victoria Bridge, Brisbane, 126 Government House, Brisbane, 130 Robert O'Hara Burke, 144 William John Wills, 145 Sir John Franklin, 156 Queen Truganina, the last of the Tasmanians, 163 King William Street, Adelaide, 167 George Street, Sydney, 169 The Lithgow Zigzag, the Blue Mountains, 172 The Town Hall, Sydney, 174 Collins Street, Melbourne, 177 Town Hall, Melbourne, 182 Port of Melbourne, 183 A Maori Dwelling, 185 Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand, 191 Rev. S. Marsden, "the Apostle of New Zealand," 195 Auckland, from the Wharf, 206 Stronghold of the Maoris at Rangiriri, 222 Sir George Grey, 224 Knox Church, Dunedin, 228 Christchurch Cathedral, 230 The Maori King, 232 Rangiriri, from the Waikato, 236 The Cargill Fountain, 243 Victoria Defence Fleet, 245
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CHAPTER PAGE I.—The Early Discoverers, 1 II.—Convict Settlement at Sydney, 1788 to 1890, 11 III.—Discoveries of Bass and Flinders, 18 IV.—New South Wales, 1800 to 1808, 25 V.—Tasmania, 1803 to 1836, 31 VI.—New South Wales, 1808 to 1837, 38 VII.—Discoveries in the Interior, 1817 to 1836, 48 VIII.—Port Phillip, 1800 to 1840, 55 IX.—South Australia, 1836 to 1841, 67 X.—New South Wales, 1838 to 1850, 75 XI.—South Australia, 1841 to 1850, 84 XII.—The Discovery of Gold, 89 XIII.—Victoria, 1851 to 1855, 98 XIV.—New South Wales, 1851 to 1860, 107 XV.—West Australia, 1829 to 1890, 111 XVI.—Queensland, 1823 to 1890, 119 XVII.—Explorations in the Interior, 1840 to 1860, 131 XVIII.—Discoveries in the Interior, 1860 to 1886, 143 XIX.—Tasmania, 1837 to 1890, 155 XX.—South Australia, 1850 to 1890, 163 XXI.—New South Wales, 1860 to 1890, 168 XXII.—Victoria, 1855 to 1890, 175 XXIII.—The Times of the Maoris, 184 XXIV.—New Zealand Colonised, 200 XXV.—White Men and Maoris, 215 XXVI.—New Zealand, 1843 to 1890, 227
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HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND.
THE EARLY DISCOVERERS.
#1.# To the people who lived four centuries ago in Europe only a very small portion of the earth's surface was known. Their geography was confined to the regions lying immediately around the Mediterranean, and including Europe, the north of Africa, and the west of Asia. Round these there was a margin, obscurely and imperfectly described in the reports of merchants; but by far the greater part of the world was utterly unknown. Great realms of darkness stretched all beyond, and closely hemmed in the little circle of light. In these unknown lands our ancestors loved to picture everything that was strange and mysterious. They believed that the man who could penetrate far enough would find countries where inexhaustible riches were to be gathered without toil from fertile shores, or marvellous valleys; and though wild tales were told of the dangers supposed to fill these regions, yet to the more daring and adventurous these only made the visions of boundless wealth and enchanting loveliness seem more fascinating.
Thus, as the art of navigation improved, and long voyages became possible, courageous seamen were tempted to venture out into the great unknown expanse. Columbus carried his trembling sailors over great tracts of unknown ocean, and discovered the two continents of America; Vasco di Gama penetrated far to the south, and rounded the Cape of Good Hope; Magellan, passing through the straits now called by his name, was the first to enter the Pacific Ocean; and so in the case of a hundred others, courage and skill carried the hardy seaman over many seas and into many lands that had lain unknown for ages.
Australia was the last part of the world to be thus visited and explored. In the year 1600, during the times of Shakespeare, the region to the south of the East Indies was still as little known as ever; the rude maps of those days had only a great blank where the islands of Australia should have been. Most people thought there was nothing but the ocean in that part of the world; and as the voyage was dangerous and very long—requiring several years for its completion—scarcely any one cared to run the risk of exploring it.
#2. De Quiros.#—There was, however, an enthusiastic seaman who firmly believed that a great continent existed there, and who longed to go in search of it. This was De Quiros, a Spaniard, who had already sailed with a famous voyager, and now desired to set out on an expedition of his own. He spent many years in beseeching the King of Spain to furnish him with ships and men so that he might seek this southern continent. King Philip for a long time paid little attention to his entreaties, but was at last overcome by his perseverance, and told De Quiros that, though he himself had no money for such purposes, he would order the Governor of Peru to provide the necessary vessels. De Quiros carried the king's instructions to Peru, and two ships were soon prepared and filled with suitable crews—the Capitana and the Almiranta, with a smaller vessel called the Zabra to act as tender. A nobleman named Torres was appointed second in command, and they set sail from Peru, on a prosperous voyage across the Pacific, discovering many small islands on their way, and seeing for the first time the Coral Islands of the South Seas. At length (1606) they reached a shore which stretched as far as they could see both north and south, and De Quiros thought he had discovered the great Southern Continent. He called the place "Tierra Australis del Espiritu Santo," that is, the "Southern Land of the Holy Spirit". It is now known that this was not really a continent, but merely one of the New Hebrides Islands, and more than a thousand miles away from the mainland. The land was filled by high mountains, verdure-clad to their summits, and sending down fine streams, which fell in hoarse-sounding waterfalls from the edges of the rocky shore, or wandered amid tropical luxuriance of plants down to the golden sands that lay within the coral barriers. The inhabitants came down to the edge of the green and shining waters making signs of peace, and twenty soldiers went ashore, along with an officer, who made friends with them, exchanging cloth for pigs and fruit. De Quiros coasted along the islands for a day or two till he entered a fine bay, where his vessels anchored, and Torres went ashore. A chief came down to meet him, offering him a present of fruit, and making signs to show that he did not wish the Spaniards to intrude upon his land. As Torres paid no attention, the chief drew a line upon the sand, and defied the Spaniards to cross it. Torres immediately stepped over it, and the natives launched some arrows at him, which dropped harmlessly from his iron armour. Then the Spaniards fired their muskets, killing the chief and a number of the naked savages. The rest stood for a moment, stupefied at the noise and flash; then turned and ran for the mountains.
The Spaniards spent a few pleasant days among the fruit plantations, and slept in cool groves of overarching foliage; but subsequently they had quarrels and combats with the natives, of whom they killed a considerable number. When the Spaniards had taken on board a sufficient supply of wood and of fresh water they set sail, but had scarcely got out to sea when a fever spread among the crew, and became a perfect plague. They returned and anchored in the bay, where the vessels lay like so many hospitals. No one died, and after a few days they again put to sea, this time to be driven back again by bad weather. Torres, with two ships, safely reached the sheltering bay, but the vessel in which De Quiros sailed was unable to enter it, and had to stand out to sea and weather the storm. The sailors then refused to proceed further with the voyage, and, having risen in mutiny, compelled De Quiros to turn the vessel's head for Mexico, which they reached after some terrible months of hunger and thirst.
#3. Torres.#—The other ships waited for a day or two, but no signs being seen of their consort, they proceeded in search of it. In this voyage Torres sailed round the land, thus showing that it was no continent, but only an island. Having satisfied himself that it was useless to seek for De Quiros, he turned to the west, hoping to reach the Philippine Islands, where the Spaniards had a colony, at Manila. It was his singular fortune to sail through that opening which lies between New Guinea and Australia, to which the name of "Torres Strait" was long afterwards applied. He probably saw Cape York rising out of the sea to the south, but thought it only another of those endless little islands with which the strait is studded. Poor De Quiros spent the rest of his life in petitioning the King of Spain for ships to make a fresh attempt. After many years he obtained another order to the Governor of Peru, and the old weather-beaten mariner once more set out from Spain full of hope; but at Panama, on his way, death awaited him, and there the fiery-souled veteran passed away, the last of the great Spanish navigators. He died in poverty and disappointment, but he is to be honoured as the first of the long line of Australian discoverers. In after years, the name he had invented was divided into two parts; the island he had really discovered being called Espiritu Santo, while the continent he thought he had discovered was called Terra Australis. This last name was shortened by another discoverer—Flinders—to the present term Australia.
#4. The Duyfhen.#—De Quiros and Torres were Spaniards, but the Dutch also displayed much anxiety to reach the great South Continent. From their colony at Java they sent out a small vessel, the Duyfhen, or Dove, which sailed into the Gulf of Carpentaria, and passed half-way down along its eastern side. Some sailors landed, but so many of them were killed by the natives that the captain was glad to embark again and sail for home, after calling the place of their disaster Cape Keer-weer, or Turnagain. These Dutch sailors were the first Europeans, as far as can now be known, who landed on Australian soil; but as they never published any account of their voyage, it is only by the merest chance that we know anything of it.
#5. Other Dutch Discoverers.#—During the next twenty years various Dutch vessels, while sailing to the settlements in the East Indies, met with the coast of Australia. In 1616 Dirk Hartog landed on the island in Shark Bay which is now called after him. Two years later Captain Zaachen is said to have sailed along the north coast, which he called Arnhem Land. Next year (1619) another captain, called Edel, surveyed the western shores, which for a long time bore his name. In 1622 a Dutch ship, the Leeuwin, or Lioness, sailed along the southern coast, and its name was given to the south-west cape of Australia. In 1627 Peter Nuyts entered the Great Australian Bight, and made a rough chart of some of its shores; in 1628 General Carpenter sailed completely round the large gulf to the north, which has taken its name from this circumstance. Thus, by degrees, all the northern and western, together with part of the southern shores, came to be roughly explored, and the Dutch even had some idea of colonising this continent.
#6. Tasman.#—During the next fourteen years we hear no more of voyages to Australia; but in 1642 Antony Van Diemen, the Governor of the Dutch possessions in the East Indies, sent out his friend Abel Jansen Tasman, with two ships, to make new discoveries in the South Seas. Tasman first went to the Island of Bourbon, from which he sailed due south for a time; but finding no signs of land, he turned to the east, and three months after setting out he saw a rocky shore in the distance. Stormy weather coming on, he was driven out to sea, and it was not till a week later that he was able to reach the coast again. He called the place Van Diemen's Land, and sent some sailors on shore to examine the country. These men heard strange noises in the woods, and saw trees of enormous height, in which notches were cut seven feet apart. These they believed to be the steps used by the natives in climbing the trees, and they therefore returned to report that the land was exceedingly beautiful, but inhabited by men of gigantic size. Tasman, next day, allowed the carpenter to swim ashore and set up the Dutch flag; but having himself seen, from his ship, what he thought to be men of extraordinary stature moving about on the shore, he lost no time in taking up his anchor and setting sail. Farther to the east he discovered the islands of New Zealand, and after having made a partial survey of their coasts, he returned to Batavia. Two years after he was sent on a second voyage of discovery, and explored the northern and western shores of Australia itself; but the results do not seem to have been important, and are not now known. His chief service in the exploration of Australia was the discovery of Tasmania, as it is now called, after his name. This he did not know to be an island; he drew it on his maps as if it were a peninsula belonging to the mainland of Australia.
#7. Dampier.#—The discoveries that had so far been made were very imperfect, for the sailors generally contented themselves with looking at the land from a safe distance. They made no surveys such as would have enabled them to draw correct charts of the coasts; they seldom landed, and even when they did, they never sought to become acquainted with the natives, or to learn anything as to the nature of the interior of the country. The first who took the trouble to obtain information of this more accurate kind was the Englishman, William Dampier.
When a young man Dampier had gone out to Jamaica to manage a large estate; but not liking the slave-driving business, he crossed over to Campeachy, and lived for a time in the woods, cutting the more valuable kinds of timber. Here he became acquainted with the buccaneers who made the lonely coves of Campeachy their headquarters. Being persuaded to join them, he entered upon a life of lawless daring, constantly fighting and plundering, and meeting with the wildest adventures. He was often captured by the American natives, still more often by the Spaniards, but always escaped to enter upon exploits of fresh danger. In 1688 he joined a company of buccaneers, who proposed to make a voyage round the world and plunder on their way. It took them more than a year to reach the East Indies, where they spent a long time, sometimes attacking Spanish ships or Dutch fortresses, sometimes leading an easy luxurious life among the natives, often quarrelling among themselves, and even going so far as to leave their captain with forty men on the island of Mindanao. But at length the time came when it was necessary to seek some quiet spot where they should be able to clean and repair the bottoms of their ships. Accordingly, they landed on the north-west coast of Australia, and lived for twelve days at the place now called "Buccaneers' Archipelago". They were the first Europeans who held any communication with the natives of Australia, and the first to publish a detailed account of their voyage thither. Growing tired of a lawless life, and having become wealthy, Dampier bought an estate in England, where he lived some years in retirement, till his love of adventure led him forth again. The King of England was anxious to encourage discovery, and fitted out a vessel called the Roebuck, to explore the southern seas. Dampier was the only man in England who had ever been to Australia, and to him was given the command of the little vessel, which sailed in the year 1699. It took a long time to reach Australia, but at last the Roebuck entered what Dampier called Shark Bay, from an enormous shark he caught there. He then explored the north-west coast as far as Roebuck Bay, in all about nine hundred miles; of which he published a full and fairly accurate account. He was a man of keen observation, and delighted to describe the habits and manners of the natives, as well as peculiarities in the plants and animals, of the various places he visited. During the time he was in Australia he frequently met with the blacks and became well acquainted with them. He gives this description of their appearance:—
"The inhabitants are the most miserable wretches in the universe, having no houses nor garments. They feed upon a few fish, cockles, mussels, and periwinkles. They are without religion and without government. In figure they are tall, straight-bodied and thin, with small, long limbs."
The country itself, he says, is low and sandy, with no fresh water and scarcely any animals except one which looks like a racoon, and jumps about on its long hind legs. Altogether, his description is not prepossessing; and he says that the only pleasure he had found in this part of his voyage was the satisfaction of having discovered the most barren spot on the face of the earth.
This account is, in most respects, correct, so far as regards the portion of Australia visited by Dampier. But, unfortunately, he saw only the most inhospitable part of the whole continent. There are many parts whose beauty would have enchanted him, but as he had sailed along nearly a thousand miles without seeing any shore that was not miserable, it is not to be wondered at that he reported the whole land to be worthless. He was subsequently engaged in other voyages of discovery, in one of which he rescued the famous Alexander Selkirk from his lonely island; but, amid all his subsequent adventures, he never entertained the idea of returning to Australia.
Dampier published a most interesting account of all his travels in different parts of the world, and his book was for a long time the standard book of travels. Defoe used the materials it contained for his celebrated novel, Robinson Crusoe. But it turned away the tide of discovery from Australia; for those who read of the beautiful islands and rich countries Dampier had elsewhere visited would never dream of incurring the labour and expense of a voyage to so dull and barren a spot as Australia seemed to be from the description in his book. Thus we hear of no further explorations in this part of the world until nearly a century after; and, even then, no one thought of sending out ships specially for the purpose.
#8. Captain Cook.#—But in the year 1770 a series of important discoveries was indirectly brought about. The Royal Society of London, calculating that the planet Venus would cross the disc of the sun in 1769, persuaded the English Government to send out an expedition to the Pacific Ocean for the purpose of making observations which would enable astronomers to calculate the distance of the earth from the sun. A small vessel, the Endeavour, was chosen; astronomers with their instruments embarked, and the whole placed under the charge of James Cook, a sailor whose admirable character fully merited this distinction. At thirteen he had been a shopkeeper's assistant, but, preferring the sea, he had become an apprentice in a coal vessel. After many years of rude life in this trade, during which he contrived to carry on his education in mathematics and navigation, he entered the Royal Navy, and by diligence and honesty rose to the rank of master. He had completed so many excellent surveys in North America, and, besides, had made himself so well acquainted with astronomy, that the Government had no hesitation in making their choice. That it was a wise one, the care and success of Cook fully showed. He carried the expedition safely to Tahiti, built fortifications, and erected instruments for the observations, which were admirably made. Having finished this part of his task, he thought it would be a pity, with so fine a ship and crew, not to make some discoveries in these little-known seas. He sailed south for a time without meeting land; then, turning west, he reached those islands of New Zealand which had been first seen by Tasman. But Cook made a far more complete exploration than had been possible to Tasman. For six months he examined their shores, sailing completely round both islands and making excellent maps of them.
Then, saying good-bye to these coasts at what he named Cape Farewell, he sailed westward for three weeks, until his outlook man raised the cry of "land," and they were close to the shores of Australia at Cape Howe. Standing to the north-east, he sailed along the coast till he reached a fine bay, where he anchored for about ten days. On his first landing he was opposed by two of the natives, who seemed quite ready to encounter more than forty armed men. Cook endeavoured to gain their good-will, but without success. A musket fired between them startled, but did not dismay them; and when some small shot was fired into the legs of one of them, though he turned and ran into his hut, it was only for the purpose of putting on a shield and again facing the white men. Cook made many subsequent attempts to be friendly with the natives, but always without success. He examined the country for a few miles inland, and two of his scientific friends—Sir Joseph Banks and Dr. Solander—made splendid collections of botanical specimens. From this circumstance the place was called Botany Bay, and its two headlands received the names of Cape Banks and Cape Solander. It was here that Captain Cook, amid the firing of cannons and volleys of musketry, took possession of the country on behalf of His Britannic Majesty, giving it the name, "New South Wales," on account of the resemblance of its coasts to the southern shores of Wales.
Shortly after they had set sail from Botany Bay they observed a small opening in the land; but Cook did not stay to examine it, merely marking it on his chart as "Port Jackson," in honour of his friend Sir George Jackson. The vessel still continued her course northward along the coast, till they anchored in Moreton Bay. After a short stay, they again set out towards the north, making a rough chart of the shores they saw. In this way they had sailed along thirteen hundred miles without serious mishap, when one night, at about eleven o'clock, they found the sea grow very shallow; all hands were quickly on deck, but before the ship could be turned she struck heavily on a sunken rock. No land was to be seen, and they therefore concluded that it was upon a bank of coral they had struck. The vessel seemed to rest upon the ridge; but, as the swell of the ocean rolled past, she bumped very heavily. Most of the cannons and other heavy articles were thrown overboard, and, the ship being thus lightened, they tried to float her off at daybreak. This they were unable to do; but, by working hard all next day, they prepared everything for a great effort at the evening tide, and had the satisfaction of seeing the rising waters float the vessel off. But now the sea was found to be pouring in through the leaks so rapidly that, even with four pumps constantly going, they could scarcely keep her afloat. They worked hard day and night, but the ship was slowly sinking, when, by the ingenious device of passing a sail beneath her and pulling it tightly, it was found that the leakage was sufficiently decreased to keep her from foundering. Shortly after, they saw land, which Captain Cook called "Cape Tribulation". He took the vessel into the mouth of a small river, which they called the Endeavour, and there careened her. On examining the bottom, it was found that a great sharp rock had pierced a hole in her timbers, such as must inevitably have sent her to the bottom in spite of pumps and sails, had it not been that the piece of coral had broken off and remained firmly fixed in the vessel's side, thus itself filling up the greater part of the hole it had caused. The ship was fully repaired; and, after a delay of two months, they proceeded northward along the coast to Cape York. They then sailed through Torres Strait, and made it clear that New Guinea and Australia are not joined.
#9. Subsequent Visits.#—Several ships visited Australia during the next few years, but their commanders contented themselves with merely viewing the coasts which had already been discovered, and returned without adding anything new. In 1772 Marion, a Frenchman, and next year Furneaux, an Englishman, sailed along the coasts of Van Diemen's Land. In 1777 Captain Cook, shortly before his death, anchored for a few days in Adventure Bay, on the east coast of Van Diemen's Land. La Perouse, Vancouver, and D'Entrecasteaux also visited Australia, and, though they added nothing of importance, they assisted in filling in the details. By this time nearly all the coasts had been roughly explored, and the only great point left unsettled was, whether Van Diemen's Land was an island or not.
THE CONVICT SETTLEMENT AT SYDNEY, 1788-1800.
#1. Botany Bay.#—The reports brought home by Captain Cook completely changed the beliefs current in those days with regard to Australia. From the time of Dampier it had been supposed that the whole of this continent must be the same flat and miserable desert as the part he described. Cook's account, on the other hand, represented the eastern coast as a country full of beauty and promise. Now, it so happened that, shortly after Cook's return, the English nation had to deal with a great difficulty in regard to its criminal population. In 1776 the United States declared their independence, and the English then found they could no longer send their convicts over to Virginia, as they had formerly done. In a short time the gaols of England were crowded with felons. It became necessary to select a new place of transportation; and, just as this difficulty arose, Captain Cook's voyages called attention to a land in every way suited for such a purpose, both by reason of its fertility and of its great distance. Viscount Sydney, therefore, determined to send out a party to Botany Bay, in order to found a convict settlement there; and in May, 1787, a fleet was ready to sail. It consisted of the Sirius war-ship, its tender the Supply, together with six transports for the convicts, and three ships for carrying the stores. Of the convicts, five hundred and fifty were men and two hundred and twenty were women. To guard these, there were on board two hundred soldiers. Captain Phillip was appointed Governor of the colony, Captain Hunter was second in command, and Mr. Collins went out as judge-advocate, to preside in the military courts, which it was intended to establish for the administration of justice. On the 18th, 19th, and 20th of January, 1788, the vessels arrived, one after another, in Botany Bay, after a voyage of eight months, during which many of the convicts had died from diseases brought on by so long a confinement.
#2. Port Jackson.#—As soon as the ships had anchored in Botany Bay, convicts were landed and commenced to clear the timber from a portion of the land; but a day or two was sufficient to show the unsuitability of Botany Bay for such a settlement. Its waters were so shallow that the ships could not enter it properly, and had to lie near the Heads, where the great waves of the Pacific rolled in on them by night and day. Governor Phillip, therefore, took three boats, and sailed out to search for some more convenient harbour. As he passed along the coast he turned to examine the opening which Captain Cook had called Port Jackson, and soon found himself in a winding channel of water, with great cliffs frowning overhead. All at once a magnificent prospect opened on his eyes. A harbour, which is, perhaps, the most beautiful and perfect in the world, stretched before him far to the west, till it was lost on the distant horizon. It seemed a vast maze of winding waters, dotted here and there with lovely islets; its shores thickly wooded down to the strips of golden sand which lined the most charming little bays; and its broad sheets of rippling waters bordered by lines of dusky foliage. The scene has always been one of surpassing loveliness; but to those who filled the first boats that ever threw the foam from its surface, who felt themselves the objects of breathless attention to groups of natives who stood gazing here and there from the projecting rocks, it must have had an enchanting effect. To Captain Phillip himself, whose mind had been filled with anxiety and despondency as to the future prospects of his charge, it opened out like the vision of a world of new hope and promise.
Three days were spent in examining portions of this spacious harbour, and in exploring a few of its innumerable bays. Captain Phillip selected, as the place most suitable for the settlement, a small inlet, which, in honour of the Minister of State, he called Sydney Cove. It was so deep as to allow vessels to approach to within a yard or two of the shore, thus avoiding the necessity of spending time and money in building wharves or piers. After a few days the fleet was brought round and lay at anchor in this little cove which is now the crowded Circular Quay. The convicts were landed, and commenced to clear away the trees on the banks of a small stream which stole silently through a very dense wood. When an open space had been obtained, a flagstaff was erected near the present battery on Dawe's Point; the soldiers fired three volleys, and the Governor read his commission to the assembled company. Then began a scene of noise and bustle. From dawn to sunset, nothing could be heard but the sound of axes, hammers, and saws, with the crash of trees and the shouts of the convict overseers. They lost no time in preparing their habitations on shore; for the confinement of the overcrowded ships had become intolerably hateful.
#3. Early Sufferings.#—More than a third of their number were ill with scurvy and other diseases—sixty-six lay in the little hospital which had been set up, and many of them never recovered. Those who were well enough to work began to clear the land for cultivation; but so soon as everything was ready for the ploughing to begin, the amazing fact was discovered that no one knew anything of agriculture; and had it not been that Governor Phillip had with him a servant who had been for a time on a farm, their labour would have been of little avail. As it was, the cultivation was of the rudest kind; one man, even if he had been a highly experienced person, could do very little to instruct so many. The officers and soldiers were smart enough on parade, but they were useless on a farm; the convicts, instead of trying to learn, expended all their ingenuity in picking each other's pockets, or in robbing the stores. They would do no work unless an armed soldier was standing behind them, and if he turned away for a moment, they would deliberately destroy the farm implements in their charge, hide them in the sand or throw them into the water. Thus, only a trifling amount of food was obtained from the soil; the provisions they had brought with them were nearly finished, and when the news came that the Guardian transport, on which they were depending for fresh supplies, had struck on an iceberg and had been lost, the little community was filled with the deepest dismay. Soon after, a ship arrived with a number of fresh convicts, but no provisions; in great haste the Sirius was sent to the Cape of Good Hope, and the Supply to Batavia; these vessels brought back as much as they could get, but it was all used in a month or two. Starvation now lay before the settlement; every one, including the officers and the Governor himself, was put on the lowest rations which could keep the life in a man's body, and yet there was not enough of food, even at this miserable rate, to last for any length of time. Numbers died of starvation; the Governor stopped all the works, as the men were too weak to continue them. The sheep and cattle which they had brought with so much trouble to become the origin of flocks and herds were all killed for food, with the exception of two or three which had escaped to the woods and had been lost from sight.
#4. Norfolk Island.#—Under these circumstances, Governor Phillip sent two hundred convicts, with about seventy soldiers, to Norfolk Island, where there was a moderate chance of their being able to support themselves; for, immediately after his arrival in New South Wales, he had sent Lieutenant King to take possession of that island, of whose beauty and fertility Captain Cook had spoken very highly. Twenty-seven convicts and soldiers had gone along with King, and had cleared away the timber from the rich brown soil. They had little trouble in raising ample crops, and were now in the midst of plenty, which their less fortunate companions came to share. But the Sirius, in which they had been carried over, was wrecked on a coral reef near the island before she could return, and with her was lost a considerable quantity of provisions.
#5. The Second Fleet.#—The prospects of the colony at Sydney had grown very black, when a store-ship suddenly appeared off the Heads. Great was the rejoicing at first; but when a storm arose and drove the vessel northward among the reefs of Broken Bay, their exultation was changed to a painful suspense. For some hours her fate was doubtful; but, to the intense relief of the expectant people on shore, she managed to make the port and land her supplies. Shortly after, two other store-ships arrived, and the community was never again so badly in want of provisions. Matters were growing cheerful, when a fresh gloom was caused by the arrival of a fleet filled to overflowing with sick and dying convicts. Seventeen hundred had been embarked, but of these two hundred had died on the way, and their bodies had been thrown overboard. Several hundreds were in the last stages of emaciation and exhaustion; scarcely one of the whole fifteen hundred who landed was fit for a day's work. This brought fresh misery and trouble, and the deaths were of appalling frequency.
#6. Escape of Prisoners.#—Many of the convicts sought to escape from their sufferings by running away; some seized the boats in the harbour and tried to sail for the Dutch colony in Java; others hid themselves in the woods, and either perished or else returned, after weeks of starvation, to give themselves up to the authorities. In 1791 a band of between forty and fifty set out to walk to China, and penetrated a few miles into the bush, where their bleached and whitened skeletons some years after told their fate.
#7. Departure of Governor Phillip.#—Amid these cares and trials the health of Governor Phillip fairly broke down, and, in 1792, forced him to resign. He was a man of energy and decision; prompt and skilful, yet humane and just in his character; his face, though pinched and pale with ill-health, had a sweet and benevolent expression; no better man could have been selected to fill the difficult position he held with so much credit to himself. He received a handsome pension from the British Government, and retired to spend his life in English society. Major Grose and Captain Patterson took charge of the colony for the next three years; but in 1795 Captain Hunter, who, after the loss of his ship, the Sirius, had returned to England, arrived in Sydney to occupy the position of Governor.
#8. Governor Hunter.#—By this time affairs had passed their crisis, and were beginning to be favourable. About sixty convicts, whose sentences had expired, had received grants of land, and, now that they were working for themselves, had become successful farmers. Governor Hunter brought out a number of free settlers, to whom he gave land near the Hawkesbury; and, after a time, more than six thousand acres were covered with crops of wheat and maize. There was now no fear of famine, and the settlement grew to be comfortable in most respects. Unfortunately, the more recent attempts to import cattle with which to stock the farms had proved more or less unsuccessful; so that the discovery of a fine herd of sixty wandering through the meadows of the Hawkesbury was hailed with great delight. These were the descendants of the cattle which had been lost from Governor Phillip's herd some years before.
#9. State of the Settlement.#—Twelve years after the foundation of the colony, its population amounted to between six and seven thousand persons. These were all settled near Sydney, which was a straggling town with one main street 200 feet wide, running up the valley from Sydney Cove, while on the slopes at either side the huts of the convicts were stationed far apart and each in a fenced-in plot of ground. On the little hills overlooking the cove, a number of big, bare, stone buildings were the Government quarters and barracks for the soldiers.
Attempts had been made to penetrate to the west, though without success. The rugged chain of the Blue Mountains was an impassable barrier. Seventy miles north of Sydney a fine river—the Hunter—had been discovered by Lieutenant Shortland while in pursuit of some runaway convicts who had stolen a boat. Signs of coal having been seen near its mouth, convicts were sent up to open mines, and, these proving successful, the town of Newcastle rapidly formed. In 1800 Governor Hunter returned to England on business, intending to come out again; but he was appointed to the command of a war-ship, and Lieutenant King was sent out to take his place.
THE DISCOVERIES OF BASS AND FLINDERS.
#1.# No community has ever been more completely isolated than the first inhabitants of Sydney. They were three thousand miles away from the nearest white men; before them lay a great ocean, visited only at rare intervals, and, for the greater part, unexplored; behind them was an unknown continent, a vast, untrodden waste, in which they formed but a speck. They were almost completely shut out from intercourse with the civilised world, and few of them could have any hope of returning to their native land. This made the colony all the more suitable as a place of punishment; for people shrank with horror at the idea of being banished to what seemed like a tomb for living men and women. But, for all that, it was not desirable that Australia should remain always as unknown and unexplored as it then was; and, seven years after the first settlement was made, two men arrived who were determined not to suffer it so to remain.
When Governor Hunter came in 1795, he brought with him, on board his ship the Reliance, a young surgeon, George Bass, and a midshipman called Matthew Flinders. They were young men of the most admirable character, modest and amiable, filled with a generous and manly affection for one another, and fired by a lofty enthusiasm which rejoiced in the wide field for discovery and fame that spread all around them. Within a month after their arrival they purchased a small boat about eight feet in length, which they christened the Tom Thumb. Its crew consisted of themselves and a boy to assist—truly a poor equipment with which to face a great and stormy ocean like the Pacific. They sailed out, and after tossing for some time like a toy on the huge waves, they succeeded in entering Botany Bay, which they thoroughly explored, making a chart of its shores and rivers. On their return, Governor Hunter was so highly pleased with their work, that, shortly after, he gave them a holiday, which they spent in making a longer expedition to the south. It was said that a very large river fell into the sea south of Botany Bay, and they went out to search for its mouth.
#2. Boat Excursion.#—In this trip they met with some adventures which will serve to illustrate the dangers of such a voyage. On one occasion, when their boat had been upset on the shore, and their powder was wetted by the sea-water, about fifty natives gathered round them, evidently with no friendly intention. Bass spread the powder out on the rocks to dry, and procured a supply of fresh water from a neighbouring pond. But they were in expectation every moment of being attacked and speared, and there was no hope of defending themselves till the powder was ready. Flinders, knowing the fondness of the natives for the luxury of a shave, persuaded them to sit down one after another on a rock, and amused them by clipping their beards with a pair of scissors. As soon as the powder was dry the explorers loaded their muskets and cautiously retreated to their boat, which they set right, and pushed off without mishap.
Once more on the Pacific, new dangers awaited them. They had been carried far to the south by the strong currents, and the wind was unfavourable. There was therefore no course open to them but to row as far as they could during the day, and at night throw out the stone which served as an anchor, and lie as sheltered as they could, in order to snatch a little sleep. On one of these nights, while they lay thus asleep, the wind suddenly rose to a gale, and they were roughly wakened by the splashing of the waves over their boat. They pulled up their stone anchor and ran before the tempest—Bass holding the sail and Flinders steering with an oar. As Flinders says: "It required the utmost care to prevent broaching to; a single wrong movement or a moment's inattention would have sent us to the bottom. The task of the boy was to bale out the water, which, in spite of every care, the sea threw in upon us. The night was perfectly dark, and we knew of no place of shelter, and the only direction by which we could steer was the roar of the waves upon the neighbouring cliff's." After an hour spent in this manner, they found themselves running straight for the breakers. They pulled down their mast and got out the oars, though without much hope of escape. They rowed desperately, however, and had the satisfaction of rounding the long line of boiling surf. Three minutes after they were in smooth water, under the lee of the rocks, and soon they discovered a well-sheltered cove, where they anchored for the rest of the night.
It was not till two days later that they found the place they were seeking. It turned out not to be a river at all, but only the little bay of Port Hacking, which they examined and minutely described. When they reached Sydney they gave information which enabled accurate maps to be constructed of between thirty and forty miles of coast.
#3. Clarke.#—On arriving at Port Jackson, they found that an accident had indirectly assisted in exploring that very coast on which they had landed. A vessel called the Sydney Cove, on its way to Port Jackson, had been wrecked on Furneaux Island, to the north of Van Diemen's Land. A large party, headed by Mr. Clarke, the supercargo, had started in boats, intending to sail along the coasts and obtain help from Sydney. They were thrown ashore by a storm at Cape Howe, and had to begin a dreary walk of three hundred miles through dense and unknown country. Their small store of provisions was soon used, and they could find no food and little fresh water on their path. Many dropped down, exhausted by hunger and fatigue, and had to be abandoned to their fate. Of those who contrived to approach within thirty miles of Sydney, the greater part were murdered by the same tribe of blacks from whom Bass and Flinders had apprehended danger. Clarke and one or two others reached Port Jackson; their clothes in tatters, their bodies wasted almost to the bones, and in such a state that, when a boat was brought to carry them over the bay to Sydney, they had to be lifted on board like infants. Mr. Clarke, on his recovery, was able to give a very useful account of a great tract of land not previously explored. The crew of the Sydney Cove were meanwhile living on one of the Furneaux Group, and several small ships were sent down from Sydney to rescue the crew and cargo; these also served to make the coast better known. Flinders was very anxious to go in one of them, in order to make a chart of the places he might pass; but his ship, the Reliance, sailed for Norfolk Island, and he had to be a long time absent.
#4. Discovery of Bass Straits.#—His friend Bass was more fortunate; for Governor Hunter gave him an open whaleboat, together with provisions for six weeks, and six men to manage the boat. With these he discovered the harbour and river of Shoalhaven; entered and mapped out Jervis Bay; discovered Twofold Bay, then rounded Cape Howe, and discovered the country now called Victoria. After sailing along the Ninety-mile Beach, he saw high land to the south-west; and, standing out towards it, discovered the bold headland which was afterwards named Wilson's Promontory. Bad weather drove him to seek for shelter, and this led to the discovery of Western Port, where he remained thirteen days. But as his provisions were running short, he was forced, with a heavy heart, to turn homeward. He had again to seek shelter, however, from strong head winds, and in doing so discovered what is called Corner Inlet. In all he prolonged his voyage to eleven weeks, before he again reached Sydney: during that time he had explored six hundred miles of coast, and had discovered four important bays, as well as what is perhaps the most important cape in Australia. His greatest service, however, was the proof that Van Diemen's Land is not joined to Australia, but is divided from it by the wide strait to which Bass's name is now so justly given. All this, effected in an open whaleboat on a great ocean, may well fill us with admiration for the courage and skill of the young surgeon.
#5. Flinders.#—When Flinders returned from Norfolk Island, he obtained leave to join the next vessel that should start for the wreck of the Sydney Cove. Having arrived at Furneaux Island, during the time that the wreckage and remaining cargo were being gathered, he obtained the loan of a small boat for five days, and in it made careful surveys of the islands and straits to the north of Van Diemen's Land. It was in this trip that he made the first discovery of that peculiar Australian animal, the wombat.
#6. Circumnavigation of Van Diemen's Land.#—Next year (1798) Governor Hunter gave to the two ardent young men a small sloop—the Norfolk—in which to prosecute their discoveries. They received three months' leave of absence, in which time they proposed to sail round Van Diemen's Land. This they did, and discovered during their voyage the river Tamar and its estuary, Port Dalrymple. It was not in discovery alone that they were successful. Flinders made the most beautiful and exact charts of all the coasts; he sometimes spent whole days in careful and laborious observations and measurements, in order to have the latitude and longitude of a single place correctly marked.
#7. Fate of Bass.#—On their return to Sydney Bass met some friends, who persuaded him to join them in making their fortune by carrying contraband goods into South America, in spite of the Spaniards. What became of Bass is not known, but it is supposed that he was captured by the Spaniards and sent to the silver mines, where he was completely lost from sight. He who entered those dreary mines was lost for ever to human knowledge; and Bass may have perished there after years of wearisome and unknown labour. After all his hardships and adventures, his enthusiasm and his self-devotion, he passed away from men's eyes, and no one was curious to know whither he had gone; but Australians of these days have learnt to honour the memory of the man who first, in company with his friend, laid the foundation of so much of their geography.
#8. The Publication of Flinders' Charts.#—Flinders remained in His Majesty's service, and in the following year was raised to the rank of lieutenant. With his little ship, the Norfolk, he examined the coasts of New South Wales, from Sydney northward as far as Hervey Bay. Next year (1800) he went to London, where his charts were published, containing the first exact accounts of the geography of Australia. They were greatly praised, and the English Government resolved to send out an expedition to survey all the coasts of Australia in like manner. Flinders was placed at the head of it; a vessel was given to him, which he called the Investigator; a passport was obtained for him from the French Government, so that, though England and France were then at war, he might not be obstructed by French war-ships. Sailing to the south coast of Australia, he discovered Kangaroo Island and Spencer's Gulf, and then entered Port Phillip under the impression that he was the discoverer of that inlet, but afterwards learnt that Lieutenant Murray, in his ship the Lady Nelson, had discovered it ten weeks before.
#9. Baudin.#—As Flinders sailed down towards Bass Strait he met with a French expedition, under M. Baudin, who had been sent out by Napoleon to make discoveries in Australia. He had loitered so long on the coast of Tasmania that Flinders had been able to complete the examination of the southern coast before he even approached it. Yet Baudin sailed into the very bays which had already been mapped out, gave them French names, and took to himself the honour of their discovery. Some months later the two expeditions met one another again in Port Jackson. Flinders showed his charts, and the French officers allowed that he had carried off the honours of nearly all the discoveries on the south coast; but, in spite of that, a report was published in France in which Flinders' claims were quite ignored, and Baudin represented as the hero of Australian discovery. The colonists at Port Jackson, however, treated the French sailors with much kindness. Many of them were suffering from scurvy, and these were carried to the Sydney hospital and carefully tended; and though the colonists had themselves eaten only salt meat for months before, in order to preserve their cattle, yet they killed these very cattle to provide fresh meat for the sick sailors. Baudin and his officers were feasted, and everything was done both by Flinders and the people of Sydney to make their stay agreeable.
#10. Imprisonment of Flinders.#—Flinders continued his voyage northwards, rounded Cape York, and examined the northern coasts, making an excellent chart of Torres Strait; but his vessel becoming too rotten to be longer used, he was forced to return to Sydney. Desiring to carry his charts and journals to England, he took his passage in an old store-ship, but she had not sailed far before she struck on a coral reef; the crew with difficulty reached a small sandbank, from which they were not released till two months after. Flinders saved his papers, and brought them back to Sydney. A small schooner, the Cumberland, was given him in which to sail for England; but she was too leaky, and too small a vessel to carry food for so long a voyage; so that he was forced to put into the Mauritius, which then belonged to France. He fancied that his passport from Napoleon would be his protection; but the Governor, De Caen, a low and ignorant fellow, seized him, took his papers from him, and cast him into prison.
Baudin soon after called at the Mauritius, and would probably have procured the release of his brother-mariner had he not died immediately after his arrival. The charts of Flinders, however, were all sent to France, where they were published with altered names, as if they were the work of Frenchmen. Meanwhile, Flinders was spending the weary months in close confinement at the Mauritius.
#11. Death of Flinders.#—Nearly six years passed away before the approach of an English fleet compelled the French to release him; and when he went to England he found that people knew all about those very places of which he thought he was bringing the first tidings. He commenced, however, to write his great book, and worked with the utmost pains to make all his maps scrupulously accurate. After about four years of incessant labour, the three volumes were ready for the press; but he was doomed never to see them. So many years of toil, so many nights passed in open boats or on the wet sands, so many shipwrecks and weeks of semi-starvation, together with his long and unjust imprisonment, had utterly destroyed his constitution; and on the very day when his book was being published, the wife and daughter of Flinders were tending his last painful hours. He was, perhaps, our greatest maritime discoverer: a man who worked because his heart was in his work; who sought no reward, and obtained none; who lived laboriously, and did honourable service to mankind; yet died, like his friend Bass, almost unknown to those of his own day, but leaving a name which the world is every year more and more disposed to honour.
NEW SOUTH WALES, 1800-1808.
#1. Governor King.#—Governor Hunter, who left Sydney in the year 1800, was succeeded by Captain King, the young officer who has been already mentioned as the founder of the settlement at Norfolk Island. He was a man of much ability, and was both active and industrious; yet so overwhelming at this time were the difficulties of Governorship in New South Wales, that his term of office was little more than a distressing failure. The colony consisted chiefly of convicts, who were—many of them—the most depraved and hardened villains to be met with in the history of crime. To keep these in check, and to maintain order, was no easy task; but to make them work, to convert them into industrious and well-behaved members of the community, was far beyond any Governor's power. King made an effort, and did his very best; but after a time he grew disheartened, and, in his disappointment, complained of the folly which expected him to make farmers out of pickpockets. His chances of success would have been much increased had he been properly seconded by his subordinates. But, unfortunately, circumstances had arisen which caused the officers and soldiers not only to render him no assistance whatever, but even to thwart and frustrate his most careful plans.
#2. The New South Wales Corps.#—In 1790 a special corps had been organised in the British army for service in the colony; it was called the New South Wales Corps, and was intended to be permanently settled in Sydney. Very few high-class officers cared to enter this service, so far from home and in the midst of the lowest criminals. Those who joined it generally came out with the idea of quickly gathering a small fortune, then resigning their commissions and returning to England. The favourite method of making money was to import goods into the settlement and sell them at high rates of profit; and, in their haste to become rich, many resorted to unscrupulous devices for obtaining profits. A trade in which those who commanded were the sellers, whilst the convicts and settlers under their charge were the purchasers, could hardly fail to ruin discipline and introduce grave evils, more especially when ardent spirits began to be the chief article of traffic. It was found that nothing sold so well among the convicts as rum, their favourite liquor; and, rather than not make money, the officers began to import large quantities of that spirit, thus deliberately assisting to demoralise still further the degraded population which they had been sent to reform. So enormous were the profits made in this debasing trade that very few of the officers could refrain from joining it. Soon the New South Wales Corps became like one great firm of spirit merchants, engaged in the importing and retailing of rum. The most enterprising went so far as to introduce stills and commence the manufacture of spirits in the colony. By an order of the Governor in Council this was forbidden, but many continued to work their stills in secret. This system of traffic, demoralising to every one engaged in it, was shared even by the highest officials in the colony. In the year 1800 the chief constable was a publican, and the head gaoler sold rum and brandy opposite the prison gates.
#3. State of the Colony.#—Under these circumstances, drunkenness became fearfully prevalent; the freed convicts gave themselves up to unrestrained riot, and, when intoxicated, committed the most brutal atrocities; the soldiers also sank into the wildest dissipation; and many of the officers themselves led lives of open and shameless debauchery. This was the community Governor King had to rule. He made an effort to effect some change, but failed; and we can hardly wonder at the feeling of intense disgust which he entertained and freely expressed.
#4. Mutiny of Convicts.#—Most of the convicts, on their arrival in the colony, were "assigned"—that is, sent to work as shepherds or farm-labourers for the free settlers in the country; but prisoners of the worst class were chained in gangs and employed on the roads, or on the Government farms. One of these gangs, consisting of three or four hundred convicts, was stationed at Castlehill, a few miles north of Parramatta. The prisoners, emboldened by their numbers and inflamed by the oratory of a number of political exiles, broke out into open insurrection. They flung away their hoes and spades, removed their irons, seized about two hundred and fifty muskets, and marched towards the Hawkesbury, expecting to be there reinforced by so many additional convicts that they would be able to overpower the military. Major Johnstone, with twenty-four soldiers of the New South Wales Corps, pursued them; they halted and turned round to fight, but he charged with so much determination into their midst that they were quickly routed, and fled in all directions, leaving several of their number dead on the spot. Three or four of the ringleaders were caught and hanged; the remainder returned quickly to their duty.
#5. Origin of Wool-growing.#—During Governor King's term of office a beginning was made in what is now an industry of momentous importance to Australia. In the New South Wales Corps there had been an officer named Macarthur, who had become so disgusted with the service that, shortly after his arrival in Sydney, he resigned his commission, and, having obtained a grant of land, became a settler in the country. He quickly perceived that wool-growing, if properly carried on, would be a source of much wealth, and obtained a number of sheep from the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope, with which to make a commencement. These were of a kind which did not suit the climate, and his first attempt failed; but in 1803, when he was in England on a visit, he spoke so highly of New South Wales as a country adapted for wool-growing, that King George III. was interested in the proposal, and offered his assistance. Now, the sheep most suitable for Macarthur's purpose were the merino sheep of Spain; but these were not to be obtained, as the Spaniards, desirous of keeping the lucrative trade of wool-growing to themselves, had made it a capital crime to export sheep of this kind from Spain. But it so happened that, as a special favour, a few had been given to King George, who was an enthusiastic farmer; and when he heard of Macarthur's idea, he sent him one or two from his own flock to be carried out to New South Wales. They were safely landed at Sydney, Governor King made a grant of ten thousand acres to Mr. Macarthur, at Camden, and the experiment was begun. It was not long before the most marked success crowned the effort, and in the course of a few years the meadows at Camden were covered with great flocks of sheep, whose wool yielded annually a handsome fortune to their enterprising owner.
#6. Governor Bligh.#—In 1806 Governor King was succeeded by Captain Bligh, whose previous adventures have made his name so well known. In his ship, the Bounty, he had been sent by the British Government to the South Sea Islands for a cargo of bread-fruit trees. But his conduct to his sailors was so tyrannical that they mutinied, put him, along with eighteen others, into an open boat, then sailed away, and left him in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Bligh was a skilful sailor, and the voyage he thereupon undertook is one of the most remarkable on record. In an open boat he carried his little party over 3,500 miles of unknown ocean to the island of Timor, where they found a vessel that took them home.
In appointing Captain Bligh to rule the colony, the English Government spoiled an excellent seaman to make a very inefficient Governor. It was true that New South Wales contained a large convict population, who required to be ruled with despotic rigour; yet there were many free settlers who declined to be treated like slaves and felons, and who soon came to have a thorough dislike to the new Governor. Not that he was without kindly feeling; his generous treatment of the Hawkesbury farmers, who were ruined by a flood in 1806, showed him to have been warm-hearted in his way; he exerted himself to the utmost, both with time and money, to alleviate their distress, and received the special thanks of the English Government for his humanity. And yet his arbitrary and unamiable manners completely obscured all these better qualities. He caused the convicts to be flogged without mercy for faults which existed only in his own imagination; he bullied his officers, and, throughout the colony, repeated the same mistakes which had led to the mutiny of the Bounty. At the same time, he was anxious to do what he conceived to be his duty to his superiors in England. He had been ordered to put a stop to the traffic in spirits, and, in spite of the most unscrupulous opposition on the part of those whose greed was interested, he set himself to effect this reform by prompt and summary measures, and with a contemptuous disregard of the hatred he was causing; but, in the end, the officers were too strong for him, and in the quarrel that ensued the Governor was completely defeated.
#7. Expulsion of Bligh.#—Month after month Bligh became more and more unpopular; those whom he did not alienate in the course of his duty he offended by his rudeness, until, at last, there was scarcely any one in the colony who was his friend. Many were inflamed by so bitter a hatred that they were ready to do anything for revenge, and affairs seemed to be in that critical state in which a trifling incident may bring about serious results.
This determining cause was supplied by a quarrel which took place between Mr. Macarthur and Mr. Atkin, the new judge-advocate of the colony. Mr. Macarthur was condemned to pay a heavy fine for neglect, in having permitted a convict to escape in a vessel of which he was partly the owner. He refused to pay, and was summoned before the court, of which Atkin was the president. He declined to appear, on the ground that Atkin was his personal enemy. Thereupon Atkin caused him to be seized and put in gaol. Bligh appointed a special court to try him, consisting of six officers, together with Atkin himself. Macarthur was brought before it, but protested against being judged by his enemy, stating his willingness, however, to abide by the decision of the six officers. The officers supported his protest, and the trial was discontinued. Bligh was exceedingly angry, and, by declaring he would put the six officers in gaol, brought matters to a crisis. The officers of the New South Wales Corps all took part with their comrades; they assisted Mr. Macarthur to get up a petition, asking Major Johnstone, the military commander, to depose Governor Bligh, and himself take charge of the colony. Major Johnstone was only too glad of the opportunity. He held a council of officers, at which Mr. Macarthur and several others were present. Their course of action was decided upon, and next morning the soldiers marched, with colours flying and drums beating, to the gate of the Governor's house. Here they were met by Bligh's daughter, who endeavoured to persuade them to retire; but they made her stand aside and marched up the avenue. Meantime the Governor had hidden himself in the house; the soldiers entered and searched everywhere for him, till at length they discovered him behind a bed, where he was seeking to hide important papers. He was arrested, and sentinels were posted to prevent his escape. Major Johnstone assumed the Governor's position, and appointed his friends to the most important offices in the Government service. He continued to direct affairs for some time, until Colonel Foveaux superseded him. Foveaux, in his turn, was superseded by Colonel Patterson, who came over from Tasmania to take charge of the colony until a new Governor should be sent out from home. Patterson offered Bligh his liberty if he would promise to go straight to England, and not seek to raise a disturbance in the colony. This promise was given by Bligh, and yet no sooner was he free than he began to stir up the Hawkesbury settlers in his behalf. They declined to assist him, however, and Bligh went over to Tasmania, where the settlement to be described in the next chapter had been formed. Here he was received with great good-will, until the news arrived from Sydney that, according to the solemn promise he had given, he ought at that time to have been on his way to England. An attempt was made to capture him, but he escaped to England, where his adventures in New South Wales were soon forgotten, and he rose to be an admiral in the English navy. When the news of the rebellion reached the authorities in England, Major Johnstone was dismissed from the service, and Major-General Lachlan Macquarie was sent out to be Governor of the colony. Major Johnstone retired to a farm in New South Wales, where he lived and prospered till his death in 1817.
#1. First Settlement.#—After the departure of Baudin from Sydney it was discovered that there was an inclination on the part of the French to settle in some part of Australia. It was known that the inlet called Storm Bay, in the island then known as Van Diemen's Land, had especially attracted their notice, its shores having been so green and leafy. It was now known that Van Diemen's Land was severed by a broad strait from the mainland, and the Governor at Sydney thought that if the French proposed to make a settlement anywhere they would be certain to appropriate this island, and deny that the English had any claim to it. He, therefore, prepared an expedition to proceed to Storm Bay and take possession of its shores. For that purpose he chose Lieutenant John Bowen, who had recently arrived as an officer of a ship of war, and appointed him commandant of the proposed settlement. The colonial ship called the Lady Nelson was chosen as the means of conveying him and eight soldiers, while a whaling ship called the Albion was chartered for the purpose of carrying twenty-four convicts and six free persons, who were to found the new colony. This was a very small number with which to occupy a large country; but Governor King thought that in the meantime they would be sufficient to assert a prior claim, and that the authorities in England could subsequently decide whether the settlement should be increased or withdrawn.
Governor King saw also another object in founding this new colony. He had some most unruly convicts in Sydney, who were only a source of trouble and annoyance to all the rest. It seemed to him an advantage to be able to send these off to a place by themselves, under specially severe discipline. In September, 1803, the two ships sailed up Storm Bay and into the mouth of the river Derwent. Lieutenant Bowen caused them to anchor on the right side of the estuary, in a little bay called Risdon Cove. The people were soon on shore, and pitched their tents on a grassy hill a little back from the water. Bowen went out to survey the country, while the convicts set to work to build huts for themselves; a little village soon appeared, and in the long grass that surrounded it a few sheep and goats were pastured for the use of the rising colony. The place was named Hobart Town, after Lord Hobart, who was then Secretary of State for the Colonies. A month later Governor King sent forty-two convicts and fifteen soldiers to increase the strength of the settlement; and the little village was beginning to look populous, when, unexpectedly, there came a great accession from another source.
#2. Collins.#—During this same year, 1803, the British Government, moved by fears of a French occupation, had resolved to form a settlement on the shores of Port Phillip. Accordingly David Collins, who had been judge-advocate at Sydney, but had taken a trip to England, was chosen to be Lieutenant-Governor of the new colony, and was despatched with 307 convicts, 24 wives of convicts, 51 soldiers, and 13 free settlers, on board two ships, the Calcutta and the Ocean. Collins had made an effort to form a settlement at Port Phillip, on a sandy shore, near the site of Sorrento, but had grown disgusted with the place; and early in 1804 he carried off all the people, and resolved to abandon Port Phillip in favour of the Derwent. He landed at Risdon on the 15th February, and, after a short examination, came to the conclusion that the situation was unsuitable. Next day he went in search of a better place, and chose a little bay on the opposite side, some six miles nearer the mouth of the estuary, and thither the whole settlement was soon after removed. There, at the very foot of the lofty Mount Wellington, Hobart Town began to grow in its new situation. Houses were rapidly erected; most of them consisted of posts stuck in the ground, interwoven with twigs of wattle trees, and then daubed over with mud. The chimneys were built of stones and turf, and the roofs were thatched with grass. Whilst the new town was growing, a party of convicts and soldiers was still busy on the little farms at Risdon, and early in May they had a most unfortunate affray with the natives. A party of two or three hundred blacks, who were travelling southward, came suddenly in sight of the white men and their habitations. These were the first Europeans whom they had seen, and they became much excited at the strange spectacle. While they were shouting and gesticulating, the Englishmen thought they were preparing for an attack and fired upon them. The blacks fled and the white men pursued them, killing about thirty of the unfortunate natives. Thus was begun a long warfare, which ended only with the complete extinction of the native races.
#3. Patterson.#—Next year, 1804, the Sydney Government sent another party of convicts, under Colonel Patterson, to found a colony in the north of Tasmania. The position selected was near the entrance to Port Dalrymple; and here, for eight years, a small settlement continued to exist in an independent state, until, in 1812, it was placed under the charge of the Governor at Hobart Town.
#4. Death Of Collins.#—The colony at the latter place was meanwhile slowly establishing itself; and in 1808, when Bligh visited it after his expulsion from Sydney, he found the little township with quite a settled and comfortable appearance. In 1810 it lost its amiable and warm-hearted Governor. While calmly and cheerfully conversing with a friend, Mr. Collins fell back dead in his chair. He was a man of a good and kindly nature, a little vain and self-important, but earnest and upright, and possessed of very fair abilities. The distinguished part he played in the early colonisation of Australia will always render him a prominent person in our history.
#5. Governor Davey.#—It took some time for the news of the Governor's death to reach England, and during the three years that elapsed before his successor could be sent out, the place was filled in turn by three gentlemen, named Lord, Murray, and Geils, till, in 1813, the new Governor, Davey, arrived. He had been a colonel of marines, and had shown himself a good soldier, but he had few of the qualities of a Governor. He was rough and excessively coarse in his manners, and utterly regardless of all decorum. He showed his defiance of all conventional rules by the manner of his entry. The day being warm, he took off his coat and waistcoat, and marched into the town in a costume more easy than dignified; he listened to the address of welcome with careless indifference, and throughout showed little respect either for himself or for the people he had come to govern. Yet, under his rule, the colony made progress. In his first year he opened the port to ordinary merchant ships; for, previously, as the town was a convict settlement of the most severe type, no free person was allowed to land without special permission. From this time commerce began to spring up; free settlers spread over the country, and cultivated it with such success that, in 1816, besides supplying all the necessities of their own community, they were able to export grain to Sydney.
#6. New Norfolk.#—In 1807 the settlement of Norfolk Island had been abandoned by the British Government, on account of its expense, and the convicts, of whom many had there grown to be decent, orderly farmers, were brought to Tasmania. They formed a new settlement on the Derwent, about fifteen miles above Hobart Town, at a place which they called "New Norfolk," in affectionate memory of their former island home.
#7. Bushranging.#—About this time the colony began to be greatly annoyed by bushrangers. From twenty to forty convicts generally escaped every year and betook themselves to the wild country around the central lakes of Tasmania. There, among the fastnesses of the western mountains, they led a desperate and daring life, sometimes living with the natives, whom they quickly taught all the wickedness they themselves knew. Their ordinary lives were wretchedly debased; and, in search of booty, or in revenge for fancied injuries, they often committed the most savage crimes. They treated their native companions like beasts, to be used for a while, and then shot or mangled when no longer wanted; and it is not surprising that the blacks soon became filled with intense hatred of all the white invaders of their land. Frequently the aboriginal tribes united to attack the lonely farm-house and murder all its inhabitants. Hence, every settler in the country districts was well supplied with arms, and taught all his household to use them; the walls were pierced here and there with holes, through which a musket might be directed in safety against an advancing enemy. The fear of bushrangers who might attack them for the sake of plunder, and of natives who might massacre them in revenge, kept the scattered settlers in constant terror and trouble.
#8. Governor Sorell.#—But in 1817, when Governor Davey grew tired of his position and resigned it, choosing rather to live an easy-going life on his estate near Hobart Town, than be troubled with the cares of office, Colonel Sorell, the new Governor, set himself with vigour to suppress these ruthless marauders. He was to some extent successful, and the young colony enjoyed an interval of peace. Farming was profitable, and the exports of wheat began to assume large dimensions. The best breeds of sheep were brought into the island, and Van Diemen's Land wool, which at first had been despised in England, and used only for stuffing mattresses, grew into favour, and was bought by the manufacturers at high prices. Thus many of the settlers became wealthy, and the estates from which their wealth was derived began to have a correspondingly high value, so as to give the colony an assured prosperity which was certainly remarkable in the sixteenth year from its foundation. Another industry was added, which indirectly contributed to the wealth of Tasmania. The captain of a merchant vessel, on his way to Sydney, had seen a great shoal of whales off the south coast of Tasmania, and, along with the Governor of New South Wales, secretly formed a scheme to fit out a whaling expedition. But his crew also had seen the whales, and soon made the fact widely known; so that, by the time the captain's party was ready to sail, there were several other whaling vessels on the point of starting. They were all successful, and very soon a large number of ships was engaged in whale fishing. Now, as Hobart Town was the nearest port, the whalers found that it saved time to go thither with their oil, and to buy their provisions and refit their ships there; so that the trade and importance of the little city received a very material impetus in this way.
Much of the progress was due to the sensible management of Governor Sorell, who spared no effort to reform the convicts, as well as to elevate and refine the free settlers. Hence it was with great regret that the colonists saw his term of office expire in 1824. They petitioned the English Government to allow him to stay for another six years; and when the reply was given that this could not be done, as Colonel Sorell was required elsewhere, they presented him with a handsome testimonial, and settled on him an income of L500 a year from their own revenues.
#9. Governor Arthur.#—After Colonel Sorell had left, bushranging became as troublesome as ever. Governor Arthur arrived in 1824, and found the colony fast relapsing into its former unsettled state. He learnt that, shortly before, some thirteen or fourteen convicts had succeeded in escaping from the penal settlement in an open boat, and had landed on a lonely part of the coast. They were joined by a great crowd of concealed convicts, and, under the leadership of Crawford and Brady, formed a dangerous horde of robbers, who, for years, kept the whole colony in terror. For a while they plundered without hindrance, till a party of about a dozen attacked the house of an old gentleman named Taylor, who had the courage to fight and defeat them. With his three sons, his carpenter, and his servant, he fired upon the advancing ruffians, whilst his daughters rapidly reloaded the muskets. The robbers retreated, leaving their leader—Crawford—and two or three others, who had been wounded, to be captured by Mr. Taylor and sent to Hobart Town, where they were executed. Brady then became chief leader of the band, and though his encounter with Mr. Taylor had taken away all his ardour for fighting, he contrived to plunder and annoy for a long time. Deep in the woods, along the silent banks of the Shannon, the outlaws lived securely; for, even when the soldiers ventured to penetrate into these lonely regions, the outlaws could easily escape to the rugged mountain sides, where they could hide or defend themselves. Governor Arthur's task was not an easy one, for Brady could command a powerful force, and his was not the only one of the kind; the result was that, for a long time, the country was unsettled and trade was paralysed. Seeing no other course open, Governor Arthur offered a pardon and a free passage home to those who surrendered. So many were thus induced to submit peaceably that, at length, Brady was almost alone; and whilst he wandered in a secluded valley, without followers, he was surprised by John Batman, who, several years after, assisted in the settlement of Victoria. Brady surrendered and was executed; the bushrangers, by degrees, disappeared, and the colonists once more breathed freely.
#10. Separation.#—Hitherto Tasmania had only been a dependency of New South Wales, but in 1825 it was made a separate colony, with a Supreme Court of its own. In 1829 it received its first legislative body, fifteen gentlemen being appointed to consult with the Governor and make laws for the colony. For some years after, the history of Tasmania is simply an account of quiet industry and steady progress. Hobart Town, by degrees, grew to be a fine city, with handsome buildings and well kept streets. The country districts were fenced in and well tilled, good roads and bridges were made, and everything looked smiling and prosperous. The only serious difficulty was the want of coin for the ordinary purposes of trade. So great was the scarcity of gold and silver money that pieces of paper, with promises to pay a certain sum—perhaps a sixpence or a shilling—were largely used in the colony, in place of the money itself. At the request of Governor Arthur, coins to the value of a hundred thousand pounds were sent out from England for the use of the colonists.
Governor Arthur's period of office expired in 1836, and he left the colony, greatly to the regret of the colonists, who subscribed L1,500 to present him with a testimonial. He was succeeded by Sir John Franklin, the famous voyager, whose history will be related in a subsequent chapter.
NEW SOUTH WALES, 1808-1837.
#1. Governor Macquarie.#—In 1808 the English Government held an inquiry as to the circumstances which had caused the expulsion of Governor Bligh; and though they cashiered Major Johnstone, and indeed ordered the whole of the New South Wales Corps to be disbanded, yet, as it was clear that Bligh had been himself very much to blame, they yielded to the wishes of the settlers in so far as to appoint a new Governor in his place, and therefore despatched Major-General Macquarie to take the position. He was directed to reinstate Bligh for a period of twenty-four hours, in order to indicate that the authorities in England would not suffer the colonists to dictate to them in these matters; but that they reserved completely to themselves the right to appoint and dismiss the Governors. However, as Bligh had by this time gone to Tasmania, Macquarie was forced to content himself, on his arrival, with merely proclaiming what had been his instructions.
In the early days of the colonies their destinies were, to a great extent, moulded by the Governors who had charge of them. Whether for good or for evil, the influence of the Governor was decisive; and it was, therefore, a matter of great good fortune to Sydney that, during the long administration of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, this influence was almost wholly on the side of good. Not that Macquarie had no faults. He was a man full of vanity and self-conceit; a man who, instead of sober despatches to his superiors in England, wrote flowery accounts of himself and his wonderful doings; a man who, in his egoism, affixed the names of himself and of his family to nearly every place discovered in the colony during his term of office. Yet, apart from this weakness, Macquarie may be characterised as an exemplary man and an admirable Governor. He devoted himself heartily to his work; his chief thought for twelve years was how to improve the state of the little colony, and how to raise the degraded men who had been sent thither. An ardent feeling of philanthropy gave a kindly tone to his restless activity. Once every year he made a complete tour of the settled portions of the colony, to observe their condition and discover what improvements were needed. He taught the farmers to build for themselves neat houses, in place of the rude huts they had previously been content with; he encouraged them to improve their system of farming, sometimes with advice, sometimes with money, but more often with loans from the Government stores. He built churches and schools; he took the warmest interest in the progress of religion and of education; and neglected nothing that could serve to elevate the moral tone of the little community. Certainly, no community has ever been in greater need of elevation. The fact that the British Government thought it necessary to send out 1,100 soldiers to keep order among a population of only 10,000 indicates very plainly what was the character of these people, and almost justifies the sweeping assertion of Macquarie, that the colony consisted of those "who had been transported, and those who ought to have been". Yet Macquarie uniformly showed a kindly disposition towards the convicts; he settled great numbers of them as free men on little farms of their own; and if they did not succeed as well as they might have done, it was not for want of advice and assistance from the Governor.
#2. Road over the Blue Mountains.# The most important result of Macquarie's activity was the opening up of new country. He had quite a passion for road-making; and though, on his arrival in the colony, he found only forty-five miles of what were little better than bush tracks, yet, when he left, there were over three hundred miles of excellent and substantial roads spreading in all directions from Sydney. He marked out towns—such as Windsor, Richmond, and Castlereagh—in suitable places; then, by making roads to them, he encouraged the freed convicts to leave Sydney and form little communities inland. But his greatest achievement in the way of road-making was the highway across the Blue Mountains. This range had for years presented an insurmountable barrier. Many persons—including the intrepid Bass—had attempted to cross it, but in vain; the only one who succeeded even in penetrating far into that wild and rugged country was a gentleman called Caley, who stopped at the edge of an enormous precipice, where he could see no way of descending. But in 1813 three gentlemen—named Wentworth, Lawson, and Blaxland—succeeded in crossing. After laboriously piercing through the dense timber which covers some of the ranges, they traversed a wild and desolate country, sometimes crawling along naked precipices, sometimes fighting their way through wild ravines, but at length emerging on the beautiful plains to the west. On their return they found that by keeping constantly on the crest of a long spur, the road could be made much easier, and Governor Macquarie, stimulated by their report, sent Surveyor Evans to examine the pass. His opinion was favourable, and Macquarie lost no time in commencing to construct a road over the mountains. The difficulties in his way were immense; for fifty miles the course lay through the most rugged country, where yawning chasms had to be bridged, and oftentimes the solid rock had to be cut away. Yet, in less than fifteen months, a good carriage highway stretched from Sydney across the mountains; and the Governor was able to take Mrs. Macquarie on a trip to the fine pasture lands beyond, where he founded a town and named it Bathurst, after Lord Bathurst, the Secretary of State. This was a measure of great importance to the colony, for the country between the mountains and the sea was too limited and too much subject to droughts to maintain the two hundred and fifty thousand sheep which the prosperous colony now possessed. Many squatters took their flocks along the road to Bathurst, and settled down in the spacious pasture lands of the Macquarie and Lachlan Rivers.
#3. Governor Brisbane.#—In 1821 Governor Macquarie left for England, much regretted by the colonists. The only serious mistake of his policy had been that he had quietly discouraged the introduction of free settlers, "because," as he said, "the colony is intended for convicts, and free settlers have no business here". His successor—Sir Thomas Brisbane—and, afterwards, Sir Ralph Darling—adopted a more liberal policy, and offered every inducement to free immigrants to make their homes in the colony. It was never found possible, however, to obtain many of that class which has been so successful in America, consisting of men who, having with difficulty gathered sufficient money for their passages, landed in their adopted country without means and with no resources beyond the cheerful labour of themselves and of their families, yet settled down in the deep, untrodden forests, and there made for themselves happy and prosperous homes. This was not the class of immigrants who arrived in New South Wales during the times of Brisbane and Darling. For in 1818 free passages to Australia had been abolished, and the voyage was so long and so expensive that a poor man could scarcely hope to accomplish it. Hence, those who arrived in Sydney were generally young men of good education, who brought with them a few hundred pounds, and not only were willing to labour themselves, but were able to employ the labour of others. In America, the "squatter" was a man who farmed a small piece of land. In Australia, he was one who bought a flock of sheep and carried them out to the pasture lands, where, as they increased from year to year, he grew rich with the annual produce of their wool. Sir Thomas Brisbane was pleased with the advent of men of this class: he gave them grants of land and assigned to them as many convicts as they were able to employ. Very speedily the fine lands of the colony were covered with flocks and herds; and the applications for convicts became so numerous that, at one time, two thousand more were demanded than could be supplied. Hence began an important change in the colony. The costly Government farms were, one after another, broken up, and the convicts assigned to the squatters. Then the unremunerative public works were abandoned; for many of these had been begun only for the purpose of occupying the prisoners. All this tended for good; as the convicts, when thus scattered, were much more manageable, and much more likely to reform, than when gathered in large and corrupting crowds. In Macquarie's time, not one convict in ten could be usefully employed; seven or eight years after, there was not a convict in the colony whose services would not be eagerly sought for at a good price by the squatters.