Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 1 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.7 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Produced by Col Choat

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.





* * * * *


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,

Your Lordship's
Most obedient, very humble,
and devoted servant,

Beaumont Street,
June 26, 1802

* * * * *


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.

* * * * *



A log prison begun
Various impositions practised at the store
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
Two victuallers arrive from England
Constables elected
The _Francis_ returns from Norfolk Island
Civil appointment
A criminal court held
One man hung in chains
Effect of this upon the natives
Public works
Convicts secreted on board the _Sylph_
A general muster
A native child murdered


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


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
The natives burn a house
The Supply arrives from the Cape
A ship wrecked to the southward
Three of her people brought in by a fishing boat
Two accidents
The _Britannia_ arrives from England
Vessels and assistance sent to the wreck
Public works
Cordage wanted
The _Mercury_ sails
The Ganges arrives from Ireland
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
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


Another boat seized and carried off
Order in consequence
The criminal court thrice assembled
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


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
Houses burnt
Public labour
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
The _Francis_ returns from the southward
Conjectures as to a strait
A convict providentially saved
Public works


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


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
The criminal court meets
Three men executed
Accidents among the stock
Discoveries prosecuted
Settlers and their complaints
An old woman accused of dreaming
Works in hand


Some Irishmen providentially saved from perishing
The _Nautilus_ arrives from Otaheite
Order respecting the sawyers
The _Barwell_ arrives with convicts
A judge-advocate sent out
The _Reliance_ and _Schooner_ sail for Norfolk Island
Information sent thither
Works and weather in May
Ground fixed on for the missionaries
The Hunter arrives from Bengal
The commander of the _Sydney Cove_ dies
A decked boat arrives from Norfolk Island
Maize harvest completed


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
John Raynor executed
Profligacy of the female part of the settlement
Civil regulations
The Sabbath neglected
Attendance enforced
Two whalers arrive
Public works
A native girl killed
An extraordinary custom among them
The _Barwell_ sails for China, and the _Hunter_ for New Zealand
The bones of two horses found
Whalers sail
Public works
Fears for the approaching harvest


The _Semiramis_ arrives from Rhode Island
The church at Sydney burnt
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
The governor's steward destroys himself
An order respecting the women
A battery erected
State of the harvest
The _Francis_ returns; and the _Nautilus_
The _Eliza_ from Sea
Three deaths
One good character recorded
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
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
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


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
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
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
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
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
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
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
A ship arrives from America
The _Buffalo_ sails for the Cape
The governor crosses the Nepean
A calf killed
Convicts found on board the _Hillsborough_ and _Hunter_
The master of the _Hunter_ tried
A young ox stolen
Ration reduced
Price of Grain fixed


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


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
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
A new magazine begun
The _Reliance_ sails for England
A mountain eagle shot
The _Martha_ arrives from Bass Strait
Settlers sell their sheep
Flood occasioned by bad weather
Criminal court held
The _Speedy_ arrives from England with Lieutenant-Governor King
The _Buffalo_ from the Cape


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
Criminal court held
Two men hanged for sheep-stealing
The _Hunter_ sails with Major Foveaux for Norfolk Island
The _Buffalo_ ordered for sea
Public gaol
Three men executed
General muster
Cattle purchased
The _Martha_ driven on shore
Survey of public stores
Spirits landed and seized
Death of Wilson
Rumours of Insurrection
Volunteer corps
Coal found
The _John Jay_ arrives
The governor quits the settlement
Live stock, etc
The _Buffalo_ sails for England
Touches at Norfolk Island


* * * * *


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
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

* * * * *



A log prison begun
Various impositions practised at the store
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
Two victuallers arrive from England
Constables elected
The _Francis_ returns from Norfolk Island
Civil appointment
A criminal court held
One man hung in chains
Effect of this upon the natives
Public works
Convicts secreted on board the _Sylph_
A general muster
A native child murdered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
The natives burn a house
The _Supply_ arrives from the Cape
A ship wrecked to the southward
Three of her people brought in by a fishing boat
Two accidents
The _Britannia_ arrives from England
Vessels and assistance sent to the wreck
Public works
Cordage wanted
The _Mercury_ sails
The _Ganges_ arrives from Ireland
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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Book of the day: