25
weeks passed
20
weeks to go

Week 26 - the expanding settlement

[ 14th of August 1836 to 20th of August 1836 ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 26: Whose story? ]

On Kangaroo Island

The fledgling settlement on Kangaroo Island is now into its third week and it is not a happy place. Samuel Stephens and Captains Morgan and Ross are increasingly anxious about their failure to find an adequate supply of fresh water nearby. Both the Duke of York and the Lady Mary Pelham need to replenish their stocks so that they can leave to start whaling and they are finding it very difficult to control their crew members. The well they have dug at first seems brackish, which causes near panic. When they reach fresh water the well fills very slowly, delaying the work of re-provisioning the ships. Stephens desperately needs a boat to bring casks of fresh water from the River Morgan, but is not prepared to pay the price the first of the established settlers on the Island they meet are asking.  Luckily more of the existing settlers hear of their arrival and come to the beach to introduce themselves.  Stephens meets William Cooper, then two days later George Bates and Nathaniel Thomas. A relieved Stephens is able to reach agreement with William Cooper both for the use of his boat and his general assistance for the foreseeable future. That settled Stephens can turn his mind to other pressing problems – notably controlling his workforce! The crew of the Lady Mary Pelham is mutinous, threatening to desert and refusing to work.  They are constantly drunk, and there is a good deal of pilfering. Moreover they seem to a have found allies amongst the Company’s workers. A nervous Captain Ross arms himself, afraid of an all-out assault. There is a great deal of quarrelling too and Stephens gets heartily sick of listening to all the complaints.

Amid all the strife there is some good news. On 14 August Captain Morgan brings Miss Beare and the Beare children on shore and delivers them to Stephens‘ tent, where they are to sleep.  Mrs Beare is still too ill to care for the children and their aunt seems to have assumed this role. We learn that Stephens is to marry Miss Beare. In the interim he is careful to record in his diary that he intends to ‘mount guard until 2 am’ and then sleep wrapped up in his Boat cloaks provided protection against the cold. An example in the collection of Britain's National Maritime Museum was made in 1836. It was made of navy wool with a plush lining and was gathered at the shoulders into a high standing collar. boat cloak , to preserve appropriate decencies no doubt.

Then on 16 August the John Pirie arrives safely, bringing the total of new arrivals to 101. And we learn that Stephens plans to name the new settlement Kingscote. He anticipates a fine future for it – if the water supply problem can be solved.

scene: kangaroo island

Kangaroo Island. Edward Snell, 1849.

At Sea

The Africaine is in the doldrums and has managed to travel only 390 miles south in the past month. The heat is getting on people’s nerves and the animals are suffering too. Robert Gouger has brought several cashmere goats on board, along with a dog and a bird. When a favourite kid dies, he arranges for the others to have the run of the deck, which must have made life interesting for everyone else. He does not mention who cleaned up the mess. It is now obvious that this will not be a quick journey and the captain must consider seriously whether to put in at a port to replenish supplies.  The Gougers hope that he will decide to call at the Cape.  They have a long shopping list ready. But then the winds pick up and it seems they might lose the chance after all.

On the Buffalo meanwhile Young Bingham Hutchinson is in a pensive mood. He turns 30 on 14 August and mourns the passing of his youth. It is an ‘awful and painful reflection’ he writes, ‘being still a bachelor, and likely to continue so for some time.’ This is an interesting comment on popular ideas about maturity, and perhaps on what he thought was the proper time to marry. Evidently none of the unattached young ladies on board has taken his fancy. Or perhaps he is suffering from unrequited love? We will have to wait and see what transpires. George Stevenson, meanwhile, continues to find his employer, the Governor, unimpressive.

The surveyors on the Rapid seem less given to self reflection.  Captain Light’s journal is brief and factual, noting his arrival near Encounter Bay, which he finds ‘exactly as described by Flinders.’ In the end the John Pirie and the Rapid arrive within a few days of each other, at the ‘New-Colony’ of ‘South Australia’ as the Pirie diarist notes. Dr Woodforde, surgeon on the Rapid can’t wait to head off on shore with his gun, and like those before him explores the River Morgan, shooting ‘seafowl’ for the A fresh serving of food. mess that night. By the end of this week there are 128 newly arrived souls on the beach at Nepean Bay. The quiet and secluded life of the tiny community around Henry Wallen, Nat Thomas and their families will never be the same again.


Journals from settlers in South Australia:

Sunday 14 August 1836

[, who arrived in South Australia on board the wrote.]

I  took Miss Bear and the children on shore early
this morning and found Mr Stevens had
bing in trouble all night in the L M Pelhams crew

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Sunday 14 August 1836

[, who arrived in South Australia on board the wrote.]

at 7 a.m. A boat (for the 2nd time) came ashore for the purpose of taking off the L.M.P. sailors and after a mixture of persuasions and threats they were prevailed upon to depart. During the previous evening while absent on duty at a little distance my tent had been entered and plundered of some private stores (Cheese Ham and Wine) … This morning I hoisted for the first time the British Admiralty Ensign and decorated with the Company’s flag and colours a booth which I had prepared for the performance of Divine Service. In the evening a man of the name of Cooper who has been residing on the Island for 7 years and who it appears has 3 acres of land under cultivation on the Western side of the Point Marsden came round to us and after having had some lengthy conversation with him I arranged with him for the service of himself and his boat so long as I might require it… If I can get a well of fresh water hereabouts I shall name this place Kingscote and it will be at no distant period a port and harbour of the very first class for ships under the burthen of 500 tons…

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Monday 15 August 1836

[, who arrived in South Australia on board the wrote.]

… This evening spent some time in conversation with two settlers, Bates and Nathaniel Thomas, who have a little place on the N.E. corner of the Island and who have appeared among us this afternoon for the first time. I made to Bates a proposal for his services for 3 months which he is to answer in the morning. These are the two men who were commissioned by the Governor of V.D.L. [Van Diemen's Land] to take the natives who killed Captain Barker. All the settlers we have seen are free men. Most of them have native women with them who assist in catching game (which is now nearly destroyed here) and some of them have children by those women. I have to-day made several arrangements for the more effectual protection of ourselves and the Company’s property and have landed Miss Beare (my intended wife) to be near my tent, manage my domestic affairs and keep a sharp look out when I am away… Miss Beare and her brother’s children are sleeping under my tent and I shall mount guard till 2 a.m. then lay down in my boat cloak.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Tuesday 15 August 1836

[, who arrived in South Australia on board the wrote.]

… 8 AM the John Pirie hove
in sight I took a boat and went on board and
piloted him and welcomed Captn Martin
crew and passengers to nepean bay …

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Wednesday 17 August 1836

[, who arrived in South Australia on board the wrote.]

At day light (having arranged with Captain Ross that if the sailors would not do their duty I should put hands aboard to take her to V.D.L. [Van Diemens' Land] sailors and all), called all hands aft and finding that they would do their duty if one of her mates (Mr. Dawsea) were taken out of her, consulted with the Captain and officers on the subject and having arranged that it should be so…

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Thursday 18 August 1836

[, who arrived in South Australia on board the wrote.]

Made the land to the eastward of Encounter Bay; sandy shore, exactly as described by Flinders. At midnight, sounded in 35 fathoms.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Saturday 20 August 1836

[, who arrived in South Australia on board the wrote.]

…  I started after breakfast to explore it with my gun on my shoulder… The soil being very poor and sandy at the mouth of the river but gradually improved as I proceeded up so that we may expect better land in the interior. I have had tolerable sport with my gun shooting sufficient seafowl for the Mess Dinner tomorrow. Returned on board at 5 p.m. and having very satisfactorily appeased my appetite I shall now turn in.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Journals from passengers at sea:

Sunday 14 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

The stars also presented a splendid appearance, and we could now see the Southern Cross, that is, five stars in the form of our Saviour’s cross. This is only seen in the Southern Hemisphere. (The cross is assumed as the Australian arms and worn by the Government officers, the emblem being stamped on their buttons.) It likewise frequently happened that a beautiful rainbow was seen at sunrise, which, as it appeared on the edge of the water, was truly magnificent.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Sunday 14 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

A very good sermon today from
Mr Howard. A Sunday school established by him he has
asked one of the Miss Hindmarshes & Mr Wm Malcolm to
assist, and it is to be hoped that it will go on and prosper.
But what can fairly be expected from an hour’s
reading in a Sunday School! There are about 50 children
on board who run wild all the week. We would gladly
devote time daily to their instruction, but the chaplain
evidently considers this would be interfering with his
especial province. There seems no disposition on the part
of the Governor to promote any sort of education whatever
among them during the voyage. It is very grievous to
see all this, but we cannot remedy it. Broadbent
and Cock among the emigrants are not neglecting
their poor children, but their exemplary conduct has
not been generally followed, neither has it attracted
any attention or commendation from those quarters
where it ought to have found both.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Sunday 14 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Light winds & fine. Several sail in sight. This day
I attained the age of 30 years: therefore cease to be a young man
an awful & painful reflection, being still a bachelor, & likely to con-
tinue so for some time. Prayers & sermon by the Revd C. Howard.
Noon. Do Wr. Lat. 34E24′ No. Longe 17E7′ Wt. Miles run 1186 + 59 = 1245′.
P.M. Do Wr. Passed all the emigrants in review for inspection.
Established classes for Sunday reading among their children.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Monday 15 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

We had to bewail yesterday the death of one of my Cashmere kids, a beautiful female, and, as usual when a favorite dies, the prettiest of the flock. It had not grown much since its arrival & gradually became weaker until it died. The disease appeared on a post-mortem examination to be an inflammation of the [? intestine] occasioned most probably by confinement and change of food. Two others, a male kid and a young ewe seem also unwell, but as they have now the privilege of running up and down the deck in fine weather, it is possible they may yet survive the voyage.They are fed on grain, paddy, bran, and hay, instead of on oats & chaff as recommended by Mr Tower. We have now but four, 2 males & 2 females…  Our other pets,the dog and the bird are well and contented.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Monday 15 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

N,W ½ W        Spoke to a french Bark
                        named the Velea 4 OClock
                       in the morning made the Isle
                        of Miderea on the Cost of Portugal
                        the weather fine But very Light
                        Winds Opened the fore Hole and
                        Got Out 100 Bags of Bread 

                                       One thousand and Twenty
                                       Miles from London
                                                     Heat only 98

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Tuesday 16 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

________   At 9, A,M, we rounded Point
Marsden, and had the pleasure of seeing two Barques
at Anchor in “Nepean Bay”, which proves to be
the “Duke of York”, and “Lady Mary Pelham’,
they had arrd about 3 Weeks before us  ____
In the course of an Hour, we were visited by
Sml Stephens Esqr, C,M, [Company Manager] who was saluted with
three times three Cheer’s, and shortly afterwards a
Boat came from each of the Vessels, in one of
which was Capt Morgan of the “Duke of York”, who
undertook to be our Pilot, and at 3, P,M, we were
safely Anchor’d in a well shelter’d Roadstead, not
more than a Mile, distant from the Shore, and
right abreast, of the Company’s Tents, at the “New-
-Colony” of “South Australia”   _____

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Thursday 18 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

… During the night a slight change of wind occurred, affording us the prospect of relief from our lengthened imprisonment. This is doubly agreeable, as the Captain has more than once intimated his intention to go into the Island of Ascension instead of the Cape should this weather continue. We are near [? it] and the detention there while getting water would be much shorter than at the Cape. This is a great temptation, especially now that we have lost everyhope of making a quick passage; but it will be a source of great disappointment to me and most of the passengers, as we have prepared long lists of etceteras to be purchased at the Cape; besides which we have looked upon two or three days sojourn there as a holyday, which could hardly be enjoyed on a volcanic island where nothing can be had but water & turtle. Since the first of this month we have made no more southing than 390 miles.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Friday 19 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

After much deliberation it was formally
determined a few days ago to touch at St Jago, one of the
Canaries, but today the Captain has cooled upon it and
his firmly fixed intention has fairly evaporated – so it
happens every day. The poor man does not know his own
mind for two hours together. This is a sad failing for one
in authority to be overpowered with.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Friday 19 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

After a pleasant passage of three months
and 19 days from the time we left the city
canal anchored in Antechamber Bay, Kang-
-aroo island.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Next week: The Rapid, captained by Colonel William Light, moves to a final anchorage at Nepean Bay and the Lady Mary Pelham tries to depart, although some of the crew have deserted.  We learn that Samuel Stephens may not be as sober and virtuous  as his diary would suggest.

At sea  - wrangling continues on the Cygnet between Kingston, the captain and the doctor.  The Africaine crosses the equator, but Mary Thomas is more preoccupied with the poor quality of the provisions. The Buffalo makes steady progress.

Find out more:

Vessel/s: | | | | | | | |
People: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Place/s: | | | |
Topic/s: | | | | | | | | | |
Issues & Themes: | | | |


Share this page:


Comments or Questions:

5 Responses to “Week 26 – the expanding settlement”

  1. Bob August 16, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Stephen Gower arrived in the 449-ton ship ‘Somersetshire’ on 24 August 1839. He was accepted as an emigrant as recorded in the ‘Register of Emigrant Labourers applying for a Free Passage to South Australia’, and his application number was 4388.

    If you live in Adelaide you can inspect a copy of the Register in the Family History Section of the State Library, or if elsewhere it is available on microfilm produced by the Australian Joint Copying Project, reels 874 and 875.

  2. Joan Lutz August 16, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    My Great Great Grandpa, Stephen Gower, was on one of these ships, from Kent, England to Adelaide, Australia. Do you know which ship he was on? It would be fascinating and exciting to know!
    Thank you, Joan

    • Allison August 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

      Hi Joan,

      Thanks for your quetion. We don’t have him listed as a passenger on any of the nine ships that arrived in 1836, but we’ll see if we can find out for you. Do you know whether he was a crew member?

      Regards
      Allison – History SA

  3. Pamela Jones August 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    Very much enjoying the series. The link for the full diary of the John Pirie diarist for 16/8/1836 does not seem correct.

    • Allison August 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

      Thanks for that. We’re looking into what is going on there. Hopefully we can fix it up.

      Regards
      Allison – History SA

Add your comment:

Please read our moderation policy before commenting
To display your avatar when you comment, the Bound For South Australia 1936 website uses free and globally recognised Gravatars. Learn more and register here to get your free gravatar.


css.php