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Week 29 - Impressions of the mainland

[ 4th of September 1836 to 10th of September 1836 ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 29: Discipline and Punishment ]

On land

Sunday 4 September finds Samuel Stephens deeply depressed. ‘I cannot and will not endure this state of things it shall be mended by some means or other’, he confides to his diary. He and Captain Martin put their heads together and the experienced captain devises a plan to try to get everyone working together again.  The next day he invites Thomas Beare and Cornelius Birdseye on board the John Pirie for lunch.  Stephens follows separately and all four sit down to thrash things out in the captain’s cabin.  To the relief of all concerned they reach a cordial agreement and all return to shore together.  The next day Stephens feels he can relax a bit: ‘I lay in bed till after 6 & on rising most sincerely rendered thanks to Almighty God for the now really happy, orderly and industrious appearance of our settlement.  A more marked change I never witnessed’, he records. Over the following days others also come back to work.  On 6 September his ‘last rebel’, Mr Schreyvogel, asks pardon and returns to work. Stephens reflects that perhaps the little rebellion has worked in his favour after all! So ends the first industrial dispute in the history of the South Australian province.

Colonel Light meanwhile has tired of waiting for the Cygnet and decides to move on to the mainland. He hires one of the sealers (Cooper) and his two native ‘wives’ to accompany them, in the hopes that the women will hunt for them, but also liaise with local tribes. Woodforde’s diary entry for 6 September includes useful information about these earlier settlers.  We learn that they cross ‘frequently’ to Cape Jervis and that they have ‘stolen’ the women who live with them. Nevertheless, the portrait of Henry ‘Walland’ (there are various spellings) and his farm is quite positive and we are told that he is called the ‘Governor’.

By 8 September Light has landed at Cape Jervis and is delighted with what he sees. ‘At two, I went on shore, and was enchanted with the appearance of the whole’, he writes.  Pullen is equally enthusiastic about the landscape of ‘Nature’s garden’ before them: ‘it was indeed beautiful, presenting more the appearance of a park than land that had been for centuries trodden by uncultivated savages’, he writes.  They set to and plant their own garden using seeds brought with them, and ceremoniously name the bay after the brig Rapid.

The next day the Cygnet finally sails into Nepean Bay to be met by Captain Morgan in his whaleboat.  We learn that a new baby has arrived during the voyage, bringing the total of souls on board to 100. But for once the godly captain indulges in a little uncharitable aside: ‘the ship was to be here as soon as ourselves but is 45 days after so much for bosting [sic]’, he writes.

At sea

It is an eventful week on the Africaine. A new little settler makes his appearance during a howling gale and is promptly named James Africaine Paul.  All of the men in steerage are banished to the deck regardless of the weather to give the poor mother some privacy. And the Gouger’s serving girl Margaret Clark is in trouble again, this time for biting a fellow servant on the arm so that the blood flows.  Discipline is swift.  The captain orders the hair on one side of her head to be shaved off, but Margaret remains defiant, treating the whole affair as a ‘good joke’.  Robert Gouger is appalled and wonders if she is ‘deranged; if not surely there never was so malicious and designing a little jade in human guise’, he writes.  They contemplate abandoning her to the Committee of the The Children’s Friend Society was one of a number of schemes designed to promote child migration as a means of improving public order. It was formed in 1830 as the ‘Society for the Suppression of Juvenile Vagrancy, through the reformation and emigration of children’ and by 1832 had sent children to the Cape of Good Hope and the Swan River Colony. Others were sent to Canada. Children’s Friend Society at the Cape.

By contrast, things are fairly quiet on the Buffalo, until the dog Lion falls overboard.  He is a long distance from the ship when they discover him gone, but they manage to tack around and pick him up ‘no worse’, as Young Bingham Hutchinson reports.  On the Tam O Shanter meanwhile a suspected thief is brought to ‘trial’, but gets off for the ‘Want of further Everdance’. [sic]

Language warning: Please note that these sources contain language which is today considered offensive. It has been retained as it is part of the historical record and evidence of past attitudes.


Journals from settlers in South Australia:

Sunday 4 September 1836

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

4th (Sunday) This day had been spent by us quietly & orderly but it has been a a gloomy state of mind Melancholy day to me. I cannot & will not endure this state of things it shall be mended by some means or other. I had no divine service to day. Capn Martin spent the afternoon with me ashore & we agreed as a last effort to establish order (by fair means) he should invite Mr Beare & Mr Birdseye to lunch on board the following morning & that I should follow in my boat & try whether face to face with them in his Cabin we could not all come to some better understanding.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Monday 5 September 1836

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

Monday September 5th 1836
This 24 hours light winds with passing showers of rain.
In the morning sent a boat to fetch our water from the well
and another for the doctor of the Rapid to tend the sick
which he kindly offers his services to. I took a boat and went
to the Pellam has we have had no communication since
she returned. I found Captn Ross in difficulties only himself
to carry on the dutys of the Ship with one mate and him
abed sick the widow of the late chief officer in her cabin sick
allso and no doctor to attend them the Captn dissatisfied
with all round him.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Monday 5 September 1836

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

5th Rose & set the hands to work &c as usual – at ½ past 9 Mr Birdseye made his first appearance & was asked by Capn Martin (who was ashore with me by 10 M. P. 6 A.M.) to go on board. About ½ past 10 the Capn, Mr Beare & Mr Birdseye Put off & I followed soon after. Capn Martin by his exceedingly judicious behaviour to day has indeed rendered valuable service to the Company. Both the officers agreed to return to their duty heartily. I shook hands with them in the Cabin. We all returned to the shore together & they took tea & supper with me. On our return I had all the men called together & with my officers (for the first time) by my side gave them a short address in reference both to the past & to the future, gave them my rules & intentions as to their future Discipline, time of labour, general behaviour &c & they all retired pleasantly. James & Joseph Jones came in to ask for employment again. I allowed Joseph to return to his duty under his former agreement but James being a worthless fellow & this being a fair opportunity of setting a wholesome example, I would not receive him. I told him that if Mr Beare wanted an extra hand for a few days at any time he was at liberty to engage him at reduced wages & I would recover his advance as I might be able.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Tuesday 6 September 1836

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

6th The hands went to work this morning in good style under their respective officers. I lay in bed till after 6 & on rising most sincerely rendered thanks to Almighty God for the now really happy, orderly & industrious appearance of our settlement. A more marked change I never witnessed…

… James Jones came to day to solicit employment, and I allowed Mr Beare to engage him at 2/- per day his wages under the agreement he has violated were 15/- pr week with [illegible word] &c certain employment &c – so that besides making an example the Company are gainers by his rebellion

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Tuesday 6 September 1836

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

… We have hired one of the Sealers and his two native women to go to the Mainland the Main with us, and as they have capital dogs they will answer a double purpose, that of providing fresh food, and by means of the women conciliating the natives should they prove hostile. The Sealers living on Kangaroo Island are Englishmen – some of them having deserted their ships to settle here – and others being runaway convicts from Sydney. We were given to understand that they were little better than pirates, but were agreeably surprised to find them a civil set of men and they will be of much use in forming a colony here. For their honesty I cannot answer as we do not put temptation in their way. Some of these men have whale boats in which they frequently cross over to Cape Jervis from which place they have at different times stolen the women who now live with them. These women are very clever at snaring game and fish for their Keepers whilst the men remain at their little farms on the Island. One of these by the name of Walland has a farm about seven miles up the river which does him great credit as he has several acres of flourishing wheat and most of the English vegetables. He has been fourteen years on the Island and is called the “Governor” – he has two native wives.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Thursday 8 September 1836

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

8th. A beautiful day & a happy one to me. We are all going along in excellent temper & good discipline my last rebel (Mr Schreyvogel) this morning came & asked my pardon & requested I would allow him to resume his duties. I did so immediately, & fancy that I shall not in a hurry have any of them attempt to play the same pranks. I have been severely tried for the last 6 weeks but thank God that I have been sustained & that I have good reason to suppose peace & good order is now permanently established…

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Thursday 8 September 1836

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

8 September-Very light airs; at six got under way, and stood for the N.W. bluff; at thirty minutes p.m. came to an anchor in ten fathoms, a beautiful little valley in view. At two, I went on shore, and was enchanted with the appearance of the whole. A fine stream of fresh water ran through the middle of the valley into the sea, and the soil was rich beyond expectation; my hopes were now raised to a pitch I cannot describe. I walked up one of the hills, and was delighted to find that as far as I could see, all around, there was an appearance of fertility, and a total absence of those wastes and barren spots, which the accounts I received in England had led me to expect.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Thursday 8 September 1836

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

Before leaving [Kangaroo Island] the Colonel engaged a man by the name of Cooper
& his family, a sealer & had been about 7 years on the Island he was to
act as Pilot his wives (two native women) and Kangaroo dogs
were to supply us with fresh meat. When all ready started for Gulf
St Vincent the distance across from Nepean Bay to Cape Jervis
the East pt of the Gulf being about 25 miles we reached it that
evening. Many & various were the opinions given on the near
approach to the land, it was indeed beautiful presenting
more the appearance of a park than land that had
been for centuries trodden by uncultivated savages. How
anxious were we to get on shore, no sooner was the anchor down
& sails furled than off we started appearances had
not indeed deceived us we were delighted & many castles
built and conjectures on prosperity likely to arise
out of such a scene as was presented to us, Nothing
but luxuriant foliage & oh! a thick sward of many
and various flowers what was to expected from the
act of man when such was the state of the place while
in a Nature’s garden. Cooper was sent off with
his women to bring in the tribe of the place while we were
busily employed getting tents & provisions on shore for the
Colonel & surveying party it being the intention to remain
here a few days. A garden was made & stocked with seeds
we had brought with us The Bay and valley examined to
satisfaction & named after the brig being the first vessel
ever having anchored there

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Friday 9 September 1836

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

9th Sep sailed up Investigators Strait with the
wind from the Southward. when about 14
miles from point Marsden we were board
by a boat which proved to be the
whale boat of the Duke of York whose
Captain was in her. He had come round
for vegetables which were grown in the
garden of a settler. He informed us that
the Duke of York had anchored 44 days
that the Lady Mary Pelham, the John
Pirie had also arrived as well as Coll
Light with the Rapid. We learnt also
that Coll Light having waited for a
a fortnight had left the Island to
proceed round the Gulph St Vincent
about 2 days ago.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Friday 9 September 1836

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

Friday September 9th 1836
This 24 hours strong winds at times at ½ past 5 in the mor
ning I left the ship with one boat to procure some vegatable
to one of the sealers farms we rowed about 13 miles and
landed at the farm a most miseryable place We began
to dig pertatoes and percured about half a sack we got a few
turnips and some cabages seeing a sail off the farm I went
on board and found it to be the Cignet with 99 men women
and Children on board and the 100th born while on board
which was a girl this ship was to be here as soon as ourselves
but is 45 days after so much for bosting they have all bing preserved in
health and safety but curseing swareing on board in abundance
the surveyors where thankfull for my little services in pointing out to
them the harbour for which they where extremely wellcome

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Saturday 10 September 1836

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

…Having found that there had been a good deal of petty thieving from the Company’s stores I to day dismissed the person (Neal) who had the charge (by night) of it and appointed Mr Shreyvogel to take his place.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Journals from passengers at sea:

Sunday 4 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

… Harriet remains in excellent health and as she does not allow an hour to pass unemployed, she is in tolerably good spirits. It cannot be matter of surprize if she finds herself sometimes sighing after absent friends, more especially as she has failed to discern one among the passengers with whom she is likely to form a close intimacy. Her time is spent in needlework, and mine between reading to her, renewing my acquaintance with figures, and amusing myself with my goats. –

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Monday 5 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

SEPTEMBER 5.-This morning succeeded the roughest night we had yet experienced. Last evening, at about 6 o’clock. the wind, which had been brisk all day, began to increase. The sky darkened, and rain soon followed. All the passengers were instantly ordered below, at least, all the ladies, but some of the gentlemen chose to remain on deck. The ship, which for the last three weeks had been lying on the The starboard is the right side of a ship or a boat perceived by a person on board facing the bow (front). starboard side, on which our cabins were situated, was now shifted to the other, and leaned so much to The old term for the left hand side of a ship looking forward. The right hand side is starboard. To avoid mis-hearing an order, it is now referred to as ‘port’. larboard during the whole night that it was with difficulty we could keep ourselves in bed. So apprehensive was I that the children in the next cabin would fall out of their berths, as Mary and Helen slept in the upper one, that soon after midnight I got up and dressed myself to be in readiness if anything should occur to require my assistance. Fortunately, nothing of any consequence happened to them, but the doctor, whose cabin was opposite to ours, was called about 2 o’clock to a woman in the steerage, of the name of Paul, who had beena euphamism for childbirth taken ill . This had been expected for some time, and consequently all the men in that part of the vessel were instantly turned out of their berths and sent upon deck for two hours, which in the midst of a cold, dark, and stormy night could not be very agreeable. In the meantime, however, a new passenger made his appearance in the form of a male infant, thus bringing the total number of souls on board to exactly one hundred. The child was born amidst the roaring of the wind, the splashing of the waters, and the incessant rocking of the ship, and was afterwards named James Africaine, in memory of his having been born on that vessel.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Monday 5 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Monday, Septr 5. Modte & fine. Scrubbed hammocks & clothes.
Head S.b E. Wind S.W.b W. Out all reefs of the topsails.
Noon. Do Wr. Miles run, 87 + 3281 = 3368. Late 6E27′ No. Longe 18E
29′ Wt. The dog “Lion” fell overboard from the forechains, and
was a long way astern before he was discovered: tacked to
pick him up; lowered a boat for the purpose: no worse.
P.M. Do Wr. 8. Modte & cloudy. Midnight. Do Wr.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Tuesday 6 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Tuesday Sept 6th 1836
W,S,W, Running 7 Knots
the trial of William Walters
Came on at 10 OClock he
was acquitted for the Want of
further Everdance

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Thursday 8 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

September 8th Margaret Clark is again in disgrace. Yesterday she bit her fellow servant’s arm so as to cause the blood to flow from each indentation of the teeth, and scratched her mercilessly. On the girl’s complaining to me I sent her to the captain and requested him to use his discretion about the punishment to be inflicted. Having heard both parties and finding Clark altogether to blame, he ordered the steward to cut off the hair from one side of her head which was immediately done; the culprit however seemed to treat the matter rather as a good joke, than as a punishment, laughing and talking with the people about her during the whole operation. I cannot but think the girl is deranged; if not, surely there never was so malicious and designing a little a derogatory term applied to women jade in human guise. It is our intention to leave her at the Cape under the protection of the Committee of the The Children’s Friend Society was one of a number of schemes designed to promote child migration as a means of improving public order. It was formed in 1830 as the ‘Society for the Suppression of Juvenile Vagrancy, through the reformation and emigration of children’ and by 1832 had sent children to the Cape of Good Hope and the Swan River Colony. Others were sent to Canada. Children’s Friend Society , in exchange for another girl if one can be procured. The other girl (Vincent) behaves with great propriety and is fast ingratiating herself into the esteem of her mistress.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Next Week

Captain Morgan prepares to leave to go whaling at last.  Colonel Light continues his excursions around Rapid Bay and finds more beautiful country further up the coast.  He instructs the Cygnet and the survey party to proceed to Port Lincoln.

At sea.

The Africaine is heading towards the Cape, while the Buffalo crosses the equator.  Then tragedy strikes and a young boy is lost overboard.

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2 Responses to “Week 29 – Impressions of the mainland”

  1. Sandra Ker September 5, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Weel Done for this initiative: All history is best sourced from Primary resouces which is what is being supplied here, and in itself is a most precious resource! Here we see that those enduring such a long voyage are not saints or “historical types” but the same as we are today, just grappling with different technology. The lessons learnt from retelling such extracts are entertaining and revealing making our origins and history al the more valuable and our present lives to be appreciated all the more!

    • Allison September 6, 2011 at 8:18 am #

      Hello, Sandra.
      So glad you are enjoying the journey!
      Regards,
      Allison – History SA

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