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Week 31 - Farewell to the Duke of York

[ 18th of September 1836 to 24th of September 1836 ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 31: Transport ]

In South Australia

Sadly, we bid farewell to Captain Morgan and the sailors of the Duke of York this week, as they finally set sail for Hobart and the whaling grounds off Australia. After seven months of his company, it will seem strange to be without him.  His constant harping on religion may have got on our nerves from time to time, but he seems to have been an earnest, kindly soul, well-liked by his crew.  The early problems with ship-board discipline vanished once they were underway and his habit of consulting his men on some decisions contrasts with what we hear of others. On 20 September he sails out of Nepean Bay, hailed by a fifteen-gun salute from the shore, which he duly returns with seven. Typically he leaves with a blessing, signaling ‘May you live in peace’ as he leaves the bay. ‘We made all sail from this infant settlement’, his diary records, ‘praying this barren land may become a fruitfull field in God’[s] vineyard’.  And he adds a lengthy prayer, ‘given me by request from a friend’, for good measure.  Much as we might hope otherwise, Captain Morgan’s path will soon be a stormy one.  See the note we have added to his biography to read about what happens to him and to the Duke of York.

Watching the Duke of York sail out of the bay, Samuel Stephens adds his own prayer for the future of the settlement.  His diary ends next week too, so we lose both of our main sources of information on the Kingscote settlement for a time, until others arrive to take up the story.  But we do learn this week that Stephens and Charlotte Beare are to marry on 24 September, after which Stephens will go to the mainland.

Up at the Lagoon John Brown has much to try him.  The merino sheep keep straying away and the fences they have built ‘have become of no use whatsoever’. They must begin again.  But the little agricultural village is growing, as some of the women and children arrive and their cottages take shape.

Light and his surveying party meanwhile are investigating further around Yankalilla. What they see delights them. ‘I was enchanted with this spot’, Light writes of one valley, ‘it put me in mind of some of the orchards in Devonshire and I found it plentifully supplied with fresh water.’  He is less impressed with some other features. ‘The flies this day for the first time appeared in swarms and were dreadfully annoying’, he records on 21 September.

Two days later they are on the move again, searching for a harbour and for fresh water.  Light is less impressed with the land a little further north, but consoles himself that the land a few miles inland is much better.  On 24 September he anchors near present day Port Adelaide and notes the mangroves ‘growing to the water’s edge’.

At sea

The Africaine has arrived at the Cape and the passengers all troop on shore with relief.  The Thomas family and most of the intermediate passengers stay near the port at a little town called Simon’s Bay, but most of the cabin passengers move on to Cape Town Mary relishes the change of diet and the chance to walk in the countryside.  She also stocks up on oranges and dried fruit, which is plentiful, and buys a ‘quart bottle of genuine cayenne pepper’, some of which she still had some 28 years later. Her description of Simon’s Bay is lively and positive: it was obviously a very welcome break from the ship.

The Gougers also enjoy their sojourn at the Cape, although they have very little time for sightseeing. Captain Duff has allowed them only two days in total and most of that is spent in shopping. They succeed in buying some livestock – several goats and fowls to add to the menagerie already on board.  (Mary Thomas also acquires some fowls.) But they do manage to see the little museum and we are told that Mr Slater ‘proposes to found a Museum in S. Australia’. In all Robert Gouger is impressed with Cape Town and with its air of prosperity. So ‘well appointed’ were the houses, he records, that ‘it was not until after some minute investigation that we were able to discover the probable habitations of the labouring people’.

This week we make the acquaintance of another passenger –Arthur Gliddon. In a letter to his brother he gives us a quick run down on some of the other passengers.  From this we learn that Mr Thomas is ‘very hot tempered’, and ‘does not appear to be liked very well by the Mediterranean Passengers (as the steerage folk call us).’

On the Buffalo things are going on much as before, with A military exercise in rifle handling. drilling on the decks for the men and occasional dancing in the evenings. Stevenson and Fisher continue in their criticism of Captain Hindmarsh, and we see the beginnings of a strategy to outflank the Governor on arrival in South Australia.   A combination of the influence of the Legislative Council and ‘the right direction of public opinion by means of the press’, they think should help to secure ‘good government’. We are reminded that Stevenson intends to combine his duties as private secretary to the governor with that of newspaper proprietor – what we would now see as an extraordinary conflict of interest!

 

The First Quadrille at Almack's, dated from the Regency Period c. 1800-1810.


Journals from settlers in South Australia:

Sunday 18 September 1836

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

…in the forenoon
the The flag of the Bethel Union, a seaman’s missionary organisation with the word Bethel (House of God) blazened across a blue background with a star above and a dove with olive branch below. The flag was used by various organisations such as Angas’ British and Foreign Sailors’ Society to indicate that a church service was taking place aboard a ship in harbour. bethel (House of God) blazened across a blue background with a star above and a dove with olive branch below. The flag was used by various organisations such as Angas’ British and Foreign Sailors’ Society to indicate that a church service was taking place aboard a ship in harbour.”] bethel flag [/tooltip] being hoisted ceveral came on board with
which three females Mrs Bear who came out with us was
one being restored nearly to her right mind and to her children…

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Monday 19 September 1836

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

… I took a boat and
went to the new setlement wher the Cignet landed her
emegrants they have twelve military tents erected and
all the emegrants emplyd some building a store house
out of bussh and Captn Lipson building a bussh house
for part of his large family some cooking and so on
we dined with Dr Wright and family in his tent all
in this setlement seems to be carryed on with experdition
and order and serbordernation we returned to the other
setlement I found three of my crew drunken Clavil
Lidard and Spratly we had no disturbance with them
we had a meeting and conferance spoke mostly on
drunkeness I knew in one ship of three cases men loosing
thier lives through drunkeness

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Monday 19 September 1836

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

Sept 19th The Men arrd here at Noon, and were accompd by
Powells Wife, and Chandlers Children, they were all employ’d the
remainder of the Day, getting up their Chests, Bedding &c, to this
Station from the Beach   _______

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Tuesday 20 September 1836

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

On the morning of the 20th the “Duke of York” & the “Lady Mary Pelham” sailed with a fair wind for Hobart Town – I parted as I had allways been, very friendly with them both – gave them such instructions, advice, & assistance as I was able – & to the Duke of York I fired a salute of 15 guns in ½ minute time – (I had but one cannon, but it was worked in excellent style) She hove to to receive my salute & returned 7 guns the other ships all hoisting their A flag or standard, especially a military or naval one, indicating nationality. A national flag. Ensigns to the The flag of the South Australian company, which was said to have a Union Jack in the top left corner and three red kangaroos on a blue background. Company’s Flag . Her parting signal which she hoisted when at a long distance was – “Peace be with you”. I answered it from my heart & I fervently pray God’s Blessing may rest upon our Colony. Captain Martin sails for Hobart Town in a day or two & I am busy preparing for him, besides all which I am going Deo Volente – God Willing (D.V.) to be married to morrow & have a few little arrangements to make for that Solemn Ceremony.

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Tuesday 20 September 1836

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

Sept 20th Chandler commenced erecting himself a Cottage, and
to Day was assisted by Powell, The Merino Sheep having
strayed away Yestdy Eveng, G. Bates and his two Women
have been employ’d seeking them all this Day, without success __

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Tuesday 20 September 1836

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

20 September-Out surveying, and walked up the valley; running in a south-easterly direction, between very high hills. I was enchanted with this spot, it put me in mind of some of the orchards in Devonshire, and I found it plentifully supplied with fresh water. From this valley we ascended the hills, crossed over to the seacoast, and returned to our tents; the whole distance fine soil.

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Wednesday 21 September 1836

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

21 September-Very warm; out surveying. The flies this day for the first time appeared in swarms and were dreadfully annoying.

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Friday 23 September 1836

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

23 September…Felt some disappointment at the appearance of the land, as it looked so luxuriant from the ship; we could find no fresh water; a lake of some extent on the high ground above the beach proved, on reaching it, to be salt. Although the ground we went over was not so good as the rest we had seen, yet the country a few miles inland appeared the same as that we had left…

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Saturday 24 September 1836

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

Sept 24th Powell and Chandler have been engaged all Yestdy
& this Day, strengthening the Sheep Sheds, and commenced putting
a good strong Fence round the two Paddocks as the temporary ones
that were made at our first coming here, have become of no use whatever
to keep in the Sheep…

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Saturday 24 September 1836

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

…The A light, narrow ship’s boat that could be rowed or sailed. gig has returned without having found a passage to the mouth of the river – the day being too far gone to admit of a further search this evening…

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Journals from passengers at sea:

Sunday 18 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

The Sunday School again commenced, but there is
a luke warmness upon the subject which is truly lamentable.
It is however impossible to interfere. Education, and the
religious instruction of the young are unhappily not regarded
by those in the highest places as of paramount importance
to good government or the social well-being of our colonists.
Mr Fisher and I deriving some consolation from the reflection that
on the Legislative Council more than any one individual,
and on the right direction of public opinion by means of the
press, will depend the due developement of its energies and
the administration of impartial and well digested
laws. It would indeed be a matter of lasting regret if the good
intentions of the supporters of the Colony should either not have
fair play, or be thwarted by the wrong-sighted obstinacy
of Captain Hindmarsh, who, whatever may be the amount
of honest purpose in his profession, is, (I deeply regret to perceive
it, but the truth must be spoken) daily displaying capabilities
for any thing but the science of discreet government.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Sunday 18 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

We are now within 400 miles of the Cape of Good Hope, the
passengers are all expectation…
You ask me to describe my chum Mr Williams
- well then – he is middle sized – wears a black wig – has red
eye lashes – he is very kind to me indeed as well as to everybody
else – in the next cabin is Mr Thomas though a very goodnatured
man, is nevertheless very hot-tempered; though I have never felt
his wrath he does not appear to be liked very well by the Mediterranean
Passengers (as the steerage folks call us). Mr Everard and
family come next. Mr Everard is a very nice quiet man,- but his
wife just the contrary – the next is Mr and Mrs Lewis they are
very quiet, but Mrs Lewis does not appear to be very respectable
- the next is a Mr Ward and Mr Deacon – Mr Ward is a very
goodnatured, humorous man of about 30 years of age rather
corpulent – he is a lawyer – Mr Deacon is a rather old man very
changeable and fidgetty – Mr Nantes and Mr Skipper are the
next. Mr Nantes is a quiet young man – Mr Skipper is a person
I don’t know very much about on account of his taking his meals
in the 1 st Cabin.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Monday 19 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Monday, Septr 19. Modte weather, squally at times. Rose at 5, & saw
the Southern Cross for the first time since 1824. Wind
S.E. Head S.W.b S. Noon. Moderate & fine. Miles run 125 + 4663
= 4788. Late obs. 5E50′ So. Longe 6E. A A dance performed by four couples. It became popular in England after 1813. quadrille on the The quarter deck was the deck between the main mast and the back of the ship. quarter deck .

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Monday 19 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

19th Septr Mr Slater, I have found him to be very kind to
me he has taught me many useful things – he and Mr Williams
I think are my greatest friends – he is so very much liked by our
cabin passengers that he sleeps and very often takes his meals in
our cabin – he is a very different kind of person to what he was
when I saw him at Gravesend, he has always a pleasant word for
everybody – I am invited every Thursday (by Captn Duff &
Wife) to dine in the 1 st cabin – an honour which very few are
allowed…
We manage to make bread now though we
have to make the yeast – there are several ways of making it;
but Mr Williams’ proves to be the best. We have five messes in
the second cabin for I am sorry to say they very much disagree.
Give my love to all dear friends – I should have written to Kate,
but I am pressed for time – how is she and how is the baby – has
it been christened yet – by the by there has been a child born
on board by a Mrs Parcel a steerage passenger. Mrs Brown was
proposing that something should be done for him and I think so
too…

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Tuesday 20 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

SEPTEMBER 20.-This morning the cliffs of Simon’s Bay were distinctly visible, and gradually increased on the sight. A lofty range of mountains stretched on each side of us, and formed a grand spectacle, and, of course, an agreeable one to all on board, it being exactly twelve weeks since we left London.

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Tuesday 20 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Tuesday, Septr 20. Moderate, & squally occasionally. Busy A military exercise in rifle handling. drilling
the labouring emigrants in the use of the A muzzle-loaded, smooth bore long gun, fired from the shoulder. musket .
Noon. Fine weather. Miles run, 132 + 4788 = 4920. Lat. 7E48′ South
Longe 23E58′ Wt. P.M. Do Wr. Wind S.E. Ship’s head, S.W.b S.
Fine moonlight night. A dance performed by four couples. It became popular in England after 1813. Quadrilles & country dances on deck.

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Tuesday 20 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

20th Septr
We had no shaving on crossing the line – We
passed it in the night at about 12 o’clock – Some of the most
learned affirm they felt the shiver on its entry to the Southern
Hemisphere. All the lights in the ship except the Ships were equipped with magnetic compasses that were kept on deck in a binnacle that could be illuminated at night by means of a lamp. Binnacle lamp ,
are all put out at ten o’clock at night…

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Wednesday 21 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Wednesday, Septr 21. Modte & squally. Found all the bees in the hive
dead. A bed of finely-powdered earth having been prepared
& manured in a box, was sown with peach, apricot, almond, &
grape seeds, some soaked & others not; some in the shell, & some
out of it: it was then closed up tight, light being admitted.
(they all failed.)

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Wednesday 21 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

SEPTEMBER 21.-This day, Wednesday, about noon, we anchored in Simon’s Bay. A gentleman and lady in the cabin of the name of Hallett, with their family of three children and a servant, joined us in a boat, as they preferred going on shore with us rather than with the cabin party, on account of their family. Some black natives came alongside, and we engaged one of their boats. When we reached shallow water, there being no jetty, we were carried on shore in the arms of the men, to our no small amusement, and my daughter Mary was the first of our party to set foot on Africa.

There is a small town here, as they call it, which consisted entirely of one street, or, rather, of one row of houses at the base of tremendous hills and facing the water. The whole much resembled a newly-founded watering-place in England. The inhabitants were chiefly English, with some Dutch, but we saw a great many of the native Africans, quite black, with woolly hair. They took much notice of us, and seemed to be well a ware that we had just arrived from England.

We went to the Anchor Inn, kept by an Englishman; others to different inns and lodgings, of which there were several in the town. We partook of lunch as soon as we arrived, of bread and cheese and butter, with bottled ale, all of which were excellent. Never did I relish anything so much, after being so long confined to ship diet, and this seemed to be the case with everyone. We then took a walk, as the weather was very fine, and returned to dinner at 4 o’clock. This consisted of a boiled leg of mutton and rump steaks, with potatoes and cabbage, followed by a bread pudding and excellent pastry. Four bottles of Cape wine were also placed on the table, and everything seemed to be in a style which we did not expect from the appearance of the place, especially as the Anchor was not the principal inn, which was called the Clarence, and where we first went. Some of the cabin party having taken possession of the latter house, the landlady turned us out rather unceremoniously, at which we were not a little surprised, considering our number – fourteen in all. However, we immediately went to the Anchor, and there remained till Friday afternoon, and most likely were the better customers, as all the cabin party set off the same night for Cape Town, about twenty miles distant…

There was not much to he had at Simon’s Bay besides fruit as the shops, or stores, as they were called, contained but little stock…

A sort of caravan, resembling a London omnibus, drawn by six horses and driven by a Malay with a tremendously long whip, brought the captain and party from Cape Town. I heard one gentleman say that he rode in one drawn by fourteen horses, but they are invariably small, and would bear no comparison with those of England. We likewise saw a light wagon, to which were attached eighteen bullocks.

The oranges are very fine. I bought a hundred for three-and-sixpence, also a hundred of a smaller sort, called snatches, for a shilling. Mr. Thomas purchased a box of raisins, containing twenty-eight pounds, for four shillings. They were very sweet and without stalks. There was also a great quantity of dried fruit, such as apples, pears, and apricots, but we were too early for grapes and melons, as we arrived in the spring…

Mr. Thomas purchased some potatoes for seed, and a roll of canvas for a tent to supplement a large one which we had on board…I bought a quart bottle of genuine cayenne pepper for seven-and-sixpence, some of which I have to this day.

I mention these things to apprise those who may have forgotten to provide themselves with some such necessary articles, and are fortunate enough to put in at the Cape of Good Hope, that they may be obtained at Simon’s Bay on reasonable terms, and I believe still cheaper at Cape Town. No doubt, in the lapse of time since we were there (nearly twenty-eight years) everything has been greatly improved and the stores are supplied with a greater variety.

On the whole we enjoyed ourselves very much, and so well satisfied was our landlord that before we parted he insisted upon our partaking of a bottle of champagne, and wished us a good voyage and prosperity in our new settlement. We had some difficulty in making him understand where it was to be, for at first he imagined that we were bound for Van Diemen’s Land, South Australia being then a new name for the colony, and I believe not till we arrived at the Cape had the inhabitants heard of such an intended settlement.

I must here mention the wine called Constantia, which, as our landlord told us, can only be produced in two or three vineyards within a small district where the soil is favourable to the growth of a particular grape from which it is made. It is very rich in flavour, and was indeed a treat to us. It sold at two shillings per bottle. The ordinary Cape wine was sold at a penny per glass. Mr. Hallett’s and our men were on shore drinking it as they did beer in England. It got the better of them, and they continued drinking and smoking nearly all night, making such an intolerable noise that we could not sleep. However, they seemed to enjoy themselves, like their masters, and the next day we treated them to a good breakfast and dinner, with sufficient wine to make them comfortable without being tipsy. They returned to the ship highly gratified.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Friday 23 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

At about 5 o’clock on Friday evening we also returned to the vessel, and the following morning again set sail for Australia…

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Saturday 24 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Saturday Sepr 24. We have been making excellent way for
some days, and in the full hope of reaching Rio by Wednesday
or Thursday; but an announcement from the Captain to-day
that he has now determined to go to the Cape instead of to
Rio Janeiro has thrown us all aback once more. Never was
such an act of imprudence attempted; it can only be character-
-ized as sheer folly. Our course is now altered and we are to
be put on short allowance of water. This news has created
great dismay and the poor Governor’s popularity has fallen
below zero with every body. It is absolutely distressing to all
true friends of the Colony to witness such pranks. We must
go to Rio, for there is not water to take us to the Cape, even
on short allowance. The officers of the ship to-day are making
wry faces and exchanging most significant looks and
shrugs: No wonder!

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Next week

Colonel Light is increasingly anxious as he searches unsuccessfully for the fine harbour recommended by a certain Captain Jones, while the Buffalo finally heads for Rio, after Hindmarsh changes his mind several times.

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