36
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9
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Week 37 - taxing 'ardent spirits'

[ 30th of October 1836 to 5th of November 1836 ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 37: Building a Home ]

In South Australia

With his full complement of surveyors at last, Colonel Light can now divide them into two groups to cover a greater area of the coast.  He sends the largest group under George Kingston to Holdfast Bay, with the second group under Finniss remaining at Rapid Bay. Light intends to inspect Port Lincoln, as his orders require. Dr Woodforde will also remain at Rapid Bay.  He is having rather a lazy time, with little to do but shoot game and try to keep the flies at bay. With this in mind, he begins to build a hut. We learn from Woodforde’s diary that Dr Wright, who arrived on board the Cygnet will later join the Holdfast Bay group, but is detained this week at Nepean Bay with ‘a bad case of midwifery’. We do not know yet who the poor mother is.

At Sea

Light does not know it, but the Africaine is about to arrive.  On 30 October Mary Thomas reports the first sight of land, and by early morning on 1 November they have a clear view of Kangaroo Island.  Most of the passengers are up early, excited to catch the first sight of their new home. There is some difference in the detail of what happens next between our two sources.  Gouger reports that the passengers are so taken with the appearance of the Island that six young men persuade Captain Duff to allow them to go on shore near Cape Borda to walk to the settlement. Mary Thomas implies that the young men are put ashore at Nepean Bay, but this does not make sense. No doubt it seems like a harmless exercise and a delightful excursion after months being cooped up at sea, but the young adventurers are completely unprepared for conditions on the Island and do not even take a water supply with them.  When the Kangaroo Islander sealers hear of the escapade they immediately raise the alarm and insist that a search party must be sent to look for them.  The week ends with great anxiety for the safety of these young men.

Coastline of Kangaroo Island from 'Views of the South Coast of Australia'. by William Westall, 1802. Image courtesy National Library of Australia.

Gouger’s diary also gives us a further hint of the problems other settlers have in their dealings with Samuel Stephens.  It seems that Light’s ‘chief motive’ in removing the surveying depot to Rapid Bay was the ‘conduct of Mr Stephens’. No doubt more will be revealed in due course!

By 5 November the Buffalo is near Cape Agulhas at the tip of Africa. George Stevenson has been very busy drafting legislation for the new settlement – his first a law to tax ‘ardent spirits’. This is no half measure: he proposes a tax of 7/6 per gallon, with very heavy license fees for ‘grog shop keepers’, but still he is not optimistic of success. ‘I feel however that no legislation can destroy the evil’, he confides to his diary. His second bill is a draft Masters and Servants Act, which Hindmarsh evidently finds to his liking.  This turns out to be a punitive act, later disallowed by the British Government.

Stevenson’s comments about Hindmarsh continue to be highly critical. ‘The Governor cannot write two sentences of grammar or common sense, that is the simple truth’, he writes, adding, ‘I find … that unless I do things myself, though they are not in any shape within my province, there is no chance of anything but confusion & disorder to be expected on our arrival’. He proceeds to draft legislation to establish a Supreme Court and lesser courts, but is outraged by Hindmarsh’s proposal to include Hutchinson and Strangways amongst the first magistrates. Their ‘only claim to the honour seems their being the lovers of two of his daughters’, he writes in disgust. ‘The manners language & conversation of both are of the lowest & most trifling character – fitter for the backwoods of Ohio or the purlieus of St Giles than for civilised society or the duties of the Magistracy’. Perhaps he thought his own claims should have been advanced!

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:

Monday 31 October 1836

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

31 October-Employed all day in my hut constructing my chart, and the men all day in building a store-house. Very variable climate; at six exceedingly cold, at eight still colder, and cold all night.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Monday 31 October 1836

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

Nothing worth noting has occurred since I last wrote. My time has been employed chiefly as follows. The mornings, in shooting with Claughton, and my evenings in reading a little, washing a little and idling a great deal. Pullen came over in the surveying boat on Saturday bringing with him Captain Lipson, the Harbour-Master. They returned yesterday. This morning I was up to my eyes in flour making a pudding with birds shot by Claughton and myself. It is my first attempt and is intended for tomorrow’s dinner – “The proof of the pudding will be etc.”

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Tuesday 1 November 1836

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

1 November-Calm and fine. The men employed constructing a store-hut – myself with chart.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Wednesday 2 November 1836

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

Novr 2nd To-day the wind blew from the N.E. which enabled us to make some advance. As in course of Ships could not sail directly into the wind, but they could sail across it at an angle. So, to move forward in the direction of the wind they set a zigzag course, sailing across the wind at alternating angles. That procedure was called tacking. tacking we frequently went within 2 or 3 miles of Kangaroo Island & as the weather seemed peculiarly inviting some of the young men of our party expressed a desire to land & walk across the Island by Capt Sutherland’s track. (The men resident in the Island assert that Sutherland never was across the island at all). Their wish being communicated to Capt Duff, he at once gave his consent, & a boat was lowered to convey them to the shore. Finding it impracticable to land at the gully discovered by Dillon, on the western coast, they pulled round to Cape Borda were [sic] the pedestrians were put ashore. In the evening the boat party returned bringing with them a rock-fish of most splendid colours, a pied shag, a boatswain, & an oyster-catcher! In the evening the wind freshened from the west giving us the anticipation of a speedy conclusion to our voyage.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Wednesday 2 November 1836

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

NOVEMBER 2.-This morning most of the passengers were up at 5 o’clock to take a view of Althorpe Island as we passed it. It appeared like a huge rock. It is supposed to be only an eruption in the sea. At about 10 o’clock we entered Nepean Bay. The flag was hoisted and the guns were fired to announce our approach. Soon after a boat with the mate and four sailors went on shore, and immediately returned with another boat, in which was a gentleman of the name of Stephens, who came out in a vessel called the Duke of York, and which was rowed by four men. One of them, Nathaniel Thomas, had been a resident on the island many years, but his appearance, I thought, was more like that of a savage than an Englishman. This man, by some mischance, fell overboard, and as the tide was running strong at the time he was carried some distance from the vessel before assistance could be rendered. Although he could swim well enough, he was watched by those on board with considerable anxiety on account of the sharks, which were known to be numerous. An oar, however, was thrown to him, on which he got astride till the boat reached him, and when he came again on the deck he shook himself as a dog does when just out of the water, and took no more notice of the matter.

At about 2 o’clock this day a party of six, including two of our young men engaged as printers, set off in a boat for the shore, furnished with four days’ provisions, to walk across the island (about fifty miles) and meet the ship on the other side, whither we were going.

At 4 o’clock we came within a mile of the shore; and soundings were taken-twenty-six fathoms and a fine, gravelly bottom. The day was fine and the sea calm. The boat did not return till nearly 9 o’clock, in consequence of the passengers not being able for a long time to find a landing-place on that side of the island; but when it began to grow dark their prolonged stay excited alarm, especially as there were five gentlemen in the boat (three of them married) besides the mate of the vessel, who went to see them safely on shore. At about 8 o’clock, therefore, the captain ordered a gun to be fired and a light in the shrouds was hoisted as a signal and guide. The crew also gave three cheers, and the echo of the cannon and the cheers of the men resounded from the opposite shore and gave additional effect to the beauty of the scene, for although the moon had not risen the evening was remarkably clear and serene, and the stars glittered over our heads in millions. At length our fears were relieved by the flash and report of a gun, and soon after another, and at last we discovered the boat approaching the vessel with all those safe who meant to return and one of the adventurers, whose heart failed him when they reached the unknown shore. The other six, all young men, were left to proceed on their way as they best could. Their names were:- Slater, a surgeon; Osborne, a well-educated young man apprenticed to Mr. Thomas as a printer; Fisher, engaged as a journeyman printer; Nantes, attached to Mr. Gouger (the Colonial Secretary) ; and Warren and Biggs, engaged by Mr. Hallett. We were naturally anxious, and could not help feeling somewhat uneasy at their setting out on such a romantic expedition, especially on account of Osborne, who was an amiable young man and a general favourite, and whose father, residing in London, had consigned him to our care. They had agreed to take their guns, expecting to find some game, and Osborne having a double-barrelled gun which was rather heavy, asked me to exchange it for the time for our single-barrelled one, and I did so accordingly. He and Slater were sworn friends, and the latter having the gun in his hands just as they were going to step into the boat, I said to him, half in jest,
“Don’t you lose that gun, Mr. Slater.”
“Ah, Madam,” said he in his hasty way (he was an Irishman), ” I will lose my life first.”
“Oh,” said I, laughing, ” I did not mean that. I only intended to caution you against laying it down under bushes, where you might not find it again.”

At night we saw so large a fire on the island that it reminded me of the burning of the Parliament Houses, which took place in October the year before. We were told that it was the brushwood, to which the islanders often set fire in order to clear the ground.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Wednesday 2 November 1836

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

All landed safe at Nepean Bay, November 2nd. Beautiful
country, but sandy, plenty of wood, but as hard as iron, no fruit
to be seen, but currants growing on a large tree. All is mutiny
among our labourers, the greatest dissatisfaction prevails, only one
store erected, that a Booth from the Crown and Anchor tavern,
and part of another. Provisions enormous and just risen. Flour
quite musty, no water near our settlement. 5 men go daily to fetch
it, and that only to the extent of 2 quarts each person daily – have
bored and dug for water without success, if rough weather comes
on, we shall die of thirst. Captain Nelson, having introduced
spirits, men are continually drunk, and will not be spoken to on
business. Not a drop of Beer under 16d. per Bottle – salt Beef &
pork 6 ½  & 7 ½  p. lb – Tea 5/- – Treacle 4 ½  - no sugar – Flour
3d Butter ¼  - fir or pine board Deal Board 6d per foot … The ground is a
complete sandbank I fear nothing will grow – not a blade of grass
to be seen, not a Kangaroo on the Island. The natives are very
peaceable on the main land and do anything for a biscuit, except
at Port Lincoln, where they seem very ferocious.
All the vessels sent out arrived safe, but with loss of nearly all
cattle and livestock.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Wednesday 2 November 1836

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

2 November-Employed all day in landing some stores from the Rapid, having determined on dividing the surveying party into two, one under Mr Kingston and the other under Mr Finniss, to make as many observations on this side the Gulf as possible during my absence at Port Lincoln or elsewhere, as I was perfectly satisfied as to the soil and extent of the country. Mr Kingston with the largest party, and Mr Gilbert with the greatest part of the stores, were directed to embark on board the Rapid for Holdfast Bay, and Mr Finniss to remain with his party at Rapid Valley; Mr Jacob taking charge of the stores for this party.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Thursday 3 November 1836

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

Novr 3rd The favourable breeze continuing, about 4 o’clk this morng I rose & went on Deck to watch the appearance of the shore of Kangaroo Island, & Yorke’s Peninsular [sic] at the South…

As I watched the changing shore & reflected on the years of anxiety & labour which I had devoted to this enterprise, the alternations of hope & chagrin, which I had suffered as the prospect of its accomplishment appeared near or distant, the degree of success which had at length been attained, & withal the Providential protection which “He who holds the waters in the hollow of His Hand” had been pleased to extend to us, my varied emotions almost subdued me, and I was by no means sorry to retreat to a part of the ship, where undisturbed I cd watch the progress of the vessel. About 11 o’clk Nepean Bay opened to us, and all eyes were directed to the shore in the expectation of seeing our fellow-Colonists. At length we observed 3 vessels at anchor in the Bay: upon which, signals were hoisted & the guns fired. These were answered from the ships, & the shore, and presently a boat put off which in due time brought to us Mr Samuel Stephens, the Company’s Colonial Manager. He had not been on board many minutes when an accident happened, which might have ended calamitously. One of his boat’s crew (a valuable man named Thomas) who had resided in the Island some years, fell overboard & rapidly drifted To be any distance behind a vessel. astern! Fortunately he was an excellent swimmer, & having an oar in his hand, with great care he supported himself in the water; a few minutes sufficed to lower a boat & in less than 5 minutes he was safely in it. On congratulating him on the favourable termination of his accident he feared nothing for the water, but his dread was of sharks, which infest the Bay, & which are larger here than any I have before heard of – it is not uncommon to catch them of a length from 16 to 18 ft —  Before deciding where to take up our temporary residence, until the arrival of the Governor, Brown & I thought it expedient to see Col Light, who was then surveying at Cape Jervis. We accordingly sent for Capt Lipson (the Harbour Master) & who we understood was in the Colonel’s confidence, & in the evening he rowed from the “Cygnit” to us. From him we learned that a most enchanting country had been discovered at Cape Jervis, with which Col Light was so much pleased as to be almost fixed in its favour, but that its superior advantages to Kangaroo Island were not the only cause of the removal of the depôt from the Island; the conduct of Mr Stephens being his chief motive.

Everything which I have observed, & the report received from others not connected with Mr S. goes to prove that Kangaroo Island may be made a flourishing settlement. The harbour of Nepean Bay may be said to be perfect – secure from all winds and will allow of the entrance of vessels much larger than the “Africaine”, requiring the expenditure of but little money or labour to make excellent landing places. Capt Duff speaks in the very highest terms of the anchorage (sand & mud) & is so much pleased with the facilities afforded for shipping that as a S. Australian land proprietor, he says he would be content to have his section placed adjacent to this Bay. The land is so thickly wooded that the clearing of it would require a deal of labour & cost a considerable sum. The timber is not large, & is serviceable therefore only for rafters, for roofs, fencing, & purposes of that kind.

…In wandering with Harriet H. among the partially cleared brushwood, we one day fell upon a Hut – one room of about 12 ft square, inhabited by 2 men & a woman – a native of Van Dieman’s Land, of most forbidding appearance. The men were run-away Sailors, who had never approached the Company’s settlement with a view to obtaining employment. One of them sternly ordered the woman to get some tea & make it. She accordingly cut off a branch of the tree, and put it into the pot, thus obeying the mandate of her lord. The taste of this decoction was not disagreeable.

…No birds have been procured, though we saw black swans, pelicans & a beautiful blue bird, name unknown. Kangaroos are not to be procured but there is opossum of a small kind, also a small species of Kangaroo (called Walibi). The emigrants landed from the “Africaine” have been busy putting up their tents, no place of any kind having been prepared for their reception. No religious service has been performed on the Island since the landing of the first expedition – now nearly 3 months. The opinion which the sealers (Stephen & Lipson) give of the pedestrian party succeeding in reaching the settlement are very discouraging – nay, fearful! All agree in saying it is impossible but that they should be lost in the woods & unless very fortunate in finding water, would be starved to death. With a degree of folly hardly to be imagined they refused to take from the boats fresh water which had been provided for them, thus they wd in a few hours be suffering from thirst to be quenched only in such pools as might be left from the winter rains. On hearing this statement we thought it advisable to send after them, & an agreement was made with 3 sealers & a native woman to go in search of them, & they immediately started on their expedition. Reliance is chiefly placed on the sagacity of the native woman, who is distinguished for her skill in tracking.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Thursday 3 November 1836

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

NOVEMBER 3.-This morning a boat containing some white men and one black woman, an aboriginal native, arrived to concert measures for discovering the ramblers. From the different accounts which we heard we really began to be very uneasy about them, but these people seemed to be under no apprehension as to their final safety. They said that the journey across the island which they proposed was utterly impossible, as the brushwood would so completely entangle them that they would lose their way and might never be found again, either alive or dead. But before I proceed any further I must give some account of the black woman, who, being the first native we had seen, excited our curiosity. Her clothing consisted of a red woollen cap, such as sailors often wear, and a shirt of the same material under a coat of thick leather, such as in England is used for harness and to cover trunks. Her countenance was pleasing, though perfectly black, and her hair not woolly, like that of African natives, but long and straight on the forehead. Her legs and feet were bare, and round her neck hung several rows of glass beads. Her chin was also ornamented with a kind of beard, and whiskers grew at the sides of her face. But what most surprised us was her musical voice, and the pleasing intonation with which she spoke the English language, for what she said she uttered with a proper accent and almost with fluency. Her height was about five feet six inches, and her age apparently about twenty-five years, but on being asked how old she was she replied, ” I cannot tell,” and this is the case with them all. She was taken into the steerage and regaled with biscuit and beef, which she seemed to relish exceedingly. She talked with great confidence as to being able to trace the young men, as she knew every part of the island. She added that there was no fear of their perishing, especially as they were provided with guns.

As soon, therefore, as it had been pointed out by the map on what part of the island the missing passengers had landed, the men, with the black woman, departed in the boat and Mr. Thomas accompanied them. He went to arrange with Mr. Hallett, who, with his family, had landed on the island and erected a tent there, as to what remuneration should be given for the search and how it should be conducted. At length it was agreed that four men and two women should set out immediately, with a sufficient supply of provisions and water, in a boat to that part where the young men had landed and follow them through the bush until they came up with them. For this service they were to receive six pounds. Accordingly they set off.

Mr. Thomas returned on board, and we then learnt that royalty itself had condescended to pay us a visit in the person of the black woman, for she was no other than the Princess Con, daughter of King Con, a chief of one of the native tribes. Her father was at that time on Kangaroo Island.

In the evening the sky was again illuminated by the burning brushwood.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Friday 4 November 1836

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

4 November-The Rapid sailed for Holdfast Bay; I was obliged to remain at Rapid Valley, on account of the crowded state of my cabin, and intended going up in the A class of net fishing boats used on the Thames estuary. The Rapid’s boat was built specially for the Colonization Commissioners by W.T. Gulliver of Wapping. hatch-boat, which was hourly expected from Nepean Bay.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Saturday 5 November 1836

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

Saturday Nov 5th On Sunday last one of our large
Sows was found dead. She was going about as usual
the previous Day, but in miserable lean condition —
Chandler did not go to Work untill Wednesday, during which
time Powell assisted me with the live Stock, and commen-
-ced building a Goose House that was finishd Yestdy

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Saturday 5 November 1836

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

The last three days being almost maddened by the flies, I have been building myself a hut which will in some measure keep off these persevering tormentors. As the heat is excessive in the middle of the day and I have nearly half a mile to fetch my wood I fear it will be an endless job. The A sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts. Brig arrived from Kangaroo Island with the rest of the Surveyors etc. on Wednesday evening. The party is now divided into two – one of which sailed yesterday at 1 p.m. in the A sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts. brig for Holdfast Bay where that division will for the present be stationed. We are in momentary expectation of the arrival of Pullen who remained behind at the Island with the hatch boat to bring over Dr. Wright of the “Cygnet” who is detained at a bad case of midwifery. Colonel Light has appointed Dr. Wright to the Holdfast Bay station and I remain in care of the Rapid Bay one. When Pullen arrives Colonel Light will join the A sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts. brig with him and proceed round the Gulf and then to Port Lincoln leaving Maria here under my care.

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Thursday 1 November 1836

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

Decr 1st We have long been anxiously expecting a visit from the natives & have been somewhat uneasy at their lengthened absence, more particularly as 2 natives had been sent by land from Rapid Bay to inform the other tribes of our pacific intentions. To-day however two were brought into our settlement. Mr Williams (Mr Ward’s partner) while out shooting saw a man & boy making a fire; their backs being towards him, he got near to them, without their discovering him. When about 20 yds off he made a noise to attract their notice – not however without having previously taken the precaution of putting a bullet into each barrel of his gun. They immediately seized their spears, but as Mr Williams held up a piece of biscuit to them to show his good humour to them, & burst out laughing they put down their weapons & approached him. Patting on the back & other cordialities now commenced, & he at length persuaded them to follow him. On reaching his tent he gave them sugar, biscuit, and tobacco. Being now quite at their ease he brought them on to us, & having had intimation of their approach I went to met them. The man appeared to be about 30 years of age & the boy (who was his son) about 8, both were intelligent looking, and as far as my knowledge of physionomy would carry me – anything but ferocious. As soon as they saw me they laughed, and patted me on the back, which ceremony I of course returned; but wishing to make them comprehend as completely as possible that we were friendly with all the tribe I took a stick & holding it above my head broke it saying “Wambara” “Wambara” “No good” “No good” upon which the man seemed perfectly delighted, & with the greatest earnestness embraced me. The “Wombara” is a weapon used in native warfare. We then went to the Stores & supplied them with a second-hand military coat, hat, & trousers, which wonderfully delighted them, & on a looking-glass being placed before them, they were almost convulsed with laughter. We then introduced a new wonder, a pipe, which was lighted by a burning glass. They looked above & below but seeing nothing but a piece of transparent substance in a wooden frame they seemed rather alarmed. On this I pointed to the Sun, then to the glass & tobacco, but the explanation was hardly complete before the savage patted his chest, in token of comprehension, & looked at each of the party as if impressed with awe at our superior knowledge. We now took them to the tent & introduced them to the ladies of the party. On approaching my tent they were at first struck with the goats, but being anxious they should form a correct idea of the laws of “Meum” & “Tuam” I called the goats & fed them with biscuit, & by signs showed that they belonged to Me & Me alone & ended by giving the natives some biscuit to feed the goats, fowls etc xxxxx If these natives be a fair specimen, there was nothing to fear from a residence amongst them, but having heard much of their ferocity I must be cautious in giving a contrary opinion, as care may be required in dealing with them. At all events great praise is due to Mr Williams in his first treatment of them.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Journals from passengers at sea:

Sunday 30 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Sunday, Octr 30. Modte & fine, Head from South to S.E.b E.
Wind N.Ely. Performed Divine Service. Noon. Do Wr.
Miles run, 75 + 9243 = 9318. Late 35E27′ So. Longe 1E35′ Et.
P.M. Fresh breezes & rainy. Head S.E. b E. Wind Northerly. Short-
-en’d sail. 6. Light winds & vble. Midnight. Fresh fair wind.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Sunday 30 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Octr 30th This morning brought us within sight of land, about noon the First officer directly coming under the command of the captain. Ships’ Mates were responsible for supervising watches, crew, navigation and safety equipment, and sometimes even served as the ship’s doctor. first mate saw from the mast-head Cape Wiles & the land towards Thistles Island, all which at length became evident from the deck, appearing to be 35 miles distant. The near approach to land has caused considerable excitement on board.

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Sunday 30 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

OCTOBER 30.-This day, Sunday, at about 2 o’clock, land was seen from the masthead, and in the evening it was distinctly seen from deck.

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Monday 31 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Monday Octr 31. Drew up to day the first legislative measure for His
Excellency’s consideration – namely to impose certain duties on ardent
spirits. I suspect till we can brew our own beer we shall be obliged to
allow small rations of the “horrid poison” to our labourers in which case
therefore I have endeavoured by imposing a duty of 7/6 per gallon to
avoid making it a heavy tax upon labour. I mean however to propose
that grog shop keepers shall pay a heavy annual license – say £30 or
even £50; & by adopting the act against Tippling make single glasses or
bottles of spirits procurable only with money immediate payment “on the nail” & as dear as we can
I feel however that no legislation can destroy the evil; all we can hope to
effect is to render it as innocuous as circumstances will permit. Our
voyage proceeds favorably we are already 3000 miles from Rio…

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Tuesday 1 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

…The weather has been delightful. A great number of Porpoises & not less than 20 whales were observed from the Ship some of the latter came within 15 yds of us; they were generally of the spermaciti kind and as usual infested with barnacles!

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Tuesday 1 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

NOVEMBER 1.- At 4 o’clock this morning there was a beautiful view of Kangaroo Island, about ten miles distant. I was on deck at 6 o’clock. The sun had just risen with great splendour, and its rays then wholly obscured any sight of land, At 8 o’clock land again became visible, and at about noon was plainly observed.

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Wednesday 2 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Wednesday Decr 2. [sic] Drew up an act to regulate & settle disputes between
Master and Servant, which I read to the Governor who found it to be the
“very law he had determined to make as he told Lord Glenelg and
Mr Stephens long ago”. Of course he means to claim credit for all the
legislation. I find notwithstanding this amiable intention that unless
I do things myself, though they are not in any shape within my
province, there is no chance of anything but confusion & disorder
to be expected on our arrival. The Governor cannot write two sentences
of grammar or common sense, that is the simple truth; but
I will not allow the chance of his appropriating my labours to his
own in the higher quarters to stand in the way of good
which order & sound legislation from the commencement are
likely to ensure. In this view I am preparing the law for the constit-
-ution of the Supreme Court & the Courts of General or Quarter
and Petty Sessions. The Governor has given me a long list of Magis-
-trates which he intends to include in the first Commission
of the Peace. Among them I observe the names of the Harbour
Master, the Store Keeper and of two young men Hutchinson &
Strangways on board this ship whose only claim to the honour
seems their being the lovers of two of his daughters. One of them
has been a subaltern in a marching regiment and is a surly
empty pated fool; the other held ‘rank’ in Don Pedro’s service. The
manners language & conversation of both are of the lowest & most
trifling character – fitter for the backwoods of Ohio or the edge of St Giles, a slum area of London purlieus
of St. Giles
than for civilised society or the duties of the Magistracy.
If this man has his way we shall soon be in a precious state.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Thursday 3 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Thursday Nov. 3. Mr Fisher & I had a prolonged discussion sederunt of three hours with the
Governor, & it pleased me to find that his opinion of his Excellency’s
powers coincides with my own. The Governor however is not yet satisfied,
nor is he pleased, though he was obliged to yield to our objection to the
tag-rag & bob-tail magistrates he wished to appoint. The consequence is
that Gouger, Fisher, Col. Light, & Mr Stephens the Manager of the S.A.
Company, are only to be retained on the list for the present.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Friday 4 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Friday Nov 4. A boxing match on the The quarterdeck was the deck between the main mast and the back of the ship. quarter deck in which the
Governor performed in his character  only of Captain we hope. A
youngster the son of Mr Eales the kind hearted & respected purser
was ordered to prevent any one from passing a certain point on the
main deck. He forgot the order & the consequence was that his Excellency
with his own proper hands boxed the ears of the lad accompanying
the punishment with a volley of oaths of a quality only to be heard
on board the Buffalo & the The coachmen were known for their strong language Hackney coach stands of London. This is
an original way of maintaining dignity and encouraging senti-
-ments of respect towards him amongst the respectable passengers!

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Saturday 5 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Saturday, Novr 5. Moderate winds, squally at times. Head E.S.E.
Wind S.W. Noon. Do Wr. Miles run, 162 + 10104 = 10264.
Lat. 37E28′ So. Longe 20E20′ Et. Cape Agulhas, N.4EWt, 162 miles.
P.M. Light airs & fine. From 8 to midnight, Calm and fine.

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Next week

Light's anxiety increases as the newly arrived settlers on the Africaine press him to name a location for the settlement. Dr Woodforde is kept busy at Rapid Bay and we meet a new correspondent on Kangaroo Island.

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