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Journal Entries written by: George Stevenson

Friday 22 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Friday July 22. Went with my family on board the
Buffalo this afternoon. The Ship in considerable
confusion. Trunks, bales, barrels, packages and litter
of all sorts strewed about in most admired disorder.
Determined however to overlook as much as possible
inconveniences, common it is believed to the commence-
-ment of all voyages by sea! Although those which
surround us here appear rather formidable. Our
cabins by dint of soap and paint have been rendered
somewhat more comfortable than we at first seeing
them expected, not withstanding six feet by 71/2
leaves much scope for ingenuity in the art of
stowing away, and affords no more room than
our necessities require.

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 22 July 1836 ]

Saturday 23 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Saturday July 23. Dropt down to St. Helen’s with
the wind at South West, and from the settled appearance
of the weather there is not any immediate prospect
of change. The Emigrants and Lady and Gentlemen
passengers reconnoitring each other – all apparently
amiably disposed and in tolerable spirits at finding
that after so many heartsickening delays our voyage
is at length about to commence.

[ Read the full journal for: Saturday 23 July 1836 ]

Sunday 24 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Our first Sunday on Ship board and such a Sunday! A gale from the South West, and motion enough even at this anchorage to make the ladies and most of the emigrants qualmish. Moderated towards mid-day. No public attempt at performing divine service or even reading prayers, which might have been the case in the […]

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 24 July 1836 ]

Wednesday 27 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

After two days more perverse wind it changed at last to the east of south, and we put to sea this morning at day break. The number of passengers who are officers of the Colony proprietors of land and their families is thirty seven; Emigrants and their families 136. Crew and Marines above 100.

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 27 July 1836 ]

Thursday 28 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Three weddings amongst the young Emigrants
this morning. The ceremony was performed by Mr Howard
on the quarter deck in the presence of the Governor, officers
passengers, emigrants and whole ships company. Mr Howard
on this occasion acted under a license granted by the
Governor, and as some doubts have occurred to me, as to the
legality of marriages under such circumstances, I subjoin
a Copy of the licence under which they were celebrated.
“By His Excellency John Hindmarsh Esq. Captain in
the Royal Navy, Knight of the Royal Hanoverian order,
Governor and Captain General of His Majesty’s province
of South Australia,
“Whereas it hath been represented to me that A.B.
&c (Here the names and last residences of the parties
are enumerated) are desirous of being united in
matrimony and that there are no lawful impediments
to the solemnization thereof, now therefore I hereby
authorise you to proceed to solemnize the marriages
between the parties herein before designed with
all convenient speed according to the rites of
the Church and for so doing this shall be your
warrant. Given under my hand & seal &c”
Signed by the Governor &
addressed to the Rev. Mr Howard.

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 28 July 1836 ]

Friday 29 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Early this morning when off the Bill
of Portland, encountered a heavy gale from the
South West. The Buffalo was not built to contend
against the wind, so we put about after a brief
struggle and ran back for St Helen’s where we came
to anchor at 7 p.m. A Manuscript weekly news-
-paper, edited by Miss Mary Hindmarsh, appeared
yesterday. It does not display superabundant talent
and will not last above a week or two, although
there is little difficulty in extracting old epigrams
and worn out bons mots. A thing of this kind could
be made the source of much interest and amusement
as well as instruction. Some young people are
jealous of their information being suspected, on those
subjects the more especially of which they know nothing.

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 29 July 1836 ]

Sunday 31 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Letter to George Fife Angas
H.M.S. Buffalo
St. Helen’s July 31 1836
My dear Sir,
….The Tam O’Shanter came in to these roads
shortly after us having been also driven back. The
Captain reports all his emigrants well, with the
exception of a Mrs Stuckey who is considered by the
surgeon to be rather in some danger. The Dr of the
Buffalo & I have considered his report in the
case and are of opinion it is not more than
a severe attack consequent on sea sickness.

Believe me always my dear Sir
with greatest esteem Yrs faithfully
Geo Stevenson
G.F. Angas Esq

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 31 July 1836 ]

Monday 1 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Another heavy gale from the S.W. which forced us back a second time to St Helen’s, where we shall now probably remain till a decided change in the weather takes place.

[ Read the full journal for: Monday 1 August 1836 ]

Wednesday 3 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Left St Helen’s this morning once more, with a favorable breeze, which looks likely to take us clear of the Channel. A good deal of motion. The ladies and most of the gentlemen suffering from the mal de mer. The emigrants also in no very savoury condition, but bearing their lot upon the whole with […]

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 3 August 1836 ]

Thursday 4 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

The second No of the Buffalo Telegraph
today. A dead failure. Scarcely a redeeming point
of intelligence or wit.  Scraps from young ladies’
[tooltip color=”grey” text=”Books of useful information or memorable sayings, compiled by individuals.  They were often hand-written, but could also include pasted extracts – hence scrap books.”] common place books [/tooltip] do not become original by
being fairly copied into a sheet of foolscap

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 4 August 1836 ]

Friday 5 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

For the last three days the
Emigrants deck has been in a most offensive
state – so much so that it was impossible to
pass along without fingers to the nostril. To cleanse
it at last, became a matter of absolute necessity,
and this has accordingly been done to-day with
[tooltip color=”grey” text=”bleaching powder”] chloride of lime [/tooltip] and plenty of seawater. I had
some difficulty before leaving St Helen’s in procuring
a number of cats to be sent on shore. They were
very numerous and had crept under the berths
of the emigrants, which is the main cause of the
horrid effluvia now existing. Cats are probably
valuable in the colony, but whoever takes them
out should be obliged to keep them sweet and
clean and confined to a hutch during the

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 5 August 1836 ]

Sunday 7 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Sunday August 7. Proceeding favorably; but a dreadful sea rolling for the last two days. This morning it abated sufficiently to enable us to have divine service performed for the first time. Mr Howard preached a somewhat appropriate discourse with great attention and decorum. The governor had a severe sprain of the Ancle to day. […]

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 7 August 1836 ]

Monday 8 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

The party getting a little over
sea sickness and more at home with each other.
There is an indifferent piano in the after Cabin,
and this evening we had what was called a [tooltip color=”grey” text=”literally a musical evening or concert.”] soirée
musicale [/tooltip]. Somewhat of a punishment. We have
bid farewell to good music for sometime; and
besides there are certain airs associated with
being of so different a stamp from any we are
likely to meet again that it is painful to be obliged
to listen to them. The Ladies getting over the disagreeables
which tho’ unavoidable in any Ship have, it is to be
regretted, been very much & unnecessarily multiplied
in the Buffalo. It does require some physical strength
as well as moral courage to endure the annoyances in-
-separable from a sea voyage; and to the unaccustomed ears of
ladies who have never left the comforts of their own homes
the creaking bulkheads, slamming of doors, tumbling
and bumping of chairs and other moveables, to say
nothing of the compound of villainous sounds & smells
common to ship board, these inconveniences at first seem
insupportable. But a little time & patience and they
become less frequently thought of & less severely felt.

[ Read the full journal for: Monday 8 August 1836 ]

Saturday 13 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Saturday August 13. Progressing for some days very steadily; about 200 miles from Madeira. Picked up a log of American pine which seemed to have been very long at sea from the immense number of Barnacles adhering to it, the wood however was perfectly sound. A visit from a shoal of dolphins to day, they […]

[ Read the full journal for: Saturday 13 August 1836 ]

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 for: Sunday 14 August 1836 ]

Monday 15 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Madeira distant about 20 miles white cottages and green patches visible, the green supposed to be vineyards. Oh for a bunch or two of the fresh ripe grapes!

[ Read the full journal for: Monday 15 August 1836 ]

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 for: Friday 19 August 1836 ]

Sunday 21 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Entered the tropic of Cancer. A fine trade wind carrying us steadily onward. Service to-day. The Sermon, professing to prove the efficacy of faith and the inutility of good works to salvation, did neither. Our worthy Chaplain carefully eluded both points; and vapid common places were all we got on the occasion.

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 21 August 1836 ]

Sunday 28 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

… For Service to-day
had substituted the Articles of War. Surely in the lazy
listlessness of existence at sea there might have been
sufficient time for both – if indeed reading the Mutiny
Act be at all a fitting employment for the day. No
Sunday School. So we thought it would be. What the
plea is we know not. But all this is exceedingly un-
-satisfactory. There are no school books on board to give
to the Emigrants’ children – an unhappy oversight, for
they might have been advantageously instructed during
these long and sleepy days. It will be important to see
that in all future emigrant Ships a person in some
degree qualified to act as Schoolmaster, be sent out.
Next to the Surgeon he would be the most useful person
in the vessel.

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 28 August 1836 ]

Tuesday 30 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Tuesday August 30 Wind fair but the weather unsettled,
the atmosphere heavily charged with electricity. A poor
sailor died this afternoon of [tooltip color=”grey” text=”tuberculosis”] consumption[/tooltip]. He was perfectly
sensible to his latest hour, and spoke of his death with the
calmness and the hope of a Christian. He was ordered to
be buried in the evening, and accordingly by torch light
his body was committed to the deep. Mr Howard read the
prayers of the Church, the crew was silent and attentive, and
the poor fellow’s mess-mate who had nursed him throughout the
whole period of his illness, shewed by his sobbing and tears
that a sailor can feel like a man.

[ Read the full journal for: Tuesday 30 August 1836 ]

Wednesday 31 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Wednesday August 30. [sic] Four weeks at sea this day. We have now made nearly three thousand miles in latitude exclusive of about seventeen degrees of west longitude; so that upon the whole the clumsy old ship has done pretty well. But the system of sailing adopted on board by the express order of the […]

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 31 August 1836 ]

Thursday 1 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Thursday September 1. A foul wind with a heavy swell
from the South; we are now in the region of what sailors
call “[tooltip color=”grey” text=”winds which frequently shift from one direction to another”] baffling winds [/tooltip]” and must be content to endure what
we cannot avoid. The Emigrants have expressed some
dissatisfaction on the substitution of cocoa for tea, and
in fact are not, upon the whole, made so comfortable as it
would be for the interest of the colony that they should
have been. I have exerted my influence with several
of them, and they consent to bear the disagreeables as well
as they can. Let full justice be done to the body of
Emigrants on board this ship; they have suffered without
much murmuring, though they have had several sufficient
causes for complaint. They have no place where they can
walk or breathe unpolluted air; the [tooltip color=”grey” text=”Sides of a ship raised above deck level to protect objects and crew.”] bulwarks [/tooltip] of the
Buffalo are six feet high; on both sides of the main
deck are rows of filthy hogs kept in pens, generally in
a horrid state of dirt and uncleanness. The Emigrants
can only walk alongside of these animals and inhale
the stench from them: they are forbidden either side of the [tooltip color=”grey” text=”The quareterdeck was the deck between the main mast and the back of the ship.”] quarter-deck [/tooltip] although the officers and passengers have the [tooltip color=”grey” text=”Technically called a stern deck, the poop is an exposed partial deck on the stern (rear) of a ship. It forms the roof of the stern or ‘poop’ cabin. “] poop [/tooltip] or what remains of it unoccupied by hay trusses
& hen-coops to themselves. These things make a deep
and ineffaceable impression on the individuals most
directly affected by their operation, and will tell
eventually. It has been a grand and radical error to
send out the Governor of South Australia in the invidious
and arbitrary character of Captain of the Ship: the
consequences of this act must be severely felt by him
if they be not in their result highly detrimental to the
colony. Common people have difficulty in separating
the acts of the Captain from those of the Governor, and
the trifling doings of the one are not likely to increase
respect when they shall be merged in the more important
functions of the other. A voyage like this calls for the
exercise of more philosophy than falls to the common lot
[tooltip color=”grey” text=”A reference to the teachings of Greek philosopher Zeno.”] Zeno [/tooltip] was never at sea in an Emigrant ship.

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 1 September 1836 ]

Monday 5 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Monday September 5. To-day the wind became more favorable, but for a few hours only, and our spirits have just been excited at the idea of making some progress to be depressed again at finding the ship tumbling about to its old tune. The weather is amazingly cool, since the beginning of the month the […]

[ Read the full journal for: Monday 5 September 1836 ]

Tuesday 13 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Tuesday September 13. This morning the south east trade
wind reached us and we are now within 100 miles of the equator.
A conversation with the Governor, Mr Fisher, & Mr Jickling
to-day on the subject of the establishment of a Public
Library in the Colony, regarding which both Mr Fisher and
myself are exceedingly anxious. The governor is inclined
to throw cold water on our project. “It is of no use,” said he,
“what good will books do our Colony?” but I strongly
suspect neither Fisher nor myself will be deterred from
doing our conscientious duty by such an opinion. The
ship continues to be made a carpenter’s shop, – hot-houses
dog-houses and other sorts of houses for the Captain
are in progress, and there is from morning to night such a
complication of noises, hammering, sawing, planing,
that the Ladies & passengers and Emigrants generally
suffer dreadfully from these various annoyances.
Little regard indeed is paid to their comfort at any
time: poor Mrs Fisher has the carpenter’s shop precisely over
her bed, while that part of the [tooltip color=”grey” text=”Technically called a stern deck, the poop is an exposed partial deck on the stern (rear) of a ship. It forms the roof of the stern or ‘poop’ cabin.”] poop [/tooltip] under which are the
cabins of the Governor’s family is carefully secured from
noise by being covered with trusses of hay. The Governor’s
dogs are allowed to run loose, bite, as they have done, the
Emigrants & crew at their pleasure, and to perform all
manner of beastlinesses where they have a mind; while
the dogs of the passengers are sedulously cooped up.
In a man-of-war it seems the Captain’s property and
chattels are always especially attended to; those belonging
to others must take their chance – that is the rule. It is
a pity Governor Hindmarsh should act upon it. Public
respect & popularity are not usually acquired by decided
acts of selfishness.

[ Read the full journal for: Tuesday 13 September 1836 ]

Wednesday 14 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Wednesday Sept. 14. Today it was ordered by the Governor that
the Emigrants should be instructed in the manual exercise.
In order that no objection should be made, the Gentlemen
passengers were first asked to [tooltip color=”grey” text=”A military exercise in rifle handling.”] drill [/tooltip], and they agreed to
do so with great good nature. The Emigrants were then
paraded and went through their exercise very respectably
for a first attempt. They are to be [tooltip color=”grey” text=”A military exercise in rifle handling.”] drilled [/tooltip] regularly by
the corporal of Marines until they are perfectly au fait.
That an armed body should exist for the enforcement of
the laws in the event of popular or individual resist-
-ance may perhaps be necessary, but the idea which
appears to exist in some quarters, that they are required
as a means of defence or aggression against the natives
cannot be too soon repudiated. A hostile shot shall never
be fired against them if I can help it either by pen
or print; the proper force after all, would be a small
body of regular soldiers say 25 or 30, to be paid by the
Colony, and liable to do the requisite duty.

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 14 September 1836 ]

Thursday 15 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Thursday September 15. Crossed the line this afternoon
thermometer at 74. In the evening the ship was hailed
by Neptune, who announced his intention of paying us
a visit on the morrow. The Water sprite then burned his
blue light, sent up his rocket, and sailed gaily away in
his lighted car. Great preparations are making for the
Saturnalia, and amusing pictures are drawn by those
who have undergone the process of lathering shaving and
ducking for the comfort and edification of the uninitiated.

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 15 September 1836 ]

Friday 16 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Friday Sepr 16 Gloom seems to be daily becoming more
the natural element of the Buffalo. In place of the
mirth which last evening promised us, a most [tooltip color=”grey” text=”a gloomy state of mind.”] melancholy [/tooltip]
crossing the line we have had. One of the sailors a young
man named Story, the only support of a widowed mother,
fell overboard last night while heaving the lead, [tooltip color=”grey” text=”The action or process of measuring the depth of water with a sounding line, a line marked at intervals of fathoms and weighted at one end. A fathom is a unit of length equal to 6 feet (1.83 metres).”] sounding [/tooltip]
for a shoal marked in the Admiralty Charts but which is in
fact generally believed not to exist. He was missed in a few
minutes after the accident had taken place, and a boat
was lowered, but he was lost. To add to the misery of his
fate the poor fellow was an excellent swimmer, and
most probably suffered a horrible & lingering death. It
seems astonishing that the readiest and most efficient
means of salvation in such cases should not have been thought
of, and that the life buoy was not let go: it is provided with
a light and he might have seen it and swam to it, while
he could not see the boat. Since this accident the Sentry on
the poop has received orders to slip the life buoy at the cry
of “a man overboard”, without waiting for orders from the
officer of the watch. This might have been done before,
it may however yet be useful.

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 16 September 1836 ]

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 for: Sunday 18 September 1836 ]

Wednesday 21 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Wednesday Sepr 21. A fine breeze from the South East, steering direct for Cape Frio,distant about 1100 miles. Our water will barely last us so far although there is an evident inclination on the part of the Governor to prefer the Cape. There is however no sufficient reason given for the preference, or for running […]

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 21 September 1836 ]

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 for: Saturday 24 September 1836 ]

Tuesday 27 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Tuesday Sepr 27. After obstinately persevering in taking the
ship out of our course for the last four days, the Captain has
once more altered his mind and we are again steering for
Rio. We have lost from four to five hundred miles by this
unaccountable and to my view unwarrantable proceeding,
but it is useless to complain or remonstrate. My position
precludes me from doing more than stating here what are
the opinions and feelings of every individual of common
sense on board, and I record them more in sorrow than in
anger. We are at present six or seven days sail from Rio;
had we not madly altered our course on the 24th we should
have been, to-day, with the wind as it has stood ever since,
within three hundred miles of our port

[ Read the full journal for: Tuesday 27 September 1836 ]

Saturday 1 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Saturday October 1. To-day at 12 instead of being at
anchor in the harbour of Rio de Janeiro we are still 230
miles distant from the coast of Brazil. The wind this
evening blows directly in our teeth. No one will envy the
Governor’s feelings at the announcement of a foul wind.
The misfortune is that many may suffer bitterly for one
man’s indiscretion.

[ Read the full journal for: Saturday 1 October 1836 ]

Sunday 2 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Sunday Octr 2. The breeze a little more favorable, and
our hopes of reaching Rio in a couple of days revived. No
public service to-day as there is a heavy sea rolling Mr Howard
read prayers in the Ward-room most of the Ladies & Gentlemen
were present. Neither the Governor nor any of his family I
am sorry to say, attended, although they were advised of the
intention. To-day the first albatross was seen. It was a
white one the [tooltip color=”grey” text=”Wandering Albatross”] Diomedea exulans [/tooltip]…

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 2 October 1836 ]

Monday 3 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Monday Octr 3d Wind light, but favorable during the night. But from that strange want of confidence every now & then manifested in the correctness of our position, the Captain ordered the ship to be wore, and we were taken away from the land once more. After standing off for some hours we again made […]

[ Read the full journal for: Monday 3 October 1836 ]

Tuesday 4 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Tuesday Octr 4th. Anchored in this beautiful harbour at
last; fired a salute of 11 guns to the Admiral & 21 to the
Brazilian flag. Went ashore immediately with my family
and found all our friends at Rio well and glad
to welcome us. Our Colony has created great interest
here —

[ Read the full journal for: Tuesday 4 October 1836 ]

Wednesday 12 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Wednesday Octr 12. Off with a fair wind, but the Buffalo seems
to be in more inextricable confusion that ever; half the men
scarcely sober, the other half fit for nothing from the effects of the
gross intemperance in which they have been permitted to indulge
A fresh supply of poultry, & as if the poor emigrants had not
nuisance around them enough already, eight or ten half grown
hogs which the Captain purchased at Rio a bargain have been
added for their comfort & cleanliness. The Captain’s strict orders from
the Admiralty were to proceed without touching at any port unless
in case of necessity. On a very short allowance of water, we might
have gone on to the Cape; & it was to avoid a measure of this kind
that we came a couple of thousand miles & more out of our track to
Rio. And now what has been the first step taken by the Captain
on leaving this port? Why to do the very thing he came here professedly
to avoid, to reduce the allowance of water to each passenger and
emigrant one pint a day! Besides the mules & hogs, the pens are
filled up with his Excellency’s turkeys, guinea fowls, geese and
poultry, & they must have water; so to accommodate them, we
are thus treated! But this is quite consistent with his general conduct
which is daily becoming more offensive.

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 12 October 1836 ]

Thursday 13 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Thursday Octr 13. To-day at 12 upwards of 120 miles from Rio
This evening, Mr Fisher, the resident Commissioner fell down on deck
in an epileptic fit, from which he seemed to suffer much. From the
coolness with which his family looked on amid the general alarm I appre-
-hend that he is subject to such attacks. If the Commissioners at home did
not know of the fact, I think it would be right to inform them, as no
provision that I know of has been made to carry on the duties of his
situation in the event of his being suddenly incapacitated. Another characte
ristic bit of authority on board to-day. The dogs belonging to the passengers
have been refused their modicum of water; those belonging to the Captain
were not included of course. Not to say a word on the score of humanity,
popularity is known to be very fleeting & his Excellency therefore takes
no care to secure even the smallest portion of that perishable commodity
But the expression of disgust was too strong & general upon the subject
to be resisted, & the order was rescinded in the course of the evening
in the hope that the malcontents would be duly sensible of the
favor done them by the non-exercise of the power possessed at sea
by a Captain in the Royal Navy!

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 13 October 1836 ]

Sunday 23 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Sunday Octr 23. Service to-day upon deck, indecorously interrupted by
the Captain who made a vast commotion in adjusting the sails when
there was certainly no pressing necessity for any thing of the sort.
The people were dismissed; but in five minutes he ordered them all
to be summoned by the bell: Mr Howard however declined to proceed
with the sermon and merely went through the remaining prayers. This
abrupt & irreverent conduct has created much discussion though very
little difference of opinion. It is especially strange that he should have
chosen such a time for making or shortening sail, when his favorite
position is that the fast or slow progress of a ship does not depend on
the number of sails set. Unfortunately for us this is the theory he in-
-variably puts in practice & yesterday we had for six hours the
precise amount & no more canvas spread under a moderate &
favorable breeze, than the ship bore under the heavy gale of the night.

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 23 October 1836 ]

Tuesday 25 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Tuesday Octr 25. A long sederunt with Capt. Hindmarsh in reference to his
powers as Governor. He maintains that all appointments are in his hands,
& that in no case he is obliged to submit any such to the Council even for
their advice. I have told him plainly my opinion, which is that subject to his
right of proposing, & the power of pardoning or remitting the sentences of
convicts, all executive as well as legislative acts must be done by him in Council
By the Royal instructions he has power to carry his propositions into law even
against the opinion & voice of the “whole or major part” of his advisers – being
obliged however in such a case to assign his reasons for so acting to the
Secretary of State at home – a check, which if not quite sufficient against
temporary acts of folly or despotism is at least fully so as regards their per-
-manence. His Excellency scarcely seemed pleased with my frankness;
but I only gave my honest opinion & not before it was asked, and am
totally indifferent as to its palatableness. He says he is determined to
act singly and uncontrolled – that he has Lord Glenelg’s & Mr Stephen’s
authority for so doing and will not, to use his own words “abate an
inch of his Master’s prerogative” – forgetting perhaps that His Majesty
has in the instance expressly delegated his authority, prerogative & all
to others. But it is in vain to argue with him on this point, or indeed
on any other. He will however probably come or be brought to his senses
ere he be called upon to act.

[ Read the full journal for: Tuesday 25 October 1836 ]

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 [tooltip color=”grey” text=”immediate payment”] “on the nail” [/tooltip] & 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 for: Monday 31 October 1836 ]

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 [tooltip color=”grey” text=”edge of St Giles, a slum area of London”] purlieus
of St. Giles [/tooltip]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 for: Wednesday 2 November 1836 ]

Thursday 3 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Thursday Nov. 3. Mr Fisher & I had a [tooltip color=”grey” text=”prolonged discussion”] sederunt [/tooltip]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 for: Thursday 3 November 1836 ]

Friday 4 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Friday Nov 4. A boxing match on the [tooltip color=”grey” text=”The quarterdeck was the deck between the main mast and the back of the ship.”] quarter deck [/tooltip] 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 [tooltip color=”grey” text=”The coachmen were known for their strong language”] Hackney coach stands of London[/tooltip]. This is
an original way of maintaining dignity and encouraging senti-
-ments of respect towards him amongst the respectable passengers!

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 4 November 1836 ]

Thursday 10 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Thursday Nov. 10. A poor woman making dreadful complaints
of the Hindmarshes. We have heard many such, but this is worth
chronicling from its peculiar offensiveness. The woman & her husband
had been almost enticed on board & she had been promised by the
ladies of the family every comfort during her confinement. She is
deserted & cannot get even a potatoe notwithstanding the blarney by
wholesale uttered by Mrs Hindmarsh in a visit to her on Sunday. The
Captain’s son’s dog Diana had a house built for her at His Majesty’s
expense & dinner sent regularly to her with every “delicate attention”;
but the Captain has lived too long in the “East” – he was Master of
a Steamer belonging to the Pacha of Egypt where a “dog of a
Christian” is the lowest animal in the scale of creation. Poor Mrs Pike!

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 10 November 1836 ]

Friday 11 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

… What has kept the officers & many of the best men grin-
-ning all day in each others faces is this; a shoal was marked in our
chart near our position to-day as seen by a Dutchman in 1736.
It is named the “Slot van Capelle” The joke is, that if it exists at
all, which is very doubtful, we must have passed by or over it
at two o’clock this afternoon, seeing that at mid-day we were by
good observation distant from it twelve miles: but at six p.m.
our wise Captain, who is also our Governor more’s the pity, ordered
the ship to be wore and we are now standing west; so that if there
is danger & we missed it in the afternoon, we may have better luck
& hit it in the course of the night. Ask any officer in the ship the
meaning of all this, & he grins in your face & turns away laughing…

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 11 November 1836 ]

Sunday 13 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Sunday Nov. 13. Spoke yesterday an English Whaler (Wood-lark) which sailed about ten days after us. The poor Captain came on board to day & was in sad distress complaining of the slow progress he had made; he was evidently comforted when he learnt that H.M.S. Buffalo had left ten days before him. No service […]

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 13 November 1836 ]

Wednesday 16 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Wednesday Nov 16 Drew up a Proclamation for our landing, with
especial reference to Lord Glenelg’s benevolent views towards the
Aborigines; & using in fact his Lordship’s own words as I find
them in the Instructions. My wife whose  interest in the Aborigines
is great, thinks it profanation to put such serious language into the
mouth of a swearing & totally irreligious person like the Governor.
Perhaps it is so, but the Proclamation, if not suited to the man,
is to the circumstances of the Colony; & expresses, not his Excellency’s
views certainly, but those of higher principled & better men.

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 16 November 1836 ]

Friday 18 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Friday Nov. 18. Availed ourselves of the advantage of a calm to obtain
several specimens of the sea birds which flock around us. Three species of
the Longipennes family were shot, among which the wandering albatross
(Diomedia exulans) was the finest;  it measured 10 feet 4 inches from
tip to tip of its wings. We had also an opportunity of contrasting the
elegant blue petrel (p. Vittata) with the largest of the tribe (p. gigantea)
& of proving the singular deceptiveness of vision regarding objects seemingly
but a short distance on the water. The albatrosses from the [tooltip color=”grey” text=”Technically called a stern deck, the poop is an exposed partial deck on the stern (rear) of a ship. It forms the roof of the stern or ‘poop’ cabin.”] poop [/tooltip] though
constantly near enough for us to observe that it was scanning us,
never appeared larger than a goose of moderate size, but when
brought on deck, the least of them far exceeded in bulk & weight
the largest swan we ever saw.

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 18 November 1836 ]

Monday 21 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Monday Nov. 21. Busy to-day with two important Acts – one for the sum-
-mary determination of disputes between Master & Servant; the other for
the Prevention of Imprisonment for debt except in cases of fraud &
for the better  recovery of debts; but I was interrupted in having them
considered in the afternoon by the Governor & Fisher, owing to the latter
having another of those unfortunate attacks of epilepsy.

[ Read the full journal for: Monday 21 November 1836 ]

Thursday 24 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Thursday Nov. 24. This morning a whale that had been playing about at some distance came alongside the ship & after surveying it with much deliberation, quietly returned to two companions who were spouting further off: we suppose that he reported us not worth the trouble of coming to see, as they all continued their […]

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 24 November 1836 ]

Friday 25 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Friday Nov. 25. After four days contrary wind we had the pleasure
of seeing the ship once more on her right course; & at ½ past 5 we were going
between 6 & 7 [tooltip color=”grey” text=”The speed of ship or wind in nautical miles per hour.”] knots[/tooltip], when in order to maintain the Captain’s favorite
proposition that ships go faster in proportion as they have less canvas
spread, sail was shortened, & we wot not how many [tooltip color=”grey” text=”Seafarers reduce sails in strong winds so that ships can move more safely and comfortably. Sails are made with rows of small ropes attached to them and these are tied around spars to reduce the amount of sail exposed to the wind. The amount of sail taken in by securing one set of ropes is called a reef. The action of reducing sails is called reefing and the knot that is used to tie the ropes is called a reef knot. “] reefs [/tooltip] taken in.
Everybody loud in dissatisfaction.

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 25 November 1836 ]

Saturday 26 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Saturday Nov. 26. The Governor’s mules, pigs, cow, geese, turkeys, & dogs
must have their full allowance of water, & that they may not suffer,
another pint is this day struck off our allowance in addition to the
pint at Rio. It is impossible to repeat what is said in all quarters of
such conduct. Every thing is sacrificed to his own selfish purposes.
The [tooltip color=”grey” text=”The mainsail is the lowest sail on the mainmast, as is the fore-sail on the foremast.”] mainsail [/tooltip] has been kept single [tooltip color=”grey” text=”Reducing sails.”] reefed [/tooltip] now for a month in order
that his cow & mules in the long boat may not suffer by the draught of
wind. Of what importance is making sail to their health or

[ Read the full journal for: Saturday 26 November 1836 ]

Sunday 27 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

The Captain out of dignified spite to Mr Howard because
he demonstrated to the satisfaction of every body on board that we had passed
the “Slot van Capelle” before we [tooltip color=”grey” text=”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.”] tacked [/tooltip] to avoid it, and with whose
prerogatives therefore he is as determined to interfere as Mr Howard is to
resist him, again deprived the Sailors of the benefit of Clergy & we had
Service in the ward-room. Mr H’s preaching is not improving certainly,
… The Sunday School is now
totally neglected abandoned, & the poor children are left to shift for themselves.

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 27 November 1836 ]

Monday 28 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Drew up this morning the first sketch of a law for
preventing unnecessary litigation & for the amicable settlement of all
disputes by arbitration. I mentioned the subject to the Governor in London,
& stated my opinion if we could find means to support a court of
arbitration that it would be well to adopt it in Australia. He had never
heard of the Danish practice; but said he liked the suggestion very much
– so much indeed it appears to have taken his fancy that on my reading
the act to him this forenoon, I had the pleasure of being told that he
had determined to introduce the Danish law into the province
long before he knew me!! He said also that he had consulted Lord
Glenelg & Mr Stephen on the subject – both of whom approved of his
intention – the latter especially was “in extasy” at his being “no lawyer”,
& therefore more fitted to make laws without any regard to form
or legality. Mr Stephen, I suspect, must have amused himself with
slyly quizzing the Governor, but I am quite certain that if either
Lord Glenelg or he had ever seriously listened to him for half an
hour they would have pronounced him wholly unfit for the great
trust confided to his hands, The facts I record here however prove the
quality & the moral honesty of the man.

[ Read the full journal for: Monday 28 November 1836 ]

Tuesday 29 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Tuesday Nov. 29. A fresh breeze & noon we were by our reckoning 12 miles south east i.e. past the Island of St Pauls. Our Captain in a sad frame because the haze prevented his seeing it, but in order to give one instance more of his anxiety to reach his destination with the utmost […]

[ Read the full journal for: Tuesday 29 November 1836 ]

Thursday 1 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

To-day we are by reckoning 1460 miles from Cape Chatham;
but we have not had a glimpse of the sun since the 27th. Poor Mr Fisher
had another epileptic fit, the second public one since he came on board.
He cut himself very severely over the right eye brow by his fall, & in
fact his escape appears to have been a very narrow one. This is a most
melancholy affection, & from the state of constant excitement in which he
is kept by the brutality of the Governors’s conduct & proceedings it may
turn out serious. I hope sincerely he will be able to weather the voyage.
He passed the evening in our cabin & was a good deal more cheerful
than we expected. His view & expressed opinions of the Capt. are altogether
in unison with & quite as strong as our own.

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 1 December 1836 ]

Sunday 4 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Our chaplain ill – worried to death by the proceedings
of our gentlemanly mess towards his wife & family. In consequence
we had no service. The sermon of good Dr Wilson [tooltip color=”grey” text=”Soder and Man is a diocese of the Church of England”] (Sodor & Man) [/tooltip]edified
us in the morning & one of Jeremy Taylor in the evening – so that
except in the public observance of the sabbath which is here a
mockery, we were no losers…

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 4 December 1836 ]

Friday 9 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

This morning Mr Fisher & I had a characteristic
scene with the Governor. The latter has always impressed upon me that
it was his right to fix the site of the Capital, & till I saw Colonel Light’s
instructions I believed this to be the case. Undeceived, I was determined
not to be played upon with impunity & accordingly I told the Governor
in Mr Fisher’s presence that  he had misled me, and was himself al-
-together mistaken; that I had read the Commissioners Instructions to
the Surveyor General, & the fact was that it rested solely & exclusively
upon Col. Light’s responsibility to fix the site of Adelaide. The polite &
dignified remark in answer was that “he did not care a — for any
order of the Commissioners & he would fix the seat of Government
where he pleased. It was only his private confidence in Col. Light’s
discretion that would lead him to submit to his decision: he had
Lord Glenelg’s authority for all this, & for setting the Commissioners
at defiance”. I doubt this; & indeed have no further confidence
in the truth of any thing he says But for the consideration my family
& their interests demand I should not remain an hour in my present
position. It seems more & more desirable that the Governor’s powers
should be defined strictly, or some strange antics we shall have; –
but it is far more to be wished that in selecting an individual for
the high office he fills, care had been taken to find a gentleman of
common sense who had little occasion for other brains than his own
& who would despise to lay his own follies entirely upon the shoulders
of honorable men. On the [tooltip color=”grey” text=”Technically called a stern deck, the poop is an exposed partial deck on the stern (rear) of a ship. It forms the roof of the stern or ‘poop’ cabin.”] poop [/tooltip] watching the sun going down, the
Captain observing to Margaret “They that go down to the sea in ships”
she, unintentionally perhaps but not inappropriately continued the
quotation “they reel to & fro & stagger like a drunken man & are at
their wit’s end”. He replied “You may be at your wit’s end, Mrs S,
but it will not do for me to be at mine, I shall have employment
enough for them!” Margaret thought of Wordsworth I suppose for she
quoted half-aside, “Good help thee silly one!”.

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 9 December 1836 ]

Saturday 10 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Received back from his Excellency the legislation acts
I had prepared, with his amendments in pencil. They are more
curious than numerous & I hope some of them may survive that the
higher powers may see what a clever fellow the Governor is. One
instance of his ability in the science will suffice. To maintain as
much as possible the faith of contracts with labourers, I had laid
a heavy penalty upon any one employing a servant knowingly,
during the unexpired period of his engagement with another. The
Governor had interpolated the words “or hiring” and forgot that
he had done so I presume, as he found mighty fault with the
clause & proceeded at great length to expound the gross injustice of
punishing any man for hiring a servant under such circum-
-stances. I agreed with him entirely; but remarked that no such
provision existed in the measure as I had prepared it. He main-
-tained that it did, & though satisfying him that the interpolation
was in his own hand-writing settled the dispute, he had the
candour – not to acknowledge his error – oh no! he never dreams of
being wrong even in his most outrageous absurdities – but to say
that it was a point that for the moment slipt his memory on which
his principal objection to the clause rested. He would however retain
the draft till he remembered it. He did so; & I have this evening
had it returned with the words “or hiring” carefully rubbed out! The
“principal objection” remains in abeyance.

[ Read the full journal for: Saturday 10 December 1836 ]

Sunday 11 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Turned out at 8 bells in vulgar English 4 o’clock in
the morning; & had the satisfaction to be the first in the ship to make
out the coast of New Holland; it was Cape Chatham; & our chronometers
were found to be right by observation to less than a mile – so all the
fears & fuss about St. Paul’s & the probable errors of these instruments
received a just though silent commentary. A vast number of porpoises
about the ship frolicking & leaping in all directions….

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 11 December 1836 ]

Wednesday 14 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Wednesday Decr 14. To make Cape Chatham we have come out of our
way nearly 300 miles; & all to find what every man in the ship
believed, that our watches were right. It has been calm yesterday &
to-day – rather annoying now when within 700 miles of our haven,
& when we consider that had ordinary advantage been taken of the
winds we have been favored with we should have been on shore three
weeks ago. Margaret had a conversation with a settler from Fife
on board; the same individual whose attention to the education of
his children has been so praiseworthy about Australia. “He had
just been devouring a’ the buiks he could get on the subject of
Australia; & he was vera happy to hear frae Maister Stevenson
that a gentleman was to be appointed to tak care o’ the natives.
Puir things! he was like rather to see gude done to them than harm,
& he thocht they might be brought to other & better things, especially as
their powers o’ mimicry were sae extraordinar – & then, ye ken, if they
can mimic fules, they can mimic better things”. Sound reasoning & delivered
with a feeling rarely indeed to be heard from an English peasant of the same

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 14 December 1836 ]

Thursday 15 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

During the last three days we had royals displayed
for the first time for many weeks. It was calm which accounts for it, but a
favorable breeze springing up they were instantly lowered & a double-
reef taken in on the top sails. The murmurs on board are loud as well
as deep. Reason good that they should be so.

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 15 December 1836 ]

Wednesday 21 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Yesterday we made Cape Wiles; & find it to be to
the [tooltip color=”grey” text=”Windward is the direction from which the wind is coming. Leeward is the opposite direction, away from the wind.”] leeward [/tooltip] of our course to Port Lincoln. All accounts agree that
the easterly & south easterly winds prevail in this quarter during
the months of December, January & February. To have kept out therefore
with the westerly wind we had before making land, till we were to the
eastward of our haven was what any experienced seaman would
have done; but the turning lathe & carpenters work for his house
are yet unfinished – so we have got right into the south-east wind
where we are likely to be for a week or two. Our Captain does not like
the name of Cape Catastrophe the leading point for Port Lincoln,
he has been endeavouring to pick out a less fearful one, & I have
suggested Cape Flinders after the name of the discoverer of South
Australia who with the modesty of true genius, bestowed his own
name only on a small rock I believe to the westward. Our Governor
intends to immortalize many of our most glorious naval victories
such as Aboukir, Trafalgar, Camperdown, the Nile, &c, by naming
places in S. Australia after them. He has also selected the names of
several admirals & Captains who are likewise to be held in ever-
-lasting remembrance by the same means – Nelson, Duncan,
Newcombe, & Hindmarsh are among the number – We lay to at
about seven leagues from the shore instead of standing in for a
start in the morning so that there is no chance of doing any thing
unless the breeze should freshen. A far more magnificent & glorious sky
to-night than ever we saw or conceived. A double rainbow with the full
moon rising in the centre; clouds of violet & silver: on the opposite side
the sun setting in majesty mid clouds of every hue, from darkest
masses to the scarcely perceptible shade. “These are thy works Parent of Good”.

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 21 December 1836 ]

Friday 23 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

For the last three evenings we have neared the land
just in time to be too late to proceed; & we have regularly [tooltip color=”grey” text=”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.”] tacked [/tooltip] &
stood out to sea a sufficient distance to occupy the whole day in returning.
The breeze however is a little fresher this evening & we shall probably
go on. Our worthy captain has been openly bragging of having imposed
upon the Commissioners by telling them of a 90 or 100 days passage;
while he says that he knew all along, & in fact told Mrs Hindmarsh,
at Portsmouth, that we should not be at Port Lincoln before
December 22 (yesterday) “For,” said he, (I record the words) “If I had
said a longer time to them, I should not have been able to get the
Buffalo” !! So our precious Governor feels no scruple in telling, & no
shame in avowing that he has told a gross falsehood on a point of the
last importance to the welfare of the Colony! What may we not expect in
the way of imposition after this?

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 23 December 1836 ]

Saturday 24 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

At ½ past 4 this morning we were off Cape Donnington;
& at 9 perceived the Cygnet at anchor in Spalding Cove. Capt. Lipson
came on board & announced that Jones’s Harbour in the Gulph of
St. Vincent is considered a desirable spot for our metropolis. Colonel
Light’s letter speaks in glowing terms of the place, & of the whole eastern shore
of the Gulph, which he compares to Devonshire. All the vessels that preceded
us but the Tam o’Shanter have arrived safe & well. The only accident reported
has happened to the surgeon & another young man in the Africaine, who
are said to have perished, at least they have been lost in a mad attempt
to walk from the western shore of Kangaroo Island to Nepean Bay on
the north eastern side. Heard rather bad accounts of the proceedings of
Mr Stephens the Company’s Manager at Nepean Bay, who has
been involved in some quarrels with his people. This we hope is exaggerated;
if not, the circumstance is deeply to be lamented, as on the prudent
management of the Company’s affairs here depends in a great
measure the success of the Colony. We are told that supplies are already
abundant from Van Diemen’s Land. Landed with the Governor,
Fisher & Lipson at the head of Spalding Cove. The land does not
appear good; it is covered with scrubby wood, & there is no water to
be found. Picked up some specimens of lime-stone & feld spar. The
rocks were chiefly [tooltip color=”grey” text=”a conglomerate stone in which there is a difference in colour between the pebbles and the matrix”] pudding stone[/tooltip]; the tea-tree of New Holland
growing in great abundance & a variety of the
samphire plant. The shells were very numerous, & the cuttle fish in
great plenty. It was determined to take the Cygnet with us to
show us our way & the Captain accordingly ordered her to follow us, which
she did; so Port Lincoln has been left without any one to warn the
[tooltip color=”grey” text=”Other ships had already left England bringing more immigrants, bound for South Australia”] ships expected from England [/tooltip]where to go should they arrive in Spalding
Cove ere a boat’s crew can be sent back to keep a look out, & give
information to all comers of our ultimate locality. This arrangement
is quite of a piece with all the others.

[ Read the full journal for: Saturday 24 December 1836 ]

Sunday 25 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Christmas Day, clear, cloudless & beautiful; with the
thermometer at 68 Thoroughly disgusted with the conduct of the Governor
to-day. Such violence & ruffianism are without parallel, & his profane &
abominable oaths have driven all but his own & Mr Howard’s family
from the deck to seek refuge from the outrageous profanity in their own cabins.
Waiting for the Cygnet to come alongside with Capt Lipson’s family to
dinner. This is pushing on with a vengeance! The jaw of a remarkably
large shark brought on board It measured when extended six feet four
inches in circumference. The length of the animal was 19 feet. Its
liver alone yielded 25 gallons of oil & the weight altogether was estimated
at little less than five tons: it was taken in Nepean Bay.

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 25 December 1836 ]

Monday 26 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Mr Lipson has made a very unfavorable report of
the conduct of Mr Stephens who is said to drink to excess. He has it seems
married at sea the sister of a Carpenter in the Company’s employ! This
was a most injudicious step inasmuch as it must necessarily connect him too
closely with a servant under his control & therefore injure his status in
society as Manager; but if he turns out a drunkard all is over with
him. How our good friend Mr Angas has been deceived in his estimate
of this young man! He prepared me to expect some peculiarities, but was
convinced of his steadiness & good intentions. That there have been many
quarrels between him & his men is too true. It is said he has established a
public house, & cannot get the man to whom he gave the direction out
of it since he has displeased him. I had suggested that Mr Stephens
name should be in the Commission of Peace, which was intended. It
is now to be withheld till the truth of all this is known.

[ Read the full journal for: Monday 26 December 1836 ]

Tuesday 27 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

We have been beating between Althorp & Kangaroo
Islands for the last two days without making much progress; but the
wind this morning became fair & we are now proceeding. There was a great
fire made on the shores of Kangaroo Island yesterday evening, & it
occurred to me that if the poor fellows reported lost from the Africaine had
really made the coast, this might be a signal from them. I mentioned this
to the Captain whose humane answer was “Oh they are dead long ago!”
Mr Lipson however, seems to have coincided with me, for during the
night he put off from the Cygnet to endeavour to ascertain what it
was; but unfortunately he could not land owing to it having fallen
calm. His opinion is that as there are no natives on the island it may
have been the unfortunate persons alluded to; & that it would be
desirable to take the first opportunity to explore the spot. Why this was
not done at once, I leave the Captain to explain. The chance of saving
the lives of two human beings was surely as well worth losing time for,
as the delay to pick up a cur overboard, or getting a lathe finished
or a dressing table made.

[ Read the full journal for: Tuesday 27 December 1836 ]

Wednesday 28 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

The wind continued favorable during the night, &
this morning we came to an anchor in Holdfast Bay, lying due west of Mount
Lofty & now about thirteen miles to the southward of the intended harbour.
Mr Gouger came on board with a Mr Kingston one of the surveyors & gladdened
us with the intelligence of splendid land, plenty of fresh water, & the prospect
of an excellent location….
It was determined to go ashore to day & read
the Governor’s Commission &c, & preparations to land were made. At
½ past one we left the Buffalo – the Governor, Fisher, myself & our families
in one boat, the Treasurer, Chaplain & others in a second, & about 20 marines
in a third besides the officers of the ship. The Council met in Gouger’s tent,
where the orders in Council & Commission were read & the oaths to the
Governor & members of Council were administered. The Commission
was afterwards read by me to the settlers of whom about 200 were present.
A royal salute to the British Flag was fired & a [tooltip color=”grey” text=”A rifle salute. In French means “fire of joy”.”] feu-de-joie [/tooltip] by the marines.
Afterwards the Buffalo saluted the Governor with 15 guns. A cold collation
was prepared in the open air of which the party partook; & all might have
gone off very well had not our Treasurer got brutishly drunk and
conducted himself in his usual disgraceful fashion towards every
lady & gentleman with whom he came in contact. We were all delighted
with the aspect of the country & the rich soil of Holdfast Plains: Mount
Lofty & the hills before us are wooded to the very summits 1500 feet at
least above the level of the sea. On the plains there are numerous splendid
trees of the eucalyptus species: the Banksia  rosa marinafolia was in
great beauty. We found the pea, butter cup, the camomile daisy, and
geranium, the flax plant, the kangaroo grass in great abundance.
The parrots & parroquets were very numerous. In a short walk we started
several covies of quail, & from a specimen shot there does not appear any
difference between it & the European variety. Nothing in fact can be
richer than the soil: I have seen the Pickaway plains of Ohio & traversed the
Prairies of Illinois & Indiana, but the best of them are not to be compared
to the richness of Holdfast Plains . . .

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 28 December 1836 ]